Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #77

In keeping with the theme...

1977 Lincoln Versailles. Perhaps one of the most flagrant cases of "badge engineering" that's not the Cadillac Escalade. Take a Ford Granada, execrable in its own right. Then slap a Lincoln badge on it, some rich Corinthian leather, and double the price. That's a Lincoln Versailles. SCI-FI and I used to go back and forth with odd, esoteric trivia. The Lincoln Versailles was one of the answers (others included "frizzen pan" and "David Rice Acheson", FTR).

The Versailles was one of those utterly forgettable cars of the late 1970s/early 1980s like the K-car or the Monza. Borne out of the ongoing gas crises in the 1970s, cars were downsized from the mammoth land yachts they had been and burdened with horrific emission controls that throttled horsepower down to ridiculous levels (the early 1990s Chevrolet 1500 pickup with the big block 454 was rated at something like 205 horsepower. Yes, the same motor that put out 455 horsepower in the Chevelle. Some of it was ratings taken from the rising part of the power curve, but still...)

It's one of those things. We look at the bland styling of cars today and lament that "they don't make 'em like they used to," but that statement is only half-right. While the styling of cars in the 1950s/60s and early 1970s might be more attractive, the technology in the earlier years was downright primitive (a choke? Really?) and in the later years outright awful. We've gotten to the point now where a generic sedan with a six cylinder engine (think Nissan Altima) would kick the ever-lovin' snot out of pretty much anything in the 1960s shy of the AC Cobra.

But then again, no one ever went for a joy ride in an Altima...

That is all.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

So, Let Me Get This Straight...

David Gregory brings a 30-round magazine into DC, after being told not to by DC police, and there's no repercussions whatsoever.

Ken Buck keeps a AR-15, without bolt, under lock and key in his office, and DC police conduct a full investigation.

Buck, mind you, is allowed to keep firearms in his office because congresscritters are more equal than others (they are exempt from the DC ban). He also talked to Capitol Police, showed them where and how the firearm was stored, and showed that it was inoperable (the bolt and BCG is not in the rifle).

But DC police investigated.

David Gregory consulted with DC police, was specifically told not to bring the magazine into DC, then did it anyways. A definitive crime was committed and broadcast on live television. Gregory was not charged, nor even arrested. Buck committed no crime, but was investigated. Despite knowing that it was perfectly legal, the DC police insisted on an investigation.

Why? On what planet does it make sense to investigate a non-crime? Buck possessing the rifle in his office is 100% legal - that's what happens when you're one of the protected classes. Much like law enforcement in MA, NY and CO are exempt from magazine restrictions, congresscritters are allowed to possess firearms - even ZOMG ASSAULT RIFLES - in their offices. No crime. Period.

So, basically, DC police investigated Buck for, um, well, I can't figure out why. Unless, of course, the purpose had nothing to do with the firearm in question and everything to do with the headline "GOP Congressman investigated by DC police." Of course, the media will naturally do all due diligence and report on *this* example of police overreach and profiling, right?

Don't answer that - it's rhetorical.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

They Say It's Your Birthday...

Actually, it's mine. It's a numerically significant one - but only because it ties in with a grail gun. I've made 44 revolutions around the sun as of today, so in that vein, I'm looking to acquire my .44 Magnum grail gun this year: a Smith & Wesson model 29.

But not just any model 29, no. See, that would be easy. What I want is the final piece of the Smith & Wesson target trifecta. I've got the model 17 (.22LR). I've got the model 27 (.357 Magnum). I need the 8 3/8" barrel, target hammer, target trigger, diamond grips version of the model 29.

I've got a year to find it. I may break down and buy the Dirty Harry model (6.5" barrel) if I can't find the 8 3/8" version for a reasonable price ($2K+??? It ain't a Python, folks!). I'd also be amenable to the 10" barrel version for the .44 Magnum.

Keep your eyes peeled and let me know if you come across one, thanks!

That is all.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Talk About Dropping the Ball...

So, a while back I was talking about a blog dinner. Yeah, that kinda fell by the wayside. I've got a dozen excuses, work, family, etc. but the fact is, I dropped the ball. I should have followed up sooner and didn't. Mea culpa.


Let's pick a date and a general area. Last time was in northern northern VA at The Cajun Experience. Advance scouts (that would be Murphy's Law) tell me that The Cajun Experience has significantly expanded their seating, so if we'd like to revisit a 2A supporter that'd be one thing. That's not to say other venues aren't open. I'd prefer to avoid MD and DC for, well, obvious reasons, but if that's the only thing available, well...

If we're going to do a Saturday evening, I'm free through Memorial Day weekend. Actually, I'm even open then, but I'm thinking that might be a little too far out. In any case, let's settle on which Saturday night we want to get together, then figure out the general area in which to make this happen.

It's been too long since we've had a blog dinner!

That is all.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #76

Continuing the series, here's a car introduced in 1976:

1976 was an odd year for the automobilephile. On the one hand, we got the Chevrolet Chevette ("It'll drive you happy"??? No, it'll drive you to drink). On the other hand, we got the Lotus Esprit. A 2.0L I4 propelled the Esprit from 0-60 MPH in 6.8 seconds, certainly not earthshattering by modern standards, but quite respectable for the time period, especially from a four-banger.

Two cinematic instances of the Esprit stand out. Certainly the submarine piloted by Roger Moore's version of James Bond in "The Spy Who Loved Me" is better known, but the version driven by Richard Gere in "Pretty Woman" is pretty famous, too. "Tell your friend his car corners like it's on rails" indeed - the handling of a Lotus Esprit is just as impressive as the acceleration.

They keep trying to bring it back (the last model ended in 2004); it'd be neat to see what could be done with modern components...

That is all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Phoning It In...

Man. Phishers these days are getting *LAZY*... Here's a message I got from "paypal!" (honest, that's the name in the "From" tab).
Dear Customer,

We have temporarily prevented online access to your account.

To avoid be suspended please complete your informations to the link below:

This email was sent by an automated system, so if you reply, nobody will see it. To get in touch with us, log in to your account and click "Contact Us" at the bottom of any page.
Email ID PP1773 - 6546cx79s87d98w6543
The ACTUAL link, not what was shown, was a Bitly job, and no, I didn't click on it. First off, it's not the e-mail associated with my PayPal account to begin with. Secondly, HELLO RAMPANT GRAMMATICAL ERRORS.

And lastly and most importantly, I'm not an idiot who clicks on random links in e-mails from senders I don't know or trust...

That is all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Asleep at the Switch

Hunter messaged me to remind me that today is Buy A Gun Day. In looking up the link for BAG Day, I realized that it started in 2003 - that's a good dozen years (it's as old as my Harley!). Twelve years. I wonder how many guns have been purchased as a result of BAG Day? Or, more precisely, how many gun purchases have been justified to CFOs (the Mrs. or Mr.) as the "Buy A Gun Day" gun?

My purchase won't be in today, but I sent off the paperwork to secure it. I'll post it when I receive it (personal gun pr0n has been approved on a limited basis, and if you're smart and follow Shooting Illustrated's Instagram feed you'll get advanced warning), but I'll hint that it is a very common firearm. I've been too busy learning about ARs and the many different options and parts thereof to worry too much about new guns... :)

So, anyone want to guess what I'm getting? 

That is all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 NRA Annual Meeting AAR

I got in real late Sunday night, so this is a day late in coming, but like the expression goes, better late than pregnant never.

The big difference between SHOT Show and the NRA Annual Meeting is the people. Now, granted, there are some great folks in the business and I look forward to seeing them at SHOT, but NRA is equally about the people and the gear. I (and others) refer to the gunnie community as my tribe, and the people that I've chosen to be a part of my tribe (and who have chosen me as part of theirs) are some of my very closest friends.

NRA Annual Meeting is one of the few times we all get together, and it's always an amazing time. Saturday night OldNFO arranged a dinner with a couple dozen of us, and amazingly I had no other commitments. An evening with the tribe was just what the Dr. ordered to remind me what it's really all about. Walking the convention floor - whether as a blogger looking for content or an NRA editor looking for content - the hardware and all the related gear is pretty awesome and keeps you busy.

But it's the people that make the NRA Annual meeting different than trade shows. Catching up with friends, meeting folks you've talked to for years online, in my new role now I get a chance to interact with my online contributors (and find new ones sometimes...). It's about putting faces to names and reconnecting with the tribe. And that's awesome.

As for gear, well, the day job covers that. I will say that two of the awesome things that caught my attention were the FNH-USA M249S, a semi-automatic version of the 5.56 NATO SAW offered to the military and the MG Arms Behemoth, a new semi-automatic .50 BMG long-range rifle. Long time readers will remember I took one of the MG Arms K-Yotes out to Colorado for some prairie dog hunting a few years ago, so I have a bit of fondness for MG Arms.

All in all, though, it was a great show but it is good to be home...

That is all.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #75

Wow. 1975 was a most craptacular year for new car models. AMC Pacer, Chevy Monza, Ford Grenada, Chrysler Cordoba; the mid-1970s were a particularly bad time for cars. Fresh off an oil crisis (with another looming) and facing draconian environmental regulations, the companies that only a few years prior had brought us the Chevelle, Boss Mustang, and Charger were now attempting, poorly, to bring us "compact" cars.

Fortunately, British manufacturers had been making more with less for many years. 1975 saw the introduction of the Triumph TR-7, replacing the more traditionally-styled TR6. The TR7 weighed the same as the TR6, yet was powered by an inline 4-cylinder engine rather than the 6-cylinder from the TR6. This would be addressed by the 3.5L V8 dropped into the TR8, which was styled very similarly to the TR7.

At a time when American cars were bogged down by emissions control and using much smaller engines than only a few years prior (consider the Chevy Monza's 2.3L I4 with 78 HP with the 454 V8 in the '70 Chevelle...), offering a small, light, nimble British sports car with a significant racing heritage made a lot of sense. There wasn't much on this side of the pond to give the TR7 much of a race, and for exotic, "wow" factor the "wedge" shape was certainly different.

And that convertible version? Oh my...

That is all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wait. What?

Someone above me in pay grade needs to explain this to me.

I own a bakery. I am of a religious belief that says homosexuality is a sin. A gay couple comes in and requests a cake for their wedding. If I refuse, I can be sued. The ruling was, essentially, you run a bakery, not a church.

However, if I run a trucking company and two employees refuse to carry a load of alcohol, citing their religious beliefs, I cannot fire them, lest the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sue me for refusing to accommodate their religious beliefs.


Can someone reconcile these two stories? Ideally, it'd be nice if you were intellectually honest at the same time. How on bloody earth can a business get sued for refusing to do something based on their religious beliefs, while at the same time another business gets sued for doing something based on their employees' religious beliefs? Isn't the government playing both ends against the middle?

I have a solution, though. Make the Muslim truck drivers delivery gay wedding cakes...

That is all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Why Is the NCA* Silent?

Joseph in IL sends in a cutting story...

Farming town disrupted by melee that included chain saw
The quiet of Big Sandy's block-long commercial district was disrupted one afternoon this week when two vehicles sped into town and their seven occupants got out and began fighting.

The brawl began when three men in a car pulled up in front of a coffee shop shortly after 2 p.m. Monday, and a pickup carrying two men and two women stopped behind them, Chouteau County Sheriff Vern Burdick said.
Considering that one person had "superficial" wounds and the remaining participants were unharmed, it's safe to bet that "Yakety Sax" should accompany any footage of this melee (thanks to Joseph for the mental image...) Fortunately, everyone involved was either completely inept in the ways of street fighting or perhaps too drunk to swing a fist properly. In any case, it seems like damage was minimal and no innocent bystanders were injured.

I've often joked that I'd like to include a chainsaw in my home defense plan, for one simple reason: If someone does break into my house, it's most likely going to be in the middle of the night, while I'm sleeping. Sure, showing up at the top of the stairs with an AR-15 or shotgun would be scary, but imagine a McCulloch with a 2' bar in full throttle, being wielded by a 6' tall shaved head biker looking guy in his tidy whiteys... I envision the home invaders leaving comical human silhouette prints in the door leaving...

Remember, when chainsaws are outlawed, only outlaws will have chainsaws...

That is all.

*Why, the National Chainsaw Association, of course!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #74

This week's car pic was a no-brainer.

1974 Lamborghini Countach. For 16 years, this was the supercar di tutti supercars. If there was a movie that featured an exotic, you can bet the Lambo was in it. From "Cannonball Run" to "Rainman", from "Big" to "Miami Vice", the Countach was the go-to car for cool. The V12 making some 375HP (in a 3,100 pound car) didn't hurt, either.

Slightly more than 2,000 Countachs were made over the car's 16-year lifespan (and more than 1,300 of those were made in the last 5 years), which makes its ubiquity in popular culture throughout the 1980s even the more amazing. To put things in perspective, the Ferarri Testarossa made famous in Miami Vice was made from 1984 to 1991 (9 fewer years) but more than 7,000 cars were made in that time frame.

Wouldn't turn either of them down, from any year of production...

That is all.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Just been out of pocket and crazy busy this week. Keep an eye on the work site for more particulars (but more than likely after NRA Annual Meeting), but I was invited to an extremely cool event this week. It involved new product and training with some industry experts, and basically kicked my rear end six ways to Sunday.

Nothing like good training to make you realize just how much more training you really need...

Anyways, things will kinda sorta be back to normal for a very short while, and then all kinds of crazy next week. NRA AM is our busiest time (for obvious reasons), and while I will be attending this year in Nashville, it's anyone's guess if I will have a spare second the entire weekend.

And *then* things can kinda sorta get back to normal...

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 30, 2015

Feelin' Oooold...

So, I was reminded that "The Breakfast Club" is 30 years old. Yikes. Yeah, "Back to the Future" is the same age, and come this October, it will actually *be* the date that they traveled forward to in "Back to the Future2". Again, I say "yikes."

Now, I haven't watched a lot of recent movies, certainly not teen comedies, but one of the things that jumped out at me when I was a teenager was the prevalence of the 1950s. BTTF is probably the most representative, but there's a number of other movies either set in the '50s (like "The Wanderers") or featuring cars from the '50s (like "The Heavenly Kid" - also released in 1985).

Obviously it was a shout-out to my parents' generation, who would presumably be taking the kids to the movies and would enjoy seeing the time frame of their youth. This must have been a winning formula in Hollywood in the 1980s, given the number of movies containing throwbacks to the '50s and '60s. My folks would have been teenagers in the '50s and young adults in the 1960s; taking their teenaged son to a movie in 1985 would have put them in their early '40s - pretty much my age now.

Should I, then, be looking for a glut of movies aimed at my son and daughter that are set in 1985? Can we eagerly look forward to a movie containing 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity's and 1984 Plymouth Reliants? I'd wager if you own a mid-1980s Mustang, Camaro, or Dodge Charger it would be a great idea to keep it, as it's a good bet they'll be hot properties should Hollywood decide to reach out to Gen X'ers.

Something tells me, though, that the 1985 Buick Regal isn't going to be the star of any upcoming teen comedies...

That is all.

Friday, March 27, 2015

If You Quote Yourself, It's Not Plagiarism...

I couldn't resist...

On a side note, why doesn't Roy Rogers come with a Trigger warning?

That is all.