Showing posts with label Ludditical delight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ludditical delight. Show all posts

Sep 22, 2017

Idiots of the Corn

Here in the idyllic heartland, one of the common crimes is  burgling and vandalizing isolated old farmsteads. The optimistic thugs are usually looking for antiques and other fencible merchandise (copper is always popular), and they often get away with it, earning, I judge, an hourly income about half of what they could make flipping legal if disheartening burgers.

A couple of years ago drones became the new toy of choice for our local gendarmes. (If you smell some hefty federal grant money here, I forbear arguing with you.)  They would make crook-catching a snap.

Down around Emmetsburg (nee "The Irish Settlement") it didn't work yesterday.

The crime was eyeballed by a citizen who called the cops who descended with enough men and materiel to set up a perimeter around the corn field into which the miscreants had fled. This all happened at mid-morning. Aside from the manpower, the lawn order lads deployed a small manned airplane and two drones.

We can assume a good time was had by all in the air and  on the joysticks.  Hour piled upon hour as they buzzed back and forth over the fading green of high September maize. It isn't too hard to imagine that the suspects watched the aerial crime-buster craft for while, shrugged, then settled down for nice long naps. A little before supper time they snuck out and tried to make their getaway through an adjacent field of soy beans where they were spotted by a citizen innocent of possessing a drone, a thermal imager, or even one of those old-fashioned Cessnas. He phoned the cops and the lead panned out. The county jail population rose by two at sundown.

My personal belief is that the law officers are spending this equinox day preparing new grant proposals to increase their drone force.

The Luddite who lives in one of the sub-basements of my soul finds all this pretty damned funny.

Sep 30, 2015

Gun show giggles

As World War Two segued into Korea, a hot spot in the Cold War, I was almost old enough for the Boy Scouts and all those camping adventures. I decided to be prepared, so I haunted the war surplus stores. They were jammed with left-over field gear, and even the poorest kids could afford it. A dime would get you a canteen. A quarter would buy an entrenching tool and a buck both halves of a pup tent.

My camping kit was so composed. We argued about which was neater, official Boy Scout stuff or the equipment "our guys" used to wipe out the dirty Krauts and Japs. The latter was infinitely cheaper and hence, in  those days of small incomes, won the argument.

No one ever thought of "collecting" web and leather gear. How could you imagine collecting something as plentiful as dandelions? You bought the stuff and used it, period.

Flash forward a few decades and check the 21st Century prices  for 1940s militaria and note the awe with which some identify the stuff as jen-you-ine World War 2  relics. The louder and more precisely pronounced the "jen-you-ine," the higher the price.

I started noticing the trend early enough to take small advantage of an unsettled and asymmetric market and started picking up the stuff at garage sales and auctions. A buck here, two there,  up to three for decent 1911 holsters. Over the years the stash grew big enough to outfit a fire team (roughly two privates and a PFC or junior corporal), then, most of a squad (roughly three fire teams under a buck sergeant).

And I started taking a liking for and interest in all that canvas, webbing, and leather, so kept it up. If I live long enough and don't run  out of storage space,  I may someday correctly fancy  myself able to supply a platoon.

Especially if I keep going to gun shows in semi-northern Minnesota, home of the clueless.

Five bucks for the .45 holster, two each for the first aid (and compass) pouches. An 11-dollar total for a dandy addition to my pile. The holster especially tickles me because it is much better than the picture shows. It looks warped because someone set heavy stuff atop it, but the lack of inside wear suggests it hardly ever housed a pistol.

A small geekout for serious aficionados:

The holster is undated, made by Gratton and Knight, issued in russet, and blackened later, suggesting manufacture during or after the big war and possible re-issue for Vietnam,  by which time most of them were issued in black.

The top two pouches are pre-war or early war. The color is OD3. The bottom example is later, perhaps 1943 forward, in OD7.  (OD=olive drab). They're almost universally called first-aid pouches and were designed to hold a Carlisle bandage. At some point the Army decided they were fine compass carriers, too.

And that's what I did on my vacationette last weekend. Doing it in company of two fine St. Cloud kids, who are not among the clueless,  just made it all the more pleasant.

Jul 27, 2015

Elsewhere in America

In Macon, Missouri.

They are to transportation as the Colt 1911 is to weaponry, and they never fail to trigger my acquisitive mania.

There were 13 of them, including the lust object called Scrambler. Of which, below, the interior of the blue one at far right. Just too tired.

Or how about a nice flat fender Willys from the 40s or early 50s?

Like the Scrambler,  just too tired. The engine was missing and the transmission stored on the floorboards.

No one was around the place, else I'd have undoubtedly asked prices, then mentally added restoration costs of  $goodgawdafriday  before deciding there are other toys which would give me more pleasure per buck invested.


I am writing trivia yesterday and today, little more than pretty pictures captioned. The banality must suffice until I work my way into  something more about a trip with a purpose; tracking my kin and my larger people, the Scots Irish, the redneck hillbillies of whom I am a recent incarnation.

I'll probably get round to saying something prosy about it. For now leave it this way:  Anyone who walked the Wilderness Road from the foothills just above Tidewater Country, stumbled on and through the Cumberland Gap, and followed  Boone's Trace up to his first fort was one tough son of a bitch. Or daughter.  From seven generations forward, here's to you Grandpa John and Grandma Christina.

The Gap.

Jul 26, 2015

What I saw in America

Beautifully restored and maintained atop "The Pinnacle" overlooking the Cumberland Gap.

The Civil War piece, originally emplaced for a battle never fought, inspired three of our fellow citizens.

If the gods are just, Gary C. was stricken limp forever and Alicia C. became permanently frigid. DGB should be let off with multiple public horse whippings and a court order barring reproduction.

Apr 11, 2015

Lust object in multi-hued steel

An example of what  may result from a couple years of thought and experimentation and adaptation of equipment meant for something else. The more you like old Marlin lever guns and 19th Century metal finishing techniques, the more you'll appreciate the latest product from the shop of Genius Jeff who acquired the raw materials as rusty junk.

It's all assembled now -- you should see the walnut -- and at the Tulsa loophole. I'm not clear whether he means to sell or merely display. I sort of hope the latter. It's comforting to have such art only a few miles down the road.

I cannot offer a complete geekout because I know little of case-hardening technique. You need to clean and polish the metal, taking care to preserve the flats and sharp corners and markings, then bake it in calcium carbonate or something like that.  I'm told the pulverized bones of an Incan goddess work best, but in a pinch one can employ those of a sacred white buffalo. I'll ask him when he gets home.

Aug 13, 2014

Walter does not dream of Windex and Pledge

A cheery note from the Caspian folks is disrupting my plans.  Some family is visiting this weekend, and I vowed to tidy the place in their honor. But the commanderish slide is en route, scheduled to arrive here at Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant,  in about 40 hours.

I feel a distraction coming on, and if any of  my people are looking for housekeeping lapses, I'm afraid they may find them. It seems more urgent to sort through the parts one more time, calibrate the mike, ensure enough 400-grit emery and jewelers rouge are on hand. And so forth.

Commanders are just so studly. All a sophisticated Boomer needed in his glory days was the short 1911 for everyday wear along with a PPk  for strictly formal occasions.  (The Walther rode nicely in our cummerbunds.)  Bring on the Symbionize Liberation Army. Bring on Goldfinger.

The pleasure will be in the build. No matter how well armed, I am unlikely to be summoned to Double-0h-Seven evil-doers. It is enough to know that if I were, I would be equipped to shoot them through in a stylish, yet classic,  fashion.

Pocketa pocketa pocketa.

Jun 18, 2014

Another junk post -- Winchester 97 junk

Poor man that I am, when someone offers me a Winchester 97 for $25,  I'll find a way.  Maybe borrow a bicycle and go can collecting along the highway.

She's seen here somewhere between before and after. The masking tape that held her wood together is gone, along with some of its gummy residue.  Some of the patina is missing.  But she's still jammed open and will probably stay that way. I hate tearing down Model 97s.

If I got enough of the gunk from the oil-soaked chip and butt stock wrist,  I'll epoxy them back together, reattach  the wood, steel-wool the rest of the tape crap off, and offer her up as a "parts" gun or decorator. If the glue won't hold, I'll push her as one of the few Model 97 three-piece takedowns in existence. Or maybe a rawhide wrap. Add a few brass tacks and she becomes a genuine Injun gun.

It's something to do in my dedicated gun-tinkering time while I'm waiting for the Commander slide. If the nice folks at Caspian meet their promised schedule, it's due in three weeks.


Sure I know the old Corn Shucker's provenance, all the way from the night Private Alvin C. Blatnik (ret.) of Strawberry Point, Iowa, won her from Teddy Roosevelt in a five-card stud session at the 10th annual Rough Riders reunion.  But you guys wouldn't be interested.

Jun 17, 2014

The federal government has learned that Marshalltown, Iowa, is full of lazy, flabby kids, a crisis of deep national concern, so:

Last fall, the Marshalltown School District ... (landed a $1. 4 million DOE grant)  to focus on getting kids active. The district purchased 4,000 pedometers with the grant money and found many students weren’t reaching a recommended goal of 9,100 steps a day.


Physical fitness in the 1950s:

Scene: The breakfast table.

Dad: Cut the grass this morning.

Jim: But I was going to hike down to Kalo with Richie and Ron. 

Dad: Cut the grass first.

So it was spoken. And done.


Free pedometers for layabout kids? ? You have to sh*tting me.

The Youth Physical Fitness plank in my 2016 presidential campaign platform.:

"Cut the grass you lazy little creeps."

Apr 7, 2014

A once and future life

Three days ago, in the deary morning:

A little later that day;

A few minutes ago:


In a few hours, supper. Eggs over, buckwheats, maple syrup which never saw a truck,  a supermarket, or a fossil-fuel fire

Apr 1, 2014

Second Prelude to a Loophole AAR

Not meaning to over tease, but the loophole isn't actually over yet. The afterglow continues tonight with a rendezvous in the Great Room of the Commandant's Quarters here at Camp Jiggleview of which I am Commandant. Please stay tuned.

Meanwhile, my existential crisis is over, thanks to four astute readers. She stays:

She remains out in the cold:

(Sister Ship)

I sort of hate to pass a dolled-up JMB adaptation in moderately convenient carry size,  but my commenters made their case on romantic and theological grounds. (JAGSC: Savage more huggable. and GMA John warned, Lose the Savage, lose your soul. Both Stephen and Stretch endorsed them in one way or another.) I am grateful for the counsel and will be until I see some friend -- or, worse, a jerk I dislike -- wearing one at a barbecue.

My gratitude, Gentlemen, moves me to award you each a Dr. Lucy:


All is not lost in my mild urge to downsize my main carriable from the big SW 645. The Sig is offered at $800, and I suppose I could resolve to live on Kraft macaroni and cheese for several weeks and just buy the danged thing.

Or I could get off my butt, turn off the computer, quit blogging for a while, and finish the half-done Commander project. The big hangup is lack of a slide for the short AMT frame. If any of you happen to have a spare one for a 4 1/4 barrel, I'll give you a Lucy, too. And some money if you insist.

Feb 25, 2014

Loophole AAR

I don't get to this one often enough, especially considering it is my natal city, a couple of hours southeast. But it was time. I had my buddy's balls* in a can, and he wanted them. The show his club runs was a good excuse to make the delivery.

I didn't run across anything making me giddy enough to toss large denomination Federal Reserve Cartoons around, but it is tasteless to leave a loophole empty-handed, ergo:

For $25 it justifies itself as a high-class paperweight, and who knows when I'll stumble across a box of parts for five bucks at a garage sale.They would need to fit a High-Standard Model A or B from 1934, the year A. HItler flew to Essen for a gigglefest as he watched his former friends bleed out. And speaking of long knives:

Boy Scout, official, USA-made but otherwise unmarked so I can pretend it's a Marble. The condition isn't too bad, but Tenderfoot Teddy couldn't resist using his sharp edge to trim up the sheath. What a creep, but at least his old man didn't  own a three-horsepower Baldor running a 60-grit wheel at 3450 rpms.

This Remington RH 51 came from a Baldor-equipped home in a sheath style I've never seen before, stamped "Remington" and "DuPont." That dates it to 1933 or later and probably pre-1941.

I don't actually get upset at battered knives if they're cheap enough. The patinae, gouges, and grinds just loosen their metaphorical tongues so they can tell me how things were back then, or might have been.


*soft lead, .504

Feb 18, 2014

Jah, but some of them Fokkers is Messerschmidts

Here's a set of dandy  photos that will all but put you in the seat of  1939-1945 war birds.  Click on that Fokker and you can manipulate the picture through 360 degrees or thereabouts.

H/T Alan, via email

Feb 14, 2014

Sic transit cellulose, so you just lay in a lot of it

And while I had the 3-volt Nikon Cockroach in hand, I decided it would be pleasant to record the main stash of propane substitute here at Camp Jiggleview, of which I am commandant. For mid-February, it is nearly ideal, well-plundered but still sufficient to warm us for the remainder of this winter and, mayhap, early in the next.

Feb 2, 2014

Arctical Loopholing and Some Other Weekend Wrapup Reports

The Emmet County, Iowa, sportsman's club knows how to run a loophole, friendly, well organized, and well advertised. The guys even hang around the door offering to help you carry your stuff from vehicle to table.

It suffers only from the dominance of plastic fantastic, but that's a world wide issue, and there was still enough honest walnut and steel to keep a hard-core recalcitrant happy.

The Saturday crowd was large and oddly open-handed. I was forced to cancel my date with Miss Cougar (senior division)  last night due to exhaustion from counting Federal Reserve Cartoons,  not to mention palpating the newly adopted Mossberg  800A. (.308).

The overriding pleasure is the glow of having freed a few cubic feet of gun-room space via a massive conversion of  pure junk to FRCs.


While I was freezing, my daughter and her good man were on a ferry from Puerto Juarez to Isla Mujeres. It's her umpteenth trip. counting her first when she was a toddler and the island was our ultimate destination on a three-week roadie down the Mexican gulf coast. She posted a picture on arrival. Palms and white beach and cervasa and damned if I'm not going to invite myself along next time. Like all Irish-derived humans, she carries a load of guilt around, and I think I can exploit it for selfish purposes.


The winter of malice continues. The current 10 above and predicted 1 below are comparatively benign, but that worm hole through Canada is letting another freeze fart through, and the portent is a 1-below high on Wednesday, followed by minus- teens low.

Why the Hell doesn't the south side of the  jet stream stay up by Moose Jaw where it belongs? Kerry should stop horsing around in Iran and investigate. A strongly worded note to Toronto is the least we should demand.

Only a dork uses the term "enervating," but I'm tempted.

I'm placing my faith in the long range NWS guess that the pattern is changing and could bring actual above-freezing temperatures by a week from today. I used to draw to inside straights, too.

Jan 29, 2014

Brigid on tools. Not only graceful, but wonderfully ludditarian for the most part,  both the implements and the attitude for getting along happily without undue leaning on other people.

Jan 25, 2014

Mid-Winter Symphony; Minor Chords

1. The disasters continue.  The 15-year-old Sunbeam quit this morning. An emergency trip to WalMart for replacement. Naah. ...  Head for Starbucks? Likewise,  and besides, there isn't one in a hundred miles (another good reason to live here) . ...  Go without coffee? Unthinkable. ... Dump a handful of grounds in a two-quart pan and let 'er boil? Bingo.

 2. Someone is stealing firewood in New Hampshire.  (Live Cold or Steal). A propane dealer in Nebraska is advising customers to burn wood. My Senator Grassley has written a courageous letter to the FTC, requesting public servants there to be on watch for propane price-gouging and other immoralities.

3. The Great of Room of the quarters here at Camp Jiggleview, of which In am Commandant,  is 76 degrees courtesy of a slow  oaken fire, boiling Folgers, and a little watery January sunshine beaming in through the big south window.

4. Today and early tomorrow won't be too bad, then comes a howling three-day-dirge -- the highest temperature to be zero  and the low 19 below. Winds will turn a small Kia into a viable box kite.

5.  During the coming week the average daily high advances one more degree, to 27, and the average low from 7 to 8. For the remainder of my mortal days I shall  defecate on statistics.

Jan 24, 2014

The Renaissance Libertarian Shivers

It is a little chillier than I like here in the Commandant's Quarters this morning, too cold for comfortable showering.

That happens from time to time in wicked cold weather when I don't take proper care of my wood burner. It runs far less efficiently when it wants its ashes hauled, and that chore is overdue.

The ordinary solution is technology.  A lazy twist of the propane dial quickly brings things up to a toasty 77 or so. That's exactly what occurred about 5 a.m., despite yesterday's news that propane had spiked to a painful $3 per gallon. Making my regular morning news scan about 5:05 a.m, I learned that the going price is suddenly  $5. I madly twisted the dial the other way, killing the main flame and the pilot.

I turned on some electricity  (expensive, but cheaper than propane at the going Adam Smith-determined price),  stirred the coals, and put on a hat. As I type, the mercury is 70 and rising. Propane sellers weep.

I've modified the daily tactical plan. First light will find a clean firebox and a  hearth full of special emergency high-output cellulose -- thinner splits of oak and even a piece or two of old cedar fence post. Take that propane hustlers.

An hour later the Command Thermodynamic Production and  Control Center will be ready for normal fueling with big billets of hard wood. I shal then resume the grace of normal life, a breakfast of organic,  free-range eggs shirred with hummingbird tongues and Benedictine in preparation for rigorous fencing practice to a background of Vivaldi.

So it's no real problem, just a flurry of inconvenience. That's offset by a timely object lesson in the extreme ludditarian and free-market positions I've been ranting about lately.

(a) The cure for $5 propane is $5 propane. The more people who turn off the valve, the quicker the cure works. (b) Implementing (a) requires an alternative. In this case it is wood and, to a small extent, grid watts. Beyond that, there is the Knipco heater. Further yet (power failure?) the old Kerosun still works and doesn't need electricity.

So I'm several steps away from spending my days in bed, huddled under a blanket, whining about the evil forces of capitalism making me miserable, dreaming of going on network teevee, telling the world of my misery which, of course, ain't my fault no how.


Footnote 1: If I did decide to tell it to the cameras, I could blame Obama. Or Goldwater. But I suppose Bush would get me the most nods of statist agreement, and a guy can't go wrong reaching for a high Neilson rating.

Footnote 2:  I hope I'm not alarming my family. If worse comes to worst, there's enough gas in the tank to make it to mid-March, at least, when the sun shines warmer and the Invisible Hand tells the propane industry: too much. That gas was sold to me some 13 months ago at c.$1.25 per gallon.

Footnote 3: Betcha my state and local regulators secretly love it. A 300-gallon propane fill at $5 would render unto them $105 in sales tax. Do that enough times and you can build all sorts of neat new bicycle trails and sincere people to adminster them.

Jan 22, 2014

The Renaissance Man Knows

Just teasing -- getting ready for one or more really tiresome  screeds.

With a free math application (newspeak "app" -- oldspeak: "program")  on every magic telephone, why would a guy burden himself by memorizing multiplication tables?

And with advanced technology like this:

Why the heck should anyone bother with learning to tie a tautline hitch?

Security code: Unit of Self-Sufficiency

Jan 20, 2014

Miss Mossberg of 1948...

(...or so)

Hardly anyone sets out to collect Mossberg .22 rifles. Among firearms aesthetes it's declasse, like acquiring a hoard of museum quality Vegomatics.

I think that's a shame, though I concede that Winchester, Remington, and Browning made prettier rifles for the 1930-1950s mid-price market, good shooters, light and with finer "feel" and more graceful lines than the slightly cheaper Mossies.

O.F. Mossberg and Sons hardly ever played the anorexria game. Steel was cheap, and what are a few  more ounces in a tool designed to contain explosions and deliver energy precisely and consistently?  So some of them could look a bit clunky, like the 144ls or the 151.

I have a near-ugly 151* on the rack, seldom cleaned and never treated to spa day. It sometimes goes afield when the population of dirt clods gets out of hand. It kills them quickly and reliably, hardly ever bitching about the kind of ammunition it is fed.

Trading off the 144 ls was one of my all-time great errors. In the 70s I was mildly interested in four-position, 50-foot bullseye shooting, and it yielded nothing to Winchester 52 shooters (although I often did).

The other one I love is the fake Tommy Gun. I've mentioned I picked up a nice one recently to replace another I gave to a nephew. She's been my companion on the two marginally decent plinking days of this evil January.

Mossberg 152. Not for sale. Or trade. Or gifting.

I may even waste time rooting around in old gun magazine for paper copies of contemporary ads.

This one is from late in the 1948-57 production period.  The flipper became plastic about 1954.

Even in those calmer days you had to cut ad writers some slack. While the 152 was about the size and heft of the M1 Carbine, the forearm made it a Thompson to its target demographic -- imaginative 12-year-kids.

Minor geekery: The same flip-down marketing ploy was used on the bolt-action Model 142. The 152 came with a "peep" sight, the 152 K with opens.  The scoped option never sold well.  Most retail prices were a  few pennies under $30. Factory magazines held seven rounds, and they are now hard to find. Triple K aftermarkets hold 10 and cost $42 with shipping. Mine required tinkering with a file to even seat, then a little more to feed -- which is still does only about two-thirds of the time. After that dreary drill I ran across an OEM.


*The 151 and some others reflect a period in O.F.'s history when it had a serious love affair with Mannlicher stocks and Monte Carlo cheek pieces.  If you like retro-Kraut look, fine. If not you wonder, "what the hell? It's a ,22."

Jan 18, 2014

A warmup; anarchy; a little light porn for desert rats

Assemble the trumpet chorus of tall vestals in flowing white gowns.  We need to rehearse for the big day tomorrow.

At the coordinates of Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant,  winter is being put to rout. Statistically anyway. On January 19, the average daily high advances. From 25 to 26. Ta da.

As soon as the girls are in good tune, if will come time to unpack my spring fashion ensemble, even to the Speedo in anarchy black.


Anarchy could be a lot of fun, and I have a soft spot in my heart for anarchists, even somewhat dreamy ones like John Zerzan. The internet persona he projects is one of a nice, very thoughtful,  guy who dead centers some of our post-modernist (what the Hell does that mean? dunno.)  ills.

He's part of the anarcho-primitivist school, yearning for a return to the hunter-gatherer system of economics.That makes him a romanticist Luddite, just like me when my reality connections are a little corroded. In some of my nicer fantasies I battle the sabre-tooth tiger approaching my woman in our cave.  She looks a lot like Kim Novak. I always win.

Philosophically, the dream breaks down the next morning when my clan huddles to plan the death of a nice, juicy, mammoth. Quite naturally, I am the leader -- in 20th Century terms the Minister of Plenty. There goes the egalitarianism that Zerzanites like so much.

There are probably some serious Zerzan students among the readers. I've been only vaguely aware of him and his work, but something  triggered a net wander this morning. I think I'll read more of his stuff. He seems too smart to have fallen completely for the serene glamour of the noble savage, and he makes a decent point or two about the dehumanizing effect of this and that in the digital age.


Also before I hie myself off to work, I need to pacify my buddy John of the GMA, a commendable man but also a dude always grumping about the aesthetics of my WWCO selections -- most recently Twiggy of London. He wonders why I didn't choose Whatzername. I'll tell you why, Pardner. Because my apology to Bernanke had substance enough only for an A-Cup.  Anything larger would have been a waste of good silk and wire.

But since you insist: