Category Archives: Uncategorized

Make Army Uniforms Great Again

Army Times did a survey on uniforms recently, and either did it in cooperation with, or at least discussed the results with, the Sergeant Major of the Army.  Traditionally, the SMA is a very influential voice on uniforms, although it’s always the Chief of Staff — top general — whose decision is final. Several messages came through loud and clear, and they’re quite interesting, especially to old fossils who mostly wore other uniforms than the ones the boys and girls are rocking in 2017. (We’ve got bottle green service station attendant fatigues and Okinawa-made tiger stripes hanging up in a closet, not to mention other uniform styles of the sixties through the nineties. Perhaps some day we’ll actually fit into those ancient uniforms, maybe for burial).

Our take on the survey results:

  • Wow, the troops really despise the black beret.
  • The blue Army Service Unifom which replaced the dressier Army Blue uniform and the standard green service uniform worn (in a couple of variations) since 1957 is not quite as loathed, but there is no love for it.
  • There’s heavy nostalgia for great-granddad’s service uniforms of World War II, especially the tan khakis and the officers’ “pinks and greens” (tan trou and shirt with an OD jacket).
  • There seems to be a big difference between what men and women want in terms of uniforms, and there’s a schism between what young women and career female sergeants major want.

The Black Beret

SMA  Dailey has made it pretty clear that the beret, which is now worn as little as possible (due, naturally, to everybody hating it) is not going away. Having to be the adult in the room, he asks the reasonable question: if we get rid of it, what next? The previous hats worn with the service uniform were both hated, too: the bus driver’s saucer hat, and the overseas cap, known to all in the service by a female-anatomically explicit pejorative. (Women had different hats, which they hated, too). But the troops are quite clear in wanting to return to the status quo ante of berets being worn only by SF, Rangers, and Airborne soldiers. (This survey result is the same whether you survey those guys that would keep the berets — although a significant minority of them would gladly toss them, too — and the guys that would lose them under a reversion to pre-Shinseki rules).

No one seems to discuss one reason that the specialist forces prize their berets: the berets bear considerable unit personalization. Paratroopers wear the flash of their brigade or even battalion; Rangers have a flash that is their own (and the Ranger training establishment a different one); every Special Forces Group has its own flash with its own significance. For example, after a period in which the red and gold of the Free Vietnam flag was banished, 5th Special Forces Group recently reclaimed those colors on its black flash. Initially, when the black beret was inflicted on the Army as a whole, and the Rangers given a tan beret as a consolation prize, there was some talk that regular Army units would be permitted to develop their own flashes to accommodate their own unit pride, but this was quickly crib-smothered on cost and uniformity grounds, and every soldier wears the same blue flash with white stars. (There is a small pin-on crest, the Distinctive Unit Insignia, that is worn with every beret, but it’s often of a large unit rather than a natural nexus of unit pride. For example, all SF soldiers in all groups wear the same SF crest over their unit’s distinctive flash).

If you’re going to make every soldier in the army wear the same hat, it should be a sharp-looking hat. This may mean different hats for men and women, which the men and women are cool with but the womyn and social justice warriors are not.

The field uniform hat, which basically is the old 1951 vintage field cap (and which the Rangers kept alive during the grim baseball-cap years), seems popular enough. It’s better than any of the WWII field hats, as long as there’s also a boonie hat for field use, too.

The Service Uniform and the WWII Tradition

The Army started down an unhappy path in 1957 when they began to phase out World War II era uniforms in favor of a new green uniform modeled in part on the open-collar version of the Wehrmacht uniform, and in part on the uniform issued to metropolitan bus drivers at the time. This Army Green uniform soldiered on for about 50 years (with some slight changes of hue and material) until its recent replacement, supplemented by a blue uniform for semiformal occasions, a variety of officers-only full formal rigs, and a service undress “class B” uniform that was a shortsleeved khaki nod to WWII until 1981 or so, and thereafter just the pants and shirt of the Class A greens.

Unkind commenters noted that the green uniform was picked in 1957 because it was better at hiding out of shape middle-aged generals’ and NCOs’ rotund physical condition, than the pinks and greens or Ike jackets of wartime. Kinder commenters noted that it was more like the suits won by businessmen; that was one of the official justifications for the change, at the time.

The green bus driver uniform was replaced by a similar sack suit, only in blue, so it’s more of a doorman suit, or perhaps a 1920s Officer-Paddy-McGillicuddy-of-the-NYPD suit. For daily service wear, it lost the soaring NCO stripes and other flourishes of the formal Army Blue uniform, which harkened back to the Civil War and Indian Wars.

Anybody who’s watched period documentaries or war movies set in the unpleasantness of 1941-45 has noted how much better looking those uniforms are that today’s formless, characterless bags. (Although it’s hard to untangle that from how much better looking the Hollywood stars playing soldiers are, than actual soldiers — except that we really were a stunningly handsome bunch in the 10th Special Forces Group, who could have been matinee idols if we hadn’t felt the call to service).

The old uniforms are approved both on tradition and on style grounds — on fit troops, they look great. We note the Marines cleverly played into this by still wearing their WWII vintage service uniform. And their troops are consistently the sharpest looking. Coincidence?

While some of the other changes are definitely not going to happen, we can definitely see SMA Dailey bringing in a recommendation for a return to WWII styles, perhaps pinks and greens (for all ranks this time) or Ike jackets (probably as an option). And for Pete’s sake, put patches and tabs back on the shoulders, and officers’ branch insignia in the collar area, of all uniforms. Rank in the center of the chest was created in order to have a place to pin rank on Gore-tex jackets without losing the waterproofing, but what started as an unwillingly-forced Least Bad Option has spread like ebola. You want your soldiers looking at each other’s face and head area for rank cues, not center of mass. And you want to know if the captain who corners you in the TOC is the battle captain (guy running things for the commander) or some inconsequential dweeb from MI or the Quartermaster Corps.

Women Trouble?

While male soldiers are all in favor of such changes, women are ambivalent. This is especially true of long-service NCOs, who are more likely than one-termers to be — how shall we put this delicately? — sexual minorities, and to enjoy dressing up just like men, in male or unisex clothing. (They’re the ones who go off duty in plaid flannel shirts and Herman Survivors. In August. At McDill). And during World War II, the relatively small percentage of women in the service generally hated their uniforms, which were designed in great haste, and which they considered crude and frumpy. The Marines and Navy have struggled to keep their women happy with their uniforms, and whoever’s going to tackle this problem for the Army had best get a lot of input, including from current soldiers and from people who lived through the controversies over in the sea services.

We don’t know what the perfect women’s uniform would look like, but it would have to:

  1. Please the women who wear it, unlike the frumpy WWII version;
  2. Clearly be the same service as the stuff the guys wear;
  3. Be of sufficiently practical style it can be worn every day by office workers and not put them at a disadvantage relative to women in other services and civilian co-workers.
  4. Be of sufficiently classic style so as not to look dated by 2022. Or 2077.
  5. Be clearly female in design; flatter the wide range of shapes that comprise our fit female soldiers. (Fat people looking fat in it is not a reason to reject a uniform. Sorry ’bout that, Chief. It’s a reason to reject the fat people. Trigglypuff, this means you).

How do you get to that end state? Why not hold a design competition, and invite the nation’s (or world’s) fashion designers to take a shot at it? Make a panel of judges, mostly women soldiers who will have to wear the things, mostly young women, but include some of the guys who will have to look at it for their whole career, a design professional or two, and a couple of reps from the veteran, purple heart and gold star family community. That’s the optimizing approach (and it gets the design community invested in their country. And you could get a highly rated reality show out of it).

If that’s too much work, start with the Marine women’s uniform, listen to Marine ladies’ objections and complaints, get a survey of the good-bad-and-ugly of WWII Army uniforms, and remodel them appropriately, in Army colors. That’s the satisficing approach (and you could execute it in six months. Find an ambitious woman officer who’s not afraid to look her best, and give her a free hand).

What to Do After The Change

So what do you do after you change uniforms, the gentlemen’s and the ladies’ alike, this time? The Army has, to the great mirth of our Marine peers, been through lots of hasty and ill-considered uniform changes. So don’t execute this one hastily or half-assed. And once it’s done, commit to it. Freeze it, in terms of design language, for fifty years. Sure, you’ll want to take advantage of material breakthroughs but don’t change the look for a half-century. By then, soldiers wearing these new uniforms will have added incredible new tales to Army lore, and brilliant new streamers to the Army colors.

By then, no one will want to change it. It will be the classic Army uniform.

In Russia, MIA Search & Recovery is a Private Enterprise

Much of the war on the Eastern Front was fought on the territory of Russia, and for the first year-plus the Soviets were on defense. Their dead lay where they fell.

After the war, the survivors were too poor, too busy, under too much stress. A monument to the Unknown Soldier was considered enough. The forests reclaimed the dead. (Some of the recovery volunteers charge that Soviet-era bureaucrats deliberately seeded trees where the dead were buried). And now, the ad hoc interments of these unshriven dead are being disturbed, so that they may be given a righteous and honorable burial.

This is very different from what the USG is doing with our attempts at personnel recovery: while the Russian government supports it, philosophically speaking, the recovery volunteers seem to be entirely self-funding. It is, perhaps, a labor of love; Christian or patriotic love. But the scale of the project is immense: over four million Soviet soldiers remain missing, on eternal watch, from this conflict; more than all of America’s dead from all of America’s wars.

Each of those four million dead was a son or a father who didn’t come home. The bones tell part of the tail — this one, a mature man, was shot between the eyes. By the Germans, or the NKVD? It scarcely matters to him. This other was a boy of perhaps sixteen years, whose Red Army helmet and Mosin-Nagant put a lie to his boyhood — but who never lived to know the joys and heartbreaks of adult life. The heroic and the timid, the volunteer and the draftee, the leader and the led, all made equal in the rich mud of what they would have called Leningrad Oblast.

It’s interesting to consider the way three nations pursue their World War II missing. The USA, whose form of government is constitutionally unchanged, relys on a Federal and military agency — albeit, one that is only intermittently funded. The Germans, the grandchildren of an authoritarian but largely decentralized dictatorship, have a non-profit foundation that raises charitable funds to find and recover their dead, using professional staff. And the Russians, grandchildren of the most centralized totalitarian dictatorship of its era, work in decentralized, voluntary groups, who make personal sacrifices to repay their nation’s debt to its dead.

All of the images we saw in the video were of today’s Russians recovering fallen Soviets. It would be interesting to know what they do when the man they find is not one of their own ancestors, but one of the hated invaders. Do they mark the spot for the Germans to recover? Recover him anyway? Reinter him separately from their own countrymen? Or leave him to rot, serving him right for invading their country?

Sweatin’ the Auction

We ran hot and cold on bidding on anything in the Rock Island Regional Auction this weekend, but finally submitted a bid.

Oh, who are we kidding? We submitted 28 bids this morning (we didn’t bid on any of the Thursday or Friday lots). Things we targeted included: Czech pistols for the book (there were no exotics, so we lowballed these), some CZ and Brno sporting rifles, and some older Colt AR-15s which we lowballed the living daylights out of.

If prices are softer than we think, we’re going to have to write one big-ass check.

Our bids are on Items 4402, 4409, 4719 4819, 4850, 4981, 4982, 4988, 5063, 6284, 6300, 6304, 6330, 6390, 6508, 6767, 6779, 6790, 6802, 6807, 6819, 6823, 6839, 6979, and 7006.

You can watch the auction action here, with the lots scrolling below as they sell, and the auctioneers — who are already getting a little giddy — appearing in a video window. We’ve got bids in on Items

It seems like prices are all over the place so far. Some real bargains have been hammered down, and some prices have gone to what seems to us inexplicable levels. By not bidding on the first two days of the auction, we lost out on a Czech vz. 52/57, an uncommon variant firing the 7.62 x 39 round, but like the French Knights, “I don’ think so, we already got one.”

Update

The consequences of lowballing, received from RIA:

None of your bids were successful on items auctioned todaybut we would like to sincerely thank you for participating and helping us have a successful auction!

There is still 1 more day of this auction left with over 1,000 lots. The last day of a 4 day sale gets the fewest bids as many do not make through the entire catalog. Search Catalog 

 

Our March Internet Only Auction is now posted too. Search Catalog 

Well, the unusual stuff we want badly enough to bid high on usually are in the Premier Auctions. If that sounds like sour grapes, well… we’ve crossed off the items that auctioned today. We still have about $13k in bids on the remaining 19 lots, some of the bids seriously lowball and others within the estimate range (we didn’t go over estimate on anything this auction. Nothing we wanted that badly).

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 07

Tour d’Horizon is the usual end-of-week random pile of chaos we throw at you, to keep your “duck!” reflex up. Yeah, it’s about 12 hours late this week.

Duck!

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Rock Island Auction

The Rock Island Auction is still going on. Tomorrow kicks off with Lot 4000. We’re bidding, but mostly lowballing.

MP5 AR 3D Printed Lower

We haven’t been keeping up with Guy In a Garage, and last month he showed considerable progress on his attempt to 3D Print a working lower for an HK MP5, but using AR15 fire control components. One of the problems he runs into is that the HK roller-locking guns have an ejector that’s part of the fire control group and that comes out with the trigger group. (The AR ejector is in the bolt face). In this video, he’s showing a solution in progress for that problem.

Gun Stocks update

As you see, we’re continuing with the chart. We’ve also added something new, though: a graph. (We actually did the graph for last week, originally, and then forgot to plug it in. Eh.)

Gun Stocks since the Election
Week Ending RGR SWHC AOBC VSTO
11/8/16 (pre-election) 64.40 28.45 38.94
11/18/16 53.20 24.13 40.02
11/25/16 52.50 23.82 41.05
12/2/16 50.25 21.10 39.66
12/9/16 51.90 21.07 38.62
12/16/16 53.45 21.59 36.81
12/23/16 54.05 22.11 38.03
12/30/16 52.70 21.08 36.90
1/6/17 54.15 21.00 38.08
1/13/17 51.35 20.60 28.70
1/20/17 50.65 20.13 27.78
1/27/17 51.90 20.58 28.33
2/3/17 50.05 20.12 26.18
2/10/17 50.15 21.08 21.58
2/17/17 49.70 19.22 20.89

Everybody’s down this week, in the absence of concrete news, some approaching or achieving 52-week lows. Ruger is going to release its Q4 and year-end 2016 financials on 22 Feb and have a conference call the next day. AOBC, which uses a different fiscal year, is going to release Q3 earnings on 2 March. But Vista, which continues to be so besieged by ambulance chasers’ class-action suits that actual corporate news is buried deep under layers of desperate greedniks’ press releases, did something very interesting, or, at least, its insiders did. Three corporate honchos bought stock this weekThey may think the stock is going to go up; it’s lost nearly half its market value since January 1st. Or, are they taking a desperate shot at propping up a stock? Job security is not a thing for CEOs, especially CEOs that have presided over a dramatic decrease in stock value.

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day. We still think it has longterm growth potential, and we like the dividend. (We’d better really like the dividend, eh. Well, it’s in the income part of our portfolio).

Gun Poly-Ticks

Delaware illustrates why National Reciprocity is Needed

The Delaware State Government got caught by attorney Adam Kraut trying to roll back reciprocity by stealth regulation. After being called out, they eased the regulations back, but this kind of local extremism and dishonesty calls for Federal preemption.

Adam, a Pennsylvania attorney who specializes in gun law, is running for NRA Board. He’d be a good choice, in our opinion.

Oregon Gun Boosters and Banners Squabble

In a one-sided report on quixotic “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” laws, anti-gun reporter Eric Tegethoff gives the most ink to gun-ban activist Penny Okamoto, who argues that guns should be banned because people commit suicide with them.

For your consideration: national socialists like Okamoto should be banned, because nations commit suicide with them.

That said, the county-level laws seem to have no practical force, except as a political expression of irritation with a distant, urban government.

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way. Nothing this week. 

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment. Lots of Cop Was a Crim this week.

When the Cop was a Crim, I

Crime in Tennessee: Horse Massage

When the Cop was a Defendant, at Minimum

It looks bad for this Amtrak cop: the guy he shot was 70 feet away, running away at full tilt, and six witnesses including the cop’s partner (!) disagree with the cop’s statement that he saw the guy reach for a pocket and turn back towards him. The shooting victim had some dope on him. The officer is charged with murder and out on bail in Chicago, Cook County is unlikely to generate a cop-friendly jury.

When the Cop was a Crim — and a Victim

A retired Chicago cop was shot dead by her husband — another retired Chicago cop. They were 68 and 71, respectively. There had been previous DV incidents, but it’s pretty hard for cops to enforce DV laws on their own, and they tend to do so loosely. But this was a messy case with both Judgment Juice™ and mental illness as factors.

The Perils of Kathleen: Radio Silence!

Hallelujah! There was nothing about this wretched felon — the anti-gun former Attorney General of Pennsylvania — in the news this week.

We’ve been giving a lot of thought to the moral turpitude of gun control proponents.

Shorts

  • An new municipal police force on the island of St. Lucia stood up so fast that nobody got the cops guns. (Like most Caribbean islands, it’s a violent place). Soon, the mayor says.
  • In another town on the same island, a cop is charged with murder for an on-duty shooting. Details are scant
  • A Tulsa cop was charged with murder for shooting his daughter’s boyfriend. (What father hasn’t been tempted…?) He claimed self-defense. After a jury deadlocked 11-1 guilty, he was retried; the new jury deadlocked 10-2. Will prosecutors go for trial #3?
  • Canadian mass murderer Inderjit Singh Reyat, who murdered 331 people by bombing an Air India plane, has been set free after serving 20 years in prison — 22 days for each of the people he killed — and a year in a halfway house. (Numbers have been corrected -Ed.)

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. 

Barium Meals and the Guard Memo:

The AP’s Garance Burke (the Chelsea Clinton clone sporting the overjet malocclusion on the right) ran a story reporting that a memo written by former DHS Secretary Kelly said that the Administration was federalizing 100,000 National Guard soldiers to assist with the criminalien problem; there’s only one problem. It’s not true. Burke’s story has since been stealth-corrected to reflect official denials, but there are some interesting aspects to the story.

One is that the memo was a barium meal, devised to smoke out a leaker. Every aide who was given a copy of the memo was given a slightly different copy. Then, when Burke, stung by accusations of fake news, caused AP to publish the version they had, the identity of the leak channel was exposed, and CI practitioners can trace it down to the specific untrustworthy person.

This is an old CI technique and was used by the Bolivians in 1967 to identify a cabinet-level Cuban mole in their government. Every Cabinet member got a version of Che Guevara’s silly diary, but with four inconsequential pages missing — a different four in every one. When KGB-controlled active measures outlets worldwide published the diaries — in the US, it was the Communist Party magazine Ramparts — there was much speculation about the missing pages, but only the CIA and Bolivian CI (it was a joint op) knew what they meant. Unfortunately, the perfect op to that point was botched, and the guy escaped to Cuba before they could pick him up. (Castro had turned him by promising him he’d be the Vidkun Quisling of Cuba).

The walls are closing in on Burke’s source. Wonder what she gave the guy, to throw his career away? (Who are we kidding. He’s some member of the Acela monoculture. Nothing will happen to him, and he’ll wear having betrayed the President who appointed him as a badge of honor in that crowd).

The story briefly had legs with some opposition politicians, apparently alerted by the opposition media: Burke or her editors.

The other interesting aspects this: no version of the memo that has appeared to date has included the 100,000 number. Burke seems to have made that up, a nice round number for propaganda purposes. And nowhere does the document say it was written by Kelly: another Burke fabrication. That’s a byline to look out for, if you’re looking for fake news.

We Thought We Were Peeved at Blumenthal

Turns out we’re not half as peeved as 14 surviving Medal of Honor Recipients from the Vietnam War. Excerpt of their letter to the preening phony:

What is offensive to those who fought in a most brutal conflict, some of us who were captured and tortured by our enemy, is any comparison of those most brutal experiences to the ones of people like you who never even sniffed the air in Vietnam.

You should be proud that you shared a uniform with so many brave souls who endured the hardships of war, but instead you chose to attempt to deceitfully and craftily join their ranks with your intentionally vague statements and false claims. Quite simply, it is impossible to “misspeak” about having seen a war.

Valor is too uncommon a commodity, and too precious a virtue, to be stolen by those who have not paid the high price for freedom. We recognize that some concerns over any appointee, especially the Supreme Court, are honest and legitimate.

You, sir, are neither. If you ever had a sense of duty, if ever you respected the service and sacrifice of others, then please recognize your duty now:

Sen. Blumenthal, “take your seat”!

You know what kind of slap that is, Senator Blumenthal, you *****.

Could you imagine being slapped down by 14 MOH guys? A shudder runs through us at the very thought. It probably doesn’t bug Blumenthal, though: he has his own MOH in his own preening phony psyche.

Do Read The Whole Thing™.

Blind Ignorance in a Failed State

The New Yorker sends one William Finnegan to Venezuela, and he’s mystified that the socialist utopia is looking distinctly dystopian these days.

He doesn’t know whether to blame looters, or wreckers, apparently.

Dude,  Heinlein already fingered the culprit: “bad luck.”

Russian Defectors to Ukraine

Two Russians have defected to Ukraine, apparently a hop, skip and jump ahead of FSB incarceration or worse. However, while they promise spy revelations, they don’t seem to have been spies, but politicians and business people. Are they telling the truth? Who knows? Russian officialdom is very upset, but they would be whether these two were actual whistleblowers or escaping criminals — both are pretty much the same thing to Russian media and law these days. So your guess is as good as ours, and may depend on whether you see the Ukraine situation from a Russian or Ukrainian viewpoint. (But these folks may have their own third agenda, too).

Glad it’s not our job to figure that one out. Everyone who claims to have it figured out is probably in the tank for one side or the other.

European Migrant Crisis May Worsen

The German magazine Der Spiegel has an article on the possibility of Mrs Merkel,the current CDU/CSU chancellor of Germany, going down to election defeat, likely at the hands of the formerly enervated Socialists of the SPD, after an SPD change to a more dynamic leader. While this report must be taken with caution (the ostensibly nonpartisan Spiegel is strongly pro-SPD), it’s generally bad news. If CDU loses to the SPD, expect Germany’s wide-open door to migrants, criminals and terrorists to remain wide open, and maybe even open wider. This will worsen the crisis and accelerate the devolution of nations out of the Schengen open-borders agreement and the EU in general.

Merkel’s party has come late to immigration restriction, and has only come a few steps that way, but it has already lost many Germans for whom that is an important issue to the right-wing AfD “Alternative” party. They are unlikely to be enough to give AfD a victory, but are enough to kneecap CDU in the general election. (Under their parliamentary system, Germans vote for parties, not people, at least, officially).

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™? 

VA Official Hates Him Some Trump

Timothy Lawson, one of the VA’s hundreds of six-figure PR flacks (and a rare one who is an actual veteran), has had no compunctions about lying about VA performance, but he hates hates hates President Trump. It’s OK; some of his co-workers felt the same way about the last guy and some felt that way about the one before that. But the thing is, Lawson can’t shut up about it.

Some have called for Lawson to be fired, but that’s silly on several levels. On one hand, lèse-majesté is not a crime in American law; indeed, it’s a 1st Amendment right. On the other hand, it’s his personal Twitter account, not his official output. (His official output probably barely moves the needle, in that he’s one of a battalion of PR flacks doing one man’s job, but how is that different from any of the other useless payroll patriots sucking on DC welfare?) And on the gripping hand, since when was anyone fired from VA for anything? You’ve got managers with a bigger body count than Hannibal Freaking Lecter, and they’re still on the job (with bonuses and quarter-million-dollar “moving expenses”!), and you’re going to fire this do-nothing nobody for dissing the President?

Firing all the excess PR weenies and contractors, now that would be good move. Singling Lawson out is stupid. (So stupid someone in DC might just do it).

Or just do the right thing, and disband the whole thing.

Health & Fitness (NEW Category!)

Slow Week, Few Accomplishments

It’s been a slow week with too little gym time (but, plenty of shoveling!) and we are going to make cardio a priority… starting tomorrow. No, seriously. Wait, why are you laughing?

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Here’s a great finger-picked instrumental version of the George Harrison/Beatles 1968 classic, by Justin Johnson, using something rare for him: all six strings, in standards tuning. But then, the guitar is made from a can of Marvel Mystery Oil, so there is that.

The Ghost of Harrison must be beaming (in part because Justin’s pitch on bends is good, a Harrison pet peeve).

Johnson’s version lacks vocals, but sort of splits the difference between the rocking album track and George’s original acoustic demo, which includes the lost “I look from the wings at the play you are staging” verse. The thing we like best about Justin Johnson is that he teaches people to play like him. Look him up on the net if you want to learn something new and play better.

Quick, who’s guitar was weeping on the Beatles album cut? (It’s a tricky question).

Protest This!

Some civilized state has a great answer to Precious Snowflakes blocking roads. We call it the Squash ‘Em Like a Bug Law. Some wag generated this hoot of a graphic.

Thanks for visiting WeaponsMan.com this week, and we’ll see you in the week ahead.

Advice for Single Ladies?

Advice for single ladies is not normally within the left and right limits, or even the overall mission scope, of WeaponsMan.com, but this is the anything-goes 1800 time slot, and this column (by “AmmoGrrl” at PowerLineBlog.com) tickled our funny bone. She addresses this question to her readers:

[W]here do appropriate men hang out? You know, the kind who are never even momentarily ambivalent about which restroom to use.

First, she recounts several bad ways for her single friends “of a certain age” to meet a decent guy — including asking her for a match-up, with comically poor results — she lights on a good example.

One of her bad examples:

Men do go to strip clubs, but unless you are the one “dancing” around the maypole, you are not likely to attract anyone’s notice. Lot of competition there. Heck, Mr. AG gets distracted by a fully-clothed rabbit on our walks; trying to get his attention with several naked women one-third my age in the room would be beyond my meager ability to enchant.

Nonsense, we have all paid attention to women who were not dancing on the stage in what we prefer to call a “Gentlemen’s Club.” But perhaps she has never heard of that quaint Gentlemen’s Club custom, the “lap dance.”

Still, we admit that that doesn’t really lay her objection to rest, no pun intended.

The bulked-and-tatted Hells Angels who keep an eye on things for the clubs’ mafia owners also take a dim view of amateurs joining in, on other than designated amateur nights; volunteer lap dancers are systematically discouraged.

Accepting that a strip club is a bad place for an ordinary adult woman to meet ordinary adult men (despite its one big plus, it’s a pretty good gay filter), what works? After a few more false starts, AmmoGrrl has it all worked out:

Lastly, we come to one of the best places to meet men. A place where the male to female ratio is exceedingly favorable. A place where, for some reason, few women go on a regular basis. I’m talking, of course, about the gun range.

A marriage between two gun aficionados will not only provide a lifelong hobby to share, but could double your arsenal. Notice whether or not he has some cool guns. Notice whether or not he can reliably hit the target, a skill that translates to other skills, indicating dedication to patient practice and the wherewithal to afford a lot of ammo. Though much cheaper than golf, target shooting involves considerable expense. But it’s not the guns that will put the biggest crimp in your budget. It’s the ammo. Worth it, though!

Hey, we thought it was funny when we Read The Whole Thing™.

We have, though, observed a phenomenon at ranges in which guys at gun shops or ranges (including, unfortunately, some unprofessional instructors) act like dogs any time a woman comes in. Generally, their conviction that women find them irresistible is as sound as their advice on guns, which is to say, not very.

Some hornball with his tongue hanging out like Wile E. Coyote is a rebuke to real, actual, manhood. Not to mention that “desperation” is not on any list of “stuff chicks dig.”

If it makes us cringe — and we have very little squeam in us — God alone knows how it creeps out the ladies. This accounts, perhaps, for the popularity of women-only LTC classes at the two ranges we’re members of, with female instructors.

This Valentine’s Day, Help an OG Gun Blogger Out

Before we knew we wanted to do a gun blog, there were other gun bloggers. One of the first to entertain us was Kim Du Toit. Kim is an amazing guy, a South African turned American, a musician, a fighter for freedom and equal rights, and a lover of many things: the written word, guns, freedom, and most of all, his wife, Connie.

Kim remembers:

We were together for twenty years; twenty years where we were seldom more than ten feet apart from each other. For twenty years we worked in the same office, sat on the same couch, slept in the same bed, and in the end, when Connie was dying of Stage 4 cancer, I slept on the couch next to her recliner where she was confined  — and when Connie finally died, my face was six inches from hers as I whispered my love for her.

Words fail.

Some of you may remember Kim’s blog. Some of you may even remember Connie’s, to which Kim occasionally linked. They were partners in all things, and when Kim folded his blogging tent and went radio silent, everyone understood that the big winners in removing the timesuck of a daily blog would be Kim and Connie, who could finally….

Well, the real “finally” came, and you can see how the guy’s taking it. About as well as any of us would in that situation. (A situation Your Humble Blogger has carefully avoided by driving away Plaintiffs like extra neutrons, before he got too attached to any of them).

But, for Kim, the situation is more dire than just that. Like many families beset with Le Grand C, the Du Toits put everything on hold for the big fight — and having lost the fight, look out across a landscape of personal and financial devastation.

This big, tough guy is asking for help.

Now my beloved Conne is gone, and I have to restart my life. This means clearing the debt, leaving the house where we lived together, and learning how to live without the woman who made my life possible. I’m a writer, and I have to write again, because it’s all I know. So I’ll be finishing those long-neglected novels, and yes — I will start blogging again. I just need the funds to make that possible.

via Surviving Life Without Connie by Kim Dutoit – GoFundMe.

Your Humble Blogger has made a humble donation. (Kim has some very generous friends, almost all of whom chose anonymity; if you order the donations by size, we’re way down the list).

May God have mercy on Connie’s soul, may Kim’s find some light, and if any of you remember his blog or just feel inclined to help him out, the link is above.

We apologize to regular readers for the off-topic content, but thought it was appropriate.

Update:

Before even going live, we got a personal note of thanks from Kim, and he has posted a more general one to everyone helping him out at the link. He doesn’t know that this post is going live in half an hour, heh.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 06

Tour d’Horizon is the weekly collection of mildew-crusted open tabs that we’re trying to power-wash off of our monitor array. Some of these are this week’s news; some are older news that we just found this week; and a few of them have been sitting around here wof aiting for us to conduct some de-hoarding operations.

Enjoy!

Posting Saturday may be slow as we’re trying to finish up some airplane stuff and move on to the next major set of assemblies.

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

How Kalashnikovs Get Built

Here’s a Russia Today (i.e. Russian state-sponsored media) video on the making and testing of the AK.

 

Note that the pile of AKs on the splash screen are Chinese Type 56s, complete with pigsticker.

We might have used this one before, but we’re just suckers for how-it’s-made video.

Gander to Stock Slovak Grand Powers

While there have been a lot of great Czech gun designers, Jaroslav Kuracina of Grand Power is the only Slovak one we can think of. Their centerfire pistols have a rotating barrel with a unique patented roller action, unlike the Beretta/Obregon/Nickl(CZ) lugs. The DA/SA is very CZ-like (there are other trigger options). We like these things and they should grow some sales legs with the wider exposure they’ll get at Gander Mountain.

Gander Mountain to stock Grand Power pistols in stores, online

A Strange Story of HK, Journalists, and Threats of Jail

Last December, a German court threw out a case (in the equivalent of an American court’s motions stage) charging some anti-weapons-exports journalist/activists with releasing secret documents from a prosecution investigation. The kicker? The prosecutor only had the documents because the journos gave them to her, and when she didn’t take any action for five years, they published:

The documents – which showed German government officials may have colluded with H&K to circumvent weapons export controls – were published in the book “Netzwerk des Todes” (“Network of Death”) and shown in a documentary aired on public broadcaster ARD in September 2015. The investigation won Harrich Germany’s Grimme journalism prize.

Only then did she try to drag someone into court — not the export violators, but the leak publishers. In the end, the court brought her up short with a judicial spanking. These involved the H&K G36 rifles that were supplied to Mexican police, or Mexican cartels… which must have made the cartels’ usual suppliers, the ATF’s Phoenix field office, jealous.

Glock BTF Still Happening

The Freeholder got a G30 Gen 4 and it kept plinking him with the brass. (BTF is Intertubes slang for Brass To Face, the ejection pattern that some random percentage of Glocks seem to have, some with certain ammo and some with all of it). He’s sent it off to Glock for warranty repair, and now it’s on its way back to him. What causes this is unknown, whether you’ll get it with any particular Glock is unknown, and whether sending it back fixes it is pretty much a toss-up. He has a good blog with interesting stuff many of you might like.

Gun Stocks update

As you see, we’re continuing with the chart. We’ve also added something new, though: a graph. (We actually did the graph for last week, originally, and then forgot to plug it in. Eh.)

Gun Stocks since the Election
Week Ending RGR SWHC AOBC VSTO
11/8/16 (pre-election) 64.40 28.45 38.94
11/18/16 53.20 24.13 40.02
11/25/16 52.50 23.82 41.05
12/2/16 50.25 21.10 39.66
12/9/16 51.90 21.07 38.62
12/16/16 53.45 21.59 36.81
12/23/16 54.05 22.11 38.03
12/30/16 52.70 21.08 36.90
1/6/17 54.15 21.00 38.08
1/13/17 51.35 20.60 28.70
1/20/17 50.65 20.13 27.78
1/27/17 51.90 20.58 28.33
2/3/17 50.05 20.12 26.18
2/10/17 50.15 21.08 21.58

Ruger and Smith were essentially flat, although that reflects a Friday rally (they were both down Thursday’s closing).  They got caught in the shrapnel of VSTO financials blowing up again this week. Vista CEO Mark De Young issued a warning on earnings for the year (cut to about $2/share, down from around $3) and reported slow sales and high inventory, especially in the hunting and shooting accessories lines (this is being widely misreported as a collapse of gun sales, but that’s not what De Young said). With VSTO having lost nearly half its market capitalization in two months, dozens of class action suits have been filed, and the ambulance chasers have pumped out so many press releases it takes some doing to find the actual company release — which is, of course, just the way the lawyers like it.

The lawyers will beat it down further, but the Price/Earnings ratio is already down to about 9.4.

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day. We still think it has longterm growth potential, and we like the dividend. (We’d better really like the dividend, eh. Well, it’s in the income part of our portfolio).

Gun Poly-Ticks

Where The Second Amendment Goes to Say Aloha

You might think Californians have it bad on the gun rights scale (and they do!), but imagine the condition of the poor Hawaiians. The 2nd Amendment is such a dead letter there, that exactly zero pistol permits were issued in 2016. Indeed, it appears that rounds-to-zero have been issued since 2000.

There’s a Lot of Licensees Out There

John Lott has some interesting data on licenses and crime by state. Just from the abstract of his paper, three states have over 1,000,000 permit holders, 6.06% of the whole population has a permit, and in ten states, more than 10% of adults have permits. Permits are up 190% 2007-2015, in aggregate nationwide.

So why’s all the murderin’ taking place among prohibited persons in gun-control enclaves?

Shorts

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way. Nothing this week. 

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

According to court documents, Shannon Keoni Gaillard, 32, was driving a Nissan Pulsar with stolen plates in Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle, around 3:30 in the morning on Oct. 29. When police tried to pull him over, he led them on a chase, “driving dangerously and evasively at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.” Gaillard eventually lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a cement barrier before fleeing on foot. Officers arrested him at the scene.

When police searched his car, they found M16 and AR-15 parts, instructions for turning an AR-15 into an M16, nearly 200 rounds of ammunition, unregistered homemade silencers, 3.71 grams of crystal methamphetamine, two pipes, empty vials of testosterone steroids, documentation of previous DUI’s in Utah and Tennessee, tactical gear and a U.S. Border Patrol badge.

The University of California, Berkely, has a well-staffed police department with, largely, professional officers… and dreadful leadership. Jack Dunphy (pseud.) takes down their feckless Chief’s stand-down order in the face of a violent riot.

Hundreds of rioters committed thousands of crimes, and the police were not only forbidden to make any arrests, but they were even forbidden to identify the criminals. Because the Chief sympathized with the rioters.

Napoleon said, “There are no bad regiments, only bad colonels,” and while he wasn’t referring to police leadership, he really was. 

When the Cop was a Crim, II

He was a North Randall, OH, police officer. Now he’s serving another role in the justice system: inmate.

Kevin Lumpkin, 30, was found guilty in December 2015 of selling rifles, pistols and a ballistic vest to felons Calvin Kelly and Michelle Devine. Lumpkin’s deeds were first discovered in 2013 when Cleveland police found boxes for two of the guns while investigating a domestic violence complaint between Kelly and Devine.

This was only one of several incidents of arming felons; he was a one-cop crime wave, even getting nailed for tax fraud. Lumpkin was already lumped in to gen pop in the Club Fed in Lisbon, OH, but an appeal came up lately. He lost.

A felon named Jericho Gunter, a serial cop impersonator, won a contract to manage a prison. Other cops became suspicious, and when his bona fides were belatedly checked, he wound up back in prison for for over five years — not as the management, this time.

The teen snatched the purse off a woman about 8 p.m. Tuesday after she disembarked a bus at 145th Road and Springfield Blvd. and placed it on a bench for a moment.

The teen dashed into nearby Springfield Park, only to be chased by a stray pit bull and German shepherd, officials said.

The two ferocious dogs tackled the teen to the ground.

The cops had difficulty prying the dogs off the worthless little thief. He’s going to need skin grafts where they were gnawing on him. The lady got her purse back. The dogs were tranquilized by ESD and given to Animal Control, and we want to adopt those precocious pooches. Read The Whole Thing™.

Law, Order, and Cashing In in LA

This happened first:

Ford reportedly spun around, knocked [Officer] Wampler to the ground and tried to grab his gun during a struggle, police said.

Wampler shot Ford once in the back, prosecutors said. His partner Antonio Villegas fired two additional shots at Ford.

And you’ll never believe what happened next. Because Ford’s family says he should be allowed to attack cops, because he was black and crazy, the LA city government bought them off with $1.5 million of the taxpayers’ money.

Called the Cops What?

A gerrymandered-black-district Congressman named William Lacy Clay displayed this artwork in the Capitol, showing cops as pigs. An intra-Congressional dispute over the value and accuracy of the art led to it being voted out on party lines, despite Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi standing up for this depiction of police.

The Perils of Kathleen: She’s Almost Gone

But not yet, dammit.

  • ITEM 10 Feb: Another Crooked Prosecutor Bows OutSeth Williams, who was the Philadelphia prosecutor who sometimes competed with Kane for the loyalty of black Philadelphians, and who tangled with Kane over the prosecution of corrupt black Philly politicians (Kane took a dive on the case) will not stand for reelection after paying a $63,000 fine to settle corruption charges.

There’s really no overestimating the moral turpitude of gun control proponents.

Shorts

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. 

Quick, Who Said This about the Terrorist Travel Ban:

Can you ID the author of this quote? He’s in the picture; a serving SEAL is blanked out.

Look, these countries don’t have a database that keeps track of its citizens. And we can’t depend on a government database in countries that do, because if they have one it has a political agenda behind it.

It wouldn’t be hard for someone to get into the U.S. whose loyalty lies with ISIS or a militia aligned with Iran. While the militia isn’t necessarily our enemy right now, they don’t have loyalty to the U.S., they are loyal to the interests of the government that funds them. And that government says “Death to America.”

“Johnny Walker,” Chris Kyle’s Iraqi interpreter. Yes, he’s a moslem. But he’s an American first. This is what that sounds like, if you haven’t heard it before.

War Crime Charges Were Bought and Paid For

A shady British lawyer and his firm sued the British Government on behalf of many Iraqi “war crime victims.” Where did they find the victims? They paid an Iraqi agent to generate them. The charges were all bogus. The lawyer will be “struck off,” which is Brit-speak for what is called “disbarred” in Yankistan. So where does Tommy Atkins go to get his reputation back?

Snowden Return Rumors

Edward Snowden is in a tough position: kept by a foreign intelligence service that has pumped him dry, they have no real use for him except as an example for other turncoats of how well they treat spies and defectors. He has no access (and no prospect of any, should he live to 100), so apart from that, he has no practical use. If he becomes a greater liability than that small benefit, or if he is more useful to Russia as a gift to their negotiating counterparties in the United States, his vacation in sunny Moscow will come to an end in handcuffs on whatever the 21st Century equivalent of the Glienecker Bridge is. And there’s a rumor that it’s in the works.

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™? 

Shulkin Nomination Advances

The nomination of Dr David Shulkin to head the DVA passed committee Thursday, unanimously, and is expected to be approved by a bipartisan majority of the full Senate on Monday.

Phoenix VAMC Still a Mess

You want us to define “Mess”? How about 7 different leaders in the last couple of years, “each with more baggage than the last,” a facility still given the lowest internal rating, the phalanx of whistleblowers — the only ones punished, ultimately, for the Phoenix mess — who swear the place is still a disaster, and the fact that, as one puts it, “vets are continuing to die” due to neglect. Read The Whole Thing™. Dr Shulkin has already defended the current director, who failed at previous jobs (one had such poor sterile conditions that vets in dental and surgical treatment contracted HIV and Hepatitis C). He’s got his job cut out for him, and Congress has to give him the hiring and firing authority he had when he ran a real hospital.

Or just do the right thing, and disband the whole thing. However, Shulkin has signaled that he isn’t going to do that, pretty much guaranteeing that we’ll be writing VA horror stories for the next four years.

Fake News about VA Transition

In the Gannett-owned Military Times, Leo Shane writes this headline: Trump held his first VA listening session without veterans advocates. But if you read deep into the story, this meeting was with health care experts and other advisors; a future meeting will be held with the VFW, American Legion, and DAV. So what President Trump actually did was hold a meeting with advisors on VA subjects, without having a 360º representation of stakeholders. And that’s certainly not the way that President Leo Shane would have done it.

Health & Fitness (NEW Category!)

Nothing this week, sorry.

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

Archaeologists Finally Do Something Practical

A group of them unearthed (literally) an ancient Chinese brewery from circa 3,000 BC (yes, that’s 5,000 years ago) complete with enough residue to try to decode the ancient Chinese brewmaster’s recipes.

And then they brewed some. And drank it. Because, science.

[Stanford Professor Li] Liu taught her students to recreate the recipe as part of her archaeology course. “We include two different kinds of beer making – one is by chewing, and the other one is by sprouting the cereals.”

Madeleine Ota, an undergraduate student, tried both methods. For her first drink, she adopted the sprouting method and used red wheat as her core ingredient. The university quoted her as saying the beverage had a pleasant fruity smell and citrus taste, similar to a cider.

Ota also recreated another beer by using a vegetable root called manioc, which required chewing and spitting out manioc before boiling and fermenting the mixture. The end result smelled like funky cheese and Ota herself had no desire to check how it tasted, the university quoted her as saying.

Ota said the beers the students created had “sort of a sour taste” in general. Students had to use straws to drink them, which ancient would have done as the ingredients used for fermentation were not filtered out.

How much of that sour taste was the ancient Han process, and how much of it was first-time undergrad brewmasters, we leave as an exercise for the reader.

Life in the ‘Shire

Annoying autoplay video, but this is one of the most ate-up domestics we’ve ever heard of. She flipped out him because he said the dinner she made was “OK.” No, this din’t happen anywhere near Hog Manor or even Big City… but still. Lord love a duck. Hat tip, Stacy McCain.

NYC Dopers Poisoning Their Dogs

What’s going through a druggie’s mind? Well, apart from the chemicals and the urgent desire for more? In New York City, a bunch of them think it’s funny to get their dogs high… which occasionally kills the dog, and other times makes Fido deathly ill. The New York Times had to do a typically stuffy public-service type article to warn their readers not to do that. And yet these people are absolutely convinced that they are a natural aristocracy, born to rule you.

Thanks for visiting WeaponsMan.com this week, and we can’t wait for all next week’s posts!

OT: Untranslatable Emotions

Completely off topic tonight, here’s a linguist’s search for words that express complex, positive emotions. Whereupon his hope seems to be to kidnap them into our amazingly hybrid language, English. English after all began as a series of dialects of northern Germanic tribes, that was then overlaid with Latin (Roman occupation for several hundred years) and French (centuries of fighting in France, with a Norman Conquest thrown in to disrupt the Anglo-Saxon nobility and their native language), and that since then has made off with words from aardvark to zaibatsu. The BBC:

if Tim Lomas at the University of East London has his way, they might soon become much more familiar.

Lomas’s Positive Lexicography Project aims to capture the many flavours of good feelings (some of which are distinctly bittersweet) found across the world, in the hope that we might start to incorporate them all into our daily lives. We have already borrowed many emotion words from other languages, after all – think “frisson”, from French, or “schadenfreude”, from German – but there are many more that have not yet wormed their way into our vocabulary. Lomas has found hundreds of these “untranslatable” experiences so far – and he’s only just begun.
Learning these words, he hopes, will offer us all a richer and more nuanced understanding of ourselves. “They offer a very different way of seeing the world.”

via BBC – Future – The ‘untranslatable’ emotions you never knew you had.

It was one word and its lack of a single-word peer in English that set Lomas off:

Lomas says he was first inspired after hearing a talk on the Finnish concept of sisu, which is a sort of “extraordinary determination in the face of adversity”. According to Finnish speakers, the English ideas of “grit”, “perseverance” or “resilience” do not come close to describing the inner strength encapsulated in their native term. It was “untranslatable” in the sense that there was no direct or easy equivalent encoded within the English vocabulary that could capture that deep resonance.

We’re mixing our Scandinavians, but we always think of Jan Baalsrud when the term sisu comes up. Here’s another word that struck close to home:

  • Natsukashii (Japanese) – a nostalgic longing for the past, with happiness for the fond memory, yet sadness that it is no longer

Funny, we knew a couple of words on his list, like sisu and orenda (the latter because it’s a Canadian aero-engine maker that made a certified 600-750 hp V8(.pdf)x; after 9/11, the engine went to Trace Engines of Midland, Texas, where the website if not the company is now defunct).

The whole BBC article is worth reading. We’ll be following Lomas’s project with interest. Because it’s not good shooting foreigners in the face, if you don’t take their stuff, right?

In Mosul, Evidence of ISIL’s Light Fingers

In public, they play the austere, upright, Islamic extremists. In private, they’re stealing everything that’s not nailed down, including the national patrimony — the archaeological treasures of the Fertile Crescent — that they disdain as un-moslem.

They might disdain it, but they’re not above stealing it and selling it for money.

They’re the leaders of ISIL. The Telegraph:

Iraqi authorities have found more than 100 “priceless” Assyrian artefacts plundered from ancient ruins hidden in an Islamic State leader’s house in Mosul.

The discovery was made in the Az-Zirai neighbourhood in eastern Mosul, which the special forces troops recently recaptured from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Photographs released by the National Security Service on Thursday show more than a dozen clay pots, a handful of large vases, “Palace Ware” pottery and a hand mill, among other smaller pieces.

Historians and archaeologists have confirmed the objects date back thousands of years to the Assyrian Empire.<

Wait, we thought the great jihadis were going to destroy all that stuff, not cash it in?

Then again, we also thought they’d stand and do the martyrdom they urge their followers to pursue, and not bug out down the road towards Raqqa.

“During a tour of homes in the former Christian area of Mosul, the army received a tip off from a local resident,” Talib al-Maa’mari, an Iraqi parliament member, told reporters.

“When the special forces searched this one house, which was being used by an ISIS emir, we were surprised to find many priceless artefacts. But one in particular is very special – it was quite an incredible find.”

Commenting on the haul, Prof Eleanor Robson, chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, told the Telegraph: “They are genuine Assyrian antiquities. Now we can be confident that excellent staff are on the case.”

But maybe the throat-cutting specialists were just lining the stuff up to destroy, and not planning to convert it into gold teeth in their Swiss vaults? Er, no:

Isil documents found in the abandoned house show the Islamist group kept a record of each of the items, along with an estimated price each relic could reach.

The presumption is the jihadists intended to sell the pieces but were interrupted before they could do so.

One wonders why they bother, and didn’t do the SF thing and set a gang of locals to making instant “antique artifacts” to sell to, say, the Air Force, along with enemy flags freshly sewn and “aged” with chicken blood?

For years Isil has been smuggling genuine, as well as fake, artefacts out of Iraq through their territory in Syria and out through the Turkish border at the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

Since its capture of Mosul in 2014, Isil is thought to have made tens of millions of dollars off black market sales of antiquities throughout both Iraq and Syria, while at the same time destroying numerous archaeological treasures from places such as Nimrud and Palmyra.

There’s really no overestimating the contemptibility of ISIL, but where do the guys who buy stolen art from them fit on the scale?

That Was the Week that Was: 2017 Week 05

That was the week that was TW3Hey, we’re only a day late (and a dollar short) this time.

We’re trying really hard to think of something clever to say here. That’s not cerebrospinal fluid in the vapor state coming out of our ears, it’s just steam.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were:

  • Posts: 28 posts — one extra (Saturday’s Breaking: Today’s “Refugees” Being Detained)
  • Word count:  about 16,800 (lower than usual).
  • Central Tendency Measures: Mean and median were low at 600 and 473. What does that mean? We’re writing shorter posts.
  • Posts below 100 words in length: 2. (See?)
  • Posts over 2,000: 2
  • Posts below 500: 15
  • Posts over 1000: 2

Significant milestones: None observed.

Traffic continues to be satisfactory. Too early to call February. January was not just a five-year January-over-January record, but also an all-time record with almost 270,000 uniques for the month.

Comments This Week

Comments: 619 as of 1700 Sunday. (Fewer than last week).

Most commented post: Monday’s Flying With a Gun, with 76.

Second most commented (i.e. runner-up) was Wednesday’s Year of the Pistol-Caliber Carbine? Really?, with 53 comments.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (If the links are not live, they will be fleshed out later).

Going Forward

Well, we’re probably going to look at what a new SECDEF and new service secretaries mean to the military; we’re definitely going to have more straight dope on the HK433 and the German rifle competition; and we’ve got a great video Monday on what was probably the greatest reverse engineering exploit of all time. Plus, we promise we’ll think of something for the Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week, next week.