Thursday, September 27, 2007

22 Cravings

Dick's Sporting Goods has a .22lr Remington 597 with Scope for $140 after mail-in rebate. Hmm... I think I'll have to do some research on 597s. I shot one at Targetmaster a few years ago and I don't remember loving it. But I didn't hate it either and supposedly they've made some design improvements since then. I think it's worth a look.

UPDATE: Ever wondered at the fingerprints you've left on the internet and forgotten about? Take this:
I shot one at my range. I thought it was pretty mediocre in every way. Accuracy was bad, ergonomics were ok, and it had frequent feed/ extraction problems. My range doesn't show the rentals much love though so it may have just needed a good cleaning.
I wrote that about the 597 in August of 2004. I may have to rethink this. If I can't trust a reviewer as smart as that guy, then who can I trust.

UPDATE2: It seems that several of the improvements to the gun have occurred since my last review. The current generation of magazines (the ones that actually work) came out in 2005. Extractor changes have occurred as well.

UPDATE3: I went to Dick's today, but did not drive home with a new rifle. While the 597 they're selling looks and feels quite nice, it has one problem for someone looking for a training rifle. It doesn't have iron sights. Now it comes with a scope, so this isn't a problem for most people. But I need to learn to shoot with iron and without. Without sights it's really only a half a rifle.

Rhetorical Ambushes

MSNBC correspondent David Shuster rhetorically ambushed Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn with the name of dead soldier from her district. Fact checking later showed that Shuster was the one in error, the soldier wasn't from Blackburn's district at all. Instapundit had this to say:
Interestingly, though, it's a trap that, in its nature, underscores how historically low casualties are in this war. You wouldn't have heard that question in World War II, not only because the press would have been ashamed to ask it, but because casualties then were such that nobody could possibly keep track. That it can be asked in this war demonstrates not only the cheap-shot tendencies of a hopelessly partisan press, but also the small scale of the actual warfare.
Very true. This was driven home in a meeting I had yesterday about the war. I can't talk about most of it, but one of the factoids I thought was interesting had to do with the relative death rates in various US Wars. About 200 people died per day in WWI, in WWII it was 300, in Korea it was 30, in Vietnam it was 20, in Iraq it is only 2.

And on the subject of ambushes, how about Ahmadinejad's trip to Columbia? It didn't quite turn out like I expected, thats for sure. I would like to point out one little thing though: Admadinejad is not a dictator. While the Presidency of Iran is not the figurehead position it once was, the real power in Iran lies not with the elected President but with the appointed Supreme Leader. If you want to call someone a brutal despot, you need to point your finger at Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Which Spongebob character are you?

You are Squidward! Lighten up a bit, won't you! You hate your job, but love you clarinet. You also think Spongebob is the most annoying person ever!
Take this quiz!

Via John the Methodist

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Amazon MP3

Amazon just launched a new store where you can download mp3s for less than a dollar per track. Since I own a non-iPod non-iTunes MP3 player, this might be nice for singles. For whole albums, I'm probably still better off purchasing a CD and ripping them myself though.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Thompson Mystique

Kim du Toit explains election strategy and unintentionally explains why Fred Thompson is doing so well despite his mediocre campaign appearances:
What we need to find in the primaries is a Stupid Party candidate who is religious “enough” for most conservatives; against high taxes “enough” to satisfy, say, the Heritage Foundation; hostile “enough” to Big Government, and pro-gun ownership “enough” to satisfy, say, me...

If we look at the current crop of Stupid Party front-runners, Giuliani fails on several issues, and makes the grade only on law-and-order and foreign policy; McCain fails dismally on most, scoring high only on the War On Terrorist Bastards; Romney fails on just about every point; and Thompson scores reasonably well in almost every area.
Thompson is doing so well because the Republican party is the party of American Conservatives and Thompson is the only Conservative running. It is that simple.

Ok that's not quite true. Duncan Hunter is probably a Conservative, but nobody knows who he is.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Delaware Gun Shows

When you live in a small state like Delaware, one of the regular annoyances is that big events don't come to your state. It usually doesn't matter because they're held in adjoining states with reasonable travel times. I really don't mind that the Delaware Highland Games is actually held at Fair Hill in Maryland. There is no law preventing me from crossing state lines in a kilt.

But there are exceptions where legal restrictions defeat the purpose of the trip. One such example is gun shows. I'm mostly a pistol shooter. Buying a pistol at a gun show in Pennsylvania or Maryland means having to pay to have it shipped to my FFL in Delaware and then paying my FFL for the trouble. No thanks. With all that paying, I'm better off staying at home. I've looked for Delaware guns shows that are actually in Delaware, but without much success.

Until now. Hopefully when the show comes around in a month, I'll still remember it. And I'll be able to figure out where the Shrine Building is. Time to pick up that 22 I've been wanting.

UAW Strikes

Starting at 11am, the GM and the UAW are on strike. The Canadian Auto Workers are expected to join in with a sympathy strike sometime this afternoon. Here's to hoping that GM comes out ahead on this one.

I do have some sympathy for the UAW, but I don't have that much. After some research on my part, I've come to realize that the union contract terms are ridiculous. It is one thing for them to stipulate factory working conditions, salary levels, or benefits. It is quite another for the workers to tell their company where cars can be manufactured. This strike is over the latter.

Autoblog reports that GM has enough inventory for a month or two. More than that and this could get interesting. If I were them, I'd start hiring scabs now using contract terms similar to Import-brand factory labor. If they're successful enough with that, they might not have to hire the union back at all.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Continental Dental Hygiene

According to Instapundit, French dental care is incredibly poor. My mind reels at the thought that the British might actually have the best teeth in Europe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Coming of Caspian

The movie poster for Prince Caspian is out and looks pretty cool. I join with John Wright in hoping that the Pevensie kids aren't such wusses in the new film.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Some Gunny's Dream Girl

Being happily married, I'm far more interested in the mini-gun than the mini-gunner. Long walks on the beach also get sand in everything.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Conversion Story

Novelist John C. Wright details his conversion from athiest to panenthiest in a post on his blog. Panenthiesm is one of those philosophies that I've always held, but I've never had a name for until now. Thanks John.

I really like Wright's blog, so much so that I picked up one of his novels from Borders and started reading it while on travel. The first chapter of the Last Guardian of Everness is a bit slow, but things really get going once they get suitably fantastical.

The Wheel of Time Turns and Turns But Never Ends

The cynicism of thousands of fantasy fans was justified on Sunday when James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (aka Robert Jordan) died from complications of cardiac amyloidosis. Jordan was working on the last book in the series at the time of his death. Hopefully it can be finished using his notes.

On a Work Vacation

I spent last week in meetings at Nellis Air Force Base outside of Las Vegas. It was one of the most fun work experiences I've ever had. The meetings themselves were interesting, but they were held about a block from the flight line and next to a the Threat Museum. Which means that I was treated to either a free air show or fun with guns at every break.

Oh and I stayed at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. When the days meetings were over, my coworker and I hit the Strip. Good stuff.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

New Obliviousness

With ammunition prices going up, it is now long past time for me to buy a .22 rifle. I can buy a decent .22 and a brick of ammo (~500 rounds) for what it would cost me to buy just the 500 rounds for my M1 or AR. So I'm shopping around.

My first stop of the day was X-Ring Supply in Newark and I was in for a shock. Turns out the owner and FFL holder for the store was caught with crack cocaine in his possession a month ago. His FFL was suspended and all the guns in the shop have been seized. How did I miss that?

The store itself is still open, but it only has muzzle loaders and various firearms accessories in stock. While I couldn't care less about the owner, I hope the sales staff there come through this ok. While I actually prefer the staff at Millers in Newcastle, X-Ring was the real gun games shop in Northern Delaware.


The G4 cable network seems to be running a mini marathon of the BBC show Brainiac: Science Abuse until 4pm EST today. Brainiac is hosted by Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame and features a fair bit more explosions and electrocutions than, say, Mister Wizard or Beakman's World. Why they named it after a Superman villain I'll never know.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hot Under the Collar

Thanks to a call from DirectTV, I just found out that Verizon fucked up my billing information when we moved. Despite changing our phone service from one location to the other, our billing information stayed the same. So they've sent two months of phone/internet/satellite bills to an empty apartment. Unfortunately our mail forwarding with the post office didn't catch the bills and I didn't notice that we weren't receiving them.

Now I'm going to be paying three months all at once, plus sundry late fees. I actually don't mind the three months of bills, the company deserves its money and I have been using its service. I am pissed about the late fees and any effects this may have on my credit history. Why I am holding the bag when one of their petty functionaries makes the mistake? So I am not happy.

Let's see if a call to the Delaware Public Service Commission can get any of this straightened out.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Zombies Are Jerks

I'd heard the song Code Monkey because it's used as the title theme on G4s show of the same name. However, I hadn't really heard anything else by Jonathan Coulton before. Good stuff. Here's a taste from the show he did at the Penny Arcade Expo:

Warning, there is mild profanity when he misses a chord change. Anyway a google search will turn up a bunch of his songs on mp3. Since he uses the creative commons license, you won't even be stealing them.

Doomed to Repeat It... Badly

National Review and Tamara are both lamenting the demise of Military History as an academic discipline at many top institutions. This is sad. War is one of history's fundamental states, shouldn't we study it?

There is good news. Military history is popular both as a subject for instruction and as a product for public consumption via books or other mass media. So it is unlikely to die and more likely that the "top" institutions will simply stop being "top" any longer. That is fine with me.

Because Giuliani Is Too Hard to Spell

Fred Thompson is officially running, The Corner has the Tonight Show segment where he announced and Chris Byrne has Thompson's own announcement short.

I thought Thompson did well on the Tonight Show. As he should, I mean even the Today Show does more hard hitting journalism than the Tonight Show. More importantly, Thompson's take on modern campaigning sounds correct to me. With modern telecommunications, you shouldn't need to campaign longer. In fact you should be able to get the word out faster and more efficiently while spending less money. Longer campaign seasons generally just annoy the hell out of people and give the news networks something to fill airtime.

Also many pundits don't seem to understand that Thompson is polling well because the other Republican front runners suck. I'll never vote for McCain. Romney and Giuliani aren't much better. While Thompson has his flaws, ultimately he's more conservative and more of a traditional Republican than any of these guys. And Republicans will vote for him because of it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Fool Tells the Truth

I love the latest PhD comic that explains the difference between the Social Sciences and the Humanities. The social sciences try to gather actual data and the humanities do "analysis" which generally just involves wild hypothesizing. So very true.

Two weeks ago, John Scalzi brought up a column in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how modern writers do all their work on computer. This will probably leave a massive electron trail of their writing process which can and would be used in later literary analysis. Based on Scalzi's excerpts, I took his column as lament that now literary criticism would soon require Humanities researchers to actually do math and proper analysis. I could just picture Professors Vroomfondel and Majikthise at the head of an angry mob demanding database administrators delete old drafts just so they have clearly delineated areas of doubt and uncertainty to publish papers on.

I was wrong about that take on the column though. In actuality, humanities professor Matthew Kirshenbaum wants to be one of those database administrators. Should be a cushy job many humanities types won't be qualified for. Oops.

Legal Smackdown

Legal debate on the 2nd Amendment, like this one held by the Federalist Society, is definitely lively. Like the Bitch Girls, I'm siding comfortably with the originalists like Bob Levy on this one. How "the right of the people" can be interpreted in a collectivist context in the 2nd Amendment, but as an individual right in every other case strikes me as intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.


Have you ever noticed that whenever you cut yourself, you will be hard pressed to find anything other than finger-tip, knuckle, and shaving cut Band-aids? Yet, should you actually cut your fingertip or knuckle, these specialized strips are nowhere to be found. How annoying...