Feb 27, 2010

A lust for bacon

It took 55 dead pigs to make this event possible.

Living in the No. 1 hog state exposes a guy to the occasional unpleasant smell, but, on the other hand it does place one closer to a number of very high-toned cultural events.

Tsunami Reports

Putting together reports from my electric teevee and a bunch of internet sources, it looks as though my old Pago Pago stomping grounds escaped anything too damaging.

It's strange for an old wind-in-the-hair reporter to be feeling so connected, so cyber-something. We used to travel with pockets full of dimes and five-dollar bills. The dimes worked the pay phones. The fives paid kids to hog the booths for us until we were ready to file on breaking stuff. That was considered clever communication.


I can't resist noting the undisguisable hint of disappointment apparent in the tone of MSNBC news creatures who pointed cameras at a Diamond Head beach for hours and hours and were rewarded with about out the same level of hydraulic excitement you'd get tossing Al Franken into a swimming pool.

Pacific Tsunami

A hunk of my heart was left in the South Pacific, so I'm watching with some fear the reports of the tsunami's progress across the Pacific. Good luck out there.

Feb 26, 2010

The Roy Rogers Laser Sight

Funny, and I also take it as an ironic comment on rampant gear queerity.

Hat Tip to Tam

Feb 25, 2010

His Obamaness Faces the Nielsons

Or, "Live, on an electrical teevee set near you, 'Barry Faces Life'."

His Obamaness doesn't really claim credit for the brilliant idea of a "health care" "debate" on daytime television, a subset of the electronic media catering to the sorts of citizenoids whose grasp of high matters of state is bounded largely by works of Sally Jesse, Geraldo, and Tyra. But it was one of his hired public relations minions who did, so I hold his leftest Presidential tush responsible.

I'll give the policritters about five minutes to utter an interesting phrase which has an actual referent in the real world. Failing to detect one, I'll pursue an alternate entertainment form such as shoveling snow.

Bulletin: The clergyman praying before the bell has just supplicated in favor of a Higher Power to "burning (our) self-interest." So much for real-world referents.

Feb 24, 2010

Heading for the airport?

The World's Best Travel Blog explains why you should wash your hands even more carefully if you've been in the reloading shack before heading for the friendly skies.

Penis Pants

Things you learn from opening links on Facebook.

Travis McGee once remarked in a discussion of mortality something very close to, "Every year there is less to lose."

He was talking about pollution, I think, but certainly pollution is a term broad enough to cover knitted members and silken scrota, all proudly on public display.

Feb 23, 2010

Gun Porn, Courtesy of the Young Bill Ruger

If Bill Ruger were alive and running the show in Southport, this three-screw .22 would hold nothing but pleasant memories, including the time Dad shot it into the ground to scare off a bunch of thuggy teenagers who kept farting around in his back yard. (Bad procedure, of course, but it happened to work this time.)

And including the buddy I bought it from in about 1970, Mark Brown of Blackfoot, Idaho, a good friend and outstanding journalist who died way too young.

The good vibes stop with a decision to have the "safety" conversion installed and a factory refinish. The reblue was excellent, and a metal polisher in Connecticut is to be congratulated for outstanding restraint and attention to the owner requests.

After that the new Ruger company behaved in a way designed to send gun buyers running to another maker. Any other maker, probably. Not to put too fine a point on things, the damned revolver wouldn't shoot, even though a Ruger "technician" certified he had tested it and been pleased as punch with how well it worked.

Maybe gremlins invaded the shipping box and arranged things so the cylinder wouldn't lock, the hammer wouldn't reliably cock , and, sometimes, the entire set of innards would lock up. Email after email and two USPS letters went ignored until, months later, I was advised to return the gun "for evaluation."

A guy gets angry enough and does something he hates to do. He disassembles a single -action revolver and looks things over. Transfer bar actually broken, its selvage edge snaggable on the firing pin. Bolt burred. The fix on the shop bench took maybe 30 minutes. It taught a lesson: Retain the utmost respect for Bill Ruger, but never again trust the company which has passed into the hands of marketeers and cost accountants.

Now that it shoots, it's a lovely little thing, as is the western rig built for it by Janine Ann for Ottis Rollin.

Ah so, Toyada-san, Part Four

All will be shocked to learn I am among those who don't think congressional hearings fix things. But the one in Washington today is going to generate barrels of ink and eons of air time.

So it would be an good opportunity for someone to make the point: There comes a time when technology as applied to machinery meant for general public use becomes so complicated as to be self defeating.

No sane citizen is asking for an automobile which, avocationally, advises on investments and analyzes the theology of Niebuhr.

The issue at hand will be Toyota's gas pedal, excitable as a Celtic maiden and no more predictable by any logic yet confided to humankind.

So maybe someone could just note that by 1930 automobile engineers had perfected a fully observable, serviceable, and replaceable control loop for feeding fuel to an engine. A spring, a couple-three steel rods, and a sentient operator. Sticky accelerators could be cured with a couple of squirts from an oil can, and you hardly ever had to consult with Washington about it.

Feb 22, 2010

Tam has ferreted out one of the latest California stupidities, and her shootin' buddy comments:

The problem is that we have lawyers dealing with social problems. Lawyers will always seek to copy laws that were "successful" in other areas and apply this via analogy to the current problem.

If you think about it hard enough, that doesn't leave all that much else to be said.

N.B. -- I'm sure SB would exempt your occasional barrister such as my pal who sometimes comments here and who is as quick as anyone to mock stupid over-reaching legislation.

Feb 21, 2010

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin -- in that order

But I wouldn't get my libertarian gonads in a steamy state if I were y'all. Ron Paul is a figure of fun even when he wins as he did today when young conservative activists straw polled themselves at the CPAC convention. Politico sneered:

Paul’s victory renders a straw poll that was already lightly contested among the likely 2012 GOP hopefuls all but irrelevant, as the 74-year-old Texan is unlikely to be a serious contender for his party’s nomination.

Paul earned 31 per cent; Romney 22, Palin 7.

Politico goes on: "CPAC organizers were plainly embarrassed by the results, which could reduce the perceived impact of a contest that was once thought to offer a window into which White House hopefuls were favored by movement conservatives. A spokesman for the conference rushed over to reporters after the announcement to make sure they had heard the unmistakable boos when the screen first showed Paul had won the straw poll."

It appears that the organizational leaders of "movement conservatives" fear the idea of free markets, honest money, and limited government just as much as the barmiest of Barack Obama's statists.

Straw polls don't amount to a bowl of horse apple pudding, but, still, it is pleasant to see the good doctor so well thought of -- and to panic the movement's conservative arses who are still bemoaning the loss of Tammy Faye's subtlety and Jimmy Swaggert's singular leadership.

Feb 20, 2010

Recent acquisition (2)

I once mentioned that my bookseller of choice is Goody O'Will, and yesterday he treated me particularly well. All hardbacks are always 75 cents, and there was no exception for this one which has been opened exactly three times, I believe. Once when Bob inscribed it. Once when I glanced at the flyleaf in Goody's. Once when I shot it.

(It goes with Bob 's cloth escape map of Japan and nearby Russia found at his estate sale, along with three or four original aerial bombing photos of Tokyo and Sasebo -- unpriced because the estate sale professionals didn't know what they were. A $10 offer was accepted.)

I know you may consider it extravagant to blow six bits during the current national financial crisis. But remember, the alternative is a CD paying a Clinton/Bush/Obama mandated .01 per cent interest.

Recent acquisition

Even nonlethal retrotechnology can be beautiful. This $2 example followed me home from a recent auction. It was a hot item for its time, with a fast f6.3-f32 lens, and three speeds (25 - 50-100) plus B and T on the shutter. Most of the old Kodak folders are plentiful and cheap, but I decided to give this one shelf space because of its condition -- mint. It may never have had a roll of film loaded. I'll look at it for a while, then announce its availability in barter for a modest something that might shoot lead.

It was an amateur camera, but not nearly so amateurish as the three-volt cockroach I just used to photograph it.

For retrogeeks: Kodak Vigilant six-20; Kodak Anastigmat f : 6. 3 105mm; Kodak No. 1 Diomatic

(Did you ever notice how much easier it is to keep a blog active by posting a picture and BSing about it? I mean, like, y'know, compared to thinking up an important topic and analyzing it with great care?)

Making a Home Unsalable

Brigid reports photographically on turning a powder measure into a lamp. Since her ranch is on the market, that leads to a funny discussion of the predicament shooters face when they decide to sell their homes. I've been there, and it isn't fun to get your butt all culture shocked by suddenly having to deal with the general public and a particularly objectionable subset of it -- the dreaded real estate peddler.

They +always+ insist that you change your house around to a sterile nothingness that would bore even a Nebraskan. I guess the idea is that any personality evident in a home scares the bejeezus out of house lookers, and that even a hint of gun grizzardry sends them screaming madly for their mommies.

So, as the photo suggests, I'm in trouble if I ever decide to leave Camp J. The "good" weapons are vaulted up, but I have a hard time living without reminders of the American frontier close by. For as long as I can remember I've had a lever gun hanging purdy in the living room, and sometimes a six-shooter keeps it company.

What you see is what's current in my Cowboy Corner, though I must apologize for the bland white behind the BL22 and the 94. The drywall is doomed, firmly scheduled to be replaced by honest pine very soon.

A very naughty two-word response is available for house peddlers and tire kickers who find it useful to tell me all this is offensive. (Actually, I need to trot it out for a couple of cousins every once in a while, too. It is a family curse that too many of my extended kin get their ideas -- decorating, manners, politics and all -- exclusively from Redbook, HGTV and Oprah. )

(APPENDIX 1: The framed item left is a copy of a Kentucky land warrant for direct ancestor John __________, a three-percenter who earned it as a soldier in the Virginia Continental Line. The stuff hanging is another self-conscious coup-counting device -- credentials from national political conventions and junk like that. The little revolver is one of Bill Ruger's early products, in the family for 41 years.)

Feb 19, 2010

Murder weapons

They're already registered, regulated, and heavily taxed. You need a federal permit to operate one. Don't know what we ought to do. Maybe a national one-plane-a-month limit?

Feb 18, 2010

The Tea Party Folks

They are a great public blessing. I think of them as a backfire shielding the citizenry from the grossest manifestations of current government stupidity and tyrannical intent.

I also hope I am being realistic in hoping the movement has a grounding in the Constitution and an informed dedication to repairing the abuses against it. Would these folks fight for ending no-knock entry? Civil confiscation of property? Traffic checkpoints? Would they reject substituting "reasonable suspicion" for "probable cause" in Fourth Amendment matters?

I purposely omit mention of gun control, abortion, classroom prayer, gay marriage and similar three-alarm issues.

Discussing the lower-temperature matters first might lead to greater clarity on where they stand on the crucial point: Government by laws which do not offend the Constitution and which are administered by men and women who take their oath of office seriously and literally.

Detesting the works of President Barack Obama and most of our current legislators is an admirable stance and a good start. But it is not a substitute for policy.

Feb 16, 2010

The Olympics

Many challenges face this great nation. Among them is the urgent need to recruit curlers as cute as the Japanese girls.

That is all I have to say about the Olympics today.

The End of the World as She Knows It

This would be a routine weather-stranding story if it weren't for Holly (Whosis). I don't know Holly, but I'll bet she has great hair and is on the most intimate terms with mirrors everywhere.

Holly and Jeff were stranded on Interstate 29 between Omaha and Sioux City Sunday when foul weather and accidents closed the road for some 24 hours. They were lucky enough to find a hotel room and even a convenience store.

But Holly's life went downhill from there. As the Des Moines Register reports it:

"They ventured out of their motel room Monday afternoon to look for shampoo, conditioner, a deck of cards and some puzzles. 'We're at a convenience store,' Holly said. 'They're all out of shampoo and conditioner'."

And so I note for my whacko wookie-suited brother and sister survivalists: Relax a little. To the extent that Holly is representative of the population, the competition for post-SHTF resources isn't going to be all that severe.

Feb 15, 2010

Re-registering disgust

The wires are reporting that the woman accused of being the Huntsville shooter owned a gun which was not registered. Perhaps a future rehash will add that there's no reason on earth it should be. Alabama has overlooked the pressing humanitarian need to register rifles, pistols, or handguns.

Imagine the comfort that would come from knowing that the murder weapon was officially recognized.

Feb 13, 2010

The Last Kennedy in Congress

It seems the universal newspaper lede is that the departure of Patrick Kennedy next year leaves the Republic without a Kennedy in congress for the first time in 60 years. The fact is represented as having staggering import to our future as a nation.

Patrick of Rhode Island, son of Teddy, now has the nation's press straining to find language evocative enough to present him as the latest tragic victim of the Kennedy Curse. (You'll recall that curse was laid on by Barry Goldwater and is renewed annually around boiling cauldrons on the moors by covens of Nazis who, in everyday life, pass themselves off as citizens simply unpersuaded by the Kennedy brand of statism.

I won't beat up on Poor Patrick at length, but it does add balance to remind the Hyannisport groupies that the man was reported to be a drunk, a drug addict, mentally ill, and a bad congressman. Any similarly flawed politician who holds more libertarian or conservative views is pilloried, not wept over.

AP quotes Patrick as saying his decision to quit congress removes a heavy weight from his shoulders.

Ours too .

Feb 11, 2010

Two more "Bowie" knives

The left one you have seen before -- a quick and dirty rehab of a junk WW2 Navy KaBar blade. On the right is a 1981 example of the Camillus issued as an air crew survival knife. Each has been called a Bowie, despite being somewhat small for the mythical breed. The Camillus design is simply the KaBar* cut down to dimensions more practical for wear in cramped aircraft . The serrations on the dull side are for sawing through air frame skin.

For one more view of a clip point Bowie, see the early one here. You will note it is much longer and slimmer than most modern examples, catering to the tin horn with its slim handle and shiny bolsters fore and aft.

But our confidence that a Bowie is a clipper begins to fade as we look at another pretty-boy Bowie -- this one with a blade a planet away from what we've been seeing. (TBC)

* "KaBar" here is handy shorthand for all the makes of similar WW2 U.S. fighting knives.


Question for real specialists in that air crew knife. What is the purpose of the two 1/4 - inch holes in the upper quillion? Lanyard tie-on comes to mind, but it seems to me a lanyard amidships there would be awfully awkward.

Bowie Control

In the early 19th Century the ancestors of Charlie Schumer were still in the process of developing opposable thumbs, yet they still found time to get elected and legislate their vision of a real nice society free of the scourge of Bowie knife crime.

No wonder the law was flouted. The Bowie knife was the assault rifle of the time. That is, no one, especially the legis-critters, knew what the Hell one was. (TBC )


Feb 10, 2010

No such thing as a Bowie knife

Here's a "Bowie." It is huge and bears the clip point and discrete quillion of what is supposed to be Jim Bowie's fighter, although some would argue the true Bowie had a symmetrical quillion.

This one has an 8.5-inch blade and weighs a hair under 1.5 pounds. It has served well for decades, particularly as a knife plus hatchet-substitute on long wilderness canoe trips where trimming weight was crucial. I never met the craftsman who fashioned it from a truck spring and a fine piece of burled walnut, and that is my loss.

Unfortunately for neat taxonomy, this Bowie varies in every important aspect from a number of other designs which claim -- with equal historical evidence -- to be the one true Bowie as made for Colonel Jim by blacksmith Jesse Clifft. (TBC)

The Wisdom of the Game Warden

The Iowa DNR sometimes has its heart in the right place. It often has its head in the dark and malodorous wrong one.

There is some logic to not feeding wild animals, but I object to imprisoning barefoot boy with cheek of tan for the heinous crime of fishing with an angleworm.

Feb 9, 2010

Kiwi libertarians' tax protest

I've mentioned the New Zealand libertarians before, and I'll do it again. An active bunch. They seem to be in the midst of a productive tax protest discussion, and it can't hurt a thing to drop in and say "hi" to them.

If anything ought to be globalized, it's liberty.

After a certain point, one snow picture looks pretty much like another, but as a matter of record here is the Transient Officers Quarters structure, which also houses the Base Maintenance and Administration detachments, at Camp J. The scene was recorded on February 9, 2010 just as the most recent 6-8 inch snowfall ended.

Some of the natural drifts approach six feet. My crack meteorology squad measures an average depth on the flat of about 36 inches. Allowing for compaction and two days of slight melting, I estimate total local snowfall for the season well north of four feet. And this allows nothing for the two layers of ice, totaling perhaps an inch, sandwiched between the snow-event strata.

Please note the calm and measured tone of this report. I have not babbled. I have not sobbed. I have not even said (eff-word) winter. I consider this a major victory over self.

Frank Magid, RIP

We should note the passing of Frank Magid, the Iowa "consultant" almost single-handedly responsible for the demise of journalism on television and the substitution of happy talk news.

He became rich by understanding that numbskulls vastly outnumber smart people and advising television stations (and later networks) on how to win the maximum number of fools to the nightly newscasts. He did it with "surveys." He asked viewers if anchor Jane was prettier than anchor Jill. He had folks discuss whether Dan really looked nicer in a sweater .

The sum total of his recorded wisdom about news broadcast content was: "If any story runs more than one minute, the Russians had better be in New York Harbor."

It worked, and the advertisers loved it. This explains things like "L'Oreal, because you're worth it."

Frank, not to speak ill of the dead, and I appreciate that lunch back in the '70s, but you have one Hell of a lot to answer for.

Feb 8, 2010

Jocko's Doc


We could save a lot of ink and air time and general exasperation among the literate classes by suspending the relevant Constitutional provisions for 30 minutes, declaring him guilty by acclamation, fining him 50 bucks, and handing him a carton of Luckies on his way down the court house steps. When the Founding Document is restored, leaders should talk up the stuff against double jeopardy.

Ah so, Toyada-san, Part Three

This WSJ writer will not be invited to the Cherry Blossom Bash in Kamakura.

(H/T to my buddy Anne of The Valley)

Feb 6, 2010

Death to the Memory Hole; an apology

Gentle Readers,

My small blog and I cherish reader comments, and for that reason -- along with all sorts of high-toned moral considerations related to free and unfettered exchange of ideas et cetera --I am embarrassed. Also pissed at an oriental person or imitator thereof.

The McGee Reader default is, "Comment Moderation: Never." A few days ago someone found a way to slip in a long spam in Chinese. I had it translated , then opened the dash to dump it. Naturally, I forgot to turn comment moderation back to "off." A kind reader alerted me and I +almost+ fixed it. The same reader re-alerted, and I have just fixed the fix.

Two points:

1. The word "luddite" appears in the blog address for a very good reason.

2. Maybe I should have left the spam alone. It pointed Chinese-reading persons to about 20 porn sites. Some of them weren't bad, and it arrived about the time to nicely complement Tam's Roxxxie report. :)

Opportunity lost

Perhaps someone personally close to the Spirits might mention to Them the bad timing of the great white storm over Washington. A weekend fury seems wasteful since congress critters and bureaucritters are out of the office anyway.

Think of the stupidity, calumny, and malicious regulating we might have avoided or delayed had it instead been arranged to shit whitely on Washington as a work week began.

Feb 4, 2010

I have nothing against Amazon, nothing against humans living "the good life," nothing against most manifestations of advanced technology.

But when I see some of my fellow citizens deciding a snuggie for a Kindle should be valued at 12 hours of a hamburger flipper's gross pay, I decide some folks are beyond redemption by the wisdom of all mankind as it has been recorded for millenia -- Kindled or otherwise.

Kirk a doodle doo

In the AP lineup this morning is a story on Brown's official ascension to what was once an enemy outpost called the Kennedy Seat.

"Interim Sen. Paul Kirk, appointed by Patrick to temporarily fill the seat, plans a final speech on the Senate floor at about 3:45 p.m. to "discuss the urgent need to move beyond political polarization." (Emphasis added, emphatically).

What a difference a few months and one election make. You may recall that Governor Patrick and Senator Kirk led the Massachusetts legislature and bureaucracy into a n "emergency" (read panicked) revision of the Bay State laws and rules of procedure precisely to avoid moving beyond "political polarization."

Sure, it was predictable. So what? Must hypocisy be surprising in order to be held despicable?

There is one more predicable thing on tap. Senate Critter John Kerry, D-Mass., will, on the next close vote, demand Sen. Brown become "bi-partisan." Just like the said, sad, Sen. Kerry. And Kennedy, too, of course.

And if that ain't the by-Zeus truth I'll kiss your arse atop Desk #83 and give you time to fill the galleries and focus the C-Span cams.

Feb 2, 2010

Groundhog Down

Go ahead and steal the title for a new movie if you want.

I'm just thinking how nice it would be to have than damned marmot covered by the big .45 Black Hawk full of 210 grain HBWCs loaded backwards.

Feb 1, 2010

Ah so Toyoda-san, (redux)

So your pedal that wouldn't go back and forth is being fixed with a shim.

A shim? A freaken shim!?

And it doesn't help a damned bit to re-edit the news releases and in the second-day issues to call the shim a "precision steel plate."

You are in a good deal of trouble with us folks who tinker with guns. We know all about shims. We use shims to (barely) salvage rifle scope installations which we have totally screwed up due to purchasing incorrect or badly designed parts, or to simple laziness, or to ineptitude.

But at least we hardly ever claim our shim is a precision steel plate.

Hell, I guess I wouldn't mention fixing a deadly flaw on a $40,000 car with a 30-cent shim either. Shim sounds like sham which would remind some car buyers of scam which might get them wondering what other hidden and fatal shortcuts the Toyoda samurai might be trying to get away with.

On the other hand, I find your interior fabric collection simply stunning.