Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things I've Done

THINGS I'VE DONE (in bold):

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (From a tiny sailboat; I could feel the lightning strikes in the wet line. I was 14.)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. (Auto-train to Florida.)
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon. (In 1978)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. (I work across the street.)
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. (Two of 'em!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (Well, I suppose so; it must've been a short book.)

h/t Roberta X.

Well, This is New . . .

Powerful magnet holds gun in place under desks, cabinets, or inside vehicles (one hopes!)
Interesting idea.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."

Interview with press photog Sebastian D'Souza, who bravely snapped away during the Mumbai massacre.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Final Word on Last Saturday's Pin Shoot

Red has some new pictures AND two videos here.

Including this rare snap of Turk Turon at the firing line. Anybody know the guy on the right?


The boys and I were all invited to spend Thanksgiving with close friends at their second home in the mountains, near Skyline Drive. As it happened, only my mother and I could make it but we had a splendid time. I was inducted into the Ancient Order of the Gin & Tonic Club (the only male member).

Before The Meal I went on a long hike to burn off some calories. I encountered this little waterfall.

The cats had been hauled up to the country house, too. This is Lila.

Lila is a bit of a ham; here she is trying to retrieve a green toy mouse from the tree.

The tabby is Tiger, age 21.

And the big orange tabby is Percival.

My contribution was to bring six cheeses from Planet Fromage:
1) Gorgonzola Dolce
2) Mirabou (brie with walnuts)
3) Stilton with cranberries
4) Stilton with mangos and ginger (tasted a lot like cheesecake)
5) d'Amboise (brie with a sweet rind)
6) elderberry

The cheese selection was a gigantic hit, as there were many other cheese-lovers, and Wednesday night's dinner consisted mostly of cheese.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Memorable Weekend

Tam has already blogged about the weekend in Indy most effectively, and there isn’t much to add except to agree with her. Emphatically.

Bowling pins get brittle when cold, and some of them literally exploded when hit. But pin shooting is the most fun you can have with your gloves on. Next time I’m bringing a video camera in case yet another footrace breaks out. Tam’s got the pin shoot covered here.

And here.

Roberta X’s coverage is here.

I had packed a 10mm pistol but three 9mm magazines, so I was well and truly hosed but for the kindness of friends, and I made do with a Glock 17. That did not prevent me from taking my limit of bowling pins, viz:

Brigid was stuck at work but through the magic of today’s advanced cell-phone technology, she managed to contribute this outstanding poster. That’s Roberta X on the left and Tam on the right, mano a mano.

At lunch, Tam, Roberta X and I all had the Dolsot Bibimbap, which is the perfect way to warm up after standing around for hours in sub-freezing cold. Ahhhh… Korean comfort food. And even an hour later, you can still warm your hands on the bowl.

Elmore’s gunstore was as amazing as Tam says, 1911s were packed cheek-by-jowl (muzzle to front strap) and if you can’t find something you like there, it hasn’t been made yet. Bradis had some nice Russian revolvers and I might have taken one home if I had remembered to bring my C&R license.

Brigid’s lasagna and mushroom turnovers were delicious. Check it out.

The next morning, while Tam and her buddy raked leaves, Roberta X and I walked over to Zest, a charming little restaurant of local ownership and high quality, of which Broad Ripple has a seemingly inexhaustible supply. They had an adventurous chef who made Eggs Benedict, not on English muffins, but on crab cakes! Yes!

Later that afternoon we motored to the blogmeet and made numerous new friends and caught up with Old Grouch, RobD, Shermlock Shomes et ux, and Red (again, et ux). Shermlock has pictures here. And Roberta X has a few comments, too. And Red has more pictures here, plus a couple of videos! Wow!

It was a rockin’ weekend and Tam says she’d do it again in a minute. So would I.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Official! I Am a Suspect

Every time I travel with guns the procedure is a little different, but this sticker is a little off-putting.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Ammo Day

Just got back from (God forgive me!) Walmart, where I Did My Bit and bought 500 rds of 9mm Blazer Brass 115-gr FMJ for about $95.00. A steady stream of customers was at the counter, but no line had formed, and there was still, oh, five thousand rounds of 9mm on the shelf.

13-year-old UK Boy Arrested With Pistol And Silencer

Make that two silencers. He was 13 when arrested; he's 14 now.

Undoubtedly he got this gun at an American gun show. [/sarcasm]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Usual Suspects

Round up the usual suspects! Racism? Hate crime? In New York? Impossible! Must be one of those gun owners. And see if Sarah Palin is involved! She probably "created the climate" for this sort of outrage.
"No disrespect here, but I'm a firm believer that if you want to come to this country, you should have a job waiting for you," said the co-owner of the Medford Shooting Range, who gave only his first name, Charlie, and is known by the nickname Charlie Range.
This is actually a very sad story, but the NYT is covering it in a stereotypical manner: "Businessman Slays Honor Student", or "Area Man Guns Down Choirboy".

Notwithstanding the particular circumstances of this crime, all too often, six months later at the trial, we learn from evidence and sworn testimony that the circumstances were drastically different from those originally reported. Not to dispute any of the reporting here, except to suggest that it is often incomplete, sometimes dramatically so.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Howitzer Shell in Mid-Flight

155mm howitzer at Camp Blessing, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, October 22, 2008.

Thanks to munchkin wrangler.

Palin Accuser Exposed As Hoaxer

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

Oh, how delightful!
Maureen Dowd, as late as Tuesday, was still using the Africa story.

UPDATE: my headline may be misleading; it isn't clear whether he is falsely claiming to be the source, or claiming that he ... uh, I'm confused.

Don't Blame Me ...

These people are off the wall.

So this eunuch walks into a bar ...

And other ancient Greek humor:

An Abderite sees a eunuch talking with a woman and asks him if she's his wife. The guy responds that a eunuch is unable to have a wife. "Ah, so she's your daughter? "

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Lowest Pair

Much further out than inevitable;
Halloween is thy game.
Sky King has come
And Wilma's done;
Uncertain as it is uneven.

Give us this day hors d' oeuvres in bed
As we forgive those who have dressed up against us.
And lead us not into inflation
But our liver, onions, & potatoes.

For wine is a shingle, and a mower, and a story for your father.

(Apropos of nothing, just wanted to put it out there. I seem to remember seeing John Hartford recite this on The Smothers Brothers show in 1968.)

Paglia on Election '08

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.
As always....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Funny T-Shirts for Geeks and Nerds

Truly outstanding collection of obscure references on Ts for geeks and nerds.

Are You Lityrot?

Blogger has been coming up with the strangest Captcha words in the last month or so, but this one is downright weird.

Apologies to Roberta X for posting a screen-grab of her comments.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Let It Be Forgot, That There Was Once a Spot...

Violin Maker

Really interesting story about a guy who makes violins using old-fashioned methods. For example, he goes to the northern Italian Alps and selects wood from the same forest that Stradivarius used four hundred years ago.

Now that the election is over I can read the NYT without getting angry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

OK, We Got Our Asses Kicked, But There Was Also This

Editorial from Haaretz (Israel):

The United States, and the world, will wake up this morning to a new president, America's 44th. But it is already possible to congratulate the Americans, and even to be jealous of them. Just 54 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" education violates the constitution. Just four decades ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. paid with his life for his dream of obtaining equal rights for blacks. But yesterday, the son of a Kenyan immigrant was positioned as the leading candidate for the job of president of the United States and the world's most influential leader.
Yesterday, the U.S. once again justified its title as leader of the free world: It concluded a campaign that is a worthy model for emulation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Election

7:55 In Virginia, Dem. Mark Warner has been declared the winner in the U.S. Senate race, but McCain leads 56-43 for President so a lot of people are splitting their votes.

8:00 Obama leading in Fla 56-43, dead heat in Indiana.

8:05 Obama ahead in popular vote but trailing 16-3 in electoral college.

8:08 Obama now ahead 76-34 electoral votes.

8:11 N.H. went for Obama!? Uh-oh!

8:21 Networks call Pa. for Obama. Crap.

8:23 Mark Warner is a (nominally) pro-gun Democrat.

8:32 Popular vote nearly even but Obama ahead 82-34.

8:36 My son Chris, 19, is in Grant Park tonight. He goes to college in Chicago.

8:43 Popular vote gap only 6,000 out of 15 million.

8:49 McCain now leads popular vote by 68,000 out of 17 million.

8:53 McCain now leads popular vote but trails electoral college 103-34.

8:55 McCain still leads in Va., 53-46.

10:02 195-70. Oh shit!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Project Jennifer - Burial At Sea 4 Sept 1974

On March 8, 1968, a Soviet submarine, armed with nuclear weapons, was lost with all hands in the north Pacific. The wreckage was nearly three miles down, and despite a major effort by the Soviets, they were unable to reach it.

Six years later, a CIA-built ship, the Glomar Explorer, operating under the cover of an ocean mining vessel, recovered part of the sub. Reliable reports indicate that two nuclear warheads were recovered, along with the bodies of six Soviet sailors, three of whom could be identified. The U.S. held a burial at sea for the six mariners, in Russian and English, and videotaped it.

After the fall of the U.S.S.R., the United States gave a copy of the video to Russia. Parts of the tape were shown on the PBS show Nova in 2003.

The sermon is oddly touching, as the speaker explains the rationale for the service: to honor fellow sailors who lost their lives doing their patriotic duty.

Cheese Shop Sketch

This afternoon I walked down the road a bit to the new Cheesetique and had a look around. I saw a cheese called Brigid's Abbey and another called Mt. Tam by the Cowgirl Creamery. I took home half a pound of Stilton with cranberries. Stopped by the grocery to get some pears but couldn't find any really ripe ones, no surprise there. So I got a couple of nice ripe peaches. The Stilton and a sliced peach will be my dessert tonight, along with a glass of red wine.

On my walk home a large fluffy gray tabby cat flowed through the pickets of the fence around her yard and blocked the sidewalk. She refused to let me pass until I had given her a few pats.

But back to the Stilton with cranberries: it is fantastic.

Oh, and unlike the Monty Python cheese shop, this shop had everything.

Now, the thing to do, apparently, is to alternate: peach, cheese, wine. Repeat as necessary. Om-nom-nom.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Breakfast Favorite

This morning I tried Brigid's recipe for Eggnog Pancakes.


Luncheon Entertainment

Batala Brazilian Percussion Band was rehearsing in Farragut Square.

The Finest Shotguns In The World

This is a custom-made ("bespoke", the Brits say) Fabbri 12-gauge over/under shotgun. An "entry-level" (ha!) Fabbri, with no engraving, costs about $85,000. The "pinless" models, with all of the action pins hidden, cost more. A pinless sidelock is a perfect palette for an engraver. Engraving can nearly double the cost of the shotgun. The engraving above is basic "rose and scroll" on a pinless action. The model below is one half of a matched pair with "gothic fantasy" engraving on a pinless action. The asking price for the pair is $395,000.

The photo-realistic engraving technique shown below is called "bulino" or "bank note", similar to the techniques used to create plates for printing paper currencies. Custom engraving is a cottage industry in Italy, and some of the finest engravers are young women who are inheriting their fathers' trade.

The stocks are nice, too. The wood blank for this stock probably costs more than my car.

Captcha this! Part II