Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gun Fun

Last weekend was the defensive pistol shoot. Temp was 25 deg at the start and half the snow had already melted the day before so getting in and setting up was easy. Knowing what was to come next, stages were arranged as to minimize movement.

By 9:30 the frozen ground had turned to mud as the temperature had climbed above freezing. By noon it was almost warm, so I set up and tried to shoot the postal match. I discovered that cold and tired does not set the stage for doing your best shooting, especially with the rifle, standing and unsupported.

I am experimenting with some rail mounts for the Hi Point that attach exclusively to the barrel in an attempt to eliminate any wobble due to "soft" mounting. The results are promising, but I'll have to take it out on a better day and shoot more carefully before making any wild claims. Still, two of us got "one ragged hole" groups. The new rail position is about 6 inches further forward from before, so it looks like a pistol scope might be in order with a longer eye relief. Alternately my red dot seems to work fine in that position.

Blogger Bash

This may well be the last one this year, so don't miss it.
Blogger Bash on Saturday, Nov 10th, at Falling Rock Tap House, 1919 Blake St. 7ish.
Bring yourself, bring your opinions, and be sure to bring your lady friends so we don't wind up looking like a bunch of nerds..... Oh wait....

Celebrate the victory or drown your sorrows at the defeat as the case may be, or maybe speculate as to the outcome of the inevitable post-election lawsuits.

The really truly official announcement will be here, so check regularly to see if I need to change anything.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Benghazi

Never forget, never forgive:
Graphic from Sarah Hoyt.

QOTD

From WSJ online:

"WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama has spent months trying to balance his re-election bid with running the government. Now, just when his campaign needs him the most, with little more than a week before the election, his official job is beckoning."--Julie Pace, Associated Press, Oct. 28
Work is the curse of the golfing class, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde. He's never let official duties interfere with his private life up to this point, so why expect him to start now?

Oh yes, there's this election thing which he's losing, and a just-in-time crisis not to be let go to waste.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Weekend From Hell

In some, if not all respects anyway.

Last weekend was supposed to be busy but productive and take advantage of the last warm weekend for the foreseeable future. Knock off some lawn stuff, and meet my shooting buddy at the range. Shoot the postal match in a leisurely manner and grab a late lunch of something tasty served with an adult beverage.

Finish the lawn, load the guns, and notice a puddle on the driveway by the rear tire. Guess it's condensation from the truck bed and jump in. Start the motor and the dashboard begins flashing warnings that there's something wrong with the brakes and/or the ABS implying my demise is imminent if I attempt to operate the vehicle.

Check the puddle: brake fluid. OK so I've lost a brake cylinder seal. This is not hard to fix, but I'll be late to the range. Call shooting buddy who is on his motorcycle on his way to a spot famous for having no cell phone coverage and leave a message.

Call NAPA for a seal kit. Turns out there's only one in Colorado, but there's another in Indiana which can be here Monday. Price: about $6. Big help. They do have complete cylinders at $12/ea, cheap. Good, that's probably less messy than doing the seals. Grab the pneumatic wrench and attack the lug nuts. Nothing. The tire monkeys who put the rear tires on got the nuts so tight that my air wrench won't touch them. Get out the breaker handle and cheater bar. Push down and PING! the stud snaps off. Once is bad luck. Try again. PING! Now I'm down 2 studs. When I was in High School, Chrysler Corp put left handed nuts on the left side of the car. I didn't remember this being the case with the truck, but at that point my confidence was shaken. Besides if I'm wrong, the nut should move slightly but not loosen and I can change direction. PING! I guess not. Good thing I have 6 studs, no?

By 3 PM Saturday the only place that might be able to help me is the friendly local Dodge agency. I motor over there and they tell me they will inspect the truck and give me their opinion by 4 PM closing, which they do. As an aside, any diagnosis they do will involve removing and replacing the lug nuts using the industrial-grade air wrenches they have freeing up the rusted studs in the process, and if any more studs let go, they get to replace them.

They tell me I have a leaky brake cylinder and 3 broken studs (duh!) and that they will replace both rear cylinders for the modest price of $600.00. They also suggest a tune-up and a couple other minor items that would bring the bill to about 50% of what I paid for the truck. They also suggest that the lights on the dash can only be placated with their own HAL9000 diagnostic computer. The bill for this diagnosis is $60. I thank them and leave before I faint.

NAPA is right across the street. I go there and am told that the replacement cylinders are in a neighboring suburb. I go home, take the motorcycle and get the cylinders. Sure enough, the lug nuts now move. Get everything loose and go to remove the brake line only to find that the nut has welded itself to the line. Knock off for the evening.

Sunday: Go to NAPA and get the one remaining seal kit west of the Mississippi, and 3 new studs. Install seals, reassemble brake. The vehicle's computer being placated, all the lights on the dash are out. Attempt to remove broken studs from the rear axle using air chisel. No luck. Fall back to 2 lb hammer and punch. Swing and miss punch. Smash finger.

Monday: I am informed that the throbbing in my finger can be relieved by melting a hole in the nail with a hot needle. I don't have one but I do have some very small drill bits, smaller than most needles, that I can twirl in my fingers. This works. My desk looks like someone killed a chicken on it, but the throbbing begins to recede.

I stop by the tire place on the way home and complain about over-tightened nuts. The man is sympathetic, but says they have no one there qualified to replace them. Friendly local mechanic removes and replaces the studs using a 5 lb hammer and no punch for $20. I make note of his technique.

Props:
Axis Automotive in Littleton. Good work, reasonable prices. +1
Discount Tire in Littleton. Good tires, reasonable prices, workforce required some supervision. +0
Local Dodge agency. Pricy as all get out. -1
NAPA. They usually have any part. I need to check Hemmings. My Dakota must be rarer than I thought.

Gun Fun?

If you're hard core enough, any day at the range is better than spending it somewhere else. Winter has finally arrived with an inch or two of snow on Thursday and Friday which properly softened up the range road. The range was frozen (25F) when I got there but thawed quickly leaving a half inch of very slippery mud.

Defensive pistol drills were limited to those that didn't require much moving around and reloads were either tactical or done over a piece of carpet.The brass will need a trip through the washer before going through the tumbler.

Following the pistol drills, I tried this month's postal match. Let's just say that being cold and tired does not help your shooting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Voting For Obama

Is like losing your virginity.




In a Turkish prison.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fun With Headlines


Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man

Who knew scientists were into threesomes?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Gun!

On a much-less-than-serious note, I have added to my gun collection a copy of the world-famous Desert Eagle Roscoe. NIB and complete with 36 rounds of the deadly 5.8 x 22mm ammo:
The kind of firearm every Glock owner dreams of it's 100% ABS plastic construction seems guaranteed to be able to evade any airport security system. (NOTE: I have NO plans to ever board an airplane ever again if I can avoid it.). The break-top action will appeal to the fancier of vintage firearms of this type:
The six round cylinder lifts completely out for easy extraction of spent cases using a swizzle stick, not provided. The gun is advertised as shooting "flaming balls up to 60 feet" and my first experiment more or less confirms the accuracy of the claim. The projectiles seem to be flash paper wrapped around a small explosive pellet, packed two to a cartridge. Propelled by something that smells a lot like the old roll caps I used to shoot, the projectiles leave a trail of sparks behind and deliver a sharp but modest crack at the end. Best fired at night for effect.

Fired straight up, an estimated 40-50 feet of altitude was achieved which would translate into the claimed 60 ft if fired at a more modest trajectory.  The two projectiles exploded about 2-3 feet apart which I believe is referred to as "adequate combat accuracy".

No speed loaders are as yet available although I'm sure HKS and others will quickly be all over this market. Speed unloading is accomplished by removing the cylinder, placing the front end in your mouth and giving an enthusiastic huff. Smokers may need to stick with the swizzle stick.

The light weight and low (nonexistent) recoil make this perfect for the boom-averse home defense folks. Fired indoors, the projectiles could easily bounce 4 or 5 times before detonating who knows where. It's enough to incapacitate the most hardened home invader in paroxysms of laughter, giving you time to beat feet out the door and down the street.

As the manufacturer states: This is not a toy cap pistol! (Disregard the printing on the plastic bag that states otherwise). Given the incendiary nature of the projectiles, I can imagine all sorts of You-Tube worthy feats that could be accomplished with the addition of only a couple of beers. The mind boggles, yes it does.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Motorcycle Fun

November 11 will be the 56th annual Harry's Roamers Turkey Run in which 120 or so turkeys will go out on motorcycles in whatever weather we have in an attempt to win a turkey almost as frozen as the riders. Or it could be nice. I've ridden this event in weather warm enough for t-shirts, and I've ridden this in snow. You pays your money and you takes your chance. Always fun though.

Be at the Zone Sports Bar and Grill, 15600 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO. Sign up starts at 9 and first bike out at 10. Event ends at 3PM. $10/rider $5 / passenger or additional entry.

A fun time will be had by all.

I took the trunk off of my bike and the annoying low speed wobble magically went away. Some times things work out.

Update: Address wrong it's at 44th and McIntyre.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ballot Fun

Filled out my ballot today and sealed it up so I have officially voted.

When I got my first ballot it was Nixon v McGovern and 5 others. My reaction to the list was "Do I have to?". Of course I did. If you don't vote, you can't bitch and I haven't missed a single election since. This year's ballot has the usual suspects plus 14 additional wannabes; 4 on the right and 10 on the left.

In the following years I believe I actually voted FOR a candidate exactly once. To my observation, most of the time the best you can do is decide which of the bums will do you the least damage, hold your nose and mark the ballot. This is depressing if you think too much about it because it implies that in the long run the end will be the same regardless of who gets elected this time and the only difference will be the time frame involved.

It has been observed that elective democracies tend to last only 200 years or so until the people discover the joys of voting themselves largesse from the public coffers. This democratic Republic is now some 236 years old and shows signs of severe abuse. If it was a car, you'd be thinking of trading it in. That or a complete body-off restoration.

Renewable Energy

Some folks in England have announced that they can produce "petrol" from air while removing carbon dioxide. Knowing how much carbon, an essential element in any fuel, naturally occurrs in air, I wax skeptical.

Checking the process I find I was right.
The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before "electrolysing" the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.
Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.
So you first obtain sodium Hydroxide, available from any babbling brook in England, and mix it with CO2, presumably extracted from the atmosphere normally using high pressure compressors and heat transfer apparatus, then electrolyze the mix using electricity from unicorn farts, to produce carbon dioxide of a higher purity than the stuff you bought from Air Liquide, and water vapor.

The water vapor in turn is condensed and electrolyzed using power from a coal-fired plant to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen. The Oxygen is disposed of and the hydrogen and carbon dioxide are mixed at very high pressure and probably temperature and coaxed to combine into Methanol which in turn is run through a high pressure and temperature device to convert it to octane which is then poured into your gas tank.

I don't doubt for an instant that the process will work, but the cost in energy and process machinery and operation does not look to me to be particularly efficient. Perhaps when the price of ordinary petrol reaches $50/gal.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Polling Once Again

3 more weeks and I can start talking about some experiments I'll be trying out at the range, but in the meantime there's lots of work at work and at home, and not enough time to do it.

The polling results from the last debate are now trickling in as the major ones are 3 or 7 day rolling averages, and the debate that the press tells us Obama won decisively seems to be giving Romney a 1-2 point bounce. Meantime it is being reported that money earmarked for Colorado is being moved to Ohio as Romney has put on a 2-point lead here.

Ohio is obviously in play:
Also Gravis has a new poll coming out this morning from Ohio pegging the race a 47%-47% tie, with a D+9 sample.
It is not only still 2008 there, but the local economy must have gotten noticeably better in the last 4 years.

PPP is due to release some polls on swing states, of which Colorado is one. I actually got called by them last night. It's a robo-call in which all you have to do is push buttons on the phone to answer. They asked who I was likely to favor for president and U.S. house, so I told them the republican. They asked if I was sure? I told them yes. They asked my party affiliation and knowing that they over sample Democrats, and wanting my voice heard, I told them I was a Democrat. They also asked my race, and suspecting another over sampling effort, I informed them I was black.

Hey, if Bill Clinton can do it, why not me. The day of the disaffected black voter is here!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Education In France

Education is always a popular topic with politicians as a properly "educated" youth will become a reliable supporter of the doctrine he was taught.

French president Fran├žois Hollande is proposing to make homework illegal in the public schools.

Homework is how you reenforce the lessons of the day in hopes that the knowledge will become more or less permanently embedded. No homework will result in a less knowledgeable citizenry downstream, to any country's disadvantage.

Of course if you feel a less knowledgeable populace is to your advantage on election day,....

Article here.

Thanx to Mish for the lead.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Future Of Transportation: Short Lines

Found this quite randomly:
Google Maps assures me that it's 23.1 miles which will run 35 minutes by car. Of course during rush hour the drive is a bit longer so the Southwest Airlines alternative may be quicker.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cooking With Billll

I hate politics. It's the sort of thing that can drive you to drink, then drive up the cost of drinking.

In keeping with that theme, here are 4 recipes for tasty food cooked with beer. The first 3 can be made with Killians Red, but if the fourth is made with anything but Guinness, the Leprechauns will put sand in your shoes, or something.

Of course it's possible to mix beer and food in the same bottle if you put your mind to it. Ladies: If you're thinking of imbuing your sweetie with any of the characteristics of the ingredients, limit the experiment to 1 or 2 bottles. More may prove to be counter-productive.

Biannual Quote Of The Year

Found here, along with numerous other pearls of wisdom.
If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and measures you want to vote for... But there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time that truly intelligent exercise of the franchise requires.                                   Lazarus Long
We have 3 questions on the ballot this year, and none of them pass the smell test for me anyway. I advise to boot out the incumbents, "NO" on the questions, and "NO" to all the judges. This approach may not always be the best, but it works more often than not to minimize the damage and required no skull work.

Of course you could do the research and vote intelligently....

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Hispanic Vote

Thanks to I Own The World for this gem, commentary by a Mexican national comparing the U.S. to Spain.

Spain elected a Socialist government shortly after Moslems bombed a subway, running up an impressive body count. The message was that Spain should immediately pull is modest contingent of troops from the Iraq war.

The Spanish, "running like whipped Spaniards" promptly elected a Socialist president, who summarily removed their troops and instituted all the trappings of socialism in Spain to the detriment of an otherwise healthy economy. As his popularity fell the president "outsourced" the voting priviledge and won a second term, bringing Spain to the ruin it endures today.

Impressive that it only took two terms (8 years) to accomplish this, no?

VP Debates

Whatever you might take away from the V.P. debate, remember that Mr. Biden was selected for the job to add gravitas to a ticket led by a political nobody with no experience at anything.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Presidential Debates

Piecing together the punditry, one eventually is able to figure out what exactly happened in the last debate. The media has spent 3 years telling us that a man who can barely speak his whole name without a teleprompter is the greatest orator ever, bar none, one who understands everyone's problems to a degree usually only attributed to deities. This man who can, unlike King Canute, make the sea recede and flowers bloom where his feet fall. On the other hand, there's his opponent, who makes Snidely Whiplash look like a good Boy Scout, who's existance causes cancer in women, and who has amassed a fortune by robbing every working man in the country by remote control.

Alas, neither of these men showed up. Instead of the media image, we all got to see the real unvarnished candidates.

At this rate, Romney will do just fine. Obama however needs his image inflated a bit more. Perhaps a catchy meme like "He's an even greater man than Mohammed!" will do the trick. I like that one, it's sure to improve his image.

When I Use A Word...

It means precisely what I want it to mean, neither more nor less. Thus spake the Caterpillar, and the thought is catching on nationwide. Take the word "illegal" for example. Most of us imagine it describes something which if we did it, would get us in some kind of trouble with the law.

Not so in L.A.. The the Chief of Police has instructed his officers to ignore the word "illegal" if is might be associated with the other word, "alien" and let anyone this combination of words describes go on about his or her business after handing them a ticket. Secure in the conviction I guess, that the miscreant will dutifully show up in court or mail in the fine.

If this were L.A. statute, it would be bad. Since it's federal law, this sort of behavior is usually thought of as a Federal Felony, but only if you get caught at it and the Just-us department actually cares.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Unemployment - Update

Diogenes has a nice piece suggesting seven conspiracy theories all involving the Labor department to drive the unemployment numbers down in the face of a presidential election. The Labor department is currently working principally for the unions and the president, so nothing it actually does is much of a help at this point if you're like actually unemployed.

Timing is critical here if you are, say, the Secretary of Labor. You boost the unions for 3 years after the presidential election and the unions feather your president's re-election nest with dues money. The last year before the election, you change tactics and throw some support the non-union workers. Sure the SEIU and AFL will grumble, but the money and manpower will continue unabated, and after the election you can go back to the old model.

Secretary Solis has been a bit slow on the uptake this year apparently assuming that her boss would win in a walk, and she would keep her job.

High Speed Rail!

It worked so well in California that our Governor want's to try it here. He's pretty sure we can get a line running from Denver to Vail, about 100 miles for little over $10B.

Based on the success we've had with the local trolley system, I'd estimate it to be more like $20B with a completion date of 2075 or so. I suppose it matters weather or not you let the local bus company build the thing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Good News!

I wasn't nominated for this award. I note that the winners seemed to display a certain talent of their own even if it goes largely unappreciated among the literati.

My favorite line from past winners was the one in the purple prose division: that referenced "Her ample breasts were heaving like a college freshman on dollar beer night.."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Unemployment 7.8%?

The left finds it simply mahvellous that unemployment is dropping so precipitously, and just in time to distract from the debates, too. The right is suspicious, both on account of the timing, which I'll grand could happen, but also on account of some other things that just don't add up.

Remember that in a normal economy in this country it takes some 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep the rate from moving one way or another. Last months job creation number was 114,000, which all else being equal would result in 35,000 more people out of work. The last time the rate went down, from 8.2 to 8.1, the reason was a drop in workforce participation.This time the BLS is actually reporting an infinitesimal rise in that number from 63.5% 60 63.6%. This suggests more people looking for jobs to go with not enough jobs being created.

In the past these two factors have caused unemployment rates to rise at the beginning of a recovery as people rejoin the work force seeking to rejoin the ranks of the employed. Were the books cooked again? I could believe that a plausible explanation will emerge shortly before the next debate.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gun Fun

Thanks to Dave at True Blue Sam for hosting a well-attended e-postal match. Everyone went nuts and had a great time.

Next match has us practicing out bowling pin skills over at Traction Control. 15 shots on 15 pins, what could be easier?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

QOTD

In a column by Roger Simon, several things were attributed to Paul Ryan that should have tipped any normal person off that satire was in use, but, after leading no less a personage than Paul Krugman down the garden path. Mr. Krugman didn't read quite all the column, and thus didn't know quite what was in it. At the end of the piece:
As for Simon, he appended an explanation of sorts to his column: "Author's note: Jonathan Swift did not really want Irish people to sell their children for food in 1729; George Orwell did not really want the clocks to strike thirteen in 1984; Paul Ryan, I am sure, calls Mitt Romney something more dignified than 'Stench' and Microsoft did not invent PowerPoint as a means to euthanize cattle. At least I am pretty sure Microsoft didn't."
Having undergone near euthanasia by Power Point myself more than once,  I can sympathize with the doubts expressed there at the end.

Thanks to Taranto for this one.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Govt Offers Bribe; Lockheed Accepts

With sequestration of government spending on defense looming, the impending large layoffs in the defense industry would trigger the WARN act which would require the defense contractors to issue warnings of large impending layoffs. Unfortunately, due to the timing involved, these notices would be issued just before the upcoming elections.

Failing to issue the advance notice can result in legal penalties, but the administration has offered to pickup the tab. Lockheed Martin,has apparently agreed to the offer:
The Obama administration issued guidance Friday that said defense firms’ costs would be covered if they have to layoff workers due to canceled contracts under the across-the-board cuts set to take effect Jan. 2.
Keeping in mind the administrations record on political promises, I wouldn't take this offer on a bet. I would, however have my legal department work out the costs associated with failing to pre-notify my employees including the government penalties and probable private lawsuit awards, and demand cash up front. People in a position to know have suggested that the offer itself is illegal.

The administration would have everyone believe that the sequestration can easily be avoided:
A partisan fight has developed over the defense reductions. Republicans say the cuts should be reversed, while Democrats say added tax revenue should be part of any compromise. The cuts stem from last year’s clash over raising the debt limit. The automatic cuts were set in motion after Congress and Obama failed to agree on a broad debt-reduction package.
If the Republicans simply sell out their constituents and agree to huge tax increases.

Disclosure: I used to work for Lockheed Martin, and still have a high regard for the company and its management.

Outcomes:
Lockheed accepts and Obama wins: Lockheed's contracts are renewed in the lame-duck congress.
Lockheed accepts and Obama loses: Most of Lockheed's contracts are renewed.
Lockheed declines and Obama loses: Lockheeds contracts are tied up in the lame-duck Senate and filibustered by bitter Dems in the next Senate.
Lockheed declines and Obama wins: Lockheed's contracts are all transferred to Airbus.