Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Redneck Pilgrimage

My brother and I went up to Cabela's in Hamburg, PA on the day after Christmas. I'd never been and we both had the day off. In retrospect, we should have picked a different day we both had off as the store was mobbed. It is an impressive establishment. As seen from afar:

That Cabela's sign on the back of the store is the size of a large house. If you want a better perspective on how big the store is try the view you get when you walk in the door:

If you look down the middle of that picture, you see what I affectionately refer to as Mount Taxidermy. From this distance it looks like rectangular lumps of gray rock with ice and fluffy things on it. It's actually about three stories tall and is covered with life-sized animals like mountain goats, moose, and bears. It's bigger than my townhouse and you wouldn't know it from the front door.

By the way, the whole left side of the building? Gun counters. I've never seen that many guns in my life. You could put the inventory from every gun store in Delaware together and you'd still have counter space left over. And unlike the wussy sporting goods stores in this state, they sell handguns as well as hunting rifles and shotguns. (UPDATE: A coworker asked me if the guns section was like the Gun-Lots-of-Guns scene in the Matrix. Yes, that image captures the volume of firearms quite nicely. Cabelas had a lot more wood-stocked hunting rifles than Neo though.)

I hope they build one in Delaware eventually. I'm sure they could put one downstate somewhere. Every hunter, shooter, camper, and fisherman from the entire Delmarva peninsula would shop there.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Useful Presents

My sister was without power for several days this year when the remains of Hurricane Ike tore through Cincinnati. With that in mind she gave everybody Red Cross Emergency Radios this year.

The radio gets AM, FM, and weather band along with a flash light and ports to charge other small electronics like cell phones. You can put it out in the sun to charge or hand crank it. Reception doesn't seem to be great, but it is still much better than nothing. The unit itself is the perfect size for a small disaster kit and will certainly be included in mine.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's a Goodwill Towards Men moment:
Last week, this area — Northern New England — was hit by a serious ice storm and over a million residents lost electricity due to downed power lines. I was lucky — I only lost mine for about 15 hours but many, especially in New Hampshire, were without electricity for many days.

One thing I’ve noticed in the past is that public service utilities all help each other out during these crisis.

Yesterday morning I saw a rather impressive sight. I was driving down Interstate 91, going to work, and in the north-bound lane was a convoy of what must have been over 50 electrical utility trucks belonging to Hydro-Quebec. Hydro-Quebec must have sent all of these crews to help out in hardest hit New Hampshire and after spending many days in this area assisting our local power suppliers, they drove up I-89 and then were heading home on I-91.
I also saw a convoy of cherry pickers returning home from helping out up North. It was Tuesday on I-95 near Newark and there must have been 20 trucks. I was really stunned and couldn't imagine what all those utility trucks had been doing. Turns out they were out helping people. Thanks utility service people.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Making Your Own P90... Sort Of

Take apart an airsoft rifle, insert Ruger 10/22 parts, reassemble.

Gun News from the Old Stomping Grounds

In this case, the Brookhaven PD (in the same school district I grew up in) are refusing to return lawfully possessed firearms to their rightful owner.
In [Thomas] DeOrio’s case, Brookhaven police seized his collection of handguns and rifles in October and turned them over to the sheriff when his girlfriend filed for a temporary protection-from-abuse order. Shields said she perceived something he had said to be threatening. Three days later, after a court hearing, a judge dismissed the order, records show.
Via Snowflakes in Hell and SayUncle.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My M65

After a trip to H&M made me realize what I really wanted, I looked around for an M-65 vendor. Everything local (essentially just Joe's Army/Navy in the Newcastle Farmers Market) only stocked Rothco merchandise. Rothco's sizing consistency and attention to detail is somewhat lacking. Too the internet!

After asking around, I finally settled on a Alpha Industries Knox Armory brand M-65 from Silbermans Army/Navy at The price was reasonable and they had a good return policy if the sizing didn't work out. I ordered it and they told me they'd ship it in a week. Then they told me it would be another week. Then another three days. Then another day. Then they canceled my order because they couldn't get the product from the manufacturer. If I had known that they have the jackets in stock, I never would have ordered from them in the first place. Even now, the jackets they know they can't get are still listed on their website. Wonderful people those Silbermans.

I order a Tru-Spec M65 from instead. It was at my door in a few days. Nice coat and I really like it. Despite tru-spec's advertising, it is not mil-spec.
  • M65s have a vestigial cuff on the sleeve used to connect the sleeves to gloves in order to make the jacket more weather tight. You can see them in the picture on this page. These are never used and often just get in the way. Tru-spec omitted them entirely. Good for them.
  • Most of the velcro on the jacket seems to have a larger range of adjustment than normal. Fine by me.
  • The jacket liner has additional buttons so you could, in theory, wear it as a jacket all by itself. Why anyone would do this when the liner sleeves are several inches too short is beyond me. I wish the liner had elastic cuffs and extra pockets like the Alpha Industries liners. I suppose if I want those features enough I could just buy an Alpha liner and put it into my Tru-spec jacket.
  • The liner sleeves button into the jacket using cotton straps with button holes sewn in them. Usually it's buttoned in with loops sewn on the liner sleeves. The former works and the latter doesn't so I'm happy.
About my only complaint is with the pockets on the jacket and it isn't Tru-spec's fault. The M65 was designed in that post-war period where officers hates seeing soldiers standing around with their hands in their pockets. Like the CWU-45/P flight jacket and M65 field pants, their solution was to design the pockets so you couldn't do this comfortably. These were the same people who made sure that the MA-1 flight jacket had a sleeve pocket big enough to hold a pack of smokes. Funny how priorities change over time, isn't it?

Tennant and Tate in Comic Relief

Always interesting to see David Tennant nee MacDonald use his real accent. Also nice to be able to fill in the missing tidbits of Doctor Who that show up during the Children in Need specials using Youtube.

Hard News or Partisan BS

It seems that the National Geographic Channel's recent program "Guns in America" is the latter, featuring an entirely one-sided presentation coming straight from the script of the Brady Campaign. Stick to filming cute dogs and cats please.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bush Pardons Gun Owners

I don't know what to make of this article, it starts off with a blatant untruth:
So, after George W. Bush, a strong defender of the Second Amendment, took office, Mr. Collier wrote to the president seeking a pardon, saying he wanted to go hunting with his kids.
The untruth is that Bush is not a strong Second Amendment defender. Good stuff has happened during the Bush Administration, but Bush and Administration officials have not generally been behind them. The reason the Assault Weapons Ban died is because the Republican congress did not give Bush a renewal, not because Bush vetoed it. Likewise the Justice Department brief in Heller was completely underwhelming. But Bush has successfully given several people their rights back and I guess that's something.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Handy Things for the Trunk of Your Car

Yesterday's really useful item was a spare headlight bulb. I pulled into the parking lot at work and realized my driver's side headlight was out. Not a horrible problem, but since I'd be driving home in the dark I popped in the spare. The last time this happened I had to hit a Walmart on my lunch break.

The nice thing about my car is that you can change the bulbs without tools. The not-nice thing is that you can't do anything of the sort with the taillights. Changing a taillight requires disassembling most of the trunk liner then using at least two different metric wrenches to dismount the tail light assembly. Space is tight enough that you can't get around the two wrench requirement with an adjustable crescent wrench either.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Two Days the Earth Stood Still

Hube says the new one is crap and makes no sense. Yup. Allow me to explain using the premises of the first and second movies:
  1. In the 1950s movie, spaceman Klaatu comes to Earth because, with the advent of nuclear power and modern space travel, mankind is on the cusp of great developments that will lead us to the stars. However if we do go to the stars acting like warmongering monkeys, the stars will repay us by destroying mankind ruthlessly and completely. Klaatu then benignly demonstrates how powerless we are in the face of truly advanced civilizations like his and leaves it up to us to reform.
  2. In the recent film, Klaatu comes to Earth because we're screwing up our planet's ecology (just like his people once screwed up theirs). Habitable worlds are rare and Klaatu will destroy us utterly if we continue to abuse ours. Klaatu doesn't so much demonstrate his power as attack the mankind only to finally relent.
Setting aside the fact that Michael Rennie is a better actor than Keanu Reeves, the first premise works and the second does not.

Among it's many problems is that if you have the ability to use nanites to fundamentally rearrange matter, as Keanu Klaatu does, you can basically do anything. Liveable worlds would not be scarce because you could terraform them. Formerly liveable worlds would not pose a problem either because you could fix that damage in short order.

Klaatu's concept of property and value is similarly broken. Earth is a precious commodity and we're misusing it. In some sort of warped communist morality, Klaatu is justified in killing mankind because others can use Earth better. Because intelligent life isn't a precious commodity I suppose.

Thankfully while the first movie is still held in high regard almost 60 years later, the second movie is being widely panned. There is justice in the world.

UPDATE: John C. Wright throws his well-written prose in the ring and links to reviews at Dirty Harry's Place.

Next Major Internet Trend

Mani-rolling. Barry Manilow was a guest on Graham Norton over the weekend. Actually the guest. Turns out gay Irish men dig Manilow too. I did learn that Manilow made a living writing advertising jingles before making it big. Some are still in use. I was really surprised, just like when I found out that John Tesh wrote that NBA on NBC theme.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Honest are Your Cops?

The Atlanta PD is trying to castrate their city's new Citizen Review Board. It seems the board doesn't like it when cops shoot innocent senior citizens and then try to cover it up.

And in other news, cops in Odessa, Texas received a rude awakening when the house they raided looking for a pot grow turned out to be a sting on them. The TV program KopBusters had set up a fake grow using lights and small evergreen trees. After several months, the local PD took notice of the IR source and raided the house. The problem? PDs cannot use passive IR scans as evidence without a warrant and hence they cannot use them to get a warrant. What was used and who lied to get it? We'll see.

No word on whether Miss Anonymous's basement herb garden has gotten undue scrutiny from any of Delaware's finest yet.

Via SayUncle and the Smallest Minority

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Return of Jim Darkmagic

The guys are Penny Arcade are getting together with Scott Kurtz, Wil Wheaton (!?), and someone over at Wizards to create another D&D podcast. The last series was really fun, especially with Kurtz and Gabe drawing the action as it occurred.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Handy AR Info

This site has a broad overview of raised weaver/picatinny rail mounts. It includes cheap and not so cheap. Good stuff and very useful if you plan to ever scope your AR-15 like I do.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Beautiful Scenic Newark

...where two college students are robbed and pistol-whipped in the wee hours of the morning on Haines Street. But, but, it's a gun-free school zone!

As an aside, thanks to the News Journal's PC reporting policy, you have look elsewhere to find out that the two men were white. Even though we get a complete description of their wardrobe, which they can change in seconds, we don't have any idea of their skin color which they cannot.

Fun at the Hardware Store

I think I've already covered making bows and arrows, but this site has a neat piece about recycling hacksaw blades into cheap survival knives that is worth a look. They even have functional sawtooth backs. I've heard that if the hacksaw blade just isn't good enough for you, sawz-all blades work too and they're even sturdier.

Shatner's New Show

Chris Byrne says that Bill Shatner's new talk show on the Biography channel is actually pretty good.
There is no filter to William Shatner. He is showing you everything, with complete honesty. Sure, there's charm and wit and social grace; but there is nothing being concealed there.
I'll have to check it out.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Meta Comics

Schlock Mercenary linked to IsItFunnyToday, a sort of webcomics comedy value aggregator. Unfortunately right now it doesn't contain many comics or have enough people voting. I also suspect that comics that aren't very funny won't bother to draw many people in to vote for or against them. Would you put yourself through rating a ton of Sluggy Freelance just so that you can quantify how long it has been sucking?

Finding a Reason to Hate Something

Markos Kloos gives a list of reasons to hate just about any firearm make and model over at Munchkin Wrangler.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Prevailing Standards of Noncomformity

Quotes of the Day featured this Bill Vaughn quote today:
"If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity."
By that definition I was a nonconformist in high school. It was the early nineties, but I still wore pants that fit and shunned flannel. The "non-conformists" who made up the majority of my high school population didn't really notice though. They were too busy being true individuals just like everyone else.

Justice in the Burial

Nine of the ten terrorist suspects in Mumbai were killed by Indian security forces. None of the Muslim cemeteries in Mumbai will accept their bodies. Now none of the Muslim cemeteries in India are permitted to accept them either. That's a sticky wicket for a religion that requires them to be buried before sundown. Perhaps the Pakistanis will ask for their men back?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pots and Kettles

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had this to say about Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress shooting himself with an unlicensed firearm:
“And I don’t think that anybody should be exempt from that,” he added. “And I think it would be an outrage if we don’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
No word on whether Burress wants Bloomberg prosecuted for his well known conspiracy to evade federal firearms laws. I mean I don't think anybody should be exempt from that...

A Concealed Carry Log

Bob Owens reports on six months of carrying concealed around Raleigh, North Carolina. If you're interesting in more local accounts of people carrying in Delaware, open or concealed, several members of Delaware Open Carry maintain them on the DelOC forums.

Via Instapundit.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Illegal Background Checks

Not just for Joe the Plumber in Ohio anymore. It turns out that the Delaware State Police have been doing them regularly. Some concerned citizens have recently started accessing the records via FOIA. It would be nice if we had an attorney general that would actually take the DSP to task for violating state and federal law.

Quantum of Solace

My brother and I took my uncle to see the latest Bond film on Saturday night. I liked and loathed it for reasons very similar to Ryan's. The movie continues to climb into Bond's head and reveal what makes him tick. The plot has a few twists and turns, but Bond takes the same approach to solving it that Alexander used with the Gordian knot. Don't untie the thing, just break it open. This doesn't sit well with his superiors.

I didn't like much of the action editing either. They were often so choppy it was hard to tell what exactly was going on. Some guys got shot, I wonder who they were and who shot them? I suppose this is supposed to replicate the fog of war or something, but I after a while I just found it to be annoying.