Saturday, August 27, 2005

The postal match

Shot my entries yesterday. However, my connection is so bloody slow right now I'll try sending the pics tomorrow; perhaps the deities of the internet will smile upon things then.

I have to say, I've had worse days at the range, but it's been a while. Between rushing to get there and tired eyes...
I shot three. First, a S&W model 36, the old Chief's Special, 2" snubbie in .38Spl. I have absolute confidence that in a self-defense situation this piece will put all five rounds where needed; but between my eyes and those fine sights, that little bullseye was an elusive bastard. Also, by the time I finished 55 rounds(5 sighters and 50 for score), that little butt had beaten my hand up a bit. It's a good carry piece, but wasn't made for a lot of shooting at a time.

Second was a Makarov semi-auto, 9x18mm. Only problem I have with it is the sights; the front is a low, narrow post and the rear a low, narrow notch. And after the .38, my hand was a bit touchy, scores so-so.

Third a Ruger Mk II, .22 semi-auto. Light recoil and good, easy-to-see sights. I expected really good scores here, as I've always shot well with it, and this is where I really got ticked for two reasons. First, my hands were bothering me enough at this point to be a slight problem. And second, this pistol that has never missed a beat, was now giving light firing pin strikes, which caused- on average- every fourth round to misfire. Sometimes two in a row. And that crap will really throw you off your stride. So, though these scores were better than the other two, they were disappointing. Very.

No, I'm not making excuses for lousy shooting. I am bitching and whining about it, which is a whole 'nother thing.

And on top of that, Steve is currently without power due to the hurricane damage in the Holy City, and cannot regale us with tales of recipes and bird antics. And New Orleans, where my daughter would like to live, is evacuating and wondering if coffins will be floating down the river and streets again. Damn.

Sometimes I don't trust the Discovery Channel

Besides the "We're all gonna die!!!" crap with mega-volcanos and mega-tsunamis and so forth, it's little things.

A while back they were talking about subduction zone earthquakes and talking about the northwest coast of North America they said something like "in the 200 years Europeans have lived here". 'Europeans'? Oh, please, can you come up with a better example of politically correct wording? Not 'written history', not 'documented history', not even 'the 200 years whites have lived here'. No, it's 'Europeans'.

Maybe the idiots who made this don't realize it, but having ancestors from Europe does not make you a European. If it did, then there wouldn't be American Indians, there'd be 'Asians who lived here'. (no, I don't call the tribes 'Native Americans'; that covers everyone born here)

Why do these clowns have to crap things up like this?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Carnival of Cordite#28

is up over at Gullyborg. All kinds of tests and information, including the latest on that godawful mess in VA at the gun show.

This thing has gone on for 28 issues now, and still going strong. Don't you love it?

On that mess in VA, I first heard about it from Kim here; he had a followup here, which includes how the ATFE people probably got the personal information to make these 'residence checks'. Ravenwood has more here. There is NO excuse for this kind of nonsense, and I hope Showmasters goes the full legal mile.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

And for anyone who speaks of the 'wonders of law enforcement in Britain',

give them this. Father and son grabbed, held, DNA samples taken, the whole bloody works. For plastic toy guns.

This is why we have to scream and yell and throw fits when something like the previous post happens; for our descendants and ourselves, we CANNOT let this happen here.

Major media slant and federal agency abuse

First, this story from Jack Kelly, on how an Army officer gave the New York Times some good news, and the Times(surprise!) spun it to look as bad as possible. Jackasses.

And Kim had something on this a couple of days ago, found this this morning on that mess at a VA gun show. Read it. There is no excuse for these actions, period. And like other abuses, it makes it that much harder for the officers/agents actually trying to do the job right to do so.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In the spirit of 'Step by Step', how to make a fork

Not just any fork, mind you, but the heavy-duty, solid steel Roasting Fork! Good for marshmallows, hot dogs, brats, large squirrels, small rabbits and (shudder) any odd chunks of vegetable you might wish to carbonize. And since I remembered to take the camera with me in time, here it is.

I use 3/16" square stock for most of these, you can use heavier if you need to make a sturdier one. I can usually work on three of these at a time, it's faster and easier than one at a time. I have done four when in a hurry. Cut a section 30" long, and put one end in the fire.

When at a nice red heat, flatten the last inch a bit

Back into the fire, heat, then use the hot cutter I pictured a while back to split the flattened section, then spread the two tines.

I can't remember if I said it before, but if you're cutting on the anvil face, use a piece of mild steel on the face; it protects the face from getting dinged and your chisel edge from being destroyed.

Heat one tine, then to the anvil to draw it out longer & thinner. Hit on one side, turn it 1/4 turn and hit, repeat back & forth till you have the length you desire.

Heat & draw out the other tine.

Now heat both, and use tongs, pliers, whatever to bend them to your chosen fork shape.

Now, just for decoration, I like to put a twist in the stock just behind the fork. I use this tool:

which has a slot cut & filed to just fit over the stock. Remember, when the stuff it hot it expands, so this'll be a bit loose on a cold piece. Heat the stock for a few inches behind the fork, clamp the shank in the vise, put your twisting tool on the stock, and twist. However much you like, clockwise or widdershins doesn't matter. When making these at a fair I'll sometimes use less/more or left/right in a set so someone's kids won't argue about which belongs to who.

Now it should look something like this:

Now for something to hold on to, flatten the other end

Curl it back. Get it hot, bend the very end over the anvil, then hold it on the face and tap with a hammer on the end; you can curl it right up.

Now heat a few inches back, set on the anvil, grab with tongs and bend back

To close it I heat the end, set the long side on the anvil and use a hold-down to brace it just before the closed-end curve, then use tongs to bend the open end closed.

And it comes out something like this

I'll wire-brush these to clean them off, then paint with linseed oil; let it sit a few minutes, wipe off the excess, then hang up in the garage to dry. It does a pretty good job of preventing rust, and gives the piece a nice look.

There, isn't that simple? Disregard that it was mid-80's and humidity in the mid-90's this morning(oh, how I suffer for my art!) and I thought I was going to drown in my own sweat, just express your appreciation appropriately. Cash, good whiskey or- never mind.

Animal rights people are insane

They can't convince/threaten a family into stopping their business of breeding guinea pigs for medical research, so they dig up and steal the body of a relative and refuse to return it until the family goes out of business. And one of the idiots in charge of this loose association of terrorists says it's a 'victory'.

Hey, stupid! I'm having chicken tonight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Here's one for Acidman

Rob is, shall we say, not enamored of snakes. One of my neighbors was a medic in an infantry unit in Vietnam, also detests snakes, and told me this story:

His unit went out one day with strict orders to make no noise; basically, "Unless the enemy sees you and you have to shoot, do nothing to let them know you're there". So they went out into the jungle, and as they passed through an area the lieutenant suddenly said "Sergeant, don't move!" The sergeant, thinking it was a mine or boobytrap, froze, then looked down.

He was standing astride a python, and it had reared up in front of him- the lieutenant saw it just as it moved- and was poised with its' mouth open about 18" from the sergeants' crotch. Now, a python is not venomous, but they have lots of sharp teeth and can, to quote Capstick, bite the tax reform act out of you. The sergeant stayed very still, and the lieutenant slowly moved up- the snake making no effort to leave- then eased his rifle muzzle past the sergeants leg and almost into the snake's mouth, then pulled the trigger. Short burst, dead snake. So far, so good.

The captain now came on the radio for a contact report, and the lieutenant informed him no, no VC, just a BIG snake he had to shoot. This did not go over well, and the captain, probably thinking someone had a negligent discharge, ordered the snake brought back so he could see it.

Jim says this is where he really learned the value of keeping your mouth shut. The first thing he said after hearing they had to take it back was "I'm not carrying the sonofabitch", which was immediately followed by the officer pointing at him and saying "Get over here". So his load was spread around and he had to drape the damn thing over his shoulders and start walking. Think about this: with the head mostly blown off it dragged the ground on one side, went over his shoulders, then dragged on the other side. And that's a small python of the type. And he carried it for four kilometers back to base.

And just to make it really fun, every time they came out of shade into direct sunlight, the heat caused the nerves and muscles to react and it would start twisting around him. He says that after the first time he never noticed how heavy it was, because when in the sun it was moving on him, and when they got into shade it would calm down and he was so relieved that nothing else mattered.

They finally reached camp, and when the captain came out and asked where the blanking snake was, Jim walked up. The lieutenant grabbed the tail and told him to turn around, they unwound it and laid it out. The captain looked at it, and said "Well... Tomorrow, you head back out-" and that was all he said.

And yes, Jim STILL hates snakes.

Able Danger, and other cover-ups

Captain's Quarters has been, as Michelle Malkin puts it, 'on fire' with AD coverage, and also information on Gorelick and the 'wall' she put into place between law enforcement and intelligence. One of the things that strikes me about the Able Danger mess is the same that strikes me on the stuff coming out on the Oklahoma City Bombing: the coverup.

In both cases you've got people in government who had information about a serious threat, provided by intelligence work(both LE and military); either ignored it or mishandled it for various reasons; horrible events happened and people died; and the main concern of those in charge seems to be "Don't let anybody know we knew this!". Screw finding out exactly what went wrong, to hell with punishing people who didn't do their damn jobs, and making sure it doesn't happen again? Oh, really, how provincial! WE have to protect our agency/reputation/boss! That's FAR more important!

And that seems to be exactly what's happening on a number of fronts. Remember the FBI agent who wanted to get a warrant to search the suspect's laptop, and his boss refused to even request the warrant for fear of being seen as 'insensitive' or 'bigoted' or whatever? His career concerns mattered more than what might happen, and what did happen to him? Was he fired, disciplined, SOMETHING? Hell, no. The FBI agent who refused to wear a wire when talking to a suspect because 'a Muslim doesn't record another Muslim'? Fired, disciplined? Hell no, that would be seen as bigoted and/or insensitive, so he was PROMOTED and transferred somewhere else. In the FBI you have a culture that mimics other large bureaucracies like the Justice Department and State: the reputation of the organization is more important than anything else, and if we have to stonewall and coverup and, in all too many cases, flat-out lie to protect it, so be it.

And you KNOW there are a lot of people in all those agencies who are dying inside because of it. The FBI, as one example, has a lot of very good, very capable people. They joined to fight crime and catch bad guys and protect this country. A lot of them have attitude problems, but that doesn't change the fact that they are very, very good at what they do. And they get to sit there watching higher-ups turn down information and lose cases and endanger the very things these people value simply to protect/enhance the reputations of themselves and the Bureau. It has to be killing them inside to watch this, and yet they very rarely speak of it in public. I think there are three main reasons: hope, training and fear. Hope, in that they keep hoping things will get better and the job will get done right. Training because by the time you get through the FBI Academy, you've been taught that the Director sits at God's right hand and gives advice, and you're somewhat below that and don't make trouble for your 'betters'. And fear because they know what kind of trouble the Bureau can cause for someone who irritates the brass hats. Put it all together, it's a massive block to get through, and very few do. And in many cases they do accomplish good things, so they keep working at what they can, and push the pain of what's coming out into a corner. So I think.

All this isn't helped by Congress being so unwilling in so many cases to actually do something about wrongdoers. Because someone supports a political view or is in a favored agency or is just one of the 'good' or 'protected' people, they don't get whacked on the way they should when the do wrong. Remember the Keating Five? And McCain is still in office. Hell, Barney Frank had a boyfriend running a brothel out of Frank's house, and he basically got his hand slapped. Lightly. You've got a lot of people in office who'll protect, for instance, people in the State Department against almost anything because they have the 'right' point of view, and what's a little corruption or idiocy or treason compared to that?

Hmm? Oh, yes, I DO have an answer. Start holding these people accountable. Demote, fire, prosecute and so forth when they do wrong, no matter who they know and no matter what it does to the reputation of whatever agency/party. Unfortunately, not too likely to happen. I hope, but I also despair about this.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Putting an edge on it

Over the years I've used all kinds of things to sharpen knives and axes. Stones, sticks, sanding belts and so forth. They've all got their good and bad points. A good stone will put a fine edge on, but can take forever, and you really need at least two stones: a medium for setting up a good edge bevel on a new blade or repairing a badly dulled or damaged edge, and a fine for finishing the edge off. Mind you, this method has worked for several thousand years and still does the job quite well. One of the best types of stone I've found is the Norton Crystolon for fast cutting, and an India or Arkansas stone for finishing the edge. Side note, a hard Arkansas does a pretty nice job of putting a polish on trigger or other action parts, too.

There are some very nice ceramic sharpeners out there. Some are sticks, round or otherwise, some are flat rectangles. I've got some small ceramic stones, about 2x3" I found at a surplus store that are great for touching up an edge, pretty fast-cutting and clean up with water. There are round ones with handles called 'crock sticks' you use like a butchers steel. I've also used a Spyderco sharpener. It's a plastic base that holds two triangular ceramic sticks, corners are medium grit and flats are fine; you put the sticks in the base and draw the edge of the knife along the sticks, one side and then the other. Not a bad tool, if you're careful you can vary the angle of the edge to get different bevels.

Then there are some systems that use a fixture that holds the blade, and small stones you attach to guide rods. There are holes in the fixture the rods go through to set the angle, and you draw the stone along the edge- Lansky is a common one. These work very well, and if you have trouble keeping the edge at the same angle as you work, this is a good system.

I mentioned sanding belts. I use a fine belt, about 240 grit, to do the initial sharpening on blades I make, then either a fine stone or steel to finish it. It's fast, but if you're not damn careful you can overheat the edge in a spot, or take off too much. And if I want a really, really fine edge I take a hard felt buffing wheel, which will keep a nice flat surface, load it with a fine polishing compound and finish the edge with that. Not that good for heavy-cutting edges, but if you need a really smooth, fine edge it's wonderful. It also has the added advantage of being a bit dangerous; you get careless with that buffed edge doing the final touch, and you'll be bleeding before you realize you've been cut.

Yes, knife people are a bit strange.

One of the tools I use most, because it a: works and b: I can carry it around, is this Gerber steel:

The narrow edges is medium, the flats are fine. It folds into the leather for carry, and the leather gives you a handle when you use it. I've used this thing on knives, axes, swords and scissors with good results. It doesn't show in the picture, but the leather's a bit beat up from the years and use, but it's still going strong. When you're finished, wipe it lengthwise with a cloth and a bit of oil and the metal bits come out of the grooves and it's ready for next time.

I haven't much experience with the various diamond stones. The idea is good, I'd guess how one works depends on how well the diamond dust is bonded to the substrate. I have known people who swear by them.

In history they've used- still use- everything from a smooth rock from a riverbed to a building block to sharpen tools; there are stones in Hadrian's Wall hollowed out in the center from countless soldiers touching up a blade on them. But it is a bit easier with something intended for the purpose.

More on the Trentadue & OKC Bombing cases

KTOK-AM had this today: "A newly released lawsuit deposition reveals now-retired Oklahoma Medical Examiner Doctor Fred Jordan changed his testimony about the August 1995 mysterious death of federal prison inmate Kenneth Trentadue and stated Trentadue had been involved in a fight before he died and might have been strangled with a plastic handcuff."

This goes on into, among other things, the retired ME saying in sworn testimony that Trentadue had died due to suicide, with his injuries being caused by the way he did it, and telling the Trentadue family, and writing in the file, ""I indicated that I felt Mr. Trentadue had been abused and tortured and at this point was not sure whether his death could be explained as a suicide or whether it should be regarded as a homicide."" And stating in a later deposition "Jordan went on to claim in the December 2002 deposition, given on the eve of his retirement as State Medical Examiner that he had been subjected to harassment and intimidation by FBI agents. "I don't think there's any question I was harassed by the Department of Justice from the very beginning of this, the 21st of August when we were denied access to do a job we'd been summoned to do,"".

Ok, this is getting worse and worse as time goes by. The documents the Trentadue family has received so far, after years of fighting, had already revealed some really nasty stuff. Now, on top of earlier reports of the normal investigative routine of a death at the facility being trashed, we have the ME at the time saying the Justice Department- not just the FBI- harassing him. Oh, and as to his 'suicide by hanging'? "...a picture of Kenneth Trentadue showing the deep bloody wounded across his death. He said the marks left on Trentadue's neck appeared to be those made by plastic handcuffs which had left tiny ladder like marks from one end of the wound to the other."

I repeat what I said earlier; the longer this is dragged out, the worse it's going to be.

You know, I haven't heard much of anything about this on any MSM site. I can't speak of the evening news, because I haven't watched it in a long time(I just don't trust them anymore). But I do have to wonder; with everything that's coming out about both the bombing and the Trentadue case, why not? You have FBI and federal lawyers from the Justice Department lying to a judge and defense attorney, you have evidence being covered up and/or destroyed, you have efforts to silence Mr. Trentadue, you have at least one man dead in circumstances you'd think would have reporters and journalists all over the place asking questions. I have to wonder if it's at least partly because who was President and who was Attorney General at the time this stuff happened: Bill Clinton and Janet Reno.

Whatever the reason, it's a shame. And this also connects back to all the work Jayna Davis did that found interesting connections between McVeigh and the bombing and, among others, possible Iraqi intelligence agents. You know, the stuff that the feds said was a load of crap, with no facts behind it?

Brings up the question as to just who is full of crap.