Saturday, April 19, 2003

I FEEL EYES BURNING HOLES IN THE BACK OF MY BLOG
Swen the Coyote has mentioned to me, via Email, that I am also mirrored on some foreign server. It would appear that everyone in Swen's blogroll is mirrored, and everyone in my own blogroll is also taking up space on someone's hard drive.

What, is someone trying to save the entire BlogoSphere? Eventually he'll run out of space. Either that or his computer will go mad from the blather.

REGRETS
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has now expressed "regrets" for some remarks he made about the US. He called the remarks "exaggerated".

I hope that he regrets them a whole lot more before this is over and done with.

GUESS WHAT!!!
Kathryn just told me she made the US Navy Pistol Team!

I think she's one of the alternates, since she said that she's ranked 72 out of 100 positions. But how many times does one of your former students get to be counted with some of the best pistoleros on the planet?

Good job, Kathryn!

LOOKING FOR WORK?
The Guardroom has on-line applications for police jobs opening up in Iraq. You have to have at least 10 years unbroken experience, I suppose because it's some sort of administration position. Maybe you'll make police chief of Tikrit!

Maybe Jack Burton is interested. It'd be great to have someone I know working in Iraq. I would have a free place to stay if I decide to visit the cradle of civilization.

Friday, April 18, 2003

LIES AND VIDEOTAPE
I'm watching CNN right now (I know, I know. Sue me for supporting the supporters of dictators) They're showing a tape that appeared on some Arab TV network that supposedly shows Saddam in the middle of a crowd. The tape was allegedly shot while that now famous statue was being toppled less than a mile away.

Whatever. I notice that "Saddam" isn't armed while he waves and presses the flesh. This indicates to me that it's one of his doubles, since Saddam and his sons were always (always!) packing when they met the public in the past.

Wouldn't you have a firearm if you were him?

I SUPPOSE "OLD AND BORING" COULD ALSO APPLY TO ME
Really good post over at boone country about the .38 Special. Mr. Henry discusses why it shouldn't be looked on as a has-been just yet.

It'll be worth your time if you're interested in the subject.

MONKEY ON MY BACK
Yet another good post from The Monkey (see below for the first one).

Our simian friend considers recent complaints about how the US is so overwhelmingly powerful. He points out that the world power closest to the US is China. The only reasonable way that there could be a challenge to our own superiority is if China gains a great deal more influence and power in the coming years.

"Like it or not, we face a rather simple choice - the world can live in the shadow of a humane, functional democracy, or it can live in the shadow of something worse. If there is a practical, defensible alternative I'd love to hear it."

Anyone want to answer that?

SOUND WISDOM
You'd be denying yourself a very good post if you don't go on over and read what The Monkey has to say about affirmative action.

My take on this has always been that everyone should get an equal chance and how far they get is their problem. Now that we have laws on the books making racism and sexism illegal, and the laws are actually enforced, I figure the time for affirmative action is past. (We also have numerous cases where someone tried to manipulate the law for their own unfair advantage, but one problem at a time.)

One of the ways to look at it is that I'm entitled to all of the AA goodies. After all, I'm a unique individual. No one else is like me, so I represent my own demographic. It would be unfair to lump me in a category due to my race, age, sex or culture.

For some reason this arguement doesn't seem to carry much weight with people.

STORY TIME
This post over at The Fat Guy about someone who (supposedly) died from his own farts has opened the gate to Memory Lane. It's a pretty good story.

Back in the 1960's, a police officer in my town was working the night shift (or "C Company", as it's called). He was downtown at HQ when the manager of a nearby motel reported a murder. He responded, and a photgrapher for a local newspaper went along for the ride (reporters actually hung out with cops in those days to get their stories).

When they arrived at the motel the manager was nowhere to be found. A TV was playing loudly from one of the upper rooms, so they figured that the person there was at least awake and could tell them what happened. After they climbed the stairs they noticed that the room next to the TV watcher's had it's door open, so they stuck their heads in to see what was what. And they found a dead body.

It was pretty far gone. It was of a white male in his mid-40's, and it was lying naked on the bed. The room was strewn with empty booze bottles, trash, and rotten food. The stench of rotten meat and excrement was almost overpowering. The corpse was fish-belly white, with the skin mottled and bruised in spots. The gasses caused by decay had bloated the body up and stretched the skin, and it exuded gas from time to time. The only other prominant feature was that the internal pressure had (ahem) caused the body to mimic a state of extreme arousal.

Well, it was obvious that there was no helping the poor bastard. The photographer wanted to get a shot of the corpse before they exited the scene, and the officer didn't think that an extra minute or two before they left to call in the meat wagon was going to hurt anything. The only problem was that, no matter how the photographer aimed his camera, he couldn't get a good shot of the dead man's face without the (ahem) member poking it's way into the frame.

The officer was an obliging sort. He decided to break the tension on the tissues, so he pulled out his nightstick and gave the offending appendage a mighty whack.

And the corpse grabbed it's crotch and sat up screaming! It stared at the cop and the guy with the camera for a second before scurrying in the bathroom and locking the door.

Seems that the dead guy was a street drunk who came into some money. He'd rented the room and was in the third week of a glorious drunk. He'd soiled his clothes earlier, so he had stripped them off in the tub and left them while he slept off the three bottles of ripple he'd consumed (hence the smell, and I suppose the gas as well).

When the manager was found it turned out that he had heard a police show playing on the loud TV next door to the drunk's room, and had confused it for an actual murder. No harm done.

Except for the poor bastard hiding in the motel bathroom, I suppose.

I can't for the life of me remember where I first heard this story. Maybe Jack Burton can help. I remember discussing this story with him in a Denny's parking lot about twelve years ago.
FRENCHING
Stephen den Beste has another excellent post about France. Mr. den Beste seems to think that the French elite are in the beginning stages of damage control: They want to maintain power and priviledge as long as possible while France spirals down into disaster.

This might well be true. The one thing that seems to puzzle most non-French observers is what they were thinking over the past two years. They've indulged in a rather passionate anti-American policy that's been a vast mistake. Any realistic benefits they might have gained through this policy have been destroyed by pursueing it too enthusiastically (which means that they don't know when it's time to shut the heck up). It's tough for anyone to make a credible arguement that this has all been part of a carefully thought out strategy.

I think that they've pretty much gone stupid. France seems to be revelling in a flash of renewed importance by opposing the world's only super power. The fact that it played well with the mob of muttering, unassimilated immigrants that they're so afraid of just made things worse. It also didn't help any when Germany decided to go along and follow their lead. Watching those scary Germans dance to their tune must have been pretty heady stuff for the French.

As far as Mr. den Beste's analysis concerning the economy and France's future money crunch, I'm afraid that I have no opinion. Economics was never my strong suit. Instead I'm interested in law enforcement and the military, and as far as both of those areas are concerned France is facing some serious problems.

LOOKS LIKE A RIFLE WITH THE STOCK BROKEN OFF
A friend of mine sent me this link. It's to Smith and Wesson's website, where they're advertising their new Most Powerful Handgun in the World, the .500 S&W Magnum. (Click here for a larger view)

Notice that they have a sling on the gun. A sling on a revolver.

I'm wondering what this handgun can do that my .30-06 couldn't do better, and at a fraction of the price.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

PUTTING IT IN PERSPECTIVE
Open a newspaper or listen to the news and there's a good chance that there will be some reporter waxing eloquent about the looting in Iraq. The point they want to make is that the US failed (failed, do you hear!) in it's war in Iraq because people are now stealing everything that isn't nailed down. The clear implication is that things would be better off if Cowboy Bush and the savage American military had left well enough alone and hadn't deposed the Ba'athist regime ("Hitler wasn't perfect, but at least there was less crime!").

Blog goddess Natalie Solent has the perfect rebuttal. She compares the way the freed black slaves looted the shops and homes of their former masters, all while the triumphant northern troops ignored the lawlessness while there was a war to fight. (Blogger is having fits again. Just click this link and look for the post entitled SNAP!)

THEY ACT AS IF IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Prof. Reynolds links to this post on blarg.net. The post is about how a case agianst the US is going to be presented before the ICC, charging the US and the UK with war crimes.

The post puzzled me at first, because the writer sounds as if he's an American who carefully proof reads his work. The reason why this puzzled me is that the author seems to assume that the ICC has validity somehow. I'm certain that there are Americans that actually think that these NGOs have some sort of authority, and that the US should just surrender it's sovereignty and ignore the Constitution and generally screw it's citizens over, but they're few and far between.

The light dawned when I went to the bio section and noticed that the author, Jurjen, was originally from The Netherlands, and I have to admit that I've never met anyone from the Netherlands who didn't tell me that there were laws on the books when there wasn't any book, let alone a law. This doesn't mean that everyone from the Netherlands has weird ideas about what people and countries should do, but Jurjen certainly isn't helping me find any.

Case in point is this post, where Jurjen not only admits to having worked at the UN before, but he also takes some well known bloggers to task for being overly critical of the United Nations. In the post, Jurjen tries to argue that the problems that the UN has had with credibility, effectiveness and anti-Americanism is all the fault of (of course) the United States.

Well, whatever. My problem with the UN is that it simply isn't effective, although the anti-Americanism that they seem to revel in lately certainly isn't helping me think warm and fuzzy thoughts, either. Jurjen seems to agree, because the post seems to argue that the UN would actually fulfill it's purpose if....the US would get more involved by ignoring what it's citizens want and going along with the rest of the world's wishes.

I think I detect a unifying theme, here.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
In the same post where Swen the Coyote alerted us to two new blogs, he also discusses the minimum training that a person needs before he would consider them to be minimally proficient. Swen considers 3000 rounds to be the lowest number of rounds needed.

Hmmm. 3000 rounds. Seems excessive.

I'm certainly the last person to disparage extra training. But I'd have to say that all of my students are at the low end of proficiency when they go through my course, and I offer 1000 rounds. In fact the vast majority didn't need that much, and only two people needed more (and both of them were aged and had arthritis).

Maybe Swen just has more stringent requirement than I do. I used to hang a T-shirt (size Medium) on the target stand and have the student fire from 50 feet. If they can hit it every time at slow and medium speed, and 80% at fast speed, then I figure they can do the job of protecting themselves.

Now I use a cardboard cutout that's the same size as a T-shirt. Ran out of medium tees (I wear an X-Large, in case anyone's wondering).

This might seem to be rather odd to some, shooting at some dirty laundry. But it actually gives the student a very good idea of the target zone where they should be placing their shots. And my test is a bit tougher than most, since the target provided is smaller than these standard handgun targets.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOGOSPHERE
Swen the Coyote has given us all a heads up to go and check out Lead and Gold and boone country. Both are nice blogs, and I'm very interested in what their authors have to say.

Monday, April 14, 2003

LIGHT IN THE POCKETBOOK, BUT THEY STILL GO BANG
Recently I've received a slew of Emails from people (if you think that 6 Emails constitute a "slew"). It would appear that there are actually some people who read my series on surplus guns, but these guys don't want some old worn out gun. They want a brand new, shiny, factory fresh handgun that doesn't cost too much for self-defense. Two of them are even thinking of getting their CCW permits. Since I've always advocated that suggesting a specific model or type of gun to a new shooter is folly until they find out what works best, they want me to suggest some manufacturers that produce quality products at reasonable prices.

Hmmm. Good question. A little bit tricky, but I'll try my best.

First off, please realize that just about every big-name gun manufacturer puts out a low-end model. Of course, what some of them consider low-end might still mean that it's pretty pricey. Conversely, just about every firm that specializes in good guns at a reasonable price also has a few fancy-schmancy models in the inventory to help you unburden your bank account of unwanted cash. Keep your eyes open at the gun store and you can pick up a big name gun for less money, but watch out for handguns that are tricked out.

So far as revolvers are concerned, you'd be hard pressed to find anything better than Charter Arms. They make rugged, no frills revolvers geared for off-duty carry. Highly recommended.

For autoloaders I'd suggest Llama Handguns. They don't have a website themselves, but instead market their products under a variety of brand names here in the US. One of the most recognized is Bersa or Bersa Thunder. Other brand names that Llama uses are Firestorm or SGS Firestorm. (Just ask at the gunshop. They'll know what you want to look at.)

Well, that's a pretty good start. I'm sure that you can find something that suits your needs from those two.

IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME
Anyone who's been reading the newspapers has seen a news article or an op-ed piece where some Ivory Tower blowhard sounds off on the "American hegemon", followed very quickyl by the American Empire. They think this is witty, insightful. Full of historical precedence. Not to mention the fact that it proves that they not only are educated but they also have a colossal nuclear brain.

At least it proves it in their own mind, but they really don't need all that much convincing.

Being an uneducated sod who reads more than is good for me, I thought that I'd explain all the nuances that these guys are trying to evoke when they trot out their favorite snotty phrase. Ready?

They mostly are trying to make an allusion to the Delian League, which was a collection of Greek city-states that got together to try and attack Ancient Persia. Seems that Persia had already invaded Greece and had barely been stopped. The Greeks figured that they'd better take the fight to the Persians before they got their act together and stomped the Greek city-states once and for all.

But things went sour for the Delian League. The city-states were required to provide a certain number of warships and fighting men every year. If they balked at sending their sons off to a war in a foriegn land they could pay a tribute in money instead. Pretty soon most of them were paying the tribute and Athens had all the military power. If any city wanted out they would be attacked by Athens and forced back into the League.

Eventually they dropped the fiction of it being a mutual self-defense pact and everybody admitted that it was an Empire!

The "No War" types think that all this is almost exactly what's happening today. They're seriously deluded.

For one thing, I missed the part about forcing other nations to pay tribute. Looks like the US has even allowed the NATO members to reduce their commitment over the years (gotta pay for those socialist entitlement programs, dontchya know). The recent debacle at the United Nations over the war in Iraq has proven that the US won't force anyone to come along if the don't wanna, we just won't let them hold us back if we think lives are at stake. Steven den Beste even makes a pretty good case for the US to reduce our commitment in South Korea while pressuring others to shoulder a fair share of the burden. Hardly see any empire forming here. In fact, just the opposite.

But none of these guys ever let the facts stop them before, so I doubt they're about to start now.

Just remember: Hegemon. Empire. Ohh, just scares you down to your pennyloafers, doesn't it?

BETTER THAN A PASSPORT ANY DAY
Prof. Reynolds has been keeping abreast of a series of disturbing events. It would seem that tourists who are driving across the Sahara are disappearing. This all takes place in Algeria.

I have no idea why people would want to drive across the Sahara. We have perfectly good desterts here in the US, and people generally don't disappear when driving through them. AND you can get some mighty fine barbecue at the roadside restaurants (ummm, barbecue!). Don't think you'll have much of a chance of a pig roast in an Islamic country.

Anyway, barbecue aside, Prof. Reynolds now links to this article from the Telegraph that reports that the tourists were kidnapped and still alive, but no one seems to know who did the grabbin' and what they might want in exchange for some slightly used tourists. The article does hint that Islamic militants might just be behind all this.

This is why I don't want to drive across the Sahara. They won't let me pack the contents of the gun safe along with me.

That and the lack of barbecue. Bet those hostages aren't going to get any.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
I found this article on Slate about Saddam's information minister, Mohammed Al-Sahhaf. You know him. He's the guy who kept insisting that the Coalition forces were being destroyed far from Baghdad while our troops were actually sampling the wines in Saddam's palaces. Well, the guys at Slate thought it would be a good idea if they asked some PR professionals their advice on how to improve Mr. Al-Sahhaf's job performance.

The guy who gave the most puzzling answer was someone named Bobby Zarem.

At first, he says, "I didn't know if it was real or not, so I didn't make a judgment about it." Now that he's satisfied U.S. forces really are winning, he doesn't want to comment on al-Sahhaf. "I want them all killed," he says. "I don't think anyone is listening or cares."

It's not really clear who he wants killed, is it?

My favorite is the response that guy named Frank Mankiewicz gave.

"I would advise him to go to the only remaining store in Iraq and buy himself a white flag," Mankiewicz says. "It will stand him in good stead."

Well, that's for sure.

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU
I've always like stories about hoaxes. There's just something about a good scam that appeals to me. Probably because most of them are so transparent that I can't fathom the gullibility of the people who actually buy into the hokum.

You can spend a few lunch breaks at work browsing through The Museum of Hoaxes. It's pretty good, even though the writing is a little dry.

One of the most topical is the Gallery of Birth Hoaxes, which includes info on the latest hoax concerning cloning. (That one was so obvious that not even the news media was taken in.)

For those of you who are fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 it would seem that the voice of Gypsy, Jim Mallon, was involved in a hoax during his college years. You can read all about it by clicking on this link.

MORE MEDIA BIAS
I'd have to say that the anti-war, anti-Bush administration bias is pretty well established in the media. Sometimes it's just an attempt to manufacture drama from nothing, so the news will spin a story where nothing much is happening into a full blown crisis. Sometimes they simply don't like authority and everything the government does is bad bad bad.

Case in point is an item I found over at The Guardroom. Click on the links to find a story about the recent Oakland protest on a dock where a ship bearing supplies for our troops in Iraq were being loaded. The protest was broken up when police fired non-lethal ammunition into the crowd.

Most media outlets will report that but they'll leave out the fact that the protesters were throwing things at the police, including sharp-edged metal scrap they had found. The news will also forget to mention that six longshoremen, who were standing around waiting for the protest to end so they could get back to work, were attacked and injured by the crowd of peace loving anti-war activists.

But if they told the whole story then no one would have been interested.