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.

Friday Car Pr0n #73

Ah. Now we're starting to get into the darkening.

1973 Honda Civic. Introduced in 1972 as a 1973 model, the first gen Civic was prescient. Gasoline shortages in 1973 started the process by which American cars would start to shrink, as gas prices climbed ever higher and MPG in the single digits began to be frowned upon. The Civic, with its 70 cubic inch engine (1169cc), could achieve 40 MPG on the highway, up to four times as economical as its V8-powered rivals.

The Civic wasn't a bad car, by any stretch of the imagination. It got excellent gas mileage, was simple to maintain, and had reliability at least on a par with its American counterparts. Some of the earlier models were plagued with rust problems in northern states, a problem that continued well into the 1980s for pretty much all Japanese cars. It wasn't uncommon, living in Massachusetts, to see a 2 or 3 year old Toyota with rot poking through the wheel wells.

Then again, I had a 1985 GMC Jimmy that was showing rust by 1990, so it wasn't exactly endemic to Japanese cars. One of the funny things for me, the first time I visited San Antonio, TX in the late 1990s, was seeing early '80s Celicas with intact bodies. Obviously, with no rust to speak of, the rot was kept at bay and the bodies lasted as long as the engines. Paint, OTOH, faded like you read about...

Fun factoid: The dealership where we bought our Accord in 2000 had a mint-condition '73 Civic in the showroom...

That is all.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Remind Me, Again...

Why did we trade five high-level terrorists for this guy?

Bergdahl charged with desertion
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held five years after being captured by the Taliban when he left his remote post in Afghanistan, was charged Wednesday by the Army with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

The misbehavior charge carries a potential life sentence, the Army said in a statement, but legal analysts said it was likely Bergdahl would reach an agreement that would result in a light punishment.
So we gave away - GAVE AWAY - five high-level Taliban terrorists for a guy who abandoned his Army post. I distinctly remember, at the time, that we were told Bergdahl was deathly ill, and that's why the Obama Administration couldn't wait for congressional approval for making the swap. Bergdahl was not sick, was not a captive, and the exchange seems to have served no purpose other than to let terrorists go free.

This is exactly the kind of world-class leadership we've come to expect from this administration.

Contrast, if you will, to the Reagan administration selling arms to the Iranians in exchange for the release of American hostages. That was the worst thing in the world, according to the Democrats, and resulted in a 7 year, 50 million dollar special investigation that resulted in the NSA head going to jail for six months. And these were actual hostages, not people that abandoned their military post.

But then again, you know, dude that was like two years ago, right?

That is all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Species Has Amused Itself to Death

Sweet suffering baby Jesus. We. Are. Doomed.

Feminist conference says clapping ‘triggers anxiety,’ asks attendees to use ‘jazz hands’ instead
A U.K. student feminism conference is asking attendees to refrain from clapping and use “jazz hands” instead so as to not trigger anxiety in others.

The National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Campaign announced the clapping “ban” at the West Midlands conference on Twitter Tuesday, shortly after receiving a request from the Oxford University Women’s Campaign.
Look, I totally grok asking folks not to clap at certain junctures. While it's a great morale boost, it's also a great way to interrupt someone, or even just to make someone lose their train of thought in a completely innocuous way. But it triggers anxiety? On what planet?

Seriously, I want to know. What sort of tenuous grip on reality do you have to have to be traumatized by people clapping? Were you involved in a particularly intense round of B-I-N-G-O in kindergarten? Too many rounds of "The Chicken Dance" at weddings? I'm trying like hell to think of an event that would so thoroughly scar someone's fragile psyche that clapping would have to be replaced by jazz hands.

And isn't that misappropriating culture? I mean, jazz was primarily an African-American institution brought about by the plight of the former slave and sharecropper as they emerged from post-Reconstruction America? How dare these evil white oppressors steal yet another thing from the African-American!

You know who I feel bad for? The poor bastards at The Onion. How the bloody hell do you come up with parody after a story like the above? The whole point of parody is that it's somewhat close to reality - if this *had* been a story in The Onion, no one would have laughed, because it's too divorced from anything even vaguely resembling reality.

Then again, I have ceased to be surprised with anything from the Entitlement Generation...

That is all.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Some @#$%ing Assembly @#$%ing Required

So, there's an IKEA about 45 minutes away from Freedom House South. This has been an experience. Until we moved, the only thing I knew about IKEA was that it was Scandinavian, like SAAB, vikings, and ABBA. None of these are good things.

We made a trip out early last year to get a bed for BabyGirl G. When we moved, the movers completely destroyed the bed in her room (literally; they pulled it apart in ways it was never intended to be taken apart, rendering it little more than kindling. When we filed the insurance claim, we discovered they'd gone "out of business"...), so she needed something to sleep on (fortunately, we had a twin set and metal frame for the interim). We picked up a desk for TheBoy, as the one he had been using in MA was a computer desk I'd bought when we moved into our apartment in 1995. He was due.

I joke about being "mechanically declined", but in reality I'm pretty good at putting stuff together from a kit. I've assembled TheBoy's bunk bed, BabyGirlG's daybed, several desks, kitchen table and chairs, and other random pieces of furniture as needed. I will almost always put one part together backwards (it's the curse of dyslexia, I swear) and have to partially disassemble the item, but it winds up in the intended shape the vast majority of the time.

The rest of the time, well, that's what we have duct tape and bench grinders for, right?

Last weekend we took a second pilgrimage to IKEA and got some more furniture. BabyGirlG's desk was also damaged in the move and finally succumbed to its wounds, plus she really needs more than the three drawer chest that started life as a changing table. Got everything home last week and assembled the kitchen chairs (pre-teens and teens are *hell* on chairs; I figure the ones the kids are trashing now are my penance for destroying numerous pieces in my parents' house growing up) and a storage unit for our bathroom.

This weekend, I tackled the rest of the furniture.

Och. There wasn't anything difficult, except for one recalcitrant rail system in the file stand turned night stand, but that was simple enough to work around. Desk, night stand, desk topper, and several other incidentals later, and boy can I feel the effects of standing, hunched over, turning screwdrivers and wrenches. I eschew power tools when putting together furniture of indeterminate origin, as too much torque can turn a screw into a drill in microseconds.

It takes its toll on a back and shoulders, I gotta tell ya...

I will hand it to the folks at IKEA. They've got a fine balance between price and quality. Everything that was put together was solid, sturdy, and what wood there was was plentiful. I've assembled more than a few particle board wonders that didn't fare well when placed in contact with water (and one was a coffee table). So far we've been pleased with the items we've gotten at IKEA, the pain spreading across my shoulder blades notwithstanding.

Having a pickup truck plus proximity to IKEA = More Advil Please...

That is all.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #72

Again, with the theme...

1972 Lancia Stratos. Complete with tilt-up hood and trunk (bonnet?). 192 HP Ferrari Dino V6. For whatever reason, it was the most exotic of Italian exotics, even more so than the Lamborghini or Maserati. Maybe it was the fiberglass body. I'd imagine the very limited numbers produced might have had something to do with it, too.

The funny part, of course, is that a modern sedan will run rings around it -- with a 0-60 MPH time of 6.8 seconds it was pretty fast for the time, but the 2015 Toyota Camry V6 will do it nearly a second faster. A *Camry*. (Side note: Put the Camry on the list of "Cars to look at to replace the Earthf**ker"...)

The Camry, while a good looking car these days, is no Lancia Stratos.

That is all.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

In Long-Awaited News...

Glock has (inadvertently) released news of its new, single-stack 9 mm subcompact, the G43.

I haven't had a chance to try the G43 out yet, but I'm sure it will do well. When Glock introduced the G42 last year, the single biggest comment,  bar none, was that it should have been a 9 mm. Interestingly enough, now that they *have* released a slim, subcompact single-stack 9 mm, all anyone can say is "too little too late" and point to S&W/Ruger/Springfield Armory/etc. as already having a slim, subcompact single-stack 9 mm.

From the standpoint of having shot the G42, I'm willing to wager the G43 will be fairly similar. It's blocky, but it works; and where it's a  Glock, it's more than likely going to keep on working for as long as you treat it properly. The G42 is slightly larger than the norm for a pocket 380; since the G43 is larger still, it's most likely again a little bigger than other small 9 mm pistols out there. Another interesting comment revolves around the capacity, with a growing refrain putting down the 6-round limit in the G43.

Honestly, what did you expect? The G26, with a double-stack frame, only has a 10-round capacity in the flush floorplate magazine. Glock doesn't have a machine capable of suspending physics; they can't produce a single-stack magazine with the same height as a double stack and the same capacity; it plain doesn't work that way. It's a tradeoff, and it's the reason the Springfield Armory XD-S in .45 ACP and the Kahr PM45 have a whopping 5-round capacity. You want small, it's gotta come from somewhere.

In any case, go read my colleague's write-up; it's pretty darn good and he was there for the unveiling.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

For Those Going to Nashville...

Ambulance Driver is conducting a class you REALLY want to participate in.

Folks, I'm going to be uncharacteristically serious for a second. Ambulance Driver and I go back a few years, and throughout that time has been a lot of good natured joshing, friendly back-and-forth, and just a little bit of alpha male rivalry (in KTKC, at least). But I couldn't imagine anyone I'd rather have administer emergency care to me, or teaching me how to handle medical emergencies.

He flat-out knows his s**t. He can teach it, he can preach it, he can walk the walk and talk the talk. I'm privileged to have some inside information, as well (keep an eye on the work page), and let me just say this is a dude you want to listen to when he talks about emergency medicine.

Or running a shotgun, for that matter. 

If you're attending the NRA Annual Meeting next month and you've got some free time, the course is Saturday, April 11th from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Here's the syllabus, and there's links to folks who took the class last year. I don't think anyone that went didn't come away a whole lot wiser and just a little bit safer.

Go. Register. Learn.

That is all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Into The Woods...

So, I finally completed a hunter's ed course and got my Hunter Education Certificate over the weekend (VA offers an online course). 43 years on this planet and I'm finally going hunting. Growing up, with suburban sprawl plus MA's anti-gun attitude, I never got the chance to go hunting with my dad. I know he had hunted as a kid/young man, but in all the time I've known him he has never hunted, preferring fishing.

As I grew up, I had friends along the way offer to take me hunting here and there. Zercool offered a "Hunting 101" when he lived in NY that I wished I'd taken him up on, but couldn't make it work. Along the way, I had limited experience - mainly varmint/vermin eradication in the form of squirrels, groundhogs and prairie dogs - but I've never gone hunting. I've never tracked an animal, followed a blood trail, dressed out a kill, or any of the other tasks that make up the hunting experience.

Well, I'm ready to learn. I figure I'm a good thirty years behind the curve, so I've got some lost time to make up for. Several friends and co-workers have offered to help; I intend to lean on pretty much everyone for a bit until I get a better sense of what's going on. Of course, Virginia regs dictate calibers above .223 Rem., so I either need to move up to .308 Win. or take Grampy's Marlin 336. I can think of worse ways to hunt than with my grandfather's cherished lever action rifle...

Or, I could look into getting one of those sweet Weatherby Vanguards in 6.5 Creedmoor. I hear that round works in AR-platform rifles, too. I've had reasonably good luck with both .223 Rem. and .308 Win. out to 400 yards; it's unlikely I'd need/be able to take many shots further out than that here on the Eastern seaboard at least (and if I'm headed out west, chances are I'll be shooting with a borrowed rifle). I've thought about .300 Blackout, but honestly, the range isn't that much better than .30-30 Win. At least that would only require an upper change, though...

So many decisions. So much hardware...

Of course, there's things like skinning knives, blaze orange jackets, boots, binoculars, and probably a million other things I'm forgetting. I just started getting into long-range shooting, and while hunting is a natural outlet for this new endeavor, it brings with it a whole host of additional geegaws and must-have gadgets for me to obsess over. Even not considering the prospect of a new gun. Or two.

I can see this being a costly venture, but at least I'll (hopefully) get some venison out of it...

That is all.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eight Years...

Eight years ago today, MArooned came into being. Eight years. 2,922 days. 9,082 posts. Over 58,000 comments. A move out of the Volksrepublik and into Free America. Several dozen PMags. It has been a long, strange, and wonderful ride these past eight years.

What does the future hold? I have no idea. Some say blogging is dead, killed either by the short attention span of Facebook or the commercialization of blogs (as he looks at the banner ad just under the masthead...) I'm still here, albeit with less output. Funny, that - moving out of MA took away a great deal of the urge to blog. Amazing what freedom can do.

Thanks for sticking with me, and we'll see what the next 8 years hold.

That is all.

Friday Car Pr0n #71

Continuing with the "cars that were introduced in the same year as the number" series...

1971 International Harvester Scout II (picture from here. $15.5K? Not bad!)

Now, I was looking for something special to post for this one, because '71 happens to be the year your humble host was born. There weren't a lot of good cars introduced in 1971. Fortunately, the Scout II is pretty damned awesome, even if it was playing catchup with the Jeep for "proto-SUV."

It beat the Ford Bronco (1966) and Chevy Blazer (1969) to market, as well as all of the Japanese imports of the 1980s. The Chevrolet Suburban, of course, is the granddaddy of them all, being introduced in 1934; however even the mighty 'Burban didn't get 4WD until 1960, about the same time as the Scout coming to market.

The Scout - along with the Bronco, Blazer, and Toyota ForeRunner (all in their first generation body style, interestingly enough) - had a removable top for summer time fun. An obvious tip of the design pen to the Jeep, it was one of those ideas that sounded great right up until someone got around to doing it. The problem with a removable roof is two-fold: getting it off, and finding a place to store it where it won't get damaged (yes, Dad G. had a Wrangler that I helped put the roof on/take the roof off for several years).

Still, it'd be a lot of fun to have one of the Scouts today!

That is all.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Second Annual NoVA Spring Blogdinner

I've been watching the goings-on from my Northeast Blogger friends on Facebook as they organize a Spring blog dinner, and it dawned on me that it has been over a year since we've had a NoVA/SoMD blog dinner.

Well, it's time to rectify that, post-haste!

As much as I really enjoyed The Cajun Experience, I think it's more than obvious that they are ill-equipped to handle a large group, and we need a restaurant so equipped. I'd like to keep the venue to somewhere in the Northern Virginia area, as we have a number of attendees coming from Maryland. I don't think we'd want to go any further than Woodbridge or so.

Obviously, the District is right out...

So, let's get the ball rolling. Who's in for a spring blog dinner? Once we have a general idea who wants to attend we can start hammering out details. I'm thinking mid-April, as the end of March is the kids' spring break and we've got plans, followed by Easter weekend, then NRA Annual meeting. Trying to squeeze a dinner in by March 21st is just too close.

I'm thinking a Saturday night would get the most folks able to attend, so let's start there. Pick a Saturday: April 4th, 18th, 25th. Which works best for everyone? If we have to, we can push into May, but I'm thinking that if we're going that late we should look into a blog shoot, too... ;)

Who's in for the Second Annual NoVA/SoMD Spring Blogdinner?

That is all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm Confused...

Now, I know I'm just one of those knuckle-dragging neanderthal bitter clingers, but I can't seem to reconcile these next two stories:

Obama: I First Learned About Clinton’s Email Address ‘Through News Reports’
President Barack Obama said he first found out through the news about Hillary Clinton’s private email address she used for government business while secretary of state.

“The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” Obama told CBS News.

The president said he’s glad his former secretary of state instructed her emails be disclosed to the public.
Got that? “The same time everybody else learned it through news reports” - that's when President Obama claims to have learned that his Secretary of State Hillary! Clinton was using private e-mail rather than the official, mandatory .gov address.

And then this:

White House: Obama did trade e-mails with Clinton
A White House spokesman said Monday that President Obama did trade e-mails with then-secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton but did not know about her private e-mail system that included a server at her home.

"I would not describe the number of e-mails as large, but they did have the occasion to e-mail one another," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, adding that he did not know about the content.
I mean, I must be missing something, right? Because what it looks like to me is that, in the first story, Obama is claiming that he didn't know about Hillary using private e-mail until the news broke earlier this year. In the second story, the White House admits that they exchanged e-mails with Clinton on her private server.

Now, maybe they do things differently at the White House. Maybe it's official protocol to just blindly hit "reply" to any e-mail that comes in, not bothering to look at the sender. Maybe President Obama gets his e-mail directly, without anyone else looking at it, and the man is a complete and utter noob when it comes to electronic mail.

Or do they really honestly and truly expect us to believe that Barack Obama, acting as the President of the United States, the single most powerful man in the world, was corresponding with his Secretary of State, the face of the United States in the world community, without knowing which e-mail address she was using?

The real question, in my mind, is why is Obama lying about what he knew and when he knew it? Why did he allow - and make no mistake, he knew and allowed it to happen - Clinton to bypass established security protocols? Why did his administration knowingly foster this breach of the law requiring open and honest - remember, transparent - communications? Why would they allow Hillary Clinton to operate an untraceable e-mail address that only she controlled access to while she was SecState?

There's something going on here that doesn't even vaguely pass the smell test, folks...

That is all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Have No Words...

I thought some of the stuff in the video I posted yesterday was stupid. Folks, the idiots passing cars on the right, lanesplitting, and otherwise riding motorcycles like mouth-breathing morons are Albert F**king Einstein compared to the person in this next story...

Driver was on Facebook before crash that killed three, say cops
A Wisconsin woman's phone is recovered months after a crash in which her daughter and two nieces, whom she was driving, were killed. She is being charged with homicide.

When the crash happened, police couldn't work out why.

A car driven by 34-year-old Kari Jo Milberg from Centuria, Wisc., allegedly plowed into a truck heading in the opposite direction. Her 11-year-old daughter and two 5-year-old nieces, who were in the car with her, were killed.
Also in this car was her three year old son, who was injured in the crash. Now, I understand that there are a lot of "if"s here. We're assuming the story is more-or-less correct as reported, and I know that often that is a HUGE leap of faith. I'm a little skeptical myself in that the phone was found months later, and *that* is the break that lead cops to suspect she was on Facebook? There's something that doesn't quite mesh up here.

With that caveat, though, there's an inescapable fact: There was a collision between this person's vehicle and a rather large truck, and in that collision three people were killed. Her 11-year old daughter, and two 5-year old nieces, lost their lives in the crash. She was ejected from the vehicle, indicating she wasn't wearing a seatbelt; police and witnesses ruled out weather as a factor.

What is known is that immediately before the crash she was actively sending and receiving Facebook messages. The last message was two minutes before the crash was reported; certainly she was sending these messages at some point while she was driving. Maybe she stopped, and the crash happened when one of the kids caught her attention, but the evidence does point to her inattention as having caused the crash.

She's facing three counts of negligent homicide, which I can't say I disagree with. Assuming the charges are correct, her desire to continue a conversation on her phone was more important than the safety of not only her own two children, but of two small children under her care. That is unconscionable. It would be one thing if she got rear-ended at a red light and they discovered she was on Facebook at the time. But to be driving down a main road, blithely texting away with four kids in the car?

I can't wrap my mind around that kind of ignorance, I really can't.

That is all.