Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I just received a package from my friend Thorsten in Germany. Contents: thirteen pounds of Kinderschokolade, one of my vices acquired during childhood in the old Fatherland.

I notice they've replaced the smarmy kid that has graced the front of the box since I was running around in diapers. I guess his 1970s hairstyle was getting a bit dated, so now the boxes have a picture of an entirely different smarmy kid, this one with an updated haircut.

Also in the package: two pairs of the old-style German Army "Moleskin" olive green BDU pants. They look and feel just like the ones issued to me one cold January day in Weingarten, back in 1989. Like Thorsten says, they're half as expensive as 5.11 pants and last about twice as long. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever ripping a pair, and they take eons to wear out.

Ah, nostalgia. I feel like an old geezer whenever we talk about our time in the service, back when the Bundeswehr was staffed and equipped to fight WWIII against the Soviets in Fulda Gap. Those were the days...

Back then we had real rifles, yessir! G3 in 7.62x51mm, not those lightweight plastic Lego rifles they have nowadays! We were wearing olive green, not blotchy camo, and our helmets were made of steel, not that lightweight Kevlar stuff! Our Bundeswehr had twelve divisions, half of which were Panzer divisions stocked to the teeth with Leopard 2 MBTs, not the handful of Rapid Reaction "Team Germany: Peace Police" divisions they have now.

Now excuse me while grab my cane and chase some kids off my lawn...

Monday, February 26, 2007

long overdue honors.

LTC Bruce Crandall received his belated Medal of Honor today, for his actions during the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang Valley. He joins his wingman, Ed "Too Tall" Freeman, who received the Medal of Honor in 2001 already.

Together, Messrs. Crandall and Freeman medevaced 70 wounded soldiers from Landing Zone X-Ray with unarmed and unarmored UH-1 Hueys under intense fire, having to switch helicopters due to battle damage several times in the course of their day-long rescue operation.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

public service announcement.

If you happen to receive "spiritual advice" from geese flying over your house telling you to stab your toddler granddaughter, you should probably just go ahead and disregard it...or maybe park yourself in the front yard with a Remington Wingmaster and give those birds some advice of your own.

Sick, sad world.

On a side note...who lets their certifiably nutso mother (who had been committed to the funny farm just weeks earlier) watch their toddler? That's some super parenting right there.

Friday, February 23, 2007



Not only did I beat LawDog to the punch when blogging about the 70-ish vet who snapped a mugger's neck in Costa Rica, but I was also correct with my hunch about the vet's branch of service: he is a Marine.

Yeah, the other services are all highly trained professionals, and together they comprise the most powerful military in the history of civilization, but they don't emphasize snapping necks at the Air Force Academy or Great Lakes, if you know what I mean.

If you have any doubt, just go to a recruiting center that has offices for all services side by side, and take a look at the guys inside. Then ask yourself: which one of these guys looks and carries himself like he could snap my neck like a twig?

Eight out of ten times, the gentleman in question will be wearing a globe and anchor.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

go, grandpa.

A retired serviceman in his Seventies recently joined in with some other elderly tourists who decided to not be food, fighting back against a trio of armed muggers which held up their tour bus in Costa Rica.

He put one of the young miscreants into a headlock, snapped his clavicle, and sent the other two fleeing. The hoodlum died at a hospital, and police are looking for the other two.

The local constabulary has no plans to file charges against the tourists, recognizing their right to self-defense.

It's not the weapon, it's the mindset.

Oh, and I don't know the service branch of the retired serviceman, but I have a pretty good idea...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

the good old times...

...when they were taking out full-page ads for "assault rifles" in hunting magazines.

Here's a Colt ad for a "hunting rifle" that dates back right about to the decade when our pal Jim Zumbo started spilling ink as a gun writer.

Check out the price tag.

Oh, boy...if my local Gun Haus started selling factory new Colt AR-15 Sporters for $189.99 tomorrow morning, I'd buy as many of them as the minivan could hold, and my Dearly Beloved's anger at the credit card bill would evaporate at the sight of sweet, sweet profits as I turned all of them on Gunbroker for seven bills a pop. (All except for maybe a half dozen for the personal stash, that is.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

worst case of foot-in-mouth disease i've ever seen.

zumbo [zuhm-bow]: verb -boed, noun

1. to screw up royally in a public fashion; to commit a career-ending mistake in writing; to shoot off one's foot in a particularly gory way.

2. a clueless elitist in flannel; a turncoat; a living embodiment of Elmer Fudd.

From the looks of it, the next episode of "Hunting with Jim Zumbo" is going to be centered around dragging the old duck blind to the unemployment office. What kind of scattergun shot for the elusive "new job", Jim?

Update: It looks like Mr. Zumbo's employer and main sponsor wasted no time calling out the damage control teams to stave off the threatening boycotts. His blog has been taken offline, which is why the links above are now dead, and Remington announced that all business ties with Mr. Zumbo are being severed immediately.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

Friday, February 16, 2007

he's still so ronery.

Happy birthday, Dear Leader!

The world's favorite crazy Stalinist crackpot dictator turns 65 today. I hope he hangs in there for a few more years just for entertainment's not like we have an overabundance of crazy Stalinist dictators in the world these days.

Have a big slice of Yellowcake!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

happy birthday, quinn.

Put on your party hats and join us for an all-you-can-eat cake party at The Munchkin Wrangler. Quinn is two years old today!

My, how time flies. It seems like just a few weeks ago when we came home from the hospital with the leaky little slug.

This was Quinn two years ago:

Here's one year ago:

Monday, February 12, 2007

most scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

From the expanses of the intarw3bz:

The Top 20 failed Haggis marketing ploys:

1. Freeze-dried Haggis, the official haggis of NASA
2. Haggis On a Stick
3. Kentucky Fried Haggis, in extra-crispy or the Colonel Original secret recipe
4. Stove-Slop Haggis, instead of potatoes
5. Baaaaaa-B-Q, with peat &'s mesquite flavoring
6. Mountain Ewe, totally refreshing carbonated haggis beverage. Do the Ewe!
7. Cup o' Guts Instant Haggis
8. Entrail Mix: Natural Snack
9. Mix &'s Eat Cream of Sheep
10. Wool-Whip Non-dairy dessert topping
11. H.L.T.
12. Got Haggis
13. Haggis Joy and Mounds: Sometimes you feel like a gut. Sometimes you don't....
14. Bleaties Cereal, breakfast of Champions
15. Shish ke Baaaaaaaab
16. Haggis Helper
17. Chockful o' Guts Haggis Coffee: Gut to the last drop!
18. Pedialights: Haggis for the wee bairn
19. Two all-sheep haggis, special sauce, lettuce, cheese......
20. Haggis Baaz: Premium Haggis Ice Cream

Saturday, February 10, 2007

king of the holster sniffers.

A few years back, I worked behind the counter of the local cop shop, selling guns and gear to police officers and deputies from every county within driving range. Because of our good selection of used guns due to our bartering with departments for their seized and surplus guns, we also attracted a fair amount of regular citizen walk-in traffic.

Every cop shop has a "holster sniffer". This is the guy that isn't a cop, but wishes he was. He may have managed to land a job with a security outfit that lets him wear a vaguely police-like uniform, and then he comes into the gun shop looking for a nylon duty rig for his Taurus PT92, or Ruger semi-auto, or whatever it is he ties around his ample midsection when he clocks out to go home. (You see, the most dangerous thing Holster Sniffer is allowed to attach to his belt while "on duty" is a 2oz. canister of pepper spray. It used to be his six-cell Maglite, but he finally passed his pepper spray certification on the third try.)

If there's an actual police officer in the store at the time, Holster Sniffer will sidle up to the genuine article and start "talking shop", sharing unsolicited advice sprinkled with anecdotes from the front lines of retail security. Many a rookie has made the mistake of giving Holster Sniffer the time of day once, and now Holster Sniffer will latch on to the rookie for at least thirty minutes whenever their paths cross in the gun store...which is more often than you'd think possible, because Holster Sniffer hangs out and waits for his "colleagues" to drop in every other evening before his shift starts.

Our worst example of the breed even drove a Chevy Caprice, the old cruiser model, complete with a search light, antenna farm on the trunk lid, and strobe battery in the rear window. He's somewhat of a local legend, and I'd make myself rare and disappear in the back to log in new Bushmaster shipments or something whenever I'd see his uniform-clad 300-pound frame approaching from the parking lot.

Still, our most dedicated holster sniffer could only aspire to the lofty standards set by Mr. Henry Terry, from Hempstead, N.Y. Not only did Mr. Terry have the uniform and badge, he also had a tricked-out Crown Vic, self-designed law enforcement credentials (from the entirely fictional "New York Enforcement Asset Recovery Bureau's District 2 Operations"), and an actual office, complete with name plate on the desk.

Pretty ballsy, actually. I don't know what I'd do if I got pulled over by a guy flashing credentials with a prominent typo on them, but handing cash to that guy probably wouldn't be near the top of the list.

Friday, February 9, 2007

blued steel.

Here's something pretty: a Smith & Wesson Model 30, known as the ".32 Hand Ejector" before S&W went to model numbers in the 1950s.

This one was traded in by some mortal fool at my neighborhood gun shoppe, and I just had to lay claim to it. This particular Model 30 is in 98% condition even by conservative measure, which is quite excellent for a gun manufactured in 1959. I hope I look that good when I'm close to 50.

It's hopelessly untactical, and any number of intarw3bz gun board jockeys will tell you that it's useless for self-defense because it's only chambered in .32 S&W Long. Personally, I think that catching one or six of those little lead pills with your brisket will certainly not improve your day. (Interestingly enough, revolvers chambered in that caliber were considered adequate for police work in the early 20th century.) Ballistically, the .32S&W Long is about in the same ballpark as the .32ACP, and the M30 can use .32ACP ammo in a pinch because the semi-rim on the .32ACP holds the cartridge in the chamber just fine.

This little wheelgun is tiny. It's an Improved I-frame, and it's about 20% smaller than a J-frame, Smith & Wesson's smallest present-day offering. Robin likes the low weight and small size, so I guess the little M30 will pull bodyguard duty with her, an eminently honorable assignment.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Via Tam, we get another look into the head of the probable Democrat front-runner for President in 2008.

Hillary sez:

"The other day the oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits..."

That's right...she has the gall to stand on a stage and publically announce her intent to appropriate the legitimate and legal earnings of a legal business because she thinks they earned too much money last year, because she thinks she can find a better use for them, and because she is convinced that she has legal and moral standing to do so.

By what right, and under which authority? For whose benefit?

Oh, by the's a detail about the evil Plutocrats at ExxonMobil that the Socialists fail to mention every time they moan about the record profits (as if "profit" is a dirty word.)

ExxonMobil made $39.5 billion in profits last year.

ExxonMobil paid $100.7 billion in taxes last year.

That's right, they paid two and a half times the amount of their profits to Uncle Sam in return for being allowed to do business. The real record profit beneficiary last year was the U.S. Treasury.

From the Tax Foundation, we learn some interesting facts:

"[Between 1977 and 2004] the 29 largest domestic energy firms earned a collective $630 billion after adjusting for inflation. These profits varied dramatically—from a low of $7.9 billion in 1995 to a high of $42.6 billion in 2004—based upon world market demand, supply, and international events.

In contrast, the taxes paid or remitted by domestic oil companies have been consistently far greater than their profits and now total more than $2.2 trillion (adjusted for inflation) over the past quarter century. The largest share of those taxes is federal and state gasoline excise taxes. In 2004, governments collected $58 billion in gasoline excise taxes. Overall, governments have collected $1.34 trillion in gasoline excise taxes since 1977. [emphasis mine]

Today, U.S. consumers pay an average of 45.9 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes. The federal gasoline excise tax is 18.4 cents per gallon while the average state and local tax is 27.5 cents. The vast majority of these taxes are levied at a flat rate per gallon—regardless of whether a gallon of gas costs $1.49, $2.49, or $3.49. Thus, the effective rate of these taxes can vary wildly, from roughly 31 percent in the former case to 13 percent in the later."

The government can, and does, fleece the oil companies (via gasoline excise and other taxes) and the consumer (via gasoline taxes at the pump) at the same time, to the tune of trillions of dollars over the last few decades.

And now this vest pocket Marxist has the gall to lay claim to the money that's left after the IRS has already extorted their "fair share" on behalf of the Collective. You see, nobody should be allowed to make that much money in her world.

America never was a capitalist country. It came closest in the days of the "robber barons" (the ones who actually built up the infrastructure of the nation in the late 1800s), but it slowly turned into a sludge by gradually adding socialism into the mix in the course of the 20th century. Now we actually have the first contender for President who openly advocates dropping the "Lite" label from her particular brand of socialism and just go all-out.


Monday, February 5, 2007

on the whole vaccination thing.

My little post on the HPV vaccine has certainly drawn a good amount of comments, and I want to address some of them directly.

"hpv has been liked with penile cancer. This vaccine could help men and women. Now how does that change your perspective?"

It doesn't.

I don't care if the vaccine extends everyone's lifespan twofold and gets rid of all forms of cancer in the blink of an eye--it still doesn't justify making its administration to other people's children mandatory by force of law.

"From an anarcho-capatlist libertarian standpoint, Merck is being allowed to act in an unhindered fashion. They may be "greasing the pole" but that's unchecked capitalism at work. Merck has the money and they should be allowed to use it freely, and that includes influencing legislature to their purposes. To believe otherwise would mean some sort of government law prohibiting that, and anarcho-capitalist libertarians are against that...aren't they?"

First of all, you need to strike the phrase "anarcho-capitalist libertarian" from your personal vocabulary. Such a critter does not exist, and every time someone uses the word, Milton Friedman rotates in his grave.

You see, "capitalism" is not a description of a system or a philosophy, like most of the other "-isms". It's a description of reality, like the law of gravity, and as such it's silly to glue it into a word construct with anarchism and libertarianism. People who use that term to describe their own philosophy have only a dim idea of anarchism and libertarianism, and none about capitalism. They merely cobble together a philosophy by picking and choosing their favorite snippets from either one of the hyphenated schools of thought. It makes about as much sense as saying you're a proponent of communist gravity, or mercantilist collective magnetism.

Now, I can't tell you what an "anarcho-capitalist libertarian" would make of Merck's successful lobbying, but I can give you my libertarian opinion on it. Yes, Merck has the right to use their money any way they please, unless it violates someone else's property rights...and therein lies the rub. They don't have the right to force people to purchase their product at gunpoint, which is exactly what they did. Doing so violates the rights of the people who do not want to be compelled to have their children vaccinated, or compelled to pay for someone else's kids' vaccinations.

In a nutshell, you as a person don't have the right to go next door and hold a gun to neighbor A's head to make him pay for the vaccine for neighbor B's daughter. Since no organization has rights beyond those of the individuals which make up those organizations, there can be no legal right to make anyone pay for anything, no matter how good you think it would be for them.

That's the libertarian position, anyway. I'm not baked enough to try and reconstruct the "anarcho-capitalist libertarian" viewpoint.

" "If Merck's new HPV vaccine is so wonderful, people who need it will buy it on their own."

unless you're poor. Social Darwinism at work."

I'd like to know how many vaccinations for needy people you have personally purchased in the last year or two, with your own money. I want to bet the number is somewhere between none and zilch. How about meals for hungry folks? How much of your salary do you set aside every month to fight "social Darwinism" and alleviate need everywhere?

Someone's inability to buy vaccine or food or shelter does not constitute a legal or moral claim to the paychecks of those who can. That does not mean there's no charity or good will in a libertarian society, it merely means that if you wish to help the needy, you will not be stopped.

Anybody can do good with other people's money.

"Cervical cancer is usually discovered too late, and is by all accounts a rather horrid way to go (assuming there are any good ones) with an exceptionally low rate of recovery.

It is possible to knock down the odds against this rather horrid way to go rather substantially with a simple vaccine."

Then that's a great incentive for anyone with a daughter to go and have her vaccinated, isn't it? Maybe skip the family meal at Outback for a weekend, or don't buy that Xbox?

What's that? Some people can't afford the vaccine? Others may be too uneducated to realize how important it is to be vaccinated? I still fail to see how such shortcomings ought to entitle anyone, by law, to help themselves to the contents of their neighbor's wallets, no matter how many lives it can save. Any other argument is textbook utilitarian...if you hold the notion that you can commandeer the livelihood of another person at gunpoint as long as it does the most possible good "for society", then anything goes, and you've made the self-sufficient people slaves to the dependent people forever.

There is no "society". Society is a collection of individuals, and if you say that some people can be enslaved to benefit society, you're only saying that they can be enslaved to benefit other people. No amount of good intentions or beneficial results cancels out such an immoral act.

Don't get me wrong: my daughter will get the vaccine once she's old enough, but we will pay for it out of our own wallets. I simply wouldn't be able to morally justify making my neighbors pay for it.

And if we were too poor to afford the vaccine? Then she wouldn't get vaccinated, plain and simple. I don't have the right to a piece of my neighbor's paycheck, and selling my vote to a politician to take it for my use is no more moral than going over to my neighbor's house in person and demanding the same money at gunpoint. There is no moral difference just because you act through an intermediary to get that cash.

new cow wrapper.

I needed some decent new leather gear for my S&W K-frames, so I fleaBayed some old leather from the Box o' Holsters and used the proceeds to order a new carry setup from DeSantis.

This is the DeSantis Speed Scabbard in black, with matching speedloader holder.

What I like about DeSantis is the cut of their holsters. Their pancake and paddle designs tend to conceal the gun better than the offerings from Galco and Bianchi--they ride higher and impart a more aggressive forward cant to the weapon. The DeSantis speedloader pouch is the best one on the market, far surpassing Bianchi's version for both concealability and function. The DeSantis pouch leaves the knob of the loader exposed, which would seem to spell trouble in everyday use, but I've used their design before, and I've never accidentally twisted the knob.

What I don't like about DeSantis is the quality of their leather. It's fairly decent, but they seem to use a more coarsely grained leather than Galco or Bianchi. (My gunsmith Shannon calls it "Mexican goat leather".) Also, the black dye on the holsters is fairly prone to scuffing and accumulating white scuff marks. For the money, however, they're fine holsters, and their superior cut and design outweighs my minor gripes with their leather texture.

Carry gun du jour: S&W's Model 13. Serious as a heart attack, that gun. When I took the picture earlier today, the gun was wearing Hogue Bantams, but I've since switched back to Pachmayr Compac Pros.

Friday, February 2, 2007

pharma boon.

Texas now requires all schoolgirls entering sixth grade to be vaccinated against cervical cancer.

You know what I think? I think Governor Perry and the Texas legislature got their poles greased by Merck pretty comprehensively.

Anyone know how many girls cycle through 6th grade in Texas every year? That's probably a few hundred thousand doses of the new vaccine annually. No wonder Merck is bankrolling efforts to make the same vaccinations mandatory in a lot of other states.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

so easy a caveman can do it.

Fluff topic of the day: Geico's "Caveman" ad series.

Am I the only one who's reminded of Phil Hartman's "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" on SNL, back when it didn't suck?

Ah, the days of Happy Fun Ball, the Church Lady, Hans & Franz, and Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker.