Apr 30, 2012

Social solecisms

After the awards ceremony, we had a family lunch at a Des Moines brew pub. One of my heirs and assigns had just accepted an academic award and shaken hands with the  governor and with Lieutenant Governor Kimberly Reynolds.  She was generally unknown until  Gov. Branstad picked her as running mate. My son idly wondered, "Where did she come from?" I replied helpfully, "Out of left field."

Then, never one to shut up at opportune times, I noted that she's at least the third consecutive female loot gov because we found out that if we put "them" there we never have to give "one" an important job.

I'll probably try not to say that again while sitting at a table with three lovely and liberated ladies. :)


(Turns out she's the fifth.)

Apr 26, 2012

Vintage Gun Porn in Progress

You would never do such a thing to a U.S. Springfield Model of 1903 today. Once upon a time, though, the gun world was tripping over them. In the 50s they traded for $20 or so, and every would-be gun smith in the country "sporterized" at least one.

In its original 1941 form it would have been a classic relic of a wild time in American history, the year we knew we would certainly have to fight Nazis and Fascists. And maybe Japanese.

It was the year when our recruits outnumbered our rifles. We turned to the private arms industry. This example, in the 3,1xx xxx range, was built by Remington on machinery from Rock Island Arsenal which had been in cosmoline for more than 20 years. It was still a 1903 in every important respect -- machined steel, walnut, no short cuts. Over the next two years the 03s evolved into the 1903A3 -- around serial number 3,300,000.

The barreled action came to me a number of years ago, already kitchen-tabled beyond restoration. Over the years I've ground, polished, and rebarreled  with an unissued 1944 High Standard tube. (Shortened to  22 inches.)

The auction-bargain stock is by Bishop, a utilitarian model, laughingly sold as "semi-inletted."  Indeed, by a distracted high school dropout swinging an Estwing.

But all yields to work, sharp chisels, and judicious use of Accraglas. You don't forget the evening the action slipped snugly into place and, at last, stayed right where it was as you tightened the stock screws.

Perhaps the walnut was not too utilitarian. A certain amount of figure appeared as the heavily oversized stock was trimmed, and it demanded an old-time finish. I used a few coats of warm and thinned linseed oil, rubbed in with the hands, then let it dry for a long time, days or weeks. I finished with plain old Johnson paste wax, as many coats as I have patience for. This one has about a dozen. When it gets smudgy a wipedown restores the subdued glow. When it gets thin it's time for another coat or two.

The pictures fail to do justice to last week's bluing work by a genius named Jeff.

It's not quite done. I'm unhappy with the aftermarket safety and will replace it. I haven't chosen the sighting system.  The Redfield peep would be in keeping with her heritage, but, then, so would the Weaver K4. We'll see.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

The TSA: A fun place to work

Francesco Canesco is probably no more of a terroristic threat to you, me, and the Republic than any other congressperson. And even if he is, his sins are not of the sort that can be uncovered by twiddling his willy. The TSA does not get this.

Rep. Canesco says a TSA agent at the San Antonio airport became too friendly with his privates, so he pushed the groping hand aside and accused him of assault. The federal cop said, "No. You assaulted me." Supervisors calmed the whole thing down.

A week later the incident was repeated, and we can forgive even an elected official for complaining that he's been placed on the TSA list of those who must be palpated often and deeply because:

The TSA has a history of bearing grudges against commuters who issue complaints against the agency. A mother who was detained in a glass cell by TSA agents in Phoenix in 2010 said the incident was retribution for a previous complaint regarding confiscation of her breast milk.

In full fairness, we shouldn't overlook the possibility that pervs of the homosexual persuasion are over-represented in the San Antonio TSA corps and that they simply find  Congressman Canesco very hot. That's the price of fame and beauty, Congressman.

Anyway, it's all something to think about for the next time you put your 12-year-old grandson on a flight to San Antonio.

CNBC enlightens us this morning about the oil market. Production is lately stable, and so is demand. We Yanks are actually using quite a little less, and China's economy is said to be slowing enough to dampen demand in the Middle Kingdom.

So why the still goofily high gasoline prices ($3.70 in my neighborhood)?

The CNBC expert reminds us we're being extorted to the tune of 15 per cent by "geopolitical" concerns.  He probably pulled the number from a sunless region, but the underlying point seems correct. People who buy, sell, and use oil are scared witless that AIPAC will be able to rent the United States armed forces in order to spend a pleasant few months bombing Iran, Syria, and Egypt. Maybe Lebanon and Jordan, too, just in case, y'know.

It might not hurt  to send a nice letter to your congressman suggesting that United States aims may not be perfectly aligned with those of the Tel Aviv politicians. If you can enclose a nice campaign contribution -- say, a sum requiring two or more commas -- it certainly would help.


This also argues for building the Keystone pipeline. Canada is a relatively benign little country, well-oiled but with no desire to blow up all of our Christians. Its outrages run to the order of the Toronto Blue Jays and Giselle McKenzie, and we can certainly live with that, can't we?