Category Archives: Administrivia

Some Days, You Eat the Bear

Some Days, The Bear Eats You. It was a good weekend for Mr. Bruin around here:


Shorter RIA: So long, and thanks for playing!

Well, we can still read the catalog pages through our tears. So there is that. Don’t win your bids, you still wind up with a beautiful catalog full of stunning firearms, and some usually accurate historical information.

We bid on several Czech or Czechoslovak firearms that would be worth photographing and writing up for the book, and thought we bid well but wisely. It will be interesting to see just how spectacularly others outbid us on these.

The good news is, we now no longer need to hold the money we were keeping in reserve in case we won our stretch goals, and that may be good news for a local guy and a gunbroker seller or two.

This week is a week of heavy analog activity. Expect the digital domain, including this blog, to suffer a bit, accordingly.

Soviet Sunday

Today is Glorious May Day! The socialist vanguard of the workers’ and peasants’ state moves forward in Stakhanovite overfulfillment of the Five-Year Plan.

It’s a good day to line up all your tanks for a parade. Not to mention your Lennon, or Lenin, posters (politically, the same thing, but only one was a talented musician).

Participants hold flags and banners during a Communist May Day rally in St. Petersburg

This picture from 2014 shows a bunch of undead zombie Communists in St. Petersburg. The flag says:

Lenin — lived,
Lenin — lives,
Lenin — shall live!

Actually, Lenin was, is, and will be: dead, dead, dead.

So are over 100 million people, thanks to the joys of Marxism-Leninism, but that’s beside the point; unlike us, and Lenin (at least some facsimilie of Lenin, as we’ll see) they’re not around to enjoy the 2016 May Day Parade. (Once they’re dead, are Useful Idiots still useful?)

In fact, he’s so dead that he was in such severe danger of rotting in his mausoleum, the shrine to the failed religion of Godlessness that  his heirs erected, that they’ve gradually been swapping parts out for the last 90-some years. Scientific American:

The Russian methods focus on preserving the body’s physical form—its look, shape, weight, color, limb flexibility and suppleness—but not necessarily its original biological matter. In the process they have created a “quasibiological” science that differs from other embalming methods. “They have to substitute occasional parts of skin and flesh with plastics and other materials, so in terms of the original biological matter the body is less and less of what it used to be,” says Alexei Yurchak, professor of social anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. “That makes it dramatically different from everything in the past, such as mummification, where the focus was on preserving the original matter while the form of the body changes,” he adds.

We dunno. If he’s a 3D Printed simulation of Vladimir Ilych Ulianov aka Nikolai Lenin, at what point does he cease being Lenin and become one of those Audio-Animatronic® gadgets that stalk the rides and attractions at Disney World?

Either way, the critter described in the paragraph is many things, but “alive” ain’t one of ’em.

Lenin was, is, and will be dead. Those who still worship at the altar of the Church of Marx and Lenin need to face that fact.

And despite the fact they had a parade, it seems not to have had all the cool tanks and whatnot — those are standing by for the post-Soviet big parade, Victory Day, 9th May.

Number Five Freakin’ Thousand

This is the five thousandth post to go live on this blog since the first test posts, a few weeks before the go-live date of 1 January 2012.

During that time we’ve had some highs and lows, broken a couple of stories, a couple of guns, and a couple of computers.

Other things that there have been 5,000 of include Lamborghini Aventadors, a milestone passed last month…


… and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms, a milestone passed many, many years ago.

5000th Phantom

Some curious facts about the number 5,000 are available at Number Empire.

And here’s another fact (albeit a disputed one) about the number 5,000: according to scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia, it’s the number of living adults a species requires for long-term viability.

We guess that means the blog will be around a while.


Sunday Socializing

People's Republic of MassachusettsSo today, as you read this, Kid and Nose are bound for the People’s Republic of Massachusetts to hang out with a couple of Nose’s old (civilian) friends.

They are both interesting characters. Don (not his real name) is a former high-powered salesman who nearly lost everything to Old Demon Alcohol. He has a new life as a part-time chef in a rehab joint — the very one that saved him — where he’s also a role model to the attendees. The sad fact is that most of them do not succeed. The ones that do succeed don’t often do it on their first attempt.

It’s funny that a frendship still endures, when it was originally built, largely, on booze, chasing women, and sports cars. These days we’re not boozing, for different reasons; we’re both cynical about women; and we haven’t got a single “interesting” car between us.

Eric (not his real name), the other fellow was, and is, a brilliant software engineer who works on projects you haven’t heard of for a company whose technology you have probably used within the last couple of hours. He’s also a bon vivant and sportsman, although his life too has seen abrupt changes. An immigrant with no trace of an accent, he still loves Old Country comfort food recipes and is our reliable guide to the best in that nation’s cuisine.

Eric was a sports car and motorcycle guy, until an inattentive woman t-boned his motorcycle and left him paralyzed at about the nipple line of his chest. Sure, he got a decent settlement, but it’s not like anything can be done for him — yet.

Mostly, he gets around perfectly well and you forget he’s in the chair. It’s good to have a face to put with wheelchair ramps and curb cuts, sometimes. He drives a car with hand controls. Every time we see some able-bodied jerk in a hurry park in a handicap spot, we think of Eric and get angry. Eric sees it and he just laughs; that’s the kind of guy he is.

Neither of these guys is a gun guy, so we’re unlikely to talk about that. Our conversation will likely cover all the usual subjects but there will be a lot of science and technology and futurism, ’cause we all dig that stuff. And we’re hoping to see Kid square off against Eric in a video game, because they’re both enthusiastic gamers.

We do not like going to the PRM and avoid it when possible. We go for events at a college where the family name is on stuff, and we go to meet friends, and we pass through there on our way to the rest of  the United States much the way we used to travel the Autobahn Helmstedt-Berlin.

Update — Oops

About midnight this AM we noticed that the Friday Tour d’Horizon hadn’t gone live. It’s been put up now. Sheesh….

Sunday Soreness

Lots of grounds work yesterday, and the place still looks like the Beverly Hillbillies live here. In the same street, a neighbor’s showplace contemporary was listed at a price I thought high, and sold the same day, for asking price.

Smells like a bubble, and we’re not going anywhere, so it’s just a data point.

The soreness comes from the work, of course, and a general lack of fitness; the beloved shade of August becomes the mountains of oak leaves of late November, and we’re still dealing with tons (literally) of leaves in mid-April.

Once those are gone, it’s time to clear some brush, including a stand of irrationally beloved raspberry bushes; irrational because they produce fruit for a couple of weeks a year, and look like a mess and assault man and animal with thorns for the other fifty. We envision grass growing there, but vision alone won’t do it. You have to actually winkle the thorny beggars out of their hold on the earth, dispose of them somewhere else in the brushy part of the grounds, and then turn over the earth and seed it, which, of course, all should have been done last fall.

After the leaf marathon, we spent some time last night on inventorying the next package of plane parts, which build up the fuselage center section. As we’re not doing anything with them until the wings are finished, another task for today is to store the fuselage parts back in the workshop, behind the wing parts, fasteners, etc. that we need to finish the wings. Now that the weather is nice, we should be able to prime the parts we need to complete the wings. They will be hung from the ceiling of the garage, we think, as they’ll be too long to fit in the storage unit.

It all comes down to logistics, so often, doesn’t it?

Yes, we didn’t get the Matinee and TW3 done yesterday, but on the bright side, we did see a movie to review, so we might even write it up today. But the yard calls, and the bicycle, and a few odds and ends… and absolutely nothing is written for this week. Yet. Yikes!

Sunday Shirking

sleeping catDays come when you don’t really feel like doing your stuff. This weekend was two of those days, for which we beg your indulgence.

We still owe the Matinee and TW3 for yesterday, and we’re posting this more than 12 hours later.

We’re not exactly sure what we did get done.  There may have been some reading and (book) writing going on, but mostly we think we were checking our eyelids for pinholes, like the tabby in the picture.

\We can’t remember if we found any.

We will, however, have posts for you at 0600, 1100, 1400, and 1800 tomorrow.

Unless, of course, we’re not feeling it, and choosing to “identify” as Millennial instead.

Sunday Stopgap

spring 4So after staring at a screen for some dark period of time, with the command write something clever echoing in the brain, we resolved to simplify the problem to mere write something in the hopes of getting the post live.

The weather has done one of its occasional New England voltes faces, with t-shirt weather turning into snow in two days.

We had some gunsmithing tools come, and so we’re probably going to write something about bench blocks — we have four of them, which is probably two more than you need — and about the toolkit we bought because it was on sale.

We put the tools right to work on our Little Tom, an example of the world’s first DA/SA autopistol. Ours was made in 1922 and has some mechanical problems; taking it apart made us appreciate the ingenuity that went into and, we think, get a grasp of the problems.

It is a beautifully machined .25, bare of any sights, and featuring some parts of such small dimensions as to make us wonder, how ever did they make that thing? (one key part’s about .20″ long and actuated by an even smaller spring. How they did even the workholding for manufacturing that thing is beyond us). Before we go too deep into how Little Tom works, though, we want to review some more common DA/SA guns in the safe, starting with the PPKs and their descendants, and maybe having a look at the CZ and Beretta (we thought the trigger mechanism was a clone of the P.38 but Beretta has some of its own patents, so we get to open things up and look).

Beware, beware of flying springs! Spring may not have sprung in New Hampshire, outdoors, yet; but more springs have sprung on the gun benches this year, than bear thinking about. A magnetic pick-up tool is our friend.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 13

That was the week that was TW3One of these days, we’ll post our That Was the Week that Was on time. Today is not  the day (it’s going up a day late).

We’ve explained before why these things are “the most expendable post of the week,” and from time to time we don’t get to them at all.

We know not many readers read them, and so why do we do them? A few readers like them, and we find it useful to go back over the week’s production ourselves. That’s it; no magic to it.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were interesting: 28 posts, which is our current standard,  but a higher than average word count: about 23,500 words all told.  Our average post was longer than usual: 838 words long, and the median was also a little higher than usual at 755; both numbers were materially higher than the numbers made good last week. No post was below 100 words in length, and only one over 2,000; eleven were below 500 and nine over 1000. Post length ranged from 127 to 2778 words. “Normal” for

No significant milestones this week, although we broke 5000 comments for the year. Thanks to all who read and commented on our work.

We did set a new number of unique visitors monthly year-over-year record in March, and a record all-time monthly figure of 225,303 unique vistors. For every month of the first quarter, we set month-over-month and all-time records. But March was up 48.4% over last year’s record March, and up 3.8% over February, which was up 6.5% over January, which was up 5.5% over December. It’s too early to say whether April will continue this growth trend.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points were below average by the delayed close of this post (only 352, down about 100 from recent weeks). This was probably because no single comment took off into the over-50 neighborhood, as some have, recently. Most commented post was Thursday’s Small News Items on Army Small Arms with 37.

The runner-up was Wednesday’s poll:  A New Rifle, a Reliability Problem received 31 comments. Not many guessed that the troubled rifle was the M1 Garand, but some of you did. Everything goes  through teething… but when it’s still teething decades later like the G36 or the M60, it’s not teething, is it? When everybody’s forgotten it except historians, as is the case with the M1’s troubles, then it was teething. In other words, only time and experience tells you.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

Going Forward

Stuff we still, still, still owe you… photo essays by OTR.

  1. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  2. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  3. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame
  4. And some new museum stuff he sent us.


Sacred Sunday

Today is a day sacred to the world’s Christians. Easter represents the date of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, three days after His execution by crucifixion.

It is, those of a scientific bent will tell you, something that is literally impossible. But that is, of course, the nature of a religion: the test of faith is not that you believe something logical, observable and therefore obviously possible.

Every religion tasks its votaries, then, with believing the impossible. As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ was dead as a stick of wood, until He wasn’t. Not only that, He still lives. And, moreover, He came offering us that same deal — life, after the end of life.

Not everyone wants to be part of that belief group. Others have their own faiths, and if you examine yours, you may find that it asks you to believe the impossible — and you do.

Perhaps it’s heresy, but we’ve seen enough good people of all faiths and none that we think almost anyone may do God’s work, whether he knows it or not. We may not be in the same army, as it were, but it’s nice to think we’re interoperable with one another. And almost anyone can fall under the sway of the mirror image of the benevolent spirit we are pleased to call God.

We don’t talk about faith much, here. We have a lot to be humble about on that score, and we are diffident about preaching for that and other reasons. But today, we confess we believe something that’s literally impossible.

We are looking forward to some good gun stuff in this week’s blog, some of which is already written.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 11

That was the week that was TW3OK, so we’re two weeks behind on That Was the Week that Was. This one, for Week 11 (19 March), is getting posted first, and then we’ll backfill Week 10 (12 March).

We regret the absences of these, but it’s not without any reason.

This is the most expendable post of the week, as far as our schedule goes, and when the schedule gets compressed, the That Was the Week that Was post is invariably the first one ordered off of the lifeboat.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were unremarkable: 28 posts, and about 22,000 words .  Our average post was a little longer than usual: 789 words long, and the median was 659; higher than, but not remarkably so, last week. No post was below 100 words in length, and only one over 2,000; twelve were below 500 and seven over 1000. Post length ranged from 149 to 3620 words. This is all pretty close to “normal” for

No significant milestones this week, although we broke 300 posts for the year (and 4,500 comments). Thanks to all who read and commented on our work.

We are still on track to set a new number of unique visitors monthly year-over-year record in March. We’ll have to figure out how many back months we’ve been doing that.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points were about average by the delayed close of this post (437). Most commented post was a tie between Monday’s You Didn’t Plan or Rehearse… Now What?  and Tuesday’s 2050 Years Ago Today: Assassination of Caesar, both with 56 comments.

The runner-up was Tuesday’s, also. What Should the Army Do About Pistols received 42 comments.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

Going Forward

Stuff we owe you….

  1. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  2. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  3. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame

All of these are photo features by OTR. And we’ve been sitting on them since Christ was a Corporal. Let’s see if we can get the Redeemer his third stripe this week, eh?