Saturday, May 31, 2008


"Boids! Dirty, disgusting, lice-ridden boids! Used to be you could sit out on the stoop like a poyson. Not anymore! Boids!"
"Thank you, madam."
"I'm not a madam! I'm a con-see-oige!"

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Lost Ejector

Last September I used my C&R to buy an M1 Garand from the CMP. It arrived only three weeks later. The serial number indicates that it's a May 1945 build and all of the parts and drawing numbers are correct for the date of manufacture, the stock has no rebuild cartouche, i.e. it appears to be completely original and never "armoried" or rebuilt.

So when I received it I of course immediately stripped it down. Good thing, too, because there was a layer of hardened Cosmoline a half-inch thick under the handguard. I cleaned it down to the bolt. I have an M1A with a nearly identical bolt so I have a little experience (I know, it's a dangerous thing!) with these bolts. So I used the combo-tool to disassemble the bolt. Some of you may know that the extractor, ejector and firing pin are held together by an exceedingly cunning design, compliments of Mr. Garand. Well, despite my best efforts, the ejector spring and the ejector shot out of their hole so fast ...

I found the spring, only because I heard it hit the wall, ceiling, floor. A lot of compression on that spring! But the ejector was GONE. I moved all of the furniture, I vacuumed the LR and DR, I spent two days looking for that thing. It was gone and I was just crushed.

I ordered two replacements online, and in a few days I test fired it at Clark Brothers. Needs to have the front sight adjusted, that's all, and completely my fault because I disassembled it, but it was caked with hard Cosmoline, and what's a mother to do?

Last night when I was adjusting the blinds in the DR I noticed something that didn't belong. There was a tiny thing caught between two of the "matchsticks" in the matchstick blinds. The ejector had been propelled there by some substantial force, believe me. It had been caught there for eight months. And here it is:
Welcome home!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Newseum

I got a chance to wander around this museum early this morning.

It offers a wonderful view down Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capitol:

Here's a press vehicle from Bosnia. This thing is heavily armored against small arms and shrapnel, and it just barely made it back:

But the most amazing thing in the museum is the remains of the antenna mast from the World Trade Center:

This is over two stories tall. Photos of the original installation show a TV transmitting antenna called a "bat-wing", and you can just see the shackles that held the "bat-wing" elements to the mast in these photos:

This is the view from the floor above. The trapezoid-like shape within the square base is the access hatch:

There are dozens of newspaper headlines from all over the world, including this one. I can't read Cyrillic letters, but I think it says "Armageddon":

There is some other stuff that's pretty sobering: a photographer actually ran into the buildings to cover the story. They have his cameras in a display case; they're pretty messed up but there were some images salvaged from his digital camera. All that they could find of him was his wedding ring.

Bloggers aren't ignored. Are they covered by the First Amendment, this display asks:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Range Report on the 9mm Witness

After 50 rounds of DoubleTap 10mm, I switched over to the new 9mm barrel, slide and magazine. I fired a couple of 17-rd mags of Winchester White Box without a single mishap. And very soft-shooting compared to the 10mm!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama Deal to Put Hillary on Supreme Court?

A guy on the Washington Post.

Cheese-and-crackers, that would be awful!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hey, where is everybody?

My travel agent got me this super-low airfare to Chicago for the NRA convention.
I was staying across the street from Chicago's famous Grant Park, in the same hotel as the convention HQ, looked like.

The next morning, Grant Park looked amazing. What a skyline!

I hit the street to try to locate the convention. When I passed Cartridge World, I knew I must be close.

Around the corner was an amazing multicolored brick wall:

Signed by the artist, too!

But then, lo and behold, I encountered some art students demonstrating for peace:

They had some weird costumes:

There were girls in big dresses:

And robots, too:

Finally I found two women who looked like they might know about guns:

Seems that there had been some kind of misunderstanding. Seems that this NRA is the National Restaurant Association. Well, after a spirited chase that ended in Lake Michigan, we parted as friends. Anyway, who could have guessed that those Kevlar vests are buoyant? I didn't know!

I did get to see American Gothic and Nighthawks at the Chicago Art Institute. American Gothic is painted on beaverboard, so it reflects light differently as you walk around it. Nighthawks is big and amazing.

Well, sadly I missed the convention. Still, the fare was a bargain.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg

He died Monday. I am working on a piece about the exhibit at the National Gallery. Caramba!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

If You Have Tears ...

... prepare to shed them now. Here's a Mother's Day story, "The Playhouse" by Tad Friend.

So get a box of Kleenex and your library card (you'll see) and click here.

Better make that two boxes of Kleenex.

Friday, May 9, 2008


A little black dress, a strand of pearls and a Desert Eagle point five oh!

This is Anne Parillaud in "La Femme Nikita".

Nice tactical reload:

Isosceles. Good!

Here she is, fighting to get out of the kitchen. I bet she makes it, don't you?

And with a sniper rifle, in her undies:

OMG, look at those bangs!

Shut UP!

Wonderful video about your right NOT to talk to the police.

From David Codrea.

Jeez, I wish some of my college profs had been like this guy!

Open Carry of Handguns in Suburban D.C.

Great article about open carry in my area:

Article by Associated Press; link from VCDL.

Speaking of Birds ...

BBC News Report:

Great Tits Cope Well With Global Warming

Well, that's a relief!

Bird's Nest

I found this hidden on my front porch.

Why is one egg white, and the others are blue?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A soldier on Afghanistan's plains ...

During a firefight in Afghanistan, A U.S. soldier’s cellphone auto-dialed his parents’ house and their answering machine recorded the sounds of the battle. If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear shouts of “incoming!” and “more ammo!” and a lot of cursing.

When the family reached their son and told him what had happened, his only comment was, “I hope Grandma didn’t hear it.”

Fun At Work

I’m editing an interview in a museum. The walls and floors are very “live” and so there is a lot of echo on the subject’s voice. This echo makes audio editing very difficult, because even when the edit is perfect, it is still audible, since the echo suddenly disappears.

So to get around this I ran my Avid timeline through a digital audio mixer with the “echo” or “reverb” set to “large hall”. I adjusted the mixer to mix out all of the original audio from the output, so that the only thing coming out of the mixer was the echo; not the voice plus echo, just the echo.

I recorded this on a digital tape with matching timecode. Then I captured this tape back into the Avid. I edited a little bit of echo (like 18-27 db down) at the end of each of the audio edits and like magic, it sounds perfectly natural.

I’ve been editing for, what, 29 years now, and this is the first time I’ve used this technique.

I don’t think that Avid Media Composer even HAS “echo” or “reverb” in its Audio toolbox. At least I couldn’t find it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

This is one of my "guilty pleasures". I never fail to go into hysterics when I watch this thing.

Check out Mickey The Convict:

And Large Marge:

And who can forget Amazing Larry:

I just love this movie!
Does that make me childish? Immature? Lowbrow?

I know you are, but what am I?

Four Barrels

Here's a snap of the four barrels for the EAA Witness:

The 40 S&W barrel "hangs" when used with the 10 mm slide and spring, but works fine with the 38-Super slide and spring. I think I'll keep the 40 barrel. But the 9 mm barrel and slide are going back tomorrow morning to be exchanged for Wondercoat finish.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Yep, I made it!

Deeeeelicious, too. Here's a visual taste:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ze Film Noir I

This is a 1944 B&W classic. "Laura" is a murder mystery with Gene Tierney ("schwinnnng!") and Dana Andrews. This is Laura:

This is Laura getting the dreaded "Third Degree":

And here is the loutish cop who's [grammarians, please note the proper use of "whose/who's" here] giving it to her:

But it turns out that Laura actually doesn't mind at all:


Oh, yeah, a couple of people get shot and so forth, blah, blah, blah, but who can remember all those details when Gene Tierney looks so, fetching?