Category Archives: Administrivia

Snowbound Sunday

Well. we’ve missed all the others, and this time the shoe’s on the other foot. A few miles to the south, the People’s Republic got a relative dusting, but we got schmacked.

It was worth it just to see Little Dog in snow up to his shaggy eyebrows and ears.

We’re at a transitory holdup on the airplane project as we’re waiting on tools (needed number drills, had fractions and metric, except for the two or three number drills one needs for ARs — #3, #40, #42). Numbered drills are used to get the proper amount of clearance under ASME and ASTM standards, where the next 64th or 32nd of an inch would be too small or too large. In the metric world, such clearance requirements can necessitate an odd sized drill bit, which can take some finding.For example, the AR drills mentioned are used, in order, for: the pistol grip screw hole, (which is then tapped 1/4-28); the pivot pin & takedown pin detent holes; and the bolt release hinge-pin hole. The other AR holes can all be drilled with fractional drills, but you can finesse the pivot-pin and hinge-pin holes (which are called out at 0.25 ± .001) by cutting them slightly undersize with a Letter D or metric 6.26mm drill, and then ream to finish size.

We suspect a lot of shops just fudge the clearances!

Since we don’t know what surprises lurk in the next sections of the plans, we just ordered a set of standard gage sized, letter and number, drills (which takes us down to #60). MSC Direct will have the drills to us this week. (We also bought $400 worth of other tools that were on sale. Because tools, and MSC is great to deal with).

We’re kicking around ideas for a new logo for Something based on this:



That would seem to cover it. Vintage weapon, in depth, combat focus. But we’d get the name in there, somewhere, too. Our colors are a little dark, too.

Fun fact: while the M16A1 is a lot shorter than the Springfield M1795 Musket that has adorned the CIB (in more or less stylized version) since 1943, and the Infantry branch insignia since 1924, it’s a lot higher, vertically, making for completely different proportions. It was tough getting even this far. But then, we are not artistes around this place, except maybe with an M16A1 like in the picture.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 04

That was the week that was TW3We’re now two-four for on TW3s for 2015. OK, so this one is a day late (and, presumably, a dollar short; you can apply for your refund at refunds@dev/nul). Well, actually, it’s about 12 hours late; does that make it 50¢ short? But it’s here, and that’s something.

As commenters have noted, nobody really cares about these TW3s except us. They’re one way we keep track of what we’re doing here. And they have a benefit for you, the reader: you can use the story listings here to go back and see what you may have missed.

We’ve come up with an art solution to issues discussed previously in this space, but it may take a while. The name of the solution is engaging an artist. There are people who have a talent for this stuff, and who go to school for it. Why not reward them? And beautify the blog while we’re at it? (Before you ask, her replacement will still be clothed. This is a blog for the whole gun-happy family. Except for cousin Jabbar, the Islamic convert who wants her in a burkha — we’ll see him in Hell first).

The Boring Statistics

This week saw more info posted than last. We posted 27 posts, and a total of about 20,000 words, up from 25 and 17,000. If there were any milestones, we didn’t see them. Comments were moderate at 197 so far. Mean and median post length were 730 and 655, compared to last week’s 702 and 485 respectively. The mean close to the median suggests only that the posts were fairly balanced in lengths — long posts had offsetting short ones, and vice versa.


We have had 179 comments as of press time, up from last week’s 153 (these numbers aren’t fixed in concrete, as posts can accept comments for — we forget, 30 or 90 days? Something like that). The most commented post was, oddly enough, Sunday Spending with 22, probably because the airplane project tickles readers’ fancy, and we replied to a lot of the comments so half of them are probably ours.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week The links may not be live till later, maybe even tomorrow:

Going Forward

We’re still having fun, sometimes with guns, sometimes with research, sometimes building non-gun stuff like the RV, and we hope you’re having fun with us.

Why there’s no gun tech post at 0600

So, we’ve mentioned the airplane project, right?

During manufacture, the aluminum sheets that form the skin and structure of an airplane (in aluminum monocoque construction, the skin is a stressed structural member), are coated with a protective film of thick blue adhesive plastic. (Mylar?)

Whatever it is, it keeps the skins fro getting scuffed and scratched, injuries to the aluminum alloy that can have structural consequences. In a factory, the plastic is peeled off before priming and assembly, and for a kit aircraft, you get to do it yourself.

We thought we’d leave the stuff on each part until we needed it, but the manufacturer warned us that the longer you left it in place, the stickier the adhesive on the blue plastic got. “Get it off of there right away!” So last night the Blogbrother and Your Humble Host climbed down into the workshop to peel the blue stuff off of the empennage and tailcone parts. It was nine or so, and we budgeted an hour.

At five minutes before midnight he was on his way to his home and hearth… and you were on your way to receiving this bad news about the 0600 post. Have one in the works, it’s just too technical to finish and still sleep tonight. Both of us have cuts and are sore and weary… that blue stuff is the devil’s own, and getting it off of thin sheet metal without pretzeling the metal is a mental and physical challenge.

Asses kicked: 2. Amount of actual assembly done: 0%.

Next task, when it’s warm enough to do it outside, prime the interior surfaces and structural parts of the skin. It will be sad to see the shiny, mirror-finished aluminum become dull greenish yellow, but it would be sadder to see it corrode in ten or twenty years on the Seacoast.

(Edited to add: We wrote this at 2355 last night, and then never scheduled it, so this post, which was merely meant as a space-holding apology for lack of an 0600 post, is going up closer to 0900. Sigh. –Ed.).

Happy Rodney King Day

Recycling a post from 2012, and a sentiment we have never failed to note on this auspicious day… Happy Rodney King Day.

Sure, some people celebrate another Civil Rights King this day. But his maybe-relative Rodney’s story resonates with us more, in part, perhaps, because one of the cops that helped make Rodney King famous was an SF guy. (Which one, we’re not saying. It was not our finest hour).

But the main reason is that, in the middle of 1992’s violent, destructive riots (55 dead and 2,000 injured), caused by people supposedly supporting him, Mr King went on the radio and television with this sentiment, the one that underlies any workable approach to civil rights, and that bespeaks tolerance and respect for your fellow man.

“Can’t we all just get along?”

Rodney King has had more traffic-law problems since then, but he has reportedly married Juror Number Five from his civil trial, and has publicly forgiven the policemen who beat him — most of whom went to prison.

So on this Federal holiday, take a moment to consider Rodney King’s message of peace and hope, and any other civil rights pioneer named King that may occur to you. Can’t we all just get along?

(Mr King passed away just six months after we first penned this tribute to him, due to complications of swimming with coronary disease while on alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and PCP — all at once. He was survived by his fiancée Cynthia Kelly, former Juror Nº 5 — our report that they had married in 2012 was an error. King had a troubled life and was not a man for half-measures in anything, but we prefer to remember him for his impassioned 1992 plea that is an inspiration to us all: “Can’t we all just get along?” Rest in peace, big guy. You are not forgotten).

Sunday Spending

Today, we’re treating a group of five to a chance to participate in a Box Office wave: let’s set some records for Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, and, not least, Chris and Taya Kyle.

Cost of tickets for five at the IMAX central to our locations: $82.50. No wonder box office records are higher each year, so are the ticket prices. Still, we are expecting to get value for our money. The reviews are generally positive (true, The New Republic’s assclown’s review was bitterly negative, but it turns out he reviewed it without seeing it. #Journalism). But what’s really driving attendance is word of mouth and stratospheric Cinemascores (audience ratings).

Even if the movie stank, seeing it with old friends and a couple of impressionable teen boys would be a blast anyway. But we’re expecting it not to stink.

Before that, we have the usual Sunday things, and one unusual one — peeling more blue plastic off sheet aluminum airplane parts. (If you leave the protective plastic on, the adhesive sets up hard in a couple of weeks, other builders have warned us).

This is what we’re building: Van’s RV-12. It’s an excellent, simple small plane (although “simple” is definitely relative when you’re lofting a forty-pound box of rivets, every one of which one of you will have to install before this thing flies). For those lacking the DIY gene, or perhaps the patience, to build, the factory will put one together for you, for a reasonable price (again, this is relative).

Right now, it doesn’t look like much. We’ve only got the tail kit in the shop (from which, we will build the rudder, vertical stabilizer, stabilator, and the tailcone of the fuselage from behind the cabin), and it looks like a lot of sheet metal parts that need a bunch of deburring, drilling, countersinking, not to mention priming, before being clecoed together as test assemblies, and then finally riveted.

Embarrassing true story. The Blogbrother has never riveted Thing One in his life. So we demonstrated how to rivet two washers together with an Avex pull rivet (aka pop rivet). POP!

And all the parts went in different directions. We’d absently picked up a rivet where the shop head wound up smaller than the ID of the washers we were demonstrating with… ¡estupido! Our reputation for Papal-echelon infallibility in matters aeronautical just took a hit.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 03

That was the week that was TW3This is our first TW3 of 2015. We got ahead of the wave for a moment this weekend, so here it is. We’re going to keep this brief, like a well-run Saudi beheading, and not drawn out and painful, like a Taliban one.

While we’ve enjoyed using the pretty lady from the original TW3 TV show (well, the American one, we think), she’s got to be 75 if she’s a day now, and she’s black and white, so we’re thinking of getting a new TW3 girl, along with some other new art.

The Boring Statistics

This week wasn’t anything too special. We posted 25 posts, and a total of about 17,000 words. If there were any milestones, we didn’t see them. Comments were light at 148 so far. mean and median post length were 702 and 485 respectively. The long post on the VT fuze on Tuesday (From the Academy to the Arsenal) drove the mean up and away from the median.


We had some great comments, but as we mentioned, not many. The most commented post was Poly-Ticks: Anti-Gun AG Threatened with Indictment in PA on Thursday, the story of extreme anti-gunner Kathleen Kane’s trouble with laws against corruption, but even it had only 15 comments at press time.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week The links may not be live till later, maybe even tomorrow:

  • Sunday Settlement is our routine Sunday post.
  • OPSEC: A View from Fiction. Every once in a while a fictional character utters complete good sence. This is one of those times.
  • NY Times Misses a Detail: “What do we Want? Dead Cops!” <i>That</i> detail. That’s okay. Boston’s not a big college town.
  • We asked this when nothing seemed to be going on: Is this the Pre-SHOT News Blackout?
  • Continuing our series of reports from bleak trouble sports, we have the Official Report: the 507th Maintenance Fight
  • We described how Variable Time (proximity) fuzes made the leap, as their product did, From the Academy to the Arsenal.
  • What do you say when your personal flag uses only the center stripe of the tricolor? Je Suis Victor Charlie
  • Mike Pannone: Making an M4 Run like a Gazelle
  • Yikes. Magpul Launches 60-Round Drum. We weren’t expecting that.
  • It Looked Like an Assassination Attempt… but if so, this nutcase was doing it wrong.
  • Would it surprise you to learn of Another Gun Crime in a Gun-Free Zone
  • And we offer A Little More Info on VT Fuzes to follow up on the arsenal.
  • Tool-free maintenance goes a long way back. The Gun is its Own Tool Kit. — Browning ANM2.
  • Marine Women Continue to Excel… Just Not Enough to pass the Infantry Officers Course. Of course, the Army just declares them graduates and gives everybody a participation trophy.
  • Poly-Ticks: Anti-Gun AG Threatened with Indictment in PA. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving weasel.
  • We mention All the other stuff we get up to around here
  • In anticipation of a SHOT show, there’s Big News From MagPul: <i>Glock</i> Mags
  • The Army lets slip that Rangerettes are Official: Coming This Spring
  • In Case Gun Coverage Isn’t Slanted Enough… Bloomberg, the Columbia School of Yellow Journalism, and the Dart Center are running a course to teach reporters how to slant more cleverly.
  • If you read one thing about Stolen Valor this month… read Andrew Tuohy’s column at Vuurwapen Blog.
  • Park Rangers, historians, and people of the gun are all asking: Did this Rifle Sleep for a Century?
  • We have a short GhostGunner Update.
  • They pick a weekend to do their dirtiest work. Breaking: ATF Revokes Some Shoulder “Brace” Letters
  • We really do enjoy the movie reviews, so here’s Saturday Matinee 2015 03: Cocked, TV (2015)
  • That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 03 — that’s this post, so don’t expect a link.

Going Forward

We can’t promise you everything we’re working on, because life and other people have a vote over a lot of what we’re trying to do. We can promise to have fun with you.

All the other stuff we get up to around here

If posting’s been a bit erratic lately, it’s because other activities have been consuming a great deal of time.

One of them is work, and we’re preparing to hire a bunch of folks to teach some allied airmen something seemingly mundane, but absolutely critical — how to speak and understand technical English.

We have always said, “Work is a four-letter word. But so is cash.”

Next up has been the usual medical drills, personal and family alike, which seem to burn lots of precious time. And we’re still not un-grounded, despite a clean bill of health from various docs. Ah, bureaucracy.

And the final thing has been the cool one even though it’s completely non-gun-related. With Blogbrother, we’ve established the Rong Brothers Aeroplane Factory in the basement workshop at Hog Manor. And the first package of parts has arrived and been inventoried. Two small questions that arose on reading the plans for the RV-12 empennage have been resolved — mostly. And we’re wrangling out a solution to the paint booth problem, so that we can etch and alodine or epoxy prime the parts (the Atlantic seacoast is definitely a high-corrosion area).

So if posting’s slow as the snail version of the short school bus for a while, all these other things are pirating the time.


Sunday Settlement

So, we’re settled back in at home, but the new plan is that we’ll alternate as able, having at least one son present with the old folks for at least one week a month. Right now, more than that would be an imposition; less than that isn’t sufficient burden relief.

We have a pile of the other kind of settlement to do. It’s time to take a first run at 2014 taxes and clear up some historical K1 problems that have previous years’ taxes on extension. (If you’ve never extended, it’s not a good deal for you; you have to pay up front what you expect your liability to be, and if you guess low, they crucify you. So people overpay, which is like withholding or quarterlies: it’s a 0% loan to the Government, which is then mostly handed straight to the second most unproductive human beings on earth, welfare recipients, and the most unproductive, federal employees.

Then, there’s settling back into the home and office after a week away. Some subtle things are always changed, and some are quite the same, and they’re never the ones you expect. Through the miracle of modern commercial aviation we covered 1,600 miles or so in three hours, with an addition four hours for ground hassles and delays on both ends, which is normal. The guy who cracks the airport nut will make himself insanely rich, but now that the mall ninjas of the TSA are involved most progress in airport ground operations is impossible forevermore.

There are other settlements. What is the value of the blog? We’re not inclined to monetize it. If we made readers pay, that would mean fewer readers, and we write to be read, not for money alone. If we packed it full of ads all the fun would go out of it, and have you noticed that there’s almost an inverse relationship between quantity of intrusive net advertising, and quality of product? We could add a tip jar but that reminds us of an NPR telethon. “Send us money so we can continue to produce state-controlled broadcasting in the spirit of Djugashvili!”

Eh. So none of the ideas appeal, and we continue to make money the old, analog way, at least until our rendezvous with the LaBrea tar pits or what have you.

A Sunday of Service

We’re away from home, but we’re not. No, we’re not all zen-via-Jackie-Chan. There’s nothing symbolic or paradoxical about that at all, because the thing is, we’re at the folks’ home.

Aging parents are Just One Of Those Things™. Everybody our age has got ‘em, and knows the delight you feel when someone has such a good day, she forgets she’s beaten down by endless rounds of dialysis and having to suck generated oxygen through mostly-dead lungs.

Everyone our age has got ‘em, and knows the heartache of seeing someone who was strong as Kong getting his ass kicked by a pill-bottle cap.

It’s good just to help, it turns out. It does a soul good. And God knows they were there through the kids’ diseases, dead pets, ER visits, romantic rejections, romantic successes (more costly in the long run), professional triumphs and tragedies, and personal ones.

God knows there’s a debt owing.

It is meet that it be paid.

Just one of those things, you know.

Some Predictions for 2015

In and the Gun World:

  • We’ll get the Afghanistan Tribute M4 finished
  • The ongoing WWI Centenary will spark interest in Great War weapons.
  • Manufacturing and fabrication technology will continue to be powered down to the little guy. This is a macro trend whose shape and consequences are hard to imagine.
  • We’ll be somewhat distracted by Rong Brothers Airplane Factory activities. The first kit (empennage) arrives at Hog Manor this coming Friday — Blogbrother and Kid are on their own to get it into the shop.

Elsewhere on the Net:

  •  The gun people and anti-gun people will continue to talk past each other.
  • The anti-gun folks will continue to apply asymmetric warfare concepts to keep their weak organizations alive and win what victories they can, all the while never losing sight of their totalitarian dream.
  • They will try to use deceptively labeled initiative petitions, and
  • They will pursue backdoor registration through medical approaches.
  • Trolls still gonna troll.

Here on the ground in New Hampster

  • More and more people will give up their land lines, as a new election season spreads like herpes across the Granite State, and the annoying surveys, pollsters, and robocalls crank up to 11.
  • More and more people will move in. (Two of the last horse fields, and the one last large piece of undeveloped land, in our little burg are under construction). Will they be pro-gun folks fleeing oppression, or more Massholes fleeing taxes, but demanding the same loopy social services that produced those taxes in the first place? Time will tell.

In These United States

  • The 2nd Amendment Penumbras (in Glenn Reynolds’s prescient term) will continue to expand, forcing reluctant authorities to recognize more gun rights.
  • The anti-gun wealthy will spend heavily to prepare the battlefield for initiative petitions in 2016, and will finance bogus “medical research” by activist doctors.
  • New leaks and investigations will expose more instances of ATF and FBI acting as partisan political police.
  • The DOJ and DHS will reorganize their criminal investigators; a couple smaller agencies may soon be gone, and others may lose missions (all Secret Service’s investigation missions going to other agencies is a good bet. IRS losing all its armed investigators is a more remote possibility. ATF was on the bubble, but is no longer that vulnerable. None of this is going to be firm for a while, and the whole thing may be binned if a new AG is confirmed.

In the Important Parts of the World

  • Britain will quietly reevaluate its 70-year trend of an ever-smaller and more-sketchily-outfitted professional military, in the light of new threats to Britons in the metropolitan archipelago as well as in overseas territories, notably the Falklands. The problem is always resources.
  • Japan’s rearmament will take two paths — an overt rebuilding of air and naval power, and a clandestine preparation of nuclear armament, should it be necessary. They won’t actually go there — they’ll make ready to go there, if they need to. And they’ll shudder if they have to.
  • Western Europe will continue cutting defense.
  • A terrorist attack in a Nordic country will shake decades of consensus on immigration.
  • Russia will digest the Ukrainian provinces it has eaten for a while. The Ukrainian populations will be ethnically cleansed; meanwhile, it will get tougher for Russian ethnics in some of the border republics, where it’s already been tough for them since the end of the USSR. This is the spark of the next problem.
  • Lower oil prices mean financial ruin for Venezuela and damage for Iran.

In Afghanistan and the Middle East

  • The remaining prisoners, released from Gitmo, will join their predecessors in committing new acts of terror.
  • Both Afghanistan and Iraq will plumb new depths of barbarity in 2015.

All in all, the most depressing kind of forecast: an interesting year. Hope you’ll see it in, and out, with us.