Sunday, December 31, 2006

Auld Lang Syne Fireplace

Happy New Year to all from Mr. Completely & KeeWee!

See you next year at the range.....

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good Riddance

Saddam Executed.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Cream - Spoonful

Here's one for all you old fart rockers. If this doesn't get your circulation going, nothing will.

For you young folks,you just had to have been there, then you'd understand.....

H & K Mark 23 in .45 ACP

Manfred over in France at French gun blog Armes et tir passion has a new toy, a .45 Caliber H & K Mark 23. He's also got a gun review (I think, Bablefish translation is down at the moment) and some video of some live range time shooting some pins with it. Here's his post.

Even if you can't read it in French the videos are worth the visit.

Brass World

I just got an email from Dan Allen, who runs Brass World Online. It seems that Google has dropped him out of their searches since his is a gun related business. This can have a big negative impact on his business.

I have dealt with Dan in the past, and think we as gun bloggers should spread the word around about his business, as a lot of folks probably don't know about it.

Dan primarily sells once-fired brass in a whole bunch of different calibers. The brass is sorted and and bagged up by type, unless otherwise identified as mixed brass. His prices are very reasonable, and he doesn't try to gouge you on shipping, either.

In addition to once-fired brass, he also carries some calibers and brands of new brass too. He mentioned to me that although he is out on some stuff, he has a pretty good supply on hand and will be filling up his stocks again very soon. I would imagine if you dropped him an email and let him know what you were looking for, he might just come up with what you want a bit quicker if he's currently out of stock!

Drop by Brass World Online and have a look around and see if he's got some brass you could use. Tell him Mr. Completely sent you! No, that doesn't get me anything, no free brass, but it will let him know that we gun bloggers appreciate what he does, and that we reach a lot of shooters with our blogs.

Gun Bloggers: How about you giving him a mention, too? I'm putting him in the links over there on the right.......

NOTE: They are doing some end of year server maintenance over the new years, so you may have to try a couple of times to get to his site. If you get an error message, try again, or try later. The URL IS valid!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

All this tissue paper, there's just GOT to be a mouse or something in there somewhere!

KeeWee with some of her presents.

We always open our gifts Christmas Eve, so we (or at least I) can sleep in on Christmas morning. Rocket had a wonderful time, as the 'Santa Kitty' brought him his very favorite present, tissue paper. I expect there will be bits of shredded tissue paper all over the house for the next six months or so!

We all had a nice quiet Christmas, just like we like it. KeeWee has more pictures here.

Christmas day we went to the neighbors for a big Christmas dinner. I knew better than to eat two pieces of pumpkin pie on top of a full meal and a piece of cheesecake, but what the heck!

KeeWee was up early this morning to to head out for the 'After Christmas Sales', and came home with a whole bunch of new decorations and tree ornaments. For her story and pictures of her bargains, click here.

Hope you all had a good Christmas too, and I hope you stopped and took a moment to remember what Christmas is all about........

Sunday, December 24, 2006

An Alaska Moose Story . . .

An Alaska Moose Story . . .

. . . and a Good Start for Christmas!

When this little guy was little; he lost his mother too soon. So the Alaska Department of Fish and Game brought him to Wendall and Debbie. They asked them to get the little moose raised to a safe age to turn him loose again. They took care of him and bottle fed and after a while they fed him with their cows.

So last spring he was a year old and it was time to turn him back into the wild. They opened the gate and off he went. He stayed gone all summer; then this fall he was back with the cows! He really thinks he is a cow! For now all were happy to see him . . . he is a pretty friendly fella!
He loves honey buns and will eat them right out of your mouth! Wendall and Debbie live up in the mountains and so it came time to bring their cows down. Well . . . the moose was lonely all by himself so he headed down to find another herd of cows to hang with.

The neighbors called about a week later and asked Wendall to please come and get his Moose. So Wendall headed out with a honey bun, bucket of grain and the horse trailer and brought the moose back home.

The moose is free to go anytime he wants but is choosing to stay put for now. Surely, come spring he will start to feel a bit like a boy Moose and take off . . . but, for now he seems happy!

Merry Christmas to All!

(Merry Chris-Moose?)

Thanks to Luke for the story....

Should Have Happened Years Ago.....

From the Grand Junction (Colorado) Sentinel
Saturday, December 23, 2006

President Bush signed legislation Wednesday that makes it illegal for anyone to wear unearned military medals.

The Stolen Valor Act was sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., whose 3rd Congessional District includes most of the Western Slope. Salazar is the only veteran in the Colorado congressional delegation.

“This day has been a long time in coming,” Salazar said, “The brave men and women who have earned awards for service to our country should not have those honors tarnished by frauds.”

The act not only makes it a federal crime to fraudulently wear combat medals, but also to falsely claim they were awarded.

Hat tip to Uncawho for the story.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

AVG Anti-Virus Free Version Updates

I'm sure a lot of you have discovered AVG anti-virus software and have been using it for some time. It not only works well, but it's also free, at least, if you are using it non-commercially . In my own opinion, it's noticeably better than the two "Big Name" anti-virus company's products, and it doesn't seem to slow the computer down as much.

If you've been using AVG, you have recently been getting notices that AVG version 7.1 will no longer be supported, and if you would like, you can buy the "Pro" version as a replacement. The implication is that there will no longer be a free version. If you look around their site hard enough, you will discover that this is not the case, as there WILL be a free version of AVG version 7.5, again for non-commercial users. If you are using it in a business, you can buy the "Pro" version, and even then the price is below the competition's price structure.

OK, if there IS a free version, where exactly do I find it?

It's here.

The file you are looking for is way down at the bottom of the page and it's identified as the free version. Download that file to a folder where you know where you can find it. You can then go off-line. Go to the folder where you saved the AVG file and double click on it to launch the installer. It will ask you if you want to do a complete install, repair the current installation, or remove the program. If you don't have AVG on your computer, click on the complete install. If you DO have AVG already, click on "Repair". From there it's fairly straight-forward to complete the installation.

There you go. You can put the money you just saved towards ammo!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gun Blogger Rendezvous II -- 2007

The initial planning is already underway for Gun Blogger Rendezvous II. It is tentatively set for the first weekend in October, 2007, at the same location, the Circus Circus hotel and casino in Reno, Nevada.

After the first of the year I will start firming up the details, and I'll keep you all informed through posts on the Gun Blogger Rendezvous blog and here on Mr. Completely.

Are You Storm Ready?

Simple oil furnace change-over setup.

Now that the snow storm, wind storm, and power outages have passed, it's time to re-think some things about being prepared for the next one. Rivrdog, Random Nuclear Strikes, and a lot of other blogs have all done series on preparedness, and I'm not going to go over the same stuff that they have already covered. I do have some insights, however, that you may want to consider.

As soon as the power goes off, fill the bathtub with water. This will come in handy for flushing the toilet once in a while. It can also be useful if you need to douse a small fire. I'm assuming that you already have drinking water stockpiled, but if that runs out, you still have the bathtub full just in case.

If you have a generator, you should have a few cans of fuel for it stored away. There is a great product called STA-BIL that you can add to your stored gasoline to keep it from turning to varnish. You should not let fuel get over a year old, though, even with STA-BIL. Don't forget motor oil for the generator. A few quarts on the shelf could prove handy if the generator starts using oil. Most, but not all new generators have an automatic shut-down feature if the oil gets low. If you are buying a new genset, look for this feature.

If you have one of those fancy gensets with automatic startup and switchover built in and it's all wired in to the house already, the following won't apply to you, but for the rest of us, here's some ideas.

Extension cords? If your generator is big enough, you can set the house up with a manual change over switch and power just about everything through the house's wiring. Otherwise, you will need to run extension cords from the genset to whatever needs electricity.

If your furnace is gas or oil fired, it will be a top priority to get powered up. In some cases you can just turn off the main breaker at the panel, then make up an extension cord with a male plug on each end. Plug one end into a wall socket, then plug the other into the genset. This is not a recommended method though, as you may be powering stuff that doesn't need to be powered up. A better solution would be something like I've done in the picture above. The plug goes directly to the oil furnace. the socket is powered from the regular furnace power circuit from the main panel and breaker. To change over I just pull out the plug and plug it into an extension cord going back to the genset. The toggle switch cuts the power to the furnace from the panel if you are working on the furnace. It isn't really needed as you can just pull the plug to de-power the furnace.

Do you have enough extension cords to get to what you want to power? Are they heavy duty enough to carry the current your devices need? A 14 gauge cord is probably OK for most stuff, but 12 gauge is better, but more expensive. Most extension cords are marked, but not all. How are you going to get the cord into the house? Through a door, or a window? You can get flat extensions cords in short lengths at the hardware store in 12 and 14 gauge. They come in short lengths, like 6 footers, and are made for air conditioning units. I use one of those to go through the door, then a good sized extension cord on the inside to get to the furnace. It just fits under the door.

Generator? Have you started it lately? Changed the oil? Is it easy to move to where you want it to be when you need to run it? Many gensets don't have wheels, and are miserable to move around. A lot of them that DO have little tiny wheels that sink into soft ground. Remember that just because it rolled easily in July when it hadn't rained in two weeks, it may be a completely different situation right after two inches of rain. You might consider picking up some bigger pneumatic wheels and mounting them in place of the stock ones.

Lights? We keep a couple of kerosene lanterns and a Coleman propane lantern handy, along with several flashlights and a rechargeable spotlight. Be sure to have lots of batteries, too.

Cooking? The good old Coleman two burner camp stove and a couple of gallons of Coleman fuel handles the job nicely. We also have a single burner butane stove as a backup. If all of that fails, we can cook on the propane stove in the RV.

Heat? In addition to the oil furnace, I've got two propane heaters. They are industrial units often used in new home construction to dry the sheetrock mud quickly. The SMALL one is 200,000 btu's, and the big one is 250,000 btu's. (That's not a typo!) It will heat the entire house toasty warm in five to ten minutes. It will also burn all of the oxygen out of the air in no time, leaving you extremely dead, so it must be used with great caution!

One of the most important points I'd like to make is that the time to get everything together and figured out is BEFORE the power goes out. Put your genset in place, string some cords, and get everything all planned out well in advance, then stow it all so you can find it, so you aren't trying to do it all in the dark with a flashlight in your mouth.......

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Milk Run

The Milk Run
by Chris McKenna

The Captain of a Navy ship at sea is perhaps the closest thing to an absolute dictator left on Earth. While this is certainly true of most ships, it is not quite the whole truth aboard an aircraft carrier. The Captain rules the ship absolutely, but he leaves the Air Boss to run the flight deck. As a Naval Aviator, I saw the Air Boss as larger than life. He was the voice of authority crackling in my headset, a tyrant with a hair trigger who lashed out at anyone foolhardy enough to disregard him. He used strong language and demanded immediate compliance. He was a man with immense responsibility and an ego to match. And he was addressed by everyone aboard, including the Captain, simply as "Boss."

I flew the CH-46 Sea Knight, a tandem rotor helicopter typically deployed on supply ships within the battle group. It was our job to deliver "beans and bullets" to the fleet. While not actually stationed on the carrier itself, we "hit" it at least every other day, restocking everything needed to keep a small "city at sea" running. It was exciting, challenging flying, requiring great precision and skill, and I loved it. I was in my early twenties and in command of a four-man crew and a multimillion dollar aircraft. But always there, just below the surface, was the aura of the Air Boss. It would lead me to one of the biggest blunders I have ever made in my flying career. But for a matter of a few feet, excellent training, and some dumb luck, it could well have claimed the lives of my crew.

It was a day like most others for a Sea Knight pilot. We launched before dawn on a vertrep mission, the vertical replenishment of ships at sea that was our specialty. In a synchronized aerial ballet, we flew maneuvers called side-flairs and button-hooks, moving tons of cargo, attached externally to a heavy gauge steel hook beneath the helicopter. Whether it was ammunition, food, machinery, or mail - referred to as "pony" - the ships in the Battle Group depended on us for sustenance. Vertrep allowed the Battle Group to disperse over more than a hundred miles of ocean, and still receive the daily supplies necessary to operate.

By noon we had completed the vertrep, and only had a load of internal cargo left for the carrier. At ten miles out, I keyed the microphone and called the Air Boss for clearance into his domain.

"Boss, Knightrider zero-six, ten miles out for landing."

"Negative Knightrider, recoveries in progress. Take starboard delta," he mono toned, referring to the holding pattern designated for helicopters.

Sometimes I thought he put us there just to show his disdain, as there often seemed to be no reason for it. But today he actually was recovering jets, and we took our interval in the delta pattern with the carrier's Sea King helicopter already orbiting. I watched as the jets made their approaches and either "trapped" - caught one of the four arresting cables on the flight deck, or "boltered" - missed the wires and went around. As many times as I saw it, I never lost my fascination for carrier operations, and my admiration for those guys. With all the jets aboard, I anxiously awaited our landing clearance. We hadn't eaten since around 3am, and wanted to get back to our ship for chow. But the voice of authority had other plans.

"Knightrider, I've got another cycle fifteen minutes out. I'm going to recover them first before I bring you aboard," he said matter-of-fact-ly.

"I haven't got the fuel for that Boss," I shot back.

"Then you'll have to bingo," he replied, without a hint of sympathy in his voice.

"That cocky so and so," I thought. I could land, offload, and be airborne again in less than five minutes, and he knew it. But he was the Air Boss and his word was law, so I shut my mouth and turned for home. But then I remembered those big orange bags on the cabin floor behind me - the ones with "U. S. Mail" stenciled on them - and realized that they represented my landing clearance. As any sailor knows, "mail-call" ranks just below "liberty-call" in a mariner's heart. Not even the Air Boss could resist the powerful lure of his mail. I keyed the mike, and played my trump card.

"Be advised Boss, we have pony aboard."

I knew that everyone in the tower was staring at him right then, silently willing him to reverse himself. And if he didn't, word would spread like wild fire to each of the six thousand sailors on that ship that he had denied them a mail-call. He couldn't say no.

"Ok Knightrider, you're clear to land, spot three," he spat, specifying the area all the way forward on the angled deck.

He was obviously annoyed, but what did I care? In minutes we would be out of his airspace and on our way back home for chow. I flew a slow, shallow approach, careful not to let my rotor wash disrupt the activity on the flight deck. As soon as I touched down, my aircrewmen lowered the aft deck and began pushing pallets down the rollers to the waiting forklifts. It was like clockwork. Only minutes after receiving his grudging clearance, we were empty and buttoned up.

"Boss, Knightrider zero six is ready to lift, spot three," I transmitted.

"Hold on Knightrider," he ordered. "I just got a call from supply. They want you to move a load of milk back to home plate for dispersal. How many gallons can we load max?"

It was a question I had never gotten before. I knew we could lift about seven thousand pounds with our current fuel load, but I hadn't a clue how many gallons of milk that equated to. I looked over at Dave, my copilot, and wondered if he had any more insight on the nature of milk than I did.

"Got any idea what a gallon of milk weighs?" I asked.

He just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and turned his palms upward in what is commonly referred to as the Ensign's salute.

"Come on Knightrider, I need a number. I've got Tacair inbound," the voice of authority growled.

I could feel my palms starting to sweat as the forklifts came off the elevators with pallets of milk.

"Come on Knightrider!" he snarled.

I pulled the calculator out of my helmet bag and input 7000. Now I just needed to know what to divide it by. The supply officer usually did all this for us. But here on the carrier I was on my own, and for some reason it was important to me to impress the Air Boss. I was determined to take the biggest load we could.

"Hey Knightrider!" he barked. "I need a number and I need it now. How many gallons?"

"I guess milk weighs about the same as fuel, right Dave?"

He rendered another Ensign's salute.

I knew that jet fuel weighed 6.5 pounds per gallon. We used that figure all the time. Even though that voice in my head told me it was a mistake, I convinced myself that a liquid was a liquid, and milk must weigh about the same as jet fuel. I plugged it into my calculator and, just as the Air Boss started to growl again, closed my eyes and gave him his number.

"One zero five zero gallons Boss," I transmitted with far more confidence than I actually felt. It was meager comfort that I had actually left a twenty-seven-gallon "cushion," just in case milk was a little heavier than fuel. How much heavier could it be?

"Ok Knightrider. Here it comes. Be ready to go as soon as we button you up," he ordered. "I have Tacair inbound."

The forklifts dropped the pallets on the ramp, and our aircrewmen pushed them up the rollers and secured them to the deck. In minutes the cabin was filled with enough milk for the entire Battle Group, the ramp was closed, and I was ready to lift.

"Boss, Sabre Seven, five miles out for the break."

"Cleared for the left break Saber Seven. Caution for a Helo lifting spot three. Break, Knightrider you are cleared for immediate takeoff."

That was it. My welcome, as tepid as it was, was officially worn out now that the fighters were on station.

I had hoped to do a thorough power check while hovering in the ground effect cushion of the flight-deck before transitioning over the deck edge.

Ground effect, or the extra lift derived from operating close to the ground, can be a blessing or a curse. Given a long hover run, a pilot could accelerate in ground effect until reaching flying speed, thereby lifting far more weight than would be possible from a standard climbing transition. The carrier however, presented the opposite situation. From our position forward on the angle, I would take off into a ground effect hover, and then transition over the deck edge ninety feet above the water, to an immediate and complete loss of ground effect. It would require tremendous power at max weight . . . every ounce the aircraft had. The little voice inside my head kept telling me about it as I slowly raised the collective to hover, but the big voice in my headset kept drowning him out.

"Come on Knightrider, I need my deck!" he bellowed.

I stabilized in a ten-foot hover and glanced down at the torque gauges to evaluate the power required. Back on my ship, I would have taken thirty or forty seconds in the hover to evaluate a takeoff this critical. But this wasn't my home deck. It was the Air Bosses deck, and he wanted it back.

"I want that damn Helo off my deck Knightrider, and I mean now!" he screamed. So without ever getting a stabilized torque reading, and against all my better judgment, I eased the stick forward and the aircraft lumbered across the deck edge.

As soon as I saw blue water through the chin bubble, I knew we were in trouble. The aircraft immediately settled, and I instinctively countered by raising the collective to add power. But instead of checking the sink rate, the helicopter only settled faster. The steady whirring noise of the rotor blades changed to a distinct "whump, whump, whump," and the familiar peripheral blur slowed to the point where I could clearly see each individual rotor blade. A quick glance at the gauges confirmed that both engines were working normally. I was simply demanding more power than they could produce, and the rotor speed was decaying under the strain.

I should have predicted what would happen next. With a perceptible jolt, both electrical generators "kicked" off. Powered by the rotor system itself, they had been designed to "shed" at 88% of optimum rotor speed. Thankfully it was daylight, so lighting wasn't an issue, but the jolt I felt was the loss of the flight control stability system. The helicopter was still controllable, but it was far more work without the stab system. Things were starting to go very badly.

As the rotor speed continued to audibly and visibly decay, I realized the only chance we had was to somehow get back into ground effect. If I continued to "wallow" like this, the helicopter would eventually "run out of turns" and crash, or simply settle into the ocean and sink. Neither of those appealed to me, so I determined to try a maneuver the "Old Salts" called "scooping it out."

Any pilot will understand when I say it is counterintuitive, when faced with an undesirable sink rate, to decrease either power or pitch. But "scooping it out" required both. In order to dive back into ground effect, I lowered the nose and the windscreen filled with the sight of blue water and white foam. To preserve some of the rapidly deteriorating rotor speed, I lowered the collective and descended. The ocean rose fast. Remembering my crewmen, I managed to blurt out "Brace for impact!" over the intercom. Dave immediately sensed what I was attempting, and began a running commentary of altitudes and rotor speeds.

"Fifteen feet, 84% "

I needed forward airspeed and knew I had to trade some more altitude to get it, so I eased the stick forward a little more.

"Five feet, 85% "

I stopped descending and stabilized in the ground effect run.

"Three feet, 85%."

"Ok," I thought. "We're not settling anymore, and the rotor speed has at least stopped decaying." But I couldn't seem to coax any acceleration out of it, and this close to the water, even a rogue wave could bring us down. That's when I decided that I really hated milk.

"Three feet, 86 %."

With just the pitiful speed I had brought from the dive, and no sign of any acceleration, I began to despair. What else could I do? I thought about asking Dave, but didn't think I could bear another Ensign's salute. Then I remembered those Old Salts in the ready room again. "Remember, this aircraft has no tail rotor. If you ever need just a little something extra, try a fifteen-degree right yaw. The increase in drag is negligible, but it feeds undisturbed air to your aft rotors."

Well, what did I have to lose at this point? I gently pushed on the right pedal and the helicopter yawed. Again, it seemed counterintuitive. If I was trying to accelerate, shouldn't I streamline the aircraft? But I was out of options.

"Two feet, 85%."

I began running through the ditching procedures in my mind. But then I noticed that the waves were gliding by slightly faster than they had been only seconds before. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, we were accelerating.

"Three feet, 88%."

I glanced down at the airspeed indicator and my heart leaped; it had moved off the peg and was passing through forty knots. The next thing I felt was that beautiful shudder every helicopter pilot knows as translational lift - the point where the aircraft is flying more like an airplane than hovering like a helicopter.

"Five feet, 92%."

Then I felt another jolt, and knew the generators had come back on the line, bringing the stab system with them. We were a fully functioning aircraft again. I accelerated through our normal climb speed, remembering those Old Salts once again. "Speed is life."

"Ten feet, 100%."

At ninety knots and all our turns back, I finally felt confident enough to climb. Passing through one hundred feet, and over a mile from the carrier, the voice of authority spoke.

"It's great to see you flying again Knightrider. We were all holding our breath up here. I hope I didn't talk you into doing something ugly."

Well what do you know. The guy was human after all. Who knew?

Turning for home, I passed the controls to Dave, and sat back. For the first time, I took a deep breath and noticed that my hands were shaking. I had made a rookie mistake, and very nearly paid for it with four lives and a helicopter. I had allowed myself to be intimidated by the Air Boss, and sacrificed my judgment as a result.

I did some checking the next day, and found that the weight of a gallon of milk is 8.7 pounds, a far cry from the 6.5 I had estimated. So even with my little "pad," we took off from that carrier more than 2,100 pounds overweight. And that doesn't even consider the weight of the pallets and packaging. All in all, I was very lucky to get away with it.

That was almost twenty years ago, and I guess I'm the Old Salt now. I've accumulated thousands of flight hours and more than a few gray hairs since then, but I try never to forget the lessons I learned that day. Besides a life-long loathing for milk, I came away from that episode with two rules.

First, never allow external pressures to force a rush to judgment on any matter of safety. There's simply too much at stake. If I ever feel rushed, I make a conscious effort to step back, slow down, and think the matter through.

And second, I never, ever ignore that voice in my head when he tells me something just isn't right. I've learned over the years that he is frequently the only one in the conversation making any sense.

Oh yeah, and when the guy at the supermarket asks me if I want my milk in a bag, I always ask him if he would mind double bagging it for me - just in case.

Hat tip to Rufus, 'Nam era Air Boss......

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Lights Are Back On

Around 7pm Sunday night the lights came back on. They've been on now for almost 2 hours. I feel much better after a good hot shower, and I'm sure a good night's sleep will help, too. None the less, I've had just about enough Winter for this year, thank you very much.........

Friday, December 15, 2006

Storm Report V- Updated

Update: 4:45pm Sunday. Power came on this morning for a couple of minutes, and with only 89 volts. Then it went off again. There is power about a half a mile from here, so we are hoping to see the lights back on soon.

Update: 8pm Saturday. Still no power. This basically sucks.........

Update: 7pm Friday. The power is still off, and may be that way for some time, no one seems to know for sure. The wind has died down, but now it is clearing off and is forecast to go below freezing tonightand for the next few nights. The forcast also mentions possible freezing rain mixed with snow.



The electricity came back on for a short while last night, then went back off shortly thereafter. It didn't seem like the wind blew that hard last night, I'd estimate nothing over about 50mph, maybe a little higher. The radio this morning says there are over one million residences without power in Western Washington. I figure it was the saturated soil that made it so easy for the trees to blow down. They are talking about power being out for several days.

We're in fine shape with plenty of food, propane heating and cooking, along with a generator. At the moment the generator is running th oil furnace.

The weather forcast for the next few days is for not too much wind, but freezing temperatures.

Oh Joy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Storm Report IV

Very strange! The wind died down after the power went out. Now the power is back on, but the wind is starting to pick up again.

This must be the first stages of the Bush/Haliburton Global Blowing conspiracy! If the winds blow really hard, then people will have to buy more oil or gasoline or something or other that will somehow make all the rich Texas oil tycoons even richer....

........ or something like that!

(sigh ..... moonbats......)

Storm Update III

Dang! I had really hoped the power would have stayed on until bedtime! 6:40pm the lights went out. No point firing up the generator until morning. Until then, we'll just sit here in the kerosene lantern light and wait until bedtime............

Storm Report II

It's nearing 6pm. and the wind is definitely on the increase. Every so often the whole house kinda shudders when a gust hits it. The wind is around 3o mph with gusts around 40 or so, I'd guess.

This is just the preliminary stuff, though, the main event should hit around midnight. The lights have flickered a couple of times, but no outages, so far......

Our Christmas Tree

KeeWee and I thought I'd be cool to video our Christmas tree and post it to YouTube so we could link to the video from our blogs. This video was done using a Sony digital still camera set in video mode. It came out a bit dark since I wanted to use only the natural light of the room and the tree. I know there is video editing software that can be used to adjust brightness, but I don't happen to have any of that sort of software.

Merry Christmas to All!!

Republican & Democrat Versions

For My Democratic Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated. This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

For My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Storm Report

Here's what they say is on the way:

Rain turning to showers overnight. Becoming very windy. Lows in the upper 30s and 40s. Southeast wind 15 to 25 mph becoming south and rising to 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph around midnight. Wind shifting to west in the Admiralty inlet and Whidbey island area around midnight and increasing to 55 mph with gusts to 85 mph.

An 85 mph gust in this part of the country can cause a whole lot of trouble here on Whidbey Island. Right now (mid-afternoon) it's alternating from dark gray and calm winds to darker gray and rather heavy rain. The soil is getting saturated, which is just what we DON'T want just before a wind storm. It's like planting tall trees in jello. When the soil is saturated and the wind blows, the trees go down and the lights go out.

I'll keep you posted as the storm progresses, at least, if anything interesting happens.

Goin' Over the Side.......

Along the "Naval Aviation" theme, Sailor Curt at Captain of a Crew of One has a good story posted about a harrowing experience aboard a Navy carrier.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Machine Gun Shoot & Raffle

As many of you know, InSights Training Center Instructor Mike Shertz has been battling leukemia for the last 2 years. Just a few weeks ago he went through a bone marrow transplant, but his fight is far from over. His insurance will only cover half the costs of the procedure and we are doing what we can to help him in this time of need. If you would like to help you can make a donation, participate in a machine gun charity shoot, or buy raffle tickets for some great items. Or do all three!

Raffle Fundraiser: Take a look at the new website and check out the raffle items. These have been donated by people all over the country to benefit Mike Shertz. There are some great items, including training classes, guns, and gear. The $2500 custom 1911 is absolutely beautiful! It is as perfectly built a custom carry gun as you will ever find. Also, if you want to train with some of the big name instructors around the nation, here’s a good way to help Mike and treat yourself to some good solid training. You can pay for the raffle tickets with Paypal and we will do the drawing in January after the next benefit submachinegun shoot.

Machine Gun Shoot Fundraiser: January 13th, 6:30pm–10pm, at the Bellevue Indoor Range. Come shoot MP5’s, M16’s, Uzi’s, a G36, Sten gun, Swedish K, and more! A donation of $200 allows you to shoot as much as you want (all proceeds benefit Mike), plus additional $ for ammo (ammo must be purchased from the range—all profits benefit Mike). Call to reserve your spot or just show up! Cash and Check preferred, but we can accept Visa/MC.

To donate directly to Mike visit

Thanks to Retired Geezer at Blog Idaho for forwarding this story from the Insights Newsletter to me!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Caption Needed!

Clever caption goes here......

We haven't had a "Caption Needed" photo posted in some time, so here you go, caption away!

Do any of you have the actual story behind this photo? I'll bet it was exciting for the flight crew, to say the least!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Twisted Sister - Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Twisted Sister - Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Found this video over at Prepare to be Boarded.

Be sure to watch it clear to the end. Yes, I like the traditional Christmas carols, but this totally rocks, yet the message is loud and clear.

My new favorite Christmas carol!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Email From Dan McKown

NOTE: Dan was originally given the wrong day for Moses's Ceremony, The correct day is Wednesday, not Tuesday.

I got this email from Dan McKown this morning. I figured you'd enjoy the good news too!

Alright gang,
How you all doin?

Busy week coming up on my end. I know this looks long, but please read it in its entirety.


Tuesday morning WEDNESDAY MORNING (and I mean morning!) 8:00am, Moses Martinez-- The man who who stalled my death so that surgeons could save my life-- Will be receiving the highest Peace-Time award possible for that act of heroism: The Soldiers Medal. Generals as well as possibly the new Secretary of Defense will be in attendance. Come and help me thank the man who saved my life Tuesday:


1.) Exit 120 to Ft Lewis (Do not go to North Ft Lewis)
2.) Stop at the visitors center on your right just short of the ID check. The center is under some trees just beyond the parking lot. Captain Antosh and myself will be thereat 0750 (7:50am), and we should have everyone in their cars ready to go no later than 8:00am.
3.) Captain Antosh will meet you inside to ensure no one gets hung up processing visitors passes. Every car needs to have a driver with valid ID, registration, and insurance. Once onto post, you will follow him to the ceremony.
4.) If you lose him, continue on 41st Division (the road the gate puts you on) for about 2.5 mi. You will go through 3 stop lights, and you will see the air field on your left through a chain-link.
5.) As the road begins curving to the left, you will see some old, un-used railroad tracks to your right. Take a right onto Railroad Ave right about where these tracks intersect the 41st Division. It is a sharp hairpin turn.
6.) Continue on Railroad Ave for about 2 miles, and you come to a 4 way intersection. Turn left. You will still be on Railroad Ave. 7.) Pass a large building on your left called the MSTF (I have no idea what that stands for) and continue to thenext large building on the left. This is the Brigade Command Training Center. For those of you who need it, there is handicap (like me) up front. All others park in the gravel across the street.
8.) Enter the main entrance and you hit the lobby. There will be soldiers/civilians to welcome you in.

For more information:
CPT Josef Antosh
S-5, Civil Affaris Officer

Then, if that isn't enough; I too will actually be receiving an award. Many of you either heard or saw that I had received a commendation from our local chapter of the American Legion. Well they put me in for nationals and I hardly gave it a second thought. First, the award usually goes to soldiers and with two wars (or one war on terror) and a hurricane, there were plenty of opportunities for heroism, second; there are an enormous amount of American Legion halls across this country-- I wouldn't stand a chance!

Except for the fact that... I won.

On Friday, Dec. 15th 7:00ish (double check with me) I will be the American Legion 2006 HERO of the year! Wow. God just seems to insist on sharing his glory with me. Wow. Ceremony will be Friday at American Legion Post #138, 7515 Cirque Drive (56th turns into Cirque). Look for a 7-11, a drug store and a whole lotta flags!

Also, Sunday, Dec 17th in a private show for Home Depot employees Shawn, Lee and myself will be performing under the Comedy Kaleidoscope banner. Your prayers and support will be appreciated.

So, that's it. Aside from my kitchen fire there is little to report. Pray I find a date for my award ceremony, keep a good thought in general and please keep praying--every week there is improvement in my left leg (bloody little improvement, but improvement all the same) and I hope to see you at one or all these events.

Sincerest love in Christ,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Taurus PT92 Econo Race Gun Series - Part I

NOTE: This original post of Part I of this series seems to have disappeared from the database, so I am re-posting it. The rest of the series makes more sense when you understand the original project parameters.

Now that the shooting season is over, I can finally get around to getting the posts finished on the Taurus PT92 Econo Race Gun. I've had a few posts in the past on this project, and this first post will be a bit of a re-cap and will set the stage for explaining in future posts how I approached each challenge, and what the final (?) resolutions turned out to be.

First off, what were my goals, in short, what was I trying to accomplish, and what characteristics did I want the project gun to have?

1. Total cost less than $500.00, ready to go.
2. Extremely durable and reliable.
3. Not picky as to ammunition.
4. Reasonably accurate compared to other 9mm. handguns.
5. Parts reasonably priced and readily available.
6. Suitable for left or right handed shooting.
7. Single Action only
8. Red dot sight system.
9. Smooth trigger, around 2 lbs.
10. No exotic manufacturing processes, materials, or machining.
11. Able to be competitive at the local club level.

Let's look at these one at a time. I chose a Taurus PT92 9mm. as my starting point, for a couple of reasons, the first being that I happened to already have one. I paid $275 for it a few years ago, and they are still available in the $300 dollar range. The Simmons 42mm. Red dot sight was around $35.00, the Weaver sight rail came from Walmart for about $7.00. A Hogue rubber hand grip sleeve was around ten bucks, I think. A few bits of aluminum out of the scrap box, a short piece of used stainless steel shafting surplus'ed from a sewage plant, and a few bucks worth of Allen head screws round out the materials and costs. Total cost well under $400.00.

The Taurus is basically a Beretta built under license in brazil. The first PT92's did not have the ambidextrous safety, and the magazine release button was at the bottom rear corner of the grip. If I was going to buy a PT92, I would look for the slightly newer PT92's with the mag release at the rear of the trigger guard.

One of the things that caused the Beretta to be selected as the replacement for the 1911 was the fact that it seemed to feed just about anything you put in the magazine. I have had almost no feeding troubles, although some factory loaded hollow points would hang up on the bottom of the feed ramp once in a while. Seating the bullets .010" deeper solved the problem. Slightly more pointed hollow points also solved the problem.

The Taurus I used for this project had already had a lot of rounds fired through it and it was a bit on the loose side. The barrel was a little loose in the slide, and the slide was a bit loose on the frame. Something would have to be done about that.

The extractor was worn on the Taurus, so I called the Taurus folks and ordered a new extractor, extractor spring, and extractor pin. All combined, including freight, was under twenty bucks, and I had the parts in a week by regular mail.

The very first PT92's did not have a safety lever on the right side for left handed shooters. The later ones did. A little creative engineering and machining, and I was able to get a safety lever on the right side.

As originally manufactured, the Taurus is a Double Action / Single Action handgun. Converting it to single action would allow a lighter trigger return spring and therefore a lighter trigger pull. It also means that you would have to manually rack the slide to cock the hammer for the first shot.

The parts that I needed to fabricate were all made using either a small milling machine, a small metal lathe, a drill press, and hand tools. Since I had access to a glass bead blast cabinet, I used bead blasting to put a matte finish on the parts.

Through the latter part of this past Summer and Fall I have competed several times with the Taurus, and it's obvious that the gun is competitive at the club level.

Not only that, it's fun to shoot!!

End of Part I. (Stay tuned!)

This series of posts are a description of what I did to my own personal Taurus PT92 to modify it for my particular usage. This is NOT a Do-It-Yourself instructional series on how to modify YOUR Taurus. What you choose to do to your own Taurus is up to you and your gunsmith. Just because it worked for me is no guarantee it will work for you.

Do not make any modifications to ANY firearm without consulting a knowledgeable gunsmith first!

Proposed "Honoring Community Heroes" Act

10th District Legislator to introduce bill to shield families of fallen police officers from protesters at Memorial Services

Rep. Chris Strow, R-Freeland (WA), today announced the first bill he will introduce on Dec. 18, for the 2007 session, is the “Honoring Community Heroes Act.” The act will serve to protect memorials to and families of fallen police officers. The bill will be co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Ericks, D-Bothell.

“This bill is about shielding the families during their time of mourning,” said Strow. “Much like our military heroes, our police serve our communities and protect our homes and families each and every day. Our fallen officers should be honored for their work and their families should be allowed to grieve in peace at their memorial service and police memorials where they are being honored.”

The legislation, much like the “Rest in Peace Act” that passed in the House last year, will require a 500-foot buffer for protesters at a funeral service or burial of a police officer; interrupting a funeral procession for a fallen officer; protesting at a building or memorial service honoring a fallen officer; or, knowingly participating in an act that adversely affects the funeral, burial or memorial of a fallen police officer. Under the legislation, protesters would be charged with disorderly conduct if they refuse to stop their actions.

This measure will also apply to groups setting up memorials for the perpetrator of the crime side-by-side with the slain officer’s memorial. Strow said the impetus for the legislation was the recent vigil held to honor the men accused of murdering King County sheriff’s deputy Steve Cox. “These protests, or as they call them vigils, for murderers at the site of the memorial honoring the hero they killed is an abomination to all we hold dear – honoring those who serve and protect at the risk of losing their life to save ours,” said Strow. “I can only imagine the sorrow and heartache of a family forced to listen to disparaging remarks just feet away from the gravesite or memorial of the family member or close friend they are memorializing,” said Strow. “I hope this bill passes the first week of session to out of respect for the families who have lost their loved one in the line of duty.”

Reps. Strow and Ericks plan to file the “Honoring Community Heroes Act” legislation on Dec. 18, the first day members can pre-file House bills for the 2007 session.

The preceding release is direct from Chris Strow's staff. I've known Chris for many years, clear back to his first year as an assistant to Sen. Jack Metcalf in Olympia. Good for Chris!

Taurus PT92 Econo Race Gun Project - Pt. IV

In the last three parts of this series we tidied up most of the internal bits. There's still a little more to be done on the inside, but it's time to start work on the sight mount assembly. The total sight mount assembly consists of six pieces; the U-shaped lower mount, two mirror image side plates, the top plate, the blast deflector, and the sight mount rail. Everything is held together with flat headed Allen bolts from the hardware store.

The toughest part to make was the bottom mount. Making this part with anything but a milling machine would take far more patience that I've got! I started with a block of aluminum out of the scrap bin, and started sketching on the outside of it the approximate shape I was looking for. Over to the mill for a few cuts, then try it for fit on the Taurus.

The bottom mount and side plates.

After several hours of "cut a little, fit a little", it fit snugly on the frame of the Taurus. Carefully I marked the holes on each side and the two vertical holes in the front. A smaller pilot drill was run through the lower mount, and then through the Taurus itself. The two forward bolts are countersunk on the inside so the slide would clear. Even so, I had to remove about .015 from the bottom front of the slide to get enough clearance. After the pilot holes were drilled, the two side holes on the Taurus were drilled to the appropriate tap drill size, and the holes carefully tapped to match the bolt threads. All other holes were then drilled to final size, and the bottom mount was bolted to the frame for test fit.

Cable ties? Indeed.......

The two side plates were band-sawed to approximate shape, then finished to size with a disk sander. The holes were located, drilled, and counter-sunk to match the flat headed Allen bolts, and the holes drilled and tapped in the bottom mount to match the side plates.

The top plate was band-sawed to rough size, then brought to correct size with the milling machine and disk grinder. It's not clear in the pictures, but I elected to machine a groove the length of the underside of the top plate to clear the front sight, allowing the top plate to be closer to the barrel.

Locating the holes in the sides of the top plate was tricky, as it's top surface needed to be parallel with the barrel bore, but there was no easy way to line them up, so I did the best I could, and it turned out pretty close. When sighting it in it became apparent that the front was a little bit higher than I would have liked, so I put an .015" shim washer between the lower mount and the front of the Taurus, held in place by the front Allen bolt.

The last part of the sight mount to go on was the sight rail itself. I used a sight rail for a rifle that I picked up at Walmart. It was seven or eight bucks, I think, including screws!

Side plates, blast deflector, and top plate.

Originally I did not have the blast deflector, as I had the sight far enough rearward that it was unnecessary. After some range time I found that ejected casings were hitting the bottom of the sight, and once in a while they would bounce right back into the gun! Not good! Moving the sight forward solved that problem, but now smoke and flames (Really!) coming out of the compensator were smoking up the glass. I don't think it was doing the lens coatings any good, either.

The first blast deflector was made out of roughly .080 aluminum, and was held in place by two 6/32 stainless screws. The aluminum turned out to be too light and the blast was bending the deflector upward. After about 100 rounds had been fired, the two 6/32 screws gave up and the heads pulled off the screws, leaving the threaded shanks still in the holes and sending the deflector flying! Some VERY careful drilling and I had the broken pieces removed from the holes. I built a new deflector out of 1/8" aluminum and mounted it with 10/32 hardened bolts. Problem solved!

After all the parts were built and had been test assembled, I hand deburred and rounded all of the edges, then glass bead blasted all of the pieces to give then a nice even matte finish. A final cleaning and degreasing with some lacquer thinner, then a tiny bit of Loctite on the threads, then final assembly.

Oh, the cable ties, you ask? Since there was some side to side play between the slide and the frame, I decided that I needed to come up with some sort of "buffer" to keep the slide centered, and more specifically, to be sure it returned to the exact same place every time. What could I use that was readily available, inexpensive, durable, and was slippery enough that it wouldn't impede the slide movement? How about cable ties? I experimented with a few different thicknesses, and it turned out that one was just right. Lots of people have noticed the cable ties, but not one of them has asked about them!

Maybe they think the cable ties are holding the gun together, and just REALLY don't want to know for sure?

This series of posts are a description of what I did to my own personal Taurus PT92 to modify it for my particular usage. This is NOT a Do-It-Yourself instructional series on how to modify YOUR Taurus. What you choose to do to your own Taurus is up to you and your gunsmith. Just because it worked for me is no guarantee it will work for you.

Do not make any modifications to ANY firearm without consulting a knowledgeable gunsmith first!

December 7th. - Never Forget.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Technorati - You Gotta Love 'Em!!

(Click for larger view)

Isn't it cool to see someone with a sense of humor in the geek world! Most are so totally humorless.........

Carnival of Cordite #80

The Carnival of Cordite #80 is now up at The Bitch Girls' blog, and they've done a fine job putting it together.

Stop by, check it out, and leave them a comment, if you feel like it!

What Would YOU buy?

As we approach the Christmas season, thoughts turn to gifts and presents, among other things. The thought comes to mind “What do you, or I, really want for Christmas?” We often talk of what we would buy if we won the lottery and had unlimited amounts of money so we could buy whatever we could desire. A new car, a new house, maybe a long vacation to places you’ve always wanted to visit but couldn’t afford. Even some of the less expensive “…it would be nice to have a …….” items come to mind. Clothes, appliances, firearms, things to go with your hobbies, all sorts of things come to mind.

When I am asked about what I would buy if I had the money, my answer is always the same. Time. The one commodity in this life that once expended can never be replaced. There are only so many years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds in each of our life spans, and when they're gone they’re gone.

Unfortunately to survive we must “sell” portions of our lifespan in order to live as we want to live. The hours spent at work making a living are all hours that you have sold, or bartered, if you will, for money. That amounts to a lot of time. Mowing the lawn, painting the house, fixing the car, these also are all examples of selling your time, that is, unless you enjoy such activities, and then that’s another situation entirely. If you could afford to hire these jobs done instead, you would in effect be buying back your own time, buying back portions of your own lifespan.

How would I use these redeemed hours and days? How would you use them? The answer will be different for each and every one of us. For me, I would probably do many of the same things I do now as part of my job. I would probably still help out some of my clients, but not charge them a dime for helping. They too, are struggling, and by helping them out a bit, perhaps I could end up buying back a little of their time for them to enjoy. I would spend more time with family and friends. I would travel a bit more, perhaps visit some places I haven’t been in a while. Help some folks that need a little help from time to time. Would I buy a fancy car or boat? Nope, used is just fine. A round the world cruise? Hardly.

If I had the money I’d try to buy as much of my time as possible so that I could spend that time doing things I want to do, rather than things that I must do to be able to pay the bills.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Line Rider - Amazing!

A while back I did a post on an addicting little game called line rider. Basically you draw a line with your mouse, then a little man on a toboggan slides down the line, going over the bumps and so forth, and if you did it right, he won't crash going down the hill.

Some amazingly talented folks have not only drawn some incredible "tracks" for the guy on the toboggan, they've even added scenery and sound tracks!

Here's a really good one saved on Google Video.

If you do a search on Google Video for Line Rider" there are a bunch more you can watch.

Ain't It The Truth.....

Hat tip to MaryS.....

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Fastest Guys - Blackbird Drivers

Written by Brian Schul - former sled (SR-71 Blackbird) driver

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plan in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury.

Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: "November Charlie 175, I'm showing you at ninety knots on the ground."

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the " Houston Center voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, the y sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

Just moments after the Cessna's inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his groundspeed. "I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed." Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. "Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check". Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: "Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground."

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: "Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?" There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. "Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground."

I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: "Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money."

For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A.came back with, "Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one."

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

Hat tip to Akafuze

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Basic Electricity Part 1

Basic Electricity Part 1

Just in case you were a little weak on your electrical theory, here's a little brush up for you.

You don't have to thank me, it's all part of the service.....

Thanks to Mostly Cajun

The Nietzsche Family Circus

The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote. You can refresh the page to see a new comic and quotation.

Hat tip to Beezaplex for the heads up!

Ruger Super Red Hawk .480 Revolver

Ruger Super Red Hawk .480 "Pin Cannon"

Ruger Super Red Hawk .480 Revolver

A good sized hole in the business end!

Six chambers, one more than the Taurus Raging Bull.

Special alloy heat treatable stainless with a satin finish.

Early last Spring I got a chance to see what a .480 with hunting loads could do to a bowling pin. The pins were not only being blown to pieces, they were ending up twenty feet behind the pin table! At the Reno Gun Blogger Rendezvous in early October I got a chance to shoot the very same Ruger Super Red Hawk .480. Although I didn't get to shoot it along side a .44 Magnum, my impression was that since it was a bit heavier and appeared to have slower burning powder it was no worse than my Smith & Wesson model 29 in .44 Magnum. In fact, although it seemed to push harder, it didn't seem to be as fierce.

I knew that when the right .480 Ruger came along, I would just have to have it! I've been watching Gunbroker for a while, and I suspect there are a lot of .480 Rugers up for sale with only a dozen or so rounds fired through them. A combination of ammunition cost and recoil discourages a person from using one of these just for plinking!

For successful pin shooting you want as much energy to transfer into moving the pin off the table, and as little energy as possible wasted crushing wood and breaking the pin apart. The secret to this is to use really heavy bullets with modest velocities. A hot .357 has plenty of energy, but it's more prone to break up the pin, or go clear through it, rather than moving it off of the table. A heavier .45 bullet, (perhaps a 200+ gr.) with the same power factor as the .357 will carry the pin off the table much more successfully.

Common bullet weights for the .480 Ruger ranges between 275 gr. and 425 gr. so the velocities required to get a sufficient power factor are quite low. For those of you a bit rusty as to how power factor is computed, you multiply bullet weight in grains times the velocity and then divide by 1000.

For some examples, a factory Remington .38 Special +P is around a power factor of 125. A .45 with a 220 gr. bullet and 700fps gives a power factor of 154. According to Hodgdon's website, loading a 420 gr. bullet at near maximum velocity of around 1200 fps results in a power factor of over 500! I suspect that recoil would be pretty impressive! I don't think it would be something you would want to spend all day shooting, probably more like "One shot, one rhino, then go home...." Certainly not a plinker!

I've got just about everything now on hand to get underway on the "Pin Cannon" project, including a new Chronograph (On sale at Midway) and some reloading dies. The Weigand scope rail is ready to mount, and I've got a couple of possibilities on hand for the red dot sight. All that remains to arrive is bullets and powder.

We'll keep you posted as this project progresses. Of course, I still need to finish writing up the Taurus 9mm. Econo Race Gun project series.

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 01, 2006

e-Postal Air Pistol Match Announced

The guys over at Chicago Boyz are getting a bit restless, being as there are no e-Postal matches until Spring, so they decided to put on one of their own here! Good for them! It's for air pistols, but I wonder if they'd consider adding a .22 rimfire pistol class? I'll send them an email and ask.

Here's a complete set of their rules:

Chicago Boyz Air Pistol Match #1

This is an indoor shooting match that anyone with an air pistol may participate in. Here is how it works:

1. Download targets here. Unzip the files. (A Word file with instructions is included.) Print at least two copies of the 5 meter target, preferably on slightly heavy, cream colored, non-shiny paper.

2. Range is 5 meters (16.5 ft) from muzzle to target. Any air pistol. Any sights. Shoot one-handed from an unsupported standing position.

3. Match consists of 5 shots per bull, 20 shots per target, 40 shots total on two targets. Only the higher-scoring target counts; the scores of the lower-scoring target will be discarded.

4. You must shoot the match during one range session, and you may not take any practice shots after you have made your first shot for record.

5. When you are finished shooting, scan or photograph your targets and upload them as jpg or pdf attachments to a post on this thread. Or email them to and I will post them for you.

6. The contest ends when we decide there have been enough entries. If not many people enter we will keep it open for a while. The winner will receive tremendous recognition and praise, and perhaps a coveted Chicagoboyz Certificate of Achievement.

Let's get them some entries, what do you say?

Glock Holster Help Wanted

I just got an email from Mark and he's having a little trouble finding a good concealed-carry holster that would fit his 'Baby' Glock..............

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