Category Archives: Administrivia

Sunday Simplicity

Some Sundays there’s a lot going on around here.

This is not one of those days.

Sure, we’re replacing a desk with another, which requires dismantling the whole office. But that can’t be a big deal, can it?

There are benefits to having to replace a desk. Cleaning the old desk yields a bunch of missing books and papers and stuff, like one’s flight logbook and the Withings Pulse that hasn’t tracked one’s activity for about three months.

And then, there’s the blood that the parts of this desk have already drawn in their retrograde from storage to the Manor, and the annoying fact that the manufacturer — Canadian firm Vectra — was bought by American giant Steelcase, who then deep-sixed all of Vectra’s assembly instructions. Could we call Steelcase? Good luck with that, they have a website designed to keep the mere customer away from answers to their questions. Their recommendation? “Call your dealer.”

This desk was made in 1998 and bought in another state — from an office supply store that’s since gone tango uniform.

Tell us again why we ever bought premium office furniture from a specialty dealer, when we’d get equivalent support off an internet discounter? Most of the answers we come up with suggest a cognitive deficiency on our end.

Sickly Sunday

This has been one of those weeks. Eyes hurt, nose hurts, strange fluids come out, brain is sluggish.

No, haven’t been near West Africa, thanks for asking.

We owe one post from last week (the weekly wrapup, That Was the Week that Was), and need to resume the series on Collecting US WWII arms, and continue our research on early SMGs. We also pulled another vintage 1983 or so gun mag out of the gun room for a The Past is Another Country feature. And we watched a lot of Aspen Institute foreign policy wonks chinwag over Iraq and ISIL and the pinprick, symbolic (shambolic) airstrikes. We hope to have some hard truth on that circa 1100 Monday, after a gun story first thing (new 9mm AR carbine, and some thoughts on where 9mm long guns fit, and don’t).

Immersed in Research

Which is good, which is edifying, but which is not getting meaningful posts up on the blog. For which we express regret.

Research subjects include:

  • The Complete and Extended US WWII collections. In this case the problem is more one of researching prices and the miserable slog of making readable html tables in WordPress.
  • What really was the first submachine gun? We’ll have you know, our tentative conclusion is that in the absence of primary source information from Germany and Italy, we can’t make a conclusion. The secondary sources all reached conclusions, but reached such a disparity of conclusions that we cannot rely upon their scholarship. And in any case, they do not cite their sources, and most of these great old gun scholars like Hobart and Smith are no longer with us. We suppose the good news is that no contenders except the Beretta M1918 and the Bergmann (Schmeisser) MP.18-I have emerged. (We were surprised to find a spirited defense of the idea of the Villar Perosa as submachine gun in Smith and Smith).
  • Gun Finishes & Rust. We’ve been wanting to discuss this for a while, and were reminded of it when surface rust appeared on three guns during the monthly 100% serial-number inventory, a pain in the ass that’s part of the…
  • Physical Security Plan which is overdue for an installment on planning and an installment on safes and storage (and perhaps, dehumidification, which might belong in the rust story instead).

And that sort of thing has taken up a lot of time, dealing with ATF paperwork (one Form 4 submitted in March, they told us Friday, things are going so swimmingly it may be approved in January. After some discussion, they even said January, 2015), establishing a new inventory regime, installing new storage containers, updating alarms and surveillance systems.

It puts the crimp in maintaining marksmanship skills.

Weaponsman.com Statistics for July 2014

For the sheer OCD of it:

July Month-End Statistics:

Hit Count using Rich Counter
Hits in July 85,701
Year to date 634,239
Year end projections: 1,028,412-1,087,267
Comments in July: 734
Year to date: 4569
Year-end Projection: about 9000

The year-end forecast is a simple multiplication of the last month *12 (that’s the low end number), or a simple projection of the same average rate of hits recorded over the entire year to date (that’s the higher number).

Top Referrers (excluding search engines):

http://thegunwire.com/
http://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/
http://www.theospark.net/
http://www.calguns.net/

A little surprised not to see The Gun Feed on the list, it’s usually there too. Also, we had a few hits from the Google engines in various countries including Canada, Germany, France… and India. Hey, if you want to talk weapons, don’t be shy, speak up!

Weird Keywords

We had a few of these, this month, including many on ebola (no idea why our blog is coming up in ebola searches; we worked biodefense, on the civilian side, for some years and maybe wrote about some of that).

Bottom line on ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers (Marburg, Lassa, etc.): they are so deadly that outbreaks so far have been self-attenuating. What we know about natural selection suggests the virus may evolve towards less mortality (or at least, less rapid mortality) and that’s great if you’re a virus, but paradoxically, a less-immediately-deadly ebola would be worse for humanity. Viruses, being comparatively simple, have the potential to evolve more rapidly than higher organisms. As a fatal disease with no effective treatment, ebola research takes place in Biological Safety Level-4 facilities. (How secure is that? Well, like cancer stages, there is no “5.” We’re talking negative pressure, self-contained facilities and researchers wearing moon suits and isolated from the air).

Statistics FAQ

Why do you do this?

Because we can. 

But we’re not interested!

Why did you read this far, then? You’re overdue to scroll down to the next gun story.

Rich Counter blows goats, you should use _____________ (fill in the blank).

Hey, we needed stats, we picked something. It wasn’t worth a thorough analysis to maximize the benefit. Instead, we did what an economist calls “satisficing.” Show us a better plug-in, we might plug it in. (Actually, if you’re dispensing WordPress plug-ins, one that would do tables or even accept them pasted from Word or something would be The Heat™. Writing tables in html is something we’re ready to outsource to one of Obama’s braceros one of these days, if we can’t automate it. But every table plug-in we’ve looked at has been a stinker. Got a non-bozo one? That is, if you’re the Santa Claus of Plug-in Wisdom or something).

Seaside Sunday

So, there we are, lounging by the sea. If you’re not envious, you have no idea what you’re missing. The only bad part of this is that it is in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.

Here’s hoping all of you have a great Sunday.

Off Buying Guns

Sorry for limited gun content the last couple of days, been finalizing a deal to buy a small US WWII collection, all original stuff except, alas, for the M1 SMG, which is a recent Kahr-produced Short Barreled Rifle.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit we never owned a 1903A3 before. It was actually still part of SF Light Weapons training back when your humble editor stumbled through that evolution.

As far as the Kahr is concerned, we’ll see if it’s any good when the Form 4 clears, sometime around when the Sun goes nova at the rate ATF has been doin’ ‘em. It’s a small fraction of the cost of buying one (and a small multiple of the cost of the one we’ve rented in Manchester from time to time). If we don’t like it, we’ll GunBroker it off.

We’re working on something others have worked on before us: trying to pin down what was the first submachine gun. The candidates are the Villar Perosa, which we discount on not being a shoulder-fired individual weapon; its individual-weapon offspring the OVP and Beretta M1918; and our original candidate for the honors, the German Bergmann MP.18. We only know the name of the designer of the Bergmann (Hugo Schmeisser). As is usual on any real quality post, it takes time to research these things, and not enough of the primary sources are digitized and online.

Sunday Scouring, Scrubbing, Scrapping, and Simplifying

Yep, it’s That Time at stately Hog Manor, where the pile of unread mail (and undeposited checks, and maybe an unpaid tree-service bill they’ve been kind enough not to call about) gets dealt with, the chaos in a closet or three gets wrought into order,

Then, there’s the grounds, in just the state of Midsummer Overgrown that requires attention of the lord and master of this place, unless he wants to hire more lawn minions, which seems inadvisable. (We’d have to pay their health insurance and social security, right?)

Free advice: fountains are beautiful. Leave them in public places where others can maintain them. In one’s garden, they are a pain in the glutei.

On the plus side, they do draw hummingbirds, so there is that. If we don’t accomplish all objectives today, we were probably watching a hummingbird. Or the wild turkeys. Or just playing with the dog. Or talking to a cattery.

Or we fell down the stairs into the gunsmithing side of the basement.

That is to say, expect little from the blog today. Maybe a bit of comment replying and maybe not. We have queued up a few Interesting posts — revolving rifles, the first nuclear cruise missile, and we want to do one on early SMGs. Plus, we have a hairy eye on developments worldwide, some of which affect us directly.

But today, your humble blogger is getting dirty in the service of making his abode less so. And goofing off, the rest of the time. May you also be enjoying a good weekend with simple and quantifiable tasks.

Oh, and since it is the Lord’s Day, pray for the soul of Vladimir Vladimirovich — that whoever has got it returns it to him. He clearly hasn’t consulted it in a while.

That Was the Week That Was: 2014 Week 29

That was the week that was TW3Good heavens, a timely TW3. What will we think of next? As usual, the links may not be live when the post goes live, and until they are, you’ll have to scroll back to see the posts — the usual is four posts a day except Sunday. We hope that the links will be live by Sunday midnight, if not sooner. We conduct these weekly post-mortems, time permitting, to keep track of our own performance on the blog, but we hope they’re useful to you. Especially, take a look at the list of articles — you may have missed something that interests you. All past TW3s can be found in the Administrivia category. Enjoy!

The Boring Statistics

With the year well over half over, we have posted about 750 posts, and we’ve been fairly consistent. This week was slightly heavier than usual, thanks to the Ukraine shootdown. Our article count was 29, at the high end of “normal.” Last  week’s was 25.  Word count was about 20,000 words, up from 17,000. Seven to nine posts (we haven’t got the word counts on this and the Matinee yet) were over 1,000 words, but none of them over 2,000. The mean and median post sizes were 669 and 653, compared to last week’s 740 and 585. Having those two measures of central tendency converge suggests a fairly strong consistency in post sizes. There was only one sub-100-word post, and 10 total sub-500-word posts. We exceeded our self-imposed minimum of 19 posts by 10. So far this year we’ve had roughly a half-million hits, 750 blog posts, and over 4,200 comments.   Comments were 172 as of press time; as of this time last week we’d noted 130 on last week’s posts, so this was a more conversational week with you guys. On the other hand, the long tail of comments has brought last week’s total up over 150 by now. Thanks for commenting!

Most Commented Post of the Week

Our most commented post was, by a mile, Breaking: Civil Airliner Downed by Russian Missile, with 29 comments and On this Day in 1962: Infantry Nuke Test tied with Three Reasons Not to Use the Blackhawk Serpa Holster with 129 each. Together, these are nearly 40% of the week’s comments.

Referrers

I’d like to thank our top referrers, at least according to the meatball statistics our plug-in gives us. Apart from the big search engines (we got a lot of hits on Crazy Lady Shannon Richardson this week) we’re grateful to Western Rifle Shooters, Ace of Spades, James Wesley, Rawles’s Survival Blog, and the aggregators The Gun Wire and The Gun Feed. We thank them all for linking us and sending their much larger readerships our way. All of them sent us 1,000 or more readers, and Western Rifle Shooters actually edged Google out. And we’re only Western compared to Europe around here. (Well, technically, there are some islands a few miles east of here. That’s it till Ireland, though).

These are all informative and entertaining sites, and very different in their subject matter, so please repay them with a visit and you will probably find one or more of them indispensable to you.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s content. We enjoyed bringing it to you!

Here’s how we did on last week’s promises:

The overdue and the underdelivered:

  1. X A major post on Gerald Bull’s awesome space-capable artillery that seems to have entrenched itself on the back burner.
  2.  To post 3 x day x 6 days. Exceeded.
  3. One gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF/UW post per day x 6 days. Depending on how one classifies posts, we did this.
  4.  To post a   X WWWW, a √ TW3, and a √ Saturday Matinee, before COB Saturday. Everything but the Matinee.
  5. One back Saturday Matinee. No, sorry ’bout that.
  6. Our never-finished series on the Greek Civil Wars.

This is pretty much going to be a standing set of promises until we have a reason to improve them.

For Next Week

Our goals are unchanged:

  1. to catch up the long-festering back posts mentioned above, now back up to just two features (Gerald Bull, and the Greek Insurgencies). We also have some other stuff that has sat way too long in the draft queue.
  2. to post three times a day, six days a week, of which:
  3. one gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF, UW, or war-related post up daily.
  4. a WWWW, on Wednesday.
  5. a Saturday Matinee, and a TW3 before the week ends at midnight Saturday.

The draft queue is 258, down from last week’s record level. See you with a TW3 on Saturday, if all goes well!

That Was the Week that Was: 2014 Week 28

That was the week that was TW3This is a backdated TW3, and the first we’ve done in weeks, so expect brevity.

The key feature of the post, the links to this week’s stories, will be all there.

The links will not be live when the post goes live, we apologize for that. For the time being, you’ll have to scroll back to see the posts — the usual is four posts a day except Sunday. We hope that the links will be live by Sunday midnight. Enjoy!

The Boring Statistics

Our article count was 25, a fairly common amount (and more than last week’s 22), Word count was about 17,000 words. Five posts were over 1,000 words, two of them over 2,000.

The mean and median post sizes were 740 and 585 respectively, reflective of a lack of very short posts and an overall tendency to longer ones. There was only one sub-100-word post, and 10 total sub-500-word posts. We exceeded our desired objective of 19 posts by 6. So far this year we’ve had almost a half-million hits, over 700 blog posts, and over 4,000 comments.  

Comments were 130 as of press time.

Thanks for commenting!

Most Commented Post of the Week

Our most commented post was, Never Transit a NY-area Airport. Ever., with 14 comments and She looks like a naughty girl, doesn’t she? close behind with 12. Together, these are about 20% of the week’s comments.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s content. We enjoyed bringing it to you!

Here’s how we did on last week’s promises:

The overdue and the underdelivered:

  1. X A major post on Gerald Bull’s awesome space-capable artillery that seems to have entrenched itself on the back burner.
  2.  To post 3 x day x 6 days. Exceeded.
  3. One gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF/UW post per day x 6 days. Depending on how one classifies posts, we did this.
  4.  To post a   X WWWW, a √ TW3, and a √ Saturday Matinee, before COB Saturday. Well, the TW3 (this post) and the Matinee were late.
  5. One back Saturday Matinee. No, sorry ’bout that.
  6. Our never-finished series on the Greek Civil Wars.

This is pretty much going to be a standing set of promises until we have a reason to improve them.

For Next Week

Our goals are unchanged:

  1. to catch up the long-festering back posts mentioned above, now back up to just two features (Gerald Bull, and the Greek Insurgencies). We also have some other stuff that has sat way to long in the draft queue (there are 219 posts there right now, net plus 10 since last week).
  2. to post three times a day, six days a week, of which:
  3. one gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF, UW, or war-related post up daily.
  4. a WWWW, on Wednesday.
  5. a Saturday Matinee, and a TW3 before the week ends at midnight Saturday.

The draft queue is 262, a record level; a lot of them are probably worth only deleting.

See you with a TW3 on Saturday, if all goes well!

Sunday after a Mental Health Day

That was the old joke when a family member was a school teacher: any day off taken without good reason or even a flimsy excuse was, ipso facto, a “mental health day.”

That was, pretty much, yesterday. We posted once, and it actually went up very late in the day even though it’s time stamped 0600. We may catch up today — and we may not. Them’s the breaks.

This week: we look at an agency with Pistol OCD, we reverse-engineer a polymer bicycle part just to show you that it can be done, and some of the ways to do it. The applicability to gunsmithing should be obvious.