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23 September 2014

Worth The Price Of Admission

The scene in the kitchen with Quicksilver makes the purchase price of X-Men Days of Future Past worth it all by itself.

It also underscores that Bryan Singer is the only X-Men director who gets them.

Spoiler below:

Return Of The Ford

F4D-1 Skyray, also know affectionately as the Ford.  The Skyray didn't come with any official Strike Fighters release and is the product of dedicated hobbyists.

She's a hot ship for 1956 and is seen here over Israel.  I'm doing a what-if scenario where Washington sends a squadron (VMF-114 Death Dealers) of USMC Skyrays to help with the Suez Crisis.

The Suez Canal looking north.

I've flown this what-if and this plane before.  What I lacked before was knowing about the pitch trimmers that are on either side of the exhaust.  They are assigned the same control axis as thrust vectoring on the harrier and with that wheel in its normal full forward position, it gave nose-down trim that got stronger as more speed was added.  That's why I had no pitch authority when I played previously!

I'm Not A Birther

But isn't it worth getting him to say amabO on the off chance that it DOES send him back to the fifth dimension?

Just sayin'...

22 September 2014

Raining And Pouring

The anti-biotic regimen for Shi-Shu beat back the abscess for a while.

It's back with a vengeance.

So we're back to begging for assistance.

Stab that pay-pal button if you've the means to donate to a very small, specific charity.

You can see under his left eye where the abscess has come up through his cheek from the bad tooth.

Our goal is a meager $400.

21 September 2014

Miserable Son Of A...

The main reason that prick down Okeechobee way should die in a fire is the closing of comments on Tam's other blog.

Now I can't ask questions except indirectly here and hope she sees them.

I'd like to see how the linkage for the cylinder stop works in the top of the frame on that .32 Hand Eject.

The Most Important Words In Science

Huh, I didn't expect that!

Unexpected results advance things farther and faster than experiments that confirm expectations.

It's because you've found something new.

20 September 2014


The Deal

While I prefer the OSX operating system, I don't consider myself a fanboi.

It's a preference and I've no problems with using Win 7 or XP.  I have a boot partition set up for Win 7 on my Mac Pro, in fact.

'Twas the threat of Vista that drove me to Mac.  I was perfectly happy with XP, but if you wanted a new computer at the time with the latest hardware; you got Vista or OSX.  (Or Linux which I am not knowledgeable enough to operate).

I started with a Mid 2007 15" MacBook Pro model A1226.  The video card died.

The warranty coverage warned several times about backing up my data because if the computer was too dead they'd replace the whole thing with a new one and my data would be gone.

So I bought an Early 2008 15" MacBook Pro model 1260 to replace it.

For a while I had two laptops once the 1226 came back from warranty.  I preferred the 1260 because it had a 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo and 512mb of VRAM compared to the 1226's 2.4GHz and 256.

A while back the video died on the 1260.

No warranty left.  Back to the 1226.

A burr crawled up my ass and I decided I liked the touch-pad of the 1260 better and it had a 200gb 7200 rpm drive instead of a 5400rpm 160gb.  The 1260's screen was in better shape too.

So I did some parts swapping.

Just the other day the 1226 video card died again.

I just found out about the recall that was in effect when the 1260 died, but has expired now.  It pisses me off that Apple didn't send an email to people with affected computers to tell them that they'd recalled them.  The reason for the recall is two-fold.  First the ATI chipset they bought was not well made and sensitive to the heat levels that Steve Jobs seemed to think was acceptable.  Second the Chinese slaves who soldered it to the logic board didn't do a good job.

Right now I am looking at $270 to buy a refurbished logic board for the 1260.  It's 2.5GHz instead of 2.6GHz but it has the 512mb video.  The good news about refurbs is ATI did manage to make a chipset that could take the heat and the refurbishment centers are doing a good job with the solder.

Time to do some saving.  The laptop will have to get in line.  I have $750 to save up and drop on tires for the Vette and $150 for front tires on the Biscayne.

Cluttered Desk ATF

Oban, Rocky Patel Howitzer and a Colt .38 Super Series 80 Gov't Model.

With some random items that routinely clutter my computer spaces.

How Low Can You Go

When there's no risk of actual life and limb and zero threat of disciplinary action, buzzing the tower becomes routine.

Once Upon A Time

My gaming group in Iowa tended to specialize in what we called "nexus worlds".

These are worlds were circumstances allow off and out worlders.

With GURPS' ability to seamlessly let you create anything you can imagine, we did.

Standing Bear was running one of his standard fantasy worlds with the twist that we could play any character we could conceive of as long as it didn't break the 3e 100/40/5 limits.

I made a Marine from Twilight 2000.

The highlight of this campaign was a dealing with a local merchant.

He was ripping us off and we knew it.  Appeals to the local authority revealed they were in cahoots.

So I upped my bid.

I offered to trade the merchant the entire pile for a "magic egg".

This egg, if you pull this ring here, at exactly, precisely at midnight of a new moon would grant one wish!  A split second too soon or too late and you're dead!  Oh and you must be absolutely alone, if there's anyone within so much as 20 yards you're dead!

The merchant solemnly agreed to the trade and I repeated my dire warning several times.  By the end I even had the local authority asking the merchant if he was sure he wanted to take the risk!

As you may surmise, the "magic egg" was an M67 fragmentation grenade.

When the thing went off three days later at midnight of the full moon, two people were killed; so they assumed he'd not followed the detailed instructions I'd given!

Four More Years!

Today is the 4th birthday of this blog at Blogger!

250k visits since then.

19 September 2014

He's Lurch Not Satan

Rick Scott might not be a great governor.

He isn't.

The problem Charlie Crist has going for him is he has already been governor, and he wasn't a better governor than Rick Scott.

Running ads telling me about how awful Mr Scott is when I am aware of how bad Mr Crist was... Doesn't work.

Especially since many of the dings that the various organizations against Governor Scott cite, are things that Governor Crist signed into law.  Oops!

The most damning thing Mr Crist has against him is he was a Republican when he was governor, a republican in the primary for a US Senator seat, then an independent when he lost that primary and now he's a Democrat to be governor again.  All in the short span of four years.

It pissed me off when he kept the campaign donations from his senate run that were garnered before there was a primary challenge.  I wager that many of those donations were intended for the Republican candidate in general and not specifically for Charlie Crist.


Fifteen Men on a dead man's chest. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
the mate was fixed by the sosun's pike
The bosun brained with a marlinspike
And cookey's throat was marked belike
It had been gripped by fingers ten;
And there they lay, all good dead men
Like break o'day in a boozing ken, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of the whole ship's list, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Dead and be damned and the rest gone whist!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion's axe his cheek had shore
And the scullion he was stabbed times four
And there they lay, and the soggy skies
Dripped down in up-staring eyes
In murk sunset and foul sunrise, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

Fifteen men of 'em stiff and stark, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ten of the crew had the murder mark! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
'Twas a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead
Or a oawing hole in a battered head
And the scuppers' glut with a rotting red
And there they lay, aye, damn my eyes
Looking up at paradise
All souls bound just contrawise, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of 'em good and true, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ev'ry man jack could ha' sailed with Old Pew,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
There was chest on chest of Spanish gold
With a ton of plate in the middle hold
And the cabins riot of stuff untold,
And they lay there that took the plum
With sightless glare and their lips struck dumb
While we shared all by the rule of thumb,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

More was seen through a sternlight screen...
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Chartings undoubt where a woman had been
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
'Twas a flimsy shift on a bunker cot
With a dirk slit sheer through the bosom spot
And the lace stiff dry in a purplish blot
Oh was she wench or some shudderin' maid
That dared the knife and took the blade
By God! she had stuff for a plucky jade, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
We wrapped 'em all in a mains'l tight
With twice ten turns of a hawser's bight
And we heaved 'em over and out of sight
With a Yo-Heave-Ho! and a fare-you-well
And a sudden plunge in the sullen swell
Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Research Project

This one is going to hurt my brain...

As near as I've been able to find, so far, the statutory language that requires NICS is nearly identical to the language for the anal probe of NFA.  At least as far as who can own such an item goes.

For Title I firearms NICS (or state run equivalent) is required by law if you're buying from an FFL.  There is no law requiring anything that a 4473 or 5320 asks for.  Everything on those forms is because of regulation created by BATFE.

At their core they are affidavits that the buyer is not a prohibited person.

It raises all manner of questions.

Not least of which, which came up recently...  If I am not a prohibited person, and I fill out the form wrong, I've broken no law but I have violated a federal regulation.  It chafes because all legislative authority is vested into Congress and none to the executive.

This is a research work in progress, so what I have here might be amended as I delve deeper into the rabbit hole.

Great Britain Remains

Scotland has decided to stay a member.

My heart does yearn for a free and independent Scotland.


The reality of the political situation is that going on her own would almost definitely been a disaster.  An epic disaster.

The two leading parties being Socialist of the Promise-The-Moon stripe meant that there'd be some heavy doses of reality and/or disaster coming down the pipe.

In short, Scotland is a house in disorder and could not stand on its own.

Perhaps some house cleaning and shoring up and we should revisit this issue.

Next up, Florida Independence!  We have all the makings of a third world shit-hole AND the traditional weather!

18 September 2014

Today's Oxymoron

Premium Haggis

I Just Noticed

There's no difference between a screen shot taken with a slide-show like frame rate and one running seamless and smooth!

No real sense of action.  But you can see the wingtip vortices triggered by pulling some G.  The studied eye can even see that the tail-planes are down and a slight roll to starboard is starting.

I yo-yo'd over the top and rolled in behind this MiG-17 "Fresco A".

It was something of a turkey shoot because his flight was low on gas and basically had to hope I had run out of ammo or something since he couldn't spare a drop for maneuvering.

It also demonstrates the need to stick with your section!  If he'd had a wingman I might not have been able to tuck in with impunity like I did.

You may also notice that this is the fourth plane I've had in this campaign.  I get target fixated a bit and forget to check-six!

PS, it's really hard to get good action shots in this game because you have to do them as you're playing.  My mind tends to be more on the flying and less on "this would make a perfect Kodak moment!"

Silver Lining

My blog finally gets more comments than Tams!

In other news, my glass is also 1/100th full!


I now have two dead MacBook Pro 15.4"!

I have an A1226, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo with 256mb of VRAM and an A1260, 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo with 512 mb of VRAM.

Both are dead at the video card.  This is a well known problem with these models.  Both machines have even been through the recall repair too.

If one cannot afford a $320 Star B, one cannot afford a $270 logic board.

There's nothing huge in my life that's wrong.

It's the steady accumulation of small shit that I can't seem to shift that's bringing me down.

17 September 2014

Shark Mouth On The Gator

VF-111 Sundowners used the shark mouth on the noses of their planes.

It should be an aligator mouth on a Crusader since it's nickname around the boat was "gator".

Much Better

An F-8D (F8U-2N) is much better equipped to handle the Godless Soviet hordes than the F-4B is during the Cuban Missile Crisis if it had gone hot in Europe.

Here's my third mount in five days...

It's a rare close-air-support mission to blow up tanks near Hamburg.  Zuni rockets kind of suck, but I did manage to get one tank by salvoing all eight.

The Crusader, unlike the Phantom, was designed from the get-go to bring guns to bear on the target, in fact the sidewinder rails were nearly an afterthought on the F8U-1 (F-8A).  This means that it can successfully be used in a dogfight at low level!

A note...  While Strike Fighters 2 does a decent job with the squadron markings most of the time, VMF(AW)-235 should have more red and stars on the nose.

PS: Also much better is the new RAM.  With 2x1gb from before plus 2x2gb I just got from Newegg, I have 6gb!  As they say, more RAM never hurts and often helps.  Frame rates are up and lag is down.  Plus I have two more 1gb sticks coming from Ebay.  Then I'll have two empty slots...  What's to do?

16 September 2014

.22 Conversion At The Range

While the swaging job Marv and I did wasn't enough to keep the ball captured, it wasn't a total loss at the range.

We kept reading that you needed to use "high velocity" ammunition and there was a 200+ round break-in.  200 rounds of CCI "Mini-Mag" and 50 rounds of Remington Viper "Hyper Velocity" should do.

The second round short cycled.  The rest of the failures seemed random.

A total of four rounds that nosed into the feed ramp (1 Rem, 3 CCI) three short-strokes and fail to feed a new round or cock the gun and one that ejected then just sat there with the next round almost loaded.

I've definitely fired less reliable guns.

Accuracy was fine, POI was about an inch below point of aim at 7 yards.

Even left-handed!

Willard gave some aluminum cased .45 ACP ammo a try in his various commander sized guns and a Sistema Colt.  As is typical for 'luminum...

This was the only failure out of several boxes!  Huzzah!


We didn't stake the detent ball in enough.

Drop back and punt!

15 September 2014

Fucking Crooks

Someone stole my information it seems.

Snipers Online UA of Green Bay, WI has been given $40 of my money in $10 increments; three on one day.

It'd be one thing if I'd donated to them, but it's quite another to find the money's been taken when you go to balance your checkbook.

Didn't Prove What You Think

An Arsenal SAM7SF is not an AKM.

Hornady 123gr SST is not 57-N-231.

You didn't prove the AK was as good as an AR.  You proved that a very expensive and very well made AK variant with optics is as good as any AR variant I can get from Wal Mart for about half the money.

That you have to take the care that Arsenal does to make the AK equivalent to a commodity AR affirms the idea that the AK is an inherently less accurate design.  That they succeeded doesn't dispel it at all.

Powered By Spirograph

14 September 2014

It's Getting Close To Halloween

So Marv is prepping his 6.8 AR for zombies.

Hecho En Argentina

Willard may or may not have stopped by and may or may not have dropped off a .22LR conversion kit for a Browning High Power.

That looks like this:

In the box:  Take-down tool; slide assembly; conversion slide stop; and ten round .22LR magazine.

The conversion is a housing that looks like and replaces the slide of the host gun with a new slide and barrel assembly inside it.

The barrel "bushing" threads onto the barrel and is how the assembly is adjusted for fit to the host.  Tightening or loosening the bushing moves the hole in the barrel to align it with the slide stop pin hole in the frame.  A ball detent keeps the bushing from loosening during shooting.

Alas, someone did not swage the ball in correctly and Murphy caused Willard to lose the ball and spring one fine day.  It's probably a standard size ball and spring, just need to research a bit.  It's a standard 3/32" ball detent.  And for about $50 I can get 20 of them with springs from Brownells.  Now I look to see if I can find some cheaper locally.


Shoot Straight Tampa had the ball, but no spring.  A Bic Mini's flint spring is about the right diameter, but way too long.  I did the planning and acquisition; Marv did the installation and swaging.  We even have a spare ball and lots of extra spring.

Put together you can see that it doesn't have the same contours as the FN slide and transforms the appearance to something vaguely Smith and Wesson...  The ejection port is way farther to the rear than stock too.

Range report to come.

Two Things

First, I don't need another gun.

Second, I can't afford another gun.

The problem is J&G Sales has an intriguing price on a Star Model B in 9x19mm.

$320 for hand selected plus shipping and handling and C&R eligible!

That's November scrapings not today scrapings.

Surprisingly there's very little about the Star out there on the internet.

And a dearth of information in my library too.

This was fun:

13 September 2014

Share The Road (Revised)


Share the road...

Keep saying it.

Maybe someday I'll start believing it; because by and large the people not sharing are on two wheels.

Let's just discuss bicycles as vehicles-same-as-cars.

First:  Minimum speed limits do exist and are generally 10 under the speed limit.  Are you holding that speed on your bike?  Obstructing traffic is something you can get a ticket for in a car.

Second:  The same as another vehicle concept breaks down when you consider, no license, no registration, no insurance.  Things that every motorist is required to have before pulling out onto a public roadway.  This lack of regulation and thus lack of enforcement is why the critical mass pricks have people so damned pissed off.  I did bother to look up the rules for bicycles, they have single file rules, keep to the right, get off the road and let traffic pass rules...  It appears that enforcement is the problem here.

Third:  That road is paid for mostly by taxes on fuel.  Fuel that your bicycle is not buying; therefore there's some justification that bikes are free-riders on the system and...

Fourth:  Those roads and the roadway system were designed and built for motorized traffic traveling at or near the speed limits.

Fifth:  If there's a bike path or bike lane use it and stay there for as long as it lasts.

Sixth:  I ride many miles a week so I am not saying this as someone who's just an irate car driver.

Because I am a bicyclist, I tend to pay more attention to cyclists and give them the same courtesy that I would like drivers to give me.

Realistically, what I am on a bike is a rather fast pedestrian and the physics are not on my side, same as riding a motorcycle, so it behooves me to pay more attention to the environment to protect my chubby pink skin.

Batting At The Bare Bulb

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the expiration of the [so called] Assault Weapon Ban.

It also marks the 20th Anniversary of me being politically active.  I remember talk/politics/guns

A lot has changed in those 20 years.  Mostly for the good (more than 1994 me would believe).  Some bad (much less than 1994 me would have expected).

Fifteen Years

You might not have noticed, but the moon has been gone for 15 years today.


In Revision

Rant about bicycles is in revision.

It will return once I've marshaled my thoughts better.

It sounded better in my head when I was typing it, but didn't read near so well once I'd walked away for a bit.


Willard has a .22 conversion for a High Power.

After showing it off he asked if, "I wanted to hang on to it for a while to play with it."

Cold meds make me make the wrong decisions!

Now that he's taken it away, I desperately want to take pictures and play with it.

Maybe he'll bring it back over so I can now that I'm not feverish and in the grips of the Big Fucking Q.

12 September 2014

Mac Pro Adventure

The little boards that hold the RAM have little LEDs on them that light up red to show you what stick of RAM is defective.

That you can only see if you open the case while the machine is running.

If one of your RAM sticks goes bad, the system profiler shows the pair with the bad stick as empty slots not as bad.

The cheap no-heat sink 240 pin 1gb PC2 6400 FB-DIMMs I bought way back in 2008 only lasted six years I'm actually impressed.  Of course the heat-sinked RAM that came with the machine (2x 1gb) is still clicking along...  Correction:  I realized that I couldn't find the soda straw from the canned air I dusted the thing out with so I opened it back up and noticed that it's the OEM heavily heat sinked RAM stick that's dead and not the Kingston RAM I'd added.  Fascinating!

So I ordered the smallest amount of RAM with heat-sinks that I could to replace the single dead 1gb stick...  2x 2gb sticks.  Since you have to do RAM in matched pairs on a Mac Pro the single good 1gb of my previous upgrade is trash.  Installing the new RAM will give me a total of 6gb of RAM instead of the previous 4gb.

I guess that's a win?

In fact I settled on 4gb way back because my Bootcamp partition was for XP-Pro and going for more than that was a waste.  I'm running Win-7 Ultimate (64) there now, so 6gb will get utilized.

The waiting for shipping is all.


I know a couple of my readers have more read blogs than my meager abode.

Iffin y'all could pimp me a bit for Kilted To Kick Cancer, I'd really appreciate it.

JayG is a great guy and all, and he really drags in the donations, but the man isn't even partially Scottish!

Give a Scot a chance to get ahead for a change!

11 September 2014


I'm not going to go maudlin.

I'm going for pissed off.


Because we didn't ever get payback and defeat the problem that started it lo thirteen years ago.

We got bored?  Lost focus?  Refused to look it in the face and see it for what it is?

When it happens again, it happens because we let it because we refused to accept what war is and that war can be waged against you even if you refuse to wage it back.

We don't win wars anymore as we get ever better at winning battles.  We win battles then squander the victories and waste our best on nothing.

10 September 2014

Five Cents

My county just voted to add five cents tax to every gallon of gasoline sold in the county.

Their cut of a gallon is now 12¢.  It used to be 7¢.  The counties to the south are still 7¢ and the county to the north is 9¢.

They claim it will just be $37.50 more a year to the average driver.  We're above average here at Casa de McThag, $73.45 is the increase from our average consumption of fuel.

They claim "But the impact, $37.50 a year - the implications of that are less than the cost of Starbucks coffee a month."

That's half a million lattes a month that aren't going to be bought folks.  Or Big Macs, or 1/4 Pounders...  Opportunity costs and the Gods of the copybook headings will not be ignored.

Pick something that you can no longer buy because you're paying 5¢ a gallon more for gas.

Interestingly the deciding vote was cast by a long hold-out on the issue mere days after he lost a primary challenge.

Also of note: the murmuring to up the gas taxes to maintain our roads coincides with the vote to allow the county employee's to unionize.

But the huge problem is really back on the County Commission's lap, they decided to no longer make developers pay for the impact new developments would have on the infrastructure.

Luckily, I live very near the souther border of the county I live in, I can take advantage of the cheaper gas