Because you never know what trivial bit of information may ultimately prove to be vitally important.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Saturday Night Special #2
North American Arms -- Makers of the famous .22 mini-revolvers. Get one, they're cool!
STURM, RUGER & CO., INC.
Charles Daly -- Pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
Smith & Wesson
Freedom Arms -- Big, fine revolvers.
Spartan Gunworks -- Break action (or breech-loading) shotguns, rifles, and combos.
Before they touched anything we started with muzzle control. After a long sermon on how and where to keep the muzzle pointed, as well as additonal little things like "don't run in front of it when someone else is holding it, either," I gave them some info on the gun itself. No, I don't expect them to learn everything all at once, and though this was only a BB gun, it was never handled by either of them without my strict and immediate supervision, usually involving me helping them physically hold the gun. We went over how the safety works, how not to touch the trigger until you were really going to shoot, how to load, and how to safely make sure it was no longer cocked when it came time to put it away.
This is the Daisy Buck, the smallest BB rifle they make, which weighs 1.6 pounds unloaded and shoots a BB at about 275 fps. Still, they are small kids and haven't developed rifle-holding muscles, so they needed help handling it. An outdoor canvas chair provided a convenient barrel rest.
"G" did most of the shooting. She had a bad habit of trying to grab the gun by the trigger, which I came down on pretty hard, and by the end she was conciously lying her finger along the lever beneath the trigger until she had lined up the sights on the box. Just teaching her to find both sights and get them lined up somewhere in the vicinity of the black circle took quite a while, but she was beginning to get the hang of it. Out of the ten or so shots she took, she got 6 or 7 to hit the box (about 2 feet square). I felt that was a pretty good start for a 6-year-old who had never done any such thing before in her life. By the end of the session she was even beginning to get the hang of the safety, but the trigger pull was still a little stiff for her little hand.
With "L" I didn't attempt too much, focusing mainly on just letting him get the feel of how to properly hold a rifle. My final summation: it was a great start, but there's a long way to go, which is good. Shooting with my kids is great fun. I expect it will be even more fun when they get old enough to handle firearms.
After our session with the rifle, I broke out my Crosman 1008 pellet pistol and fired off 40 or 50 shots. It's a fun gun, but has a lousy trigger. I did a lock of cocking so that I could fire single-action, which more closely simulates the trigger pull of my XD40. When it came time to put everything away, I made sure the pistol was unloaded and then put it down on the tailgate of the pickup. While we were cleaning up, neither of them tried to pick it up. I brought them both together and asked what they should do if they found a gun just lying around somewhere like that. "G" immediately answered, "Don't pick it up, and get an adult." I don't remember having given this speech before, so I told her that was exactly right, and asked who had taught her that. "I don't know," she answered, "it was just in my brain." Hm. Maybe I did something right, sometime, and don't remember doing it.
The Buck is the same model that my sister had when we were kids. It has changed somewhat since then (25 years ago?). It now has a fiber-optic front sight that is very easy to see. It also has a cross-bolt safety that blocks the trigger. That's a nice touch for such a cheap gun, but then, it's a Daisy. It has a fixed rear sight but it still shoots quite accurately for what it is.
I have previously let the kids "help" me when cleaning my firearms after a range session, and with me, that usually involves cleaning up a minimum of three guns. They also helped me go through about 150 .40 S&W rounds to check for bad reloads (some reloads I got at a gun show a while back, one of which severely jammed the XD). I have done this with them to try and get them over the "fascination" attitude that many kids have who have not handled guns much.
Both kids want to do it again tomorrow.
'For those of us who tenaciously cling to the idea that man can live alongside fellow species, this is the most incredible ray of hope.'
New Must-Add to Blogroll: Shakey Pete's Shootin' Shack
Once a child is about five or so, it's time to start the gunproofing. Step one is simple enough, shoot a melon, something about head size like a cantalope or honeydew (I especially like the honeydew as it gives the the feeling that I'm shootin' those damn lists) with a gun and load big enough to blow it up. Test this first! Make sure that this load is impressive, if it's not, try another load. If you have to beg a shooting buddy for the loan of a bigbore or high velocity gun, do so. And, fa Heaven's sake, practice enough that you hit on the first shot, we're trying to impress the little bas, um, angels. Do NOT bother with hearing protection for them and don't let 'em stick their fingers in their ears. Keep them about ten feet or so behind, the noise of one shot won't cause any real damage. It will be unpleasent. Good. Just remember ten feet or so behind and a little to the side so they can see the impact. This, BTW is the only time we ever shoot around the kids without suitable hearing protection. Ever.
Assault weapon B.S.
In other words, the VPC supported the "Assault Weapons Ban" that wasn't a ban because it was: A) perceived as a great way to frighten people into supporting legislation by lying to them about what that legislation actually did; B) It looked like a great "wedge issue" to separate the NRA from the police on the beat who generally support the right to arms even though their politically connected Chiefs don't; and C) As Charles Krauthammer noted, it was a great symbolic "first step" towards eventual confiscation and widening of gun bans. (Oh, and note the "plastic" firearm bit - be afraid of a gun that doesn't exist!)Thanks for clearing that up. I kept wondering what the heck they were talking about. Maybe they should be more worried about those double-barreled wooden guns.
tnx to Heads Bunker
Friday, April 29, 2005
Friday Night Ramble
We had several people make jokes this week about spraying chihuahuas. Thanks to the CPS shenanigans this week, we have begun referring to the pepper spray as "chihuahua sauce."
While doing some news searches tonight on meter readers, I came across one "tips" list that suggested carrying doggie treats to reinforce friendliness in dogs that are prone to it (some just aren't). I might actually try that. Except that I expect there are enough paranoid freaks out there who will accuse me of trying to poison their dog if they see me do it.
Something I have been considering for some time is to start the kids on gun handling and safety. I got inspired by last night's American Shooter, so today I went and bought a small Daisy rifle and some neat silhouette targets rated for BB guns, and I plan on starting the project tomorrow. (More posts on that as it develops). I also picked up a carton of CO2 cartrdiges for my pellet pistol. While at Walmart, I saw that they also have a Walther PPK look-alike pellet pistol that has a functioning slide to simulate recoil. That looked pretty cool to me, and I might have to shell out the money for it sometime soon. I expect that the slide uses up a lot of extra air--if anyone has experience with a gun like this, give me some comments.
I had a Daisy when I was a kid, not a real Red Ryder, but something similar. My favorite targets were empty shotgun shells. I had a big shoebox full of 16-gauge shells (from my dad's gun), plus a few 12-gauge and .410 from my uncle and cousin (and later, some 20-gauge shells from my own gun). I spent uncountable hours as a kid setting these up and shooting them down, eventually even building small sand walls to provide them with "cover" and make them even smaller and harder to hit targets. I had a good collection of empty shells because, before I was big enough to hunt myself, I basically served as bird retriever and shell collector for my dad.
I have already exposed my son to firearms in a limited sense, letting him collect empties during target sessions with my various semi-autos. He has his own set of earmuffs, and loves wearing them. Lately he has been asking me, "When are we gonna shoot your big guns?" It might be time to break out the .50 Hawken and let him get a whiff of good ol' black powder.
Oh yeah. The picture in my profile has been changed to a photo of the mummified face of Ramesses II, a pharaoh who died in 1213 B.C.
Something in the water
Bullsquat. Anyone who still remembers 9/11 (some people have obviously forgotten) should know that handing out DL's willy-nilly is a big mistake.
During my brief stint as a trucker, I had a load that was going from Washington (state) to Edmonton, Alberta. The Canadian border guys gave me all kinds of hell because I wasn't carrying my birth certificate. It took them about three hours of phone calls to verify my birth records. And this was after they had opened the truck and verified that I was only carrying 33,000 pounds of pulp rolls.
Why don't they just disband the Border Patrol, build a couple hundred more bridges, and get it over with?
The border cops in Vancouver also confiscated my pepper spray. Apparently it's a "dangerous offensive weapon" up there. While being grilled about it, I was asked, "What are you doing with this, anyway?" He really wanted to nail me for something, I guess. I asked, "Have you ever walked across a truck stop in the middle of the night to use the bathroom?" You can't even get out to do an early-morning tire check in OKC without beating the lot lizards off with a stick, fortheluvva...
Good thing they didn't find the stun gun.
tnx to Down Deep In Texas
Good grief, they're only there until the end of April!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
So I took this insanity test...
INSANITY INDEX 6.81 Your score suggests that you are what's known as 'bughouse.' That's a colloquial term for madness from a time when people who thought they were crawling with bugs were often correct. In these more hygienic times, it indicates a potentially serious problem. Others who scored at this level include pop star Michael Jackson and Greek philosopher Plato.Maybe I shouldn't have chosen the chainsaw as the ideal instrument to perform a lobotomy.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Another Rampaging Chihuahua
The first thing I want to say is: You idiot.
The second thing I want to say is: It isn't Mace, you idiot. It's Halt! pepper spray, with a deadly 0.07% capsicum rating.
That's right. Zero point zero seven percent. Spray it on your eggs, and you'll just barely have huevos rancheros.
Third thing: This is why I'm glad I'm a contractor and not an employee of CPS. Having to learn everything from scratch as I did has prevented me from picking up a lot of bad habits.
It seems that CPS s.o.p. is to spray first without evaluting the dog. If they would just use half the wits they were born with, this would never be a problem. I constantly hear complaints from customers that the previous meter reader sprayed their dog, to which I proudly answer, "I don't even carry the stuff."
I've mentioned before how worthless this stuff is. It's only effective against dogs that don't need it. A truly vicious and dangerous dog will either ignore it or be effected so slowly that it will be all over you before it takes effect. Chihuahuas are just too small to worry about. Just wear some decent boots and let them come. They can't reach over the top of the boot, so don't worry about it. Let them yap their fools heads off, read the meters, and get out.
Other problems with this spray is that it's really hard to hit a dog in the face. Any dog that can be hit easily isn't moving fast enough to worry about. If there is any breeze at all, it must be hitting you in the back. If it's coming from the side, it will blow the spray away before it hits. If the wind is hitting you in the face, God help you if you spray, because you will get a snoot full of it and you will feel it--but it will by no means incapacitate you. That's how wimpy it is. Point is, Chihuahuas are naturally so hyper that they constantly run in circles around you, screaming and never stopping for an instant. If this guy nailed one in the face, it must have either been sick, very old, or extremely docile.
All this idiot did was make it more difficult for the next guy, which, with my luck, will probably be me. The customer is going to be hostile, and the dog is going to hate everyone now because it was just minding its own business when this moron sprayed it.
If it were up to me, all their meter readers would be issued dog sticks and be prohibited from ever using pepper spray. It's ineffective to the point of worthlessness (have I mentioned that before?) and just ticks off customers because their precious baby was temporarily in pain.
The last thing I would like to say is: You idiot.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Another entertaining test...
You preferred a weapon with 50% power over speed and 83% range over melee.
You use Air Strikes.
Fighting? Fighting is for idiots! All you have to do is make a quick walkie-talkie call and have the ground ahead of you carpeted with explosive charges. Your enemies will be searching frantically for refuge as you chuckle from afar.
The What's Your Signature Weapon Test written by inurashii on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Possibly. But I would feel more comfortable if I also had a sidearm starting with either a "4" or a "357."
tnx to Fun Turns to Tragedy!!!
Monday, April 25, 2005
New to Blogroll: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
tnx to Fun Turns to Tragedy!!!
The best movie ever
created with QuizFarm.com
This quiz hit the nail on the head, rating me as a lover of sadistic humor. Among the recommendations were Mallrats and Napoleon Dynamite, two of my favorites. The latter especially is the best movie ever.
tnx to Temple of the Gnu
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Another addition to the blog
Altogether now..."Well, DUH!"
Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons' sales, gun makers and sellers say. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments.Notice this paragraph (emphasis mine):
What's more, law enforcement officials say that military-style weapons, which were never used in many gun crimes but did enjoy some vogue in the years before the ban took effect, seem to have gone out of style in criminal circles.Unfortunately, some whackos refuse to see the pernicious truth when it's obvious even to the New York Times:
"In my view, the assault weapons legislation was working," said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, a chief sponsor of the new bill. "It was drying up supply and driving up prices. The number of those guns used in crimes dropped because they were less available."Yeah, even though they were "never used in many gun crimes."
This stupid law banned guns on the basis only of their appearance, not function, even when it was something as inoffensive as a Ruger 10/22. Note:
Mr. Pasco of the police organization disagreed. "We knew exactly what we were doing by trying to ban guns with certain features," he said. "While it didn't affect their function or capability, those features, at that point in time, seemed to make those weapons more attractive to those who wanted to commit crimes."What can we expect from a law that creates an arbitrary term ("assault weapon") which can mean anything they want it to? Oh, and note to Ms. Feinstein: it's magazine, not clip. Either learn the correct terminology for what you're attempting to talk about, or stop talking about it.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Saturday Night Special #1
Nagel's Gun Shop -- My favorite gun store. I've done plenty of business with them and don't hesitate to recommend them.
A Place to Shoot -- A range that I occasionally use.
Bullet Hole Shooting Range -- Another range that I sometimes use. They also hold regular CHL classes.
Cruffler.com -- The place to go for information about Curio & Relic firearms.
Remington Country -- Remington's website.
American Derringer -- Texas' own derringer company.
Bond Arms -- Another derringer company.
Cobra Arms -- Maker of derringers, single- and double-action semi-auto pistols.
Winchester -- Website of Winchester firearms.
H&R Firearms -- Website of Harrington & Richardson and New England Firearms. I've long been wondering how cool it would be to get one of their Handi-Rifles in .45-70.
So there are the first ten. If you find any of these useful, or if you have any links that you think I should add to my collection, just drop me a comment.
Review of the North American Arms .22 Magnum Mini-Revolver @ Concord Arms
I have the .22LR version of the mini-revolver, and I can confirm the unexpected accuracy of these little guns. Many years ago I owned (for a short time) a four-barrel .22 derringer, with which I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. It was also painful just to shoot with anything bigger than a .22 Short--the grips cut into my hands and I had to re-establish my grip after every shot. I eventually took it to another gun store that had a used Single-Six and made a trade.
So, having had a bad experience with a derringer, why did I get one of these mini-revolvers? For some time I had been carrying a Kel-Tec P-32--one of those little .32 ACP pocket rockets. I had carried it for convenience and comfort, with a small pocket sheath it was something that I occasionally forgot I even had on me. Later I came to be so comfortable carrying a Ruger SP-101 in an IWB holster that I decided I had no use for the Kel-Tec anymore. I checked out some prices and figured I could probably get away with a straight-across trade--no cash involved--for one these mini-revolvers. One impractical gun for another, except the little revolver is just way more cool.
It is much more comfortable to shoot than the old derringer was, and is amazingly accurate for such a tiny gun. Unlike the gun reviewed in the linked article, mine shoots more or less where it's aimed, not 7" low at 7 yards or some such. I think soon I must take it out for some serious target-punching and see what it can do, and post an update.
I do sometimes carry this as a sort of "deep concealment" gun by simply slipping it into a nylon multi-tool sheath and sliding the whole thing in my pocket. Most of the time, however, it's just a fun plinker. It is also quite potent against snakes, if loaded with CCI Shotshells and the snake is near enough to actually be a threat to you.
New to the blogroll
tnx to Freedom Sight
Sure, it was funny on M*A*S*H*
Reuters calls this "odd" -- "Man Accused of Blasphemy Shot Dead"
"How do we know he blasphemed?"
"Because I saw it! And besides, he floats!"
It isn't odd, it's disgusting.
Friday, April 22, 2005
"This isn't a publicity stunt, this is their normal wear," Arpaio said. "What do you want me to do, put them in tuxedoes to move them?"Oh yeah, there's a picture. Just make sure you aren't drinking at the time, or you may spew all over your screen.
Friday Night Ramble: The Great Witch Hunt
An experience this week reminded me of another of my odd beliefs: a certain large cross-section of the human race will always require something to witch-hunt. That is, many people will always need something or someone to fear and/or persecute. Maybe eventually we will evolve out of it, but I don't see it happening in my lifetime, or many generations yet to come, for that matter.
Back in the days of yore, it was actually witches (or suspected witches, I should say). The Nazis had the Jews and eventually pretty much everyone else, the KKK have African Americans (and Jews), and recently some witch-hunting has been going on against perfectly innocent Arabic Americans. Which brings me to the point: the terrorism of the past few years has opened up the witch hunt to include anyone whose (note to Ms. Ficara) face you don't immediately recognize.
A few months ago one of my co-workers was actually detained by a property owner. We work for a company that is contracted to the local C.P.S. to provide extra meter readers, so we don't wear C.P.S. uniforms. We do have our own uniform, which includes a bright yellow shirt that can be seen from several blocks away--not exactly the kind of color you would wear to sneak into someone's backyard to commit some mischief. We also wear ID badges that include our photo along with the logos of both our company and C.P.S. Our meter reader was not allowed to leave the property until both our manager and the police were on the scene to assure the whacko that this guy was, indeed, only a meter reader. Why do I equate this with the witch hunt? Because of what the whacko said: "We got a war going on. How do I know who's in my backyard?" (Once more, note to Ms. Ficara). Now how does a war against terrorists have any relation to some poor guy standing in your yard, wearing a uniform, holding a handheld computer, and looking at your meter?
A similar, though less dramatic, event happened to me this week while running an OMR route. I had stopped to check the map and see which way I was supposed to turn at the end of the street, when I heard someone yell. He ran up to my truck on the passenger's side--the truck was already in drive and all I had to do was accelerate, and besides, lots of people have legitimate questions. The most popular questions, among people who don't realize their meter is automated, are "Do you need to get into my yard?" or "Did you get my house?" But this guy said, "You searching for RF?" (The handheld unit has a rubber ducky antenna to pick up the signals). I told him exactly who I was and what I was doing, and the entire time he kept looking all around the inside of my truck, trying to find something. "Okay, just checking," he said. "Lots of strange stuff been going on around here lately." I don't know what kind of nefarious activity he could be expecting from someone who was just driving down the street holding a radio out the window. I was dying to ask him what kind of stuff, but he had just a little too much of the whites of his eyes showing, if you get my drift. "Oookay," I replied, and went on my way. The guy seemed to be solidly in the paranoid freak category.
On a lighter note, we had our weekly "safety meeting" this Thursday. This one was on "proper conduct" or something like that. One of the rules was "no unauthorized firearms." My first question was, "How can we get an authorized firearm?" Well, the rule made it sound like this was possible. Only my immediate supervisor--a fellow gun nut--thought it was funny. Heck, most of time I'd be happy to just have some big ol' clunky .38 Special security guard revolver, except that it would be getting mighty heavy by the end of the day.
The Continuing Saga of (turn reverb to 11) Adventures in Meter Reading
Interesting article here about what they call "automated meters," and what we refer to as "OMR's." But I have a few problems with it. First:
Last year, an error-prone meter reader's mistakes led to some Casper-area customers, including City Councilwoman Lynne Whalen, receiving bills of over $1,000 because they had been undercharged for several months and their accounts needed to be caught-up.This is almost certainly incorrect. If their bill had to be "caught up," it was not due to an error on the part of the meter reader. It was because the meter was either impossible to find, locked inside a back room with no access provided by the property owner, or guarded by a rabid 1500-pound Rottweiler (or a computer glitch, which I have also seen happen). Meters that have to be "caught up" are that way because they haven't been read in a long time. Second:
When a meter cannot be read manually, meter readers estimate how much gas has been used at that residence, Long said.Wrong. Experience leads me to believe that this spokesman has never actually been on the street/in the back-alleys/walking all over somebody's godforsaken 17 1/2 acre estate looking for meters and actually reading them. If I were ever caught entering a read that I didn't actually get from a meter, I would be terminated. The estimating is done by the billing folks, by averaging several months worth of older bills. (This "spokeman" was just covering his own backside and blaming it on the peons.) Third:
Estimating gas usage does not happen often and Kinder Morgan tries its best to make sure gas usage is not estimated for two consecutive months, he added. But sometimes it is necessary.I know of several meters that haven't been read in at least several months, because no one knows where they are. This particularly applies to gas meters. Electric meters are usually mounted on the wall of the house somewhere, but gas meters can be anywhere. And by anywhere, I mean it could be right against the house, somewhere in the back yard, somewhere out in the mosquito-infested Cambodian jungle of an alley behind the place, or even on someone else's property. The old guys who have been doing it for 30 years know where they are, but due to seniority they never read those routes--they only do the easy stuff. There are also "lost" electric meters. They are usually temporary meters that were never removed after construction was completed. I found one of these once, sealed up nice and tight between two adjacent privacy fences in a space just wide enough to house a meter on a pole. Due to its position, I was unable to read it.
The "automated meters" still have lots of problems. On larger properties, it is still necessary to know where the meters are so that a "line of sight" can be established to pick up the signal. If the property is large enough, and it has a nice, big brick house with the meter in the back, forget about it. There's too much distance and too many brick walls between you and the meter, and you can't pick up the signal.
Ruger DA Revolvers Part III at Wadcutter
I actually had an idea just like those "Speedstrips" several years ago, and handmade a few for myself. They fit in the pocket a lot more comfortably than a round speed-loader.
Minuteman Project may be gaining momentum
From the Accidental/Negligent(?) Discharge Files
Officer Craig Clancy, whose been going to the bathroom for many years now, took the appropriate steps to relieve himself. Unfortunately, as he began to pull down his pants his gun fell off his waistband and fired off two rounds as it hit the tile floor.I'm almost positive these guys carry Glocks. How could an impact with the floor have caused it to fire? That's not supposed to happen. Not only that, but how in the heck did an impact with the floor make it fire twice? My guess: when it started to fall he tried to catch it. Since he was off-duty, maybe he was using a non-regulation holster that didn't fasten the weapon in securely? There should be lots of questions about how this happened. And yes, I noticed that All Headline Staff News Writer Christina Ficara did not use the correct version of "who's."
Update--9:10PM: Oddly, I was unable to find anything about this at the San Antonio Express-News website. But I did find this at the website of WBBH in Ft. Myers, FL (?):
This makes a lot more sense, and fits my earlier assumption. So, if the latter story is correct, this means that not only does Ms. Ficara not know the difference between "whose" and "who's" (where do they get these people?), she is guilty of anti-gun bias at the worst, or, to give her the benefit of the doubt, sloppy journalism. Well heck, she misspelled "who's" so I guess sloppy investigative journalism is to be expected. Glocks don't "fire off" two rounds from being dropped, but they will easily fire two rounds if someone gets his finger inside the trigger guard while trying to catch it when he drops it. Maybe it was headed for the bowl and he was trying to save it before he had to reach in and...extract it. Heh. He should've just let it fall, rinsed it in the sink, and done a thorough cleaning when he got home. But perhaps I've assumed too much.
SAN ANTONIO--This is a story they'll be telling around the San Antonio Police Department for a long time.A police spokesman says an off-duty officer was at a San Antonio auto auction house yesterday when nature called.Officer Craig Clancy strolled to the appropriate facility and was lowering his trousers when his pistol fell from his waistband. When Clancy fumbled for the falling firearm, it went off -- twice.One of the bullets nicked a bit of floor tile into the leg of a man who was washing his hands nearby. That man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.Police internal affairs is investigating.
Pizza guy eliminates punk
The photo of the attacker doesn't exactly make him look like a model citizen, either.
What am I doing here again?
The idea for the first Battle of Flowers Parade was conceived early in 1891 by the wife of a congressman who had seen a similar parade in Spain. She suggested to her friends that a flower parade should be held in San Antonio each year on April 21 in memory of the fallen heroes at the Alamo and to commemorate the victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, where Texas had gained its independence from Mexico. These ladies formed the Battle of Flowers Parade committee, enlisted the support of fellow community leaders and the planning began. The first parade had an actual 'flower battle' with half of the fresh-flower-covered carriages, floats and bicycles going in one direction and the other half going in the opposite direction, tossing fresh flowers at each other as they passed.Many businesses in San Antonio have given up on keeping this as a normal workday because of the high number of people who call in "sick." My employer is one for whom this is an official holiday. So that's why I'm home during the day on a Friday. As for myself, I've never been to anything involving Fiesta, and I don't plan on ever going. For me, San Antonio is a place to work and to stay as far away from as possible at all other times.
By 1895 the parade had developed into a weeklong celebration. The first queen and king were added in 1896 and a princess, duchesses and other attendants were added in 1890, but parade royalty was 'hit and miss' until several years later when local organizations took over their selection. In 1901 the parade included its first horseless vehicle. By 1915-16 the parade had grown so much in scope that the floats could no longer be decorated with fresh flowers and artificial flowers were used. In 1976 the tradition of association members wearing yellow dresses and yellow hats on parade day began. In 1991 to celebrate the parade's centennial anniversary, former association presidents arrived in carriages and tossed flowers at each other and spectators as was done in the first parade. Today it includes some 40 flower-covered floats, dozens of military, college and high school bands, cavalcades, horse-drawn carriages, antique cars and giant, helium balloons. The Battle of Flowers Parade has been held every year since its beginning except during war times and originated what we now call Fiesta San Antonio.
I'm just a schmuk with an inconsequential personal blog. I'm not the guy these people should be worried about. But there are plenty of others who are the ones they should be worried about.
If you've remained nonplussed as they took down Dan Rather and four of his Black Rock colleagues, if you haven't the slightest interest in acquainting yourself with the blogosphere, don't move an inch. You won't have to. Bloggers will be knocking on your door any day now. Or knocking it down.
To many of you, bloggers are a presumptuous rabble-amateurs elbowing their way into the publishing world. You may not know them, but they know youyour face, your manners, your prejudices, your conceits.
They're your readers. And, God help us, they've become the one thing we've always begged them to become ...
Sometimes good things do happen
"Patrick Haab is a free man. Haab, 24, was arrested April 10 by Maricopa County sheriff's deputies at a rest stop along I-8 after Haab had held seven illegal immigrants at gunpoint. Haab said he thought he was in danger. After looking at the evidence, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas concluded Haab was making a citizen's arrest, stopping people he saw violating federal law. The real saving grace for Haab was that one of the illegals was a coyote - a human smuggler - which is a federal felony. Thomas says if the men weren't here illegally, Haab would be facing felony charges of his own. Thomas is repeatedly cautioning people not to start rounding up immigrants at Home Depot. He says actions like that will be dealt with severely."
Or, "just because we couldn't nail this guy doesn't mean we won't try to nail the next one." Maybe those deputies should check out some of these guys.
Friends and Enemies
No reason why every single senator and representative shouldn't support proper conduct by a government agency, right? No reason at all.
"Good news! At the urging of freedom's friend Len Savage, Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia's 11th congressional district has introduced H.R. 1603, 'The Fairness in Firearm Testing Act.'
This brief, clearly worded bill would require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to video-record ALL tests it conducts on firearms and to make copies of the unedited recordings available to owners of the tested items and defendants in cases involving those items.
Gingrey's bill was directly inspired by the JPFO documentary _BATFE Fails the Test_ (http://www.jpfo.org/batfevideo.htm). That documentary contains the first -- and so far only -- footage showing the BATFE trying to frame an innocent owner of a semi- automatic rifle.
Gun owners have been aware of such dirty ATF tricks for decades. But not until Len Savage delivered this explosive footage and JPFO made it available to the world did higher- ups in the U.S. Justice Department and Congress finally begin to believe us.
If Rep. Gingrey's bill passes as written, the ATF will have a much harder time destroying American lives. If the bill _doesn't_ pass (or gets weakened), then the ATF and a compliant court system will d everything they can to make sure We the People never again witness how that agency operates behind the scenes.
JPFO cannot and does not take a stand on any particular piece of legislation. We are an educational, not a political, organization. But we hope every reader will watch this bill carefully. (...go to http://thomas.loc.gov and search on 'Fairness in Firearm Testing.')
Watch who signs on as a co-sponsor. Watch who works to get the bill out of committee -- or who connives to keep it from ever reaching the floor of Congress. Watch who compromises, who sells out, who tries to weaken or twist the bill's language, and who stands firm. Watch which representatives vote for it and which vote against it.
Then you'll know, without a shadow of a doubt, which members of Congress are true friends of liberty and which only give lip service.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
You'll never guess why this ticks me off...
Down on the Border Patrol
Be sure and follow the link to the pdf file. Heck, just read the whole page and prepare for your blood pressure to rise.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: You Can Now Be Detailed Away From Your Family indefinitely. Notice how everything they talk about and the reason for continuing to strip your employment rights is "TERRORISM", yet our borders remain wide open to TERRORISTS because our President kowtows to illegal aliens and refuses to shut our borders down. The good news just keeps coming folks. Read about their continued assault on your employment rights here.
tnx to No Quarters
Only problem is, it didn't happen #2
And apparently this chain email is about 5 years old.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I can't believe no one said this
It's okay, I have a license to alliterate.
Join ACLU, hang out in the desert, and smoke dope. It's cool, man!
Punching holes in anti-self defense arguments
Monday, April 18, 2005
I meant to mention this earlier...
"Guns don't kill people, doctors do."
tnx to VodkaPundit
Sunday, April 17, 2005
What Age Will You Die?
Now that's stoppin' power!
Some interesting stuff this week tnx to Tech Dirt
Authorities arrest four, seize 60,000 pirated Nintendo game consoles in NY, NJ: More bad "journalism," as an AP reporter in this article can't figure out if games are being pirated, or game consoles. So he/she/it just switches back and forth, calling them both. (And look at the game names. Donkey Kong? For goodness sake! Somebody get me a pirated copy of Joust).
Local cable companies, who once sat fat & sassy with their monopolies, are now scrambling desperately to do anything to maintain themselves, like pushing for a tax on satellite TV service just because it's satellite TV service, as this report from BroadbandReports.com points out. I don't have the option of cable where I live, and began using satellite TV 4 or 5 years ago. However, I have seen the anti-satellite TV commercials coming from Time-Warner Cable (which services--yeah, that's a good word--San Antonio), and they insult my intelligence. Some idiot is crying because he doesn't know how to read a compass. Of course, no one requires you to self-install these days, so I guess their commercial is kind of obsolete. I wouldn't use them if I could. Passage of taxes like this can affect everyone who uses satellite TV, even those like me who don't have a cable option. So I say: up yours, cable fascists. (Of course, they have not yet tried this in Texas, but it's only a matter of time).
Intel pulls a bonehead stunt, and offers a $10,000 reward for a copy of the April 19, 1965 edition of Electronics Magazine, apparently forgetting about an old-fashioned thing called a library archive. Now some librarians are expectedly steamed because their magazines are disappearing.
"Swell of support for reservist who held migrants at gunpoint"
"[Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio has said that Haab's actions were illegal and dangerous and that he had no right to take the law into his own hands."Yes, actually, he absolutely did. He saw the law being broken, and he stopped it. This is what law-abiding citizens do to protect their neighborhood and their country. If he had been acting as a "vigilante," he would have just started shooting. But instead, he detained them and called the authorities. This is the action of a responsible person, not a whacko. I'm surprised I even have to say this.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Well this is a bummer...
So many good links...
Another dead orc...
tnx to No Quarters
Only problem was, it didn't happen...
Simple, direct, but incomplete...
After looking through the site and searching for a few keywords, it seems they have no shirts detailing the number of uses per year of a firearm legally used in self defense, or the number of unborn babies every year killed by abortion.
Great-great grandmother fights off orc
"I do think Campbell Brown tried a couple times to cast a story in a less than good light first by asking Grammer why she fired again after the suspect had started to flee. Grammer said (rightly) that she was still scared and let's face it, everything happened in a matter of seconds so it's not as if the she had given chase and followed the mutant out through the parking lot."Yeah, I'd like to see this Campbell Brown character in this woman's shoes. How could you be a 64-year-old lady working at the local stop & rob and not keep shooting as long as the perp is moving? She had no way of knowing if you first shot had any effect. Maybe the guy was running for cover so he could return fire. This country needs more old ladies like Mrs. Grammer.
Friday, April 15, 2005
"Volunteers have shown how easy it would be for the U.S. government to do the same."
"Consider the horrors and threats our 'neighbor watch' has frustrated along that section: No longer are bandits harming and killing migrants. Illegal crossers aren't being robbed, raped and kidnapped. Deaths from exposure of illegals abandoned by 'coyote' guides have stopped. Women and children destined for sex-slave dens aren't being smuggled in."An editorial in USA Today about the Minutemen Project. Not vigilantes, just fed-up citizens doing a dirty job and making a point.
tnx to Right Hand of God
Friday night ramble
I went back to meter reading on Thursday, after spending nearly a month at delivering overdue bill notices. This means that last night I was nearly dead from exhaustion, since my legs had lost their long-distance walking condition through lack of intense daily exercise. I encountered only one questionable dog this week (today actually). It always cracks me up when people warn me about their dog because it likes to bark. There was one doberman that couldn't get far enough away from me and a pit bull that wanted everyone to be his friend. Yesterday held the most interesting encounter, with an idiot mailman. "How do you handle that dog," he said, pointing across the street. "What dog?" I asked. The only dog I could see was a little scruffy whitish cur about 3 times the size of your average barn rat. "That dog there," he said, "I had to spray him to keep him off me." "That dog by the door over there?" I asked, incredulously. "Yeah," he replied, "I had to spray him." I snorted, trying to suppress laughter. "You sprayed that dog? All he does is run around and bark!" "Oh," he answered sheepishly as he drove away. I got news for everyone who carries dog-grade pepper spray: It doesn't work. The only dogs it works on are the ones that don't need it. Any dog who's really going to attack will not be stopped by a little pepper burn. Here's some more news: I don't carry dog spray. I use an item called a dog stick. It is only a length of PVC with a tennis ball attached to the end. Mine is long enough to use as a walking stick, a jimmy for certain types of gate latches, and to fend away dogs. It isn't used as a weapon, but simply as something to put between the dog and myself. I also use my own wits and judgement to determine if I should even enter the property in which a dog lives.
I only recently discovered the tradition of BAG Day. Unfotunately, since I recently purchased a computer, I felt that I didn't have any business making another large purchase. But if I had participated in BAG Day, I would be looking at things like the Ruger PC9, the Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Long Colt, or even one these Raging Bees. Why would I want a .218 Bee revolver? Well, when I was a teenager, I said to one of my friends, "I wish someone would make a big revolver in something like .22 Hornet or .218 Bee. He thought it was a dumb idea, but there you go.
ACLU aiding illegal entry into U.S.
"Deacon said the ACLU representatives make noises and flash lights as a signal to the illegals and their human smugglers that the area is being patrolled. Thus, he said, those intent on entering understand they should move on to other areas of the border that are wide open for illegal entry."Well, after all, they call themselves the American Civil Liberties Union, not the United States Civil Liberties Union.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Even more info on Ruger DA revolvers at Wadcutter
I am looking forward to the upcoming "Accessories" installment.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
What am I doing here?
Everyone can relax, we're safe now...
"The 191-member U.N. General Assembly approved a nuclear terrorism treaty on Wednesday that would oblige governments to punish those who illegally possess atomic devices or radioactive materials."Thank goodness. Now that they've passed a new law, Osama and his camaras* won't dare to attack anyone with nukes. Whew!
tnx to Little Green Footballs
*Tex-Mex for "comrades," just in case, well, you know, it isn't exactly classic Castillian.
Metonymy and clinking glasses
WorldNetDaily: Mexican army escorts border drug-runners
"Border Patrol sources say the Mexican army recently moved about 1,000 troops to the Agua Prieta region, just south of where the Minutemen are. These troops, the sources say, are diverting all of the illegal alien and drug-smuggling traffic away from the Minutemen."Update: More comments at Lest Darkness Fall.
CCRKBA News Release April 12
"'I find it amusing, curious and the zenith of hypocrisy,' Waldron continued, 'for certain anti-gun zealots to suddenly be out front defending the concept of local gun laws, when for years, they campaigned for national gun control laws, including waiting periods, background checks and outright bans. Now that those strategies have failed, and studies reveal that such laws have had questionable results, suddenly these same extremists are defending the concept of local control. They are not interested in public safety, but only in passing laws that are confusing and designed primarily to trap law-abiding citizens.'"
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Shooter tells it
"First of all, some Nimrod the Magnificent brings a .22 to a bar with his buddies? Please, spare me! What macho, beer quaffing stud-muffin wants to be caught dead with a girlie gun? Give this guy a bit of credit, will ya? He's most likely carrying the latest and greatest Kimber Pro Carry II 1911 in .45 Auto. He's got all the gadgets and doowikedies on it. Beveled frame, ambi-safety and mag release, Wilson Combat Mags, and Trijicon night sights."
But seriously, he points out lots of ignorance and bias in a Virginia-Pilot article. Good stuff.
Two Pit Bulls Rescue Woman From Red Chow
Chows just aren't friendly, but at least they aren't crazy like Dalmatians.
Must-read at The High Road
tnx to GeekWithA.45
"What I want is to never be necessary. I devoutly hope to never see true violence, and I have so far managed to avoid even bar fights. I want to be the absolute last line of defense for me and mine, behind every person my tax money has hired to keep my community safe. But no amount of wanting will mean that I am not that last line of defense, and I need, I deserve, I demand the right to be that last line. This is the final remaining vestige of the barbarian impulse, the warrior spirit, that I posess."
CBS coordinates with terrorists?
It seems to me to be the Peter Parker method. Remember how he got such good photos of Spiderman?
Update: More here.
Mudville Gazette link tnx to BLACKFIVE
Bob Dole on Fresh Air
Monday, April 11, 2005
Comments on CHL qualification at parallax adjustment
At my recent re-qualification (at which all 15 of us were re-qualifying), the most disconcerting thing I saw was the guy next to me who was shooting a Bersa .380. The sorry thing jammed constantly--I'm not kidding. He had to call the range instructor over to clear that thing 7 or 8 times during the entire 50-shot course. I hope he was only using it to qualify, and doesn't actually carry the thing. I'm hoping he carries a good, dependable revolver, if that's the only semi-auto he could come up with.
(In Texas, you must qualify with a semi-auto to be licensed to carry a semi-auto. If you qualify with a revolver, you are allowed to carry only a revolver.)
Oregon Senator tries to ensure that school children remain easy targets...
"'I'm talking about Sally the reading mom who happens to leave her purse behind' with a gun inside, Burdick said."Exactly how many times has this happened in Oregon, or anywhere else for that matter? And how many times have things like this and this happened?
Update: Or this?
Update #2: Or even this?
Less than 4% must be right...
"More than 100 passionate, angry readers from around the nation told me I was wrong. I have heard from exactly four gun control advocates."Well, gee whiz, maybe you could look at the evidence and think for a change. This from Chicago, a city with some of the most repressive, anti-self-defense gun laws in the country, and also with one of the highest crime rates in the country. Seems like sooner or later they would figure it out.
New to Blogroll: Lest Darkness Fall
Yep, home sick
Update: In case you are unfamiliar with the 7.62x25mm round, it is a bottlenecked cartridge that fires an 85 grain bullet at somewhere around 1,400 fps.
The Anti-Gun Male by Julia Gorin
"He often accuses men with guns of 'compensating for something.' The truth is quite the reverse. After all, how is he supposed to feel knowing there are men out there who aren't intimidated by the big bad inanimate villain? How is he to feel in the face of adolescent boys who have used the family gun effectively in defending the family from an armed intruder? So if he can't touch a gun, he doesn't want other men to be able to either. And to achieve his ends, he'll use the only weapon he knows how to manipulate: the law."
This sounds like fun...
"CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australians in the country's Northern Territory should start smashing cane toads to death with golf clubs and cricket bats in a bid to stop the spread of the toxic creatures, a government politician has urged."I bet if you hit them just right, a .45 round would really make those suckers pop. How about this (yikes!):
"Cane toads, which now number in their millions, are so toxic that crocodiles, death adder snakes and wild dingo dogs can die of cardiac arrest within 15 minutes of eating a toad."And this:
"Animal welfare groups discouraged people from taking up Tollner's call to arms, saying freezing the animals to death was more humane."I still don't get why they think a slow death is "more humane" than a fast death.
"Female cane toads can lay 8,000 to 35,000 eggs at a time and may produce two clutches a year. The toads reach maturity within a year and have a lifespan of at least five years."Sheesh. That's potentially 350,000 new toads in one lifetime. Almost makes me glad I only have to worry about fire ants. Whoops, Australia has them too.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
More on Ruger DA Revolvers at Wadcutter
Left-handed comments on the Ruger P95D
Southpaw shooters might be interested in this information. I bought the P95D primarily because of two things: its ambidextrousness and its price. Ambidextrousness is an important consideration for lefties which many gun companies have overlooked/ignored until the past few years (or so it seems to me). Ruger semi-autos have long had ambi tendencies because Bill Ruger himself was left-handed (or so I've read). The P95D is about as ambidextrous as they come, with an ambi magazine release and ambi decocker. It does not have an ambidextrous slide release, and of course, as with just about all semi-autos, ejects the empties to the right. If standing in an isosceles position, my pistol ejects at an obtuse enough angle that all the empties miss (miss hitting me, that is). If shooting one-handed (with the left hand), and presenting a narrow side profile to the target, the empties come nowhere near me. However, shooting in the Weaver stance gets me tapped in the right shoulder/right side of head with almost every empty. This is only a mild annoyance and since I'm usually wearing a hat anyway it doesn't bother me. The slide release is not a problem during normal operation, since a pull back on the slide itself releases it, just like any semi-auto. It is only a problem during disassembly for cleaning. It might be easier to disassemble for a righty, but I don't know. It has always seemed to be a little bit of a trick to me to line up the marks so the release can be pulled out. I would also add that although I am primarily left-handed, I am also somewhat ambidextrous, and when practicing, I alternate hands every time I put in a fresh magazine. (My left eye is my strong eye).
As the name implies, this version is decocker only, it does not have a "safety" that locks the trigger or any such thing. You draw it, you pull the trigger, it goes bang. No unnecessary extra steps. This is another reason I chose it. The first, double-action shot does have a long, heavy trigger pull, and it pays to do lots of practice decocking after every shot so you can get used to that first pull. After that, single-action follow-ups are a piece of cake.
I have shot a full-size M1911 as well as a more compact version, both of which were all metal. Compared to the P95D, which has a polymer body, the P95D (vs. the 1911 in .45) seems to have a much sharper recoil. I have attributed this to the very light lower body against the very heavy slide assembly. The 1911 is more of a push, while the P95D is more of a twist, if that makes any sense. It is a very sharp twist that, to me, is harder to recover from than when shooting the good ol' 1911 in .45.
This is Ruger's idea of a "compact" gun but I think if they put their minds to it they could come up with something that really is compact. This is still a fairly large gun, strictly speaking about how much space it takes up. I have carried it concealed, but not comfortably.
One problem with mine is that I have yet to have it function 100% reliably with 115-grain ammo. It works perfectly and has never failed with 147-grain, but the lighter ammo sometimes fails to feed. I have not yet tried any of the 124-grain version. My carry ammo (when I carried it) was 147 grain Hornady XTP.
This pistol was the first semi-auto I ever purchased, back when I was planning on first getting a CHL (Concealed Handgun License, for you non-Texans). I have since kind of started leaning toward the "anti-9mm" crowd, but I don't ever plan on getting rid of this gun, mostly because I want to have at least one of each of the most popular calibers in my collection, and this one makes a fine representative of the 9mm. In fact, I would someday like to add one of Ruger's 9mm carbines to the collection, so I'll have ammo and mags that will fit both a pistol and a long gun.
I used this gun for a carry piece for a while, but for the past few years have switched to a Ruger SP-101 loaded with .357 magnum (I like revolvers, and wanted something that generally inflicts more damage than a 9mm). I have also recently purchased a Springfield XD40 and am still working it through a break-in period. When I feel confident enough with it, I intend for it to replace the SP-101.
I mentioned price at the beginning. This P95D (blued slide) cost me $350 at a gun show about 5 years ago. Ruger has a nice way of coming out on top of the cost/quality scale.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a professional gun review. It is just a few of my own impressions based on my own experience. Your mileage may vary.
Neat CSS Button
Anti-gun bias at Snopes
Saturday, April 09, 2005
MSM does it again
Ruger DA Revolvers
Friday, April 08, 2005
"No guns" sign = "please rob us repeatedly" sign
"Last week, Ohioans For Concealed Carry began receiving reports of 'no-guns' signs being posted in United Dairy Farmers (UDF) stores in Ohio. An investigation by Business Education Coordinator Joe Eaton discovered the Ohio-based chain had just ordered signs to be posted in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana stores.
Although it didn't take long for OFCC supporters to begin responding to the discriminatory signs, OFCC has learned that criminals in Ohio appear to have responded even more rapidly."
|You Are 50% Normal|
While some of your behavior is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself
More comments on Florida's new "Home Protection"
News release from CCRKBA
"'It is sad that a young man lost his life over this,' Waldron stated, 'but the fact remains that he initiated the attack, and was joined by his companions. The victim had no choice but to defend himself, and if there is one thing positive about this incident, it is that the Milwaukee District Attorney's office did a good job and made a common-sense decision that recognizes the right of self-defense.'"
This guy can write
"Kofi Annan could come to collect some kickbacks he's still owed from the oil for food program. Sean Penn could come to promote peace, all while getting in fights with anyone who tried to take his picture. John Kerry could come get another Purple Heart. Barbara Streisand and Justin Timberlake could sing Iraq's national anthem before the race. Justin, I already have a place for you to stay. It's called the Neverland Ranch. Reporting live for everyone back home would be the dynamic duo of Dan Rather and Katie Couric."
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Right for self-defense in Hawaii
"Opponents to the right to bear arms say we should rely on police and calls to 9-1-1. But how does 9-1-1 help the young woman as she is snatched into a car with five men who intend to cause her harm.
How does 9-1-1 help the 85-year-old woman who is about to be tied up and raped by a man with previous sex offense convictions?
How does a 9-1-1 call help me when in the face of danger?
Truth is as good as police may be -- or not be -- at their jobs, they need time to respond to a call, and they need to be called.
What rapist is going to allow a woman to call police from her cell phone? What gang member will enable a victim to call for help? No such opportunity exists.
But what every gang member, what every rapist, what every previous sex offender can understand and will respond to is the barrel of a gun pointed between his eyes -- or lower."
Scents inspired by H.P. Lovecraft
Al-Azif is described as: "A sinister, sinuous incense of summoning, a herald and paean to the Primordial Gods of Darkness, Chaos, Madness and Decay."
I am not surprised...
This shouldn't surprise anyone. As someone who worked as a pager repair tech for many years, I can't count how many pagers I came across that had been dropped in toilets, and yes, even septic tanks (those septic tank clean-up guys just can't hold onto their pagers). And you would be amazed at how many people tried to dry their pager in a microwave.
"Stand Your Ground" bill passes in Florida
"For a House that talks about the culture of life it's ironic that we would be devaluing life in this bill," said Democratic state Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach. "That's exactly what we're doing."I personally have no problem with devaluing the life of murderers, muggers, and their ilk. Fortunately, Florida has decided that you don't have to give a crook a chance to shoot or stab you in the back (which is what happens when you try to run from an armed criminal) before you're allowed to defend yourself. I don't know why this was considered "odd news" by Reuters. Just that "liberal bias" I guess.
Guilty until proven innocent in China
Don't hold your breath, Xianglin.
Monday, April 04, 2005
There is more reading I would like to do but I am getting tired.
Oh, by the way, Kim du Toit hates DST too.
Big stink in the Great White North, eh?
tnx to The American Princess
tnx to Alphecca
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Adventures in computer shopping
Where did this special computer come from? I hate to say it, but it was the Walmart website. CompUSA had an IBM Thinkpad that fit the bill, but by the time the funds became available, they were all gone. So I was stuck with Walmart.
Here's a list of computers I have owned, not counting a couple that I purchased really cheap because they were obsolete and were dedicated solely to ham radio purposes (all of which I no longer possess).
Circa 1990: a laptop. First computer was a laptop, and I don't remember the maker anymore. Purchased from a mail-order place called DAK. It had a 640x480 blue "supertwist" LCD screen, no hard drive, dual 3.5" (double density--720K) floppies, and an output for a CGA monitor, which I bought along with it. It did have a mouse. It was an 8088 with an 8 MHz processor. I still remember the blurb in the catalog, which went something like, "burn through applications at a blazing 8 MHz!!!" Primary purposes were running Wordstar and playing Ultima V and another game in which I raced greyhounds (very low-tech graphics--the hounds were just dots on the screen). Cost was around $700 for the computer and around $200 for the monitor.
1993 or so: Leading Edge 486SLC, 25MHz processor, 4 meg RAM, 120 meg hard drive. Had Windows 3.1. Cost of machine plus a VGA monitor was around $1,400. I can't imagine paying that much for a computer anymore. Came without a modem. Bought a cheap obsolete 2400 baud modem at a swapmeet ($5), later upgraded to 14400 and added a sound card system with a CD-ROM drive. Started logging into local BBS's with a terminal program (Comit for DOS). First accessed the Internet in 1994 with the 2400 baud modem via a service called Novalink. First used the WWW with same old 2400 modem, using NCSA Mosaic and Win32s. In 1995 first had real, unlimited access to the Internet via Netcom, using their Netcruiser software (Google Groups--orignally Deja News--has my earliest usenet post archived, the date was April 20, 1995). Played a few neat games, used Wordstar a lot, and started using it for ham radio stuff. Kept using for ham radio after buying next computer.
Several years later: Hewlett Packard 60 MHz Pentium with 480 meg hard drive and 8 megs RAM. Later upgraded to 40 megs RAM and added an extra 1.5 gig hard drive. Came with 14400 baud modem, later upgraded to 28800. Also came with Windows 3.11, later upgraded to Win98 (never used 95). Bogged down really bad with Win98, but I persevered for a few more years. Cost of computer and a new VGA monitor, around $1,200.
Around 2000: AST 500 MHz Pentium III with 64 megs RAM and 40 gig hard drive. This is the machine I am typing on right now and I do not intend for it to become a relic just yet. The Leading Edge went on the shelf, the old monitor went to the HP, and the newer (but not new) monitor went to this computer. Cost of this machine (came without monitor, but having 2 VGA monitors already, I didn't really need one), $500. That's more like it. This is the machine that has nothing but USB ports. It also doesn't have a floppy drive of any sort, which at the time seemed odd but is now the norm. I guess it was ahead of its time. This one was later upgraded with an external CD burner. But upon purchase of this I swore I would never go into the guts of a computer again. Came with Win98SE, remains with Win98SE, and will always be so until it is dead.
Last week: the brand name is Balance, I don't know much about it but I took a chance and so far it's working just fine. Notebook with 1.5 GHz Intel Celeron processor, 256 meg RAM and 40 gig hard drive. I would have liked a bigger HD but then I've never come close to filling up the 40 gigger on my desktop so I'm not really worried about it. It looks like upgrading the RAM is pretty easy, so I might do that sometime, since I wouldn't really be having to open up the machine itself, just a panel on the bottom. Cost of this machine, plus 128 meg DiskGo! flash drive (I shoulda got a bigger flash drive), plus tax and shipping, $779. More on this machine as I play around with it. Oh yeah, this one has WinXP (I never used 2000 or ME).
Update: I thought I would add that the first computer I ever used was an Apple IIe in 1982 or so. For some reason my high school purchased one and put it in an empty classroom, then informed several of the more tech-oriented students they could go play with it during free time. Most of our time was spent playing Little Brick Out, but some of us did play around with BASIC programming.