Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A good idea

A few weeks ago, I opined that I wanted to know how much of my gasoline purchase was going to the gas station and the petroleum company, and how much was going to Uncle Sugar.

Looks like the state of Tennessee was way ahead of me:

According to the attendant at the gas station, it's a statewide requirement.  While I still had to do the math to figure out how much I gave to the state and federal governments while filling up the truck, it's better than anywhere else I've been.

He should have trimmed his mustache

A man in England attempted to sneak out of the courthouse and avoid reporters by dressing in women's clothing before departing.  Apparently it didn't work.

My guess is he wore something no woman would be caught dead in.  Let's face it, most of us guys have the fashion sense of a mule:

"Let's see, shall I wear the bright red lipstick, blonde wig, striped silk blouse and black pants with patent leather pumps, or go all out and wear the tight sweater and skirt combo with 7" stillettos?"

Now, some guys might be able to pull this off.  I've known several men who could change into something a little more feminine and blend in pretty well.  I, on the other hand, would only blend in with a reunion of the 1988 East German Women's weightlifting team.  It's just so hard to find pretty shoes in size 15 men's and I can't find a dress that isn't a moomoo that doesn't make me look like a hooker.

For those of you who have met me, I apologize for the mental image you just had.

Lucky Gunner Blogshoot

Well, the weekend had to eventually end, but the smile is still on my face.

Here are some more pictures:

There were multiple re-enactment groups attending the first day.  The half-track and tanks were joined by extremely well restored U.S. and German vehicles such as the jeep and BMW motorcycle you see above.  The re-enactors were more than happy to allow us to shoot their guns, even taking the time to explain how the guns worked and demonstrating the best ways to shoot them.  My favorite of all of these was of course the M-2 .50 caliber machine gun, but a close second was the Thompson.  There's just something about that sub-machine gun that tripped my trigger.

Of course, no shoot would be complete without pictures of what the range looked like with lead flying at it:

I love the smell of tannerite in the morning!

The only good min-van is a dead mini-van
Someday my minivan will meet a similar fate.   But I'll use more tannerite if I can afford it.

During lunch, the organizers of the event recognized two soldiers who were veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I'm proud to say that standing ovations for these two brave men came easily.  It was fun to sit back and watch these two gentlemen sit down to compare notes with Vietnam veterans.   I'm sure a lot of good stories and advice were exchanged.

Next, we see the signs that a good day at the range has occurred.  The evidence is the many large piles of brass and the many trash bags full of bullet boxes:

Over the course of Day 1, I tried to shoot as many different guns as I could.   I have decided that my "Guns I Will Own" list will now include an MP-5, a G-3, an M1917, an M-2, a Thompson, and a BAR.   There were others that I shot and were fun, but these are the guns I want in my safes for 'entertainment purposes'.

The evening of Day 1 was taken up with a dinner with the staff of Lucky Gunner and the other blogger and media attendees.  During the dinner, the winners for the 2011 Gunnie awards were announced.   Congratulations to everyone on those!

On Day 2, the re-enactors had gone home, so for the most part we shot what we brought.  Representatives from Kriss were there to demonstrate their new line of guns, and I must say they are sweet:

Oh my gosh!  Someone gave me a suppressed machine gun!
I tried all four variants of the Kriss gun: the pistol, the short barreled rifle, the suppressed sub gun, and the non-suppressed sub-gun.  It's basically the same action with different options added to it.  All of them use Glock .45 magazines, so a user won't have to search for proprietary magazines to keep their gun fed and happy.  All of these guns were comfortable to shoot, accurate within the limits of the .45 ACP round, and had amazingly light felt recoil.  The Kriss representative who worked with me on the firing line showed me how the bolt pivots downward into the area just forward of the trigger guard, driving a lot of the recoil down instead of back at the shooter.  This reduces felt recoil and muzzle climb.  I must say I was impressed.  When compared against the 9mm MP-5 and .45 Thompson, the recoil on the Kriss was very light.  The civilian model has an MSRP of about $2000, which is steep, but do-able.  This one goes on the "Guns I Will Own" list.

While shooting on Day 2, I realized that Oleg Volk should be nick-named "The Candyman".  He brought out several really nice toys:

Keltec KSG
I got a chance to shoot his Keltec KSG and the Coonan .357 automatic.  The KSG is a neat concept and it carries a metric crap-ton of shells in its two magazine tubes.  I've been told that shooters are encouraged to put buck shot on one side and slugs on the other.  Using the switch to select which magazine to feed from would allow the user to tailor their ammuntion selection without having to unload their weapon.  The overall shortness of the gun made it easy to quickly change targets, and it kicked against my should in about the same way that the Mossberg 500 I brought to the game did.

The Coonan is also going on the list.  I put two magazines through it, and I am officially in love with it.  My impression of its heft at the NRA convention was correct.  It's a solid chunk of steel, but that weight helps a lot in controlling recoil and climb.  I was able to make respectable groups with it at between 5 and 7 yards, and I'm sure with practice that would tighten up.

I have to say, even though Day 1 was a complete blast, I enjoyed Day 2 even more.  It gave us more time to talk and socialize, and since no-one was waiting for us to shoot, we could take our time and discuss the merits and failings of each of our guns.  One thing I noticed on both days was just how happy and friendly everyone was.  It's something I've noticed about the gunnies I know.  Even the rock stars like Tam, Oleg, and Uncle were more than happy to sit and shoot the bull or share their guns with the rest of us.  I was asked to shoot other people's guns and offered my own meager collection up for others to enjoy, and no-one batted an eye.  Even when we were discussing politics or gun issues, which tend to get everyone's Irish up, we never stopped being polite and respectful. This reinforces something I already believed:  Gunnies are good people.

One thing that allowed us to enjoy ourselves as much as we did was the copious amount of Magtech and Seller & Bellot ammunition that the folks at Lucky Gunner were handing out for our enjoyment.  I'm pretty sure the only thing that can make a range trip with a great group of people better is free ammunition.  Rounds of just about every caliber were given out with a smile.  I can't imagine how many thousands of rounds were fired over the two days, but I'd really like to thank Lucky Gunner, Magtech, and S&B for the ammunition.

It was a great weekend, and I took my time saying goodbye to everyone as I packed up and headed north.  Angela and her staff at Lucky Gunner put on a heck of a party, and the people who attended made the weekend enjoyable and interesting.  I'm already looking forward to next year!

Goodbye, Good Luck, and Thanks For All The Fish

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has decreed that his government will no longer allow NATO forces to bomb Afghan homes that are being used by Taliban or Al Qaeda insurgents.  Everyone wants to eliminate or at least minimize civilian casualties. However, the enemy we fight in Afghanistan mixes with the civilian population specifically because we may pull a punch when there's the chance of harming non-combatants.  By putting such places off limits, President Karzai provides the Taliban with a safe haven to retreat to in a fight and lay low while they plan their next operation. Effectively, he's made all of the cities and a large part of the country into no-go zones for NATO troops, since unless they can call down the hammer of the gods, they're unlikely to engage the enemy in any concentration.

Since President Karzai has decided that he's capable of telling us where and how we can fight in defense of his regime, I say we let him stand his own army on the firing line for a change.  I mean, it's only been a decade since we started trying to make a cohesive Afghan national army so we could go home.  It's not like we didn't create the circumstances that allowed him to become president in the first place, or that we haven't spent billions of dollars and the lives of over 1500 American soldiers to prevent his execution at the hands of his countrymen.

Listen up, sparky:  About 15 minutes after the last C-141 takes off out of Bagram, you, your family, and everyone associated with you is going to be put against a wall, beheaded, hung, or set on fire.  The only thing that's keeping your heart beating is the fact that Americans are more willing to put steel on target than your own soldiers are. How about instead of kvetching about the methods, no matter how sloppy we use, to try to root out the Taliban, you get off your well dressed backside and get your bloody army into the field and trained to actually do more than march in a straight line on a parade field?  Keep dictating to us the methods by which we keep your bloody heart beating, and you just might wake up and find yourself with a country devoid of American guns and soldiers. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thoughts for the day

A mother's gift to her country's cause is a story yet untold
She had three sons, three only sons, each worth his weight in gold
She gave them up for the sake of war, while her heart was filled with pain
As each went away, she was heard to say, he will never return again
One lies down near Appomattax, many miles away
Another sleeps at Chickamauga, and they both wore suits of gray
'Mid the strains of "Down to Dixie", the third was laid away
In a trench at Santiago, the Blue and the Gray
She's alone tonight, while the stars shine bright, with a heart full of despair
On the last great day, I can hear her say, my three boys will be there
Perhaps they'll wait, at the heav'nly gates, on guard beside their guns
Then the mother true, to the gray and blue, may enter with her sons
--The Blue and The Gray, by Paul Dresser
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. -- Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address
In Flanders fields the poppies blow       Between the crosses, row on row,    That mark our place; and in the sky    The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
--- In Flander's Fields, by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My little range buddy

This is one of the millions of cicadas that have been our companions this weekend. When the shooting stops, it sounds like someone's running a giant weed whacker.

From the No Surprise Here files

A study in the UK confirms what a lot of parents have known for years:  Taking your kids to the zoo is more effective at teaching them about the environment and conservation than having them sit in a classroom and learn the same material.

Guys, if you have to have a study to figure this kind of thing out, hang it up.  It should surprise no-one that kids respond better to hands-on, entertaining experiences with a dash of education thrown in than they do to textbooks and overhead slides.  Anyone who's ever taken a 6 year old to see the gorillas and read the placards about how fragile their natural habitat is and how few of the animals there are in the wild knows how interested the little tykes are about their hairy cousins after that.  Heck, our kids could recite obscure facts about the flamingo, the emu, and the polar bear before they could say their ABC's.

Kids learn best through play.  That's why I always make it fun when I take Girlie Bear to the range, or work on ABC's and 1 2 3's with Boo by playing with blocks or coloring books.  Heck, I even knew this when I taught in the military.  I always spent the minimum necessary time going through the dry lecture material so that we could get to simulations where students learned and then applied the knowledge that they had heard in lectures.

Someday I'm going to ditch the day job and just start writing applications for grants so I can study the phenomenon of meat becoming inedible if left out in the sun, or that if left to its own devices, the chlorophyllic organisms in the American lawn will gain in height.

I wonder if that was street value

A company in Los Angeles is reporting that a truckload of crab that was supposed to be delivered to Seattle has disappeared.  The paperwork the trucker used to pick up the load was forged, so authorities are working on the assumption that this is the work of organized crime.

The two things that went through my mind while reading this was:

"Hey buddy, wanna buy some of this crab that I got in the live well of my Volare?"


I wonder if the trucker will sleep with the shellfishes if he cooperates with the police?

Someone needs a hug

A man riding on the New York subway stripped down to his briefs and high heels and 'entertained' the crowd by riding one of the poles in the car.  While some found it to be entertaining, I'm guessing most thought it was a sign of psychosis.

Warning - I am not responsible for the sanity points you lose if you watch the video embedded in that article.

Now, I'm pretty open minded.  Everyone has hobbies or diversions to pass the time.  But a guy stripped down to black underwear and a pair of pumps swinging around on a dirty subway car pole is not how I keep my mind busy during a commute.  Maybe if this goofball wanted to make the ride a little better for his fellow subway riders, this gentleman could bring along some Lysol and a Swiffer and clean up the accumulated grime and other residues on every surface of the vehicle.  Heck for that, he might get the keys to the city.


The old woman's eyes were gray blue.  I remember this because she looked me in the eye and held my gaze as she lightly shook my hand and thanked me for what I had done for her husband and her family that day.  She walked down the line of soldiers and repeated her thanks to each of us.

I was the NCOIC for her husband's funeral detail.  I had heard her softly thank the Officer in Charge as she accepted the folded flag from him.  She was a lady such as has become rare in our world.  She spoke with a soft Southern accent that had none of the twang that is so easy to fall into.  From reading her husband's biography, I could see that she had lived just about everywhere the Army can send someone with their family after marrying her husband early in his career.  She had followed him through several tours of Europe and myriad domestic bases, both to places that I remember fondly and to places I cringe to think of.  She had taken care of her children and their home while he did multiple tours in Vietnam and at least one assignment to Korea.  She had obviously done something right with her kids, as two of them wore uniforms to the funeral, and two of the others had "Dr." in front of their names in the obituary.  The seats at the packed chapel that weren't filled with soldiers who had known and served with her husband were filled with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As she walked back to her sons and daughters to say their final goodbyes to the old soldier, I thought about how much of his life he had given to us.  His list of decorations included two medals for valor, each paired with a Purple Heart for wounds.  He had served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War, rising from an intelligence analyst with a line battalion S-2 to the command sergeant major of an intelligence battalion before retiring to a position with one of our contracting companies.  I met and worked with this man a few times both before and after his retirement, and while he was a gentle man, there was more iron in him than a cursory glance would find.  If he knew he was right, and he normally was, he never backed down.  In the few times he was wrong, he was quick to apologize and learn from his mistake.  Those who worked for him loved and respected him, and I never heard anything but praise for him.

Today, an entire generation of American men and women are on the same path this extraordinary man and his family took.  A military life, as a soldier, a spouse, or a child, is more difficult and yet more of an adventure than someone who hasn't gone through it can describe.  Many people and families crack under the strain, and some will shatter.  What is amazing is how many thrive and succeed.  In addition to those like me who did their time and got out, there are also those who walk onto a plane or ship after kissing their loved ones goodbye, but are carried off of another plane or ship with honors.  It is for these men and women that we pause today.

We should always remember what these people give up for us, and how their sacrifice makes our lives better.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A good start to the weekend

We're about halfway through the first day of the Lucky Gunner Blogshoot, and I'm having a ball.  One of the guys here had a full auto M-16A1, so I gave it a shot out of nostalgia.  As I was loading up a couple of magazines,  I realized I was sharing a table with Tam and Oleg.  Now that's a good way to start the day.

The event is happening a few miles outside of Knoxville, and you couldn't ask for a prettier location or day.  Here's a few pictures:

More to come!

Sure, we believe you

Representative Barney Franks, Democrat of the Volksrepublik of Massachusetts, has denied using his position and power to get a job at Fannie Mae for his significant other in the 1990's.  All he did was "casually recommend" him for the job.  You know, like Don Corleone casually recommended that his godson be put in as the lead in a film.

I can see it now:  "Hey, nice mortgage company you've got here.  Be a shame if something were to happen to it.  Oh and by the way, my boyfriend needs a job.  You guys got anything for him?"

I'm sure that everything was on the up and up here.  I can't imagine the recommendation of a Congresman to a company he helps to oversee and regulate would have tipped the scales one way or another.  I mean, come on.  Don't all of us get our jobs because our spouse or significant other put in the good word for us?

Apparently the quasi-governmental company was more than happy to hire the young man, and it's only a coincidence that he left his position with them soon after breaking up with the good Congressman.

Congressman Franks needs to remember that we're not as stupid as he seems to think we are.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What's in your nightstand?

A long drop and a sudden stop

Radko Mladic, formerly the military commander of Bosnian Serb forces during the Balkans War of the 1990's, has finally been captured.  It's been 16 years since the Dayton Accords, but he's finally behind bars.

Mladic was on our list of people to look for when I was part of Operation Joint Endeavor, and I've been hoping that he would face justice before he died of old age.  Looks like he was arrested just in time.  If only the thousands of lives he snuffed out had had those 16 years.

Thousands of prisoners and non-combatants suffered and died at the hands of forces commanded by Mladic. Rape, torture, murder, burning, and other horrific acts were de rigeur for him.  An entire generation of Bosnian Serbs, Muslims, and Croats have been scarred, either as victims or perpetrators, by this man's actions.

I certainly hope the Europeans try him quickly and give him the punishment he deserves:  a bungled knot.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Schedule for this weekend


6 to 8 AM - Get kids and wife off to school and work
8 AM to 8:15 AM - Pack truck with guns, ammo, targets, and target stands.
8:15 AM to 9 AM - Travel to range
9 AM to 10 AM - Try out borrowed Mossberg 500 tacti-shotty.  Re-zero Garand and 10/22.  "Zero" extended front sight post on 91/30.  Test out new Hornady carry ammo for the CZ-82.
10 AM to 10:30 AM - Return home.  Buy gas near range due to cost differential
10:30 AM to 11 AM - Clean guns.
11 AM to 12 PM - Clean truck.  Put away target stands.
12 to 1 PM - Personal hygiene and lunch
1 to 2 PM - Pack for Knoxville.
2 to 3:30 PM - Do weekend housework so Irish Woman won't have to try to do it with BooBoo tearing the house down behind her
3:30 to 4:30 PM - Take Girlie Bear to her mother's for the weekend and return home.
4:30 to 5 PM - Pack truck
5 to 5:30 PM - Quick dinner with Irish Woman and BooBoo
5:30 to 10:30 PM - Travel to Knoxville.  Check into hotel.  Crash

8:30 to 10 AM - Breakfast and check in for the blogshoot
10 AM to 11 PM - Fun of shooty and socializing sort.
11 PM - Crash

8:30 to 10 AM - Breakfast and seminar
10 AM to 7 PM - Fun of shooty and socializing sort
7 PM to 12 AM - Return to Louisville
12 to 12:30 AM - Unpack truck.
12:30 AM - Crash

8:30 to 9:30 AM - Retrieve Girlie Bear and Little Bear from their mom. Take along BooBoo to give Irish Woman a chance to peel herself off of the ceiling
9:30 to 10 AM - Travel to George Patton Museum at Fort Knox
10 AM to 12 PM - Memorial ceremonies at the museum and walk through.
12 to 12:30 PM - Lunch
12:30 to 1:30 PM - Return home, retrieve Irish Woman
1:30 to 2:30 PM - Go to local garden center and purchase seedlings for the garden.
2:30 to 4 PM - Plant garden.
4 to 6 PM - Cook dinner.  I'm thinking smoked something in the barbecue
6 to 7 PM - Dinner, dishes, and baths.
7 to 9 PM - Family movie or game
9 to 10 PM - Return Little Bear to his mom's.
10 to 11 PM - Clean guns.  Have an adult beverage.  Use chisel and Dremel to remove smile from face
11 PM - Crash

Lucky Gunner says they'll be providing Wi-Fi so we can update our blogs from the range, so there may be some pics and posts from Knoxville.  If not, posting will be light for the next few days, but I'll make up for it next week.

For Breda

Non Sequitur shoots and scores!

Second Thought for the Day

Falling asleep while listening to the Beatles playlist on your laptop and reading the Cold Steel Special Projects catalog during a rainstorm can cause some truly strange dreams.  Who knew John Lennon was actually the Kurgin?  "All we are saying is 'There can be only one'!"

Addendum:  What the !#$!!@#?   They're making a remake?   Is there no part of my childhood that Hollywood will not flay and dance in around in its skin?

Thought of the Day

Whoever gets the Republican nomination, they ought to use the following as a campaign slogan:

Are you doing better than you were 4 years ago?

That's it.  The Republicans could run that old chestnut over and over on TV and radio for a few months and then stroll to the polls.

We shoot mad dogs, don't we?

Jared Loughner, the waste of protoplasm that thought it appropriate to assassinate a federal judge and wound a congresswoman while shooting up a crowd of people, has been found to be too bugnuts crazy to participate in his own defense.  He'll be sent off to a psychiatric facility for a few months where doctors will try to fix him enough that he can contribute to his defense and understand why he's on trial.  If they're successful, they'll keep him lucid long enough for his trial, and then he goes into the slow moving queue towards the needle.

If I were a betting man, I'd put a few dollars on him never coming out of the psych facility.  Just from the things that are reported in the media, it's not hard to see that this guy is as crazy as an outhouse rat.  But just because this sick bastard is as nutty as a PayDay bar doesn't mean he shouldn't be held responsible for his actions.   If you want my opinion on what needs to be done, re-read the title.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A bit windy

Just got to work and got a call from Irish Woman.  The line of storms that hit us knocked out power in our neighborhood, probably from either a downed power line or a blown transformer.  From her description of the bright light and loud humming sound, my bet is on the transformer.  The power company is aware, and is probably going to be quite busy for a while.

Last time this happened, it took 4 days.  We only got power after Irish Woman came home from a business trip to Cincinnati with a generator and I got it run up.  Half an hour after I turned the lights and refrigerators back on, the power was restored.

Update - Irish Woman just called and reported that the telephone pole down the street is on fire.  This could get interesting.

Further update - A very tired Irish Woman just told me the power came back on at about 3:30 AM.  I'll have to take a look at our roof and such when I get home to make sure we didn't take any damage she couldn't see in the dark.

Dear Republicans


It's that time again.  Politicians are making the fateful decision of whether or not to submit to the horrors of a primary fight for our parties nomination for president.  So far the field only contains one guy who catches my attention, and he probably won't get the nomination because he hasn't spent his life being a political hack.  Even though Obama's approval ratings are abysmal, I have no doubt that you all will choose someone who will not only step on his schwanz, but will bayonet it to the table during the campaign.

And don't give me the old line of "The party rank and file pick the nominee through the primary process".  Let's just be honest and admit that anyone who bucks the party leadership in any way will be eviscerated by the time the first primary rolls around.  Which means that anyone with a single libertarian viewpoint on anything has a snowballs chance in hell.

I'm tired of voting for whoever you guys support because it's his turn.  This time around I want to vote for someone, not against someone else.  I don't want a politician to be our nominee; I want a leader, a statesman.  So, how about you pull your collective thumbs out and give us some better choices?  Maybe if you actually encourage someone who truly believes in limited government, both in scope and power, thinks that any deficit spending is bad, and who wants to end government intrusion into citizens' lives we might have a chance to unseat the incumbent.  Or do you guys enjoy being the loyal opposition?

What he said

Ace of Spades has a good write-up on the speech that Prime Minister Netanyahu made to Congress.  In a nutshell, Israel is willing to work with the Arabs to create a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians must accept Israel's right to exist, and Israel will not retreat behind borders that would make it impossible for her to defend herself.

Israel is like any country in that it looks out for its own interests above all other considerations.  Usually that puts them into alignment with the United States, but not always.  There have been incidents that have shaken our relationship, but for the most part, Israel has stood with us.  Compare this with her opponents.  

Israel is closest thing to a democracy in the middle east.  The runner-up, Turkey, isn't even close.  While other countries in the region have wavered between indifference and outright hostility, Israel has been our ally.  We should support her as she tries to find a path to peace that is more than surrender.

Business Idea

While contemplating the dietary levels of caffeine necessary to work the graveyard shift when you normally work during the day, an idea occurred to me.  All coffee houses seem to have cute names for their different brews:  Columbian Dark Roast, Yemeni Breakfast, Detroit Gutter Brew, whatever.  Since my coffee doesn't normally allow much light to pass through it, it's been likened to motor or crude oil.  Why not capitalize on that and come out with my own DaddyBear branded coffee?

I could have a chain of coffee houses that look like oil change stations, manned by hairy ex-Marines with an attitude problem.  The offerings would include Vegemite sandwiches, bran muffins, and whatever recipe of the day I feel like baking.  Of course, I'd have to hire Juan Valdez and his trusty goat to go around the world and find the choicest coffee beans.  For a roastmaster, I'll hire someone who looks like an extra from Mad Max.

Our coffee offerings would be:
  • West Texas Intermediate - A Light, Sweet Roast.  While the center of a glass pot of this brew is still dark enough that normal light will not flow through it, the very edges of  the pot will show a nice, warm dark brown glow.  A spoon placed in this coffee will fall to the side of the mug.  Good for drinking in the middle of the day where you need a touch of caffeine to keep an even keel, but don't want to be wired.  Can be served in any normal, ceramic coffee cup or mug.   The aroma will be rich, with notes of cactus and bluebonnets.
  • Brent - Medium Roast - When held up to a light, this blend will allow no light to pass through it.  This would be good for mornings, when you need that little kick in the butt to get motivated for the day.  A spoon placed in the center of a cup of this coffee will stand on its own.  Should be served in a U.S. Navy issue porcelain mug, as Mid-Rats coffee is close in taste, thickness, and corrosiveness to this concoction.  The bouquet will include notes of lingenberries and scotch whiskey.
  • DaddyBear's Special Roast - A roast as dark as overused motor oil - When held up to a light, a pot of this coffee will absorb not only the light behind it, but also from all sources of illumination near it.  This drink is meant to be consumed by IT specialists, medical students on an ER rotation, and the crews of space freighters who can't sleep because the grue might get them.  A spoon placed in a cup of this coffee will burst into flames, then dissolve.  Should be brewed and served in vessels made of borosilicate glass.  This coffee smells like a 1953 Cadillac diesel engine.
So what do y'all think?  I can start research as soon as I get some investors!

In memorium

Macho man Randy Savage 1952 - 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quis costodiet ipsos custodes?

Several members of the Internal Revenue Service have been busted for tax fraud.  Apparently these fine upstanding public servants falsely claimed a credit for first time home ownership.  Pardon me if I don't seem surprised.

This is a problem you find with large organizations.  There is a sort of herd immunity from culpability, so it becomes easier to abuse the trust of those they are pledged to serve.  If you're just one of several thousand people who do your job, then it's easy to either coast at a minimum level of effort or to abuse your position for personal gain and not get caught.

One of the reasons I support a winnowing of the government workforce is that a smaller workforce will be easier to monitor for such corruption and malingering.  If there are fewer IRS employees, it will be easier to find those who are not serving the public in the way they should.

The same goes for every other government bureaucracy.  My formula for making government cheaper and cleaner is not complicated:  Simplify the laws, cut the staff, ruthlessly enforce standards of conduct, and improve efficiency.

Dear PGA

I'd like to thank you for the following:

  • Holding your tournament at the private golf course down the road from me, which is situated in what was a rural area 20 years ago. Of course, now it's in a suburban setting, so there are more people to be inconvenienced, so you've got that working for you.
  • Not arranging for adequate traffic control on the main road that leads to my neighborhood.  Normally we don't need police officers or temporary traffic lights, but something tells me you ought to consider them.
  • The extra 15 minutes added to getting home this morning after working the night shift because every fool within 3000 miles was trying to find parking and get to the golf course.  At least this year I'm not finding BMW's and Audi's parked in my front yard like last time.
  • The flights of helicopters, either news or transport, that have been buzzing my neighborhood all day.  Nothing helps me sleep during the day like the sound of an air assault.
  • The cost of gas in our area is about 20% higher than it was a week ago, probably thanks to your event.  Say what you will about Louisville, they know how to squeeze a few extra dollars out of tourists. Of course that means those of us lucky enough to live here get squeezed too. Luckily, if I travel across town, I can get gas at actual market rates.  The gas stations over by where I work thank you.

Anyway, good luck with your little golf tournament. I'm personally going to be praying to the thunder gods for torrential rain and lightning for the next week or so.  Maybe we'll get really luck and have an early season hurricane or maybe even a very well targeted tornado. Nothing says 'easy putt' like 120mph rotating winds.

Hey Buddy

Wanna buy a bridge?

On today's date in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened to the public.  15 minutes later, sales of the Brooklyn Bridge began in earnest. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today's Earworm

OK, last one of the "Movie Soundtracks of my Youth" series.

I must have listened to this one about a million times when I was a sophomore in high school.  It was the last gasp of top 40 music for me before we moved to California and I discovered both alternative rock and hippie chicks.

If your myelin is erect for more than 4 hours

Contact your neurologist.

A recent study found that administering sildenafil to animals with symptoms of multiple schlerosis can reduce damage to the nervous system.

If given shortly after disease onset, the scientists say they observed the drug reduced the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the white matter of the spinal cord, reducing damage to the nerve cell's axon and facilitating myelin repair

The optimist in me sees hope for people who suffer from a crippling disease.  Sildenafil has been in wide use for years, so the side effects are well known.  Taking it for MS would probably be as safe as taking it for sexual disfunction.  A friend of my family died slowly from MS, so any treatment that could give these people a few more years of life is a good thing.

The cynic in me notices that Viagra will be going off patent early in 2012, so Pfizer might be looking at a way to extend their revenue stream.  I wouldn't be surprised if a new MS treatment wasn't brought to market soon which combines sildenafil with another MS drug, and therefore can be patented.

Hopefully this research leads to a new treatment for MS.   And if the quality of life for patients is improved, then who can begrudge the company who brought the drug to market from making a few more shekels?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Today was my turn

Yesterday, the Irish Woman power washed the porch, driveway, sidewalk, footbridge, and about half of the siding and rock face of the house.  Today was my turn.  I took care of the rest of the house, the fences, the aggregate patio, the picnic table, and the barbecue.  By the way, did you know that aggregate patios that are in the shade 90% of the time are a perfect growth medium for mildew?

Except for what was covered with cloth and safety glasses, I had an even green-gray undercoating, with stripes of darker material covering everything.  It kind of resembled a very fine tiger stripe camouflage pattern.  Man, I haven't been that filthy in a very long time.  I'm pretty sure the last time was when we did an exercise and set up the command post at the bottom of a coal strip mine and it rained for three days.  Taking a shower without actually touching something was an adventure, even after hosing off in the yard.

Anyway, the power washing is done.  Next project is to repair all of the concrete and coat it.  Then we repair the blacktop in the driveway and treat it.  Then we replace the 4x4 posts on the car port.  Then we paint everything.  Of course, we still have to transplant two fruit trees and plant the vegetable garden. Longer term projects include removing the old outbuilding, putting a new roof on, replacing the retaining walls in the back yard, and screening in the porch.  And of course, theres the antiquated ductwork, wiring, and plumbing that all need replacement.

Oh the joys of home ownership, especially when your house was built in the late 1940's.

Call me immature

But the term "Surprise aerial insertion into the enemy rear" got me giggling like a fiend just now.  Worst part is, I wrote it about 15 years ago, with no comedic intent.

Today's Earworm

This time, we're going back to Junior High.  I remember just about killing myself trying to pedal my bike as fast as I could because this song got my heart pumping.

Sorry OldNFO, they didn't make any music videos featuring P-3's.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today at the Playground

Dear Creepy Guy at the Playground,

Yes, I know I gave you the hairy eyeball a few times as you sat on the bench at the playground this afternoon.  You see, it's a bit unusual for an older man to walk alone into a fenced-in playground and sit on the park bench watching the children while holding a bicycle pump.  Plus your chosen attire of a loose fitting hawaiian shirt over a tee shirt screamed "cover garment" to me, and I was looking for the print of a weapon on you.  Not that I have a problem with a parent carrying concealed when they take their kid to the playground. But since I was able to match every child on that playground with an adult that wasn't you, and you didn't interact with any of the other adults but were very interested in seeing what the kids were up to, you made my Spidey sense tingle enough to wonder if you had a gun under that shirt along with the openly carried bicycle pump.

I'd say that I was just being paranoid, but you see, all of the other parents seemed to be making sure their kids stayed away, and I heard several mention you to their co-parents.  It's kind of a herd mentality.  You see, a childless adult, especially a lone male, who is showing a strange amount of attention to our children makes the herd nervous.

I'm glad that nothing happened, and all you did was creep me out a bit as I made sure I kept myself between you and BooBoo.  I hope you enjoyed your walk as you picked up your bicycle pump after a few minutes and headed back the way you came.

Have a nice one,

Daddy J. Bear


Men, if your wife spends the morning power washing the exterior of your home, which for the most part means blasting off the accumulated grime and algae that's stuck to the sidewalk, and a lot of it ends up deposited on her from head to foot, it is not in your best interest to refer to her as "My Sexy Swamp Thing".

Today's Earworm

Continuing our movie music from earlier days, this one is from "The Crow".  I started listening to The Cure after we moved from North Dakota to the Bay Area, and I've never stopped.  Yes, it's moody, dark, and cynical music, but then again, so am I.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Only have a couple today, and they're a mixed bag.

To the inbred, bucktoothed, ratfaced, white trash pig eyed sack of moose crap that was driving the rusted out Chevy with the 10+ foot whip antenna affixed to the bumper:  When you braked hard at the yellow light because you can't judge time and distance, the antenna to your mobile command post came back and smacked my hood and windshield.  That's why I honked my horn.  I'm glad good sense came over you after you came flying out of your rustbucket and started walking back towards my car, because if you had taken a couple more steps, we might have had a problem.  I guess acting like Billy Badass doesn't work too well when the subject of your ire is about a foot taller, about 50 pounds heavier, and doesn't even blink when you come at him spewing expletives.  No offense dude, but I'm not impressed with your Napoleon complex.  I've been cussed at by professionals.  Thanks so much for getting back into your crate and burning rubber to show your manhood.  One thought - if you ever make that rude gesture to me again, your girlfriend's going to miss that finger when I bite it off. Another thought:  It's called an antenna tie-down.  Maybe you should look into them.

On a more happy note:  to the eight or ten balloon pilots that flew behind our house tonight, thank you.  You made a little boy's day.  I wish you happy winds, gentle updrafts, and easy landings.

Thoughts on the Rapture

OK, for the moment, let's assume that the church that is predicting that the Apocalypse will begin tomorrow is more than a bunch of whackjobs who failed reading comprehension while reading the New Testament.  I know it's hard, but let's do it for the sake of the argument.

If I walk out into my yard tomorrow, and the living saints that live in the two houses to my west and south are gone, things will have abruptly changed.

I'm guessing that by the time I realize it's happened, most of the rest of Louisville will have lost its bloody mind.  Even if I was in a looting frame of mind (I won't be), all the good stores would have already been emptied and set on fire.  My guess is that my neighborhood would quickly turn into an armed camp to keep rioters, panicked hippies, distressed yuppies, and ironically frightened hipsters out.  Yes, I have neighborhoods that have all of those within striking distance of my house.

While I don't think I'll see anyone in the colander and banana hammock outfit here in Kentucky, I'm guessing that bands of these kinds of people will roam the wasteland that once was the Bluegrass:

  • Shocked Atheists, Muslims, and New Age hippies - These will be the most surprised of us all.
  • Disappointed Born Again Christians - Apparently God doesn't grade on a curve, and somehow, these guys didn't make the cut.  They are going to be pissed after spending a lifetime getting ready for the big game and then having to sit it out.  These people may be the ones I have to watch the most.  They're going to either do a 180 and become evil incarnate or they're going to try to buy their way into heaven with my soul.  I'm not sure which one is worse.
  • Self sufficient rednecks - These will quickly become my best friends.  They didn't make the cut to go straight to heaven, but they were raised right by church ladies and will be trying to get picked up in the second round.  Plus, they know where the best places to hunt, fish, and make whiskey are.
  • PGA people, golfers, and other morons - They were getting Valhalla ready for a tournament next weekend, and now all of the help has disappeared, either to heaven or to go looting.  They'll be looking for a valet, a caddy, and a groundskeeper, and will be petulant that the beer is a bit tepid.
  • Kentucky and Louisville fans - These two groups will roam the countryside in a running battle over the wearing of the blue and red.  If you thought the Crips and Bloods were bad, have the best people in our society disappear, leave the liquor stores unguarded, and take away all of the societal restraints that keep these two from tearing into each other.
As for me, I'll be at home cleaning the guns, raising the kids, and sharpening a homemade war axe for Ragnarok.  Now that the Christian God has blown the starting whistle, it's time to get back to basics. If it's the end of the world, I'm going down like a Viking, and I'll show those ball-chasers down the road what Valhalla really means.

Today's Earworm

My ipod seems to be stuck on soundtracks from the 1980's and early 1990's, so I thought I'd pick a few of my favorites.

This one is from "The Lost Boys".  Everytime I watch this movie, I get homesick for Monterey.  Lost Boys was shot across the bay at the Santa Cruz boardwalk.  I must have spent about half of my Friday or Saturday nights up there during the spring and summer of 1990.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

News Roundup

From the Crime Blotter:

Police in Pennsylvania say they may have inadvertently burned $8000 in cash that was seized in an arrest. When a judge ordered them to return the money, they somehow were unable to find it.  Something tells me Christmas parties in 2009 and 2010 kicked ass!

A substitute teacher in Georgia was arrested after he allegedly went to the back of his classroom and urinated into a garbage can while class was in session.  Maybe he'd lost the hall pass?

In Nebraska, three people were arrested on suspicion of stealing used cooking grease from restaurants.  My gut tells me that some of the grease came from a Dunkin' Donuts, and the police just had to follow their noses.  And I guess it's hard to make a clean getaway when you're stealing old used grease.

In other news:

There's a bear in Washington State that needs to turn his guy card in.  Apparently he was chased up a tree by a teacup poodle.  Now, little dogs can be mean as snakes, and they don't know they're little.  But being treed by an appetizer would be embarrassing.  And the dog is named "Shmoopy".  If that's a male dog, don't be surprised if it hangs itself one day.

A recent study of Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) shows that it doesn't exist.  I don't know how, but I knew that was what they were going to say.

Scientists believe that there may be as many as 400 billion homeless planets in the galaxy.  These are planets that for one reason or another were ejected from the star system that created them.  Something tells me that when humans start exploring interstellar space for real, the line "That's no planet, that's a space station!" will be the proximate cause of more than a few beatings.

Thought for the Day

I'm not a packrat, I just keep all my old code stashed away for later use.

Yesterday I was given a tasking, and I thought I had until Monday morning to have it done.

This morning I found out I had to have it working before I leave work on Friday.

And another tasking came down the chute while I was wrist deep in code at 4:07 PM.

The thought that went through my head as "We who are about to die, salute you!".

So I closed out the script I was writing from scratch, hunted through my old PERL code, and found two or three scripts that if modified a little and combined, should do the job.  Maybe not as  elegantly as the from the ground up re-write I was working on, but they will give us the output we need.  I got the 80% solution done in about 3 hours, and I'll polish it tomorrow.  That'll leave me with time to do the other tasking before the world stops turning due to lack of attention on my part.

Never throw away old code.  You never know when you're going to need it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Scientists Overpromising the Future Again

Speaking of breathless reporting, scientists in England have found a way to layer polymers in such a way that the resulting material is intricate, beautiful, and difficult to counterfeit.  

By using highly ordered polymer layers, the researchers were able to create any color in the rainbow from two non-colored materials. The color also changes depending on the viewing angle.
The complexity of the chemistry involved in making the polymer means they are very difficult for counterfeiters to copy, they said, making them ideally suited for use on passports or banknotes.
While this is impressive, and if adopted, would make counterfeiting printed materials harder in the short term, I think these guys are forgetting a couple of things:

  1. Anything we can do or make, hostile nation states such as North Korea can either copy outright or make a facsimile of that's close enough to pass all but the closest scrutiny.
  2. Anything that requires a university or industrial lab now will be done in a high school lab in 10 years, and at a kitchen table in 20.
All my life, I've heard how some new technological wonder was the breakthrough that would eradicate some problem.  This holds especially true in the IT world.  Each new discovery or method was going to change everything from the way we work at our jobs to the way that we educate our kids.  But after 30 years of massive technological advance, I still work in an office the same way people did in the 1950's, and my kids still go to schools the same way I did.  We may use more technology to do our jobs, but the description of what we do isn't that different from what Ward and the Beaver did.

Scientists need to tone down the promises of a brave new world a bit.  Just come out and say that you've found a really neat new way to weave materials that will make it harder to counterfeit stuff for a while and leave it at that.

Stop the Presses!

They found a rat in the jungles of Brazil!

I know, who would have thought it was possible?

Yes, yes, I know, it's a rare rat, and no-one has seen one in years.  And the more varied and bountiful nature is, the more beautiful and resilient she will be.  But come on.  It's a bloody tree rat.  Here's a hint: if there's one rat, there's a million of them.  They literally breed like rats.  I've been in rain forests.  There is no shortage in the number and variety of creepy crawlies, snakes and rodents.  Calm down and have another mojito.

This reminds me of the people who spend whole summers in the swamps of the American Southeast looking for a woodpecker that's supposed to be extinct, but may have some vestigial populations.  The question that ran through my head while I listened to the breathless reporting on NPR was "Don't these people have something better to do?".

If a species that's supposed to be extinct still survives in some small niche, then they're best left alone.  They've been able to survive whatever it was that wiped out their brethren.  We just need to make sure we don't do anything that will upset whatever balance allowed them to survive.  We certainly shouldn't be spending time and money searching them out and researching them.

Lot of stuff going on here

An ice cream truck driver in Pennsylvania was arrested recently.  Police have reported the following circumstances of the crime:

  • The driver was drunk while driving an ice cream truck
  • He had several boxes of wine in the truck
  • He had three bottles of urine in the truck
  • One of them was in a freezer.
Where do we start?  OK, first he's driving drunk in an ice cream truck.  And he's apparently keeping his buzz going while on the job.  Plus he's not taking time to hit the men's room, he's doing it into bottles.  And then he's freezing some, but not all of the bottles.


I have to admit, ice cream trucks are kind of fun if you've got kids.  And I always suspected the drivers were either creepy or chemically enhanced.  But to take your wine with you so you could stay juiced up while selling your frozen wares?  And what frozen treat was this guy making?  Frozen pre-processed wine-cicles?  I'm sure there won't be much more reporting on this, but I'd be interested in learning the backstory here.

Gun Control Idea Fail

The city of Lowell is asking the Massachusetts legislature to allow them to tighten their local gun laws.  Because a couple of goblins broke into a gunowner's house and stole several firearms from his vault, they want to add even more 'security' to the already heavy burden  Bay State gunnies must bear in order to exercise their rights.
The proposed law would also require owners of more than 10 firearms to secure them in a locked safe or vault and install an alarm system with central monitoring that would notify police when the alarm is activated
So, in addition to all of the licensing fees and taxes that are already on their tab, law abiding citizens are going to have to shell out for a more expensive vault than what they are already required to have, and will have to contract with an alarm company to install and monitor their home.  One of the city fathers in Lowell must own an ADT franchise.  Or maybe he owns stock in a safe company.

Since we're talking about making people jump through hoops to exercise their rights, let's get down to it and start restricting freedom of speech and the press:
  • All keyboards, electronic or mechanical, must be have a unique serial number
  • You must have a license to manufacture or sell keyboards for a living
  • Keyboard enthusiasts must undergo at least 16 hours of training, a background check, fingerprinting, and be issued a keyboardist license prior to purchasing their first keyboard
  • All keyboard purchases must be done from a licensed dealer, and each purchase will require a criminal records check
  • Separate licenses will be issued for full size keyboards, which have recreational uses, and miniature "laptop" keyboards, which are more destructive and easily hidden
  • Keyboard licenses will be issued at the discretion of local authorities
  • License requests must be accompanied by a description of how you wish to use the keyboard, and your justification for being allowed to type.
  • Keyboard licenses can be revoked by local authorities any time they feel that the keyboardist no longer is of good enough character to be trusted with the written word
  • When not in use, all keyboards must be kept in a locked vault
  • When in use, the keyboard must be within arms reach of a keyboard license holder, and must be chained to the device it is being used with
  • Keyboards that are very quiet or can be used to type very quickly will require an additional license and will cost an extra $200 a year fee to own and use.
People who read and write will just have to learn to live with these reasonable, common sense "Word Control" laws.  Do it for the children! These are a good start towards total elimination of non-governmental use of words.  The only ones who should be using words are government representatives who have been trained to use words responsibly. 

Remember, when books are outlawed, only Ray Bradbury will have books.

H/T to Montieth for the initial link.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Backup the Backup to a Backup

After the issues with Blogger last week, I realized that I had never backed up my blog.  I'm actually kind of chagrined by that.  You see, in the day job, one of my jobs is to check that my systems are backed up and to work with the group that does backups to fix any issues.

I've been posting here for almost 3 years, and have over 1200 posts, with more than a few comments.  I've never backed that up.

Well, that's fixed.  I'm going to make it a habit to download a backup every week so that when Blogger either pukes all over its shoes again or I decide to move to another platform, my brain droppings will be intact.  And I think I'll add that to my off site backup rotation so that no matter what, my banana bread recipe will survive a Blogger apocalypse.

Range Report

In addition to burning through a box of ammo from Lucky Gunner, Girlie Bear and I continued her training.  She really wants to hunt this fall, so I'm introducing her to more than the single shot .22 she's been working with.

After letting her warm up on the CombiRifle, I introduced her to the 10/22.  Once she got the hang of "Check clear and safety, load magazine, charge, safety off, aim, squeeze, repeat, safety, check clear, remove magazine", she did pretty well.  She burned up a box of 100 shells, but it took her almost two hours to do it.

While she was shooting at her 25 yard target, I started noticing puffs of dirt in front of my 100 yard target.  Girlie Bear was pushing out beyond her target and seeing if she could hit a target at 100 yards with a .22.  I'm so proud.  When we went out to check targets, I had her show me where she was aiming, then I told her how to aim a little high.  After that, she started at least hitting the target stand at 100 yards, and put a few holes in the target as well.  

While she was doing that, I changed out the barrels on her CombiRifle so she could shoot a shotgun for the first time.  I loaded up some light 20 gauge dove loads.  I didn't want to hurt her shoulder too much and scare her the first time she shot something heavier than a .22.  I will say that the very light CombiRifle kicks quite a bit when using it as a shotgun.  There is absolutely nothing to slow it down as it kicks back into your shoulder.

After shooting a few shells myself to make sure the gun didn't have any issues, I showed Girlie Bear how to hold it.  I put her left foot forward, leaned her into the gun, made sure the gun was firmly against her shoulder, and told her to shoot when she was ready.  She shot, made sure her target got knocked over, and then almost dropped the gun.  She started giggling like a fiend while tears ran down her face.  I meant to get a picture of her first time with a shotgun, but I was too busy making sure the gun didn't hit the ground and that she was OK to snap a photo.

Girlie Bear decided after that one round to go back to the 10/22.  She said it kicked a lot more than she thought it would, and her shoulder really hurt.  I didn't push the issue, but I did tell her that if she wanted to hunt at Fort Knox this fall, she's going to have to learn to shoot something that kicked more than a .22.  I'll pick her up a recoil pad for her shoulder and see if I can find a dedicated shotgun so she can shoot something with a bit of weight.

One of my buddies from work also came out with his son-in-law in tow.  He started out shooting his Bersa Thunder, which had some extractor issues for the first few magazines.  After that, though, it was solid.  He also shot his Ruger SR9, and is in love with that little pistol.  I'll have to borrow it from him sometime and try it out.  It may be a good pistol for Girlie Bear and/or Irish Woman to plink with.

Another highlight of the day was the gentleman who sat next to us.  He was taking his time and enjoying himself while he shot four different suppressed firearms.  His favorite seemed to be a suppressed automatic MAC-10.  That thing sent streams of brass across the range, and by the time he was done there was quite a prodigious pile of .45 brass two tables to his right.

So, I got to shoot up a box of free ammo, and Girlie Bear stretched her limits a bit with the .22 and shot a 20 gauge.  Overall, it was a great day at the range.

Product Review - Remington UMC Nickel-Plated Target Ammunition

Remington recently came out with nickel plated target ammunition, and the folks at Lucky Gunner sent me a box of their .38 Specials to try out.  Nickel plating on the brass casing is supposed to provide better corrosion resistance and allow the round to feed better in an automatic.


The ammunition retails on Lucky Gunner for $17.00 for a box of 50, or $0.34 a round.  If you use Remington's Golden Saber nickel plated hollowpoints as a self-defense round, these would probably make a good lower-cost training alternative for your revolver.  The bullets themselves are 130 grain copper jacketed ball ammunition.


I ran these bullets through my five-shot 2 inch Taurus Model 85, which was thoroughly cleaned the night before going to the range.  I chose this gun because it's one of my carry guns, and if I was using these rounds for practice, I'd want to use the gun I would have with me in an emergency.  The 12 inch target was set at 21 feet under mostly cloudy skies and no wind.  All shots but the last 10 were done single action strong hand using slow aimed fire.  The last 10 were done double action strong hand as fast as my front sight came down on the target. 

Felt recoil was surprisingly light, which helped a lot with gun control after the shot.  That also made it a lot less painful to shoot all 50 rounds in one sitting.  After the first two or three strings of five, I was able to bring my groups in a bit and get closer to the bullseye.
Initial strings are in the upper left corner. Couple of fliers from the double action shooting in the lower right corner.


During firing, there was quite a bit of smoke and sparks at the muzzle.  After firing all 50 rounds, the front inch of my barrel was very smudged with soot.  However, when cleaning the gun, I found that the interior of the gun itself was pretty clean.  Also, I noticed that after about 30 rounds, the effort needed to get rounds into and out of the cylinder increased, but not to the point that I had to break out the multitool.
The nickel casings showed very little carbon after firing
Note the smudging at the end of the barrel.  The cylinder and forcing cone were remarkably clean after firing 50 rounds.
This is all the carbon that came off of the gun during cleaning.  Most of the crud on the paper towl came from the end of the barrel.
Final Thoughts:
  • The relatively low cost and light felt recoil of these rounds would make it easier for me to shoot more at the range.
  • Other nickel plated ammunition I use has stood up to a lot of abuse over the time I've owned them.  Buying this ammunition in bulk would be a good way to put back target ammunition at a good price and not have to worry as much about corrosion.
  • The condition of the gun after shooting surprised me.  After seeing all of the soot on the end of my barrel, I thought the interior of the gun would be gunked up.  As you can see from the pictures above, all it took was a toothbrush, some Kroil, a bore brush, and some patches to get the gun ready to wipe clean.  
  • I'd be interested in hearing how well these rounds went through a Coonan .357 automatic.  The nickel plating is supposed to improve feeding from a magazine fed gun.
  • I would definitely recommend these rounds for plinking or training, especially to those who use similar ammunition for self-defense.

Please note that Lucky Gunner provided me with the box of ammunition I used in this review, and I will be their guest at the Memorial Day bloggershoot later this month.

National Police Week

This is National Police Week.  I know that a lot of people have a problem with police in general, but we have to recognize that police fulfill a necessary function in our society.  Yes, there are bad cops, just like there are bad accountants, bad lawyers, bad doctors, and bad systems administrators.  The "Wars on Icky Stuff" has done a lot to drive a wedge between law enforcement and the populace they are charged to serve, but that is not the fault of the policeman.  It is the fault of the politicians who put personal power and meddling in others' lives ahead of keeping the peace and punishing wrongdoers.

But the small minority of cops who forget their oaths to protect and serve are massivly outnumbered by good cops that get up every day, put on their uniform, and do their best to fairly enforce our laws and investigate when the laws are broken.  Just like most soldiers could make a lot more money working at a job that's a lot easier, most police could have chosen different paths and increased their pay by several orders while reducing their workload.  We need to recognize that even a cop who never draws his gun or is injured on the job is still making a sacrifice for the good of us all.

Yes, they're not everywhere, and you're responsible for your own safety, but until men are angels, we will need police.  I'll be keeping our police force here in Louisville and Kentucky in my thoughts this week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This could have ended badly

A burglar used a brick to break a window and crawled into a home in North Carolina.  While walking around the home, with the residents still asleep, he tripped over something and his gun went off.  Said burglar then thought better of sticking around and headed for the hills.  The residents, upon waking from the sound of the shot, called police who were unable to find the intruder.

So we have an armed criminal, breaking into a home with a gun in his hand, and only left when his gun went off.  If he was just there to grab the stereo and run, why have the gun in his hand?  My guess is he was up to something more than collecting Grandma's silver tea set. 

If this had gone further, my fear is that either we'd be adding to JayG's Dead Goblin Count, or even worse, the residents, who slumbered deeply enough to not hear a window breaking, would have been attacked in their home, with whatever worst case scenario that could bring.  If the burglar hadn't broken rule 3 (Thou shalt keep thy booger hook off of thine bang switch), someone would have become a statistic that night.

Quote of the Day

So now the fragrance is wafting
Into my cube of real estate
Don’t mind the incessant coughing
While in your scent, you marinate
An excerpt from a poem "Ode to the Office Perfumer" by JenniferRTWT

Make the Internet Safe for Kids?

Can't be done. The Internet, due to its openness and ease of search and navigation, is by nature not kid friendly.

Let's face it, when you let your kids get on the Internet, you may think you're dropping them off at Disneyland to play or at the library to do homework.  But one block north is the Gay Pride Parade, one block south is Mardi Gras complete with Girls Gone Wild, one block west is a meeting of NAMBLA, and to the east is a Hitler Youth rally.  And let's not even talk about the sky-writing advertising every bad habit on Earth above them. 
A few recent studies highlighted the increasing number of minors who are going on-line and accessing inappropriate content.  They suggest such things as making robust age verification using such information as credit card numbers mandatory.  Good luck with that.  The Internet is truly global, and as soon as you make site owners in the United States pay to use credit cards to verify identity, they'll move offshore faster than you can say 'pr0n' and little to nothing to keep young eyeballs off of their sites.

Folks, there is no magic bullet to keeping your kids away from inappropriate content.  Parents need to use technology as a tool to monitor and control their kids' use of the Internet at home, but they cannot abandon their responsibilities by installing a piece of software and walking away.

What we do in our home is this:
  • The kids cannot use a computer while we are not at home.  Most modern OS's have parental controls that can limit when a given user can use the computer.
  • All computer use by the kids must be done in the dining room or the living room.
  • Girlie Bear's cell phone has an internet browser, but I've worked with the phone company to not allow her to send or receive data or text messages.
  • Her netbook runs Ubuntu, which not only negates the risk from a lot  of the malware out there, but also makes it harder for her to get advice from her friends on how to thwart my efforts.
  • I've installed Dans Guardian on her computer, and regularly check the logs of where she's been.
  • I have every password she uses, and check her email and such regularly for hints that anything wrong is happening with her.
  • Our library has a librarian sitting at a raised desk that looks out over the screens of all of the computers.  This discourages most people from looking at whatever it is that tickles their fancy in the library.
  • I'm raising my child to not disobey me.
That last one is the most important.  I know kids are going to be curious, and I know they're going to push limits.  And I'm well aware that she can get onto the Internet when she's at her mother's house or over at a friend's home.  But Girlie Bear knows how I expect her to act, especially when I'm not around. Even as she goes through the rebellious teen years, I will work to make sure she knows how a good person acts, including what they do on-line.

Now, if a child decides to be sneaky, they make all of this work useless, or at least more difficult.  Junior Bear found a chink in my Internet armor almost as soon as he moved to Kentucky from California.  He was freely surfing the net after 'going to bed' for about 6 months before I stumbled on what he was doing.  I set up filtering and logging, and after a couple of weeks, called Junior into the dining room.  To his surprise, his systems adminstrator dad handed him logs of everywhere he'd been going on the Internet for about two weeks, including passwords, emails, and pictures.  Thus began a multi-year jousting match between us, as I found and cut off ways he was abusing his priveleges to use our network, and he got more and more creative in ways of circumventing me during the brief times he wasn't on complete blackout from Internet access at home.  On the plus side, he knows how to make directional wifi antennas so he could tap into a neighboring friend's wireless signal from his bedroom.  On the down side, we fought an exhausting battle of wits during what could have been our best years as father and son.

But the key is that I never gave up, and I never made it easy for him to do things online that I didn't approve of.  Once a child, even a teenager who's almost an adult, figures out that you've grown tired of the struggle, their behavior will become even more reckless and dangerous.  We kept our technological guerilla warfare up until the night before he left for college. 

Luckily for me, I have the experience of bringing a stubborn, willful teenage boy through those years now that I'm embarking on going through them with Girlie Bear.  Hopefully between raising her to not violate some basic rules, monitoring her activities, and having this experience, her time as a teenager on the Internet will be less stressful to her dad.  I'll have other aspects of raising a teenage girl to stress me.
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DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at daddybearden.blogspot.com.