Thursday, March 05, 2015

Snow day for thee, but not for me.

Washington DC was shut down today due to the expected winter storm, but I had to go anyway. Lucky me. I figured I'd make it down before the storm and then wait it out, and that's kind of how it worked, although when I hit the highway at 0430 and I was the only one on it--literally the only one on it--I was starting to question my judgement. The highway should have been starting to get crowded by this time with other commuters. Do they know something that I don't?

Got down, and watched 6-8" of snow fall, with the expected chaos in a city filled with people who can't handle snow. And then this evening, I started the drive home, knowing that we had about a foot of the stuff here waiting for me.

Surprisingly, the drive home went well. My speeds were slower on average, but I wasn't held back by the usual idiots who bollix up the roads every night because they were all at home, leaving the roads to me and a handful of snowplows and semi-trucks. I made it home about fifteen minutes later than on a normal night, and that included stops for gas (because I always stay over half-full in these conditions) and a slice of pizza. I also took an alternate route that I figured would be better plowed and less-traveled by the pokies. (It was.) Frankly, I wasn't looking forward to coming back and dealing with my long, steep, un-shoveled driveway, but when I got up here, I had to do a double-take when I got to the base of it: someone had come before me and plowed the whole damned thing, including my parking spot and the path to my door!

No clues as to who my benefactor was, but I have a suspicion or two. In any event, it was well received and greatly appreciated after this long, long day.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Another whack-job makes things tougher for normal gun owners

This time it was in Michigan where a self-described open-carry advocate decided to tote a pistol and a long gun right up to the door of a local school while classes were in session.

Area Thrown Into Panic When Man Exercises Right To Carry Weapon Near Madison Heights School

To sum it up, police responded to numerous 911 calls of an openly armed man approaching a school in Madison Heights, Michigan. They responded quickly, and found out that it wasn't another would-be school shooter this time, but merely some jack-ass who apparently decided to provoke a response by walking up to the school with two guns plainly visible for all to see.

In the end, no one got shot and no one went to jail or even got a ticket. The police handled this incident professionally by investigating it, determining that no crime was being committed and diffusing the situation, then sending the nut on his way. (Kudos, Madison Heights PD!)

But what do we have now? That's right--more news stories that make the rest of us gun owners look like nuts, and more incentive for anti-gun legislators to pass more restrictions on us all or at least refuse to relax the ones already in place. All that, just so that this guy (name will be posted when I learn it) could get his fifteen seconds of fame.

About the only good thing that I can say is that at least this time, it was not that serial police-baiter and all-around ass-monkey Kory Watkins from Texas, who, under the guise of supporting gun rights by acting like an obnoxious douche-bag, has been making a full-time job out of getting businesses in that area to ban anyone from carrying firearms on their premises while generating more negative gun press than Shannon Watts and her fake Bloomberg-supported Moms Demand Action gun-control lobby could ever hope to create.

And I'm still not convinced that Watkins and his minions aren't secretly working for Bloomberg and Watts...wouldn't be the first time that our enemies have pretended to be us just to undermine us.

As usual, just when things start looking good for us gun-folk across the states, we take rounds in the back from our own side via this Madison Heights moron and others in that radical .001% fringe who just have to act like donkeys for no good reason "because they have rights".

"Help" like that we can all do without.

Edited to add: Apparently this particular jack-ass has done this sort of thing before. From another source:
Police received “about a million 911 calls” as he man approached the school driveway, Madison Heights Police Officer Carey Spangler told The Detroit News.

Police determined the man wasn’t a threat, and charges are not expected.

“We had a citizen exercise his right to open carry, and he chose to exercise that right near the high school,” Spangler said. “He has since moved away from the area.”

Police kept the man under surveillance as he walked the approximately 2½ -mile trip back to Royal Oak.

“We’ve dealt with this individual in the past,” Spangler said. “We know of him to exercise his right to open carry.”

When Open Carry is barred by statute or when new restrictions on where all gun owners can carry are enacted, Michigan gun owners will have this guy and a few others like him to thank...hopefully with a baseball bat.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

That's It--I'm Not Answering The Phone Again Today.

Last week, my trusty Jeep went into the shop for a new (used) transfer case and a few other needed repairs. Cost: Just under a grand.

It was a bite, but I accepted it because...well because I had no other option. Either fix it or sell it for scrap as it isn't much good without a transfer case.

So I fixed it. And it was running fine until yesterday, when the fan belt started squealing. Back into the shop for another check. I was fearing the worst, thinking that it was the clutch on the air conditioner pump. I've replaced one on an earlier Jeep and that is NOT a cheap part. Fortunately, the shop figured out that it was "only" the harmonic balancer pulley that was bad. This was another "not cheap" fix, but it wasn't even half the cost of a new A/C pump, so I told them to fix it.

Phone rings this morning. It's the repair shop. While they were replacing the balancer pulley, they discovered a water pump leak. (OK, so now I know where my coolant has been going.) Joy, joy. Again, as my options are pretty limited at this point, I signed off on another not cheap repair. This is getting ridiculous.

An hour later, the phone rings again. Caller ID says repair shop. I know that it hasn't been long enough for them to have finished, so it's got to be more bad news. Sure enough, there's a split in the radiator endcap, too. (OK, so now I know where my coolant has been going x2) Again, nothing much that I can do other than authorize the fix, then go outside and scream in the yard. Cost for this week's fixing fiasco: About a hundred bucks less than last week's repair bill. And it's still going to need new front brakes before too much longer.

If I fix those brakes, the damned thing had better run for another six or seven years without needing so much as an oil change.

If the repair shop calls back again, I'm not even answering.

Monday, March 02, 2015

So Close...

The Reising fires perfectly in semi-auto, but it still hiccups a bit in full, with the occasional round not sliding completely up the breech face as the bolt closes. And it's so slight that just the faintest pressure from me on the action bar is enough to get the bolt to close properly on the round stopping it. The breech face is pitted,so I'm going to polish it and see if that doesn't cure this last niggling little problem.

Almost fixed. Almost working.

And in semi, I was using it to bat a tennis ball around on the 25m berm. Put the front sight post just under the tennis ball and squeeze off one shot and watch the tennis ball go into near-earth orbit. And the Reising is accurate enough to do that all day. Try THAT with a Thompson or other open-bolt subgun.

The Watchdog Never Stops Watching

Yesterday I didn't get to the range because we had freezing rain all day and because I had some plumbing work to do in the crawlspace beneath the Lair. Eric, a good friend who knows such work well, came over help. (and by "help", I mean do the work while I sat there and watched.)

Murphy and Belle know Eric, and after he came in and petted them for a bit, they went back to doing whatever it is that dogs do and we went down the basement and under the house to do what we were doing.

As we worked, I noticed that Belle was back upstairs napping on her bed or playing with a toy, because she's more of a Yellow Lab trapped in a Shepherd's body, but Murphy hung around the basement pretty much the whole time that we were down there, and he's not particularly fond of the basement normally. It's unheated and drafty and pretty cluttered with my junk, and usually, when I'm down there reloading ammunition, he won't stay down there by me even if I call him down. But this time, with Eric over, he was down there pretty much the whole time. And a coupe of times, when we got to be laughing over something or when Eric burned his hand on a hot, freshly-soldered pipe (snicker), as soon as a voice was raised in that crawlspace, Murphy's head would poke in, ears straight up and eyes focused like a laser beam on Eric until he was sure that Eric hadn't suddenly become a threat to the boss. I may have been relaxed and enjoying myself, but Murphy was still on guard and watching over me, even with a person that he knew.

It's nice to know that no matter what, I've got a pair of eyes and a set of teeth watching my back.
That almost makes up for him being so damned annoying most of the rest of the time.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's errand time, and one of those errands is the range.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

It's ALIVE!!!

The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. I sat there with Murphy, I sat there with Belle. I toyed with my Reising, and I cursed it to hell.

I took all the parts off, then I put them back on. I could never admit, that this damned gun had won.
I took off the mag housing and the action bar. I wanted to junk it, but that'd be going a bit far.
I took out the hammer, I took out the bolt. I could not resolve it, I felt like a dolt.
I cycled rounds though it, dozens by hand. Why it would not work I could not understand.
The action was smooth, and nothing was binding. but this subgun won't run, and my nerves it was grinding.
Then suddenly it hit me, from out of the blue. An epiphany struck me, back together it flew.
I ran to the range, with a witness in tow. And I loaded it up, but I had to shoot slow.
For machine guns are banned at this Fuddly range, so I fired it all semi, although it felt strange.
Thirty rounds with no malfunctions!!! Yee-hah! I'm saving the rest of my .45 for another full-auto test tomorrow at a different range, but it sure looks like I've about got this thing fixed!

Oh, and apologies to Dr. Suess for sampling his story, but I really don't care if he minds, because I've got a functioning Reising now and he probably does not.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Blah days.

Nothing to report. Nothing to post about. Can't find anything to post about and the dogs aren't doing jack. Hope your days are more interesting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Persistence and Motivation.

I looked outside today and caught Miss Belle with her head and front paws jammed between the rear porch steps, doing her best to get under the back porch in an effort to circumvent the fencing that surrounds the dog pen as said fencing ends at the porch rails. She's just a bit too big to fit, but she was sure giving it the old college try util she looked up and noticed me watching her from the window.

That's it. No more Steve McQueen movies before bed for her.

Thanks for sending the clip along, Stretch. You're officially a bad influence on that girl.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Evil" Republicans Trying to Legalize Suppressors and Short-Barreled Shotguns in AZ

And typically, the leftist media is outraged.

Republicans push to legalize silencers, sawed-off shotguns
PHOENIX (AP) -The Arizona Senate has given initial approval to a bill legalizing sawed-off shotguns, silencers and nunchucks.

Republican Sen. Kelli Ward of Lake Havasu City on Monday added an amendment legalizing the weapons and accessories onto a minor bill that restores a person's gun rights if a judge sets aside a guilty conviction.

Rep. Steve Farley of Tucson said Ward's amendment makes the bill less about helping people and more about legalizing weapons prohibited under Arizona law.

Senate Bill 1460 received initial approval Monday and now awaits a formal vote.

Oooh. Such a bad thing, that "freedom"! I mean, these guns would still fall under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and anyone wanting one would have to submit fingerprints and photographs and the gun would be registered right to them...and SO many people use NFA weapons to commit crimes, right? I think that the tally still stands at TWO since 1986.

But facts are like kryptonite to media hacks with a partisan agenda, aren't they, KPHO?

Viva, indeed.

And now for a trip down memory lane,

Juvat's funny story here, coupled with Borepatch's October crash, made me recall a similar incident back in my younger, dumber days.

The year, if I recall correctly, was 1986. It was a fine summer day, and a much younger me was in fine form, having just watched a great movie the night before about a man that I looked up to as a role model back in those days.

The man: Evel Knievel, a virtual god of motorcycles and stunts in the nineteen seventies.

The movie: Viva Knievel!, a 1977 action-adventure film starring Knievel as himself.

The next morning, inspired by the movie and my typical "If they can do it, I can do it" attitude that was getting me into a lot of trouble back in those days, I built an impressively high ramp out of some old 2" thick picnic table boards and dragged it out into the street in front of our nice little suburban home. Then I fired up my trusty machine, a 1979 Suzuki PE 250.

Confidence was sky-high on that bright, sunny morning as I made a few anticipatory passes by the ramp with my front wheel off the ground and my engine revving. It wasn't going to be enough to just soar for a few seconds; I had to get the attention of everyone around first. I needed an audience, because this was going to be epic.

And came, they did. Several younger neighborhood kids materialized and took their seats on the curb. A few other neighbors came out on their porches to watch the show. I had my witnesses for this hallmark leap and I'd planned this right down to the last detail, calculating just exactly how fast I needed to be going when I hit that ramp in order to get some impressive distance but still come down on the rear wheel...I'd calculated everything, except for one thing:

You see, I may have been a good bike rider, but I was a lousy structural engineer and an even worse carpenter. And this all became shockingly apparent to all as I took my final run at that ramp and hit it at speed, only to have it shatter under the weight of bike and rider as I hit the mid-point of it. The ramp collapsed and what should have been a long, graceful flight ending in the admiration of all turned into a very short flight ending in a violent meeting with the concrete street.

I don't remember much after that. I definitely don't remember the fire trucks showing up, or the ambulance ride to the hospital.
"Concussion," I recall hearing a voice say.
"Lucky to be alive," said another voice.
"Fucking idiot," a third one pronounced. (OK, that might have actually been me.)

End result: an overnight hospital stay, followed by my first-ever ambulance bill, which came in the mail a few weeks later, causing me to exclaim: "What the hell? I didn't even call that ambulance! I was just laying there in the street, minding my own business, and they came along and just snatched me up! I won't pay it!" (I eventually paid it.)

Oh, and were the neighbors impressed? They must have been, because I didn't hear the end of that for a long, long time.

But the bike came out of it just fine. I rode it to my first follow-up appointment with the doctor who took care of me at the hospital. I recall him not being terribly pleased.

It's only looking back now at what I refer to as my second-worst motorcycle crash that I realize that right there, Murphy and Belle almost lost out on their forever home years before their great grandparents were even born.

Oh, and do I still ride, you ask? Damn straight. Gonna get me another bike before too much longer. Gotta make another ride out to the Pacific Coast or down to New Orleans. You see, I just saw this movie called Easy Rider...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Attorney Todd Levitt, More Proof That A Lawyer Who Represents Himself Has a Fool For a Client.

In Michigan, a rather thin-skinned lawyer by the name of Todd Levitt sued a 21 year old college kid for making fun of him on Twitter...and lost.

‘Badass Attorney’ Todd Levitt Loses Libel Suit, May Need New Sense Of Humor

Levitt, an attorney who appears to make his living by hanging around Central Michigan University and soliciting minor criminal defense cases from college kids who get in trouble, has marketed himself to the college kids by describing himself as a "bad-ass attorney" on social media and posting about his own fondness for using alcohol and marijuana.

Real professional, right?

At some time last year, a college student named Zack Felton, age 21, put up a parody Twitter account that made fun of Levitt and his plea-bargain mill sole-practitioner law firm, apparently in response to some of the dopey things that Levitt himself posted on Twitter and Facebook. Felton made it very clear that his site was NOT intended to be anything other than a parody of this Saul Goodman wanna-be lawyer and even posted multiple disclaimers telling people as much.

Levitt, not amused, shook his fist in the air and screamed out the battle cry of the modern American Liberal: "I'll SUE you!"

And sue he did. You can read the entire filing here.

The case made it as far as the courtroom of the Honorable Paul Chamberlain, who looked at the facts of the case, including the fact that young Mr. Felton made it very clear that his site was NOT intended to be anything other than a parody of this Saul Goodman wanna-be lawyer and even posted multiple disclaimers telling people as much. Judge Chamberlain then looked deep into his law books and found a little thing called "The First Amendment to the United States Constitution". Applying that, he determined that young Mr. Felton had a right to publicly lampoon Levitt and his alleged practice of law, and he then tossed Levitt and his frivolous lawsuit right out of court.

Levitt is now claiming that he will appeal.
"This is not the end of my case," Levitt said. "It's just the beginning. In some ways, this is a case of first impression that needs to go up to (a) higher court."

Yeah, Todd. You're right. No one has ever litigated that First Amendment before. I'll bet that the Supreme Court tosses that whole Constitution just as soon as they take up your case.


Meanwhile, Felton's parody Twitter account, which hadn't posted in months, jumped back to life after the court ruling.
"Motion for summary disposition granted," he wrote. "Levitt v. Felton is over. Parody lives on!"

Another Tweet took one last jab at the attorney.

"Rough day at the office," Felton wrote. "Lost another case... maybe the new 'Better Call Saul' will give me a boost."

If I ever get in legal trouble in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, I'll be sure to call Attorney Todd Levitt...and ask him for Zack Felton's phone number.
Disclaimer: This is not an actual picture of Todd Levitt.

This is Todd Levitt.

Oh--and during discovery, he was forced to admit that he created a website appearing to rate lawyers and used it to give himself an award for being "College lawyer of the year", which he then used in his own advertisements.

Mt. Pleasant lawyer suing student admits to fake award, marijuana tweets

I'd call him a jackass again, but we're to the point now where it would be considered jackasses.

The storm has passed

The latest winter storm has gone on by, leaving us here with not quite a foot of new white stuff. I got out and shoveled the drive yesterday twice while it was still coming down, so this morning's clean-up was a snap. Had to get it all down to bare driveway, as today looks to be the last day above freezing for a while and I want a driveway, not a toboggan run, so the ice and snow have to go.

I put the dogs out on the front deck to watch, and Belle, as is getting to be a habit with her, climbed over the front deck gate and came down to "help".
Sigh. At least she stays close by while I'm working.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

M855 Arrives.

Over the last couple of weeks, the blogosphere and internet gun forms in general have been abuzz with outrage over the Obama Administration suddenly deciding that M855 62gr. 5.56mm ball ammunition is suddenly "armor-piercing" for the purpose of a ban on further production or sale of this great low-cost target-shooting round, allegedly because it has no "suitable sporting purpose".


Hey--if you can't take the guns away from the American citizens, you take their ammo, right?

Well I was immune from the panic for a bit, until I noticed that supplier after supplier of this ammo, that was cheap and plentiful until the buzz started, was disappearing faster than the words "radical Muslim" from an Obama speech. I then casually checked my own ammo locker and realized that I didn't actually have but a couple hundred rounds of this stuff as I tend to stick to either 55gr. ball for 5.56 or .30 rounds, a different animal entirely. So, not wanting to be the only kid on the block without any M855, because even I have my sheep-like "follower" moments, I snarfed up a few of the last-remaining cans being offered at "normal" prices. (Yes, Mom...if all my internet friends jumped off a bridge tomorrow--or moved to Texas and started a secession movement--I'd jump/move too.)

So here's what the UPS fairy brought me. 1260rds of green-tip Lake City on strippers.

And for those of you who would like to weigh in on this proposed ban before it's enacted, BATFE has an open comment period and citizens can write in with their thoughts on this by following the instructions in this NRA-ILA alert.

Just please, for the love of God, follow the advice of the Great Tam and do not send in some obscenity-filled, poorly-spelled rant that makes you (and the rest of us) look like some sort of retarded Ron Paul follower. That's not exactly persuasive and it doesn't help our side.


So I'm home from work today, sick.

This meant that I didn't have to get up at zero-dark-thirty to start the day.

I didn't. I really didn't.

How do you press the snooze button on a pair of German Shepherds who still think that you're supposed to?