Category Archives: Administrivia

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 30

That was the week that was TW3Here’s the latest in our occasional (supposed to be regular) weekly wrap-ups, named for the successful British TV show and its non-as-successful American knock-off of the early ’60s, That Was the Week that Was, or TW3 to save time. We really, seriously, are going to get an updated logo for this feature one of these days, when all the other stuff on the to-do list is done.

For anyone new to, first, welcome! We try to post according to a schedule here, but there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip. The refund window keeps somewhat irregular hours, but we try to keep a site going that is worth the expenditure of that resource that is more precious than your money, to wit, your time. Thank you for reading and (for that subset of you who do) for commenting. Some of the best writing and most insightful ideas you’ll see here are in the comments… not entirely sure what to make of that, but there it is.

The Boring Statistics

We obsess about these because, we’re not sure, it’s probably the MBA thing and some unrequited need to monitor everything leading us to focus blindly on those numbers that are easily gotten. This week was a better than average week, we think. We posted 26 posts with some 323 comments by press time for this post (which was actually posted some 12 hours late and backdated), and a total of about 21,000 words.

Since the inception of the blog, we have posted nearly 4,000 posts (that milestone will pass next week) and you have left nearly 22,000 comments (ditto). Doing a back of the envelope calculation based on average post size, we’ve posted about 600,000 words this year, and about 3.2 million since Day 1 on 1 Jan 2012. (We could pull the actual numbers, but we’d probably see a squirrel! before we got them all lassoed).

(Fun fact: when we first templated this section of the post, a typical week might have 22 posts, less than one comment per post average, and about 15,000 words. A typical genre novel runs from 90-150k words, they tell us, so we should be writing those and getting paid instead, eh).

Any way you look at the numbers, that’s a lot of content and discussion, mostly about weapons, warfare, and the various forms of urban mayhem we write about.

Comment of the Week

There are some excellent comments by Tom Kratman and Kirk in .

The Week in Posts

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

  • Sunday Shambles was our Sunday ramble.
  • Do We Need A Bigger Bullet? Jim Schatz says yes, with some puzzling claims about small arms overmatch. Now, we think it would be nice to have overmatch, but we think (1) it’s more than just effective range, (2) if it was we might have it already (we definitely outrange enemy rifles on the ground, as a practical matter, although MGs are a problem), and (3) if one nation makes a breakthrough in small arms technology, the others copy it — witness Picatinny rails showing up on Russian rifles.
  • What passes for brilliance inside the Beltway: Hey, Let’s Release a Traitor!
  • The USA seemed capable of great things once upon a time, in fact, 46 Years Ago Today
  • Self-Defense: Where’s This Guy’s Error? This is a question meant to get you questioning. He got away with it, but it was a risky thing.
  • One Downside of a Much Younger, Latina Wife is… you have a much younger, Latina wife, who just might get bored with you — and have you whacked.
  • When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Firewood. Although it may not be the wood that’s the problem, but the evil that dwelleth therein.
  • We recount A Sad Gunsmith Story — And How to Avoid One
  • What’s the historical, archealogical truth about The Battle of Jericho? Stand by for a shocker: scientists argue about this, and don’t necessarily agree.
  • Here’s a mass murder by a career criminal that you might not have heard about: When guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Excavators.
  • Did she really make One Bad Choice? More like “one bad choice after another.” Fortunately her victim survived. Her friends suffered more. With incompetent people, it’s just better to be their enemy.
  • Ever curious about pinfire and other early-early-early cartridge guns? Check out Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week:
  • Brrrrrt! Legal Full-Auto-Like Firepower. Maybe there’s something to that slide-fire thing after all.
  • Here’s a Lost PLA Based 10/22 – From Data to Print to Cast Aluminum. Note, authorities: we can make stuff, and you can’t stop us.
  • This is really just a tragic accident. When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Bungees
  • We admit, we’re partial to the small ones, so Isn’t She a Beauty? What? No, we mean .25s. Pervert!
  • If you are interested in self-defense, you need to consider The Alternative to “Judged” or “Carried.”
  • Fun fact: when we titled this post Is this a “Red Not” Sight? we actually made a typo for “Dot.” But since it was not a Red Dot sight, we let “Red Not” stand. Ah, sweet Serendip.
  • Guess Who Turned Up in a Pot Raid? Don’t let this shake your faith in deserters and the peacenik parents that raised ’em, m’kay?
  • Philosophical question: if someone kills himself, whether deliberately or whilst participating in extreme sports, is it his business or also society’s? When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Wingsuits
  • Friday <i>Tour d’Horizon</i> Week 30 collects a lot of stories we wanted rid of… but not badly enough to get off our duff and write them.
  • Video and images of Testing Polymer Receivers to Destruction: Factory and Printed
  • New Oath of Allegiance: Bearing Arms Opt-Out. Because it’s not fair to Hyphen-Americans to ask them to be, you know, Americans. 
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will be Accessories to Schmurda. Don’t let this shake your faith in the rap community.
  • We find a time capsule within a time capsule and call it Saturday Matinee 2015 30: Aces High (1976).
  • That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 30 — that’s this post, so a link.

Going Forward

We’re not sure what we’ve got for this week yet, but we bet it’s going to be good.

Sunday Shambles

We could go into detail, but why not just trust us: it’s a shambles here right now.

But we have all day to overcome the shambolic, and we’ll get to you soon.

Slept in Sunday

It is a casual day around here. Plaintiff is off at Church; Kid is still abed; Small Dog is back at nap (those two need a lot of recharging). Your Humble Blogger sits at the keyboard, dressed in exercise clothes as a means of self-admonishment to Do The Right Thing (considering his general health, Church might have been the more profitable option).

stabilator_skinning_3Last night was a late riveting session on the horizontal stabilizer (well, technically, stabilator) of the RV-12 and the result is pleasing to the eye.

Blogbrother left at about 2300 with the right side under side was fully riveted back to the spar, and YHB continued the task on the left side (picture left, it’s upside down; you can see the vertical stab in the background) until the lower nose of the stab was done on both sides, and the first line of spar rivets was in (whole stabilator visible below in our messy shop). Really on a roll, and wanted to do the Whole Freaking Thing, but we have a question about how the skins mate and we may have to apply some benchwork skills (i.e., file them for a noninterference fit). We’re waiting on word from the gurus (or at least, the guys who have done this before) at forums.


It’s hugely satisfying to watch a machine come together from sheets of metal and the sweat of our brotherly brows.

For those following the travails of the women in Ranger School, the Army Times’s Michelle Tan has caught up with and her report is here. As she had a press release from the RTB to work with, she has more details, like the number of men that passed. It does look like the pass rate for the men continues to be lower than average, although it’s still within the normal range.

We have great respect for these women’s grit and enthusiasm. Still, a retired senior special operations officer reminds us of GEN Pete Schoomaker’s aphorism:

Never mistake enthusiasm for capability.

Especially these days, when enthusiasm usually makes a homely, freakish, Jenner-esque “transition” into a feeling of entitlement and a sense of grievance if called on a capability shortfall.

What’s happened in the past, as with the collapse in standards in Jump School to accommodate that generation of female careerists, is a warning, as is what’s happened and continues happening in other services. Consider the Marines’ corporate keelhauling of Lt. Col. Kate Germano, who got nailed to the cross (okay, relieved for cause, but for an officer career it’s an analogous outcome) for the heresy of leading her women to meet and exceed standards expected of male Marines. Two of Germano’s menfolk — husband and father — surfaced in comments here, and both made the point, in different ways, that her character was such that career carried no weight against her integrity. We all want to be leaders like that, and to be led by leaders like that, and it’s a crying shame that some of Germano’s leaders are not leaders like that and can’t tolerate her leading like that.

If there was a service we thought was above this, a service that would put professionalism and character above career, it was the Marines, and now we’re just a bit disillusioned with our friends of the eagle, globe and anchor.

To close, one last aphorism:

Duty is heavier than a mountain, but Death is lighter than a feather.

You don’t have to be Japanese to “get” this ancient Japanese sentiment, but you do have to have a sense of duty. That is one of the things that unites “us,” dear readers.

Have a great Sunday. See you tomorrow (although we may get yesterday’s overdue movie review done — if we can stay out of the workshop).

Sunday Suffering

This is where one is expected to write something clever, but it’s not happening. We still owe you Saturday’s TW3 and we’ll get to it when we get to it, as well as something new for this week… maybe more wisdom from Rheinmetall.

Plaintiff II is blasting loud radio, which is irritating. Weird as it came on with music we normally find enjoyable (Five for Fighting, dunno the song but recognize the voice) but it’s making the office untenable. It’s probably the fear of what comes next — distilled, homogenized corporate pop music.


Still in the office (searching online for a replacement slow cooker part). The station is playing Hendrix back-to-back. Apart from the fact he always made us want to use guitars as kindling due to relative lack of talent, we have always enjoyed this fellow paratrooper’s stuff.

Wow. 1 Million Uniques, 4.8 Million Hits, 1st Half 2015

Thank you, thank you, and dare we say, thank you? In 2015 our readership here has exploded and at the end of June we are over 1 million unique users and 4.8 million hits, year to date. If you want to be pedantic about it, our numbers end of 30 June were 1,019,313 uniques and 4,825,377 hits.

We had been hoping to make 2 million hits this year, so we’re kind of humbled. We crossed the 1,000,000 unique user threshold for 2015 on 27 Jun 2015.

What do those terms mean? In the statistics package we use, this:

  • If you come to this blog, that’s a hit and a unique user.
  • If you visit five or ten different posts or pages, that’s 5 or 10 more hits, but still only one unique user.
  • If you come back later that same day, you’re still the same unique user (based on your IP address), and only the hits increment.
  • Now, if you come back over 24 hours later, even from the same IP address that’s counted as a new unique user and, of course, more hits.

So “unique user” means “unique user in a 24-hour-period” and “hit” means “accessed a page or something like that”. We think that those are industry standard terminology, but we don’t know; we’re not web geeks, we just fake it.

But it sounds like success to us. Even though we know a lot of you visit daily (thank you!), and so some of you personally are 180 of that million “unique users” over the last 180 days. To you, of course, we’re doubly grateful.

This blog has a large and growing reach. We like that. And we know who’s responsible: our fractious, fun-loving, and friendly community of readers and commenters.

Sunday Soaking

Rainsplash Drop from

Rainsplash Drop from Seems appropriate. 

The rain started at about eleven last night as we checked the perimeter and closed a forgotten garage door (to the stall full of airplane parts). Since then, it’s fallen steadily for most of that time, although there have been a couple of embedded downpours. It’s in the fifties (F, of course)  although the forecast hints that we might see 61ºF around noon for a bit.

Yesterday the plan was to spend it at EAA 106’s annual Experimental Fly-In. It used to be the Canard and RV fly in, but now they’ve changed the name, because people thought they were only welcome to fly in and show off canard and RV’s. There were some of each of those present, still (lots of RVs, actually), but there were also others: a Corvair-powered Zenith 601, a Lancair 4P, a GlaStar. A lot of the attendees were building and/or flying something.

We had to leave early, but did get a fascinating rundown on the Lancair 4P, an example of the way that the experimental world builds niche aircraft that the FAA would not allow a manufacturer to sell. The Lancair’s niche is speed. It goes 270 knots in 75% cruise in the lower flight levels; door to door, this ship (based in Lawrence) can beat the misery of an airline cattle call to Florida by hours, by starting from closer to home, landing closer to home, routing around the damage to the body politic that is the TSA’s corps of perverted payroll patriots, and never losing your bag. For the airline to beat you, door-to-door, you’d have to be taking a transcontinental flight where the airline’s faster speed aloft can overcome its slow and inconvenient ground phases (and where the range forces the Lancair to come down to Earth for fuel). Still, it is a time machine, personal teleportation. The price of mastery of that domain? The challenge of operating what an Italian might call a macchina nervosa. The Lancair is slick and sensitive in pitch. Its controls are badly harmonized; twitchy in pitch, it’s trucklike in roll. Its low-speed handling is weak and treacherous; speed is life, and you need to keep the angle of attack indicator in the yellow, or preferably green. Red is literally death. It is safe to fly if you are aware of were the monsters lurk and if you don’t go there. Modern electronics, which include features that are also more advanced that the FAA lets manufactures install in type-certified aircraft, make it possible to fly such a machine as quasi-practical personal transportation. But it’s not a machine you fly for fun; you fly it to go places where fun is waiting for you.

The Blognephew, a unique spirit whose pursuits of enlightenment are often foot wide and ocean deep, has previously been entirely indifferent to aviation. He sat for much of the show, a study in grumpy vexation, absorbed in a Rick Riordan book. Until, that is, he learned he might get a flight in a Real Airplane. In the end, he did. Whether this means he will find something in the physical world as attractive to him as young-adult fantasy novels and the various entertainment offerings of various glowing rectangles remains to be seen, but the horse has been led to the water. (Thanks, Bob Di Meo, you’re a star, and so is your RV-8).

So, today, and this week, while rain slows progress of some home repairs and upgrades, we’ll be messing about with machinery (3D printing, if we’re successful) and catching up on the two posts still owed from yesterday — a movie review (in keeping with the aviation spirit, 2012’s Red Tails) and a TW3.

We also may be undertaking a road trip to the Mothership in Fayetteville this week. That’s still up in the air. It should not impinge overly on blog action.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 26

That was the week that was TW3Another week is at an end, actually a little past its end as we’re posting this about 24 hours late and backdating it.

Hey, we can do that. We have the magical powers of the admin login.

It’s been an interesting week around here, as usual, and we hope to keep it interesting as we go forward.

We’re still not certain on a road trip this week. If so, we’ll see our Fayetteville crowd, eh?

The Boring Statistics

This week was an average week. We posted 27 posts with some 302 comments by press time for this post, and a total of about 15,000 words. Our greatest milestone this week has to be statistically based: we passed one million unique users on the blog. We expect to pass 2,000,000 before year’s end, which is just amazing and humbling. We had expected to be at two million hits by this point, but our hits are over 4.6 million for 2015 — so far. Thank you all for reading!

Comment of the Week

We’re going to recommend the comment thread to one of our training posts (of which we have promised more). In Mind Over Matter, we suggested that if you had to choose one or the other, mindset, Napoleon’s “the moral,” is so vital that we’d choose training over hardware. This was a controversial idea! And both sides were aired in the comments.

The Week in Posts

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

Going Forward

Tomorrow morning, a top tactical trainer tries training a conventional Army unit, and guns are going tango uniform left and right. The reason just might surprise you. (It sure surprised him).

Sunday, Softly

Sunday here is characterized by softly falling rain, which announced itself at 0100 as crashing, pouring rain. Snug in our home, we can consider the benefits to the grounds, but the incoming rainstorm seriously disrupted our weekend plans for etching and priming the next batch of airplane parts. Due to the mild toxicity of the etchant and primer, we do that outdoors, under one of those 10′ x 10′ canopies you can buy at garden stores. We hang the parts from hooks created from sacrificed coat hangers, and have at them with a Graco-Croix CX9 turbine sprayer.

This batch of parts comprised the remaining horizontal stabilizer parts (including the skins) and the internal formers and other small parts for the fuselage tail cone, basically the body of the plane from behind the seats to the tail. We were up against a hard deadline: a storm arriving at midnight, and wet weather for the rest of the week. If we wanted to have parts to rivet, we were going to have to get a-priming. But the prep was extensive and onerous: there were thousands of holes to deburr, for instance. And we didn’t get started until after noontime. The Blogbrother flitted in from time to time and pitched in as your humble servant prepped the parts, including parts separation, deburring and some parts prep.

The project seemed to stretch off to a vanishing point in the far distance, while the storm system loomed ever closer. At about 2000 we still had some hope of spraying by the remaining natural light.

And then, the last inch of masking tape rolled off the center of the roll. We’d learned the lesson — mask the outside rivet holes — on the vertical stabilizer and rudder skins, where we had bad runs of paint through the holes. (We’re only priming the internals at this point. External priming will be done by the paint shop that paints the finished plane). At this hour, it was Walmart or nothing, so off to Walmart — where we ran into several delays, including Plaintiff II and a chatterbox of a lady from Russia who was very hard to end a conversation with, at least, politely. She and her family come from an hour away in Massachusetts to shop (6.25% sales tax difference, you would too). Her son was, in the way of youth everywhere, mortified by his mom’s gabbiness.

Hey, enjoy her while you’ve got her, malchik.  

So it was 2130 and darker than your typical NAACP leader (heh) when we got back to the work in progress, to find the Blogbrother patiently working — he’d showed up with the exact two things we needed, a work light and another roll of blue painters’ tape.

With the tape we’d brought as well, both of us were able to work, as the saying goes, si-mon-taneously, and we were soon ready to spray, which we did. Then he wanted to hang around and wait for the parts to dry… we had stuff to so, so sent him away, and later, pulled the parts into the garage. Sometime today they’ll migrate to the workshop. It looks like they’ll be going through the house, if the rain doesn’t let up. Inspecting the parts today, they’re pretty good. There are a few places where we missed a flange or a hook masked a piece of structure from receiving an even coat — we’ll fix those with a rattle can later (there is no consequence to mixing colors or formulas of aircraft primer, the book says, and since this is internal structure mismatched colors are of no consequence).

We still owe you the TW3 from yesterday, which is waiting on us to finish the Saturday Matinee, which we also owe you. Maybe after we do a bike ride (on the Expresso, not in the steady rain). They’ll be backdated and appear above this post.

Thanks, ever, for reading and for commenting.

That Was the Week That Was: 2015 Week 25

That was the week that was TW3As regular readers know, we have some regular (?) features that appear on a Did we get to it this week? basis. Those include the Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week, the Friday Tour d’Horizon, the Saturday Matinee movie review (which we frequently find ourselves doing on Sunday and backdating), and this weekly wrapup, which takes some work and therefore is the first thing ordered over the side of the lifeboat. We also do (or don’t) an SF or other military phony once a month, on the 15th, as the Assclown of the Ides.

Our regular schedule is four posts a day (except Sundays), but we often fall behind. The plan (normal warnings about plans apply) of an ordinary day is:

Weekday Schedule
0600 Weapons Technical or Cultural post
1100 SF-related or UW post
1400 When Guns are Outlawed (or other Lord Love a Duck) post
1800 Post about Whatever, maybe even off topic

We used to intend Saturdays to be a three-post day with a substantive post in the morning, a Saturday Matinee movie review, and a TW3 (this post). In practice, it’s been three rather typical 0600-1100-1400 posts, plus the review and TW3 — if we get to them. The Review and TW3 are often postponed, which can result in a post delayed a day or two (but backdated to its slot) or that never appears.

The Boring Statistics

We collect these statistics so that you don’t have to! (Well, seriously, we do it for blog maintenance and management anyway). This week saw heavier posting than usual. We posted 27 posts with some 250+ comments by press time for this post, and a total of almost 26,000 words; these numbers are much higher than usual. The mean and median were close to one another at 955 and 929 words, suggesting an unskewed distribution of post length. We are just short of 600 posts and 1,000,000 unique visitors for 2015; we had been hoping for two million hits for 2015, but our hit count is already at about 4.2 million. We’re pleased and humbled by this new level of interest in and support for this blog.

Comment of the Week

Actually, there were several comments in the thread for our report on the ill-documented Polish Campaign German SOF unit, Battailon Ebbinghaus, that advance this story and fill in some of the gaps — although, nothing about the unknown fate of von Hippel after he was captured by Americans in North Africa.

The Week in Posts

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

Going Forward

We actually have nothing at all cued up for this week, yet. But we’re pretty sure there will be something in this space.

Sunday Synchronizing

We’re behind. Again. Still. Whatever. We have a couple of posts meant to be yesterday’s to backdate, a couple of posts intended to be tomorrow’s and this week’s to research, and, well, it’s a beautiful day and there’s analog stuff to do, including day-job stuff, family stuff and non-blog writing.

So we’ll see ya when we see ya. We’ll try to get yesterday’s Matinee and TW3 up by midnight tonight but no promises.