Friday, December 26, 2014

Shooty post-Christmas deals

Gifts have been given and received, and most of us are happy with the result.  However, my disabled students and I have a few items that are surplus to current requirements:  and there are a few things we could use for our current carbine rebuilds and other activities.  Therefore, I'm offering the following for sale or swap.  I'm not expecting to get their new or retail price, but will dicker for swaps we can use or cash to buy what we need.  If you're within striking distance of Nashville, TN, and are interested in anything I've listed, drop me a line (my e-mail address is in my blog profile) and let's talk.  Items can be shipped over longer distances, as none require an FFL for transfer.

Items for sale or swap:

  • Two (2) Jarvis drop-in match barrels for Glock 19, caliber 9mm Parabellum:  regular price (as per Jarvis' Web site) $200 apiece.  Brand new and unfired - never installed.
  • One (1) Jarvis drop-in match barrel for Glock 23, caliber .40 Smith & Wesson;  regular price (as per Jarvis' Web site) $200.  Brand new and unfired - never installed.
  • Four 5-packs of Vickers Tactical Glock magazine floor plates to fit 9mm/.40 S&W/357 SIG magazines.  Two packs of black (list price $18.50 apiece) and two of orange (list price $21.50 apiece).  All new, never installed, in original packaging.
  • One case (1,000 rounds) of Wolf Polyformance .223 Remington 62gr. JHP ammunition, packaged in 2 x 500-round plastic packs, each containing 25 boxes.  Wolf lists muzzle velocity for this round at 3,025 fps, which puts it in the same class as SS109/M855 military ball - except that this is hollow-point ammo.  It's polymer-coated, not lacquer-coated like the cheaper military product, so it won't build up lacquer fouling in the chamber.  Cost was $225.00.

Items needed:

  • Good-quality weapon-mounted lights, although (for obvious reasons) not the more expensive brands.  The Streamlight TLR-1 series are particularly desirable (or equivalents).  A specific model that would be very useful is the Streamlight 69217 TLR-1 HP (High Performance) long-range light for mounting on rifles and carbines.
  • Vertical or angled fore-end grips for the AR-15, possibly incorporating a light and/or laser sight, to fit a Picatinny rail or Magpul MOE handguard with the appropriate adapter.  I don't want the cheap Airsoft-type 'toys', but serious-use hardware.
  • Two caliber conversion barrels for the Glock 22, to convert it from .40 S&W to 9mm Parabellum.  These are available from Lone Wolf, KKM Precision (select the G22, then the 'Conversion Barrel' option) and Storm Lake.  I'd particularly like to get one of the longer threaded conversion barrels, if anyone has one lying around.

As I said, I'm not looking to receive full retail value for the stuff I'm offering:  for the right swap, or a useful cash price, I'll make a deal.  If you're interested, please get in touch.  Thanks.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

A feel-good story for Christmas

A bride-to-be thought she was going to a shopping mall to have photographs taken in her wedding dress, just a couple of days before Christmas.  Her fiancé and family had a better idea.

Ain't they cute?  Best wishes for a long and happy life together to the newlyweds - and a merry Christmas, of course!


The lighter side of Christmas

I said the important things about Christmas last night.  There's also the fun aspect, which has been brought out by a number of posts and articles.  Here are a few that have tickled my fancy.

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The Telegraph calculates 'Santanomics'.  Here's an excerpt.

If each house places a 200ml glass [about 6½ oz.] of semi-skimmed milk and a mince pie by the fireplace, Santa drinks 148m litres [over 39 million US gallons] of milk -- enough to fill around 60 Olympic-size swimming pools -- and eats 740m mince pies during his shift.

As there are around 250 calories in a mince pie and 100 calories in the glass of milk, Santa consumes 259bn calories on Christmas (and that’s before he goes home to his turkey leftovers).

To burn that off so he can squeeze into his suit again the following Christmas, Santa would have to run for 1.5bn miles.

There's more at the link.

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MSgt. B. shares some Christmas thoughts and images, including this one:

There are more at the link.

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Mr. Garabaldi has three good blog posts about 'Christmas tidbits', as he calls them:

Go read, and enjoy.

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World War I began in 1914.  That year saw the famous 'Christmas Truce', in which British and German soldiers came out of their trenches to fraternize in No-Mans-Land and play a famous game of football. This year - the centenary of the occasion - a number of re-enactments of that game have been held, but the one that caught my attention was between British and German troops serving in Afghanistan.

I wonder whether any of the participants' great-grandparents played together between the front lines a century ago?

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I'm sure most of us are familiar with the famous poem " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas ".  My fellow author and columnist at Mad Genius Club, Kate Paulk, has celebrated the season by penning a new version of the poem, "as edited by a Social Justice Warrior".  Here's an excerpt.

Twas the sleep-preferred diurnal period before the non-denominational winter celebration, when all through the dwelling place
Not a life-privileged thing was stirring, not even a member of the species mus musculus.
The gift receptacles of choice were placed by the designated location with care,
In hopes that a culturally appropriate giver of gifts soon would be there.

There's more at the link.  Giggle-worthy for the not-politically-correct (such as yours truly).

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A furniture store in Bangor, Maine, has responded very appropriately to complaints by the grinch-minded concerning its seasonal displays.  If I weren't over 1,300 miles away by road, I'd make a point of driving there to buy something to express my appreciation.  May I suggest to any of my readers living near the store that they might like to consider doing so on behalf of the rest of us?  Thanks.

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Finally, cartoonist Randall Munroe has his own inimitable take on Christmas.  (Clicking the image will take you to the XKCD home page.  It's one of my regular cartoon reads.  Highly recommended.)


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A happy and holy Christmas to all my readers

I don't have a profound message for Christmas - it has its own.  I wrote about its very special meaning for me back in 2008, and I've never been able to improve on that;  so, if you haven't read about 'The Night Christmas Became Real', please follow that link and do so now.

As for the message of the season, I think Fr. John Foley SJ and his colleagues of the St. Louis Jesuits expressed it very beautifully in this song in 1977.  It can (and does) still move me to tears with its meditative, contemplative, prayerful insight.

May God bless each and every one of you this night with the joy of His presence.


Beautiful music for the season

Here's Lindsey Stirling's release for Christmas 2014.



Imagine jumping off that . . .

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday was a spectacular shot taken by the Rosetta probe as it orbited Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  The agency reports:

The ragged cliffs, as featured here, were imaged by Rosetta about two weeks ago. Although towering about one kilometer high, the low surface gravity of Comet CG would likely make a jump from the cliffs, by a human, survivable. At the foot of the cliffs is relatively smooth terrain dotted with boulders as large as 20 meters across.

There's more at the link.

Here's what the probe saw.  Click the image for a larger view at the APOD site.

Imagine jumping off a cliff more than half a mile high, and floating gently down to the surface.  Makes me want to go there and try it . . .


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Some very interesting links

These articles have given me food for thought and a lot of information over the past few days.

What all of these stories, and so many others, have in common is the assumption of bad faith by liberals, who claim they can read the minds of everyone from dinner-party guests to society at large and detect the dark secret impulses seething beneath every word and deed.  The worst bad motives are assumed for every action, including something as harmless as a short woman asking a taller department-store patron to grab a box of detergent off the top shelf for her.  If events that cannot be construed as social-justice crimes are not ready to hand, the liberal will simply invent them, transforming lies into Deeper Truth with the magical power of leftist ideology.  We’re even presumed guilty of crimes no one actually committed, most notably the horrible “anti-Muslim backlash” that never actually happens after Muslim terrorists commit atrocities.

This presumption of guilt is absolutely crucial to collectivism.  The Left must teach its subjects to think of themselves as criminals.  That’s the only way law-abiding people will endure levels of coercive power that would normally require specific accusations, a fair trial, and the possibility of appeals.  Social-justice “crimes” can be prosecuted without any of those things.  There is no appeal from the sentence, and no statute of limitations on the crimes, as any left-winger who thinks today’s American citizens need to suffer for the historical offense of slavery will be happy to explain to you.  There’s no evidence you can present in your defense, for the Left has read your mind, and knows better than you what demons lurk in its recesses.

This is one reason the Left dislikes the trappings of constitutional law and order.  The presumption of innocence is highly inconvenient for social crusades; it’s the antithesis of collective political “justice.”

Speaking of the left, progressives and collectivists, my fellow author, blogger and friend Larry Correia has put up three articles in recent weeks addressing the phenomenon in his own inimitable and very funny style.

Go read, and enjoy.


Talk about being overcome by events!

BBC journalist Quentin Sommerville tried to file a news report about 8½ tons of narcotics being burned.  Unfortunately, the fumes wafted his way . . .


The first color photographs of America

Through a photo essay in the Telegraph, I was led to a book from Taschen, the well-known publishers of art 'coffee-table' books.  This one's titled 'An American Odyssey'.

It looks to be a fascinating volume.  The blurb reads:

These rediscovered Photochrom and Photostint postcard images from the private collection of Marc Walter were produced by the Detroit Photographic Company between 1888 and 1924. Using a photolithographic process that predated the autochrome by nearly 20 years, they offered people the very first color photographs of The United States. Suddenly, the continent's colors were available for all to see. The rich ochres and browns of the Grand Canyon, the dazzle of Atlantic City, became a visual delight not only for eyewitnesses, but for Americans far and wide.

Clear Creek Canyon, Georgetown Loop, Colorado (click to enlarge)

Imbued with this sense of discovery and adventure, the pictures gathered here are a voyage through peoples, places and time at once. They take us through North America’s vast and varied landscape, encounter its many communities, and above all transport us back to the New World of over a century ago. Over more than 600 pages including fold-out spreads, this sweeping panorama takes us from Native American settlements to New York's Chinatown, from some of the last cowboys to Coney Island's heyday. As luminous now as they were some 120 years ago, these rare and remarkable images that brought America to Americans now bring American's past to our present.

There's more at the link.

There's an amazing selection of pictures in the Telegraph's photo essay and at Taschen's Web site.  Here are a few to whet your appetite.  Click them for a larger view.

Homestake Mine, South Dakota

Ships in New York harbor

Sunset from the Battery, New York

Zuni Pueblo Indians perform the Rain Dance in New Mexico

It's a very large book, 612 pages long, measuring 11.4" x 15.6" and weighing almost sixteen pounds.  At its three-figure price, I sadly can't afford to buy it:  but it's satisfying to know that it exists, and documents for posterity many aspects of our history that would otherwise never be remembered as they truly were.

I think Taschen deserves a big round of applause for continuing its tradition of producing books that no-one else would even consider publishing.  This looks like an amazing volume.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Heh - AK-47 edition

E-mailed to me by three readers over the course of the day:

The thought of the tough, pugnacious Mikhail Kalashnikov as a Legolas-like elf is too funny for words.  However, he'd have made a great dwarf in Tolkien's fantasy world in terms of character and outlook on life.


Doofus Of The Day #805

Today's award goes to two indolent Italian traffic cops.

Two Rome traffic police officers ... were supposed to be tracking speed in the Casilina area of the capital on Friday night when they fell asleep in their car, La Reppublica reported.

They awoke at around 2am on Saturday to find that their speed camera, which was perched on a tripod in front of the vehicle, had been stolen.

At first, it was thought the officers could have been “drugged” by sleeping gas placed in the car’s ventilation system, La Repubblica reported.

But it was later concluded that they simply nodded off, perhaps aided by the warmth of the car's heater.

It’s a nap that could cost them dearly as the pair now face a disciplinary process, and possible suspension.

There's more at the link.

The long arm nap of the law?


Neat door, but . . . why?

I was intrigued to come across these video demonstrations of Austrian artist Klemens Torggler's door designs.

You can read more about the design at Gizmodo.  I'm sure it's clever, but what was wrong with the traditional type of door?  Does this do anything better than the old design would have done?  Is this intended to be an improvement, or just "art for art's sake"?

I'd love to know how that door design would stand up to problems like extreme weather, attempts to break in through it, and so on.  I doubt whether it could be made as strong as a one-piece door.  Yes, yes, I know . . . I don't have an artist's soul.  Prosaic reality's more my thing.