Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Folks, it has been a DAMN long year!

Happy New Year, and since Dan Rather won't be there to kick around anymore and make strange pronouncements, let me reiterate his most famous — and most apropos — uttering: Faith...

Sleep tight.

Vampire Whores on Parade

Sooooooo, I'm multi-tasking this AM, reading a book on robotics, eating a tangerine and halfway watching the Today Show while deciding whether to go to the range and shoot or clean my aquarium. This "when we come back from commercial" pops up on today: "There is hope for the people affected by the Christmas tsunami. When we come back, the authors of Tragedy to Triumph — Lessons of Recovery and Hope..."

So I put down the robotics text and listened.

Let me put this as simply as I can...I'm sure the authors, Robin Finegan and Krista Flannigan, are perfectly nice people in their everyday lives. But their material is UTTER BULLSHIT!

The people affected by the tsunami are facing a panoply of horrors, from the loss of loved ones and homes to diseases right out of our nightmares — cholera, typhoid, dyssentary. They don't NEED to know how to build a roadside memorial or talk to their children about "grief counseling" — they need to friggin' survive!

Grief counseling is one of the many tools the media uses to "get the widow on the set," as Don Henley sang in Dirty Laundry. It allows the media to get at least an extra month of coverage out of a Columbine or any tragedy. And the people who pander to the voracious maw of the media are exactly that, people who pander to the basest desires/longings of any human being, the urge to stand next to grief to mentally assure yourself that it didn't happen to you.

Calling these people whores is far too kind.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


So for Christmas, my Sweetie goes out and buys what is alledged to be an Amaryllis plant, aka a Barbados lily, although I've been in Barbados a bunch and I never saw any of these suckers. It's supposed to grow a few inches, then flower.

She brings this thing home, waters it, cares for it, and it shoots up like a sunflower on steroids, a 3-foot-tall giant green penis of a plant with a pinkish bulb on top (honest). She wisely relegates the giant penis from the living room to the guest bathroom, where it continues to (malevolently, I'd say) grow. Christmas day, the thing erupts into giant blooms, whch gets it a free trip back to the living room.

The flowers are large and dish-like, sort of like...big pink mouths...and an additional penis is shooting up on the side.

Hmmmmmm, I think, I've seen this movie! And read the book. Check out Day of the Triffids, a 1963 cult film based on the 1951 horror classic by John Wyndam. The Cliff Notes version is that a swarm of meteorites blind almost everyone on earth, who now become easy pickings for mobile, flesh-eating plants, called Triffids, that look uncannily like the monster in my living room. As the movie poster from 1963 said:
I've done the only thing I can think of to protect myself...I've programmed the Robo-Sapien to the "guard" mode, where it will respond to motion, touch or sound with a "ROAR!" and positioned it directly in front of the giant penis flower. If that sucker starts walking the Robo-Sapien will warn us in time; I'll pop it with my .454 Casull and use my Cold Steel Chef's Knife to make some Triffid salad!

I hope...


Guns Don't Kill People, DOCTORS Do!

If you've ever suspected that going to the doctor might be the most dangerous thing you do in an average year, here's some statistical support for your gut feelings from Nathan Tabor:
Doctors: (A) There are 700,000 physicians in the U.S. (B) Accidental deaths caused by physicians total 120,000 per year. (C) Accidental death percentage per physician is 0.171.

Guns: (A) There are 80 million gun owners in the U.S. (B) There are 1,500 accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups. (C) The percentage of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.0000188.

Statistically, then, doctors are 9,000 times more dangerous to the public health than gun owners. Fact: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. Following the logic of liberals, we should all be warned: "Guns don't kill people. Doctors do."
I've always suspected this, especially since my 4-day visit to the hospital last year. If I hadn't had a surgeon who was also a shooter wander by the room, I'd probably still be in there getting unnecessary surgery.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Fairwell to Susan Sontag...

This from her obituary in the Washington Times:
"The white race is the cancer of human history," she wrote in a 1967 essay in Partisan Review. "It is the white race and it alone — its ideologies and inventions — which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself."

Such comments led novelist Tom Wolfe to dismiss Mrs. Sontag as "just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review."
Good riddance, too! Liberal "intellectuals" are the true cancer of human history!

Gun Control — Big Loser? (DUH!)

Here's John Lott's editorial column on the National Academy of Sciences omnibus report on gun control efforts in the U.S.:
"Based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey that covered 80 different gun-control measures and some of its own empirical work, the panel couldn't identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents. From the assault-weapons ban to the Brady Act to one-gun-a-month restrictions to gun locks, nothing worked."
Nothing worked...well, there's a surprise!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Disaster Relief

You can now donate to the American Red Cross for disaster relief at It's the right thing to do, especially in this season.

Frenchies Fried

Count on Jonah Goldberg from NRO to put the whole season into perspective:
"Ah, Christmastime. Joy to the world. God bless us, everyone. Through the rapturous din of carols and chimes, a stray condemnatory note can be heard, chastising the yuletide revelers for being too materialistic, too concerned with gifts that come wrapped in pretty paper and shiny bows. Who can help but sympathize with such concerns as the groaning hoards of shoppers appear like Huns outside the doors of Wal-Mart? That is why I am so grateful for a special Christmas present — holiday present if you must — for the whole world. No mere thing or shiny bauble, this present is an idea, glowing with an ecumenicism that fires the mind and illuminates the heart, uniting nearly all mankind in fellowship. What idea is that? Why, the total destruction of France, of course."
We don't need their stinkin' cheese! "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys"...dude, you rock! Read the whole article anyway...

Take a Thumping for the Queen!

From The Sun in London:
"Britons are for the first time more likely to be attacked than burgled, police watchdogs warned last night. Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Keith Povey blasted the rise in violence recorded by police as 'unprecedented.'"
Okay, now repeat after me, very slowly...when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns...

What part of this statement don't you Brits understand???

Words to (Sorta) Live By

From the Showgirls: V.I.P. Edition DVD, as quoted in this week's Entertainment Weekly:
"If you learn how to do a good lap dance, anything you want can come true."
—exotic dancer Heather

The Year in Yeechy Movies...

Here's a great article from SHOOTING GALLERY buddy Steven Hunter, who lives a bizarre double life as ace thriller writer (PALE HORSE COMING, HAVANA) and as the movie critic for the Washington Post, on 2004's awful movies. Yeah, you gotta sign up at the Post, but do what I always do — lie. Steve is, as usual, right on target. It has been an awful year for movies:
"That's the good news: They used to know how to make 'em.

Here's the bad news: They forgot.

You can look at the release schedule for 2004 and the sad reality soon announces itself. This was the year Hollywood crashed and burned."
I love movies...I studied them in college (which beat the hell out of real scholarship) and actually made one five-minute film that convinced me I didn't have anything to say in that medium. I have spent many happy hours in darkened theaters, accompanied by popcorn, Coke and, occasionally, female companionship.

Not in 2004. The moves sucked so bad I've purged them from my volatile RAM...not worth remembering. In fact, throughout the year's movies, I've repeatedly sunk into Uma Thurman fantasy, whereby Ms. Thurman appears with her Hattori Hanza sword from the Kill Bill movies and begins a graceful, spinning dance that cuts the heads off everyone in the stupid movie I'm watching.

This fantasy was never more real than in the excreble Oceans 12, sequel to the not bad caper movie remake of the pretty cool Ratpack vehicle. I longed to see Ms. Thurman in motorcyle leathers lop the head off the smarmy weasel George Clooney, blood spurting out of his pencil neck. Brad Pitt, doing his level best to play...Brad Pitt...would receive a diagonal cut from position one to position three, effective splitting him into two equally talented actors. She spins from the Pitts straight into Bernie Mac, who gets the Hanza straight across the midsection in a kurama saki, causing the upper, untalented portion of his body to topple to the floor. Don Cheadle, who, god knows, should know better, is cut off at the knees hizaguchi style, followed by a quick killing stroke to the neck. Matt Damon slips in the blood and falls, but the lovely Ms. Thurman delivers a flawless blow straight to the head as he rises.

As for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julia Roberts...silly Caucasion girl likes to play with Samurai swords...well, you get the picture. What can I say? It gets me through the night.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Fighting Revolver

The brouhaha over on the Gun Zone, I thought I might weigh in on the idea of a "fighting revolver."

No, that's doesn't mean a revolver that gets involved in those "Robo-Warrior" fights or even the name of an LA rock band. Rather, the phrase "fighting revolver" is apparently intended to designate a revolver that is suitable to be used in a firefight of some sort. I suppose by that definition the ultimate fighting revolver would be some sort of early Colt percussion gun, since it was probably used in more firefights (a.k.a., the Civil War, or War of Northern Aggression if you happened to be raised in Tennessee) than any other revolving handgun. Or maybe the 1873 Colt Peacemaker in .45 Colt, useful for whoomping up on Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans and assorted neer-do-wells. It'd be a toss-up.

But that's not what we really mean, is it? Instead, the concept of "fighting revolver" is one of those quirky phrases popular in the gun culture, like "bug-out bags," those pre-packed carry-alls that you'll snatch on your way out the door on the day of the Apocalypse. Mine is full of Snickers bars, BTW, on the the theory that having a weight problem will probably be a moot point on Zero Day. I was thinking about adding some silk stockings just in case I run into any French women with really really short hair as I sprint through the smouldering wreckage of Denver.

Anyhow, a fighting revolver is the ideal weapons to have in one's hands when hordes of sword-wielding fanatics pour over the dune...whoops, that's an Indiana Jones movie! Okay, substitute "Al-Quaeda" for "sword-wielding" and "into your town" for "over the dunes," and we're pretty much there. Still, in both cases, I might opt for a British Webley, calibre .455, backed up by 10,000 Ghurkas and a cruise missile.

Let's be a bit real about this, shall we? We are, for the most part, civilians. That is, we are unlikely to be on the verge of facing marauding hordes of anything, much less anyones. Rather, we are faced with the issues of carrying a concealed weapon day-in and day-out, which means balancing caliber and weight. We also have to accept that no handgun caliber or bullet is the legendary one-shot-stopper-Sword of Doom-nuclear-explosion-blow-'em-the-hell-up-one-stop-shopping solution for personal defense.

As I've said before, I love revolvers. I've got a lot of 'em, and I occasionally carry them as a primary gun. I like revolvers in big calibers, like .44 Mag, .44 Special, .45 ACp or .45 Colt, because they throw big chunks of lead and are cool. If, on the other hand, I was forced to live my life with only a good .357 revolver, I probably wouldn't lather up that much. One's as good as the other!

I realize that's heresy these days. I know that as an Official Gunwriter and Shooting Show Television Host, I'm supposed to pick a gun and a caliber (and a load and a holster and a favorite cola, etc.) and then proudly and loudly proclaim to the all the world that I have discovered the Revealed Truth, the bestest of the bestest, and if you don't agree, well, you can just kiss my fuzzy behind because you are going to be killed and eaten by a whole generation of miscreants who are on the way to your house right now!

Yeah, well...anyhow, here's a short list of my favorite revolvers (with links to samples at, so you can get some Real World pricing).

5. Smith & Wesson 625 4-inch .45 ACP...this is a workhorse of a gun. I've had a bunch of 'em, and I wish I had 'em all back. They use full moon clips, making them the fastest revolver on earth to load. Being in .45 ACP, you can get ammo at the WallyWorld at the End of the Universe. Load it up hot and shoot dinosaurs with it. Good for IDPA competition or things that go bump in the night. If you're light on cash, look at the Taurus Tracker — only five shots, but at least you've got moon clips.

4. S&W 296 .44 Special...pix-wise, as close as I could find was this 396, with adjustable sights. I've written about the 296 looks like a mule taking a dump, carries light as a feather and is my first choice backcountry gun, as long as the backcountry is near my house. A neat alternative is the now-out-of-production Taurus 445; at this price, everybody should have one! Okay, okay...there's also the Charter Arms Bulldog, the best 200-round gun in the world! S&W also offered a liteweight .45 ACP revolver through the Performance Center, which I'd have right now if it wasn't so damned expensive!

3. 1917 Colt New Service...I love these old warhorses. This one is in .45 ACP, but I once had a pristine New Service in .38/40 (just like this, except in better condition) that I was a complete fool for trading off. Also, I'd like to ask forgiveness from the Lord of Guns for the 1917 Colts and S&Ws I had carved up into ersatz Fitz Specials! And, yes, I'd go to war with one of these!

2. S&W M-19 (blue)/M-66 (ss) 2 1/2-inch .357 Magum...yes indeedy, little Hobbits, a real rip-snorter! With 125-grain screamers, you know you had fired a manly gun! But I carried mine continually for two or three years and shot the hell out of it. I'm always on the lookout for another one.

1. (drum roll!) S&W M-29 .44 Magnum...the most versatile handgun every made. Period. Take it to war; take it hunting; keep it beside the bed stoked with .44 Special Silver Tips. I've had several since the early 1970s, and it is the one revolver I would never be without. My original blue 6-inch has had thousands of rounds through it — some real bone-shakers — and it is still a better gun than I am a shooter.

I'd like to buy the world a...what?

So what do you call a carbonated beverage in a can? Pop? Soda? Cola? Coke? Check this map on the distribution of various names for carbonated can beverages around the country. I grew up in Memphis, TN, and, indeed, we refered to all carbonated beverages as, "Coke."

"Bring me a Coke" translated into, "Bring me something cold. carbonated and in a can or bottle." The only exception to the "Coke" designation was "RC Cola," which was alaways asked for by name, except that the "R" was pronounced "are-ah," almost like "aura," and the "C" with a hard tounge tucked flat against the lower teeth and the "C" almost hissed out, like "seize". "Gimme one of them aur (pause) aa-seizes." The length of time for the pause between aur and aa was a function of 1) how far back in the Delta you were actually from, and 2) how cool you wanted to appear. Southern funnyman "Brother" Dave Gardner would always roll the aur for a laugh: "Aur aur aur aur aur aa-seize!"

Also, by law, when ordering an R.C. Cola, you also had to get a Moonpie. You could shorten "moonpie" to "'pie," but that was more of a local aberation than a widespread subset. That particular combination of cola/pie, BTW, has been called the "Dixie Duo," and, yes, you can get the t-shirt.

Thanks to Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe!

San Fran Gun Ban

Here's an interesting piece on the proposed San Francisco gun ban from freelancer Howard Nemerov:
Why trust people who lie to justify their stated goals, especially when gun control is consistently shown not to result in the stated goals of increased security and reduced crime?

Gun control advocates in San Francisco have finally exposed the truth: it’s not about “safety” or “violence prevention,” but about banning guns and controlling you.

An Excellent Gun Book!

Frank James' new book, EFFECTIVE HANDGUN DEFENSE is a must-buy for anyone who does now carry a gun for self-defense or is thinking about doing so.

Over the decade or so, Frank has proven himself to be one of the most thoughtful, most free-ranging and least-willing-to-tolerate-bullshit gunwriters out there. Frank writes what Frank knows to be true, as opposed to what he read last week in another gun magazine. He is careful to credit his sources, annotate when and where he tested this or that firearm and clearly flags his own opinions as opinions. What a novel idea!

Frank is also cold, hard proof of a fact I used to tell journalism classes (back when I was invited to journalism classes!): Writing is not a learned skill — it either comes with the overall package or it doesn't. And it is not evenly distributed int he population (it seems especially rare in journalism classes, BTW). Twenty-some-odd years ago, I got a call from an Indiana bean farmer who told me he wanted to be a writer. Sure, I said (mentally shrugging my shoulders). "Send me something you've written."

What I got from Frank was an amazingly polished piece of writing from someone who already knew how to think.

Buy his book, and you'll see what I mean!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Insulin Shock & GUNTALK

Well , it's Sunday morning and I appear to have survived Christmas. Actually, I'm sitting here trying to ward off insulin shock from too many Christmas (excuse me...Kwanza-Hanukkah-Vernal Equilnox-Holiday and/or Time Off Work) cookies and waiting to spend an hour with my friend Tom Gresham on GUNTALK radio (you can hear it at, so call me up and ask me hard questions, which should get some pretty interesting responses this morning!).

Mostly, I'm excited about my Christmas present from my Sweetie, a ROBO-SAPIEN remote control robot. It is too cool! I spent all yesterday — when I wasn't stuffing my face — tormenting the beagle and my two macaws. You gotta love a robot that farts! Tomorrow AM, I'm calling North America Arms and ordering a .22 Short mini-revolver, which should just fit the robot's little grippers. Next stop, Lou Alessi for a little-bitty holster and belt! I wonder if anyone makes a very small sized tactical vest, something Barbie might give Ken before he goes off to Doll War?

I'm thinking video promo for SHOOTING GALLERY!!! More coffee!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve 2004

I've never been much on religion, to tell the truth. I was raised a fundamentalist Baptist, and as soon as I was old enough to "escape," I was out the proverbial chapel door. Over the years, I don't think I've cared enough to even be called an agnostic; whenever anyone asked, I used a line from a character in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon"I am not a follower of the Christ."

And so I'm not. But as I've traveled the edges of the Known Universe — the ice of Alaska in the darkness of winter, the flooded caves and caverns, the great mountains and even the holy places of other cultures — I began to see that there comes a place where cause and effect break down, where the curtain that separates "what is" from "what was" or "what might be" ripples to an unfelt wind. I have seen and heard and felt things beyond my knowledge and understanding, and I think I've come to understand that beyond explanation lies acceptance.

I'm still not much on religion. But I guess after two days of LOTR, I'll defer to the words of Gandalf the Gray, when Frodo the Ringbearer wished aloud that the Ring and the task had not fallen to him. All who live in such times as these wish that, the wizard said, but that is not to be. The only option we have is decided how to live the time we are given. And know that there are other powers in the world besides the power of evil.

My thoughts are with my friends in harms way tonight, and all those who stand watch in our name.

Merry Christmas, and peace.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

A Bizarrely Heartwarming Christmas Story

This is wonderful, a frenetic Christmas search by blogger Tony Woodlief to find cowboy guns for his kids for Christmas:
"But I couldn't find guns. I wandered up and down aisles until I spotted a salesman. "Excuse me," I said, "where can I find cowboy guns?"

"Oh. We don't sell those." He looked at me as if I had just asked him for nipple clamps, or perhaps a Bible. His voice was tinged with the self-righteousness of people who announce to others that they recycle, or that their children attend Eugene V. Debs Elementary because they believe in supporting the public schools."

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World

While the Keystone Cops are in hot pursuit of a gang armed with "potentially lethal" paintball guns, ACTUAL CRIME HAPPENS!
A suspect arrested over a stabbing rampage which left one man dead and five people seriously injured today has a "history of mental illness", police said.
Pathetic! Okay, that's it until I get to The Two Towers!

God Save the Queen!

Paintball Psychos Run Wild!!!

Before I get back to the swordplay and morality, a little tidbit from our Brothers Across The Pond on the Great Paintball Robbery:
"In the right hands the guns are perfectly safe but in the wrong hands, who knows what could happen..."
Is it just me, or are these people friggin' pathetic?

A Fun Interview from Ms. Coulter

In keeping with general Christmas cheer, check out this interview with Ann Coulter from just before the election. Here's my favorite part:
Q: Your last book is called How to Talk to a Liberal. With which words?
A: A baseball bat is best. But if you absolutely must use words, something like: "Grow up."
Back to LOTR...I'm half-way through Fellowship of the Ring, but I may have to go into town for smoked gouda and French onion dip...emergency provisions!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The End of a Snow Day

Well, so far, all I succeeded in doing today is shoveling snow and fielding phone calls. I thought nobody worked the week before Christmas!

A couple of interesting tidbits...there's an good commentary on why we do NOT need a national ID card in the Washington Times from Richard Rahn at the Cato Institute. I sympathize with him, but I wonder whether the whole issue of a national ID is a snowball that's already rolling downhill.

Martha "Butch" Stewart sends us greeting from the slam:
"So many of the women here in Alderson will never have the joy and wellbeing that you and I experience. Many of them have been here for years -- devoid of care, devoid of love, devoid of family."
Kick butt, Martha! I hope she comes out, makes another zillion dollars and uses it to humiliate the ridiculous prosecutors who wasted so much money and the court's precious time on what should have been a slap on the wrist.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, already running for governor of NY in 2006, has kicked off his campaign by cracking down on toy guns:
"Marc Beige, president of Rubie's Costumes, said he sold up to 70,000 toy guns a year to costume shops across the state, from clown guns that unfurl a "Bang!" sign to replicas of Al Capone's .38 special."
Al Capone's .38 Special? This bears looking into...

Finally, in ALIEN NEWS OF THE DAY, the French alien cult known as Raelians have named rapper Eminem an honary priest:
"In a press release the French-born alien cult known as the Raelians explained the priesthood was in acknowledgement of the rapper's recent Bush-bashing single, "Mosh." Eminem earns some bragging rights on this one: The Raelians have only bestowed this honor upon a select few. Fellow recipients include George Michael and Linda Ronstadt, for their respective Bush disses."
Read Shaun Macomber's entire story at NRO. You gotta love any alien cult that post links to topless devotees engaging in whatever alien cults engage in. Plus, the flash intro is just tooooooo cool for skol! Plus, you gotta know Eminem feels like crap for getting lumped with George Michael and Linda Ronstadt...The Concert From Hell! "We are the weird; we are the churlish; we are the ones without the brains of a cabbage..." Special guest appearance by Barbra Streisand and about a million four-foot tall guys with big heads and phasers set to flambe! Tickets on E-Bay; I can't wait! I'll be there with Al Capone's .38.

I've got to go put on my aluminum foil hat and see if I can get enough reception to cook dinner. Over and out...

Have a Hula-Hula Christmas...

I'm a little behind the curve this morning, having spent a large portion of time clearing the driveway of last night's snow. I even cranked up the Nuclear Snowblower and let fly, chunking pieces of gravel as far as downtown Boulder. It was...bracing.

Anyhow, I know you guys out there are down to the wire on Christmas giflts, so for those of you who didn't buy into the Japanese goldfish book, here's the gift that keeps on giving!

That's right...hula girls for the dashboard!

I bought one.

This is also one of the only places where you can get a pre-assembled coconut bikini top for that special woman in my life, although, if the special woman in your life is like the special woman in my life, you'll end up eating an entire coconut shell with the strings wrapped around your throat!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Opinionated Guys With Guns...

If you're in the mood for a jest-a-'teche of rampant, if heavily armed, hostility, join us over at the Gun Zone, formerly famous gunwriter Dean Speir's hangout and check out this thread:

If you really miss Ken Hackathorn at AH

Sign up and contribute!

Cool CCW Stats!

Check this out.

Colorado's got to get busy!!!

Fishy Christmas Gifts...

It being near Christmas and all, I'm having trouble getting my mind around the Great Issues of the Day. Instead, I'm worrying that my sweetie's Christmas present may not arrive in time (okay, I'm a guy...we have a gene for procrastination!), that Alf the Wonder Dog might eat the tree, that it may or may not snow. I'm also puzzled about why the neighborhood fox has taken to sitting in the aspen grove in the back of my house and staring into my office window; my fear is that he went to some foxish equivalent of a Tony Robbins self-help seminar — "Find the Wolf Within!" — and now he thinks I'm prey.

So, I have a great Christmas gift suggestion for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list. It's a wonderful book, KINGYO: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish, by Kazuya Takaoka and Sachiko Kuru. In addition to truly stunning graphics and design, the book features a 1939 novella from Kanoko Okamoto titled "A Riot of Goldfish:"
"Mataichi's thoughts about goldfish changed completely as well, though it is not clear whether the change was related to this love. Despite their unreal appearance, he began to see in goldfish the shape of life itself. They lazed about as if no one was watching, swallowed infinity like gulps of air, and blithely brought to bear the real meaning of manliness by swimmingly rearranging life's priorities according to their own convenience. Mataichi was struck with astonishment."
As it happens, I have four goldfish — thoughtlessly named Nemo (an ethereal tancho, or red-cap oranda), Beta (an oranda shishigashira), Lava (a thoroughly Americanized black moor) and Pooh Ye (a calico ranchu, known in Japan as the "king of the goldfish," although I suspect Pooh Ye's lineage is hardly grand since I got him for $6 in a local pet store). They live in a 100-gallon aquarium above $1,000 worth of high-tech German sewage treatment plant, eat designer goldfish food and squished English peas and apparently consider me the external feeding utility. Beta suffers from swim bladder disease, an incurable condition that causes her to spend most of her time upsidedown, which she's adapted to as well as can be expected.

Sometimes Alf the beagle and I sit on the couch in my office and watch the goldfish tank, me pondering Nemo's majestic sweeps through the water with his veil-like fins and Alf no doubt considering how much trouble she would get into if she tipped over the tank and ate the bright colored moving treats. After all, they've got to taste better than the Christmas tree...

Cows With Guns!

Just in time for Christmas, a beautiful full-screen rendition of the classic Cows With Guns!

DOJ on the Second Amendment

Here's the link to the Department of Justice's recent ruling that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. The conclusion reads:
"For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms. Current case law leaves open and unsettled the question of whose right is secured by the Amendment. Although we do not address the scope of the right, our examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views. The text of the Amendment's operative clause, setting out a "right of the people to keep and bear Arms," is clear and is reinforced by the Constitution's structure. The Amendment's prefatory clause, properly understood, is fully consistent with this interpretation. The broader history of the Anglo-American right of individuals to have and use arms, from England's Revolution of 1688-1689 to the ratification of the Second Amendment a hundred years later, leads to the same conclusion. Finally, the first hundred years of interpretations of the Amendment, and especially the commentaries and case law in the pre-Civil War period closest to the Amendment's ratification, confirm what the text and history of the Second Amendment require."
A tip of the ole Constitutional hat to George Bush is in order. Try to imagine such a statement coming out of a Kerry DOJ!

More on Crichton's STATE OF FEAR...

This from Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writing in the National Review:
"Yet, more widely, the novel raises stinging criticisms of the way the environmental movement conducts itself. Its mutual infatuation with Hollywood, its preoccupation with litigation, and, above all, its preoccupation with obtaining more money so as to continue its privileged existence are all writ large in the text. One of the chief villains, a lawyer turned green-group director, regularly rages about the difficulties he has fundraising. His main problem, he rants, is that global warming is not the immediate threat that pollution was in the 70s. It is therefore harder to get people to give money to combat it, something that can be solved if people come to believe that the climate is changing now. These are, of course, tactics the real-life environmental movement has embraced, arguing, for instance, that the recent hurricane season was exacerbated by global warming rather than being sheer bad luck. During one of his rants, that character also, delightfully, called my organization, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, 'Neanderthals.' This was tremendously gratifying."

Monday, December 20, 2004

SIGARMS Academy Show clips!!!

Check out this great report on the SIG Forum on our trip to the SIGARMS Academy!

Aren't I cute?

Gun-Man of the Year!

There isn't such an award, but there damn well should be!

And in 2004, it should go hands-down to Ronnie Barrett of Barrett Firearms, the inventor of the big .50 rifle that has sent so many terrorists in search of all those virgins.

Ronnie Barrett understands the concept of standing up for what one believes in, and he puts his money where his mouth is. He also builds one heck of a gun!

THANK YOU, Ronnie Barrett!

Monday Pre-Christmas Blahs & Global Warming

Maybe it's because it's Monday, and maybe it's because it's the first Monday since July that I'm not in the process of either packing to leave or unpacking for a day or so, but my brain is having trouble coming up to speed. It feels like a great big flywheel that can't seem to go all 360-degrees around. Maybe it's Christmas. It is Monday, isn't it?

Be that as it may, I just finished reading Michael Crichton's STATE OF FEAR, and I found it fascinating. I decided to buy the book in hardback because 1) say what you will, Michael Crichton knows how to move a thriller along and, 2) I liked the way Crichton handled himself in his interview with the thoroughly churlish and contumacious Matt Lauer on the Today Show last week.

Anyhow, Crichton's thesis in STATE OF FEAR is that the catastrophic spectre of global warming, which we read or hear about pretty much every single day, doesn't actually exist. There is either zero, or conflicting, scientific facts to back-up the theory of global warming. Instead, the dire predicitions on global warming are part and parcel of what Crichton calls a "state of fear." Here's the condensed version, as elucidated by one of Crichton's patented talky characters:
"I'm leading to the notion of social control, Peter. The requirement of every sovereign state to exert control over the behavior of its citizens, to keep them orderly and reasonably docile. To keep them driving on the right side of the road — or left, as the case may be. And of course we know that social control is best managed through fear."
The problem is that between the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the coming of Al Quaeda, there was no overarching enemy for the West to oppose and thus create a state of perpetual fear in the citizens ("Duck and cover!"). What has filled that void is an industry composed of politicians, the media and the legal industry dedicated to promoting fear in the population under the guise of promoting safety. Toxins in the environment, looming environmental catastrophes, Y2K , serial killers and child kidnappers, bad apples, fill in the blanks — all part of what has become a relatively bizarre Western obsession with safety. Go read the book to get the details (and a plot, of sorts).

All in all, I'm liking this. It's interesting to apply Crichton's thesis to the politics of gun control, presently cast as a safety issue, lacking in any hard data and endless extolled by the media, a lawsuit-crazy legal structure and politicians like the San Francisco supervisors who are presently putting forth a ban on firearms in San Francisco. It's especially interesting since Crichton has usually come down on the anti-gun side of arguments.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Revolvers and NYPD Cops

There a pretty cool article in the New York Times (I know...there's a shocker!) on NYPD cops who choose to stick with their revolvers.
"The grips still echo the earliest revolvers, designed in the 19th century to feel like the handle of a plow in a man's hand. Lt. Eugene Whyte, 45, with 22 years on the job, remembers arriving at a meeting for the Republican National Convention this summer, and men in suits quickly calling him aside, agog at his snub-nosed sidearm. 'I had Secret Service guys asking me if they could see it," he said. "It was as if I was carrying a flintlock pistol.'"
The writer makes a good point that revolvers are pretty bullet-proof (so to speak) when it comes to malfunctions. To a large extent, I think we've come to a point where the idea of "increased firepower" in a handgun is a chimera. A handgun is a handgun; you want increased firepower, get a rifle (which, of course, most departments have already done). The function of the handgun is to get you to your rifle.

And BTW, I've often heard (and read) that quote as attributed to Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch fame. Not true. The first time I heard if was from Vietnam EOD vet Jimmy Quenemoen in Clearwater, FL, around 1980 or so. Jimmy, who always wore grey sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off and Ray Ban mirrored Aviators (fans of Robert Crais' mystery books, take note!), owned a gunstore in Clearwater — the only camo building in town —with his apartment above the store. We were sitting at his kitchen table drinking beer one day, and I remarked on his 1911 on the bedstand. "That's nothing," he said. "Ain't got but one purpose." He got up and open his closet door, about four steps from the bed, where an AR sat in a wall-mounted rack.

"The .45 only has to get me about 10 feet to the closet door," he said. "That's the purpose of a handgun — to get you to your rifle."

While I'm on the subject of misplaced quotes, I recently saw the quote, "The best place to carry a gun is in your hand!" also attributed to Mr. Smith in a recent article. A few years back, I used that quote in an article, attributed to the person who really said it, and the editor changed the attribution to Clint Smith without my input or approval.

"The best place to carry a gun is in your hand" came from the aforementioned Walt Rauch about 1981. The first time I heard him say it was, I believe, at the first Florida Invitational IPSC match, when I started pal'ing around with him, Tom Campbell, Dave Arnold, Jake Jatras and other malcontents with a rental Cadillac convertible.

Don't get me wrong — Clint Smith is a brilliant man and a fine instructor. I have had dinner at his table, and a good time was had by all. But I'm pretty sure he didn't write the entire New Testament.

Egregious Firearms Terminology Mistake!

A note from my friend Walt Rauch — an honest-to-goodness firearms expert! — pointed out that calling the Swiss Arms 552 a "submachinegun" was incorrect. A submachinegun, Walt notes, is a fully automatic weapon utilizing a pistol caliber cartridge. An Uzi or MP-5 in 9mm, for instance, is a submachinegun. The 552 is, instead, that most elusive of beastie, the creature that haunts Sarah Brady's dark and steamy nightmares — an assault rifle! That is, a military weapon in a rifle caliber (in this case, 5.56mm) built for fully automatic or burst fire.

I stand corrected!

I still want one. A couple of points I didn't mention yesterday. I really like the gun's magazine design — semi-transparent plastic (or some sort of polymer) magazines that can be locked together, so the shooter can tell how many rounds are left in the mags, and they don't require a secondary device (straps, clips, duct tape, etc.) to hold mags together for rapid reloads. SOP at the SIGARMS Academy is three 30-rounders clipped together, which is, to me, less unwieldy than one of the 100-round drums for ARs. Of course, if I was being shot at, the 100-round drums wouldn't seem nearly as awkward!

The AK-derived design is exactly like all the AK-derived designed, as reliable as dirt and butt-ugly. I'm always surprised at how effective military muzzle brakes are at keeping the gun from riding up in full auto fire. I think that's because during the 10 years of Bubba's Ban, we saw all sorts of imitation muzzle brakes/flash hiders that were effectively just cosmetic doo-dads, sort of like having a Holley 4-barrel carburetor simulated n unbreakable plastic.

Given my druthers, I think I'd take a Czech SA Vz.58 assault rifle over the full-sized Swiss Arms rifle. The little Czech, which looks like an AK but isn't, has a certain graceful aspect to it, and the ones that I've shot were uniformily excellent in both semi and full auto modes.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Assault With a Deadly Bus

Or something like that.

We successfully assaulted your basic bus, and shot the heck out of a bunch of 552 5.56 Swiss Arms submachine guns. These are really great guns, sweethearts to shoot. It's a shame that you can't even get the semiauto version in the United States, thanks to the leftover 1989 George H. W. Bush ban on military-style weapons with "no sporting purpose."

I don't know about you, but I think shooting Al-Qaeda terrorists is a sporting purpose, but I guess the season is only open outside the borders of the U.S.

Anyhow, this was my first trip to the SIGARMS Academy, and I'll definitely come back and take a class.

Got to go get on the know, I had this strange dream where Michael Moore was harpooned on the open seas by a Japanese whaling factory, and that tiny amounts of his massive reservoir of blubber could actually be used to alleviate the suffering of conservatives with relatives in Blue States. Sigh...I guess we can always dream!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Day in the Life

Well, today is going to be a hard day assaulting vehicles at the SIGARMS Academy in frozen New Hamster, with the Manchester, NH, Special Response Team along to show how it's actually done. Not only is it our first vehicle assault, but it's our last trip for the season filming either SHOOTING GALLERY or COWBOYS!

Full report when I get back!

You know, I was once rescued from a bus by the only all woman SWAT team in America, but I suppose that's another story...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Yet Another Airport Bulletin...

Well, I'm killing time in an airport—now there's a surprise!—and I just wanted to check in and say that air marshals are getting better looking. At least, the one I watched going through security was a serious babe. Still, you'd think they'd have a system in place by now that kept even half-asleep slackers like me from making the marshals. I'd tell you how I picked her out, but then I'd be part of the problem, wouldn't I?

They're usually about as hard to pick out as, say, a tomato in a field of lemons. I actually got seated by an air marshal earlieer this year. Aside from the fact that he practically had a neon "COP!" sign above his head, during the flight he leaned over to the attractive woman sitting in the window seat and confided that he was an air marshal and, indeed, had a gun. Well, she was impressed!

He almost busted me for taking my bag from under the seat in front of me before we were appropiately docked at the gate (we were about 10 feet away and everybody was getting ready for the usual sprint to the door).

"Sir," he said when I slide by bag out and pulled it open, "we're not docked yet."

That's okay, I said.

"No sir, it's not okay," said the Marshal. "I'm an armed federal air marshal, and if you don't place your bag back under the seat, I;'m going to take you into custody."

Whoa, I said! Armed and all! Well sir, I'll just slide that bag right on back under the seat, which I did. Since we'd docked, I pulled it back out. Man, I felt so much more secure!!!

Interesting NPR Conversation

After taking a good look at the sleazy MSNBC interview between daytime anchor Lisa Daniels and Texas Representative Susanna Hupp, I decided to contact National Public Radio's "On The Media" program (MSNBC no longer maintains an ombudsman or any way for mere mortals to contact them). I've found OTM to be a pretty perceptive, pretty hard-nosed group of journalists, and I thought they might be interested.

I was immediately contacted by John Soloman, a reporter for OTM, and we had a long, really fascinating discussion on the various aspects of both the "gun culture"—a phrase I actually like even though it was coined by antigun people—and media bias.

We kept swirling around a central question—is the readily evident media bias against firearms and gun owners the result of active intent or ignorance on the part of journalists? Frankly, I fall on the side of ignorance. That opinion is based on five years on the front lines of the firearms/media "war." We members of the gun culture have done an abysmal job in explaining ourselves to the media, then we seemed surprise when the media gets everything wrong.

The NSSF media education program went a long way toward correcting that problem, but it was expensive to run, time-consuming and a bitch to organize. The current iteration of the program is a much-reduced version of the original program; still, it's a miracle it survived at all. The problem, as always, is money. The elections drained everyone's coffers, and the problem with a media program (anyone's media program; this is not exclusive to the firearms industry) is that it is impossible to evaluate it using traditional return-on-investment accounting. The "return" part of the equation is ephemerial and doesn't lend itself to "dollarization." Still, the media education program was responsible for sidetracking and eventually killing a very antigun "dsocumentary" on the shooting sports; the program team handled the Maryland sniper crisis, which was a textbook case of how to handle a crisis (even the Brady people, according to my busy little moles, gave grudging credit to our team for stopping them at every turn).

Now, what are those two items alone worth to the firearms industry? What is it worth not to have to fight a major antigun documentary from a respected media outlet? What is it worth to have weathered a serious crisis with no major damage? And that's just two instances out of, quite literally, dozens.

Bottom line? The industry is amazingly short-sighted in believing it doesn't need a full-time, experienced media team! The shooting sports need that team. Hunting needs that team. We need this a lot more than much of the crap the industry lavishly supports (there's a huge redundancy in the multiple hunter recruitment and retention initiatives, for example; a single coordinated effort would, IMO, he muchmore successful as well as more cost-effective).

I'll keep you posted on what develops from OTM.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tiddlywinks, anyone???

It's the Apocalypse...television has run out of sports to televise. This from the morning's Albany Times Union's Mark Mcguire: It's now official: We've run out of sports worth televising:
After a year in which poker has become the fastest-growing "sport" on TV, it's no surprise that it has come to this:

Fox Sports Net will air the World Rock Paper Scissors Championship -- yes, apparently there is one -- tonight as part of its "Best Damn Sports Show Period" (8 and 11 p.m.).

"Over the last three or four years, the line that separates sports and entertainment has been blurring. 'Best Damn Sports Show Period' is a perfect example," Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermillio said. "It's going to be a fun telecast. It's not being presented as, let's say, the seventh game of the World Series."

The championship took place in October. The competition will be repackaged into a New Year's Eve special and possibly even a series (!!), according to the network.

If it's a hit, look for "Duck, Duck, Goose," "Freeze Tag" and "One-Two-Three Shoot" coming to a cable channel near you.
Okay, what's wrong with this picture? You got your poker; you got your "Rock, Scissors, Paper;" you got your totally manufactured babes in wet t-shirts scaling big mountains, etc. What you don't got—at least on Big Time Media, BTM—is shooting.

Of course, that's understandable...after all, sport shooting is just behind jogging and bicycling in terms of participation. That puts sport shooting ahead of mountain biking, in-line skating, the entire roster of the ESPN X-Games, skiing, snowboarding, hacky-sack, dog frisbee, big wave surfing, drunken college students surfing the hoods of moving cars, curling, high-stakes poker, badmitton, rugby, dodgeball, pin the tail on the Demo...whoops, donkey...and a host of sports we're force-fed on the roughly 3,000 BTM sports channels.

Do you suppose that our absence in the BTM might, just maybe, have something to do the fact that all of sport shooting, whether it's hunting big game or plinking with a BB gun, has something to do with firearms? I mean, I know that's crazy, but why would BTM pass up revenue, allowing upstarts like The Outdoor Channel (and bless their hearts!!!) to siphon away millions of dollars in real bucks, if it wasn't because of firearms?

That's not bias, is it?

I talked to the sports editor for Associated Press in Chicago a couple of years back about why AP ignored the shooting sports. He told me that if the shooting sports had any support at all, why didn't he read about them in the paper? I suggested that, since he was one of the gate-keepers, we'd entered into a chicken-and-egg sort of thing. His response:
"I've got real sports to cover, little boy, so bye-bye."
And he hung up on me. Damn, those sports editors are erudite! Maybe I should have taken notes.

Monday, December 13, 2004

LOTR, yeah!

Got my copy of the extended edition of RETURN OF THE KING today!


I'm going to lock myself in a room with a quart of eggnog, a bottle of rum, all three extended editions of LOTR and an up-sampling DVD player this weekend. I'll be off the road—finally—for a few weeks, and I deserve it!

Anti-Gun Rantings

Things are heating up on the antigun front. I got a heads-up on this MSNBC interview of Texas Congresswoman Susanna Hupp by reporter Lisa Daniels from Paul Erhardt just before I went to Canada, and now it seems to be bubbling up. Read the transcript at The Smallest Minority and Alphecca's post on it this morning.

To the best of my knowledge, MSNBC no longer has an ombudsman or any other way to directly to reach the news giant. Let me research it a bit and I'll post some response information.

Back in the Saddle Again...

Well, we've all returned relatively unscathed from the the buffalo hunt in Canada for COWBOYS. The guys at Great Canadian were great hosts; it was colder than the proverbial witches' boom-booms and Tequila, our host, discovered that period costuming is...less than sufficient...when the temperature falls down into the nether regions. To his credit, he never complained, just kept turning redder and redder. Amazingly, the testy horses cut him some slack and didn't throw his cowboy butt into a snowbank.

The buff bull was shot four times at around 100 yards with a .45/70 Cimarron Sharps Texas Ranger Carbine, and he ran a ways before dropping.

Canadian customs was Big Fun, especially if you like being questioned by smart-ass Quebecoise trash pretending to have a brain. "When was the last time you imported something into Canada? Oh come on! How can you say you've never imported anything into Canada? We know you import into Canada!" Yeah, I've got something I'd like to import into Canada, as soon as I finish shoveling it up from the dog's run!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Pizza, Anyone???

An interesting article in this morning's USA Today on guns in the workplace. The story's lead is on a Pizza Hut driver who got fired for capping some dirtbag who wanted more than the pepperoni. This quote really jumped out at me:
"Do you want your mail guy or delivery guy carrying a loaded gun when he comes to the door?" asks Patty Sullivan, a Pizza Hut spokeswoman. "What if he's not happy with his tip?"
Isn't that cute? Leaving aside the fact that I don't tip my "mail guy," Ms. Patty seems to hang around with a different class of delivery person that I do. I mean, I am occasionally a bad tipper, but not once single delivery person has ever taken a shot at me. Heck, they haven't even threatened to knife me, bludgeon me, sic a crack-crazed pit bull on me, run me over or anything lethal.

In fat, Ms. Patty's cute little snippet is the most glaring type of stereotyping, the kind the antigun people just love to plaster in the media. As an antigun person once said to me on a readio debate after a widely publicized murder, "That could be you, losing it and killing someone."

To which I responded, "Bullshit!"

People rare "snap"--unless they have a long history of violence. Delivery "guys" don't shoot people over bad tips. Criminals commit crimes of violence. The whole "criminals are good people who clock out one morning" is the single most successful piece of disinformation the antigun movement has perpetuated.

I'm thinking that maybe it's time to order a pizza! Here's how:

Patty Sullivan
Pizza Hut
(972) 338-7844

Tell her you'd like one with all the misconceptions, nonsense and antigun propaganda! Maybe some pepperoni and extra cheese!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Media Bias

I always feel sorry for Joanne Ostrow, the media critic for the Denver Post and the last person in America who believes—really believes—that the media doesn't have a distinctly liberal bias.

Well, just in case she's reading (Hi, Joanne! I'm the guy you refer to as "the gun nut!"), here's an excellent explanation on the mechanics of media bias from The Weekly Standard:
"The bottom line from the Groseclose-Milyo study is that the political slant of most of the mainstream media is far to the left of the typical member of Congress. Thus, if the political opinions of viewers, listeners, and readers are similar to those of their elected representatives, the political leanings of most of the media are far to the left of those of most of their customers. This mismatch suggests profit opportunities for conservative-oriented, or at least balanced, media outlets. Fox News is probably only the beginning. Maybe the next conservative entrant will be a recreated CBS News."

Design With Bubba!

I've got to stop watching HGTV; it's starting to fog my brain even more than usual. Last night, somewhere between Divine Design and Designers' Challenge, I suddenly realized that I was sitting on a gold mine. I mean, there's a design show in every niche...but one.

I refer, of course, to White Trash Design, the ultimate precursor for White Trash Chic. There are white trash cookbooks, white trash clothing, even a White Trash Barbie...but until now, no cleverly scripted home redecorating show to help guide the flocks of Blue Staters migrating south and west to help "tip the scales" in the next national election. Hey, you can move to rural Georgia (or next door to me in Nowhere, Colorado), but if you expect to effect successful political change, you've got to learn to fit in!

I give you...(pause for build-up of tension)...DESIGN WITH BUBBA!

"Now I know your grandmamma, rest her soul, gave you that dining table that come on the Mayflower, but what our 'crack'—get it?—team has done is move that old one out and replaced it with a big ole cable spool we got for free by cutting through the fence at that ole telephone company workyard out on 15-East. Now our designer and hair stylist, Ethel, has gotcha some sticky back contact paper over at the Target...'cuse me...the Tar-jay, as you Blue-ees say, and we're gonna use the whole roll right on the top of that cable spool..."

"You know, purple is the 'new beige' and all the rage for wall covering, counter-tops, and festive wear. Bobby Lou...he's always been a strange one...did half his mullet in purple, but that was by accident after the fire..."

"Now this is your new entertainment center, built entirely of knotty pine with them black wrought iron hinges made real cheap in Mexico where all the jobs went. You notice it don't pick up NPR or CBS, but it does have all-Rush, all the time..."

"We were able to bring it in under our $2,000,000.79 budget, you bein' new to the area and all. Y'all have a good time with everything—you gonna love that tractor tire planter come spring!—and in no time at all, your kids are gonna be goin' to NASCAR, buying t-shirts with guns on 'em and lookin' forward to votin' Republican! We'll see you folks next week on...DESIGNING WITH BUBBA!"

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Guns & Self-Defense & Our English Brothers

You know, a few years back my Significant Other, who happens to be an attorney, asked me an interesting question:
"I get what you're saying about gun control, but assuming gun control clearly has no effect on violent crime, and given that the people advocating gun control are smart enough to know that, what do they want? What does the gun control movement actually hope to accomplish?"
That question threw me at the time, because, honestly, even though I'd been fighting them for years, I didn't thave the slightest idea of what people in the gun control movement actually wanted.

That's easy, you say. They want gun control. They want all guns, especially handguns, to go away.

But why?

Gun control has been repeatedly tried, and it works every bit as well as, say, socialism, which is to say, not at all. Turns out the old cliche is absolutely right...when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Josh Sugarman from the VPC and Sarah Brady aren't fools; they know they're selling snake oil. And so we're back to that pesky why?

That's why I'm so fascinated with the English experience. First, they get rid of the guns. Then, they're "stunned" when violent crime soars. In fact, both Britain and Australia now top the U.S. in violent crime that has soared since both countries started banning guns.

The next step was, of course, banning self-defense.

Easy to see how that happens...all life is precious, so the scumbag who rapes your wife and daughter is every bit as sacred as what's left of your family. Tsk, tsk, my man. Stiff upper lip and all that. That's okay when it's hapless farmers (which is a nice English word for "peasants") ending up in the slam for whacking a burglar. It's fine right up until the point that rich English gentry starts getting sliced and diced.

Suddenly, the Brits are thinking that maybe all life isn't equally sacred! Check out this column from the Guardian:
"In New Hampshire, there are few burglaries because there's a high rate of gun ownership. Getting your head blown off for a $70 TV set isn't worth it. Conversely, thanks to the British police, burning the flesh of a London dressmaker to get her watch is definitely worth it. In Chelsea the morning after Mr Monckton's murder, Her Majesty's Keystone Konstabulary with all their state-of-the-art toys had sealed off the street in an almost comical illustration of their lavishly funded uselessness."
It's time for our English brethren (and that a word?) to rise up and throw off the Tory chains that bind them! Hey, we know a thing or two about revolution over here in the colonies.

SOOOOOOOO...what the Sarah Bradys and the Josh Sugarmans of the world really want is not the end of guns, but the end of all violence, including violence against those loveable, cuddly criminals...just like the one who shot Ms. Brady's husband and President Ronald Reagan. Gosh, that's a nice thought!

Hats Off!

While in Sante Fe last weekend, I renewed an old acquaintance with Kevin O'Farrell, the greatest cowboy hat-maker in the world.

There are cowboy hats and cowboy hats, but Kevin's hats are purely unique. That's why they've ended up on the heads of presidents, artists and famous rock stars you'd recognize in a minute. I met him more than a decade ago at a Michael Martin Murphey "Westfest," then again at his O'Farrell's of Durango hat store. He used to run with some of the same folks I did back in the day, including master holster-maker Gordon Davis, one of the co-founders of SASS and cowboy shooting.

O'Farrells of Durango was a screaming success, but Kevin wanted to build hats one at a time, made to order. So he sold the business in Durango and retreated to Santa Fe's Canyon Road, already crawling with artists and a bastion of eccentricity.

Kevin's got this ancient device for measuring a person's head—it looks like something one might have worn back in the 1880s to communicate with the dead. So he plops this device on your head, then walks around you two or three times, teaking this and that, while you wait to start receiving All-Zombie All-The-Time radio. Then he whips out a tape measure, takes a lot of measurements of your head and looks worried, is if somehow your skull has been found wanting. Then he makes a lot of notes on an index card, which he probably sells to Homeland Security as soon as you leave.

Not surprisingly, his hats are expensive--$575 for part beaver; $875 for all beaver. Kevin said I should have ordered one when he was in Durango, back when I might have been able to afford it. Still, an O'Farrell hat is a lifetime investment.

And, no, he doesn't sell hats on the internet! You've got to haul your butt to Santa Fe, put the device on your head, hand Kevin a credit card and wait for Zombie Radio. Tell him I sent you, and maybe he'll give me a discount.

Back in the World!

Sigh...even a short vacation is better than no vacation at all!

Still, I have learned several important facts during the Santa Fe Long Weekend:

1) You cannot eat green chilis at every single meal for two days without consequences! This is the reality of it. I suppose if you eat chilis every day you develop some kind of immunity. I probably eat hot food at least once a week, but the daily chili ingestion adds up. This is why god made Pepto-Bismol!

2) Art is expensive. Good art is more expensive than bad art. Some art sucks, and it is still expensive.

3) Sometimes New Age devotees inadvertently create something cool, as in the case of a "Faeries in the World" exhibit, which in addition to all the cartoon-creepy anime-eyed faeries included a series of bronze-cast amazingly slutty faeries. They looked like Russian debutantes after an all-night bender with nitrous oxide and a hockey team. Tinker Belle indeed! If those faeries are "in the world," I hope they drop by my corner of it to visit. Maybe I should put vodka in the hummingbird feeder.

4) You would think that a "Georgia O'Keefe Museum" would have a lot of Georgia O'Keefe paintings, especially a selection of the famous ones, wouldn't you?

5) Lucchese is still the Gold Standard of cowboy boots. If they were good enough for Gene Autrey and the Duke, they're good enough for me. Now, if they would only start offering a loan program for potential purchasers!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Chili Paradise!

Am taking a few days off with my sweetie in Santa Fe. Last night, when we got in, we sprinted to the Shed restaurant and their amazing red chili sauce. Now, I'm pretty much a green chili sort of guy, but the Shed's red is what little chilis hanging on the plant dream of growing up to be. The blue corn enchiladas baked in the red chili sauce is one of the baseline meals that everyone should eat just once!!!

More as we eat and shop our way through chili paradise!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Cool Telly-Bision!

I've just come back from OUTDOOR CHANNEL WORLD COMMAND in Southern California, where I've been plastered to video monitors reviewing the first five shows of Season 3 of SHOOTING GALLERY and Season 1 of COWBOYS.

I am a very happy puppy! It is amazing the difference high definition makes. I watched half a dozen shows in HD, then changed monitors to watch a couple of our remaining standard definition shows. I kept looking at the screen going, "What's wrong wih the picture?" Nothing was wrong with the picture, but when you get used to the HD images, regular television looks pale and washed out.

For SG, Producer Robin Berg and I have sped the show up, pushing the envelope a little more on editing. With both shows, we've also gone through a major upgrade on sound, using a sound tech--the illustrious Adam--to mix in the field. There's some spectacular helicopter footage from Dave Lauck's International Tactical Rifle Championships in Wyoming, and the episode of COWBOYS on wild mustangs will, I swear, make you cry.

Plus, in an episode on the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation anniversary match, I get to call Congress "Jurassic Park!"

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Gun Porn

Okay, I don't usually make recomendations on porn...I don't want my heart to stop, or anything. And this isn't really porn. It's a toplist of Japanese anime, much of which deals with big-eyed anime girls with bigger guns. There's a whole subset of anime (and its sister pornographic art, hentai) that centers on guns. The girls may be over-endowed and doe-like, but the guns are rendered with photographic realism.

BE AWARE that I haven't looked at every image on this list!!! Don't say I didn't warn you.

These can't top my personal favorite anime, GUNSMITH CATS. Rally and Minnie May, two teenaged "bounty hunters" and gun store owners in Chicago--don't even THINK about e-mailing me as to the improbability and illegality of this!--are smart, funny and heavily armed. Kenichi Sonata, the Cats artist, is reputed to have the largest collection of Airsoft guns in Japan and obsesses over CZ-75s and vintage Mustang muscle cars. Heck, there's a lot of Rally and Minnie May in the heroines of my mystery series that beganin ALL NIGHT RADIO.

If I can figure out how to post solme photos, I'll send 'em along.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Reading List

BTW, I'm in the process of re-reading George R. R. Martin's FEVRE DREAM, the single best vampire novel ever written and a moving study on friendship. This is a perfect book to read during the holiday season, and if you don't tear up at the end, you have the heart of a...stone.

SAF Weighs In on Wisconsin

Check out my pal Dave Workman's response for the Second Amendment Foundation on the Wisconsin murders.
"Keep this in perspective: The Wisconsin case is about six alleged homicides and two attempted murders. It is not about gun politics, and it should not be shamelessly exploited toward that agenda. Let’s focus on prosecuting one individual for a horrible crime, not penalizing a million gun owners for the rifles they own."
Dave is lucid and, as usual, thoughtful, but I think he's cutting NSSF's Larry Keane too much slack. Still, you can never accuse Fox Butterfield (who never forgave me for repeatedly calling him Fox Butterworth, as in the pancake syrup) of the New York Times of objectivity. But saying that Butterworth...oops, Butterfield...took Keane's comments out of context is like saying the sky is blue...duh! We can get an even shake from Iver Peterson, NYT's other guy on the gun beat, but Fox is about as partisan as they come.

When you walk into a S&%T-STORM, you ought to do it woth your eyes open!

The Incredible Disappearing Gun Owner

Well, the election hangover have cleared up, the pundits moved on to other issues and, once again, gunowners have simply disappeared from the media and public radar.

We disappeared quicker than usual this election cycle, because the media pundits were focused on Red State voters focused on gay marriage, moral issues, religion, etc. The fact that we gunowners and sportsmen turned out in unprecedented numbers and had a profound effect on the election, especially in swing states like Ohio and Florida, went largely unnoticed and unremarked upon, except in our own media and from a few sports columnists.

Well, you say, so what? We won. Big time. That is true, and I am certainly glad not to be strategizing about how to survive four years of a Kerry Presidency!

However, our quadrannaul disappearing act has some serious effects on what we're actually trying to accomplish. Because the election buzz was all around evangelicals, the morality vote, etc., politicians being politicians and all, I suspect they'll be a bit less beholden to us gun voters. I wonder if we can arrange to have Bubba Clinton do another interview in USA Today and claim Kerry lost Ohio, and the Presidency, because of us pesky gunowners? That'd help.

More importantly our lack of visibility in the media hurts us on numerous levels. Our sports receive no coverage, because, to the media, we don't exist. The Big Bad Gun Lobby exists, and its number is NRA. But what about the shooting sports, which are among the fastest growing sports in the country? What about the successful defensive use of guns? I could go on and on.

From a gunowner's standpoint, invisibility is a good thing. You still get invited to parties; your kids friends' parents don't turn you in to the local constabulary; everything is back the way it was.

That's too bad. The first time I talked to the media spinners from the Pink Pistols, the largest gay self-defense group, they made an interesting comment.
"If we had as many people as you guys, as large a percentage of the population, we'd be untouchable. Here's a free piece of advice: Out of the closets and into the streets!"
Invisibility = having to fight the same battles over and over again!

Monday, November 29, 2004

French Fried

Hot French chick reporter with gun...what's it all coming to? (Instapundit on top of to speak).

Media Bias Check

Here's the weekly Second Amendment Media Bias check from

Nice WT Commentary on Wisconsin Incident

Here's a thought...hunting is actually pretty the very least, safer than driving my Jeep in the snow! From the Washington Times:
"The most conspicuous fact about hunting in America is how safe it is. There are more than 15 million licensed hunters in this country, all armed with weapons that can easily kill a duck, a rabbit, a deer or a human being. All it takes is a split-second misjudgment or lapse of concentration to produce a lasting tragedy. But such tragedies are very much the exception."

Bad Blogger! Bad! Bad!

Well, what can I say?

One 12-hour day filming, followed by a lovely travel day (Sunday) on the busiest travel day of the year--"Sit down ! Don't throw the leftover turkey! We've only been standing in this line an hour, so what's your problem!"--followed by the news that, post snowstorm, my Jeep was "in a ditch and the four-wheel drive doesn't seem to work."

Gosh, what fun!

Jeep now out-of-ditch; front transaxle reduced to a pile of metal chips in oil suspension. Not worth repairing.

I gotta go buy a new/used/whatever SUV, which I was going to do in March, when I had a little time.

Still, dealing with car dealers--may they all rot in hell--ought to provide hours of funnies!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Cowboy Mounted Shoot-Em-Up

Spent all day today at the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) World Championships in Scottsdale, AZ, for the first season of COWBOYS.

I've got to confess, I've never really been a horsey person...I've always thought of horses as proto-motorcycles, without a kill switch. I did, however, once do an eight-day cattle drive (pre-CITY SLICKERS, I might add) in Montana for the Chicago Tribune News Syndicate years ago, and I liked it a lot more than I expected. My horse, Jeff-The-Couch, couldn't actually meet the eight criteria for a living organism...sort of like Mr. Ed on thorazine. The wrangler assured me that J-T-C really liked me, which I could tell by the fact that the horse hadn't tossed my butt down the side of a mountain. After a few days, I got to thinking that I could really get to like ole Jeff, if only he'd learn to kneel so I could easily dismount. And maybe get the optional tape player installed.

Mounted cowboy shooting is pretty straightforward--ride like a crazy person through a convoluted course defined by pylons and barrels while blasting away at balloon targets with sixguns loaded with blanks. Paging Quentin Tarantino...your next movie idea is here!

The horses of CMSA could convince me that I really *need* another whacky animal. They're sort of uber-horses, the kind of horses you might find in John Ford westerns. Whenever we were doing interviews with the cowboys and cowgirls, the horses mugged for the camera. A couple of them--I swear--stared at the camera as if they were considering a purchase on their own and were weighing Panasonic versus Sony.

And that's to say nothing of the cowgirls! To watch these women thundering along on horseback through a complex stage, firing their single actions at the balloon targets, trips a whole series of fantasies that probably lodged in my head when I was seven or so, plastered to the television. Gee, Dale, I'm glad you think I'm special...

Could be the chaps, too.

Maybe it's simple jealousy...that the men, women and horses can perform this complex ballet of balloons, barrels and black powder at 40 miles-per-hour, and I still look like a dweeb in a cowboy hat. In any case, hit the CMSA website and see if there's a club or event in your area. You owe it to yourself to go watch a match. Then watch the episode of COWBOYS, and you'll be shopping for oats in no time.

As a matter of fact, I couldn't help but notice your spurs...

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Okay, a lot of people refuse to come to my house unless I swear I'm making dessert (so, apparently, all those cooking classes weren't for naught!).

This Thanksgiving, I decided to make something different. I took my patented-works-every-time filched-from-the-Silver-Palate-Cookbook Amaretto Chocolate Mousse recipe, replaced the amaretto with framboise, cut out the sugar, soaked two pints of fresh raspberries in a mixture of framboise and very good tequila (anejo), then laddeled the mousse mixture into individual cups over the marinated raspberries, addiing 1/2 teaspoon of the framboise/tequila mix to each cup.

Guaranteed to send you into hypoglycemic shock before you can get to the door! And NO calories! Honest!

In the spirit of the current ecumenical political partnership, I have decided to name my creation after...well, you guess:


One Turkey Saved...

Am presently striving to survive a relatively innocuous Thanksgiving...a couple of friends are coming over and we're going to feed them halibut. If they don't like it, hey, there's always Denny's! Strictly BYO-Green-Bean-Casserole!

Before I settle into a long stretch in the kitchen, I thought I'd send you all out to get a new Democratic t-shirt. My personal favorite is:
One Party to Rule Them All,
One Party fo Find Them,
One Party to Bring Them All,
And in the Darkness Bind Them
A friend e-mailed me this AM and asked about my most memorable Thanksgiving. The one that popped to mind was when my Mom sent an entire Thanksgiving dinner party, except me, to the hospital with food poisoning, courtesy of a canned English pea, Velvetta and warm, unrefrigerated mayonnaise casserole. I wisely fed my serving to the dog, who later hurled. Bon Appetit!

Remember the troops in your prayers, and be especially thankful we don't have to say, "I wonder what First Lady Heinz is going to wear to the Inauguration?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Charlie's Angels

While you're munching turkey tomorrow, give a thought to these three medics in Iraq, collectively known as Charlie's Angels. In fact, join me in giving thanks for all the guys and girls Over There, so we can have a quiet Thanksgiving dinner Over Here. A "thank you" hardly seems adequate! And a tip of the hat to Jonah Goldberg at NR for the tip and the cranberry sauce recipes!

Hunting Murders Update...

Self-defense or not?

Chai Vang says the other guys fired first. Well, that probably buys him one justifiable homicide and five murders, if it turns out to be true.

Here's a link to the original Wisconsin police report of the incident. Click on the "Hunting Homicides" link, then on the "Suspect Statement" to download a PDF of the scanned report. Apparently, I'm not blog-saavy enough to make the link work directly!

As civilians, we live in a world of civilian rules of engagement. That's an important point as more and more of us get advanced training that was originally crafted for police and military units. Under military rules of engagement, Vang's actions make perfectly good sense. He was an individual under attack by a group known to have firearms. But he wasn't a military man behind enemy lines when he acted. He was, and is, a civilian.

If the police report is accurate, the rifle was not an SKS, but rather a SAIGA, which is, ironically given the earlier reports, a sporterized hunting rifle built on the tried-and-true AK-47 action at the IZHMASH arms plant in Izhevsk, Russia. The gun has been imported into the U.S. for a number of years by European American Armory in Florida and sells in the $300-400 range with a number of options.

Read the antigun spin from the Violence Policy Center (VPC), which still includes references to the "SKS assault rifle."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More Murder...

This basically is how we shoot ourselves in the foot with the media:
"Some will immediately raise the issue of gun control. The SKS 7.62mm semiautomatic assault weapon, the kind of rifle Vang was carrying, is ill-suited for hunting deer. It is apparently too underpowered to kill a deer with a single shot, the goal of hunters who want to avoid needless suffering.

Former President Clinton, by executive order, barred SKS rifles manufactured in China and Russia. The Bush administration, according to a national gun control group, has specifically allowed their importation from some other countries.

Should they be banned by executive order altogether?"
You may recognize that come from us, from the people we trust to speak to the media in our behalf. While the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial didn't end up buying into the antigun line, they're only the first.

Everybody thinks they can do a good job talking to the media, just like every guy you meet thinks he's a world-class shooter, lover and car mechanic. Yeah, right. As somebody who has taught crisis media relations and who has handled media relations for the firearms industry, even I take a long, deep breath before I sit down to talk with someone from the New York Times, or the networks, or the cable news outlets. And I make damn sure my ducks are in a row before I pick up the phone.

The Wisconsin Hunting Murders...

I'm having a lot of trouble getting my head around the deer hunting murders in Wisconsin. The more I read, the less sense it makes.

There are some interesting commentaries on the discussion groups, with most people as confused as I am.

The latest material I've seen is that the killer has a history of violent spouse abuse, which would be consistent with previous spree murderers. Still, a lot of questions still waiting to be answered.

A couple of points I'd like to consider:

Return fire. The victims were hunters; by defnition, they had guns. Was this (as one poster on suggested) a failure of mindset on the part of the victims, the classic I can't believe this is happening?

•Diss'ing the gun. Check this out from the New York Times:

"The rifle that killed five Wisconsin hunters and wounded three more on Sunday was an SKS 7.62-millimeter semiautomatic assault weapon not normally used in hunting animals.

"This is not a gun you go deer hunting with," said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry trade association.

The reason the SKS is not used by hunters, Mr. Keane said, is that it is designed for combat soldiers and is therefore underpowered for killing an animal like a deer with a single shot, the goal of good hunters.

"The ethics of hunting are you don't want the animal to suffer needlessly," Mr. Keane said.

Mr. Keane said he suspected that the man accused of the Wisconsin killings was not a trained hunter, since with the SKS he was carrying, he would have had to shoot a deer several times to kill it."
This is bad spinhe's not one of us because he used an evil rifle. The SKS is never going to win any beauty pageants, but it's a fine—and inexpensive—deer rifle. The 7.62 is on par with a .30/30, which has taken more deer-sized game than any other cartridge in American history. Here's what Ruger, which makes the Mini-30 in 7.62, has to say:
"[the cartridge and rifle] has proven itself as the ideal autoloader for deer-sized game at medium ranges."
While I'm not a big fan of the SKS (I'm a pissy gunwriter, and I've found the SKS to have the ergonomics of a mop handle duct-taped to a guitar), it's a standard-issue deer hunting rifle in much of the South--my father has used his SKS deer hunting in Tennessee. It's cheap, accurate at medium distances, reliable as dirt, *not* classified as an "assault weapon" by any standards, has tons of relatively inexpensive ammo available and can be upgraded by any number of aftermarket accessories. Heck, I'd rather have a 7.62 X 39 than, say, a .243 any day of the week.

Murder is murder. The type of gun used doesn't have anything to do with it.