Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday morning Randoms.

--While I agree that we should absolutely brook no foolishness, and should arrest judges and cops alike for DWI --as apparently has been happening in Broward County, FL to three (!) judges this year-- I am impressed at the foolishness of Public Defender Finklestein's comments:

Finkelstein said he doubted Judge Rosenthal’s claim of the Ambien CR affecting her. “I have a little bit of experience with drugs. That is not from an Ambien at 10 o’clock at night,” Finkelstein said. “The fact that she refused the urine and the blood test is gonna keep people wondering.”

Way to get all prosecutorial, Mr. Public Defender! Hope you don't find yourself on the judge's blacklist...

--While watching an old Magnum P.I. episode (Look, don't judge me.), I see Magnum checking his load in his Government model while in the middle of a gunfight in a dock warehouse. He drops the magazine, and we see that he has two rounds left in the magazine. More importantly, we see... that it's a 9mm!  No! Say it ain't so!
In almost the next scene, he's firing, and you can clearly see the muzzle is not a .45.
So disillusioned. This of course is why he almost immediately gets shot and spends the rest of the episode in "Limbo".

--Wait-- Jeff MacKay is dead? But, he was the best sidekick!

--Wait-- Zsa Zsa Gabor is still alive? At 97, she's still ki-- er, ticking. (She lost a leg a couple of years back.)

--My patrol car suffered hail damage last month. The state insurance agency has totaled the car, for minor peens on the top surfaces, which didn't even crack the paint. Yeah, the car has some years on it, but it runs great! I understand the insurance company's math (the cost of refinishing the surfaces costs more than they reckon the car is worth), but this does NOT work out well for the department. The check that we get will nowhere nearly get us a new patrol car.  I wish we could take back the claim. But we can't. The insurance is dropped. That car will never run another patrol. Honestly, I'm thinking about following up on where the insurance company sells it; it's a good vehicle.

--I shot a police pistol match on Friday with my newly-issued Generation 4 Glock 31, shooting our new duty ammo, 147g Hornady XTP .357 Sig. It shot very well. I put the ski-jump big grip swell on the backstrap, and it felt good, so I'm leaving it on. I plan to purchase the Gen 3 Glock 31 that I carried for 7 and a half years. Interestingly, the Glock-branded steel tritium night sights were dead-on. As I have complained for years about the lack of quality of the Glock factory sights, let's hope that this kind of sight quality is the new standard. No scores from the match yet, but I didn't completely cover myself with shame. (At 30 seconds a miss, I shot slow.)

--I'm putting off taking my car in, now that I've cleaned it out to be turned in. Heck, I even threw a little Armor-All on the dash.

--Measles cases are at a 20 year high in the U.S. Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield can choke on a bowl of oversized phalli.

--You know that crazy woe-is-me narcissist who killed people at UCSB? Two observations:
1. When you show his videos and pictures and repeat his manifesto and say his name, you're putting out sugar for the ants (other people with issues who want to go out in a big enough blaze of glory that they reckon will make you HAVE to say their name.).
2. It was people with guns who stopped the rampage. Wouldn't it have been nice if someone had shot at him even earlier? Keep in mind that the shots at the bad guy don't have to kill him. This guy got hit in the hip, and then shot himself in the head.

--I finished The Watchmen, after having slowed my reading to about a chapter a night (well, maybe just a little faster). It was interesting. My brother was excited that we had something to talk about, and wants me to get into Daredevil. I don't see why not. But I'm not buying this over-priced thing.

--We are out of coffee. Except for that canned stuff, which doesn't count. Friday afternoon is payday, when I get more. (We've been paying huge surplus payments to our standing debt, to make it go away, which means that I suddenly long for Friday.)

--The weather is FAR better than what we usually get in late May. It's not even in the 90s. Blue skies with the odd fluffy white cloud for decoration.

--My daughter was inducted to the National Honor Society last night. Lots and lots of good and great kids are NOT so inducted. But I will say that of those NHS members on stage last night, none of them were regular "customers" of mine. Good kids all. I can be pretty glad that my kid is a member of their little local chapter.
 

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Damned good fun

My brother and I went to see Godzilla on Saturday night.


If 8 year-old-Matt had his way, we're looking at a complete sweep for the 2014 Oscars.


Director Gareth Edwards apparently had taken some notes on what works in ominous movies starring scary creatures. You literally don't catch sight of the title creature for the first half of the movie. Then, when he's on the rampage, or fighting, you get partially-obscured shots, cut off just when you think you're going to see more. It works. It works GREAT.


When Godzilla finally climbs out of the sea, and challenges his adversary, he gives a blasting scream that had my brother and I pumping our fists and cheering in a manner that in retrospect HAD to have been annoying to other people in the theatre. We got there a little late, and sat in the fourth row from the front, and I remarked that watching the credits at the beginning (which, by the way, are well-rendered in a novel way) felt like watching a tennis match. But it gave us the bigger-than-life feeling. The movie was shot in high-definition, and I never noticed any pixilation. We didn't see it in 3D (my brother says that it gives him a headache), but the CGI has that appropriate quality of not being noticeable. I know that we said that we were there 10 years ago, but it's only these last couple of years that I have really believed it.


The movie has several homages to the classic movies of the '50s and '60s, with a mug for the camera, and a tail-swing, and the great scream (one of which goes on for about 20 seconds) that make him the monster you remember.


Are there some silly plot devices? Of COURSE there are. Just don't worry about that. By the way-- there actually is a plot.


The casting was spot on. Brian Cranston was very well-used, but not over-used.



Ken Watanabe acted his butt off as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, the world expert on the radiation-consuming monsters' ilk.



Elizabeth Olsen was nice eye candy and the raison d'etre for the rather silly Naval lieutenant played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson who becomes the Forrest Gump of the movie, wandering through every aspect of a world crisis and basically just giving us a personal view of the entire event.


I don't even care that the masked Filipino guards at the initial discovery site have Mexican style looped bandoliers on while carrying AK's. I just don't care. It was a great movie. I loved it. I think that I'm going back to see it again, because fun.


Go see it in the theaters. Because fun.

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Without fear.

Because I have a lot of nerdy friends and wanted in on the social references that they made, I bought a graphic novel that came highly recommended. But this post isn't about that.


The adult comic book was originally published by installment in 1986, and was written in 1985, which was set as the present, with a lot of reflection on the previous half century, at which point it had diverged from our real timeline.


What was fascinating, though, was how scared we were of pending war. In this book, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan seemed clearly to indicate that, without some kind of major interference, an invasion of Pakistan would occur. And from the man on the street to the POTUS, World War III seemed inevitable.


But it was just another timeline, in an imagined universe, by a good writer and his illustrator.


Friends, I remember being afraid, as a little kid, of nuclear war. I remember being afraid of something that our nation couldn't control, coming in and taking our lives away from us.


As the 1990's came, and the USSR fell, the nuclear threat (or the fear of it) diminished. I grew into adulthood. I had the opportunity to decide my future.


At no time in my adult life have I felt afraid that our nation would be attacked on a wide scale. Sure, individual attacks can and have happened, but think about how indignant we were to have even those occur.  When you attack our country, there are major consequences. It's not a good idea. We send guys like John Shirley and his mates over to kick your butt.


We don't think a whole lot about our military, because of how effective they are at letting us lead our quiet normal lives. I'm not saying that it's right, but I'm pointing out how well they do their job: we as a nation get to continue to be self-absorbed and silly, without paying attention to what our military really does, because they're just that good.


For about 364 days of the year, it's actually okay to be self-absorbed, and not think of who guards our freedoms.


Today, we think of our soldiers, our marines, our sailors, our airmen, and our guardsmen who gave everything. Because we really don't have to. You can bet that their families think about them a lot.

Thanks.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Regarding our shotshells

This is the stuff that we're using. The blue shells are the low recoil slugs. This is actually the load that I carry in my shotgun, which I had just unloaded to clean. I load it so that four buckshot loads come out first, and the last two are slugs.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Qualification day again.

Friday morning, I made a great breakfast for the family, and saw my kids off to school, and then got my stuff and went to the range under a bluebird sky the likes of which would make one F. Beuller take a day off.

First we shot duty pistols. Since I had a new duty gun, I was interested how the backstrap on the Generation 4 Glock 31 would shoot. It was okay, but I'll try the bigger ones, next.  I did actually have one delayed feeding, which had the earmarks of a hollowpoint catching on a feedramp. This would be unlikely, given that this is a bottlenecked cartridge (.357 Sig). I suspect that the gun just needs a proper first cleaning. As it was in the middle of a timed string, I didn't evaluate it; I just slapped it, got it running, and finished the string of fire. Its predecessor (a Gen 3 Glock) has never in 7.5 years hiccuped.

We switched from Gold Dot to XTP, which is a heavier bullet. I frankly didn't notice any difference.  (It was a Gold Dot round that caught, though.)

My shift partner, who had some problems with his 870 shotgun last time, had none this time. In fact, I took a picture of his target. This is 5 rounds of buckshot and 2 rounds of slug at 10 yards, with three slugs at 25 yards:
That mark just outside of the A zone at 5 o'clock is a wad impact. The right two holes were slug shots at 25. What impressed me, again, was how tightly 5 rounds of double aught buck went into a compact hole at 10 yards. This is a testament to the greatness of the Federal FliteControl Premium buckshot load, of which I have commented before.

Oh, I suppose that I should post mine, too. I took it as a matter of pride that at the whistle I was first on target and first to finish my string, but this meant that my group opened up a tad. But I reiterate: it's a high-brass buckshot load at 10 yards; a mediocre hit is still a pretty good hit.


Well, of course I put all the slugs (two at 10 yards, three at 25 yards) into the head. And never fear: that punch to the right side of the head is just a wad impact; I'm not missing a headshot with my shotgun at a piddlin' 75 feet. We got some Federal low-recoil 1 oz slugs which performed very well. I was very pleased at accuracy and gentle thump to the shoulder. We just started with these, and they beat our old stuff all hollow. 

I shot my S&W 637 Airweight Chief's Special with some UMC 125g +Ps that I had paid too much for at WalMart. Shooting it from the holster, it was gratifying to be first on target, just about every string. But I griped at my fellow officers when, in a fire-five-reload-fire-five-more string, I was first to get rounds on target after the reload (at 7 yards). Everyone else (there were six of us on the line) had auto guns. 

I shot my Kimber Stainless Classic (Series 1) .45. As expected, it gave me the same 100% as I had gotten with the Airweight Chief.  That's not saying much; the off-duty course of fire is LAME.  But there are timed reloads and I turned up the volume with the Kimber. 

For rifle, I turned up the volume a LOT more, and I'm embarrassed to say that I threw one round. There's really no excuse; I was showing off. I hadn't even gone down to check my target, but later found that one just barely missed the neck/shoulder junction, likely when firing rapidly from kneeling at 100 yards. 

After three hours of shooting and running others through strings of fire, I talked guns with the rangemaster, who showed me his pretty new .300 Blackout AR, and I went home. 3 hours of overtime. Half of the ammot that I shot was paid for by the city, and I was paid to shoot all of it. 

Some days at the office are better than others. 

While loading up, I commented to the sergeant that I'd love for us to go from twice a year qualifications to four times a year. He snorted and said that some people would quit if that happened. I'll be honest: I can't understand why. We were paid to go shooting.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Just trust me, and read it.

Gordon Keith is a local sports radio yuk monkey who has become a shockingly good columnist for the Dallas Morning News.

Go read his Mother's Day column. Trust me.

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Mama's Boy.

I remember, when I was four years old, waking up early one dark winter morning, with my father making breakfast. Mama had left for work unusually early that morning, for some special business that she had to do as a writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I started to cry, because I had missed her, and my day was to start without her, and I missed my mama. I remember being aware, even at four, that it was childish to kneel with my face in the couch cushions, saying "I want my mama!" repeatedly. I was old enough to be worried that my tears would offend my daddy, but my eyes still stung.

I was a mama's boy.

While walking home with my best friend Sean McDougal at age 5, I picked a bouquet of Indian paintbrush out of the ditch and presented them to my mother (complete with the intact root system of every flower).  Sean was mystified, until he saw my mama's reaction. Then he ran home, stopping in the ditch to pick his own bouquet, dropping dirt clods behind him as he went into his house. Every boy that age wants to make his mother happy.

When I started messing around with a  neighbor girl at far too young an age, said neighbor girl plainly directed me not to talk to my mother about our trysts.  I laughed and asked the girl why she thought that I would, and she answered in all seriousness, "Because you talk to your mother about everything." I guess she was right, though I did instinctively know that there were some things that one does not discuss with one's mother at age 12.

As I grew older, I naturally turned toward manly things, and probably turned away from my mother as a result. I started doing more father-oriented things. If this hurt her, Mom never said anything that I recall. She had grown up as an only child, and I was the first boy that she had seen grow up. She was by this time a single mother rearing two boys, working on her master's degree. She paid me the compliment of letting me be, and treated me basically like an adult pretty early on.

Mom put a few thousand dollars that she couldn't afford into my freshman year of college, and then it was understood that I was on my own, which was more than fair. She provided me with a place to stay when I came home, and the refrigerator and cabinets were kept full of food, but at 20, it was on me to make ends meet.  At the time, I struggled, but in retrospect, my loving mother was actually coddling me just a little. I got the message, and got to work. When my car broke down and I couldn't commute to work, I went to "temporarily" live in my dad's spare bedroom in town.  Mom had a weepy moment that I didn't understand. She said, "You're leaving." This made no sense to me. I was coming back home, surely!  I never did. From Dad's, I rented a house with an old high school buddy, and finished college.  Then marriage, and such.

When Mom sold the old homestead, I helped her move into an apartment in town. It was during this period that I first really felt like I was taking care of my mother, this woman whom I had towered over for over a decade. I rented a truck, and moved things. I organized. I directed my brother. I took charge and was urgent (and was probably not very pleasant) because it was my mother's business that we were attending to.  This was serious. This was my mama.

My mother applied herself to her work as a CPS worker. She was earnest, and probably took it all too much to heart.  Seeing my mother's heart so heavy with the weight of her case load, I begged her for years to retire from this gut-wrenching job. She finally did so.

My mother, retired in her mid-sixties, was without a job to go do for the first time in almost half a century. It's funny how addicted we become to the structure of a job. I discovered that my mama could need her son some more. I discovered anew how much I needed my mama.

These days, my mother has a busy schedule. It turns out that she came home to me; she now lives next door. Mom picks up my girls from school every day. She is busy with the church, and works at a homeless shelter. With a degree in family counseling, she confidentially helps people in the community, and never lets me know who or how or why.  I looked in the newspaper the other day and discovered that she's on the municipal library board. At 70, Mom is more vital and busy than she was at 60. She looks after the neighborhood, sometimes from that porch of hers, and sometimes from her neighbors' porches. She takes care of me and my family, and we take care of her right back.

We look after each other.

I love my mama. 

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Don't make assumptions.

I'm not saying "Get Off My Side!", but I'm damned close to it.

I went to the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, a week and a half ago. It was a great time. I met lots of friends, old and new, and wished that I had showed up earlier, and could stay later.

While there, I saw some news media types on the sidewalk, and about halfway hoped that they would ask me for a quote. Of course they didn't, and probably wouldn't have even if I had not been wearing media credentials.

What I would have said was, "70 to 80 thousand NRA exhibitors and attendees have come to town. Most of us are armed. And come Monday morning, if you're honest, the lede for your story will be '70k Armed People Invade Indianapolis: Nothing Happened.'"

I skipped the political speeches. I barely even watched them on the live CCTV feed in the media center.

Then I saw some politico talking about ObamaCare at the NRA Annual Meeting, I question what he's doing there.  Is he likely to find a welcome ear to such discussion? Sure! But he was crossing the streams. Why should I be beleaguered if I wasn't on board with that?

"They're winning!" declared a political candidate, declaring that we are, despite our advances in the Supreme Court to recognize the 2nd Amendment as an individual right, despite the advances of more and more states expanding rights to concealed carry or even open carry, are basically losing the battle for our rights to be armed.   (By flying with a pistol to Indianapolis, it had cost me precisely one extra minute, to open my suitcase, open my locked gun case, show unloaded, and pitch in my personal ownership card to the case. One minute.)

Then another political candidate came up and gave his stump speech. And another. And another. Sarah Palin came on, and I heard the occasional odd silly catchphrase from her, but ignored her. I heard some talk about the Democrats and the progressives.

I bumped into Tam, and she showed me the text that she had just gotten from Caleb: "Sarah Palin just said 'waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists' word for word."  Don Gwinn was there with me, and we gave forth the stereophonic sound of simultaneously striking our palms against own foreheads.

What if I don't believe in torturing people?
What if I don't go in for any type of baptism?
What if I don't have anything against progressivism, but do want to advance the cause of the Second Amendment?

I didn't get as much time as I'd like to hang out with a fierce proponent of the 2nd Amendment who is gay. I'm sure that lots of pro-2A people there don't approve of his "lifestyle," but that's a red herring; he's on their team. I didn't get to have a drink with Ken Blanchard, one of "those people"* from Detroit, like I did at the 2012 Annual Meeting in St. Louis. I shook hands with a renown gunwriter who has, tongue in cheek, taken on the nickname of "The Camelback Kid" for cowboy action shooting. I spent some time in the company of person who exhibited phenotypical male characteristics, but preferred the female pronoun.

What if these don't meet with your idea of who ought to be there?

Tough. They're on our side. So stick to the issue at hand.

You may just find that this is a theme of mine: Don't Cubbyhole Me.

I am not a peg; quit trying to make me fit in the shape hole of your choosing.

I don't care about RINOs at the NRA convention. You know why? Because it's not Republican convention.

When you mix your other politics into this issue, we end up with people making assumptions about the lot of us, and making ad hominem attacks on speakers with otherwise really good points about our liberties.

Feel free to talk about your issues elsewhere, but at this convention, you're confusing the issues, and being divisive, by trying to be OVERLY inclusive in too narrow a world view.

My name is Matt G, and I was there to talk about guns. Period.


_______________
*He's not gay; he's black.

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