Category Archives: Administrivia

Apologies for Yesterday

There are days when we get a lot done. And there are days when a lot goes up on the blog. They’re not necessarily the same days. Back at it this morning, but things may be slow for a while. The analogue world has requested the pleasure of our company.

Labor Day Weekend Sunday

This weekend, Sunday falls in the interstices between days off, rather than provides a brief Sabbath rest before we have to start paying attention to the countdown to the launch of the work week.

We have a visit to rehabilitation hospital on the schedule today. That will be a daily routine for a while, actually.

We have a to-do list with a hundred-something items on it, titled, in homage to Churchill, Action This Day. Of course, some of “this day’s” action items have a good bit of seniority on this list, damn their eyes.

And, we need to address the problem we had with the range yesterday. Kid wants to fire the Artillery Luger. We want to troubleshoot the same Luger, which hasn’t been cycling reliably all of a sudden. This is where a high-speed camera would come in handy, but we haven’t got one.

We also got some .30-06 and 7.62 NATO ammo for sighting in some rifles. The Black Hills 7.62 Match is probably overkill for the 1960-vintage AR-10, and at $2-plus per round, it was expensive. But it will be interesting to see if it shoots any better than the common stuff.

Of course, that requires us to get the current combination to the range lock. On a Sunday. In a holiday weekend. In a resort area that’s swarming with enough tourists to make driving unpleasant.

Could be worse. It could be raining.

Quick bleg: CLEOs who can’t qual?

A few weeks ago we read a story about a police chief or sheriff in a major metro area who couldn’t or wouldn’t qualify with a firearm, but carried it anyway (“L’etat, c’est moi.”) Then there was another one, this time a female (first one was a guy). So we went looking for the links to do a story and we didn’t find ‘em. We did find a third less-than-straight-shootin’ Sheriff, this guy in the Tampa, FL area (Hillsborough County, maybe?) So we’ve got the links on the FL guy but not the other two.

Can any of you wise folks hook us up?

(We’ve been off having adventures: buying ammo, getting locked out of our range, and having the car up and croak on us, ½ mile from the Manor. While the other two vehicles are in the shop. Shiny).

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. 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):

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.