Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Hoplophobes’ Travel Guide to the United States

Hilarious essay by Dave Kopel.

Bookstore Cat

This (very large) cat guards a bookstore in Indianapolis.

"You gonna pay for that or what? This ain't no library."

"Next register, please."

Alfred Hitchcock's Driver's License

Now there's an idea for a play: "Hitchcock At The DMV".

Actor Tom Sizemore Busted (Again)

It's a shame this guy has such demons. He has been in Saving Private Ryan, Heat, Enemy Of The State, Blackhawk Down, True Romance and many other excellent movies.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lock-Time II

Sebastian, over at Snowflakes In Hell, has an interview with a rep from Kel-Tec about their new RFB .308 Bullpup rifle. It has a lock-time of 4.5 milliseconds. An average AR-15, he says, has a lock-time of 9.5 ms., and modern bolt-action rifles have a lock-time of 3 ms.

Hatcher's Notebook gives the lock-time of the Springfield 1903 service rifle as 5.7 ms and as low as 4.9 ms. for the National Match version.

The Remington 3200 shotgun is said to have a lock-time of 3.2 ms., although I can't seem to find an authoritative source for this. But it seems widely accepted in the skeet-shooting fraternity.

I blogged about lock-time a couple of months ago here:

Stray Rounds From Firing Range Strike Nuclear Plant

It's a police/SWAT training range on the grounds of the nuclear plant.

At least five bullets escaped the firing range and traveled more than a half-mile before striking buildings and a vehicle near the reactors, according to the NRC, Constellation and the sheriff's office.

One struck the plant's "outage control center," which is used as a command area to orchestrate refueling efforts. Another hit an employee's sport-utility vehicle in the parking lot. Three others struck an office facility: Two of them hit the roof, and one shattered the outer pane of a first-floor window.

Employees were working in both buildings at the time, said Maureen Brown, a Constellation spokeswoman. The bullets did not penetrate either structure, she said.

"No one was injured. . . but it's our range and our responsibility, and we take this very seriously," Brown said. "We are investigating very thoroughly, and we're confident that no bullets left the plant property."

NRC spokeswoman Holly Harrington said the agency was briefed on the incident but was not conducting its own investigation. "This wasn't a [plant] safety or security issue, so we're really not involved," she said.

Firing ranges are common on the sprawling grounds of the nation's nuclear facilities, Harrington said. At Calvert Cliffs, the range is used about 200 days a year by plant security officers, who are tested regularly by commission auditors.

Brown said the range is used by county sheriff's deputies and is the site of a major annual SWAT exercise. "It's part of our community outreach to coordinate with local law enforcement," she said.

On May 14, SWAT officers from various police agencies were practicing on the plant's firing range, which is west of the reactors.

Officers from Calvert, Charles and Prince George's counties, Baltimore and the U.S. Marshals Service were working in teams of three practicing "room clearing" exercises, in which they try to quickly assess dangerous situations in small places and shoot while they are moving, said Lt. Steve Jones, commander of criminal investigations for the sheriff's office.

All handled quietly and professionally. But you know the hysteria that would arise if this were a private range?

Washington Post.

Guns In National Parks

Unusually fair-minded article in the New York Times (!) without the usual hysteria. Excerpt:

Park rangers and volunteers said they were not sure whether gun possession in the park would increase or not when the new law takes effect, partly because they have no idea how many visitors are illegally carrying concealed weapons now. Hardly anyone is ever caught, though current law requires owners to lock or store their guns in a trunk or glove box while in the parks.

“If a person is going to bring a weapon in here, they’ll do it whether there’s a law or not,” said Major Sansam, a seasonal volunteer at Rocky Mountain National Park, the seventh-most popular in the system, with about 2.8 million visits last year.

In the entire history of the NY Times, I believe that is the first time that they have ever allowed anyone to state the obvious: "...they have no idea how many visitors are illegally carrying concealed weapons now."

h/t Sensibly Progressive.

Chicago Gun Case

Second Amendment lawyers Halbrook and Gura have their heads handed to them by the Justices.

Halbrook doesn't get two sentences out before he's interrupted. Gura doesn't even get his first sentence out.

The justices continually interrupt the lawyers and prevent them from completing their arguments.

The question before the court was a limited one: is the Second Amendment incorporated against the States by the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment? The judges told Halbrook and Gura that the Supreme Court had already settled the matter and that only the Supreme Court could change it. Halbrook and Gura tried to respond that there was no Supreme Court precedent for incorporation by Due Process, but the judges interrupted them and told them it didn't matter.

The attorney for the City, Ms. Solomon (Sullivan?) continues at length without interruption, except for praise from the judges.

Grrrrr... It is infuriating to listen to this.

Gun Seizure In China

The caption reads, "Earlier this year, police checked illegally owned guns in China's Henan province."

This stuff looks like it was left over from the Boxer Rebellion! Oh, wait, that's racist.

This stuff looks like it was left over from The Righteous Harmony Society Movement! That's better!

What's probably going on here is that the senior cops are keeping the modern arms and re-selling them, either personally or through intermediaries, and destroying only the very oldest guns and ammo.

Entrepreneurial law-enforcement.

Bang! Ow!

Recite the Four Rules, everybody!

I am not going to hot-link these images from Massad Ayoob's post. They are not for the squeamish. View them at your peril!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

If Cats Taught Philosophy ....

h/t Trailer Park Paradise.

Vintage Ferrari Sells For $12.4 Million

It's a 1957 Testa Rossa 250.

Ze New Bathroom

They started on this while I was in Indy and finished last Saturday. Stripped it down to the walls and rebuilt it. The original dated from 1954 and had a yellow linoleum floor and a leaky tub. The new improved version has a GFI outlet and a ceiling vent fan.

How much did it cost? Remember that Krieghoff K-32 4-barrel skeet set that I used to mention from time to time? Ain't gonna happen.

The Lost Boys

A report from a conference on college men sounds like a satire written by P.J. O'Rourke:

Edwards and Harris also recommended providing opportunities for critical self-reflection about what it means to be a man – “to disrupt the functioning of hegemonic masculinity” – including through facilitated student affairs programming and academic courses (a course in women’s studies, for instance). They recommended a need to build "cultural competence" for faculty and staff in issues of gender. While many in the audience lauded the transformative impact of small group discussions among men, one common point was the need for a facilitator who really understands gender dynamics.

No wonder there are fewer men on campus every year: ya'll are threatening to send 'em to Re-education Camps as a required course.

h/t Old Grouch.

National Ignition Facility

Yup, we have one, and it's being dedicated this week.

In theory, the facility’s 192 lasers — made of nearly 60 miles of mirrors and fiber optics, crystals and light amplifiers — will fire as one to pulverize a fleck of hydrogen fuel smaller than a match head. Compressed and heated to temperatures hotter than those of the core of a star, the hydrogen atoms will fuse into helium, releasing bursts of thermonuclear energy.
That's not a #2 pencil; that's the "target holder".

1967 Killer Exposed As Stasi Agent

In 1967 a young, unarmed demonstrator in West Berlin was shot and killed by a police officer. The slaying sent West Germany lurching to the left and was the inspiration for violent action by terrorist groups like the Red Army Faction and the Second of June Movement.

Now a discovery in the archives of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi, has upended Germany’s perception of its postwar history. The killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, though working for the West Berlin police, was at the time also acting as a Stasi spy for East Germany.

The most insidious question raised by the revelation is whether Mr. Kurras might have been acting not only as a spy, but also as an agent provocateur, trying to destabilize West Germany. As the newspaper Bild am Sonntag put it in a headline, referring to the powerful former leader of the dreaded East German security agency, Erich Mielke, “Did Mielke Give Him the Order to Shoot?”

New York Times

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I ran across this in the process of looking up some details on the life of the legendary Scottish commando leader from WWII, Lord Lovat. Here is a picture taken on August 19, 1942:

Lovat and the 4th Commando are returning from a raid on Dieppe.

Less than two years later, Lovat was at Sword Beach on D-Day:

They say that's him, wading through the surf, just to the right of the main column, and carrying an old Winchester rifle. In the foreground is the bagpiper of the 4th Commando, Bill Millin. In defiance of strict orders to the contrary, Lovat had Millin pipe the men ashore. Lovat was badly wounded six days later. He survived the war and died in 1995. Millin also survived the war. He played the pipes at Lovat's funeral.

Government Motors

The White House is offering the UAW 100 cents on the dollar for equity in a restructured GM. By comparison, other bond-holders are being offered less than a tenth of that:

While the Obama administration has been playing hardball with bondholders, it has been more than happy to play nice with the United Auto Workers. How else to explain why a retiree health-care fund controlled by the UAW is slated to get a 39 percent equity stake in GM for its remaining $10 billion in claims while bondholders are being pressured to take a 10 percent stake for their $27 billion?


Monday, May 25, 2009

New Netpix Service Sends Unlimited Photographs For Monthly Fee

Whoooooa! What a business plan. Wish I'd thought of it. From The Onion.


Archie To Choose Betty Or Veronica

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shhhhhh! Keep It Down, Willya?

You'll spoil everything!

For the 15th consecutive quarter, Indianapolis led the nation's large cities (population 500,000 and up) in home affordability. The Indiana capital tops the list due to very reasonable home prices and relatively high median income: Nearly 95% of all homes sold were affordable to those earning the metro area's median income of $68,100.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm Awesome... But You Can Call Me Mr. Awesome

This is my niece. She says my name should be ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Appealing The Unappealing

Weird and unearthly brand names that have come before the Patent and Trademark Office's Appeal Board:
Pussy beverages
Old Glory condoms
Big Pecker t-shirts
Acapulco Gold suntan lotion
Sex Rod clothing
Dick Heads bar accessories
Bullshit beverages

The Volokh Conspiracy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Never Tell A Woman She "Can't" Do Something

Kansas woman on safari in Zimbabwe kills elephant with 90-lb. compound bow.

Here's her story.

Newspaper article.

h/t Say Uncle.

From Wikipedia:

Among Classical Greeks, amazon was given a popular etymology as from a-mazos, "without breast", connected with an etiological tradition that Amazons had their right breast cut off or burnt out, so they would be able to use a bow more freely and throw spears without the physical limitation and obstruction; there is no indication of such a practice in works of art, in which the Amazons are always represented with both breasts, although the right is frequently covered.

Antiope, Queen of the Amazons, preparing for battle. She looks perfectly healthy to me. I think that "right breast" stuff is a load of nonsense.

California Constitutional Convention Seen Likely

And, why, pray tell?

While California has suffered the same fate as much of the nation — high unemployment, large numbers of foreclosures, general economic sluggishness — its budget woes are greatly exacerbated by its odd and in many ways outmoded way of doing business.

The ballot initiative process — in which legislators or independent groups ask voters to mandate how the state’s money is spent or not spent — has become at times an exercise in fiscal self defeat, with voters moving to earmark money for one special program one year, only to contemplate undoing their own will a few elections later.

Con-con, eh? Hmmmm.... If it works in California, could it work in D.C.?

Dannon Yogurt Founder Dies at 103

Happiness And Uncertainty

It's kind of a relative thing, says the NYT:

That’s because people feel worse when something bad might occur than when something bad will occur. Most of us aren’t losing sleep and sucking down Marlboros because the Dow is going to fall another thousand points, but because we don’t know whether it will fall or not — and human beings find uncertainty more painful than the things they’re uncertain about.

But why?

A colostomy reroutes the colon so that waste products leave the body through a hole in the abdomen, and it isn’t anyone’s idea of a picnic. A University of Michigan-led research team studied patients whose colostomies were permanent and patients who had a chance of someday having their colostomies reversed. Six months after their operations, patients who knew they would be permanently disabled were happier than those who thought they might someday be returned to normal.

Yup, it's a relative thing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Construction Progress

With a tiny project like this, a 5-foot by 6-foot bathroom, a lot can get done in a day. Today they finished the wall tile and the floor tile. Grouting tomorrow, I guess.

Obama To Sign National Parks Carry Law

The New York Times predicts it, tomorrow or Friday.

To the frustration and discouragement of many Democrats, House and Senate lawmakers and aides say it now appears likely that President Obama will this week sign into law a provision allowing visitors to national parks and refuges to carry loaded and concealed weapons.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Thanks to Of Arms And The Law.


A little linkage goes a long way:

And let's welcome our new friends from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Riled Women Arrested

That's the headline. In New Hampshire. Two separate incidents.

The suspect in the first incident was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon - a vodka bottle.

In the second incident, the suspect was charged with aggravated groin biting.

From The Berkshire Eagle.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Break

I flew in from Ronald Reagan to Indy on Thursday and the car rental people said the only thing left was this Camaro, with eleven miles on it. They insisted I take it. Done!

This car was a real attention-getter. People waved, pointed, shouted and honked. The damned thing was WAY too powerful and even had paddle-shifters.

This called for some careful and judicious driving between Indy and Dayton, as the Ohio State Police are not known for their (collective) sense of humor, and a brand-spanking-new fiery-red Camaro with Mississippi plates would represent an irresistible temptation!

With Roberta X as my guide, we set off early Friday morning and reached our destination around ten thirty.

Our first stop was “Telegraph Row” and the booth of the Begali family of Italy. The Begalis make some of the most eye-popping, museum-quality telegraph keys on this (or any other) planet. Here, Roberta is discussing the details of the Begali “Intrepid” bug with Signor Begali The Younger.

And before I could pick up my teeth, the deal was done, for this breathtaking single-paddle key. Before moving on, I extracted a promise from Roberta that this would be absolutely, positively, the last telegraph key she would ever buy. I think I got her promise, although, I realize now that I was not able to see both of her hands at the same time; she may have been crossing her fingers. Time will tell.

The vintage gear was the big draw for both of us. If it has big, honkin' knife switches, we're interested. And this bad boy has two kinds of knife switches: a regular one and a very unusual “rotary” version. Roberta identified this gadget as a powerline inductance test set.

There are a zillion old cardboard boxes spread out over a huge parking lot, and we're going to give each one a frisk.

What kinds of things are in those boxes? Have a look. We couldn't ID the three olive-drab thingies in the middle, but for $4 you can buy a Bakelite microphone with a cable covered in real India-rubber! Or maybe it's gutta-perchia. Either way, it's a steal!

What have we here? Seems to be a final output meter for a high-altitude circularly-polarized 1937 Teslatron Linear Plasma Injector, new and unused, in original box. Fifty cents.

Roberta spotted this from more than a block away and called it right. It's a control panel from an Army mobile radio set.

There are lots of big, scary-looking vacuum tubes, some the size of fire hydrants. This is a little one. It's about 18-inches tall.

Here we have a most amazing and phantabulous telegraph key. It is electrically-powered and fan cooled! Completely unnecessary and yet, absolutely essential!

Two very unusual “bugs”. The one on the right is an absolutely unique “clockwork” key: you have to wind it up before you can send anything.

There was surplus military and aviation electronics by the long-tonne. Roberta nearly scored a 1950's vintage military aviation “Command Set” transmitter for 40-meters. This is the oxygen control panel for a commercial airliner. The red cover protects the switch that drops the passengers' emergency oxygen masks into their laps.

We identified this as a control panel from a commercial flight simulator.

How about a little wheel-well fire? Why, my little party is just beginning!

Something for the workplace?

Why, yes! To measure her co-workers.

This was a little sobering for me. Three state-of-the-art (in 1980) Tektronix waveform monitors from a TV station. Excellent condition. Cost new: $2,000 each. Today only, special price: $10 each.

Four mint-condition vintage radios in a mint-condition cabinet. My hand is over the “SOLD” sign.

This is a Soviet cipher machine from the Cold War era. It has ten rotors. It appears to be complete, intact and in working order. It is one of two known to exist. The NSA has the other one.

Roberta taking a snap of the 12-gauge black-powder cannon.
We were on our feet continuously from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM, skipped lunch and got badly sunburned. But we saw absolutely everything and we had a blast doing it!

Sunday morning at Eagle Creek range. Roberta is trying out a Winchester side-by-side with two-triggers. I got to fire a .22 with a silencer!

Then back to Broad Ripple. There was an outdoor art fair.

And Sunday afternoon at Locally Grown Gardens. Clockwise from left: Shootin' Buddy, Shermlock Shomes, Roberta X, Old Grouch, Shermlock, Jr, Joanna and Tam. Not shown: Mad Saint Jack and Turk Turon. A few minutes after this picture was taken, a man walked up and introduced himself as a blog-reader from Milwaukee who was in town and suddenly realized that he was only a few blocks from the Indy Blogmeet, and couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Tam.

LGG is located in a former gas station, as you can see. They have the most delicious locally-grown produce, barbecued pork and salmon, homemade pies (try the crumbly-topped apple pie) and bread. My goodness, they're tasty! And bottled soft drinks made with real cane sugar! Wow!

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Monday it was back to D.C. The contractors had torn out the bathroom to replace, well, just about everything.

This is the underside of the old tub, waiting to be hauled away. It was made in 1950.