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Monday, July 28, 2014

Last Bloggershoot Update: The Ordnance!

As I've done in years past, I figured I'd offer a roundup of ordnance coming to the Seventh Annual Northeast bloggershoot. This helps folks plan ammo purchases and gives a chance to ask for certain firearms they might like to try.

Now, I'm traveling real light this year, as I'll be driving through several quite unfriendly states on the way to the bloggershoot. I will of course have all arms unloaded and locked in a sturdy box as required under the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, so even in the darkest of dark places (I am going well around NYC, thank you), I am legal in all instances.

With that said, I'll be bringing the following:

Rifles: 

York Arms Conspirator (.223 Rem/5.56 NATO)
Kel-Tec SUB2000 (9 mm)

Handguns:

Glock 19 (9 mm)
Smith & Wesson model 17 (.22 LR)
Smith & Wesson model 27 (.38 Spl/.357 Mag.)
Ruger 22/45 (.22 LR)
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 (.380 ACP)
North American Arms Sidewinder (.22 Mag/.22 LR)

There will also be at least one full-auto M16 (5.56 NATO, brass-cased only, please) and a H&K G3 (7.62X51mm, again, brass-cased, please). Mopar will be bringing a Serbu single shot .50 BMG for the loudening, and I suspect there will be several suppressed guns in .22LR/9mm/.45 ACP/others. If anyone is bringing anything particularly interesting/novel, let us know so we can plan ammo purchases accordingly.

See you all in five days!

That is all.

Your Government at "Work"...

Hold onto your hats, folks. It's going to get a lot worse before there's any chance it might get better...

Social Security's $300M IT project doesn't work
After spending nearly $300 million on a new computer system to handle disability claims, the Social Security Administration still can't get it to work. And officials can't say when it will.

Six years ago, Social Security embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims. But the project has been racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency.
Ah, yes. "Six years ago." You do realize, of course, that this is instantly chalked up as "Bush's fault!!!111" because it started during his administration. Now, they're leftists, so we don't expect consistency, but it's especially bitter to note the same people that pin 9/11 on Bush - even though the vast majority of planning occurred under Clinton - will pin anything that happened up to the day Bush left office on him, regardless of how long Obama let it continue.

But I digress. And wait! It gets better...
Today, the project is still in the testing phase, and the agency can't say when it will be operational or how much it will cost.
Got that? They've already pissed away $300 million, the "upgrade" doesn't work, and they have no idea how long it will take to fix or how much it will eventually end up costing. This is after six years, mind you. If these cretins had been in charge of the space program, we'd never have gotten a single rocket off the ground. They'd have spent several trillion dollars and created nineteen new agencies, all with six-figure heads, assistants, etc., but would have laid off most of the civilian engineers.

And that would still be a vast improvement over what's happening in some places in government right now...

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)

Seen Around Town...

It doesn't get much cooler than this:


1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. Spotted in the next town over on the way home from a WalMart run (and no, still no .22LR, still a 3-box limit, but they did have 5.56 NATO and LOTS of it...). The only way this picture could have been cooler would have been if the top had been down. It was a gorgeous night, but I'm guessing the '57 Chevy doesn't have a power roof and as such if you're just running across town it's probably more trouble than its worth...

Now, a little math. My dad was 15 years old when this car came out. I can't imagine being a teenager in the 1950s, with the Bel Air, the various and sundry Cadillacs, the Corvette, Thunderbird, 300C, etc. There were just so many awesome cars running around on the road, and gas was cheap and plentiful. Dad was in his early 20s as the displacement wars started heating up, too...

Flash forward to when I was 15, 1986. Think about the cars running around then, the Buick Grand National, Mustang GT, Toyota Supra. Still some pretty sweet cars. Now, my son is 13½, and while I don't see cars changing *that* much in the next year and a half, there are still some really sweet rides out there. Mustang, Challenger, Camaro - the "Big Three" all have their 'retro rods' out for the taking; however there's also great cars like the 370Z, S2000, WRX, etc. for the taking.

And I'm sure in 30 more years, my grandson will be ogling the current offerings in a similar manner...

That is all.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lowest Form Of Humor...

Blame OldNFO...

1. King Ozymandias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with the Hittites. His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world.

Desperate, he went to Croesus, the pawnbroker, to ask for a loan. Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it." “But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested. "Don't you know who I am?

I am the King!"

Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a star, makes no difference who you are."

2. Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. Unfortunately, all the Swiss League records were destroyed in a fire. . . . and so we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.

3. A man rushed into a busy doctor's surgery and shouted, "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!"

The doctor calmly responded, "Now, settle down. You'll just have to be a little patient."

4. An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of elk rawhide and gave it to the chief, telling him to bite off, chew, and swallow one inch of the leather every day.

After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling.

The chief shrugged and said, "The thong is ended, but the malady lingers on."

5. A famous Viking explorer returned home from a voyage and found his name missing from the town register. His wife insisted on complaining to the local civic official, who apologized profusely saying, "I must have taken Leif off my census."

6. There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin, one slept on an elk skin, and the third slept on a hippopotamus skin.

All three became pregnant.

The first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys.

This just goes to prove that... the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides.

7. A skeptical anthropologist was cataloguing South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal elder who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation.

When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the elder looked him in the eye and said, "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, you don't need enemas."


I reiterate: Blame OldNFO...

That is all.

His Karma Ran Over ... Him.

Several people sent this one in. Yes, I giggled...

Florida man run over by own truck during road rage incident
A man in Florida apparently got a dose of road rage karma when police say he was run over by his own pickup truck after getting out to bang on another driver's window.
...
The Gainesville Sun reports 48-year-old Joseph Carl had been drinking and drove into a vehicle stopped at a red light. He got out of his truck without putting it in park and began banging on the window of a woman's car. When the frightened woman drove away, there was nothing holding his truck in place.

The truck rolled into Carl. A police report says he was taken to the hospital where he was treated for fractures in his hand and foot.
So, let's recap. Idiot drives drunk. Drunk Idiot fails to see that traffic has stopped for a red light and plows into a car stopped at the red light. Drunk Idiot then gets out of his truck and attempts to assault the person he hit. Person he hit very wisely elects to GTFO. Since Drunk Idiot failed to put his vehicle in Park, it runs his drunk ass over.

I can't tell if it was the hand of G-d that put his truck in gear, or if the truck had simply had too much of its idiot owner and took things into its own gears. It's also hard to qualify this as a "road rage" incident, too - it's possible he was just trying to exchange papers and, given his inebriated state, unable to properly modulate his attempt. I know a bunch of folks who can't control their volume when under the influence, that sort of thing.

With that said, getting run over by your own vehicle because you're too drunk to put it in park is just priceless...

That is all.

Friday Car Pr0n #40

I figured we ought to run a numerical car pic today.


Ford GT. We've covered the GT-40 previously, so here's the re-boot retro-car from about 10 years ago. It never really took, but boy howdy they got the retro thing down pat.With only about 4,000 models produced, it might be a good candidate to pick up and store for down the road.

Except, of course, that if you bought one, you'd have to drive it. And if you drove it, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to want to keep driving it. So I suppose if you had enough cash, you could buy 2 and put one away. But then again, two is one, right?

Ford's batting about .250 on their retro vehicles. The T-bird and the GT never caught on, and I have to deduct points from the Mustang because, well, it's the Mustang. Unless they decided to go all "Mustang II" with it, it's going to sell well. With that said, though, I'll give mad props for the 2005 redesign - they did a great job providing a modern look with plenty of retro cues.

Now, when's that retro-Bronco coming out?

That is all.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

[This Blog Intentionally Left Blank]

Sorry about the lack of posting. The past week has been a blur of activity, with a trip up north to visit the good folks at Smith & Wesson for some new product info and a factory tour (See ShootingIllustrated.com for details).

Heading back today, things should be getting back to some approximation of normal soon. Should be posting the last Bloggershoot update/roundup tomorrow (the ordnance edition!), so stay tuned!

It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it...

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Say Goodbye To Me in August...

Because this is happening:

What will happen when every episode of 'The Simpsons' is at your fingertips?
Every 'The Simpsons' episode is going online 'The Simpsons': FXX to air every episode in 12-day marathon.

This October, FXX will launch “Simpsons World,” a portal/wormhole that will allow viewers to access every single freakin’ episode of the series—552, at last count—through their computers, phones, or Krusty the Klown Alarm Klocks (warning: gets extremely hot when plugged in). All seasons of the animated comedy—25, at last count—will be searchable (bring me… every Barney belch????), and you will be able to both create your own playlists with the archive and share your favorite clips.
All 552 episodes of "The Simpsons" will be available online. Let's do some math, shall we? At 22 minutes per episode, that's 12,144 minutes. 202.4 hours. 8.4333 days of literally nothing but watching "The Simpsons".

If I took 6 hours a day to sleep and knocked a couple more hours a day to account for food, basic hygiene, etc., it would be 12.65 days straight. If I watched a mere four hours a day, it would take over 50 days to see the entire series.

Now, I yield to no one in my undying love for "The Simpsons" (well, at least for the first 15 or so seasons, before the writing *really* got stupid). I may very well sit down for chunks of time and watch the entire series.

Then again, the steady decline in quality might just be too depressing...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Memreeeeeeez...

Whoa. Going through some boxes this past weekend, and what did I come across but this:


Fujitsu laptop, first generation Pentium, running Windows95. I bought this in July or August of 1997, before I wrote my Master's Thesis. It weighs about 8 pounds. On the front, and I wish I'd gotten a picture of it, is a 3 1/2" floppy drive. Yeah. remember those?

What surprised me was that it booted up. The first time, it hung up and I had to set it up using skills I'd looooong forgotten, but after that it cranked right over and booted up normally. I ran through and played a couple games I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. 

I find it interesting that I would have KILLED for this technology when I was in college. Word processing alone would have been worth every penny; it was either a typewriter or a borrowed 286 machine with Professional Write, a DOS-based program for word processing. Now it's a quaint relic, a curiosity, as our handheld phones are a thousand times more powerful. All in the time span of less than a generation...

I was almost tempted to plug it into the modem and see what happened when I got online with it. Would have messed with some sysadmin's head to see a Win95 machine logging into the system, I'll bet. Especially since it's running Windows Explorer version 4 or something like that... ;)

It's funny, too. I paid more for that laptop than we paid for our last three computers combined. Heck, I paid more for that laptop than I paid for a few cars. Combined. At the time, though, I had just started my first "real" job making real money; the Mrs. and I were living in a cheap apartment with paid-for cars; there was no reason not to spend a crazy amount of money on (at the time) cutting-edge electronics.


I think I'll hold onto it for 5-10 more years and see what it's worth as a collector's item...

That is all.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Diametrically Opposed Edicts...

Well, now, ain't this something...

California drought doesn't end brown lawn warnings
Laura Whitney and her husband, Michael Korte, don't know whether they're being good citizens during a drought or scofflaws.

On the same day the state approved mandatory outdoor watering restrictions with the threat of $500 fines, the Southern California couple received a letter from their city threatening a $500 penalty for not watering their brown lawn.
Now, my first thought reading this was, WTF, the town gives tickets for not watering your lawn? This is the nanny-state paradise, man. They've got everything so well under control that they've got the time, manpower, and money to devote to driving around town, spotting who has brown lawns, and writing up notices. I certainly hope this town has a 0% crime rate.

Secondly, WTF? The state has mandated water restrictions which allow watering only once every other week, which pretty much precludes having the lush, green lawn that the city mandates. In order abide by one mandate, they have to break another. Talk about Scylla and Charybdis! They're either going to be fined $500 by the town for having a brown lawn, or hit for excessive water use by the state.

I wonder how that works, I really do. Being the suspicious sort, I can't help but wonder if the city is using the water ban to its advantage to fatten the town's coffers. They know that residents can't water their lawn often enough to prevent browning, as per order from the state, so they send out notices to a certain number of people. I'm sure not everyone contested the notices, so the town probably raked in a good payday for limited work...

I mean, it's not like this would be the first time something shady like this happened, right?

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)

Can't Stop Laughing...

Nope, I'm sorry. I tried working up even faux indignation over this, and I just can't do it. Mainly because I can't stop laughing long enough. Watch and enjoy:



Dude, you just got your ass kicked by a 79-year old man. I don't care how "edgy" you think you are with your conspiracy theories and whatnot, but in the "having the common sense G-d gave gravel" department, ya came up short. Pitifully short. To Buzz Aldrin, sir, I salute you, yet again, for your service to this country as well as punching that idiot right in his snot locker.

Even if we accept the premise that the moon landing was faked (which I don't, more on that in a moment), Buzz Aldrin was a jet fighter pilot in the beginning, and flew missions in F86 Sabre Jets in Korea. The man saw about the hairiest form of fighter combat there is--earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, mind you--and this imbecile just called him a coward. I would say this dude is dumber than dogshit, but I don't want to offend dogshit.

And let's dispense with this idiotic notion that the moon landing was faked. You're talking about one of the greatest achievements in world history, happening at a time of incredible tension between two superpowers engaged in the space race. In your fevered little mind, the US faked the moon landing so that we could be first, and then...

...Kept it secret for the past 45 years? Really? The same government that can't find its own ass with both hands and a bloodhound perpetuated the biggest hoax in world history? They claim to have landed on the moon, with hundreds if not thousands involved, and in all of the past 45 years NO ONE involved in the program has stepped forward? With the Soviets breathing down our necks the whole time?

Whatever they've got you on, cut the dose, man.

That is all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

10-Second Seventh Annual Northeast Bloggershoot Update

The Virginia contingent will be staying at the Extended Stay America in Nashua, NH:

Extended Stay America
Nashua - Manchester
2000 Southwood Dr.
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 577-9900

From Mopar's glowing review, plus it only being 26 miles from the Sooper Seekrit range (and you can get there easily without going through MA), it sounded like a slam-dunk.

Let's get a head count as to who will be staying here (or nearby, or doesn't mind driving out to meet us for dinner), and then find a restaurant for dinner at 8.

Two weeks from, heck, RIGHT NOW!!!

That is all.

The Story Just Keeps Getting Better...

Let me get out my shocked face...

NY Times document analysis indicates GM lied about fatal crashes
The company's internal reports reveal answers; its responses to regulators play dumb.

Here's a brief refresher on the ignition scandal: Defective ignition switches in about 2.6 million older GM cars didn't have sufficient torque resistance. That means that when jostled, they could allow the key to turn in the switch, shutting the cars off. That's bad because the fault could impair the driver's ability to control the car and disable the airbags at the same time. GM says this issue was a factor in 13 deaths—the actual number is likely higher. Now it's becoming clear that GM knew about the issue much earlier than it's let on.
I know, I know. It is absolutely shocking that a company knew about a blatantly unsafe problem with their product and did nothing. Especially when doing something would have:

a) cost money; and
b) made them look really really incompetent.

But wait! It gets even betterer!

The government knew about GM ignition problems and did nothing
Driving is the most dangerous thing most people do on a regular basis. But what happens when the companies that build our cars skimp on the equipment we rely on to keep ourselves safe?

GM's recent wave of recalls reveals the ugly truth: The brutal competition for car sales can lead automakers to cut corners, including in crucial safety gear like airbags, steering, and brakes. The bottom line is that some automakers can't be relied on to always put customer safety first.
What's even better about this second story is the serious disconnect from reality between "libertarians want there to be no government oversight" and "oh, the harsh reality is that even when there is strict government oversight, things still get totally AFU." Even though the NHTSA was notified about GM's problems, they did, well, just what big government agencies do whenever there's a big crisis involving a large political block (unions): Nothing.

Oh, that eeeeeeevil big business! GM cutting all those corners to save money! You see, this is why we need huge, inefficient bureaucracies! Because without a giant group devoted to overseeing the safety of the cars and trucks on America's highways, who would ignore blatant faults and warnings? Those fact-finding missions aren't going to fund themselves!

Of course, the finger points back to big business, because many of the NHTSA regulators wound up leaving the agency to become lobbyists for the automakers. In their twisted way of thinking, it's the fault of business that government employees - the ones that spend years learning how government operates and how to get around it - go to the private sector once they've secured a cushy pension.

You know what the really funny thing is? The libertarian solution WOULD have worked had the government not stepped in and shoveled billions of taxpayer dollars at GM. GM was about to go under - which, from all indications we're seeing now would have been a mercy killing - and the government stepped in to stop the Darwinian winnowing of the unfit to survive. Had the government not bailed GM out, they might have gone out of business or been sold - potentially sparing many years of defective cars causing crashes.

But yeah, blame big business, because giving the government more power isn't going to totally blow up in our faces. Again.

That is all.

Friday Car Pr0n #39

I was momentarily stumped when trying to come up with today's car. My first thought was towards some of the cars I had as a young man, like the 1986 GTI that I bought right out of college (so I could give my Buick to my sister, who promptly killed it).

Then I thought about this:


1965 Buick Riviera GS

The Riviera was always a funny model. Neither fish nor fowl, it had the whole "Jekyll and Hyde" thing going on. It didn't know if it wanted to be a luxury car or a muscle car, so it tried to straddle both worlds. Ford did it with the Thunderbird for a long while, after bloating it from a two-seater in the early part of the '50s to the gigantor models in the '70s.

The Riviera also followed a spectacular path, too. Hitting the market in the early 1960s as the displacement wars got in full swing, it started out with two motors available: a 400 CI plant, and a 425 CI plant. Neither are small in any sense of the word. The Riviera bloated in the '70s until it was downsized, and switched to front wheel drive as the decade of disco ground to a close. Downsized again in the mid-'80s as rear-drive all but died out, it spent the next decade or so languishing as a squishy, floaty, grotesquely underpowered shell of its former self.

Then, as happens many times, especially when talking about General Motors, the car underwent a renaissance only to be killed off a few years later. They introduced the supercharged 3.8L V6 into the Riviera, eventually giving the smaller, lighter late-'90s Riviera more horsepower than the 455 CI plant in the mid-'70s. And then they killed it, much like they killed the Cadillac Allanté in the mid-'90s right after finally getting it right with the Northstar V8...

Leave it to Government Motors to, yet again, screw up a good thing...

That is all.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good Luck To You And The Red Sox...

I wish them well. I really do.

UAE plans first Arab spaceship to Mars in 7 years
The United Arab Emirates, already home to the world's tallest tower, is now reaching for the stars. The energy-rich country on the eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula announced plans Wednesday to establish a space program to send the first Arab spaceship to Mars in 2021.

The ruler of the UAE's emirate of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said the mission will prove the Arab world is still capable of delivering scientific contributions to humanity, despite the many conflicts across the Middle East.
If they approach this the same way they approached the tower - basically, throw dumptrucks full of money at the best and brightest in the engineering world - they just might be able to approximate something resembling a space program. Get to Mars in 7 years? Assuming they mean "launch a rocket capable of reaching Mars in 7 years", that might be possible; actually getting there in 7 is a little tighter, considering the trip itself takes anywhere from 8 - 10 months.

With the US seemingly out of the space business, it's going to fall on other countries or private industry to get Americans back into space. The latter doesn't concern me anywhere near as much as the former. Given how dependent we are on satellite communications, not being able to get crews up launch, repair, and maintain our critical communication infrastructure is rather frightening.

Part of that "fundamental transformation," to be sure...

That is all.