It was cold.
Ammo was hard to get.
Few showed up.
The results were great.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 will be better.
It was cold.
Ammo was hard to get.
Few showed up.
The results were great.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 will be better.
I have not been a fan of any of the products of the Taurus group in the past. Sorry, Gabe. I’m not hating. You’re gun is still cool. I have a dear friend who purchased a model 10 from a local pawn shop. It’s from the Bangor Punta era that we Smith fans are supposed to sneer at, but it is still a pretty sweet gun. Well… I have pined for a decent revolving carbine chambered in .357 Magnum. Or even better, .44 Magnum. And then…
What? What do we have here?
Umm… This appears to be a revolving carbine in .44 Magnum. In a bright blue. With walnut furniture.
Yeah. We may just have to get one of these babies.
I have a solitaire app on my phone that I enjoy playing from time to time. On one of its ‘updates’, it started this annoying little habit of displaying an advertisement prior to dealing my cards. During deer season, this was particularly bothersome when it was a video commercial with sound. Fortunately, it’s usually just an image, or a video with a play button, as opposed to one that auto starts. For example, something like this:
Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the car on the road when I’m trying to clear off some stupid public safety announcement so I can play solitaire?
At the risk of severely alienating some of my readers, I’m going to take a swing at this horribly controversial issue. A rough head count shows that about forty of my FaceBook friends have changed their profile picture to show their support for equal marriage rights. I’ve seen a lot of these:
…as well as the gun/freedom bent varieties:
…cullinary variations, of course:
…and for the ultimate in head-scratching hilarity, the kittens flying over The Grand Canyon variation:
About half of those have switched to something else at this point. One of my friends even shared this video in which the young man speaking makes a very excellent argument for gay marriage as viewed through biblical scripture:
Of roughly 1,400* friends, this represents less than a 3% showing in the first place which has tapered off to just under 1.5%. I do not for one instant believe that support for gay marriage rights is this abysmally low. As much of a stupid cliche as it is, I have friends that are gay. I’m not going to call them out as examples, as I feel that would be rude. I do feel that they have as much right to pursue happiness as the straight among us. I am of the opinion that the government has no place in my bedroom, and therefore it has no place in yours. I am not wholly convinced that a homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable**, but I don’t believe that it should be legislated out, nor do I think that my moral convictions or leanings should come into account in a consensual act between adults when I’m not included. I have told as much to some of my gay friends at one time or another, and they’ve taken it quite well.
I also have some friends who despite feeling homosexual attractions, practice relationships with people of the opposite sex. Through conversation, I have learned that this can be due to them having moral convictions concerning their lifestyle choices. I don’t know whether this is true for all of them, but it is for at least some.
You can’t help who you are attracted to, but you can choose what to do with that.
I’ve heard critics of this stance point out that these people are merely denying their own nature and pushing down the desires of their heart and body, but I don’t see it that way. If I did everything my body told me to without concern for my personal convictions as to what is right and wrong, my wife would have left me by now! Many people stifle dark desires that would land them in jail or get them killed. We are creatures of choice and free will. I will not say that this is the right lifestyle choice for everyone who has an alternative attraction going on, but I do believe that it is a valid choice for some, whose convictions dictate it. In being sensitive to the lifestyle choices of others, let’s be careful not to step on the toes of those who have made even more difficult lifestyle choices.
The older I get, I’m becoming more and more fiscally conservative and libertarian, which manifests in the form of social liberalism at times. I do not believe that my marriage certificate grants justification to my committed relationship to Jennifer, but I will admit that it does make taxes and a will easier, and I understand why homosexuals want the same benefits. So, despite my uncertainty, I do believe that they should have that as a choice. I do not believe that a church should be required to grant a wedding between members of the same sex if that goes against their beliefs. There are plenty of churches that would gladly opt in though, so I don’t anticipate that would be a problem. I don’t know what has or has not happened in the courts this week, because I haven’t been following that closely. But, I do hope that they’ll make the right choice.
*The actual number is 1,398. It was higher last week. I must have pissed someone off. LOL!
**And, that may have more to do with the fact that I personally find two dudes kissing to be gross, but then again, I’ve seen a lot of straight couples that I would not want to watch making out either.
As many of you know, this past weekend was our second annual Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest. A splendid time was had by all. the turnout was smaller than anticipated, which I blame on the current ammo shortage combined with less than perfect weather. I literally had people straight up tell me that they weren’t coming because they couldn’t afford the ammo. Yes, I could have used less wind and another ten degrees of warmth, but it was still a lot of fun. Shortly after we arrived at the range on Saturday morning, with a glitter in his eye, Teen Bot asked me if I packed some 20-gauge shot shells.
Several years ago, I had bought a beautiful little Winchester 1300 in 20-gauge with the coolest youth furniture on it. This was a pawn shop find, barely used (if at all), with a vent rib and winchokes. This was one of those deals where I’d seen the gun previously, and we were going into the shop for another purpose. On the way, I commented, “if they’ll take $xxx for that gun, I’m going to buy it. Then when at the store, the owner offered to sell it for a price significantly lower than my proposed price.
The youth stock and fore end make this gun ideal for smaller statured people and children, which makes it an awesome new shooter trainer for our arsenal. When I bought it, Teen Bot was still small enough that I thought he’d get a lot of use out of it. But for whatever reason, the boy was completely frightened of any shotguns bigger than a .410. He would practice stance at home, and even mount up the empty gun, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with it on the range. Often he’d claim that he’d screwed up the courage to try it today, only to chicken out when we actually got in the open air.
This went on until one day, the three of us showed up on the property with nothing in the car but shotguns, bird shot, and a case of clays. I had Teen Bot operate the thrower for me for a bit, and then he said that he’d like to try that 20-gauge. And then, he was totally hooked. In short order, he was busting clays like a pro. Sadly, this timed poorly with his major growth spurt. He’s now nearly as tall as me, and the youth sized 20-gauge is a little on the small side for him anymore, after him putting a paltry 100 or so shells through it.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. I dug around in the trunk for the 20-gauge with no success. I asked Jennifer if she had packed the gun, and she confirmed that she had not. She’d meant to, but she specifically remembers not packing that case. So, I asked Teen Bot if he’d like to try 12-gauge instead, assuring him that the recoil was not much worse. He tentatively agreed to give it a go. We don’t have a 12-gauge in the house that most people would consider an acceptable clay gun, and the first gun I grabbed was Jennifer’s Defender. Teen Bot shoved seven shells in the magazine and I started throwing clays for him. Again, he was busting clays and having a great time.
The boy is going to need a shotgun of his own. I knew this day was coming eventually. When I bought the 20-gauge, a big reason was so that he could start learning to use a shotgun, but it’s not a gun that I really saw him taking into adulthood as his. So, now I’m thinking about the economics of a decent, multipurpose shotgun. Remington 870s are fairly easy to source for around $400. You can get a brand new Mossberg for $200 or less if you are looking right. And, I still see like new Winchester 1300s between $250 and $350 on occasion. No, I’m not buying him a Kel Tec KSG with an EOTech mounted on it. His birthday is long past, so I’m going to have to figure out some occasion that will be appropriate for gift giving.
On Saturday, as I was handling clay targets, my life-long friend, Rob asked me how much a box of clays costs. I told him that I thought I usually paid around $10. He commented that shooting was an expensive hobby. I didn’t say much to that at the time. Shooting can get really expensive really fast. But, about $10 for a case of ~100 clays, and around $30 for a case of shot shells will keep a family entertained for a day. That’s cheaper than going to a theme park or even the theater, and it’s far better for exercising the body and mind, and bonding between participants. In the grand scheme of things, it probably one of the cheaper forms of entertainment, especially if you consider the benefits! And now, I wish that I was outside shooting clays instead of here at my laptop. Well, there really aren’t enough hours of work time before the weekend anyway.
About a month ago, I wrote about my trip to the local Academy to pick up some ammunition. On Friday, I decided to swing by there again to pick up a little more. I’ve been trying to keep an inventory on what we have in stock, and bone up on everything in anticipation of Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest, which is less than two weeks away now! Thanks to my friend Mark, I’m now very well stocked on .22lr. We have enough .45 to last us a bit. We’re good enough on rifle ammo right now. We don’t have much 9mm, but we don’t shoot much 9mm, so it doesn’t matter much. We are running a little low on our revolver calibers. Revolver ammunition has not been behind the counter like the higher-demand cartridges, but I figured that I’d pick up some .223 or 9mm while I was in the store, just for good measure. When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a line of people going in the front door. That was weird. When I stepped into the store, I saw a few people at the customer service counter buying ammo. It didn’t look as crowded as it had been on my previous visit in February, so I stepped toward it to see what ammo they had available.
The pile looked a little slimmer than it had last time, but obviously, they did have a small selection of ammo for auto-loading rifles and pistols. Just then, a store employee addressed me and asked if I wanted to buy ammo. When I affirmed this, he motioned and instructed me to get to the back of the line.
I couldn’t get the front of the line in scope, but this is close to it. See the lady in the black heels toward the back there? She’s not at the back of the line. The line turns the corner there between the clothing section in the middle and the shelves on the other side. Please note the position of the heeled lady in this next shot:
She seemed like a nice enough lady when I spoke with her. She was after .38 Special for her carry gun, and she would not find any there. It was pretty obvious to me that there was not enough ammunition for everyone in line. I didn’t bother getting in line, but caught these pictures to share here.
I don’t know why that guy was wearing a support belt, but he didn’t look too thrilled about having his picture taken. A cute little blonde employee approached me and asked if I got some good pictures. I told her that I thought I did. I chatted with her for a few minutes and expressed that when I had been in only a few weeks earlier, that the situation was far better than this. She said that this was the worst that she has seen it and that it seems to be getting progressively worse all the time. Here’s a picture from the shelves where the line turned around the corner toward the front of the store, where the ammo was being doled out:
When I made it back to the regular ammo shelf, I found no .38 Special and no .357 Magnum. The nice lady in the black heels was there, searching for the same. There were also a couple of younger guys staring at the shelf in disbelief. They had 10mm, .38 Short Colt, and .41 Magnum on the shelf. There was one box of .44 Special in aluminum cases. There were several brands of .44 Magnum, but it was all the heavy hollow-points that sell for forty bucks for a box of twenty-five rounds – not exactly what you want to make into a day at the range. We discussed whether you could shoot .38 Colt out of a .38 Special or .357 Magnum. One of the guys assured me that it would work fine, but I decided not to chance it. I left the store without product, but not empty handed. I was glad to have been there ready with my camera to document the situation. On my way out of the store, I walked along a man in camouflaged pants and a beard who was inspecting the contents of his shopping bag. I recognized him as being one of the patrons at the front of the line.
“Did you have to get here early to get in line?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he smiled, “well, I was actually a little late for me. I only got here at 7:25.”
The store opens at 8:00.
“Really?” I asked him, “What time do you usually get here then?”
“Well, I try to be here at about 4:30 or 5:00,” he explained.
“That early?” I inquired.
“Yup,” he confirmed, “There are a few people who get here at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Same ones every time. They’re the ones who get all the guns. Of course, the store has their seven-day limit thing, but other than that, you can count on seeing those same people.”
Chills down my spine. As we parted ways, I told him to take care. Teen Bot had a field trip at the museum that we all went on later that morning. That evening, Jennifer and I went to our favorite indoor gun range. We had their classic and delicious onion burgers at their cafe, and I stood at their ammo counter for a while. I picked up a box of .38 Special and a box of .357 Magnum, both in FMJ from Federal’s American Eagle label. I also picked up a box of .38 +p Gold Dots for Jennifer’s Nana. The three boxes cost me something in the way of $84.00 after tax. Five years ago, the same selection would have cost half of that. Not only is ammunition in high demand. The store section of the same range used to keep their handgun displays packed full. They have probably forty or so display cabinets that used to be filled with thirty or forty guns each. This i what they look like now:
What you see there is a selection of nine lonely handguns where there used to be a hundred, consistently. I thought that the insanity would be fading by now. I thought wrong. It just seems to be picking up pace. People are paying $50 for PMags that sold for less than $20 six months ago. They’re buying up $800 AR15s for $3,000 a pop. My sister-in-law is thinking of selling her XD9 Subcompact at current market value to put towards a defensive handgun and a race gun after the panic dies down. To be perfectly honest, if someone had some nice lever-actions in .22lr, .357 Magnum, and .30-30, I’d probably consider trading for my Star15 Dissipator, a few mags, and ammo. These are interesting times we live in, to be sure. We must remember that this is an unsustainable bubble. The AWB will not pass and the market will be flooded with excess guns and ammo, and then there will be a lovely recession in pricing on these goods as they flow out from where the hoarders currently have them. Keep your congresscritters on speed-dial and ride this thing out the best you can, and do be careful!
When my commute to work included a drive in the car, I would often listen to the radio on my way in because I always forgot to change out the CD selection in the car. Of course, the stations that played any of the good indy stuff that I liked never made any money and so were always short-lived. There were two Christian stations in town, but the good one went belly up and the remaining one was a little koombayah for my taste. So, I wound up listening to NPR. Even though their ‘news’ broadcasts are a little slanted, their shows are entertaining. I especially liked their music reviews.
Radio is now dead. When I was a kid, there were multiple stations in town that gave a nice cross-section taste of what was out there. There were multiple CD stores in town that had nice selections of new and used CDs. They had single-disc CD players set up with headphones where one could pre-listen a used CD prior to buying it. The clerk didn’t care if I sat there and listened to the full 45-minute CD prior to spending my eight bucks to take the CD home with me in my little station wagon. There, I discovered Bjork. There, they’d recommend new CDs to me that they had just gotten in, based on my tastes. If I pointed out that it was wrapped in cellophane, they would roll their eyes and unwrap it so I could give it a listen. In those days, I’d hear something on the radio and go buy the CD locally.
Now that radio is dead, we have the internet. Youtube and Pandora have filled the space of FM. When I find something interesting on the internet, I seek it out at the stores. I see embedded videos and links to songs that are entertaining. When I go to a store that has a generous CD section, I scan interesting selections with my smart phone to compare prices on Amazon. This Johnny Cash CD is eight bucks here, and I can get it for five on Amazon Prime.
For at least a decade now, the artists and even more so, the record labels, have fought to keep music from being downloaded off the internet. And yet, the smarter artists have freely given their music in various forms. In listening to NPR, I was fascinated by Infected Mushroom when they were featured one afternoon. When I found their website, I found that their music is all streaming there. In working at my last place of traditional employment, and subsequently for myself, I have streamed Infected Mushroom for many hours for free.
I decided that I wanted to hear Infected Mushroom in better sound quality than is streamed online. For years, we had cut out all of our excess spending for the purpose of business building. I had asked about Infected Mushroom at several CD stores because I couldn’t find any of their CDs. I was usually met with, “No, I’ve had all my shots.” No, do you have any of their CDs? “Is that the new Garth Brooks album?” I kid, I kid. To all you who may be IM fans out there, do you download MP3s, or order CDs on the internet, or do you find them in stores?
I know that MP3s are the new thing, but they lack depth of sound definition and clarity. Personally, I prefer the warmth of vinyl, but I can certainly live with the resolution of modern CD tracks or WAV files. It’s also nice to get cover art and a physical, hard copy. I have ripped all of our CDs to the hard drive on our media server and stream that when I want to listen to our music library now. Hard drive space is cheap, and it keeps the wear and tear off the originals. This has pointed out some transfer speed weaknesses in the network, which has been interesting.
Anyway, having grown fond of Infected Mushroom, I placed a $45.00 order on Amazon for some of their CDs last night. I’m excited to receive them. I will rip the discs to the media server and listen to them from there, which will certainly be better sound quality than streaming from their website or YouTube. And, I will have put a little money in their pockets too. For all of the musical artists out there that don’t make their work more accessible, I don’t know of their work and have not placed an order for CDs. There is the difference.
Aging in a changing world is interesting. I try very hard to roll with the punches without blindly folding to whatever comes next. Shopping for music is vastly different than it used to be. I don’t hate all the new music in a generalized fashion, but MP3s aren’t worth the price of a physical disc that has superior sound quality and cover art. It benefits the artist to put their work out there to be heard prior to purchase. Just as I would spend hours pouring over used CDs on the player in the CD shop in town, I now spend hours listening to music on the internet to determine what I want to invest in. Where I used to adventurously put money down on a disc to add to the collection, now I see if I can have it delivered for a better price, but plenty of times I still buy on location.
I wish that the record shop was still a major industry, but I understand why it can’t be anymore. MP3s are inferior in sound quality, but they aren’t the sucking mistake that cassettes were. I keep hoping for an improvement over CDs, as this is now almost thirty-year-old technology on the consumer level, and it leaves sound resolution to be desired, but despite SACD, HDCD, and DVD Audio, nothing better has stuck. As Murphy’s Law dictates, once I settle into CDs as the defacto, common use, audiophile medium, the next great thing will happen and then all my stuff will be obsolete. And, it probably won’t even be played over conventional speakers.
Last year sometime, I received an email invitation to a beer tasting at the gun range closest to our house.
You read that right. The indoor climate-controlled gun range that is within stumbling distance of my home had several breweries come out, set up booths, and serve beer on the premises. But, don’t worry – they had the drinking section separated from the shooting section and they weren’t letting anyone shoot who had been drinking. They had taken names to draw for door prizes, and I had tasted Coop Ale Works‘ entire flight at least twice when they called my name. If you like beer, and you ever come through Oklahoma City, I highly recommend stopping in to give these guys a whirl, as they know their craft well, and brew some tasty refreshments. So, as they had just called my name, I went to retrieve my door prize. They handed me a handsome pint glass with the Coop logo silkscreened on one side and a list of their beers on the other. There was a matching, black t-shirt rolled up and stuffed in the glass. Oddly, I’ve wound up with quite a few beer t-shirts in circumstances not unlike this one. I did what any good beer fan would have in my circumstance, and took my glass to the Coop rep serving DNR, and showed him that my prize glass was defective.
“Because it’s empty?” he clarified. Ah! We have a quick one here, “I’m not filling that for you. You don’t want a full pint of DNR right now.” Oh well, you can’t blame a guy for trying. A good time was had by all, the alcohol may have influenced me to spend some money on Magpul accessories. I have no idea where the t-shirt wound up, but the glass took up residence on my kitchen counter and has been my go-to glass since then. Anytime I need a glass of filtered water, that’s the glass I grab. What if I want a glass of Hanson Key Lime soda? Coop glass, that’s what. I have had to make an actual effort to remember to cycle this thing through the dishwasher from time to time, as I’ve been in the habit of simply rinsing it and setting it by the espresso machine until I used it next. Until today, that is.
When Teen Bot and I were done with our Red Baron pizza, I walked into the dark kitchen and reached toward the sink to rinse my plate. The cuff on my O.G. caught on the lip of my Coop glass and it fell to its death upon the tile floor. It was almost like it fell in slow motion, with me reaching after it crying, “NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” But, it was too late.
As I swept up its remains, it called out to me, “Why? Why didn’t you save me? We had so many good times together!” And, I gave it a burial in File Thirteen in a coffin made from the Red Barron pizza box with the end folded shut. So, now I need a new go to cup. I was thinking maybe something like this:
Or even this:
Then again, something like this wouldn’t break if I dropped it:
I put those on my Amazon wish list anyway. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will gift me one.
One thing that many people fail to realize is that the police are the people and the people are the police. If you take a big enough subsection of population, you are going to come up with social outliers. That is to say that you will find sickos in any group of people if you take a large enough sample. There are an estimated 35,000 officers employed by the New York Police Department, which makes it slightly less surprising that you can find some bad seeds in their ranks. But, when they are being arrested for conspiring to kidnap, rape, torture, murder, and eat women using official databases; well, that just goes a little beyond reasonable distribution. How many sociopathic rapist cannibals are acceptable in a 35,000-individual sample anyway? Thanks for giving me yet another reason to avoid big cities. My parents have made recommendations that Jennifer and I should vacation in Chicago, NYC, Paris, and London. No thank you. Certainly not with the world in its current state. There are many places in the world that I would love to visit but for the lack of value put on the individual. Perhaps one day even the big cities of he world will respect an individual’s natural right to self defense, but as long as people are treated as subjects and chattel in such places, I’ll be staying in flyover country.
I was actually thinking of writing a post with a message similar to this one. But, Michael Z Williamson takes it so much further than I would have that it’s not even worth the effort on my part. Well done sir. If any of you have not read this, you probably should. Language warning – don’t set this thing on text to speech in the workplace.