Obit watch: April 27, 2017.

April 27th, 2017

Jonathan Demme passed away yesterday. Which is a damn shame, because I wanted to ask him why he thought it was a good idea to remake “Charade” and “The Manchurian Candidate”.

But I suppose I have to give him a pass for those. “The Silence of the Lambs” is a faithful adaptation of the book, and a great movie it its own right.

And not that he ever needed it, but he would have earned a lifetime pass from me for “Stop Making Sense”.

Come to think of it, “Swimming To Cambodia” was a swell movie, too.

And I actually saw “Swing Shift” when it was in theaters, but I was unaware of the whole editing controversy, and really don’t remember the movie well at this distance. It might be worth a re-watch, but I think I want to see “Melvin and Howard” and “Handle With Care”/”Citizens Band” first.

Random gun and cop crankery, some filler.

April 26th, 2017

Easter Sunday, a group of us went shooting at the KR Training range. Because what better way is there to celebrate the resurrection of Christ than to shoot off guns? Hey, didn’t the man say “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one?”

(Also: KR Training, official firearms trainer of Whipped Cream Difficulties.)

While we were out there, the actor we’ve hired to play Karl mentioned that you can get AR pattern lowers (and uppers) in pistol calibers…that take Glock magazines. Here’s an example. (Not endorsed by WCD: I have no experience with the company or product.) Since most folks who are serious Glock users have a bunch of magazines around, this is an attractive idea. Even more so when you know that you can get magazine extensions for those standard Glock magazines and load up even more rounds.

My mind immediately went in a particular direction, but I’m going to come at it from the long way around. Because that’s just the kind of hairball I am. Let’s start with the question: what calibers do Glocks come in?

I can almost visualize a .380 ACP Glock AR carbine (or an AR pistol). The vision I have of it in my head is that it would be a kind of cute plinking gun…that shoots relatively expensive ammo and doesn’t have a fun switch. It reminds me of the old MAC-11, but even less useful. (Though the AR platform carbine would perhaps be more reliable.)

9mm seems to be where the AR/Glock action is, and for good reason: 9mm ARs are fairly popular in various places, 9mm ammo is relatively cheap, and this seems like a very practical pistol caliber carbine. Perhaps even more so if you pay for the tax stamp and make it a short-barreled rife. I think a lot of folks are looking at these, even without the SBR tax stamp, as good home defense weapons: easier to handle, point, and shoot than a pistol, without the possible over penetration issues of 5.56.

You could make the same argument for .40 S&W, except that the ammo isn’t as cheap as 9mm. and I don’t think it has the same following that the 9mm carbine has in the tactical community.

.45 ACP could be an interesting build. I don’t see a lot of tactical operators talking about operating tactically with .45 ACP carbines. But I don’t hang out with a lot of tactical operators, either. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

.45 GAP? Well, that’d be weird. The Winchester ballistics calculator on my phone says that .45 GAP will drop a little less and have slightly more velocity at 50 yards. But my impression is that .45 GAP is a dying caliber (even though Glock still chambers guns in it) and is maybe a little more expensive than .45 ACP by a few dollars a box for comparable ammo. However, I haven’t shot or bought .45 GAP, so don’t take that as gospel truth. Check prices at your local dealer or online ammo vendor.

.357 SIG? Ah. That’s the first place my mind went. I remember .357 SIG being touted as having a flatter trajectory than the .357 Magnum, but the same punch at range, higher capacity, and the ability to actually feed it in auto pistols. That same Winchester calculator (which only goes out to 50 yards on the iPhone) does show slightly less drop and a slightly lower velocity for the .357 SIG at 50 yards. If I can find a better calculator, I’d love to run numbers out to 100 yards.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who has this thought. there’s an interesting discussion over at Better and Better where Matt G mentions much the same idea (and also responds to a question from your humble blogger about the current role of the police shotgun).

And finally: 10mm? Why not? I like this idea, too. It reminds me of Jeff Cooper’s “Thumper”. I could see a SBR version of this working perhaps as a compact police carbine, but more so in Cooper’s original conception: a personal defense weapon for tank crews and other people who need something they can carry and deploy in tight quarters. I think I’d pick a 9mm or .357 SIG version for my daily use. But if I was in an appropriate military position, I’d build up a few 10mm ARs for experimental purposes in the sandbox.

More crankery after the jump.

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Of airlines and men.

April 26th, 2017

I have no joke here. I just wanted to say:

Tell us about the rabbits, United!

(United Airlines: the Lennie of aviation.)

New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town…

April 25th, 2017

..the cops are crooks and the gun dealers are too. The mimes are food for the bums underground! New York, New York!

(Sorry, had to shoehorn that in somewhere.)

Anyway, more indictments in the NYC bribes for gun licenses scandal. NYT version here, but I prefer the NYPost version Mike the Musicologist sent me.

Paul Dean and Robert Espinel, worked in the NYPD’s Licensing Division before retiring, and allegedly approved permits for kickbacks including cash “food, alcohol, parties, dancers and prostitutes” from gun expediters, the newly unsealed complaint says.

So, wait. The cops were being bribed with hookers? Because I’m thinking, if I’m a crooked cop, I can just go out, flash my badge, and get my own hookers. But maybe there’s less risk of an IA investigation if you let someone else procure the hookers for you. Trade offs.

Dunn and Espinel…

…allegedly accepted bribes and kickbacks from gun expediters, including Gaetano “Guy” Valastro, 58, a retired detective who owns firearms store Valastro International Tactical Academy in Queens and is also charged in the scandal.

Should I feel bad for Valastro? On the one hand, he’s a party to a massive scheme to shake down citizens for exercising their rights. On the other hand, he’s trying to run a gun store in Queens: can you blame him if he felt like he had to go along to get along? On the gripping hand, he’s a retired cop who decided to run a gun store in Queens, instead of someplace in free America.

In a separate complaint, also unsealed Tuesday, a fourth man, John Chambers — the former prosecutor who calls himself the “Top Firearms Licensing Attorney in New York” on his website touting his legal services — allegedly bribed NYPD Sgt. David Villanueva, 43, with Broadway shows, tickets to sports game and an $8,000 Paul Picot watch to expedite gun licenses, sometimes as quickly as a day.

Here’s that website for you. Note the URL. I wonder how much that cost him.

(Also: someone please tell me the “Broadway shows” Villanueva got tickets for included “Hamilton”.)

Have to go back to work now. Will update later if I see any more revolting developments.

Obit watch: April 25, 2017.

April 25th, 2017

Damn it all to hell and Hong Kong.

Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, passed away yesterday.

I’ve written before, but sort of in passing, about Zen. It was a huge influence on me as a young man, and continues to be an influence on me today.

NYT obit for Kate O’Beirne.

Jesus, Joseph. and Mary.

April 24th, 2017

I really feel sorry for this poor kid and his family, which is why I’m avoiding cheap jokes and political agitation.

A suburban Chicago college student who was killed during a track and field meet was struck by an errantly thrown hammer while standing near the field during warm-ups, authorities said Monday.

I did get to wondering how many other people have been killed in track and field events over the years. Wikipedia does not have a list, but this article claims “25 reported cases of people being struck by thrown objects in high school track and field from 1992 to 2012”, resaulting in four deaths. Not included in that figure is the December 2014 death that prompted the article. I’m not clear if that figure includes the 2012 death of a German offical who was hit by a javelin, or if those figures are US only. I also turned up a 2013 report (which I won’t link to, because it is from the Daily Fail) of a Houston high school athlete who was killed by a discus. (Oddly, it aparently hit him in the hip, not the head, and he died of unspeciied complications about a week later.) I assume this 1997 report is included in the stats above.

Tomorrow is promised to nobody, so keep your eyes open.

Obit watch: April 24, 2017.

April 24th, 2017

Erin Moran, for the historical record. I’m not linking to the AV Club obit because it’s ugly and below their usual standards.

Albert Freedman died a few weeks ago, though the NYT didn’t report his death until Saturday.

Mr. Freedman was a television producer in the 1950s. He specialized in televised game shows: the most famous of the shows he produced was “Twenty-One”.

And now you see where I was going with this, don’t you? Yes: Mr. Freedman was the person who recruited Charles Van Doren and fed him answers so he could defeat Herbert Stempel, leading to the “Quiz Show” scandal.

(I kind of knew in the back of my mind that Charles Van Doren was still alive: I remember when that New Yorker essay was published, though I don’t think I read all of it. What I didn’t know until I looked it up: according to Wikipedia, Herbert Stempel is also still alive.)

Kate O’Beirne, National Review writer and editor. Lawrence sent this to me: I’m not a regular NR reader, but their obit makes her sound like someone I’d enjoy having a holiday dinner with if I didn’t have anywhere else to go.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#39 in a series)

April 20th, 2017

Sherry Cook is retiring May 23rd.

Ms. Cook, if you didn’t know, was the executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the agency that enforces the state’s liquor laws. (And yes, I recognize the…irony?…in having someone named “Sherry” in that role. Onward!) She’s been in that post since 2012.

Why retire now?

The decision comes a month after the Texas Tribune reported that Cook and other agency employees spent thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for trips to resorts in Florida and Hawaii, among other places, for meetings hosted by the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, an industry trade group.

But the thing that seems to have really upset people?

Cook was grilled last week during a House General Investigating and Ethics Committee hearing about, among other things, a flyer that depicted Cook and other top agency officials holding or drinking Lone Star Beer as they rode on a plane on their way to a liquor administrators conference.
According to the Tribune, Cook told lawmakers that the flyer was an “inappropriate use of our time” and agreed it was a misuse of state resources to exchange emails about creating it.

You get the feeling that this would have kept on, if she hadn’t rubbed her travel in the faces of her employees? Seems like an important safety tip or two: if you’ve got to go to conferences, make them someplace not exotic, like Buffalo in January. Or if you do have to go somewhere exotic, complain the whole time. Don’t make up a flyer with shiny happy beer drinking people on a plane to Cali.

Reacting to the announcement, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a tweet: “It’s time to clean house from regulators not spending taxpayer money wisely. This is a good start.”

Obit watch: April 19, 2017.

April 19th, 2017

Kevin O’Brien, who blogged under the pseudonym “Hognose” at WeaponsMan, passed away yesterday.

I wasn’t a personal friend of Hognose, and I was a relative newcomer to his blog. I think I found it by way of a link from Tam last year. But this is a huge loss to the gun blogging community.

Hognose was an ex-Special Forces guy (the obit linked above goes into more detail on his service) who wrote a great deal…and I could stop there, because he often turned out three or more posts a day. Substantial posts, too, not stuff that was quickly tossed off.

And he wrote on a wide variety of topics. He wrote a lot about historic and contemporary military weaponry, drawing from his SF background. He also covered military history, contemporary military leadership, and politics (mostly as it related to the military).

He was interested in historical arms in general, but especially obscure Czechoslovakian arms (military and sporting) and was working on a book about Czech guns. He wrote a great deal about the problems with the VA system. He covered defensive shootings (and sort of picked up the “When Guns Are Outlawed…” mantle from Weer’d). Hognose and his brother were building their own plane; hr wrote quite a bit about the build process, and some about aviation in general. He was on Kathleen Kane like a fat man on a Chinese buffet.

The list goes on. He was eclectic. And if he said something, he was good about backing it up with sources.

Nice tribute from Tam.

My hope is that his family leaves the blog up, or at least makes the content available for download. We are already diminished by the loss of Hognose as a blogger; it would be worse if the valuable information he provided over the last five years was irrevocably lost as well.

Happy Buy a Gun Day!

April 15th, 2017

You’ve still got time, if you haven’t been out yet.

Longer post to come at some point in the (hopefully) near future, but here’s my 2017 BAG gun:

Savage Model 11 Scout in FDE. Purchased new in box through GunBroker at…well, a hefty discount off of MSRP, and much less than I’ve seen it elsewhere.

(The book is H.W. McBride’s A Rifleman Went To War. I’m not a big WWI buff, but a lot of people I respect have cited McBride’s book as being a valuable work. And damn, the guy could write: there’s something I want to pull as a quote of the day in almost every chapter.)

Bonus, since I never posted it here: my 2016 BAG gun.

Smith and Wesson Model 19-4 in .357 Magnum with the round butt and 2 1/2″ barrel. Sort of the ultimate snub-nosed revolver. The holster came with it, too. Tam has a good post up about the Model 19, though she’s writing about a diffenent variant than mine.

(Book: Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 4th Edition, of course.)

Tomorrow, tomorrow…

April 14th, 2017

…I love you, tomorrow, BAG Day is only a day away.

My BAG Day gun actually showed up at the FFL on Monday. With all the personal stuff going on, I decided to pick it up early, rather than wait until Saturday. (I know I kind of bent the spirit and the letter of BAG Day, and I could have waited, but things got kind a little sideways for a while.)

If I can, I’ll try to get at least one good photo tonight and throw it up for tomorrow. A longer post on my Jeff Cooper fanboy-ism will probably have to wait.

(Is it “fanboy” or “fanboi”? Or is it both, and “fanboi” is the diminutive, more insulting version of “fanboy”?)

(In case you were wondering: the family member who was in the hospital was discharged yesterday and is currently recovering comfortably at home with their dog.)

Giggle. Snort.

April 14th, 2017

I can see myself totally rocking the “I’m Too Old For This Shit Division” wiht my Model 29 in a shoulder holster. As long as I can remove the sports coat between strings.

(As I’m sure Tam knows, Texas in the summer is just a little hot, even for a lightweight sports coat.)

And I’m kind of crossing divisions here, but those who have seen me in person will testify to my theoretical capacity to grow a truly magnificent porn stache.