30 June 2013

Go Brain!

If we plopped Jupiter in place of the moon, Earth will be outside the Roche Limit.

FuzzyGeff and I did the math in high school while we were developing worlds for my Traveller campaign at the time.  We wanted an earthlike world around a gas giant.

It's possible if you put your jovian just inside of Mars' orbit that way you're getting enough heat from the sun and the giant to keep water wet.

With the system design rules at the time, it was impossible to put a gas giant there.  Thanks to recent discoveries with exoplanets, we now know it's possible in the real world, to heck with the game's rules!

Aside: the spellchecker knows exoplanet but not earthlike.

Great And Powerful

He's not the wizard that Oz needs, he's the wizard that Oz deserves.

What Would You Do

Naasirka, as compensation for their failure to do due diligence in locating you once a client had highjacked their ship with you as crew; have offered your choice.

Full ownership of a 200 ton Beowulf class Type-A Free Trader.
Full ownership of a 200 ton Empress Marava class Type-A2 Far Trader.
50% ownership of a 400 ton Akkigish class Type-R Subsidized Merchant, with rights to a route and its subsidy.
Assignment as crew of a 600 ton Stellar class Type-M Subsidized Liner; with profit sharing.

What would you choose?

29 June 2013


Cracker.  Cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker cracker !


Paddy.  Paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy paddy!

Cracker, is just as racially charged as CENSORED, yet its use doesn't routinely lead to claims of victimhood or violence.

WOP and paddy used to lead to violence.  The Italians and Irish are now fully assimilated into the landscape, so the vicious distinctions are footnotes.  In many places it was better to be black than Irish.  I've seen a photo of a storefront sign, "No dogs or Irish.  CENSORED and Chinese OK."  Consider why the van that collects arrestees in mass is called a "paddy-wagon" sometime.

I am not sure if I should say "Chink" over and over.  The Chinese were discriminated against quite fully in the 1800s.  That discrimination just isn't apparent now.  They too have assimilated into the American fabric and have something in common with blacks, physical characteristics that they cannot change.  Yet somehow racism against Asians is very uncommon.

I very nearly said "Kike" over and over; I'm just not sure that anti-semitism is dead and that Jews have reached the same level of acceptance as, say, Chinese.  I think they have, but I am not sure.

I was going to use "Spick" but that one is coming back thanks to our politicians flat ignoring us on immigration.

I sometimes wonder if there are people who benefit greatly from the perpetuation of bigotry, or at least benefit from there being an appearance of bigotry.  I especially wonder this when I see that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Kweis Mfume are all quite wealthy.

I wonder if the racism they say is prevalent is actually so when people such as Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Ice Cube, Ice Tee and many others have successful careers.



Without animus, or context.  In thirty years be sure to tell everyone I used Das verbotene Wort.

It's not a lot to get all worked up about; yet it's a sure fire trigger.

The more I think on it, the more I think that it's not me who has a race problem.


"I do not want justice; I want SILENCE!"

27 June 2013

Running Dry

Let's talk about bearing surfaces!

First a long word; lubriscosity.  It's a simple word.  It's how well two parts will slide on each other.

It's normally found in descriptions of lubricants, but it can apply to dry materials too.

Dissimilar materials sometimes have lubriscosity between them.  The oldest example I can think of is the ruby "jewel" in a timepiece.

Bronze and steel have something of the same effect.  The two metals just don't want to stick to each other.  It's not as slippery as, say, a film of oil keeping the parts from touching, but it will do.  This is exactly how a throw-out bearing in a manual transmission works.  Bronze bearing, spinning steel shaft.

Like metals do not have this effect.  Like metals want to stick to each other.  This is called galling.  This is why we put a film of lubricant between them.  If the parts can't touch, they can't stick!  Most dissimilar metals are this way as well.

Chrome, as mentioned in the AR example, was not selected because of its lubriscosity against aluminum.  It was chosen for three reasons, hardness, corrosion resistance and adhesion.

Here's a place where our rifleman is ALMOST right.  To this day there's a hard chrome plating on the inside of the bolt carrier.

Chroming the bolt and carrier was originally intended to keep them from rusting!  The goal was to make a minimum maintenance rifle, and chrome plating these parts protects them from rust.  The hardness for the gas chamber bore is a property he took advantage of in his design, but it's not the original reason chrome was specified.

Gene Stoner realized that pretty much any lubricant was toast where the gas rings seal against the wall of the bolt carrier's gas chamber.  So he chrome lined the chamber and used sacrificial parts to bear agains the hard chrome walls; the gas rings.  The rings provide the seal and the chrome plating keeps the rings from wearing out the bore of the chamber.  The stainless steel of the rings has OK lubriscosity against chrome so no lubricant is required (good because none will last).

Finally adhesion.  Carbon fouling doesn't stick to chrome very well.  Chrome plating makes the bolt and bolt carrier easier to clean.

You may have noticed that I didn't mention the lubricative properties of chrome against hard anodized 6061 T5 aluminum.  I didn't mention them because there's no advantage to using chrome against anodized aluminum over just using steel.  By the way, for the nitpickers, 6061 T5 is the AS DESIGNED material Armalite specified for the AR-15.  Mr Badge is a big advocate of as designed in his tirade.  Why are the upper and lower of the modern AR and M16 made from the more expensive 7057 T6 today?  Corrosion.  Once the anodizing is worn off (and it will be) 6061 starts becoming a flakey white crust and pretty soon your part has the structural properties of a soda-cracker.

And not one bit of the above matters at all against the as designed claim when compared to a tiny little anecdote from Mr Stoner himself.  When we was dragged out to Alaska to account for why the guns weren't working, among his list of things that were being done wrong was a lack of lubrication to the bolt carrier group.

This was reiterated during the Secord hearings.

For decades the people who designed the guns and just about anyone with some mechanical aptitude has looked at the moving parts and said, "lets put some oil here".  The idea that little to no lubrication is needed comes from the doctrines of an Army that stores rifles far more than it shoots them and a "white glove" inspection mentality that seems nearly impossible to eradicate.  You see, oil attracts dust and dust shows up on a white glove so only use just enough oil to keep rust from forming.

Meaningless Datum

I have been confronted by CMP Distinguished Rifle Badge holder #2083.

Being badge holder #2083 means that you can say that an AR-15 should be run dry and with a chrome plated bolt and carrier; as designed.

This was in response to someone who is having trouble with a full-auto gun in auto.  With a chrome bolt and carrier no less.

Well, turns out that being a CMP Distinguished Rifle Badge holder makes you an unassailable expert because when someone attempted to say that, no running an AR dry is not a good idea his rebuttal was that he was CMP Distinguished Rifle Badge holder #2083.

"Shut up," he explained.

There might very well be something about earning that badge that makes you an expert in what the problem is.  CMP matches are all conducted with automatic fire, right?

That expertise must bring insight to the operation of an AR-15 that eluded the US armed services from 1964 through very damn recently.

However, it has been explained to me that once you have a CMP Distinguished Rifle Badge you no longer need to explain your position, merely state it and present your badge.

If you happen to know Mr #2083, and if he's a nice guy in person you might mention that he's a jerk on an online forum.

Guess what having a CMP Distinguished Rifle Badge means!  It means you can fucking shoot.  It means you're a damn good shot on a known distance range at some incredibly long ranges.

It does not necessarily mean you know a damn thing about the function of the gun.

Just like Jeff Gordon being a good driver doesn't make him a good crewchief.  I mean, he COULD be, but if he were to talk about setting the car up, he'd hardly brag about his driving ability to prove he knows how.

But I have been corrected, now I know that CMP Distinguished Rifle Badge holders are the elite and mere commoners such as I should never confront them.

26 June 2013

Last Words

On father's day Larry exhorted us to call our estranged fathers and say, "I love you, Dad," and hang up.

Thus, if you never spoke to them again, that would be your last words to them.

I commented that my last words to my father were, "burn in Hell!"

I am sorry for that, Larry, I should not have made such a comment on your post.

I should have kept it here.

There are things I got from my dad which are genuine good.  He introduced me to libertarianism even if it took FuzzyGeff to explain what that introduction meant.  He showed me the evils of unions.  He taught me how to wrench and that has saved me countless thousands of dollars.

There's a lot I learned about being a man that I got from seeing how he did things and then going 180˚ off that.  He led by example, but not an example that should be emulated.  I do not share his opinion on race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, marriage, the value of televised professional sports or family.

It was his treatment of women that made me utter those fateful words.

First my mother, then my sister, then his wife and finally MY wife.  Telling him to go to Hell is probably the most I can do legally.  I am content that those are my last words to him.  I would regret it more if I'd left it without telling off.  I don't want him to think, ever, that he is forgiven without earning that forgiveness to the same measure as he's earned the contempt.

His sins against me pale by comparison to those done to my older little brother, his wife and their children.

So, Burn in Hell, Dad!

25 June 2013

Lurking Parasite

Erin posts and inspires me to post...

Small craft handling in Traveller.

I once watched a crew load a torpedo.  The tube is not much larger in diameter than the torpedo and it took a great deal of careful lining up to get the thing in smoothly.  It took a long time with ropes and tackle.

Looking at Traveller I see most small craft are torpedo shaped and many of the bays that store them are tightly fitted tubes.

The Broadsword class 800t Mercenary Cruiser is what inspired this.

It's a design where the 50 ton modular cutters are used to make the landing and to provide support to the company just landed.  Speed is of the essence.  Spending an hour lining up the cutter with the bay means lives may be lost.

So I started thinking of ways that the process could be speeded up and came up with something pretty simple.

A guide is extended out of the cutter bay.  The cutter gets "close" and the guide clamps on to fittings in the back of the cutter.  Now the straightening and alignment process is powered and mechanically performed by the parent ship.  Other rails would extend to stabilize the cutter as it was drawn into the bay.

The guide also has the fuel lines in it so the cutter wouldn't need to be drawn all the way in to get gas.

I figure the guide is on a powered swivel too so the cutter doesn't even have to be all that well aligned before it can be snatched.

24 June 2013

Day 3007

Since we're all watching the present all encompassing court drama of Zimmerman; I thought I would remind everyone of one of the previous ones.

Terry Schiavo's condition remains unchanged some 3,007 days later.

And yes, I am a callous, heartless bastard for bringing it up.  I may once have had sympathy but the behavior of her parents and the media just made me pray for her death every single day of that drama.  Especially since if I ever were in such a state I would wish to be released to the void as well.

POMM 9-1005-294-14/1

I now have a repop copy of one of the most elusive TM ever printed.

Even though it's not really a TM.

A nice guy on the retro section of Arfcom took an original and essentially digitally remastered it.

Hats off, 57Octane!  Good work!

Now I just need a hard copy of TM 9-1005-249-14 (01AUG66) plus Change 1 (06JAN67) to go with it.  Update: That was easy, Moore Militaria has the Aug66 M16/XM16E1/XM148 TM and a Pistol, .45 Caliber, Automatic M1911A1 TM 9-1005-211-34 (22JUN64) to go with the rest of the picture.


I am SO here now.


It's been nearly three weeks, but I just heard.

Bill Gunston passed away.

I've got several of his books and they were like gateway drugs to more serious tomes.


There's nothing quite so frustrating as thinking you'd had everything covered; balance your bank statement, and watch $300 evaporate because your spouse didn't give you several receipts.

People wonder why I am pissed all the time.  This is why.

23 June 2013

Tinker And Tweak

Since all of the stats for all of the planes are in .ini text files, you can change lots of stuff!

First thing I noticed was that many of the gauges weren't reading right.  The accelerometer was showing zero g sitting on the runway, the fuel gauge was showing 65% with a full tank and the radar altimeter was flat wrong.

The first thing was easiest to change.  The given values are stated in item measured and what degree position that corresponds to on the dial.  Adding 20˚ to the 1.0g reading fixes that.

The altimeter was simply a cut-paste error by the maker of the plane.  the max altitude on the gauge was 1,500 feet, the data said 10,000.  Setting new values was simple.

The fuel thing is problematic.  The game supposedly uses liters for fuel capacity.  But the poundage comes out wrong in the loadout window.  The F4D-1 has 640 gallons (us) internal fuel and that should weigh 4,160 lb. at 6.5 lb/gal of JP-4.  The listed fuel value was coming out at 3,670 lb.  So I took 4160/3670 and applied that to the values given for the tank capacity.  The original fuel capacity is 1,666.8 liters.  That's 440.32 gallons and should be 2862.1 lb...  Converting 640 gallons to liters gives us 2422.7 l and that ends up being 5340 lb. on the loadout screen!  The fuel load I've tweaked in is really 500 gallons.  But since the game is actually using the pounds figure to give you endurance, this is OK.

22 June 2013

Florida HB 1355

It sure seems like it protects your rights when you read it.

I don't think it protects a damn thing because I've seen how easy it is to get someone Baker Act'd.

It's easier than an ex-wife getting a restraining order so your guns get collected by the cops.  We're all up in arms about how easy that is, so why are we so sanguine about this?

So far the people I've seen endorse this are lawyers, politicians or both.

Lawyers stand to benefit from this because the restoration of rights sure as hell will require them and won't be free.

The damn default should not be a revocation of rights without a damn trial!  If a person can be released after a Baker Act examination, then they're good to go.  If they can't be trusted with a gun after release, then there should be ample evidence to keep them restrained.

Revocation of rights by sworn testimony of a doctor and a judge.  The word of two people.  No trial and guilty until proven innocent standard to get your rights back.  How hard do you think it will be to find a liberal in each position to reliably testify that every gun owner brought before them meets the criteria?  Now all we need is a cop to make the initial contact and an anonymous concerned "friend" to bring the cops to the gun owner.  OK, four people needed.

Slow clap for anyone who bought into this.

After watching all of the other "protections" built into many of the laws of this state fail; I fully expect this law to be very abused.

Other Mods

Speaking of wallowing pigs...

This is the F3H-2 Demon, redesignated F-3B in '62.  Mounted are two AIM-9B Sidewinder and two AIM-7D Sparrow missiles.  The Demon was designed to carry four 20mm cannon, but two were often removed and the ports faired over to save weight.  That's because the Demon is one of the most under powered fighters to ever go aboard ship.  It's nickname around the boat was "Lead Sled" or "Sled".

And the F3H-2M, changed to MF-3B...  M is for "missile" please note the spiffy AAM-N-2 Sparrow I hanging on the outboard pylon and the AAM-N-7 Sidewinder I on the inboard.  After McNamara, they're AIM-7A and AIM-9A respectively.  The AAM-N-2 is what is known as a beam-riding missile.  The firing aircraft illuminates the target and the missile rides the beam to it.  It's got antenna on it to stay centered in the cone projecting from the firing plane.  It's not very accurate because the firing radar is locked onto the center of the radar signature and that may not exactly correspond the the physical center.  It's not accurate because the cone of the beam gets wider and wider the farther from the target you get.  The missile, while it tends to stay in the very center of the beam, can drift around a bit and can miss by a pretty wide margin.  The later versions of the Sparrow use "semi-active radar homing" and that's where they missile is trying to hit the light reflected off the target being illuminated by the firing plane.  This gets more accurate as ranges decrease because the missile starts in the wide part of a cone and moves toward its point.

F3H-2N or F-3C the final Demon variant I've downloaded.  The 2N has a better engine than the 2 and 2M.  Shown here with four AIM-9B missiles and with all four 20mm cannon.

Then there's a plane that's just plain fun to fly.  The A-1H, here in USAF livery and loaded out to play Sandy (close air support for search and rescue).  The Skyraider was originally developed as a carrier based attack plane in World War 2, but didn't make production in time to see combat.  But production continued anyway and it saw service in both Korea and Vietnam.  The original designation of the A-1H was AD-6.

As I mentioned, the Skyraider was a Navy bird and it hung around until finally driven out by the A-7 Corsair II.  Here is an AD-7 or A-1J.  The Skyraider was sometimes referred to as a Spad because it was such an anachronism among all the high-tech jets.

The Spad was so successful at the close-air role compared to the supersonic multi-role fighters in Vietnam that the Air Force's replacement resembles it a great deal in performance, that'd be the A-10A Thunderbolt II (aka Warthog).

Last, but not least, a pretty plane to salve the soul.  The RA-5C Vigilante.  Originally intended to be a heavy nuclear bomber it served out its life as a reconnaissance photo bird.

The bomb-bay on the Viggi is a tube running between the engines.  Originally a nuke and two fuel barrels sat in the tube and when the pilot hit the pickle, the tail fairing popped off and a chute dragged the bomb and empty tanks out the back.  It wasn't very accurate and had an alarming tendency to stay put when the plane was launched.  Oh, did I mention that the Viggi was a carrier based plane?

In recon service the tube was given three gas barrels and a "canoe" of cameras and sensors was attached to the belly.


I've been a downloading fool from Combat Ace.

One plane that I really liked the looks of is the F4D-1 or Ford.  MacNamara made it into an F-6A when he renumbered all of the planes Air Force style in '62.

Isn't she pretty?

This is me flying a recon mission in a what-if Suez Crisis campaign.

The F4D-1 is pretty and reasonable fast, but she's a wallowing pig.  No pitch authority, no roll authority beyond very mild angles of attack.  Part of it is the model I am sure.  But since it was designed as an interceptor and not a dog-fighter, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised when it can't turn and burn with a Meteor F.8 or MiG-15bis.

But I expect a supersonic fighter to be able to out-fucking-run a straight wing throw-back to WW2!

I am not sure if the Ford is nerfed or if the Meteor is über'd.

21 June 2013

TL Project

Making these characters is kind of a drag for TL1-3.

The differences between the tech is essentially just a matter of materials.  Bronze to iron to steel.  The basic character types are the same.

GURPS: Low Tech provides really detailed armor rules and it's discouraging as to the "better" types of armor.

At TL1 you have plate armor available, but it'd have to made from bronze; which costs 4x as much as steel.  A pair of greaves is G$2,200 made from bronze and the starting wealth for TL1 is a mere G$500!  You have to blow a lot of points on wealth to be able to afford a full panoply.  Never mind that such a character would really need even more wealth because it'd be unheard of for someone who owns such armor to have the unsettled lifestyle that allows to you to piss all your starting wealth on adventuring gear.

TL2 iron armor, except for mail, just isn't any better than bronze.  In fact, the best types for DR and weight will still be the ultra expensive bronze!  This is even historically accurate.  Bronze plate hung in there well into what GURPS calls TL4.

Heck TL3 is the supposed "high fantasy" tech level, but most of the technology that gamers associate with "medieval" is actually TL4 stuff.  You know, after guns were invented and became widely disseminated?

Once we hit TL4 we get all new weaponry so there's some variety there.

TL5 is yet more better weapons and materials.

TL6 through TL8 is a repeat of TL1-3 where it's just materials getting better for equipment.  With the exception of TL8 getting all sorts of lightweight communications and computers.

TL 2

Varasdates is a Parthian tin merchant currently a bit down on his luck.

He was robbed not too long ago and has been working as a sell-sword.  Luckily, he managed to escape the brigands with his weapons, armor and mount.

Ironically, he's a mounted archer more than a swordsman, in fact he uses a mace instead of a sword in hand to hand fighting.

He's pretty late period for Parthia and his route goes up into the Armenian Empire, where he has had some contact with Rome.  He speaks both Aramaic and Latin in addition to his native Parthian, but he always speaks through a translator.  It gives him more time to consider his reply.

TL 0 is here.
TL 1 is here.
TL 3 is here.
TL 4 is here.
TL 5 is here.
TL 6 is here.
TL 7 is here. 
TL 8 is here.

It's moving again!

20 June 2013

Please Allow Me To Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Gotta love them using the tune from Take Me On for this!
h/t to Guns Cars and Tech

My Friends Visit

I guess I must apologize for the roads.

Driving in and around Tampa is just not the same as driving anywhere in Iowa.

OK, not entirely true.  Iowa has Tampa traffic in small areas seasonally.

The expressions on their faces when I was given the driving duty says a great deal about the differences.  Situations where I was just moving through traffic like everyone else were obviously unsettling to them as near miss after near miss was happening all around them.

I remember my transition to this world of denser traffic.

It's all a matter of what you've become accustomed to, I guess.

When I visited Iowa I was frequently astonished by how trips between towns take no time at all because there's just no traffic on a 55 mph road.  Likewise I am in a frothing rage at a four lane road with a 35 mph speed limit in the larger towns.

19 June 2013

An Interesting Turn Of Events

I went to The Boy's school to lock in the eight days you, my dear readers, have graciously funded.

I told them the story of your generosity and kindness.

"Just a moment..." I am told.

We're getting the entire month, including the transportation, for $525!


And it was because of your help!

The guy who runs the place has some discretion about billing and decided that they could cut the normal rate in half for someone with this much support.  In essence if strangers would contribute $400 how could the people who see him every day not match that?  The Lovely Harvey and I think we can scrape the remaining $125.

You guys effin ROCK!

Gun Raffle

This is a spleen vent rant.

JPFO is raffling off a Serbu BFG-50A rifle.

$20 for a chance to win a $6,700 gun?  "Sign me up!" you might exclaim.

There's a catch provided by the US Government.

A 25% tax rate on prizes exceeding $5,000 in value (less price of the ticket).

So this "free" Serbu will be a $1,670 rifle to the winner; due when before the winner accepts the prize.

That pisses me off all by itself.

I've watched more than one car raffle where the winner had no way of shitting 25% of the value of the pristine Hot Rod they'd just won.  Congratulations!  You've just won a $200,000 Chris Foose original!  Now just give us fifty grand and you can drive your new car home...

The organizers of these events are the next thing that infuriate me.  They most certainly do know that those taxes are due at the end.  They are also aware that they'd sell far fewer tickets if they gave full disclosure.

In short, it's a bait and switch.

When you ask you get the same answer, over and over.  (Paraphrased) "We appreciate your concern but don't see it as being a problem."

Of course it's not a problem, FOR THEM.  They've got their money and really don't care if the winner can afford the taxes.  Literally NOT THEIR problem.

Let's break down the JPFO raffle.

If Serbu donated the gun, $0 to JPFO.  1000 tickets at $20 per.


Even if they had to BUY the gun from Mark, it's still $13,330 in their pockets.

If they stepped up to the plate and paid the taxes for the winner they'd have to shell out $2,233.34 so they'd still get $11,066.66 from the donations.  The price of the good will is immeasurable.

I'm willing to bet that Serbu donated the gun and even eating the taxes for the winner would net them $17,766.66.

The only reason not to is greed.

This is the sort of thing that makes you look at an organization seeking donations and say, "no, not today."

Marv's KSG

We've got pictures and we've attacked it with a fish-scale!

It is compact.

It's chunky and balanced just a little forward of the pistol grip loaded.

The safety is placed OK and the slide lock is well positioned.  The tube selector is simple and a bit hard to locate without looking.  Loading was straight forward, as was unloading.

The trigger is a surprisingly crisp 7 lb. 14 oz.  A bit on the heavy side, but without most of the creepy mush I've come to expect from bullpups.

It utterly lacks the cheap feeling I got from the SU-16 series.

With the Magpul BUIS and vertical foregrip loaded with 14 rounds of 12ga 2 3/4" it weighs just 8.6 lb.  That's a full quarter pound lighter than my 870 with seven rounds in it.  And the KSG is a lot shorter overall even though they have the same barrel length.

Disassembly is pretty simple without any real gotchas.  The manual gave us a couple of false starts because Marv's gun is clearly not the same revision level as the one pictured in the gorgeous full color manual.  We spent considerable time trying to figure out how to remove the "double feed eliminator" bar when we noticed that the picture didn't match the gun.  There's a warning about the gap between the barrel and the receiver when reassembling the gun, but it makes the impression that this gap should be gone before you begin tightening the screws at the front.

Speaking of those screws.  The take down screws look just like the caps to the magazines!  They are not.  We were extra special careful to not launch a mag spring and when the nose came free, we were looking at the actual magazine caps.  This gun would be very hard to make extended mags for.  WHAT?  You know you were thinking it.

More pics are coming.  Range report afore too long.

Seven Of Eight

I have the most epic readers of all!

You don't know me from Adam and you've opened up your hearts (and wallets) and pulled out all the stops to make sure The Boy has his summer school special days.

The Lovely Harvey is entirely too touched by your kindness.

Update:  All eight of the special days have been sponsored!

18 June 2013

Coming Soon

Marvyn has procured a Kel-Tec KSG.

It's a delightfully silly toy of a shotgun.

I think we're going to give a full review of it in these spaces.

The most humorous thing about his buying it is that he wanted a "pump shotgun" since all he had were break opens.

Talk about jumping in with both feet on capacity!

He's got Magpul Gen 2 BUIS and a cheap Chinese holo-sight for it.

Pics to come along with a review.

Summer School For The Boy Update

You people ROCK!

Six of the eight "must have" days have been funded by your generous contributions!

Please take a bow!


Day Three is now sponsored!

Just five to go.

Open Carry (Post 1776)

If open carry should ever come...

I think I shall use my M7 holster for a 1911.  So far it's the only holster I've worn for hours and hours that doesn't cause irritation in some minor way.

Plus, it encourages the use of a lanyard.  How's that for retention?

Fitting that I talk of increased freedom for post 1776, no?

17 June 2013

Summer School For The Boy


Two days of eight have been funded!  25% in a few hours!

Someone rocks!  They can comment and claim it, but I won't out them without permission.

Target Markets

Manufacturers give out free product to people for review.

Often times, they are giving out the product to someone who is a likely customer of that product.  That's all well and good, but I don't think it might be their only route.

I think they should actively seek the reviews of those who are not convinced there's a need for their product.

If someone who doesn't think there's a purpose for your idea finds a use and likes the product, that's a far stronger endorsement than, "I was going to buy one anyway and here's one for free!"

A Bit Of Levity

I get tons of car related spam because I'm a Vette owner.

Got one today for some mats.

Passenger floor well and cargo area, just $230.

If I didn't want the cargo mat, it's $100 less.

If I don't want the floor mats; it's $70 less.

Near as I can figure since I don't want either I owe them $60?

Did I do that right?

Maths be hard.

Thanks For Nothing Pasco County Schools

The Boy is going to an adult learning center.

It's not government, but until now has been paid for out of the funding that is provided for his attendance with the county schools.

This funding is supposed to last until he turns 24, or four more years.

Today the school district informed the learning center that they weren't going to fund the summer break.

The learning center is a $50 a day proposition for us to pay for ourselves.  I sure don't have no spare $1,000 laying around to pay for July.

I know the school gets a break on that price, they're paying less than $50 a day (like $15).

Three things really piss me off about this.

1.  They had to have known that they weren't funding The Boy since the beginning of the year.  Waiting until today was low and likely calculated to do the most harm.

2.  The Boy is SUPER excited about the stuff that is on the schedule for the summer program that is now in jeopardy.

3.  We turned down opportunities for him to attend other summer programs that are funded by SSI and private donations.  This ties into #1.  If they'd told us two months ago we'd just be having him in those programs and all would be well.

I feel shitty for mentioning it, but there's the tip jar button over there on the top right.  Fund The Boy's classes for a day and get a special warm feeling!  Honestly need funding for eight days.  The stuff he's most excited about are just two days a week and if we could get that scrapped together all would be well in The Boy's universe.

Just Another Day At The Office

I'm really enjoying my DIY A-6 Mod.

Special thanks to the fine folks at Combat Ace who figure out how to do these mods and keep them organized for everyone else.

Head downtown.

Then we blow the snot out of Haiphong.

Return to Independence.

Break for overhead recovery

Then trap for an OK 3 wire.

Remember, fighter pilots make movies.  Bomber pilots make history.  Or so some hapless mud mover said in a movie once.  The movie was about him, ironically enough.

16 June 2013

You'll Laugh So Much Your Sides Will Ache

Just for you, Larry!  F-14A from VF-31 Tomcatters.  Not sure if this is the correct paint scheme for 1986 or not, but it's a scheme they used.  This is how their planes appeared from mid-1985 thru late-1991 with CVW-6 off Forrestal CV-59.  Much to my shame, the modex is wrong, it should be 2xx.  Silly me and assuming the 1xx modex from their Phantom days with CVW-3 still applied.

Bonus Pic!  Forgot to add this to the post, so it gets added in an update.

Light Posting

Sorry about that.

Fully half of my regular readership came into town for a visit!  FuzzyGeff and Anglave.

Played some GURPS Traveller.  Rode some coasters at Busch Gardens.  Flew some kites on the beach.  Ate and drank entirely too much.

Laughed not quite enough, because it's sad when friends depart for home.

Special thanks to Anglave's missus for dealing with the disruption of a solo vacation.

12 June 2013

Faster Than A Speeding Skull Interior

Jennifer got a one to examine.

Her mere mention got me to order one, especially after Marv's M&P was vastly improved by an Apex kit.

Installation went just like the video.  Trigger pull is smoother and noticeably lighter.


Trigger pull has been measured by Marv's scale.  9 lb. 8 oz.  That's an improvement of 2 lb. 3 oz.

10 June 2013

Why Do I Always Do This

Failure To Fire comic has a bloglette at the bottom.

Comics with bloglettes are often entertaining and offer insight into the creative process.

Yeah, about that...

I really don't like the author now that I've seen how he interacts with the commenters.  It's going to make it damn hard to enjoy the comic now.


Just in case you're curious...

I posted Danegeld because that's exactly what we're paying with welfare.

It's what we're paying by not fixing illegal immigration.

It's what we're paying by not confronting all manner of things squarely.

09 June 2013

How Big Are They In Texas

...if they're this big in Florida!

Holy snot!

Doesn't Fit

I hate being pigeon holed.  But I've long known that my reasoning is unconventional on many gun topics.

I carry a 1911 because I shoot it well and it's narrower than a double stack nine.  Confidence does matter.  I carry in .45 because my .45 1911 is parkerized and that's more tolerant of being IWB than the blued .38 Super.  I actually prefer the .38 Super to .45...

I have on occasion carried my Glock 21, but that sucker so damn wide it just doesn't ride well for me.

With modern ammo there's just not much difference 'tween 9mm and .45.  Carrying more shots is better than fewer, but everything is a compromise.  I carry a spare magazine or two to compensate.  The flat-narrow 1911 mags are a plus here too.

If .45 kills the soul, do they pass harmlessly through gingers?

R Kipling


It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation,
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
"We invaded you last night - we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:

"We never pay anyone Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

07 June 2013

Mod Madness

I've been making changes to my copy of Strike Fighters.

There's a huge community of people who make add-on planes for the game and I am availing myself of the resources!

Pics below the fold to save people some loading time!


The owners of subwoofers have convinced the courts that their obnoxious throbbing is a first amendment issue.

OK.  Fine.

So be it.

However your rights to speak in public end at my private property line.

I have more jurisprudence on my side.

You don't have any right to intrude into my private space or home.

And that's where I will fight you.

And when your pockets turn out to be infinitesimally small, I will aim right at the installer of your beat box and bleed him dry too.  Then we'll aim at the makers and manufacturers.

I don't care what you do in your own home on your own property, but if it comes onto mine, fight's on.

06 June 2013

Said It Before

Rewatching Star Wars.

Wedge Antilles is the only BY GOD fighter pilot in the whole damn Rebellion.

Denis Lawson did an excellent job with the role, I am convinced he's got a pilot or two as a close relative or friend of the family.

If you watch his performance and compare it to footage taken from pilots during training you'll see what I am talking about.

Additionally the FX people did a great job setting up the fangs-out mode.

When he takes care of the TIE padlocked on Luke he makes a HEAD ON guns attack right past Luke's fighter.  Effectively he's using Luke as a mask to make his own attack.  Grab your favorite combat flight sim and try it!  Shit ain't easy.  It's a lot easier to merge into the turns your wingman is making and then get behind the baddy.

It starts at about 1:49:00 on the DVD I have.  Mr Lawson sells the performance.  He's LOOKING at both Luke and the TIE and working the angles to set up the shot.  Well what's in front of him isn't a space battle, it's a sound stage and a camera crew.  I'll bet his ship ends about a foot in front of what we can see in the shot.

Hat's off, Mr Lawson!  The only character and actor other than the main cast to be in all three original films.

PS: He's also the only pilot in that trench who goes, "who came up with the tactic of flying in a straight line between the lead and the enemy and why am I still doing this stupid shit?"


A Type-S made from Lego would be 0.86m long, 0.62m wide and about 0.2m tall.

I have nearly 20 cubic feet of Lego in assorted bricks and I don't think I have enough to make it.

A Little Cold, A Little Hot, Sing It With Me

The Starks couldn't plan a wedding to save their lives.

05 June 2013

When In Doubt Panic Immediately

Just in case anyone wondered what the initial warning looked like.

It's dreadfully disappointing compared to a tornado warning, stuff is happening all around in one of those.

Three Generations Of Rogue

I am a Lego geek and a Star Wars fan.

Lego keeps making their X-Wing better, and I keep buying the new version.

They're still not quite there, but they're getting SO close.

The scale on the first one was all wrong.  The second is better, but disproportionate; correct landing gear height though.  The third one is closest in scale and proportions, but the nose seems too stubby and  it doesn't park at the correct height.  Plus the R2 socket is sideways!

I can fix the gear.  I have the parts and technology.

The sharp eye will notice that the 1st gen model is modded.  I flipped the bottom wings so that they were mirrors of the top wings; something that Lego didn't do themselves until the 3rd gen.  Now that I'm in a Lego'ing mood I might just do the same mod to the gen 2 bird.

Of note, I have a different pilot and astromech droid in each one. Luke and R2-D2 in the first, Biggs and unknown in the second and Porkins and R5-D8 in the third.

Stainless How Does It Work

Little known fact.

Most stainless steel guns are made from a grade of stainless steel that a magnet can stick to!

Try it at home!

I originally thought it was because of the Undetectable Firearms Act (Thanks Again Hughes!) but further reading leads me to think that gun makers were going for the superior mechanical properties of martensitic stainless steels.

04 June 2013


Dancing Monkeys declare that they, too, are traitors.

This is my shocked face.

I say we add a few slots to the gallows at Fort Leavenworth.

Curtis LeMay

"If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting."

What if that's all of them?

Turns out; "enough" is a variable not a constant.

It can be as few as one and as many as all.

To win, you must be willing to kill as many as it takes to reach enough.  You won't miss it when it happens either.

You should also not worry that you're killing too many while the fight still rages.  If the fight is still on, you've not gotten to "enough" yet.  Again, you can't miss it when you cross the threshold.


Fix Syria?


I'm in, send the Marines, and FIX Syria.

That's going to mean eliminating the cultures that are presently holding it in a broken state and replacing them with a culture that isn't brutally dangerous.

This is why Iraq is not fixed.

We didn't do anything but knock over the people in charge and hand control over to people with no cultural heritage of democracy to be democratic about it.

For Fuck's sake, people, this had even been tried before.  Die Weimarer Republik.  A republican form of government takes some education on the part of the voters and it's damn hard to leap into it cold.

German commoners couldn't make the leap in one step and that gave us a brand new word!  Genocide.

I propose that the US foreign policy be that we will buy what you have to sell, we will sell what you will buy and we will otherwise ignore you.  If it becomes impossible for us to ignore you, you're gone.  The place you used to live will be a new US Territory and eventually a state and part of the USA.  It seems the only way to get anywhere with the middle east is to eradicate the toxic cultures that thrive there.

Or, you can just make sure we can ignore you.

Look For The Union Label

So you'll know who to blame when you walk out into the garage and find this:

That is condensation on the inside of my headlight capsule from someone of UAW Local 2164 who forgot to press the rubber lid on the high beam bulb all the way forward.

It has to have been like this since October 2007 when the car ran off the line, but this is the first time there's been this kind of condensation.

My car is a strike car, and this is the second little thing like this I've found that could be attributed to an interrupted assembly process.  The headliner being improperly adhered to the roof panel being the first.

Update: It's fixed.  Cost to McThag $0.00 and a few hours.  To access the lights on a 6th Gen Vette you remove the wheel on the side you want to work on.  Pop off the access cover.  Pull off the rubber covers, then you can get at the lights.  To dry things out I put a 40w clip-on desk lamp in the capsule and let it sit for ten hours with the bulbs removed.  There's a little 1/4" vent that would have eventually allowed the humidity to equalize, but a bigger hole from the bulb and some heat from the light cleared it up much quicker.  In theory, with the cover properly in place, this will not reoccur.

03 June 2013


This article is a great example of why I hate Grendel fans.  Lying with the facts is still lying.

The author hates the AR because of its gas system.  Um, show me a Grendel gun that's not based on the AR.

The 6.8 is better than an M4, but it doesn't fit in an AR magazine.  Really?

Which one is the 5.56 magazine?
The author also implies that 6.5 works in a USGI magazine.  It doesn't, for the same reasons that 6.8 doesn't.

He impugns the M249 in his article too.  While advocating the 6.5 he's also forgetting that there hasn't been any belt fed development of the round.  Bill Alexander has openly stated that he wasn't interested in that road and gave no consideration for accommodating links.  As far as I know, there's been no work to adapt 6.8 to a belt gun either.  I stand corrected.

In all honesty, he gets one thing right while not realizing it.  To really fix the problem, you're going to have to issue a whole new weapon, not one derived from and compatible with the M16 family.  A totally new round with totally new magazines and belts in a totally new rifle and SAW are what is needed.  Designing them together would be the ideal way to do it.  Being constrained by the dimensions of the M16 magazine is a severe limiter on developing a new cartridge.  It makes a lot of economic sense for commercial sales to we armchair heroes, but they are a kludge at best for an issue infantry rifle.

Say Hi To Satan

Frank Lautenberg has croaked.

It's blood dancing, but I can't help but be elated that there's a name we won't be seeing attached to any new gun control legislation.

Tech Keeps Marching Along

A 1942 Rolls Royce Merlin 61 engine is carburetted, 27 Liter displacement and makes 1,580 hp with the full supercharged setting selected (about 9 pounds of boost) at around 3,000 rpm.  This requires 100 octane gas.  58.52 hp/l.  It also weighs 1,640 lb. dry (0.96 hp/lb) and I am not sure if this includes the supercharger.

A 2008 Chevrolet LS3 engine is electronically fuel injected, 6.2 Liter displacement and makes 436 hp naturally aspirated at around 5,900 rpm.  93 octane fuel is required.  70.32 hp/l.  It's about 415 lb as a crate engine (1.05 hp/lb).

Adding a supercharger to an LS3 (Edelbrock E-Charger) runs approximately 7 pounds of boost and ups the power to 599 hp using the same 93 octane fuel as before.  96.61 hp/l!  The kit is 125 lbs, but parts are removed from the base engine, so the total is less than adding 415 and 125; but...  Even at 540 lb total, it's 1.11 hp/lb.


This little amphibian charged me when I attempted to get it out of the dog's reach.

It rode on my shoulder to a safer location then jumped into my bathroom window, where it posed for the camera.

The flash from my cell phone camera seemed to mess it up but good, it was lost and aimless in the sill for a few minutes.

02 June 2013


You know, I think that if Canada had done to us what we did to Mexico during Fast and Furious, we'd have considered that an act of war.

If they decide to take it that way, what happens if they draft all the illegals?

Whole Lotta

The Boy transitions from the public schools bosom to the private sector officially today.

He's getting his special education high school diploma.

This doesn't change the situation on the ground even a smidgeon.  He'll still attend the private school he's attended the past two years and it will still be paid for by the school district for the next four.

Graduation party tomorrow!

Been flying the electrons off my flight sim.  The A-6A is so choice.  If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

The latest patch cures a stutter that had made one of my other favorites unflyable, the English Electric Lightning.  I say, "super cruise"?  We had that in the fifties, Old Man.

The A-6 comes into the game via a simple modification.  The same sort of mods have also added Canadian CF-5A's and a stable of Starfighters.

Everything you've heard about the Starfighter is wrong concerning maneuverability.  This is first time I've flown a 104 in a sim where I walk away thinking what the pilots had be saying.  Hot ship!  The nice thing about SF2 is that it tones down the reality just a bit so that the sim-pilot gets an effective 500 hours with any of the planes.  You can still get into big trouble, but you have to try.  Not modeling every little oddity and twitch leaves you free to pursue the tactics.  And you have to use the tactics that were successful in the real world to be successful in the game world.

It's the first sim I've played that has a crutch to compensate for the fact that your ass and inner ear can't feel a thing where the plane could still be employed in a realistic manner.  It means I can't use some of the famous departure tactics that the guys at TOPGUN came up with for the F-4 though.