Saturday, November 05, 2011

Want to see how people will react when TSHTF?

(Via the Drudge Report)

Here's the Girl Scout Picnic version.

Bear in mind that these folks know that help is out there and people are working 24x7 on the problem. Bear in mind that there are places where the power is on that they can go to for shelter. Bear in mind that the affected area is relatively contained.

Imagine they would act if it were the whole country (or world) and there was no help on the way--ever.

Got preps?

If you break a lightbulb

(Via the Drudge Report and with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy)

You might just be a terrorist. Or you might just be a panicky postal employee. Hard to tell them apart some days.

That we breed such men as these

One man on Iwo Jima:

Yet for four hours on Feb. 23 of that year, his courage went beyond ordinary valor: He strapped on a 70-pound flamethrower and took out seven fortified pillboxes – loaded with Japanese troops – so that stalled Marines could advance across the island.

And remember, after that performance he fought on to the end of the battle.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Amen, brother!

In an article on how much money people lose waiting for the repair guy to show up and fix their broken crap, there's a discussion of the Domino's Pizza Pizza Tracker, and it leads to a discussion of why more companies don't have something similar. That leads us to this gem:

“I want an animation of a FedEx worker scanning my new camera from Amazon for explosives. Or the package falling off a truck. Or the guys at the UPS depot using a box of wedding photos as a soccer ball.”

Gunny T-shirts

(Via Claire Wolfe)


I gotta have the Garand one.


(Via the Drudge Report)

You can add tickets for "inches over the stop line" to the "1 MPH over the speed limit" tickets as a new and innovative way for governments to enhance their revenues.

Logging chain and a big trailer hitch. Just sayin'.

Easy fix

A 14-year-old Florida student who hugged his friend was suspended as a result of his middle school's zero-tolerance no-hugging policy, reported.

You know, I wonder how the school would react if all the students just decided to start hugging each other all the time? Do you suppose the kids might consider that in their future behavior?

And don't even get me started on these stupid "zero intelligence tolerance" policies.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

"paper money is a crime"

Well, yeah--but you should read the whole thing. It sounds a bit Occupy Wall Streetish in a few places, but it's worth it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Well that didn't take long

Not even as long as I had expected.

Wheels Come Off Euro Plan in Just Five Days

I see nothing, and I do mean nothing, that gives me any indication that the current economic problems will be solved in the next 3-5 years. Unfortunately, I'm seeing things that tell me that our current bad times may go on for quite a while further.

A funny thing happened this weekend while talking to a casual acquaintance. The talk came around to politics--he is a serious Libertarian, running for a local office. We were discussing the current situation, and would you like to know what his best advice was?

"Are you planning on a garden next year? Have you done anything with solar? You need to get moving on these."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hey! Anyone seen a gun blog around here?

It's been too long since we talked about guns. It's been too long since I bought a new gun, and too long since I managed to get to the range.

So we're going to fix all of that, and have a mini-review at the same time.

Ladies and gentle men, please meet the Springfield XD(M) in .45 ACP. As those with good eyes might be able to tell, this is the 4 1/2" barrel version. (Sorry for the crappy picture; all I had handy was the cell phone.)

I bought this particular gun for several reasons. First, it's in the manly caliber of .45 ACP. While my normal carry gun is a 9mm, and while I don't feel under-gunned with it, I don't feel over-gunned with a .45. In this respect, I'm reminded of something Tom Greshem said recently about the 9mm and the quality of the self-defense ammo available today--"If it doesn't expand, it's still a 9mm." To which I answer that if it doesn't expand, the .45 makes a larger hole than a 9. That can't hurt (me, anyway) and it might help.

(Parenthetically, let me comment on why, with that line of thought, I carry a 9mm. It's because it's a Kel-Tec PF9--a mouse gun. While I can control it just fine and can dump the entire magazine into a torso-size target in about 3-4 seconds from 15 yards without a miss, I can't do that with a small .45, Thus, when I carry small, which is most of the time, I carry a 9mm.)

The second reason is that I wanted it to take a class with. That class, unfortunately, has canceled. Oh darn, I guess I still bought a new gun. :-)

Third is that I've wanted one for a while, and Springfield is currently having a good promo in which I get 3 extra mags and another mag carrier. This gives me a total of 5 13 round magazines to go with the gun. Considering that I paid the normal price for the gun from a local dealer, that means I get free magazines--always a plus. Sometimes procrastination works for you.

Forth, since this gun is intended for carry, I wanted no manual safety. (One less thing to screw up when you're under maximum stress.) The XD(M), like the XD before it, has no manual safety but does have a grip safety built in. I've been ragged by Glockists for this preference, and while I understand that the best safety is between my ears, a little extra help couldn't hurt. The grip safety is that little extra.

So, last week Mr. Cash Money and myself showed up on said dealer's doorstep, and myself and Mr. Springfield left. The weekend was too busy to consider range time, but today was a "me day", in which I allowed myself some well-deserved play time.

The first task was to strip the gun, clean it and be sure it was lubed properly. Takedown is simple. Drop the mag, rack the slide and lock it. Check for a round in the chamber, then flip the takedown lever. In an improvement over the XD and many other striker-fired pistols, you do not have to run the slide forward and then pull the trigger to complete removal of the slide--you simply guide it off with your hand. Sweet.

Once the slide is off, flip it over and carefully remove the guide rod and recoil spring. Be careful, it's a stout spring, and you don't want to damage it, you or the gun. And if it gets away from you, it could wind up anywhere. Then remove the barrel and you're done. Very simple. Reassembly is the reverse, and equally simple.

Cleaned and lubed, I loaded the magazines. Here comes my biggest gripe about this gun. While it's possible to fully load one of the 13 round magazines with only your hands and the fingers thereof, it's painful. Springfield thoughtfully includes a device to help (you can see it on the left side of the above photo), but I don't care for the idea of magazines that require a tool before one can load them completely. In a survival situation, lose that tool and you may find yourself slack loading your magazines. Some smart fellow ought to apply himself and see if he can design magazines that work without that level of spring pressure.

At the range, the gun proved more accurate than I am (unsurprising, as I'm a long gun guy). I couldn't get the pistol bay I wanted, the cool one with all of those metal targets conveniently shaped just like human torsos, so I had to content myself with what I call "zombie target practice"--shooting at 8 inch falling plates on the machines in another bay. This meant that I could not really gauge how easy it was to control recoil when double-tapping. I think it will be manageable, however. At a guess, I'd say the gun recoils less than my 1911, and I can double-tap that one on torsos all day long.

(Another parenthetic aside. I go for what Rob Pincus calls "combat accurate hits". While it's all great to keep everything in 3 inches from 25 yards, I'm not training for that--I'm training to save my life in a self-defense situation.)

One thing I've always thought was a good idea is that Springfield includes a decent kydex paddle holster and magazine carrier. I used that holster today, and while it isn't one that I'd want to carry all the time (not a paddle fan), it does a reasonable job for the range--good enough that I could draw (very carefully and very slowly--new gun and unfamiliar holster) from the holster for my shooting.

Fully loaded, the gun is fairly heavy, and it definitely tugs on your pants. If I want to carry this, I'm going to have to work carefully on how to be sure that the clothes on that side don't exhibit any "droop" because of the weight.

I ran 124 rounds through the gun (8 full magazines) with no failures of any sort, other than my old eyes not wanting to see the front sight so well. While I'm not ready to declare it a carryable gun just yet, I don't think that there will be a problem doing that after another trip or two.

So far, I'm a happy shooter.

Fixated? Indeed.

It has been noted to me that I have developed something of a fixation with the message of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. I plead guilty as charged.

In my youth, I was asked to read it as part of a college class. Like all good students will do when confronted with the task of reading a thousand-page book, I worked smarter, not harder--or so I thought at the time--and read the Cliff's Notes instead.

So for 30 years I missed out on insights I could have desperately used. Over the years, I have fought and railed against "idiots" who simply didn't seem to see how the world plainly worked. I've tried to educate fools who spent their lives lurching from one personal disaster to the next, simply because they thought they could wish their desires into reality--and always failed. I've been angry, frustrated and just generally pissed off at the entire thing. I've written off people and friendships because I simply couldn't stand to watch them self-destruct, when the answer was so plainly before them.

The audio book of the novel made it approachable for me. Sure, it takes something like 56 hours to listen to, but I spend at least 90 minutes a day driving. It was doable in a reasonable time. And I detest broadcast radio for the most part--and it gets really old listening to the engine noise and the tires on the road.

So I listened. At first it was interesting, but I couldn't see where it was going. Then is simply bursts out--the real message that Rand is sending through her writing. And I was looking for any need to drive somewhere. I started carrying the MP3 player around, listening whenever I could. I got to the end of it, and was disappointed it was over.

But I also "got it". I understand why that novel speaks to me. It seems almost as if Rand was capable of seeing into the future, reading the headlines we face every day, and decided to write a book about it.

Nah. It turns out that she isn't a seeress, but something even more rare--an acute observer of mankind.