Category Archives: Administrivia

Sunday Silence

A moment of silence, please, for the Blogmother, who slipped the surly bonds of earth a year ago yesterday. We placed some small flowering plants upon her stone yesterday, and took a picture for more distant relatives. (It was a bit hectic, as none of our usual nurseries are open yet, the spring has come so soon this year).

She would be greatly amused by the fact that she was cremated, and her cremains then buried. She would have some witty way of expressing it, too. She was the source, we think, of our delight in books, reading and the pursuit of knowledge. For her, learning was never a means to an end, but an end in itself, an inexhaustible wellspring of amusement and delight. We took her to buy books a week or two before her death; she was so ill and so weak that it was hard for her to hold up a book, at the end, but that didn’t stop her from buying a number of carefully selected library discards.

There is a school, a school she attended, that will now bear her name for a very long time, long enough that it will just be a name to the kids; they’ll never think that it is the name of a person who was young, and full of dreams, and rushing to classes with her friends, and making connections that would change a life. Just like they are, but they’ll never know that.

It’ll be our little secret.

Later today, expect the overdue Saturday posts from yesterday… but we may spend some blogging time curled up with a book instead. Playing hooky from life’s responsibilities, as we follow an author’s creations into their world, deep in our own imagination.

You see, it runs in the family.

Southlands Sunday

Here we are at Hogney World, not far from the Kennedys’ fabled Southern White House but much safer for the womenfolk, and the temptations of sunshine and swimming and old SF buddies who retired nearby are strong, but still we do the blog.

We think cognitive scientists call that, “perseveration.”

English is an interesting language. We believe it has more words than any other current language, thanks to its eclectic borrowing from all other languages, in part, but also thanks to powerful connotations that make the difference between persevere and perseverate signficant. It is, through fortunate happenstance, our native language, but we’re glad not to be constrained in the narrower outlines of some other spoken tongue, like French (where a committee tries to enforce purity, like a cabal of old Afrikaners inspecting you for mixed-race ancestry or something) or modern Hebrew or Norwegian (where the language is narrow enough and the population small enough that they use English textbooks in some technical graduate schools).

Darn good luck, that the baby talk gooed at us all those decades ago just happened to be the dominant language of business, transportation, and engineering. Makes us appreciate all the more the efforts of those for whom it is an adopted language.

Heh, and we were going to talk about our expedition to the habitat of Florida Man this week. We wound up musing about English. What happened? Well, one never knows where one of these is going to go.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 09

That was the week that was TW3This makes two straight weeks where we gave you a Saturday Matinee and a That Was the Week that Was.

Tokens of gratitude, showers of rose petals, cases of beer, your chieftains’ nubile young daughters, and conexes full of ammunition gratefully accepted. (OK, the TW3 was half a day late getting posted).

Or, you guys can just keep reading and, for those so inclined, commenting. And that just might be enough for us.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were ordinary: 28 posts, and about 20,000 words .  Our average post was 739 words long, and the median was 632; almost the same as last week. No post was below 100 words in length, and only two over 2,000; ten were below 500 and seven over 1000 . Post length ranged from 140 to 2371 words.

No known milestones this week.

We did break January’s all-time unique visitors record in February, and if this month’s trend so far doesn’t reverse itself, we’ll set a new record in March.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points remained below average at 390 by the close of this post. (Last week’s disappointing 371 crept up to 407 by now). Most commented post was a tie between Tuesday’s Vision, Perception, Combat, and Court, and Wednesday’s When it’s More than Just a Bookboth with 38 comments.

A close runner-up was Friday’s SF Medics, Combat Medics, Combat Lifesavers with 35.

Needless to say, we appreciate every reader and every comment, and sometimes we learn as much or more from the comments as we do preparing the posts.

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. Meanwhile, he’s sent us another training review, which will be up on the site at 1800 Eastern, Monday.

Sunday Sprayin’ and Prayin’

The Prayin’ bit, of a Sunday, should be self-explanatory. The Sprayin’, though, does not refer to anything we might do with the fine firearms that are begging for release from their wintertime incarceration. Nope, it’s literally sprayin’, in terms of EkoPrime primer for the wing skins of the RV-12, assuming (that word!) that the forecast warm weather does appear.

If not, we break down the El Cheapo Paint Booth in garage stall #3, and wait for better weather. But with one spar assembly just about together (and we only had to take part of it apart and start over once!) the time to skin the wings and move on to the flaperons (which look like they’ll go together hell for quick) is right upon us.

wrong_brothers_wing_progress

Yes, we can take it out of the basement workshop. We checked. (We actually built a mock-up to the wing dimensions out of wooden furring and carried it out into the sunlight, just to be sure).

The funny look of the wing ribs is the thin primer we’re using, Stewart Eko-Prime white. We’re not sweating the aesthetics, we just want to cover the bare parts’ AlClad surfaces for corrosion prevention. (We’re only priming internals, and you’d need Superman’s x-ray vision to see them once we skin the wings). The spar itself comes pre-assembled from anodized aluminum plate, and so it doesn’t need prime for corrosion protection. The wing rib nearest to you will be snugged up against the fuselage of the airplane, and the part of the spar jutting out slides into an aperture in the fuselage that receives it. The left and right spars overlap inside the aircraft fuselage and pins join them both to one another and the fuselage; the wings can be removed by two reasonably coordinated people for storage or transportation.

If we’re all pretty stupid in the comments tomorrow, it’s probably fumes from the paint!

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 08

That was the week that was TW3We’ve been remiss in posting weekend wrap-ups lately; this is the first time in some time that we’ve posted either a Saturday Matinee or a That Was the Week that Was aka TW3.

We could issue any of a number of flimsy excuses for that, but probably not a really good reason, and if we did have a reason, would you want to hear it?

We’re not going to wait for an answer for that… we’ll just move on.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics are a bit higher than usual: 29 posts, and about 23,000 words .  Our average post was 793 words long, and the median was 643; so the mean doesn’t result from a small number of inordinately large or small posts, and indeed, none was below 100 words and only one over 2,000; nine each were beow 500 and over . Post length ranged from 251 to 2291 words.

We didn’t hit any milestones of significance this week.

We’re very happy with the level of hits we’re seeing; despite February being a short month, we’ll either break last month’s all-time unique visitors record or come very close, and we’ve already broken our all-time February record.

Comments This Week

Comments were below average at 371 by the close of this post, as most weeks are breaking 470. Most commented post was Tuesday’s, Book Review: <i>Unintended Consequences</i> by John Ross (1996), with 54 comments, as there are a lot of John Ross fans out there — including, as it turns out, John Ross.

Runner-up was Monday’s Washington, The General with 35. It never ceases to surprise us, which posts draw a lot of hits and comment, and which do not.

One key to getting hits and comments, of course, is the many bloggers that link to and excerpt our work — we are grateful to them, each and every one.

The Week in Posts

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

  • We report a bird sighting, and show a very substandard picture, on Snowy Owl Sunday
  • We report on a weapon most people have never heard of: The American Cal. .60 Anti-Tank Rifle, T1 & T1E1
  • It shouldn’t surprise us that Incompetence Taints Everything, Even Corruption, in Afghanistan
  • A tragic accident cuts a life short, without any firearms involvement whatsoever: When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Snowmobiles
  • Washington, The General is often forgotten; the anniversary of his birth seemed like a good time to remember his military prowess. 
  • We offer a chart Visualizing World Arms Exports: 1926-1936
  • Pedophilia is an Army Value. If that doesn’t creep you out, it should. 
  • We promised more book reviews, here’s one: Book Review: <i>Unintended Consequences</i> by John Ross (1996)
  • Poly-Ticks: Running on Guns sounded good to this New Hampshire candidate. 
  • We offer a little More on the Federov Automatic, and Max Popenker chimes in in the comments with some rare photographs of rarer Federov-Degtyaryev light machine guns. 
  • Here’s video of what looks like a PR exercise: Littoral Combat Ship Live-Fire Defense Test.
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Meteorites. Anything can kill a person, even rocks from space.
  • We keep Reg Manning’s work, and the sacrifice of the heroes of the Regiment alive, in This Week’s Special Forces Casualties in SEA: 21 – 29 Feb.
  • This is a great site, with promise to be even greater going forward. Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Russo-German Archives.
  • Another American Anti-Tank Rifle — Wait, <i>Two</i> of Them! We think that these two posts might be the most information anyone’s ever had in one place on American experimental AT rifles. That’s not a boast, it’s actually kind of sad. 
  • Rock Island has a great auction and it’s still running through Sunday. Auction: It’s <i>On!</i>
  • Mess Up and Move Up: VA Plays Musical Bad Execs, surprising nobody. 
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have a Panoply of Edged Weapons and rob and rob, and rob, with them. It must be the edged weapons, it can’t be the criminal!
  • A few grim facts about Execution by Hanging, the primary way the UK did it for centuries up till they gave up and began to yield the streets to crime in the 1960s.
  • Not unknown, but not often seen: A Rare G.43 Variant. Was it combat tested outside Leningrad in 1942-43?  The jury’s still out. 
  • Not the Face, <i>Not</i> the Face! Jeezly dog. 
  • This is one of the most heartbreaking ones of these we’ve ever written: When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Exhaust
  • Hognose’s Laws needed to be collected in one single place. This should be a Page, too. 
  • We throw a bunch of junk in the trunk of the week: Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 08
  • CZ System, High Style, Made in… Israel? That’s the Jericho. 
  • The stories of A Handful of Hostages.
  • He was just minding his own business until the lioness made him her business. When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Big Cats.
  • We resuscitate a some-love-it-some-hate-it dormant feature: Saturday Matinee 2016 08: Firing Squad (TV, Canadian, 1990)
  • And we’ve circled back here. That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 08

Going Forward

Stuff we owe you….

  1. The second half of the cache story
  2. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  3. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  4. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame
  5. … we’ll think of it, we know there’s more.

Snowy Owl Sunday

As you know if you read At the Fudd Range, Thinking About Safety on Friday morning, we’re at the Fudd River Fish & Game Club for Phase II of the Interminable Range Orientation this morning. But through the magic of scheduled posts, we can be here entertaining you (in the warm expectations your comments will entertain us in turn).

We are having a burst of unseasonable warmth; it hit almost 60ºF yesterday, so the BikeE came out of the garage — tires still at 100 psi from the last warm snap — and off we went. Muscles unused to the recumbent complained at first, but the weather, scenery, and people we met (a recumbent bike is nearly as good a conversation starter as a dog) all made it delightful. Of course, we had to stop and hobnob with all the dog walkers, even though Small Dog was back at home, pining for his humans who were everywhere but giving him the lap he needed. We met a rescued Greyhound and his human, and a solid, stolid black Lab and her family, and a whole bunch of other people.

People wonder: why live there, when you could live anywhere, and the winters can be depression-inducing? This, dear readers and friends, is why:

outside_the_breakwater

True, there are days the sight is best enjoyed from atop the climate-controlled seats of the Plush Car, but yesterday was not one of those days. Even at low tide (this is low-ish, maybe not absolute low) it’s a pleasing sight. The Atlantic has a thousand moods; this is the inviting, I-am-here-to-feed-Man mood. Off to the right of this picture, there are some small, bleak, rocky islets, and the next landfall after that is, depending on azimuth, Iceland, Ireland, England, or the Azores. On other days, the Ocean is in the I-am-here-to-feed-on-Man mood.

Heh, too much oceanic thinking. Maybe it was the seafood plate from Friday night. Frozen seafood is okay, but seafood that you know was landed in this harbor today — that’s the best.

After taking this picture, we saddled back up on the bike and came across a knot of excited men and women with huge cameras — like the cameras the pro photographers had in the airshow press briefings, 200, 300, 400 mm lenses. (The airshow guys lean Canon, and this group Nikon. Color of the lens is the giveaway). They had to be birdwatchers. They were!

They explained that they had their eyes on an uncommon Snowy Owl, and the bird had been right here mere minutes ago. One of them talked us onto the bird by terrain association — it was a good 2000m away, a white speck, perching regally on a railing behind a seafood restaurant. Well, we were going that way anyway, and when we ran into a knot of cameras, we’d probably find the bird.

Sure enough, we did, although this group was mostly looky-lous with point-and-shoot and phone cameras; the long-lens team knew they could not get a good shot from this road, shooting west into the setting afternoon sun. But the looky-lous were trying, and so we did, too:

birders_with_snowy_owl

We’ll talk you on to the bird now. Of course, his (?) white privilege is not showing, as he’s backlighted by the aforementioned yellow star. But you can certainly spot him in this picture; begin from the telephone pole.

Go right: there is a chimney.

Go right again: there is a small antenna, probably a TV antenna.

Go right to the very peak of the garage roof. There is our Snowy friend. Let’s zoom in:

snowy_owl

Ah, the “antenna” was a weathervane.

The temps will drop again, and Snowy the Owl will probably have real snow to be concealed against soon enough. But it’s quite a thrill to share the zip code with one of these interesting birds that roost in the Arctic and only come down here to feed.

Most of the birdwatchers were not from around here; they were from all over New England, motivated by a Rare Bird Alert on the Audubon website. The birdwatchers we saw were all class acts: remaining on the public right-of-way, respecting private property, and not approaching the bird, in short, all the things the Audubon Society asks people to do. They say that “seeing a Snowy Owl is a rare privilege,” and although, as the pictures show, we didn’t see it all that well, we do feel rarely privileged.

Sunday Shivering

Things that make us shiver today? We can think of at least four of them!

ITEM: Let’s do some credit-card math!

All that money spent on the envelope of the Manor — roof, windows, paint & siding. (This might go another zero, but we’re fearful of adding up the bills). $X0,000
Having Friendly HVAC Guy inspect and repair the zone valve that was keeping the exercise/music room near ambient temperature $Y00
A blast of sub-0ºF weather, courtesy of New Hamster $n/c
Waking up to find the rest of the Manor toasty, but the ground floor cold. You know, where the kitchen, the office, the library, the Book Reading Chair, all that jazz is. Priceless!

We don’t know diddly about the HVAC world, but suspect a zone valve, based only on that’s what it was when the heat in the music room (which is also the exercise room) borked. And obviously all the remaining zone valves are the same age as the one that expired. (As is, sadly, the whole heating plant).

Naturally, this would happen overnight Saturday to Sunday, when it will cost extra to get Friendly HVAC Guy back. So we will apply our troubleshooting skills, honed on ’63 Lincolns and old Mustangs and Corvettes, not to mention vintage and bubba’d firearms and misshapen airplane parts, by staring at the heat unit as if it could tell us anything. And then suck it up and call HVAC Guy.

Or we could just go to the music room and start putting the guitars back in tune. Wood doesn’t like, what shall we call it, “climate change”? Or, alternately, it is a cunning material that gets back at humanity for cutting its natal tree down.

Worth mentioning, especially to parents of sons — HVAC Guy is in his early 20s, making a ‘decent income’, he says, and saving to leave the oil delivery firm’s service shop and hang out his own shingle, where he can really make bank. He went to a technical school in Portland, Maine, which he praised to the heavens; he didn’t think he was college material, but too many of the kids who “were,” are now couch surfing or back in Mom’s house. He enjoys troubleshooting and variety in his work, and was very polite in his interactions with everybody; the oil guys will regret it when he moves on. A mature young man, as was once the expectation for a man in his twenties, compared to the superannuated teens that so many of them are today.

Now where were we? Oh, yes. Shivering.

ITEM: How Cold is It?

The world biathlon championships were just held up the road a ways in Maine. (OK, way up the road, in remote Presque Isle. That guarantees there’s snow… even if they held the championships in May. It was a major transit air base in WWII and has a huge, deserted airport with gigantic ghostly hangars that are used by Weyerhauser or someone like that to store lumber).

Biathlon is a sport, hugely popular in Europe, combining cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship. In other words, it’s a winter sport, one you can really only do in the cold.

And how cold is it? It’s so cold that the biathletes, many of whom hail from places like Bødo, Norway, and Oulu, Finland, where there’s nine months of winter and three months of bad skiing, are complaining. That’s how cold.

Item: We like guns. We like this rangeBut…

We tolerate romance (to a point). We welcome commercialization, too, but… this is just wrong. Wrong as Bubba’s tactical cut-down, camo-rattlecanned Holland & Holland.

valentines_day

 

 

 

 

But even that isn’t the biggest shiver producer. Not by a long chalk; look what’s next!

Item: Justice Scalia passed away

Gently, in his sleep; at 79 years old, after a day spent hunting with friends. A stately passing for a stately man, one that at least doesn’t compound the heartbreak of his family and friends.

Our nightmare is this:

  1. The President appoints Himself.
  2. Chinless (gutless, nutless) Mitch confirms him.
  3. Say goodbye, 2A. Not to mention the other Amendments, and the original three Articles and the fundamental doctrine of Separation of Powers. Hello, absolutism.
  4. Having created that monster, we put it into the stone hands of the two most terrifying words in the English language, President Biden.
  5. This lets another politician withdraw from contending the election to assist the FBI with their enquiries.
  6. The R’s nominate a Presidential candidate who carries two counties in Idaho
  7. Insert your own nightmare. In the fulness of Time, they all come true

It’s enough to make a person shiver. (Come to think of it, so’s the fact we didn’t get our Saturday posts all up).

Now, where’s the number for that HVAC guy?

Pas de Tour d’Horizon aujourd’hui

Which is, “no Tour d’horizon tonight,” in what’s probably execrable Franglais.

The life-blog balance tilted towards life today, and we’re just too far behind to finish it. Tomorrow is another day; look for a morning post around 0800 Eastern.

It may even be there!

Subterranean Sunday

Later today, we expect life to take a troglodytic turn. No, we’re not returning to our universal or bears Neanderthal forbears (damnable dictation software! and double-damned careless editing -Ed.). We’re simply going to be busy in the workshop, which is in the basement.

Tasks for today:

  • Test the Ghost Gunner (now that it’s talking to our computer — a Windows 10 installation, in Parallels virtualization software, running on a current Retina iMac). We don’t have the right 80% lowers for the default setups, unfortunately.
  • Finish assembling another Craftsman toolbox and bring order to the tool chaos that now reigns unchecked in the shop. Well, bring some order; we don’t think absolute order is in the offing.
  • Start assembling the rear spars for the RV-12’s wings. All the rib work and bracketry is done, and everything’s primed, most of it with Stewart Systems Eko-Clean -Etch and -Prime, but some parts (including the rear and stub spars) with self-etching rattle can. It was too cold to do the Stewart stuff in our garage. (ETA: in our five-minute spray booth we set up and break down in the garage. And naturally, no sooner had we stunk up the shop with the rattle cans, probably killing as many brain cells as a week-long bender, than the weather broke unseasonably warm here. Feh).
  • There’s definitely something else we’re forgetting. Don’t you hate that feeling?

Assembling the Craftsman tool box, for us, isn’t simply a matter of following the instructions. We’ll also have to go around and debur all the corners and edges that the manufacturer didn’t take care of. And we’re going to have to cut and install our own drawer liners. We could avoid all that, and get a higher quality box of thicker gauge steel, just by going with a pro box like Snap-on or Mac. But those are so much more expensive that we can get a decent box by giving the Craftsman a little bit of extra attention, and putting some sweat equity into it (well, until the edges are deburred, blood equity), and be left with more money for higher priorities. Remember the post on satisficing, not maximizing? It works for this too.

Doing the rattle-can priming in the basement workshop was a profoundly bad idea, one that became clear when a half hour of monkeying with the GhostGunner produced a piercing headache. With the new windows, Hog Manor kind of sucks at air circulation, unless they’re open.

And naturally, the rattle-can session was followed by days of forty-ish weather — we could have done the spraying outside or built the Five Minute Spray Booth in one of the garage stalls.

Yes, the movie review and TW3 are not done yet from yesterday (and there was never a Friday Tour d’Horizon, either. Your refunds are in the mail). Should be up today. The movie? John Wick, 2014.

One interesting note: today is the last day of January, and we think we may have set an all-time readership record this month. Not by a huge amount, but we think we see slow and steady progress. We value every one of our readers, and especially one of the best and best-informed sets of commenters in the gunosphere.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 04

That was the week that was TW3So far, at least as far as the blog goes, we are loving 2016. We’re dictating this post into a new computer, because our arms are full of sleeping Small Dog. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Of course, it may not be that good for Small Dog, who, as we dictate this, is awaiting a appointment with the vet. There are many possible outcomes, including such undesirable possibilities as a splint, an overnight stay, or even the Cone of Shame.

Work has been chaotic with a project that we’ve worked on for three years coming to an unsatisfactory end. Sometimes that happens. And another door has hinted that it’s about to open. Isn’t that always the way of things?

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics are fairly normal for these days: 27 posts and about 20,000 words .  Our average post was 813 words long, and the median was 424, indicates that a few long posts blew that mean up. Post length ranged from 133 to 3296 words.

If we hit any milestones this week, we didn’t notice.

Comments This Week

Comments were above average at 414 by the much-delayed close of this post (The next Saturday. Queue for your refunds at the customer service window), but not the preceding week’s 470. Most commented post was Friday’s, The FBI Trickles Out Some Video from Oregon, with 90 comments, showing that a late week post can do well, or that doing this TW3 late lets late week posts catch up — pick one.

Runner-up was Tuesday’s Who Taught You to Walk?

We didn’t do a book review this week — too busy. So we can’t compare Book Review comments to When Guns Are Outlawed comments.

The Week in Posts

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

  • Sunday Sleeping In
  • Pistols & Optimizing vs. Satisficing
  • Just a Reminder: the VA Creates a Local Low-Pressure Area
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fists
  • When the Cop is a Crim
  • The Czech “DUO” & Z Pistol, 1938-Present
  • Who Taught You to Walk?
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Gravity
  • Self Defense Case in Britain
  • How Can You Kill ‘Em When They’re Already Dead?
  • Bouncing the Gates
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Generators
  • The Limits of <i>Un</i>armed Self-Defense
  • Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: This Ain’t Hell.us
  • Range 15 Movie Trailer (NSFW Warning!)
  • The Fight that Ruined a New Weapon’s Reputation
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Wrenches
  • The USMLM and Soviet Technology
  • Hidden Camera: Automatic Weapons with No Background Check!
  • Homeland Security is in the Very Best of Hands
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fear
  • The FBI Trickles Out Some Video from Oregon
  • Classification of Automatic Weapons Actions
  • The National Commission on the Future of the Army has Spoken
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Cutlasses
  • Saturday Matinee 2016 04: John Wick
  • That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 04

Going Forward

Be very quiet. We’re thinking….