Saturday, December 31, 2005

Obligatory end-of-year post

I will probably be asleep by midnight. I haven't gone out of my way to celebrate the new year in a long time, since about the time a friend of mine was killed in a car accident on New Year's Eve in the mid-80's. No alcohol involved, just a treacherously icy road on his way home from work.

It was just a few days ago that I mentioned it was technically my blogoversary. But it was such a meandering, unfocused, inconsistent thing for so long that I don't really think much of it before March of this year, when I actually became more or less focused and started posting something pretty much every day. It was in April that I noticed someone had actually read this blog, when Lest Darkness Fall linked to this post from April 8.

When I first entered this blog in the infamous Ecosystem, I really was an Insignificant Microbe. I am still usually surprised when some of the other more widely-read blogs link to this one. I know many readers first came here because of my somewhat acerbic comments regarding gun control, but when I stray from that I hope that I will be forgiven.

I have never been one to make New Year's resolutions. The beginning of the year is only another nonsensical, arbitrary boundary in the grand scheme of things anyway, although it does give one a good excuse for reflection on the year past. But I'll try for a couple of resolutions. (By the way, I did not buy a single gun this year, so I think I am due for some).

1. Use the words "eldritch" and "doom" on this blog at least once per month. I'll try to sneak in an "ineffable" now and then as well.

2. Get a new C&R license. I accidentally let mine expire this past March. C&R guns I would like to get: an SKS, a Mauser of some sort, and a CZ-50. And maybe a couple of others I can't think of right now.

3. "Complete" my .357 magnum collection. By "complete" I mean to add a lever-action rifle or carbine and a derringer. These added to my Ruger SP-101 and S&W Model 28 should provide a well-rounded collection of .357 magnum blasting tools. If I could afford one of those semi-auto pistols I would go for that too, but they are way out of my price range.

4. More gun pr0n. I don't have the camera or especially the photographic skills to take really nice pix, and I don't have a huge collection to take pictures of, but I'm going to try and post more "found on the internet" pictures that strike my fancy.

5. Go to the range more often.

So here's some gun pr0n to end the year with. The Desert Eagle .357 magnum.
Can you look at this gun and not want to shoot it? I can't.

I'll play along with this one

Next to Last Samurai has posted a meme which I'll play along with since it doesn't require much thought.

Four jobs you've had in your life: pizza delivery guy, pager repair tech, security guard, truck driver.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Big Trouble in Little China, Dirty Harry, Darkman, Mary Poppins.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Invader Zim ("And now I leave you to your...moosey fate"), King of the Hill ("Don't play lawyer-ball, boy"), The Venture Brothers (But...do I have to kill him?/[sigh] I guess not), Aqua Teen Hunger Force ("But does it play the ultimate song--Boston's More Than A Feeling").

Four places you've been on vacation: Big Bend National Park; Lewistown, MT; Glenwood Springs, CO; Bogalusa, LA.

4 web sites you visit daily: only two. A weather website and Bloglines.

4 places you'd rather be: right now? Nowhere.

4 of your favorite foods: chili, tamales, enchiladas, nachos.

I meant to mention this earlier...

But I forgot. One hundred sixty years ago, on December 29, 1845, the Republic of Texas ceased to be a republic and became a state. I can't think of any reason why this should be a significant post for this blog, but I'll post it anyway.

I also have no idea why Texas needs an official state dinosaur. I suppose other states do as well, but I don't feel like researching it. In any case, the official Texas state dinosaur is the Pleurocoelus.

The Oradour Massacre

Today's installment at Interesting Thing of the Day is an episode from World War II which I had never heard of: The Oradour Massacre. The small French town of Oradour was wiped out by SS in reprisal against Resistance forces operating in the area.
The story of Oradour is known from a handful of people who managed to escape. Two women and one child climbed out of the church through a broken window, though only one woman survived her injuries; five wounded men escaped from one of the barns; and one child ran when he saw the soldiers in town. Other than those seven, the only survivors of Oradour were about 20 people who fled when they saw the approaching troops and residents who were out of town for the day.
The town was never rebuilt, but the ruins were left as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atrocity.

Remember New Orleans

Words to remember at Xavier Thoughts.
The example of New Orleans is going to become the worst fear of those who want to ban guns in the good old U.S.A. Never again can the anti-gunners claim that honest citizens don't need firearms because the police and the government are going to be there to protect you ...

And we've got a good slogan that you're going to hear from one end of the country to the other. And that slogan is: Remember New Orleans ...

The next time anyone says to you: 'Are you just afraid or paranoid?' Look them straight in the eye and say: Remember New Orleans.

If they ask you, 'Why does anyone need to own a gun?' Remember New Orleans.

If they say to you, "Why does anyone need a high-capacity magazine?" Look them straight in the eye and say: Remember New Orleans.

What's wrong with a 15-day waiting period? Remember New Orleans.

What makes you think the government would ever confiscate your gun? Remember New Orleans.

Is the second amendment relevant in the 21st Century? Remember New Orleans.
Is there a t-shirt yet?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Looking for info

I recently received an email with this information:
A backwoods hunter from the Alabama National Guard spotted this guy, complete with suicide bomber vest, inside a compound in the Green Zone in Iraq. He used a well placed 50 cal sniper round to stop him.
Has anyone else seen this? And what's the straight dope on it. I have a habit of not automatically believing everything I see in an email.

I'm not posting the pictures here because they may be considered somewhat gruesome by some. If you want to see them, email me.

One Paranoid Journalist

I've been trying to think of something witty, incisive, or snarky to say about this article. I can't come up with anything. So I'll just point out the article in the Daily Dunklin Democrat of Dunklin County, MO.

This journalist describes in the detail all the hoops that must be jumped through for someone in Missouri to get a concealed handgun license. He even mentions the red tape that one must go through to become an instructor to teach the classes.

But all of that isn't good enough.

Dunklin is a county with a population of about 33,000. There have been 190 permits issued in that county so far. If my calculations are correct, this means that about 1 in 200 173 people in that county have the permit. Here's his problem:
But what about the public's right to know the identity of those who pack concealed weapons?

In Missouri, the state open records law assumes that government documents are public unless they are exempted specifically. Scores of "good reasons for public access to concealed weapons permits leap to mind," the SPJ stated.

For example, a parent wouldn't be able to determine independently if a babysitter carried a concealed weapon, or a homeowner couldn't discover if a bothersome neighbor had a permit, the SPJ maintained.

Also, journalists would have no way to determine if concealed weapons were used in road rage incidents or at school shootings, the site stated.

"It denies the public and press any way of monitoring the issuance of concealed weapons permits," the SPJ indicated.
The "SPJ" is the "Society for Professional Journalists."

As has been pointed out so many times by so many people, and therefore I don't know why I'm bothering saying it again but I will anyway, is that if the public can so easily discover who has this permit, they will also be able to easily discover who does not have the permit. I wonder if Mr. Hankins would really like some thug who did not appreciate him for some reason to be able to remove all doubt that he is one of the other 199 172.

It sucks to be one of the common folk, eh Steve?

By the way, if I learned that my babysitter had jumped through all these hoops to stay legal and bear that extra measure of responsibility, that would be a point in her favor.

UPDATE: Used a calculator for the numbers instead of just estimating it in my head.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm sure this will be fair and balanced...

MTV (yeah, that MTV) is going to show a documentary (or something) examining how "guns are changing the lives of four young people in very different ways." Quote:
The program features a convicted felon, a gang member, a hunter and a crime victim who is now an advocate of armed self-defense to present the various sides of the gun debate. Several gun rights advocates immediately challenged MTV's math.

'It's a bit offensive that 50 percent of the people they've chosen to feature as being 'gun owners' are people who are obviously breaking the law and probably acquired their firearms illegally,' Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America said of the gang member and the convict. 'When you look at the statistics, it's only a fraction of 1 percent of the 'gun owners' in the country who ever use firearms in an illegitimate way.'
Oops, basic math already promises an equation that is far from balanced. And I had such high hopes. I think I'll do something more constructive than watching this. I'm sure there will be a rerun of Invader Zim or something on.

UPDATE: I was right. Big Trouble in Little China was on again.

Someone's been watching too many Disney movies

Someone broke into an animal shelter in Victoria, TX and opened up several cages.

The problem with "animal rights activists" like this is that they fail to realize that animals are animals, and are not capable of rational thought. Apparently the activists aren't too strong on rational thought, either.

The "freed" animals attacked each other. The talley: 14 dead cats, one dead dog, and one injured dog.

Way to go, moron.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wallpaper alert!

Visit Heads Bunker for some absolutely mouth-watering gun wallpaper that Head has created. Beautiful!

I just don't get it

How is it that one can go up two rungs in the infamous Ecosystem when one's link score goes down? Does anyone know?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It's all just good clean fun!

A San Antonio radio station has been, well, I'll just quote it:
In the recurring KROM-Radio segment, callers report sightings of immigration agents.

"Estreo Latino" disc jockeys then alert listeners about the location of limones verdes, or "green limes." The words refer to the dark green Border Patrol uniforms and green-lined SUVs.

[...]

Alex Nogales with the National Hispanic Media Coalition said KROM's segment seems to bring more laughter than harm and the station should not lose its license.
I'm not a lawyer, but this sounds like some kind of aiding and abetting, or at least being an accessory to an illegal activity, to me.

Some people are not amused.

More on anti-Christian bigotry

I received by email a link to a very interesting article addressing anti-Christian bigotry specifically, as well as anti-religious bigotry in general. Although this is aimed more at Christians, it is still a must-read for anyone who believes not only in the importance of freedom of religion, but also in the importance of freedom to not believe, if that is your inclination. And where did this article come from? Please visit this link at Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and read the whole thing:
Already, the worm of religious bigotry is eating into the heart of the American consciousness--including the Christian consciousness. Not long ago, I spoke with a man who happened to mention he was Christian. Immediately after telling me that, he apologized for his beliefs. I asked why on earth he should be sorry. He began to mumble that Christians were responsible for slavery and oppression and slaughter of native peoples and bigotry toward other religions. In other words, although he was a Christian himself who had never been guilty of any of those evils, he had completely bought into the current cultural prejudice that his religion was inherently cruel and corrupt--something to feel ashamed of.

[...]

If you are Christian, you should care because the actions described at the top of this article may be only the beginning. One Holocaust survivor observed, "Auschwitz wasn't built with bricks. It was built with words." That's how it begins. When Christ-haters (or G-d haters) learn they can get away with small deeds of discrimination, they move on to larger ones...and more heinous ones. Actions borne of hatred must be chopped off at the roots. Otherwise hatred proliferates.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Yes, we should own Uzis, actually...

Except I think my first choice for an automatic weapon would be a BAR. Anyway, read this article by Vin Suprynowicz: The unlimited power of the sword:
It doesn't matter whether you 'think this is a good idea.' If you want to contend we now have a form of government in which our rulers start with all rights and powers, and allow to the peasantry only those lesser included liberties as they see fit, say so out loud now, please. And tell me when the original Constitution was voided, and by what legal process.
tnx to Of Arms and the Law

Blog Kaboom

I added one line to my sidebar today and my template seemed to sort of implode. So I've been messing with it all day trying to figure out how to get it to look halfway respectable. If you visited and things looked odd, that's why. I've been trying to get it to look okay with both IE and Firefox. They handle the code differently and sometimes it's a trick getting things to look right with both of them (and they never look identical).

I have added a Feedburner feed to the blog in addition to the Atom feed. My Atom feed wasn't working right for a while, so now there's an alternative.

Chicago Bans Pet Pigeons

Chicago has banned pet pigeons. This specifically effects those who are enthusiasts of pigeon racing:
A federal appeals court has upheld the city's ban on pet racing pigeons, rejecting claims by some enthusiasts that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

The ban makes Chicago the only large U.S. city that outlaws pet pigeons, according to the American Racing Pigeon Union.

The pigeons coo excessively and scatter feathers and droppings, proponents of the ban said.
How this has any significance to the thousands of wild free-range pigeons that inhabit the city, I am unable to determine. However, based on their past record in dealing with gun control, I'm sure they know what they are doing.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Survived another Christmas

I haven't said much about the Christmas controversy on this blog because I think it's all moot--except as just one small part of the overall war against Christianity. I probably have what many Christians would consider an odd outlook on Christmas, and probably an outlook that is held by a minority of Christians. I have never celebrated Christmas as the birth of Christ. To me, and to all of my immediate family as well as many of my extended family, it has always just been a day to hang out together and exchange gifts. The reason for this is that the Bible never gives us the day of His birth, nor are we instructed in the Bible to celebrate the day of His birth. We are instructed instead to celebrate the day of His resurrection, which happened on the first day of the week, and is celebrated every first day of the week. I do not go so far as to rail against those who sing songs about his birth during Christmas-time, because He told some of his disciples once something like, "Where two or three are joined together, there am I in their midst." So if some carolers want to sing songs about him during Christmas-time, who am I to say that theirs is not a valid form of worship, and that Jesus is not there in their midst? More power to them. And that's all I have to say about that.

I am thankful for many things during this time of year. I am especially thankful that I am required to see certain relatives and in-laws only rarely, this time of year being one of those occasions. Just about everyone in my family, including my wife, say that I am very hard to buy gifts for. So I have devised a cunning plan, as Baldrick would say. Next year I'm going to tell everyone to just go to Walmart and buy me the first box of ammo they notice behind the shelf at the sports counter. To make it easy on them, I'll tell them to focus on handgun ammo. Whatever they buy, odds are that I'll have a gun that will shoot it. If not, that will be a perfect excuse to buy another gun. I think it's a good plan.
Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Festival by H. P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft once wrote a Christmas story, and if you are a fan you probably already know about it. If modern Christmas has got you down, or if it's just too beautiful, bright and sunny at your house to even think of Christmas (just a few clouds, please, so it doesn't look like the middle of summer), maybe this will help.
It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten. Mine were an old people, and were old even when this land was settled three hundred years before. And they were strange, because they had come as dark furtive folk from opiate southern gardens of orchids, and spoken another tongue before they learnt the tongue of the blue-eyed fishers. And now they were scattered, and shared only the rituals of mysteries that none living could understand. I was the only one who came back that night to the old fishing town as legend bade, for only the poor and the lonely remember.
The Festival is available online, although it may violate copyright. (There is some dispute as to who owns the copyright, or even if it is still copyrightable--for example this story was first published 80 years ago). Anyhow, I'm not hosting it, I'm only showing the way.

And here is a poem inspired by the story.
Yule Fest

Gathered together for the centuried rite;
Across snow-covered ground we walk bleakly t'ward home,
Through archaic Kingsport and streets seldom trodden,
After sunset's last rays have sunk into the gloam.

Only the lonely and poor still remember
Why we have come to this place out of time;
In this strange haunted city where once lived our elders,
With its gambrels and gables all covered with rime.

In the last ancient house at the end of the alley
We are met by the priest in his waxen-faced mask;
From blasphemous books we relearn the rituals,
Through tunnels beneath we descend to our task.

In green-litten caverns we hold dark communion,
Near a subterrene river where ghouls fear to tread.
With wild harmonies and songs cacophonic,
We sing and we laugh as we feast with the dead.

Then beyond the blackness from over the river,
Where the green flame burns bright and the black waters fall,
Come our mounts that are neither a mole nor a buzzard,
But something a sane man could never recall.

Far back in the shades of these gangrenous caverns,
In the depths of this cosmic Tartarean hall;
Are shapes of vile things that somehow are moving:
Vile things that walk but ought only to crawl.

Maddened, we rush down that black, oily river,
Past chaotic cataracts that thunder and boom;
Through caverns infernal on wings gaunt and membranous,
Our steeds flop and fly as we rejoice in our doom.

Yes, only a few of us old ones remember,
Only the cursed and the sad demon-kissed;
And snow fills the footprints that wend through the alley,
And the last ancient house disappears in the mist.

© 1997 Alan Peschke

One more politically incorrect Santa

Santa Claus Reads His Mail by Norman Rockwell

Friday, December 23, 2005

I couldn't just let this slide...

SayUncle points to this article about a Baltimore man whose home was accidentally invaded by police. A noteworthy article, for sure. But Mr. Scheper should not blame his pistol for his own ineptitude:
In the basement, Scheper grabbed a CZ-52 semiautomatic. "I have this piece-of-junk Czechoslovakian pistol," he says. "I put a magazine in it, racked the slide back. I was trying to check to see if there was a round in the chamber and I couldn't rack the slide . . . so I was fighting it. The gun was jammed, and I was trying to get it operable. It accidentally went off into the floor of my basement."
My own CZ-52 is not a piece of junk by any means, and if I were to draw it against a home invader there would be serious consequences for the guy on the other end. I have used a wide variety of cheap ammo in that gun and have never managed to cause a jam. I prefer to use S&B, however, just because it's cleaner and I usually grab a box of it at the same time that I'm buying S&B Makarov ammo.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pardon me while I salivate profusely

SaysUncle points to this entry at Coal Creek Armory about the new Springfield XD in .45ACP. That's right. Not GAP--ACP.

Fourteen rounds in one magazine. I think a trade-up may be forthcoming.

Is it just me...

...or is The Quick and the Dead one of the most incredibly stupid movies ever made? It is so full of gun fallacies that it should not even be allowed to exist. And everyone involved should be severely punished for so utterly destroying a perfectly good Louis L'Amour story.

Too bad they didn't just die in a fiery crash

I had to look this up as soon as I got home:Trooper Critically Wounded in Wild SA Chase. A big stretch of highway 90 was closed down--I got caught in the detour. The whole stretch of highway was swarming with crime scene investigators--it was quite amazing. There was one police car with the back windshield completely smashed out--apparently from gunfire. Not only did they rob a bank, but several innocent motorists caught bullets as they shot at not only the pursuing cops, but at anyone who got in their way or anyone whose face they didn't like, apparently.

I am amazed that they were caught without anyone getting killed. I would have found it extremely difficult to restrain myself from just popping them in the head when I caught up to their crashed vehicle, if I had been an officer on the scene. My compliments and thanks to the real professionals who behaved like professionals and took these thugs out of circulation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BBAGA at the Blogonomicon

If you were to look back in my archives for some reason, you would see that this is actually the anniversary of the founding of this blog. I don't consider it very highly, however, because at the time I was apparently bored and couldn't think of anything better to do. I didn't really get "serious" about it until March 2005. Here are some previous names of this blog:
The Complete Waste of Time Weblog
Farm Road 539
The Twyllyp Report
Flourishing in Obscurity

I still kind of like that last one, it seems the most accurate.

I don't have the money to buy a gun in celebration today (actually I do, but it's in a savings account and is untouchable except for a real emergency). However, I do plan on getting one when the income tax refund comes in in a couple months time. I have my heart set on a lever-action .357 magnum.

That first day of blogging, although there were no gun-related topics, in retrospect seems to have set the whimsical, scattershot tone of this blog. This is appropriate, because my mind often operates in a whimsical, scattershot fashion.

So here's a summary of that first day.

A post about E-Sword: Bible freeware that I use often.

A post making fun of Barbie & Ken versions of Aragorn and Arwen. (The link is no longer valid).

The last post was about Jack Chick tracts, which I still am both offended and amused by, although the amusement outweighs the offensiveness. There was also a link to a spoof of these tracts from a Cthulhuian perspective. The old link is no longer valid because some lawyers made the author remove it--it obviously violated copyrights. However, that is not dead which can always lie, and once released on the Internet nothing can die. A good link to the Cthulhu Chick Tract may be found here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Citizens Police Academy in Billings, MT

From the Helena Independent Record:
Over the weeks, the 20 men and women who signed on for the Billings Police Department's community liaison program heard harrowing tales about life-and-death encounters from the officers who experienced them. Those in the program were warned that even the most mundane calls turn explosive and were lectured about use-of-force laws, officer restraint and the need to rely on training to control fear.

This was a chance to put training into practice.

The firearms simulator--set up in the Billings Operations Center known as "the Barn"--features live-action confrontations that unfold, like movies, on a large white screen. Some contain empty threats, such as a man in an alley reaching too quickly for a wallet or a beer. In others, the figures come fast with guns or knives.

Trainees carry a real pistol or shotgun modified to shoot lasers instead of bullets. It's their job to determine when, and if, to shoot in self-defense or to protect another character.

"It's nothing like the real thing, but it's the closest thing you can get," Lt. Tim O'Connell said.
More cities should do this kind of thing.

Not worth a hill of beans

This is an interesting article from the Michigan Northern Express. Too much to excerpt, just read it. Main points, to me, are that 1) beanbags don't work, and 2) a criminal who had just picked up the phone to negotiate was dead seconds later because someone decided to use beanbags on him, and he responded by shooting back with his real gun--which got him shot with real guns instead of beanbags. I think his response to being beanbagged is very telling: "What the hell did you do that for?"

Santa Havoc

Maybe this is what those Brits were worried about.

What is wrong with these people? Anyone caught commiting a crime while wearing a Santa costume should have something especially nasty inflicted upon them.

Relief for musically beseiged Iranians

I don't know, any law that bans Hilary Duff, Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion can't be all bad.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

HO...HO...HO...

Bolt the doors, board up the windows, say goodbye to your pets and lock the kids in the closet. Because...

Santabot...

is coming to town...


And he's not coming quietly.


tnx to The War On Guns

SPOOOOOON!!!

Wellington, New Zealand:
A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus costumes, many of them drunk, rampaged through New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores and assaulting security guards, police said Sunday.

The rampage, dubbed 'Santarchy' by local newspapers, began early Saturday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an Auckland overpass, said Auckland Central Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty.

She said the men then rushed through a central city park, overturning garbage containers, throwing bottles at passing cars and spraying graffiti on buildings.

One man climbed the mooring line of a cruise ship before being ordered down by the captain. Other Santas, objecting when the man was arrested, attacked security staff, Hegarty said.

The remaining Santas entered a downtown convenience store and carried off beer and soft drinks.

'They came in, said 'Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves,' store owner Changa Manakynda said.

Alex Dyer, a spokesman for the group, said Santarchy was a worldwide movement designed to protest the commercialization of Christmas.

Three people were arrested and charged with drunkenness and disorderly behavior.
Somebody call the Tick.

Fair Warning

In the near future I'm going to start a series on this blog that I will refer to as "Pipe Smoker of the Week." I once had another site--well, it's still there but I no longer update it and since the hit counter decided to start charging I don't know if it still gets hits--that showed people who are famous, or at least somewhat notable, who are smoking a pipe (fictional characters are included). Why?

When I started that other site back in 1997 I had no idea or intention that it might become some sort of political statement. It was just something I did for fun. I have been toying with the idea for a while, to use the stuff I had collected there on this blog, and my recent posting of the Santa-with-pipe pictures has been a small part of that.

There's also this (via SayUncle) and this (via Michelle Malkin).

Both of those articles are about cigarettes. They are also both about historical revisionism and nannyism.

I don't smoke cigarettes. In fact, I hate being around cigarette smoke. It has a terrible effect on my sinuses and just plain smells bad. In my opinion, the junk (all the non-tobacco chemicals and accelerants) they put in cigarettes compared to good pipe tobacco (or cigar tobacco) is like comparing a hot dog to a fine roast beef (with the exception of kosher hot dogs, those are good stuff). But from my perspective as a pipe smoker and a gun owner, I can see numerous parallels between the anti-ism against both of these things. Unfortunately, there is no unalienable right to smoke tobacco that is protected by the constitution, and I have no doubt that tobacco will eventually be taxed or regulated out of existence. Pipes will become nothing more than curious family heirlooms. Some people will attempt to grow it in their backyards, perhaps, but the process of creating superior pipe and cigar tobacco is not something that lends itself well to a backyard hobbyist, and the leaves produced will be inferior. Those who do produce it will be at legal risk because they want to continue a practice that has been common among humankind since nearly the beginning of time.

So, this is something I'm doing just to make a small contribution to historical accuracy and to thumb my nose at the nannyites. It will probably start after Christmas.

I have enough pictures to last about three years if I post only one per week. I may as well take this opportunity to say: If you have a digital picture, or know of a location on the Internet of a picture of a famous or notable person smoking a pipe, let me know. I can probably use it.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

This is what I'm talking about...

When I previously stated that it still seemed odd for me to see this blog listed among "actual" news sources, here is an example. If you go to this site soon enough you will see this blog listed along with a bunch of radio stations and newspapers because of this post, which was fed to them by topix.net. Does this happen to anyone else? I mean, to other obscure blogs that hardly anyone reads like this one?

Two Examples

St. Petersburg, FL: A man brandishes a gun at someone who he (says he) believed was menacing him in traffic, is charged with aggravated assault, and goes to jail. No shots fired. Road rager admits that it has taught him to be polite to other drivers from now on.

Seattle, WA: Police officer fires at a panhandler, allegedly tells him twice that she was going to kill him. Internal affairs finds that the panhandler's version of the story is the more credible, and that he had been made to "suffer an assault on the street, followed by his wrongful arrest and booking into jail." Despite being found to have fired her weapon, no assault charges filed, aggravated or otherwise. Officer penalized with a 15-day unpaid vacation.

And people wonder why I'm cynical.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another Knife

Since Josh at South Park Pundit as well as a few other bloggers recently have posted something about their favorite knives, I thought I should jump on the bandwagon. I have always carried a pocketknife, for the past 10 years or so it has been a "Tinker" model Swiss Army Knife, and I also have one of their "Cybertools" which is quite useful. But a few months ago I also started clipping this inside my pocket, and now I feel kind of naked without it.



A Smith & Wesson kerambit. The most useful single-blade, non-gadget-type knife I've ever had. The slot on the blade lends itself well to left-handed opening.

The Politically Incorrent Santa #2

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was a famous political cartoonist who invented such immediately recognizeable images as the Democrat Donkey, the Republican Elephant, and the lean, goateed Uncle Sam. When he died, Harper's Weekly called him the "Father of American Caricature." He was also largely responsible for the American concept of Santa's appearance as rotund and pipe-smoking.



In this image created in 1881, Santa is enjoying a long-stemmed clay in the fashion of the Dutch tavern pipe. The tavern pipe, like all clays, originated in the truly olden days of pipe smoking, before briar was discovered to be a wood apparently created by God just for smoking pipes. This pipe was called the tavern pipe because each table in a tavern would have a few of these pipes lying on it. When a patron wished to smoke, he would simply break off the last inch or so of stem, so that he would be putting a clean stem-end in his mouth. When the stem became too short, the pipe was discarded and replaced. Of course, if you own your own tavern pipe, or any other clay for that matter, such precautions are unnecessary and one may enjoy his or her pipe indefinitely.

Previous: The Politically Incorrect Santa

Thursday, December 15, 2005

If blogging seems light this week...

...it's because I've been putting in some hard work and have been quite tired. I've also been reading some actual books more and spending less time on the computer.

The Johnny Eagle Red River Rifle

I remember many details from when I was very young. This is about a Christmas present I got when I was 4 years old, in 1968. It was one of the coolest Christmas gifts I ever got. The Johnny Eagle Red River rifle.



This is an old ad for the gun. I never got the revolver to go with it, but the rifle was, by current standards, unimaginable. You'll notice all the times that "realistic" is used in this ad, and they weren't kidding. It was so realistic, you even had to load your own ammo before using.

The cartridges were made of a brass-colored plastic. The bullets were made of a lead-colored plastic. Inside each shell was a spring. The bullets had a "tail" that extended below the actual "bullet" part, so that the bullet had to be inserted into the shell, which compressed the spring. The bullet snapped into place on some little catch inside the shell.

The gun was loaded through the side port, just like an old Winchester. Working the lever would chamber a cartridge, just like a real gun. When you pulled the trigger, some kind of mechanism inside would release the catch on the cartridge and send the bullet flying out by spring power. Work the lever, the empty shell was ejected, and a new cartridge was chambered, just like the real thing.

Not real enough yet? There was also a compartment for a roll of paper caps, which cycled every time the action was worked, so that when fired, a cap would pop as the bullet flew out.

As you can see from the picture, it had real sights. Of course, the barrel wasn't actually rifled and I can't vouch for any pinpoint accuracy, but I remember bouncing bullets off a paper target that had been taped to the wall of my playroom. I don't think it was powerful enough to put an eye out, but I think would have left a nasty bruise. I was well-schooled even as a four-year-old, and I don't remember ever shooting it at a real person. Imaginary bad guys and paper targets were good enough for me.

Eventually the inside gadget wore out, but I still fired bullets of imagination for long afterward. When I think back on this, it seems almost incredible that such a toy could have existed.

Here is a website that has pictures of ads for this and other realistic toy guns from the same manufacturer: Deluxe Reading Toy Guns. Do a search on ebay, and you sometimes can still see the old toys showing up for sale.

When I was five, I got a large toy squirtgun that looked like a transparent orange submachine gun, and made "realistic machine gun sounds" when the trigger was pulled. At 6, I got a Fort Apache playset. At 7, I got a toy Kentucky rifle & pistol set, which meant I could quit using my dad's yardstick for a pretend muzzle-loader. So you can see what appealed to me back then.

I still have the Fort Apache, which is (somewhat miraculously) almost entirely intact, and which my own kids play with. I also still have the toy Kentucky rifle & pistol, which they also play with.

tnx to Xavier and his "cool Christmas toys" for the inspiration

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Just don't leave them out in the rain...

Not satisfied with merely having a police force that must face violent criminals unarmed, Britain is going the extra length to now have police officers who aren't, well, human. Ten life-sized cardboard cutout replicas have been used around Britain at various fuel stations to help prevent drive-aways (as we call them around here).

Except that one of them was, er, stolen. But hey, they got it back.

The replicas cost 100 pounds (about $175) and supposedly "can look like the real thing from afar." On the plus side, if someone decides to pump one full of bullets it won't actually die, so I guess that's something.

In related news, mysterious sightings of cardboard Elvis cutouts have been cropping up across Hounslow.

tnx to The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

'Do not come in! I have a gun! Leave!'

Read all about it in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Too insane to be fiction

I had to read this a couple of times to make sure I wasn't hallucinating or something. Lahore, Pakistan:
Pakistan's Supreme Court has extended a ban on making, selling and flying kites that it imposed two months ago after ruling that the sport has become increasingly deadly, an official said Saturday.

The court decided on Friday to extend the ban until it meets next on Jan. 26, said Aftab Iqbal, advocate general for eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.

While the court was hearing the case, police swung batons and lobbed tear gas shells outside the building to disperse about 500 kite-makers and kite-flying enthusiasts who were trying to attend the proceedings.
On the second read-through I finally understood:
Hardline Muslims oppose Basant as a waste of money and consider it a Hindu festival. It is also celebrated with loud music and yellow dresses.
Ah ha. The same people who only have fun when they're killing people who don't follow their religion. Now I understand.

Professionals with Tasers

Read it and weep. Or chuckle sardonically, whichever you prefer. I'd love to see the patrol car's video of this:
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. - A police officer has been charged with using a Taser on his partner during an argument over whether they should stop for a soft drink.

Ronald Dupuis, 32, was charged Wednesday with assault and could face up to three months in jail if convicted. The six-year veteran was fired after the Nov. 3 incident.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mark Allen Wilson: An American Hero

I followed this link: When Being a Good Guy Isn't Enough at The Sight from Xavier's blog. It is a very well-written, well-thought out commentary on two men who tried to stop a couple of crazy shooters. The men were Mark Allen Wilson of Tyler, Texas, who was killed; and Brendan McKown of Tacoma Washington, who was severely injured. I have already made some brief, inadequate comments on both of these men on this blog, and can only recommend that you go read the link shown above. I wanted only to add that what I saw at the bottom of this article brought tears to my eyes, and I will quote it in full.


Mark Allen Wilson
An American Hero
1953 - 2005


Texas House Resolution No. 740

R E S O L U T I O N

WHEREAS, The tragic death of Mark Alan Wilson of Tyler on February 24, 2005, at the age of 52, has brought a profound loss to his many friends and loved ones; and

WHEREAS, With instinctive courage and selfless resolve, this valorous Texan confronted a gunman on the steps of the Smith County Courthouse; reacting to the kind of inhuman crisis that compels ordinary men to seek cover or flee, Mark Wilson proved to be an extraordinary man; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Wilson confronted a lethal threat in order to protect the people of his community, and in his valiant attempt to save the lives of others, he risked his own safety; and

WHEREAS, The magnitude of the sacrifice that ended his life all too prematurely is in keeping with the character that was evident to all who knew him; an active member of the Tyler community, he used his time on earth to the fullest; and

WHEREAS, Born on January 20, 1953, in Dallas, Mr. Wilson graduated from MacArthur High School in 1971 and went on to serve his country with distinction in the U.S. Navy; after his discharge from the military, this avid sportsman worked as a racquetball instructor and embraced his ntrepreneurial spirit, opening Tyler's On Target Shooting Range in 1997; and

WHEREAS, A dedicated volunteer, he committed his talents to help raise money for nonprofit organizations and lent his time to Heart of Tyler/Main Street projects, including the Texas Blues Festival and Festival on the Square; and

WHEREAS, Mark Wilson was a true hero, and his example reminds us that the very best elements of human nature can emerge in the midst of the chaos and violence that threaten our society; though this brave man will be missed, his legacy will continue to inspire all who are privileged to know of him; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 79th Texas Legislature hereby pay special tribute to the life of Mark Alan Wilson of Tyler and extend deepest sympathy to the members of his family: to his parents, Alex and Lynn Stewart; to his sisters, Melody and Holly Wilson; to his nieces, Katie and Kristen DeFazio; and to his other relatives and many friends; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for his family and that when the Texas House of Representatives adjourns this day, it do so in memory of Mark Alan Wilson.

Berman
______________________________

Speaker of the House

I certify that H.R. No. 740 was unanimously adopted
by arising vote of the House on March 31, 2005.
Maybe it's only a small attempt at showing this man some respect. It won't bring him back, and I'm sure his family would prefer that he still be alive rather than receiving this memorial. But this is news that should be spread far and wide, so that maybe somewhere, someone will read it and come to understand the awesome task that has been taken on by those who have come to know that there is evil in this world, and that desperate measures must sometimes be taken to stop it.

Reference: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlo/79R/billtext/HR00740F.HTM

Just to cheer you up...

Read about this visit from overseas which ended up being very gun-related over at Thus Spracht ME.

Carnival of Cordite #41 -- Year's End Edition

The last Carnival of Cordite for the year is up at Resistance is Futile!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Politically Incorrect Santa

There was a time, back in the olden days, when pictures of Santa Claus inevitably portrayed him with a pipe. I think this was mostly due to Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath...
In these days when too many people have chosen political correctness over sanity, modern portrayals of Santa no longer include the pipe. As far as I am concerned, Santa isn't Santa without a pipe. A friend of mine has just emailed me this picture of Santa which he knew I would like. This one is by Tim Hildebrandt. The pipe pictured is of European origin, and is usually referred to as a "Tyrolean." A real pipe with such an appearance would probably have a bowl of porcelain, although I suppose it could be meerschaum. Mr. Hildebrandt even pictured Santa holding the pipe correctly. Although a porcelain bowl would be quite hot, probably too hot to hold, the bottom of the pipe which is actually touching his fingers is actually an air reservoir which does not contain any tobacco and is therefore only comfortably warm to the touch.



I have a couple of more politically incorrect Christmas postings up my sleeve, and at least one will involve another Santa with pipe. Never fear, there is also at least one about a gun.

Nightscapes -- Back from the great abyss

I was just browsing alt.horror.cthulhu and saw that E.P. Berglund is going to revive his online zine Nightscapes. This was a Lovecraftian e-zine that was quite active for a while, but stopped in May 2003. Some of my stuff can be found there, both poetry and fiction, beginning in Issue #3. Just look amongst the back issues for the only guy named Alan.

Dumbing up the speed limit in San Antonio

Who'd a thunk it? Certain stretches of interstate highways in San Antonio are going to have a higher speed limit, because faster is apparently...safer!
City officials recently asked the Texas Department of Transportation to consider raising speed limits on several freeways. TxDOT studied the matter and agreed, saying that allowing higher speeds will be safer.

"They asked us to raise the speeds because of enforcement problems," TxDOT spokeswoman Laura Lopez said.
First, I must say--make up your minds, is it because it is safer or because of enforcement problems? My vote is for the latter.
"To set speed limits, engineers determine the speed that 85 percent of motorists don't exceed, round it off to the nearest 5 or 0 and decide whether road widths, curves and crash histories warrant dropping it, or increasing it by up to 10 mph.

'It's trying to capture the speed that most people will feel comfortable with,' Jacobson said.

Speeds higher than the average comfort zone are considered unreasonable. Speed limits are meant to corral wayward speeders--as well as slowpokes--into moving with the pack, which is much safer."
I will admit that I ignore the current speed limits on most of those areas. However, everyone feels comfortable until something unexpected happens and they suddenly have to stop. Then it very abruptly becomes very uncomfortable.

This seems to me to reek of some kind of bizarre example of setting speed limits by political correctness, instead of by what is actually safe.

And all those people who drive 10 mph over the speed limit because they never get stopped at that speed anyway will now still be driving 10 mph over the speed limit, so now we can expect plenty of morons to be doing 80 mph through San Antonio.

And that part of driving with the pack being safer is complete bull$#@!. It is always safer to allow the pack to pass you up so that you can maintain as much empty space as possible around your vehicle.

Higher speed equals less reaction time, unless someone recently changed the laws of physics.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Movie Review: The Call of Cthulhu

I am not good at writing reviews of movies, or books either, for that matter. But, here goes.

Readers of H.P. Lovecraft will need no introduction to the story The Call of Cthulhu. It is perhaps his best-known story. The opening sentence is one of his most often-quoted statements: "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents." If by chance you are a reader of this blog but not a reader of Lovecraft, I'll try a short explanation. H.P. Lovecraft constructed an entire mythology of god-like beings who are so extremely powerful, ineffably alien and utterly malevolent that most humans simply go insane upon encountering the truth of their existence. Most of these beings have no more concern for humanity than a person might have for a mosquito--it bites you, you squash it. In the prehistoric past, a few of these beings made the earth their home. Cthulhu is one such being, who due possibly to some kind of intervention from relatively "good" powerful beings, or possibly just because the stars aren't in the right place yet, has been entrapped in the sunken city of R'lyeh somewhere in the south Pacific Ocean. Cthulhu is somewhat telepathic, and can transmit dreams to those who are sensitive enough or insane enough, or to anyone who has a proclivity for that sort of thing. Recipients of these dreams have created a worldwide cult that worships Cthulhu and various others of his ilk. The story of The Call of Cthulhu as written by Lovecraft is about how one man slowly pieces together various seemingly disconnected bits of information until the horrific truth is revealed.

This movie version is a near-perfect depiction of that process--of one man slowly correlating various diaries, newspaper articles, and word-of-mouth information until he comes to believe that what he thought was only the ramblings of a deranged mind are indeed real. Unlike many movie adaptations, this one is very faithful to the original story.But there are other things that make this movie different.

The makers of this movie made an ingenious decision to film it as though it had been made during Lovecraft's lifetime in the 1920's, which is also when the story takes place. It was made as a black-and-white silent film, with additional authenticity created by fake scratches and flaws in the film. Perhaps most importantly, what would be abundantly clear and quite cheesy in full color becomes mysterious and indeterminate in black and white. This lack of clear detail is vital to Lovecraftian stories. It is this indeterminacy that forces the reader (or in this case, the watcher) to fill in the blanks with his own imagination. Many modern "horror" movies, in my opinion, suffer badly from too explicit detail. Once everything has been revealed, what is there left to fear? Lovecraft's stories are famous for never revealing everything, and always leaving something else to fear.

Lovecraft's stories are also known for being heavy on narrative and very light on dialogue. It seems this gives most film makers too much leeway in creating their own dialogue, and they usually screw up the story. By telling this in a silent film version, dialogue became a moot point and the story flows very naturally with only the intertitles.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) their very low budget, the makers of this film were still able to convey the utter alienness of the city of R'lyeh. At one point, a few of the crew members of the Alert are standing on different blocks of stone which are all lying at different angles, yet the crew members are all standing perfectly upright. This was an excellent touch, in my opinion, in conveying the atmosphere of the alien, incomprehensible architecture that makes up R'lyeh.

The Call of Cthulhu runs about 45 minutes for the movie itself, plus it comes with extras, including a "making of" segment, a few stop-action bloopers (the Cthulhu monster itself was filmed with a stop-action miniature), and some other things that went on during the filming. The silent film intertitles can be selected from 24 different languages. The music is a beautifully haunting original symphonic score that is worth listening to all on its own (I'm playing it on my computer right now). Follow the link above if you want to order it.

Further reference: The H.P. Lovecraft Archive

UPDATE--A Disclaimer: If any readers of this blog do follow the link to purchase the movie, I will recieve no monetary gain whatsoever. However, I have been assured that I will be allowed to watch Cthulhu eat all of you before he eats me. And that is really all that I ask.

"More on Gun Control in Canada, Yesterday and Today"

Prof. Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy delineates all the steps leading up to a total handgun ban in Canada, in spite of repeated reassurances that it wouldn't happen. A bookmark worthy article, indeed.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

More fun stuff at the Box O' Truth

I was just browsing the site and came across this page: The Box O' Truth #4 - Miscellaneous Rounds Meet the Box O' Truth. Scroll down to the bottom where he shoots the box with a .45-70. Impressive, and funny.
Don't get in any gun fights with buffalo hunters. There ain't no such thing as cover.

Cold Day, Hot Chili

Fortunately, it stopped raining last night and the temperature has sneaked back up to 35, so things have defrosted a little. I have no desire to go shooting in this weather, maybe tomorrow, when the forecasted high is supposed to be in the upper 40's.

Just so the day won't be a total loss, I have some chili in the slow cooker. Since I have previously posted some of my jerky recipes on here (see sidebar), I may as well put my chili recipe here, too.

2 lbs. ground beef (I prefer the "chili cut" from H.E.B.--a coarser grind than "hamburger")
1 whole white onion (not too big)
1 clove garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tbs paprika
3 tsp salt
28 oz tomato puree (use sauce if you want it less thick)
14 oz water (or more, some of it will cook away)
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes w/ green chili pepper)

Chop up all the vegetables and throw them into the sauce. The meat should be browned before going into the pot. Slow cook until ready.

Alternatively, I sometimes use a big pot on the stove, with which I bring to a boil and then cook on 1/4 heat for an hour, then simmer to keep warm.

If I were making this only for myself, I would also add 3 tsp El Yucateca habanero sauce. As it is, I will probably just add a couple of drops of Vicious Viper to my own bowl. For Texans, El Yucateca can be found in the "ethnic foods" section at H.E.B. Vicious Viper can be ordered online, just follow the link.

Oh yeah, I always cook the beans separately.

Serve with tortillas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Well, this stinks

As I said before, it's been raining all day. It is now 29 and there is a sheet of ice covering everything. It's looking like no range day tomorrow. Maybe Friday.

It's a slow day

I am using up the last of my vacation days, so I don't have to go to work again until Monday. The weather has turned fairly cool, and it has been raining all day, so it isn't very much fun being outside.

So here's a quiz I found at Cowboy Blob's. I got the same result he did, but hey, at least I got a real angel name!

HASH(0x8597478)
Protector of the Light

Class: Archangel
Alliance: Light

You tend to be a very honorable person. At the same
time you are calm, level-headed, and capable of
holding it together in a crisis. Your role
would be that of Protector. As a Protector of
the Light you would take a defensive stance
against the forces of evil. You are the strong
presence that works to keep others safe.

Your Anglic Name: Gabriel


Which Warrior Angel are You and Whose Side are You On? (With Anime Pics)
brought to you by Quizilla

Slinging $#@! from all sides

Just from reading this article, it sounds like everyone involved is either lying or trying to sell bad "facts":
He later testified, 'As soon as I picked the gun up off the ground, the gun shot him.'
It pretty much just goes down hill from there.

Other wonderful wisdom:
"You shot an unarmed man," Michael said.
No, if he was on the ground being beaten, he shot someone who was towering over him bludeoning him with his fists. I wonder why these people are so fanatical in their prejudice against the less physically able. It seems that they have decided that only the biggest and strongest are fit to live.

Finish it off with some absolute gobbledygook:
Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Mike Nickol, a firearms and toolmarks expert examiner, testified that the gun has a mechanism called a hammerblock which prevents it from being fired accidentally.

"For this weapon to discharge, the trigger would have to be pulled to the rear," he testified.

Hagerstown Police Department Detective Steven Hoover testified that he test-fired the gun when Kercheval performed his tests.

"The trigger did not return properly," said Hoover, who had testified about his training and experience with guns.

Hoover testified, "If I did not allow myself to pull the trigger all the way forward, the trigger would misfire."

Sacks said on cross-examination that "a person who knew the weapon and wanted to fire a second shot would know exactly what to do."

Nickol testified that the rounds found in the gun had not been marked in a way that would indicate a misfire.
Experts, schmexperts.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ye Dreaded Seven Wonders Meme

Josh at South Park Pundit was kind enough to curse tag me for this meme. I don't normally voluntarily do this kind of thing, but since he tagged me I guess I'll play along as best I can. I've said on this blog before that I'm really a very boring sort of person, so don't expect much. (I've learned there's a fine line between appearing to be very boring and appearing to be a closet psycho).

Seven things to do before I die
Build my own personal shooting range on my own property
Hunt American bison with a single-shot, open sight, .45-70
Buy an RV and travel all over the country, avoiding major highways
See Canada's Jasper National Park in the summertime
Mysteriously leave a six-pack of Big Red at that truck stop in Sicamous, B.C.
Lay two shiny pennies on Billy Bonnie's grave
Publish a novel combining elements of westerns, horror, and fantasy

Seven things I cannot do
Ride a skateboard
Refrain from pointing out the crass stupidity that surrounds me
Watch anything on Lifetime except for "The Nanny" reruns
Avoid reading every written word I see (I don't know if there's a technical term for it, but I am a compulsive reader--billboards, signs, ingredient lists, movie credits, fine print on anything--I must read it)
Find a job that I don't end up hating
Overcome an odd fear of amphibians
Spend more than one day loading watermelons (did it once--never again--now that's hard work)

Seven things that attract me to the outdoors
Wide open skies
Starry nights
Rain on my face
Solitude
Huge, ancient, shady live oaks
Hunting
Fishing

Seven things I say most often
(I spend way too much time driving on the job, so...)
You dumb@ss.
Why don't you just drive like a complete idiot and get it over with.
Target! (anytime a car with thumpers drives by)
No. No no no no no. (two small kids)
That's because you're an idiot. (usually spoken to the radio--I listen to NPR a lot)
Sweet!
Gosh!

Seven books (or series) that I love
The complete works of H.P. Lovecraft
The complete works of Edgar Allen Poe
Lord of the Rings
The Valis Trilogy and anything by Philip K. Dick
The Illuminatus! Trilogy and various others by Robert Anton Wilson
The Amber series by Roger Zelazny
Any Philip Marlowe stories by Raymond Chandler
UPDATE: Bonus #8 -- How could I forget Tom Sawyer?! I grew up on that book.

Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time)
Blazing Saddles
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Murder By Death
The Ninth Configuration
High Plains Drifter (and almost anything with Clint Eastwood except those "Any Which Way" movies)
Monty Python (any movie and the TV series--I can and I have)
Anything with Rutger Hauer (except Ladyhawke--yeesh)
UPDATE: Bonus #8 -- A Clockwork Orange (I have also read the book many times)

Seven people I want to join in, too.
If you read this and want to join in, have at it. On the "attracted to" category, you get to pick what you're attracted to.

(If anyone knows where the "Billy Bonnie" reference came from, please tell me. It's been so long since I've heard the song that I've forgotten the singer and song title.)

Impromptu .50 BMG Penetration Test

An associate of mine who owns a (eeevillll!) .50 BMG decided to create his own completely unofficial and unscientific penetration test. So he built this:



This is a simple wooden frame which, he says, he packed with "1800 sheets of .02 inch thick card board. That made a 3 foot deep target." Here's another picture:



He fired three shots into it at a distance of about 125 yards:



He reports that the projectiles penetrated from 13 to 15 inches. For comparison, he also fired some rounds from his 9mm into the "medium." I didn't ask what range, but I'm sure it was typical close pistol range, 10 to 15 yards or so. He reports that the 9mm bullets penetrated about 3 inches.

And what would such a test be without pictures of the recovered bullets? No 9mm bullets, but here are the recovered .50 projectiles:



This is the kind of thing that happens in Wilson County when we go down to the creek and can't find any turtles to shoot.

Is that a spondee in your pocket or just a halting meter?

Today I received a spam email for online drugs. Nothing unusual in that. What was unusual, however, was the paragraph at the bottom of the message:
DAssouci, and at that time so popular in France, had no sanction from the ancient classic writers. Francisci Vavassoris opera omnia. Amsterdam. 1709. 16 The claims of Babrias also found a warm advocate in the learned Frenchman, M. Bayle, who, in his admirable dictionary, (Dictionnaire Historique et Critique de Pierre Bayle. Paris, 1820,) gives additional arguments in confirmation of the opinions of his learned predecessors, Nevelet and Vavassor. 17 Scazonic, or halting, iambics; a choliambic (a lame, halting iambic) differs from the iambic Senarius in always having a spondee or trichee for its last foot; the fifth foot, to avoid shortness of meter, being generally an iambic. See Fables of Babrias, translated by Rev. James Davies. Lockwood, 1860.
I would never even have thought to ask.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Most Dangerous National Parks 2003

Of Arms and the Law points to this site that lists the Most Dangerous National Parks of 2003, along with information about establishing legal self-defense in our national parks.

You think wild animal attacks are the problem? Bears and cougars are only snowflakes on the tip of the iceberg. Here's a sample of the real problem:
3. Big Bend National Park (Texas): Imagine a place on the border where law enforcement is ordered by management to allow illegal aliens into the country, and to avoid the border area entirely if crime is suspected. Such is the story at Big Bend, where the park superintendent has chosen to confront crime by surrendering to it. The park has blatantly violated NPS orders to hire law enforcement staff before hiring other personnel, leaving the few remaining rangers understaffed, unsupported, and overwhelmed. Big Bend is a classic example of a preventable ranger death waiting to happen in the park with the largest boundary with Mexico.

But it works in the movies!

Hell In A Handbasket recommends the website Box O' Truth, "a website that tests the penetration ability of various rounds." So far I've only read their lock shooting test page, but there's lots of other stuff there. Spoiler: the only round that actually damaged a lock enough to open it was a 12 gauge slug. Handguns are hopeless.

(Is anyone surprised?)

Googling

Received this by email just now.

Type "french military victories" into Google (without quotes).

Hit "I'm Feeling Lucky."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Why do I carry?

I've been thinking about this some lately. It has lurking in the back of my mind for a while, and some thoughts were more recently crystallized because of this post at South Park Pundit.

I didn't always carry a gun. I actually only carried a concealed weapon one time previous to having a CHL, and then it was in my vehicle, not on my person. As if that makes any difference to the "authorities." Even after then-Governor Bush signed the law that established legal concealed carry in Texas, I didn't take advantage of it for several years.

I suppose many other people who carry have been asked the same question I have a few times: Why do you want to carry a gun?

My honest answer is: I don't want to carry a gun.

I don't want to do a lot of things. I don't want to hold down a regular job that drains me of all my energy so that by the end of the day, most of the time, all I can do is come home, eat, shower, and go to sleep. I don't want to rely so heavily on gasoline for my well-being. Having grown up in the country where there aren't many decent jobs, I have come to rely heavily on gasoline for commuting to the city where there are better opportunities. Having a family with two small children I have to do whatever I can to provide for them, which means I take the best jobs I can get, even if I hate them, which I usually do. Sure, I could move to the city and use less gas. But then I would also have to pay more for less land, be crowded into higher population densities, and my children would be exposed to a higher rate of drugs, crime and danger than they are now. I prefer to stay where I am.

Which brings me to the gun. I carry it for them. As a father, and as a more or less decent human being with a fairly well-honed conscience, I would be failing them if I didn't do what I had to to provide them with food, clothing, shelter, and protection.

I have heard people say that they are big enough and strong enough to handle anyone who threatens them or their family. Anyone who thinks he or she is big enough and strong enough to use their bare hands against a criminal armed with a gun is a fool. I am neither big nor strong, but I have dedicated myself to their protection, and I will do what I can and what I must, if I am forced to.

It means I must examine a number of guns to find the one that works best for me. It means I must weigh the destructive potential of a caliber against the number of times a given gun is capable of delivering that potential before reloading. It means I must carry different guns to discover which is easiest for me to carry, draw and wield. It means I must learn about different types of ammunition so that I can decide which ones are best able to deliver that potential.

My children already know this. I know they know it because they have both asked me something along the lines of, "If a bad person tried to get me, would you shoot them?" I answer them honestly, "Yes, if I had to, to keep you safe." This has not had the effect of making them paranoid, to my knowledge. On the contrary, it seems to be working for them. My very young son has even gone so far as to say that when he grows up, he will help keep me safe, too.

If something were to happen that abolished the Texas CHL law, I don't think I could go back. I know that their protection is my responsibility, and it's a responsibility that I can't rely on anyone else to provide.

If I lived in my ideal world, I would spend all my time puttering around a large ranch with nothing but a .22 hanging from a gun rack behind the seat of my truck. I would probably not own a handgun at all. Well, maybe a .22 handgun, just because they are so universally useful. But I don't live in my ideal world and I doubt that very many people do.

So when someone asks me why I want to carry a gun, this is my answer. I don't carry because I want to. I carry because it's the right thing to do.

UPDATE: I have just read an excellent essay on this subject. Please go to Confessions of a Deathbeast at Hell in a Handbasket.

The Brady Bill That Never Was

David Kopel at The Volokh Conspiracy talks about the anniversary of the Brady Bill, and goes on to describe what they had planned for their next step, Brady II:
Brady II would require every owner of a "large" ammunition clip to be licensed the same way that the federal government licenses machine gun owners. Simply to retain the magazines currently owned, a person would have to be fingerprinted, and pay heavy federal taxes. Brady II would also lower the ten-round limit to six rounds. As a result, the owner of a Colt .45 pistol and the standard seven-round magazine for the gun would need to go through the federal machinegun licensing system.

Under Brady II, anyone who owned at least twenty guns or 1,000 rounds of ammunition would be required to obtain a federal "arsenal" license. Licensees would be subjected to three unannounced police inspections per year. Persons who were required to have a license but did not obtain one would of course be subject to whatever enforcement action the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms deemed appropriate.

For purposes of defining an "arsenal," firearms, firearms parts, and ammunition clips would all count as a "firearm." In other words, if a person owned three rifles, three handguns, two ammunition clips for each gun, and set of disassembled spare parts for the rifles and the handguns, he would have an "arsenal" consisting of at least 20 "guns." A thousand rounds of ammunition also count as a so-called "arsenal." So the hundreds of thousands of target shooters who pick up a pair of bricks of rimfire ammunition for $15 every few months would also become the owners of "arsenals."

New to Blogroll

Sometimes I just add sites to the blogroll without saying anything, but I wanted to point this one out. The War On Guns referenced this site several days ago, and I have been reading it since then. Go and check it out.

Sunni Maravillosa and the Conspirators. "A blog by, and for, individualists."

Just call me Mikhail

It will probably not be surprising to readers of this blog if I say that I receive fliers from AIM Surplus. There's a good chance that many readers of this blog receive the same fliers.

However, I noticed something odd on the flier I received yesterday. It was the address label. I found the previous flier for comparison, and on it everything was correct. On the newest flier, the street address, city, state and ZIP Code are correct, but the name is not. The name on the address label is not mine. It is Mikhail Grigoriev.

I gotta remember that. Maybe I'll use it as a nom-de-plume sometime.

Friday, December 02, 2005

More on George MacDonald

In reference to this post from a few days ago, a friend of mine who is something of an expert on these matters sent me this brief snippet of information about MacDonald:
C.S. Lewis claimed him as one of his spiritual fathers, saying his reading of the novel "Phantastes" baptized his imagination. GM was also a good friend of Lewis Carrol. Besides all of his fantasy novels he also wrote a bundle of three-decker potboilers of the Victorian flavor. He was something of a non-conformist preacher, and one of his beliefs was that although there was a Hell, nobody was going there, and that the Devil himself might, nay, would, one day see the error of his ways and be saved, so mighty is the mercy and love of the Lord.
Sure, I could Google his name, but asking people in person is much more interesting.

A question my son asked tonight

While watching a movie which will remain nameless, he asked, "Daddy, why don't they ever reload their guns?"

Smart kid. He made me proud. Four years old and he's already poking holes in movie gun goofs.

Where will I get scissors now?

There goes my cheap and plentiful supply of used scissors and Leatherman Micra Tools.

(Links are to ebay auctions--they won't last forever).

JPFO Email Alert

Just recieved this from JPFO. A woman in Colorado was jailed for refusing to obey a stupid law that should not be allowed to exist:
Several things bothered her about the ID checks. She wasn't entering a federal building or even leaving the bus. The officers barely glanced at the passengers' ID cards and didn't check them against a master list. The whole exercise struck her as 'just Big Brother watching you,' she said.

'I spent the weekend trying to decide if the Constitution had changed since I was in eighth grade, and I decided it hadn't,' said Mrs. Davis, who has a son serving in the Army in Iraq.

The following Monday, after the officers boarded the bus, one of them 'asked me if I had my ID with me, and I said, 'Yes,' ' she recalled. 'Then he asked me if he could see it and I said, 'No.'
What a wonderful free country we live in.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Obviously not following the rules

A Seguin man accidentally shot himself while retrieving a gun to shoot a snake:
Rogelio Ybarra spotted a snake in his barn in the 3200 block of Warneck Road and went back to his house to retrieve his .38-caliber handgun, said Guadalupe County Sheriff's Department spokesman Kevin Jordan.
I know some people are just scared silly when it comes to snakes, and will take extravagant means to kill them. One of my own relatives blew a big hole in her bedroom wall with a .357 magnum when she discovered a snake curled up on top of her nightstand. If he was able to go all the way back to his house for a gun, the snake obviously did not pose an immediate threat.

And no, I'm not going to say that the snake has just as much right to be there as he does. Maybe it was a big rattlesnake, which can pose a threat to him, his children or grandchildren, and possibly livestock.

But he could probably have disposed of the snake without going to the trouble of dragging out his .38. This article gave me occasion to remember some of the various items I have used to kill poisonous snakes.

Hoe
Post-hole digger
Shovel
Garden hose
Baseball bat
Metal pipe
My foot (wearing a boot, of course)
Dust pan (rattlesnake caught inside my girlfriend's/future wife's apartment--yikes!)
Two-by-four
Cinder block
Arrow (yes, it was an unbelieveable shot, and I doubt that I could ever do it again)
Lawn mower

My favorite among these were the post-hole digger, which if wielded properly, will cut a snake into three separate pieces. The lawn mower was also quite impressive.

And of course, I used plenty of CCI .22 shotshells on occasion, and once even used a 16-gauge shotgun, but that was an extreme occasion involving at least 24 copperheads.

Where I grew up, there were a lot of poisonous snakes. When I was very young, we lived in rattlesnake country. Later on we moved into copperhead country. Since there were a couple of stock tanks and small creeks nearby, we also had plenty of cottonmouths.

I still see a copperhead on occasion, but as long as they aren't close to the house, I just leave them alone. I have killed enough of them since the kids were born that they are both thoroughly trained in poisonous snake identification.

Stand Your Ground in Oklahoma

"Stand Your Ground" movement beginning in Oklahoma:
A Del City lawmaker is introducing a 'Stand Your Ground' law to bolster the ability of citizens to use deadly force if they feel they are in danger outside the home.

Rep. Kevin Calvey said his bill will be patterned after a new Florida statute and will essentially expand Oklahoma's 'Make My Day Law,' named for a line in a Clint Eastwood detective movie.

Under that law, citizens can use deadly force in their homes to protect themselves from intruders.

Calvey said he wants to give citizens the right to use deadly force to protect themselves if they perceive they are in danger in any place a person has a right to be, such as their office, a supermarket or on the street.

The bill, he said, will "enhance people's inherit [sic] right of self defense and give law-abiding gun owners the right to defend themselves against criminals.