Dec 31, 2009


My sympathy for the bereaved families is as sincere as humanly possible.

And so is my feeling that things just took a sharp turn for the worse in Afghanistan. The stiff personal pride of the agency and its well-known appetite for revenge are now important ingredients in the Mulligan stew of the Middle East.

Happy New Year; Now Let's Get Organized

A.D. 2009 was what it was, and the chore now is to manage A.D. 2010. I just re-read my greeting from a year ago, and it still seems pertinent .

There's a good deal of plain wise-assery in The McGee Reader, and no change is foreseen. But crude and vulgar bile promulgated to the public should rest on some kind of philosophical and intellectual basis, to wit:

Three kinds of people exist.

(1) authoritarians -- the stunted cretins who wish to use government to dictate the manner in which you live your life

(2) libertarians -- the opposite, believers in personal sovereignty who suspect that things like the United States Constitution mean pretty much what they say

(3) inerts -- those who, in return for potted chickens, put authoritarians in power

Happy New Year, friends.

The Obamian Mindset

A number of writing techniques can be effective in trying to keep Our Leaders honest, from the short and snarky clipped phrase to the long and elegant and closely reasoned essays we sometimes see in the blog world and the non-statist press.

The snark prevalent in this gunny corner of blogville is the most fun for most of us, but sometimes I welcome an extended treatment of the current disorder, and so I suggest you trot over to the Old Grouch corner for his relay of a take on our current leadership as the spawn of a not-very-thoughtful protest culture.

(I can't seem to isolate the post, so the link gets you to the top of the blog. The item referred to is at the moment the third one down, introduced by OG as from the comments section of still another blog.)

Dec 30, 2009

Idly posted

Hey kids, next time you're waiting in line at the airport and telling your buddy about your new super streamliner motorcycle, I strongly suggest you do not refer it it as a crotch rocket.

Dec 28, 2009


One of Marlin's lesser-known .22 rimfires, the Model 38, built from c. 1920-1930.  It is a slight variation on the earlier Model 32.  This is the octagon barrel version with a very quick takedown; you slide what appears to be a tang safety backwards a little and you instantly have half a rifle in each hand. And that's probably why I own this  example. At a 2006 auction the  front half appeared  in a cardboard  box with seven or eight old SW, H&R, and Iver Johnson revolvers --  project or parts  guns. Sixty-five bucks bought all, and then, three weeks ago,  Marlin serendipity  batted  her lovely eyes. A fellow  I know delivered a complete back half. I doubt this one  is likely to be for sale. Some things just look right, feel right, shoot right. You keep them  -- gun, horse, truck,or woman. :)

The gun content here is a little thin, but it occurred to me that I could conceal some running gear on this  Walnut whazis  with a once-fired  Ma Deuce empty, trimmed to specifications deemed field expedient.

It was  a special order from a little girl I know. Merry Christmas.

Dec 27, 2009

Speaking of the Whine-Soaked

Jinglebob goes on a rant which, really folks, ought to be printed in school text books. Without apology.

Dec 26, 2009

But Captain, I really gotta....

It's early in the story. In due course we'll know enough to make better assessments than my current one, maybe:

The clown's father came to the U.S. Government and said his kid was wiggy in a terrorist fashion. Our leaders said well gee thanks and went off to dip shrimps at the nearest reception.

Because of that you'd better have one Hell of a lot of bladder control if you forget yourself and have a cup of coffee a couple of hours before scheduled touchdown. And imagine the agony if you're flying into O'Hare and are awarded one of those extended stays in the pattern over Skokie.

The next hot business opportunity is a chain of Depends dispensers in the nation's airports.

Dec 25, 2009

Dashing through...

Christmas morning, 2009. The Bell Drifter lives in plain view outside the big north window, reminding me of kindlier times to come.

Dec 24, 2009

The Most Awesomest News Reporting Ever Award

That's the subject line on email from a friend who happens to be one of the sane toilers in the MSM. The substance is from an early Des Moines Register lead on the current storm of our imminent doom:

...and just how bad is it going to be?

"It's going to be pretty bad," said ... a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The Primer Shortage Explained

Brits are demonstrating their competitive spirit by popping too many Christmas crackers which are fueled by fulminate of silver.* Not only that, sceptered scientists** have just released results of a grueling study which provide a surefire method of getting the good poppy end and leaving Mum with the fizzle, no matter how hard she worked on the Christmas goose.

Aren't you really glad we won that 1776-83 spat?

*Don't be picky. It could be primer compound.

**Yes, these would be the grandsons and granddaughters of Winston's Wizards, who developed radar and many other devices for annoying the Nazi's.

From the vomitorium

The AP reports on the Amsoc victory lap:

The occasion was moving for many who'd followed Kennedy, who died in August.

"He's having a merry Christmas in Heaven," Sen. Paul Kirk, D-Mass., appointed to fill Kennedy's seat, told reporters after the tally. Kirk said he was "humbled to be here with the honor of casting essentially his vote.

Kirk, you pretentious old blowhard, Christmas Magic is for tiny children, and the dead are denied the vote, by proxy or otherwise.

The Christmas of Ought-Nine

Yukina roves the land. She may make me miss Christmas with my kids, but she ain't gettin' my Life Force.

Dec 23, 2009

Real Government Reform

This is not totally original,of course, but that doesn't mean it's a bad or outdated idea:

1. On January 1-3 of each year the Gallup organization shall poll the citizens of the Republic with a single question: "What was the stupidest law passed by the congress last year?"

2. When the winner is determined, the names of all representatives and senators who voted on the prevailing side of said bill shall be placed in a hat from which the names of one (1) senator and one (1) representative shall be drawn.

3. Said senator and said representative shall be shot.

4. States shall be encouraged by generous federal tax exemptions to emulate the federal reform program among their own legislative bodies.

Dec 22, 2009

Flying home for Christmas?

Travis McGee on a winter flight to O'Hare:

Passengers reached up and put their lights on. The sky had lumps and holes in it. It becomes tight sphincter time in the sky when they don't insert the ship into the pattern and get it down, but go around again. Stewardesses walk tippy-dainty, their color not good in the inside lights, their smiles sutured so firmly in place it pulls their pretty faces more distinctly against the skull-shape of pretty bones. Even with the buffeting there is an impression of silence inside the aircraft at such times. People stare outward, but they are looking inward, tasting of themselves and thinking of promises and defeats. The busy air is full of premonitions, and one thinks with a certain comfort of old Satchel's plug in favor of air travel: "They may kill you, but they ain't likely to hurt you."


"One Fearful Yellow Eye" P. 1

The media, part (mumble dozen)

AP real estate writer Alan Zibel tell us this morning that homes sales "surged" last month, "reflecting an extraordinary level of federal support that has pulled the housing market back from the worst downturn since the Great Depression."

Not quite, Al, and your own choice of words suggests the contradiction.

"Federal support " of a "market" is a serious oxymoron. Governments may disrupt markets, or distort them, or end them altogether. If fact, governments often do. But markets either support themselves or they are something other than markets.

This federal support you cite reflects the will of federal regulators who decide which citizens may or may not receive mortgages with which to buy homes. The same gaggle also decides what homes are worth in dollars, largely by controlling the current and expected value of the currency .

One proper lead (there are others, of course) could have been written thusly: "Home transfers rose in November as unprecedented federal spending further eroded confidence in the American dollar, accelerating the flight from the greenback to tangible assets."

You'd need a little evidence to back that up, but God knows it isn't hard to find.

He said vas?

Sixty-five years ago today Germans demand the surrender of the surrounded and badly outnumbered 101st Airborne Division. In Bastogne, Acting Commmander Brig. Gen, Anthony C. McAuliffe officially replies "Nuts. " The allies, principally Americans, go on to straighten out the bulge.

Greatest generation? I don't know. But certainly a higher proportion of good men than the whine-soaked boomers who came along later.

Dec 21, 2009

There are too many generations of pious-tongued Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians between me and my Celtic heritage. In old Ireland I could cuss like a man and insult effectively.

American English has no match for the majestic "gobshite." Nothing to even approach "richfokkenturd."


EDIT: Yes, I am reading Greeley, specifically "Irish Gold."

Let's Be Careful Out There

The mysterious solstice can bring bad things. For instance, 143 years ago today Captain William Fetterman decided he was smarter than his commanding officer, smarter than Red Cloud, smarter than Roman Nose. A couple of hours later he was dead, which probably constituted no harm to the Republic. But the gobshite took 79 good men with him.

It was part of Red Cloud's War. It happened because the government of the United States, a la Kelo, decided to exercise a little eminent domain against some people who weren't buying the concept and were brave enough to resist it.

Dec 20, 2009

Ratting Out to Santa

Hi Kids! Merry Christmas!

In Storm Lake, Iowa, Santa's best helpers sport Hi-Cap 9mms and .40s on their shiny leather belts. And they keep track of all the times you wet the bed and pull Sister's hair. Then they get on their Motorolas and tell Santa all about it.

"Storm Lake public safety team members escorted Santa to the kindergarten class at St. Mary's school on Thursday. Students learned Santa has a two way police and fire radio in his sleigh. That's so he can communicate with public safety personnel worldwide to compile the naughty and nice list." (Credit Radio KICD)

I've been trying without success to think of a sicker concept. 10-4?

Dec 19, 2009

Porn and Prophecy

I'm okay on the Nostradamic content of that last post, not perfect, but well in the money.

USA Today fulfills my specific prophecy, albeit in a somewhat qualified fashion. It leads with Obama snatching a "partial victory from the jaws of defeat." I figure that's close enough so that I don't have to osculate any one's bum, but I also think I owe you a consolation prize for not nailing it 100 per cent. Here it is, free Danish porn.

On the basis of the same story I'm awarding myself a small number of bonus points. No one has yet called the President's frantic Copenhagen Jig a "learning moment," but a minion, Senate Critter Kerry, did call it a "catalyzing moment. "

Dec 18, 2009

It's Obama by a nose

A breathless bulletin out of Copenhagen announces His Obamaness finally gave away enough of the store to get a "climate" agreement out of China, India, and a couple of well known also-rans. No details for us peasants because "it hasn't been announced yet."

The President spent the entire day in a near panic to get something -- damned near anything -- written down so he could sign it. Keystone Kops diplomacy.

I'll bet he or a minion calls it a learning moment, and so it is, a moment in which we learn He is far more interested in meeting artificial deadlines than creating useful policy. Assuming the rest of the Denmark giggle group goes along, The Obama will soon be able to announce a victory, and the adoring press will do the rest for him.

If there isn't at least one major story in the next couple of days worshipping him for jerking victory from the jaws of defeat, I'll kiss your ass on a rowboat in front of The Little Mermaid and loan you my camera to record the moment.

Dec 17, 2009

The Libertarian Party

I love my Big-L Libertarian friends, roly-poly puppies so cute you don' t even care that they pee on the carpet a lot. Howard Stern. Bob Barr. And an institutional prose style which is both Frank and Earnest.

I hadn't checked their official news site for a long time but just saw that they've taken to reporting in every press release that Libertarians make up "the third largest political party in America."

If I happen to be running an empty bar room when Bill Gates and Warren Buffet step in for a beer, I am the third richest man in the joint.

Theatrical hopes abandoned

I bit down too hard on an ill-popped kernel last week and crunched a canine, increasing my tattoo:tooth ratio. It had been questionable for a long time. The break and its aftermath were painless. I can still chew a three-dollar steak.

So I decided that since it's about time for a "Deliverance" remake, I should just call up a Hollywood agent and announce my availability to be one of the guys sittin' and whittlin' and spittin' while the banjo answers the guitar.

Then I decided naawww. Smilin' is too much fun. I see my dentist in an hour.

How regrettably bourgeois of me.

Dec 16, 2009

Evil Morning Growl

Hi, My name is Jim and I am a Mediacom customer.

This is the sixth day of either no email or squirrelly, as in delivery delays of up to 24 hours, total loss, duplicates, and bounceback of personal mail as spam.

This occurs after copious smiley-face announcements from Mediacom promising that transition to its new and improved email system would be like political ethics, that is, barely noticeable.

A Warm Morning Smile

Street demonstrations didn't impress me in the 60s and 70s, and they still don't. Cops beating on street protesters impress me even less. Still, I can't help grinning at this morning's AP headline from Copenhagen:

Climate talks deadlocked as clashes erupt outside

Gee, maybe Goreism isn't destined to be the universal religion of the future.

Dec 15, 2009

Australia Fair

Down Under has decided to go for it, purity in thought, deed, and download. Despite disarming every law-abiding citizen in the nation, the government remains fearful.

The Aussie feds announce this week that they will seek new laws requiring ISPs to block "harmful material. " So far -- and as far as the politicians down there admit -- the definition covers pretty much just child porn, violent sex, and details on how to do bad criminal things. (Say, adjust the sights on a Daisy Red Ryder?)

By natural authoritarian progression, the definition will expand to any internet statement disputing the official government position that government is not an ass.

Coincidentally, Aussie scientists have discovered a small octopus smart enough to drag two coconut half shells home and reassemble them into a nice hideout.

Next time Australia is looking for a leader, I suggest the octopus.

Dec 14, 2009

Shooting: Pre-Weaver

Two large hands encasing one svelte Huntsman is just wrong. The urge is...

 turn 90 degrees to the target, slip your left hand in your pocket, convert the shooting arm into oaken bough, inhale, let it half out, and squeeeeezzze.

Don't laugh. It's vintage. A shooting style with a patina.

Dec 13, 2009

Killing Police Officers

AP Reporter Colleen Long , our reporter of the Times Square Maching Pistol, has another gun-related story on the national wires. After a colorful and apparently accurate lead recalling several fatal shootings of police officers she writes: " Across the nation, 2009 was a particularly perilous year for officers involved in gun disputes."

Her basis for the headline grabbing claim is a "24 per cent increase" in police slayings through early December 2009 compared to the same 2008 period -- 47 officers killed this year against 38 last.

The numbers are apparently correct, but she slips into that muddy junction linking small-number statistics to general conclusions. For instance, one way to have written the same thing would say the marginal number of officers (9) killed in 2009 versus 2008 amounted to (decimal) .000001 for the 900,000 officers in the nation, far less dramatic, of course, than a 24 per cent increase.

There should be a slightly warmer corner of Hell reserved for thugs who shoot honest and decent cops, but officers dying in the line of duty is not an argument for general gun grabbing. To be fair, Coleen doesn't make that argument, although she does write: "The availability of guns compounds the problem, criminologists say," failing, however, quote any actual criminologists on the matter.

An impulse to balance takes hold, however. Colleen immediately goes on to note that Pennsylvania, with laws Sarah Brady loves, has more police killings than the redneck places Sarah hates.

One paragraph approaches the meat of the argument: "Contributing to this year's spike are cases in which several officers were shot and killed in groups — the four officers last month outside Seattle; the four officers in Oakland, Calif., in March; three officers in Pittsburgh in April; and two officers in Okaloosa County, Fla., in April."

Yes indeedy. To wit:

--The four Lakewood officers were killed by a professional criminal turned loose from a 108-year prison sentence by a fellow named Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.

--The four Oakdale officers were gunned down by another parolee.

--The Pittsburgh killer of three cops had domestic abuse related non-contact order against him and was booted from the Marine Corps after just three weeks for, his friends say, assaulting a sergeant. The Marines won't specify the kind, but the friends say it was a dishonorable discharge.

Keeping track? That accounts for 11 of the 2009 deaths, two more than were required for Coleen's "24 per cent increase." And at least eight of those, possibly all 11, were killed by men clearly barred from firearms use by the laws of every state in the union and by the the federal government.

I offer this lengthy set of observations for your convenience, useful the first time you hear the AP story quoted as justification for some new weapons ban.

Dec 12, 2009

Urban Shooter

A Facebook friend joined this guy's group. Judging from the web site, Pastor Kenn might be a useful and interesting counterweight to those - metrocons - who are accused of being insufficiently zealous on gun rights. I have no opinion on him, just passing along word of a possible ally.

I still can't type "metrocon" without giggling.

The Times Square Machine Pistol

Reporter Colleen Long probably got at least two things wrong, and at least one editor let her get away with it.

1. The Mac 10 may or may not have been the "machine pistol" she called it, but the odds are extremely high that it was just the semiautomatic version of the gun. Coleen, "machine pistol" is a term reserved for fully automatic weapons, and they are not available to anyone who walks into a gun store in Virginia. If this one happened to be a true machine pistol, it was sold to the woman only after a special background check, registration, and a hefty excise tax.

2. Coleen tells us New York crooks go to southern gun shows "where there are no required background checks for people buying secondhand weapons."
This is, of course, flatly wrong. A licensed dealer requires the legal paper work and background checks for all firearms, new or used. Colleen is confused because transfers among private citizens do not require the federal records and background checks, and this is true whether the transactions happen in a gun show, a living room, or a a target range. The lesson here, and I am going to shout, is:


I know I'm preaching to the armed choir here, mostly in hope that these journalisticly inconvenient truths might catch the eye of a stray news person here and there.

And Coleen, a small hint from a veteran ink-stained wretch: When you're unsure about things -- like whether a firearm is or is not a "machine pistol" -- and the deadline pressure doesn't give you time to check, quote a cop or other "authority" on the matter. He may be just as wrong as you are, but the embarrassment for error is on his shoulders, not yours, and our once-honorable profession looks the better.

An idle aside: I wonder if j-schools have decided it's no longer necessary to mention the concept of attribution.

EDIT: It was the semi-auto version. Ain't no machine pistols 'round here, Boss.

Dec 10, 2009

Editor and Publisher

We used it to fish for jobs. It told us who got promoted. A dab hand at reading between the lines could use it to figure out who was about to be fired. It kept us up to date on which media baron was foraging for a fresh Goss. But most of all it demanded that we think about what we were doing as we went about the mundane business of telling the world what it was like.

Dirk Smilly of Forbes writes part of the obit:

With a stodgy layout and, until recently, retro typeface, the monthly journal was one of the most respected sources of news about the newspaper business. Over the years it covered the triumphs of Pulitzer Prize winners, the trials of kidnapped journalists in the Middle East, efforts to crack down on checkbook journalism and the ethical problems posed by tabloid values seeping into news.

The world will be a poorer place when the last E&P rolls off the presses. It may be even more saddening that so few understand exactly what was lost.

Our 'Bama Which Art

I suppose most of you have heard that President Obama was to be awarded a Nobel Peace prize. And now It has happened, moving an AP man to write this lead:

OSLO – President Barack Obama entered the pantheon of Nobel Peace Prize winners Thursday with humble words, acknowledging his own few accomplishments while delivering a robust defense of war and promising to use the prestigious award to "reach for the world that ought to be."


Yes, we're all aware of the figurative use of language, but I wonder if it's really a good idea for our media to reinforce His cosmic image of Himself.

With windy paeans like this routinely disgracing the pen of honest journalism, His Obamaness can certainly afford to keep his own words humble.

Dec 9, 2009


Windburst, saving the trouble of sweeping snow from the van.


Cheery enough inside at first light. Beyond the window pane is the blizzard which still has about eight hours to run.

December 9, 2009

Survival kit

Part of the emergency backup fuel supply which I fervently hope isn't needed this year. This photo shows the sheltered side of the guest cabin.

December 9, 2009

The Royal O

Loopy leftist Congressman Conyers is rather well known for saying what ever loony thing pops into his head, even if if it "demeans" His Obamaness. And when the President reacts with a telephone call to the Detroit congressperson and orders him to stop "demeaning" him, we have something to worry about.


Mr. President:

George Washington (you can Google him if necessary) turned down dozens of proposals to refer to himself as "Your Excellency" or similar royal appellations. He thought the chief executive was entitled to a "Mister," just like any other citizen, deserving of a generalized respect, personal courtesy, and, during office hours, an effort by all to establish good working relationships. I doubt that the American citizenry will be well served if you continue to insist on all that plus the sacredness of your person.


Blue jacket with logo report

The temperature at our studios is three degrees. Our predicted high for the day is three degrees. Winds are out of the north-northeast at 20 to 40 miles per hour with higher gusts, causing widespread blowing and drifting pschitt.

This area code is closed.

Dec 8, 2009

Retro beauty

I left the television set on as what ever I was watching segued into an ancient episode of "Maverick" in black and white. He's macho, she's lovely, but the ecstasy is the picture itself. Even on my antique low-def electric teevee I can almost count her individual eyebrow hairs, and the cinematographer, a genius, captured every possible shade of the gray scale.

Color pleases the eye. Black and white reveals the soul.

The Cash Culture Dooms America

Nothing threatens orderly government and citizen safety like the great wads of cash increasingly carried by largely untrained Americans. Wouldn't it be a fine public service for the Bloomington (Indiana) Herald Times to identify dangerous persons who surreptitiously carry dozens of unregistered bills -- some of them valued at fifty dollars, some even more?

All authorities agree unregistered cash facilitates crime, from prostitution to drugs to tax evasion to moronic instant gratification. It should be reserved for trained experts, bankers, mortgage brokers, and members of the Congress of the United States.

I mention the Bloomington newspaper because, as Caleb reports, it has shown bold leadership in publishing the whereabouts of dangerous citizens, and I foresee much good if it expands it effort to those who refuse to limit themselves to credit cards, debit cards, and a few emergency coins for the pay toilets.

Imagine, a map of Bloomington blocks with several of those scuzzy little google-map location icons marking the vicinity of houses known to harbor folks who keep the most cash around.

Dec 7, 2009

Tora Tora Tora

Leave it to Travis McGee to get things right. He marked this day as one which will, with each passing year, seem ever more quaint. The little tin airplanes bomb the sleeping giants and the world rushes giddily off to war.

This blog was born of an impulse to remember the attack. Oriental militants who gave an intense new meaning to the term jingo decided that your fathers and mine were simply too dangerous to their plan to loot all of the Far East.

It took a few years. American men and women gave up much. In the end they conquered the North Pacific and provided the margin of victory everywhere else.

I don't know if they were the greatest generation, but it seems to me they were the last competent one. The last stand of the kind of American to whom self-reliance was the worthiest goal. Most of them are dead, so I don't know for sure what they would say about what we have done with the gift they gave us. But I suspect they would not praise a people who create the entitlement culture of Amsoc.


Since it is my blog: Uncle Amzie, Uncle Gene, Uncle George, Mr. Earl Stouffer, Dr. M.B. Smith, Mr. Tom Hartigan, and all the others: Thank you.

Dec 6, 2009

The Arming of America; The Warming of the World

This is from NJT and rates a read.

In 2002, for about one nanosecond and thanks to the exposure of Bellesailles, the entire sentient world was willing to concede that academia houses as many frauds as any other profession. I hope for the same -- with a little longer shelf life -- in the wake of the email that suggests that the global warming panic owes its existence to hot air from and hanky panky by alleged scientists anxious for their own 15 minutes.

An aside: Bellesailles has just this year found steady work again. He's teaching history at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. This fact is offered as a public service for parents helping their children choose a place of higher learning.

Dec 4, 2009

You and Roman Polanski

You have something in common.

The Eye of Big Brother is poised to spot you, all day every day, even if you don't wear the modish ankle decor which Roman sports these days.* At least he knows he is a scorpion in a glass cage because he rapes little girls.

All you do is use the normal accessories of 21st Century life, cell phones, the Internet, etc. Turns out that Sprint/Nextel thinks it's quite nice to let the cops in on the secret of where you go, when you go there, and how long you stay. In case the cops get curious about why, the nice IT kids have whole departments to scoop clues to the government snoop -- emails, texts, google search terms, all that.

Do I hear in the distance, "Pitch forks, peasants, pitch forks."?


*And , come to think of it, even if you live in a city which hasn't yet decided to circumvent all guarantees of the Constitution and install traffic surveillance cameras which permit the picking of your pocket without the inconvenience of courts and judges and such.


H/Tip to Tam

EDIT: I need to add a credit.

Roman Polanski

I assume all of caterwauling Hollywood celebrates the release of this child raper to his palace in the mountains of the Gstaad countryside. Personally, I question the goodness of kowtowing to a fugitive who used his fame and money to lure a 13-year-old girl to a place where he could juice her up on champagne and then drug her preparatory to the rape.

Parents With Pitch Forks deserves jurisdiction in this case. If there is no such organization, there should be.

Dec 3, 2009

I have an idea

Let us amend the Constitution to permit any citizen to temporarily secede from the Union when government engages in conduct so asinine as to cause acute embarrassment. He or she would be required to resume citizenship only when a national poll results in a plurality agreeing that government has been returned to the hands of grown-up sentients.

(I have just consumed news reports of the congressional hearing on our narrowly averted night of horror at the hands of Michaele Salahi.)

St. Cloud AAR

The St. Cloud gun show is a winner, especially if you're able to stay at the MSM-owned and operated bed and (superlative) breakfast where you also get your second irresistible belt-stretcher of the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks kids.

The show itself is good if somewhat small for the size of the community, just beginning to shake its reputation as a flea market and craft fair with shooting stuff on every third or fourth table.

I've mentioned before that I tend to like small shows if I'm in a buying frame of mind, and I left St. Cloud with a small sack of goodies and a couple of mongrels, each converted to .308 from their original weird Yurpeen calibers.

The MAS 1936 (never fired, dropped once, or other Frog joke of your choice) is not an ugly rifle to my eye. I don't mind the squared receiver , and somehow the forward-bent bolt just looks right to me. This one appears (arsenal refurbished) new and probably unfired since the .308 conversion back in the 50s 0r 60s. The conversion is supposed by some to be marginally sloppy, and I'll take the usual advice to start with very light loads.

The Mauser FR7, is kind of cute, looking like an assault rifle from the muzzle back about six inches. The rest is your basic obsolete Mauser cock-on-close as interpreted by the fusil grandees of Royal Spain.

It was $250 for the pair from a hobby dealer who was delighted to engage in the kind of old-fashioned bargaining that used to pervade the shows. He finally agreed to my "best" offer even though I was depriving him of the money necessary to buy his granddaughter a Christmas doll. Then, a few minutes later, he chased me down with two gun cases, no charge, just in case I got stopped by an officious cop on the way home. We shook hands again.

Why doesn't someone tell that Mathews guy that gun folks are among the nicest people you'll ever meet?


Also found a cheap 10-round .45 magazine for my 1911s. And, wonder of wonders, four decks of small pistol primers at $2 per.


It occurs to me that the Frenchy and the Spanyard contribute to the diversity of my veritable arsenal. Tell HuffPo.