Category Archives: Administrivia

Spooky Sunday

At some time today, we’ll be putting the Demon Dog and other Halloween decorations out, which makes it Spooky Sunday.

We’ve been engaged on the new social media platform Gab, which is still in beta. Imagine Twitter, but with more than twice the characters per post, and an institutional commitment to free speech (vs. Twitter’s commitment to social engineering). Highly recommended. Your Humble Blogger is, of course, @hognose and frequently gabs about #guns.

Had a week of sticking to diet but off-and-on on exercise, so we saw — we are not making this up  — a one day gain of 3.3 lbs (1.5 Kg), followed by dieting off a half-pound a day… ending the week at a new low that was a half-pound below last week’s record. It makes for a weird looking graph for this month so far:


Especially when you consider our real objective has to be below the bottom of that graph. It doesn’t look quite so bad when we look at the whole thing:


It’s more work than we might like. We know what we need to do (doesn’t everybody, about most things?) and we just need to ruck up and execute.

Not all the news is even that good. Got the news that Tom Greer died after an incredibly brief illness. He is best known to the public as author Dalton Fury, a name guys ribbed him about. He was a legendary special operations leader, who came up from a private in the Ranger Regiment; even there, his contemporaries tell us, he was marked for advancement. (I do not recall him ever serving in SF, just Rangers and other special operations forces).  Here’s a non-fiction essay of his worth reading. We lost a good one there.

We spent 3:30 (that’s three hours thirty minutes, not three minutes and a half) on the phone with a friend (and former leader) in Fayetteville. He came through the storm all right, just lost power for a few days (others are worse off). His wife is fighting severe illness, and it gets him down. On the phone, all that dropped away and we solved all the problems of life, the universe and everything (especially special operations).

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon and evening with an old teammate (an 18E commo man, but he’s a gun guy, naturally) and introduced Small Dog Mk II to his rambunctious German Shepherds. (Yes, plural). However, because we wrote and queued this post up before leaving for his house, we can’t tell you whether SDMkII got eaten or not, unless or until we update the post.  Still, he has such separation anxiety, we didn’t want to leave him.

Finally, we’re meeting the Blogfather in New Orleans soon. We don’t know the city; we’ve never done anything except drive on through. We know the former D-Day Museum is a must see (now the National WWII Museum), and we saw online the LA Guard museum, an old fort, and a Confederate War Museum… we’re wondering if readers have any recommendations, and that’s not just gun stuff, but also food and entertainment options. We’ll be in town about five days.

Sicilian Sunday

Yesterday, we were doing work with this lady’s music playing in the background:

We saw her mentioned in an aside at Ace of Spades, and followed the link on purest whim. We’re glad we did! Apparently she and her collaborators sing traditional Sicilian songs. While we read Italian, we only pull out an occasional phrase from the words. For all we know, she’s singing, “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes, it’s an ancient custom of my people,” but her voice sounds beautiful. Not our usual style of music (which runs to Baroque orchestral music, and 60s pop) but it was really restful to have playing while writing and queuing up the blog for the start of the week.

Another week ends, no matter what music you play, and the new one begins.

Not much progress on winterizing Hog Manor, but Small Dog Mk II has been getting his walks, to his waggy delight, and we’ve stayed on track in nutrition and fitness terms. Indeed, yesterday we set a low weight since getting serious in July, which was exactly 20 lb. off the peak that set us on the journey in the first place.

While dieting off flab has been good, and the calorie target we try to hit (1700 gross/day) means staying away from nutritionally empty stuff, the real boost has come from strength training. Each workout is broken down into three phases:

  1. A warmup/mobility phase, which might be best described as a variety of stretches against body weight or elastic resistance; this includes simple stretches like Groiners and Fall-throughs, but also Green Mile shuffles with a band around the upper calves. If it doesn’t hurt while you’re doing it, you may not be doing right.
  2. Actual strength training — lifting gradually but steadily increasing weights, with attention to proper form.
  3. “MetCon” or metabolic conditioning — this is basically a high intensity workout, which blasts past aerobic capacity and normal heart rate limits. If we understand (and we probably don’t), the objective here is to try to reset the metabolism to a higher BMR.

While we tend to credit the mobility with most of the real mobility gains — everything from rising from a chair to chasing a lost safety-detent spring under the gunsmithing bench — our trainer is quite adamant that all the exercises work together, and are part of a scientifically crafted whole. And who will argue with success?

A guy who was not supposed to walk again, at least not without a cane, and still believed he would never run, is now jogging a little (but only when the dog wants to. We draw the line at dragging the little guy).

Certainly the strength training has produced some shape changes as well. Haven’t measured, but arms are bigger, this summer’s pants don’t fit, clothes that were undersize do.

There is still a long way to go to get back into fighting shape.

Saturation Sunday

Let’s start with a sigh, as this was going to be an outdoor work day. About the only thing achieved was depowering the fountain so it can be drained on schedule and closed up by the middle of the month, as “scattered showers” from the forecast turned into a solid day of steady drizzle, with the occasional breaks in the drizzle comprising, not dry air, let alone sunlight, but rather something more like a cloud’s Final Protective Fires.

Precipitous precipitation, that. At least it’s a warm rain. Good thing we got a bike ride in yesterday. The geese were already hunkering down.


Small Dog Mk II does not seem to miss his walk; he is a canine grandmaster at energy savings, seemingly able to sleep all day and all of the night, to steal a line from a wrinkly rocker.

Some news to report. First, for all of you interested in progress of the Blogbrother’s plane, we spent some time this week building a cradle for the wings. It was his idea, and we seemed to fall agreeably, as always, into a natural division of labor. Your Humble Blogger fleshed the idea out and provided the parts that made it work, and he did nearly all of the work. The base of the cradle is two 18 x 12″ moving dollies, and the uprights are formed by two frames from a scrapped box spring or mattress. The bare aluminum wing reflects everything!


(That’s the Blogbrother, camouflaged as a toolbox). This also allowed us to rearrange the garage, so that the truck can also be in with the car and the airplane project by the time the snows are upon us. And we expect we will finish the second wing speedily (the holdups are in electrical subsystems, where we’re waiting for parts and fasteners).


Finally, an update on health & fitness. Lost one of last week’s strength days and many days of cardio due to a joint problem, but we’re back on track, and experiencing the tangible benefits of the mobility, strength and metabolic conditioning every day. Weight loss continues at a slower rate. We could have called this Sweatshirt Sunday, because a hooded sweatshirt bought at LL Bean outlet this spring, and never worn because it was too tight, was tried today: comfortable, loose fit.

Here’s to making it positively baggy. The goal is 15 more pounds off by Pearl Harbor Day or thereabouts, which is less than two pounds a week — less than our rate of weight loss in August, but more than in September.

Sunday Scuppers

Scuppers? As in, we wish we had ’em, as this is Day 4 of steady drizzle. After a too-dry spring and summer, New England seems to be catching up in October. But that’s all right; we’d rather have rain now at 55ºF than snow in three or four months at 05ºF.

Or as we frequently put it, any weather we don’t have to shovel is good weather.

Airplane work hit a snag. Turns out you can’t improvise a crimper for Molex connectors. Well, you can, but not if you want your connectors to stay connected. We’re now waiting for the tool and moving on to skin the port wing. Everything takes longer (and costs more) than anticipated, but thank a merciful God that we don’t run this project like the VA, or we’d have the GDP of France in it by the time we finish.

September was a disappointing month on the weight-loss front with only 3 pounds lost, compared to August’s 12.4. So we need to hit new heights (or lowts) in October. Without the long bike rides that made August so much fun, as the turning seasons complicate bike riding. #FirstWorldProblems, eh.

And today, we had an adventure.  Somebody burgling the one somewhat neglected house in the street. Got their car description — Chevy Suburban or Tahoe, late 90s, black, NH plate 357-4521. Cops ran the plate, and it came back to a different vehicle, but by the time the cops were here, the crims were not. Dammit, we pay big bucks not to have to live among the Opiate-American community, and the rat bastards get (or steal) cars and drive here. In any event, the local PD has the information we could provide. (Another neighbor’s dog is what alerted the informal neighbohood watch. Small Dog Mk II? Slept through most of the alarums and excursions. He’s damned lucky he’s ornamental, because if he was a watchdog he’d be on the bubble).

Sunday Slump

Hey, we hope the slump is ending and this week will be good for all!

If you see a lot of video posts with short notes, we’re still slumping (grin). We’re on the tail end of a head cold.

Note that a preliminary Saturday Matinee is up backdated to yesterday, Taking Fire (TV, 2016), and hardly anyone has looked at the one posted (if belatedly) last week, Sully (2016)Sully is not the least bit military, but it’s good, and Taking Fire is a pretty raw documentary, but it’s all military.

Any Weapons Website of the Week Ideas?

Because, even though we delayed this post for over 12 hours, we’re still drawing a blank. so we’re throwing it open for suggestions. Because we know there’s lots of ’em we haven’t covered yet but they’re not in the forebrain at present. For the Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week, it’s Thursday noon, and we still got nothin’. So… help!

One hopes the feature will return next week, eh?

Sunday Showtime!

Today, the family bombshells in various directions, seeking something to entertain us. The Blogfather and Blogbrother will make the long haul down the moral equivalent of the Autobahn Helmstedt-Berlin to observe that great Socialist enterprise, the National Football Leage, in all its taxpayer-subsidized glory, as the Boston Patriots featuring backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo face the Miami Dolphins where experienced QB Ryan Tannehill is running a new offensive system devised by new head coach Adam Gase.

Meanwhile, Your Humble Blogger and the Blognephew are bound to a local car show. Small Dog Mk II will probably join us, so the next blog post may be about surviving a beating after he pees on a Bugatti’s freshly-armor-all’d tires. (It;s that kind of local show; here’s a guy’s photo album from the 2012 iteration. We have met the owner / restorer of the Rolls and Bugatti and toured his shop). Blogneff is just at the age where he’s starting to sperg about cars, so we might as well give him car sensory overload. Afterwards, it’s to lunch, someplace where we can eat outside (and thus keep SDMkII with us).

The show is a bit threatened by thundershowers. The kind of guy who spent six figures on a restoration (as often as not, on a car worth five figures once restored) tends to be a bit diffident about displaying it in a downpour which may limit attendance or force a rain date.

And, at some point, the benches downstairs call… and we owe our FFL some information on what’s incoming. Should be a fun day! Hope yours is, also.


Huh. We never hit “publish” before going out. Well, we’re back now. Blogneff, SDMkII, and Your Humble Blogger had a great day, and saw everything from a late model Ferrari with a custom color (a $30k option if the buyer doesn’t want red, black, yellow, silver or white) and a five-year waiting list, through lots of classic ’50s, ’60s and 70s iron, to some creative rat rods, like a kitbashed thing that was part Crosley and part Jeep. There were three 1920’s Bugattis including an authentic Grand Prix car, and many true classics including a gorgeous 1941 or 42 Buick. Neff, who’s quite pudgy, got to sit in a ’57 T-Bird, into which he didn’t exactly fit.

“The steering wheel’s too big!” No, kid, sorry, but you are. We didn’t help matters when we went to lunch and bought him what he wanted, including a huge ice cream, but hey, uncle’s privilege. And we did walk him up and down the line of cars for nearly three hours, so there is that.

Meanwhile, Blogfather and Blogbrother apparently had separate seats at the Patriots-v-Dolphins, but enjoyed the game, in which the backup QB for Naughty Tom Brady got injured and the third string quarterback (for our foreign readers, who are blissfully ignorant of American football, this position is the key leader of the team) held the team together for a win. Dunno if there was the anti-American protest that’s been spreading among the spoiled brats of the league.

Preview of Coming Attractions

OK, so we’re still slipping, schedule-wise, but here’s what’s we hope to make appear in this space in the coming week.

  1. A short article on the FN49, including the on-again-off-again development history (and the benefit a long development history has), the reasons for its short production life, and photos. This is definite for Monday.
  2. Some Czechoslovak pistols mentioned only in a single source, as far as we know.
  3. Does the Mac beta of Defense Distributed’s Ghost Gunner software work? (We don’t know the answer to this question, actually. If you hear the sound of a head crash, the answer is “no.”)
  4. Before the Albacore, there was a research submarine so advanced that concepts from it are still being developed.
  5. What’s the oldest piece of equipment still used by the US Army or Marines?
  6. How to Walk in the Woods.
  7. Maybe an airplane update. We just did something pretty scary — cut a hole in the leading edge of the wing for landing light installation. So far, so good.

And… we’re going to throw it open to your ideas.

Man Proposes, God Disposes

rainsplash_dropOur epigrammatic title today tends to be true in small things as well as large, and fortunately, we are addressing small things today.

Specifically: where is this morning’s blog post?

We have gotten behind enough that we’ve become habituated to doing our morning (0600) post  in the morning as a bit of a catch-up. And we had two decent posts just-about-drafted — one a brief history of Czechoslovak small DA auto pistols, and the other, an appreciation of a little-known but very historically significant rifle, the SAFN-49 aka FN Model 49.

They just needed photography, and we’ve had good luck in the early morning light in the recent dry spell. We had a bagful of rare and historic CZs and their cousins, and examples of the the Egyptian 7.92 mm and Venezuelan 7 mm SAFN variants to snap.

Last night about eleven PM, the drizzle started. Twelve hours later, the drizzle has not let up, except to go to mist for an hour or so and then return to drizzle now and again. For the parched grounds here at Hog Manor, good news.

For firearms photography, not so much.

(Note to self, search Amazon for photo light booth or whatever it’s called).

So this post is by way of apology for the delayed posts.

Senescent Sunday

Well, that’s how a couple of older men feel around a couple of really bright kids. Our friend’s 9 and 12 year old offspring have some of the affect of intelligent young men, and their senses of humor and general knowledge are well-developed. And yet their sense of play and wonder at new things are those of children.

Big hits: the music room (a drum kit is profound for a kid), the dog (they have no pet in their magazine-clean house), Kittery Trading Post, installing some CS4-4 countersunk rivets in an airplane wing leading edge. And, surprisingly, the exercise machines — both the rower and the Expresso bike were big hits. (The kids exercised. Your Humble Blogger didn’t).

Meh: seafood places, any clothing that was not camouflaged. (The boys did, however, acquire faux-coonskin hats at the Trading Post). No word on whether their refined, European mom sees those as == camouflage, her idea of a sartorial felony.

Deferred to next visit: submarine museum, lunch at the airfield café (too busy), the coastal defense installations, the shore, maybe a bike ride (needs one more serviceable bike for a Gang of 4).

We’ll miss the li’l varmints. The good thing about the end of this visit will be getting back on diet and exercise… it’s great to be a kid for a few days, but chicken nuggets and fries at every meal is unsustainable with a 1950s-vintage metabolism.