Friday, May 21, 2010

Last NRA Convention Thoughts and Maudlin Meanderings

Yosemite Sam and I are back. I had a deskful of stuff waiting for me at work, including a couple of fires I had to put out.

My job entails a bunch of coordination and almost constant writing. That's one reason I don't blog much anymore. It's awfully hard to face the monitor when I've been staring into its depths all day. Besides, I feel I've said everything I ever wanted to say. Put those two together and you get little bloggy. Enough whining.

Yosemite and I attended the "Celebration of American Values: Freedom Experience" held in the Time-Warner Arena on Saturday night. I understand that Charlotte did not have a large enough venue to host a banquet, but I missed the banquet. I like sitting around the table and meeting gunnies and bloggers from anyplace in the country. I even like the excuse to throw on a bit of makeup and dress better than my work casual.

So, some thoughts to tie it together.... We enjoyed meeting and renewing long-distance friendships with all the bloggers that were there. We liked the cavalcade of guns and gear on the convention floor. We attended Ted Nugent's session on Sunday and he always gets one fired up to support gun rights.

Speaking for myself now, I hope that the almost six years I've been blogging has done some good in support of gun rights. I hope that I've added something to my readers' days. I hope I've provided information and maybe entertainment. I even hope that my love of the shooting sports has encouraged someone to buy a gun, learn how to use it, and find their own passion for shooting. I hope to get over the funk that has led me to write few posts. Maybe a new job....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

NRA Convention Gun P0rn

One of the things Yosemite Sam and I always do at the convention is drool over guns. There were many to choose from:

A Whitney Wolverine from the 1950s; so Buck Rogers, so ahead of its time.

From Buck Rogers to Queen Anne's time. These were from an exhibit of Hugenot made guns.

An early Thompson sub-machine gun.

It wasn't all guns, you could buy grips, knives, optics, clothing, tactical underwear (literally), and more.

No that's a gun; a Taurus chambered in .45 LC or 410 shotshell.

Okay, one more.

We saw pink guns, gold guns, blank guns, tan guns, but here's a spangled red, white and blue gun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sarah Palin's Speech

Sarah Palin visited the NRA Convention today. She received two standing ovations, one when she entered the stage and one when she exited. I've never watched her give a speech in person and have only seen snippets of other speeches. She's a much better speaker than the media wants us to believe.

Her theme included gun rights, hunting rights, and how much the media sucks on these topics. She poked fun at herself when she told us that she had collected some "You must be a Redneck" jokes and realized some of them fit her. She mentioned writing her speech on her hand.

She carries herself very well now and has learned a lot in the past two years. The progressives and media had better not underestimate her.

The speech included nothing about any of her further political hopes. If indeed she has any. But let's face it, she's laughing all the way to the bank now.

I like Sarah Palin. I don't know if she has what IT takes to be President, whatever IT is. But, she has a down home way about her that I find very appealing. She did one thing that I've never seen a speaker do that made me like her even more. After she gave her speech, she walked by the interpreter for the deaf who was standing on the corner of the stage. She turned toward the interpreter, touched her on the shoulder, and thanked her.

At one point, Governor Palin called herself an NRA gun-nut chick, or at least that's what the press thought of her. From one NRA gun-nut chick to another, you go Sarah!

Pre-Convention Travel, Petersburg, Virginia

We got here to Charlotte yesterday a little later than we planned, but not too bad. One thing we like about coming to the conventions is the chance to do side trips in different parts of the country. Yesterday, we got our history freak on and visited the battlefields around Petersburg, Virginia.

The Union troops attacked Petersburg hoping to cut off the Confederate capitol of Richmond. The first attack succeeded, but the commander didn't press his advantage and failed to take Petersburg.

A long siege ensued in terms both of time and distance. Troops built earthworks that stretched forty miles in some places. When you're driving in the National Park, you see unnatural hillocks throughout the forested land. They're the remains of the earthworks; the places where men fought, died, survived.

Petersburg is also the site of the Battle of the Crater. This was one of the most successful failures in military history. The explosion in the tunnel succeeded wildly, but the subsequent attack was a bloody disaster for the Union. Here are a few photos:

Opening to the tunnel Pennsylvania miners dug under Confederate lines.

Reproduction of the "Dictator" mortar the Union troops used to shell Petersburg.

A selection of Civil War cannon including a Dahlgren Boat Gun, Napoleon, Parrot, and a British breechloader.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NRA Thoughts and Convention

Hey, guess what?! I'm still alive.

It's the time for our annual journey to the NRA Convention. This time it's in Charlotte, North Carolina. We plan to blog about the convention as we have done for the past five six years.

As is my usual practice here, I need to discuss the NRA. There are many gunnies out there that find it too compromising. They believe the NRA has made deals in the past that hurt our gun rights. Some of that is true. The NRA has been at the table when compromises were made such as during debate on the 1968 Gun Control Act.

Here's the thing. When you see a political freight train coming at you, do you stand in front of it, wave the Bill of Rights, and order it to stop? That's moral and non-compromising. It may even be on the side of angels, but it's often not effective. There are times when it is better to coax the brakeman into slowing the damn thing down. Maybe even stopping it.

Enough metaphors. There are people in these United States who don't believe the Second Amendment means anything except maybe some nebulous forgotten right for a state to sponsor a militia now replaced by the National Guard.

They believe the Second Amendment is an anachronism that's better ignored. They do not believe you have gun rights no matter how many times you quote the Bill of Rights. No matter how good your arguments are. They think gun rights supporters are beneath contempt. They believe unicorns will descend upon us when the last handgun is melted down (well maybe not unicorns).

These people vote, they influence politicians, they have shattered the plain meaning of the Second Amendment in city after city and in a few states. The NRA had consistently been the only thing that had slowed them down and sometimes stopped them. Other gun rights organizations have done excellent work. But, the NRA is the only one that the gun banners hate and fear.

I think that's worth my support.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Day After

Well, here we are. An event that forces me to don my six-shooters and get all rootin-tootin. That would be the abomination of a so called health care reform bill that the criminals in Congress shoved down the American people’s gobs last night. Reaction from the blogosphere has been swift. Reactions have ranged from pessimistic to somewhat optimistic .

I fall somewhere between these two views. I am fairly pessimistic about the whole matter, but I will endeavor to be optimistic because at this juncture it is the only practical way to move forward from this debacle. Yes, Republicans will probably wimp out if they are returned to power. Yes, this is another instance of the one-way ratchet of Socialism. But, even if all of this is true, it doesn’t mean that we should not fight this with every iota of our energy and make the enemy suffer for every inch of ground they get(Yes, I have been watching the Pacific series on HBO. Does it show?).

So in the lead up to the elections in November, we need to do everything in our power to get people who run for office to understand that our vote is contingent on their doing everything in their power to defund, defang and defeat this bill upon their election to office. Also, they need to institute a series of reforms that will ensure that a travesty of this sort is not repeated. Here are a few that might be a good start.

1.) All United States Congressional business will be done during normal business hours, 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday EST. No more midnight Sunday night votes when no one is watching. An exception would be a declared state of emergency that would take a vote of three quarters of both houses of Congress to institute.

I’ve seen a lot of media bias over the last 35 years, but the way the so called main stream media has pushed this so called health care reform takes the cake. In the spirit of informing the American people of the biases of their media outlets, I propose this second reform.

2.) All major media outlets (electronic, paper or otherwise) must indicate the political donations or connections of any spokesman or writer at the time of publication or transmission of any article, newscast or editorial.

So, when the so-called unbiased reporter reports on the lovely benefits of the latest Socialist scheme, a crawl below their shining visage will indicate that said reporter donated the max to the DNC and is a dues paying member of People for the Establishment of a People’s Republic, Berkley chapter.

Obviously, this one would need a lot of tweaking. How would one define major media? Should amateur bloggers be included? (I never claimed to be unbiased). The gist is that there needs to be a mechanism to get across to the American people that CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC and yes, even FOX News are NOT unbiased and that they just perhaps may be trying to advance a particular agenda in their supposedly unbiased reporting.

It is outrageous that someone who has only stood election from one state or even one small district in San Francisco should wield so much power over more than 300 million Americans. So, I propose the following:

3.) The Speaker of the House of Representative and the Senate Majority leader will stand for a general election comprised of the voting population of the entire United States. This election will confirm these officials after they have been voted to their positions by their parties. If these officials are not confirmed in this election, another will be picked and the new choice will be put forward to the American people for confirmation.

If these two leaders had to stand for a general election, maybe just maybe, the parties might pick someone for these offices that doesn’t come from some out of the mainstream district in San Francisco. At the very least, it throws a monkey wrench in their machine and would work to slow down their machinations.

These are just a few of my fevered, anger induced ideas which were inspired by last night’s corrupt bargain. The point is that we need concrete ideas and solid positions to rally around and maybe, just maybe advance the ball in the direction of more liberty.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowzilla, Round Two

Yesterday, Megan McArdle blogged the Snowpocalypse in the Washington, D.C. area. Yosemite Sam and I are living it. Today is a second round of heavy snow, this time with strong winds. We used to live in New Hampshire and wish we were back up there if for no other reason than to get away from snow.

I have to agree with McArdle that DC is notoriously inefficient in getting rid of snow. It's not their forte. Yosemite and I were out and about Monday and found strange things plow drivers had done on the road. We would drive in a lane that abruptly tapered into the next lane finally ending in a snow berm. Four lane roads were narrowed to one lane in each direction. Parking spaces in our complex are full of snow. There is no other place to put it. The lot designers never imagined this much snow unlike in more northern cities.
This is also the third day (plus one half for last Friday) that the Federal government has been closed. If it keeps going like this, people will begin to realize how much we don't really need the government--at least not the size it is now.

Here's a photo taken today about 4:00 pm and the light really is that dim and has been all day.
Pray for us.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Mother Nature's Revenge?

Over 2 feet of snow in suburban DC. Will this be the final nail in the coffin of the Glowball Warming Movement? Naaah.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Collecting and Taking Guns Apart

I haven’t mentioned my collecting activities as of late. I guess this is time to unveil my newest purchase.

A rifle, the Swiss Schmidt-Rubin 1896/11 bought at Collectors Firearms in Houston, Texas while I was on a trip for family business. I haven’t taken it apart yet for cleaning and it was missing a magazine, but the price was decent and it fills a gap in my collection. Besides, somehow or another I’d already acquired the proper bayonet for it. Now I have the gun that fits the bayonet. Pictures and commentary will follow.

My collection activities are slowing down lately. I’ve acquired most of the guns that fascinate me. That’s not to say there aren’t more out there. There are always more. It’s just that I’ve bought those guns I’ve wanted to own.

I may need to expand my horizons. For instance, I prefer handguns over rifles (most of the time) and semi-auto pistols over revolvers. The mechanism of a pistol is so much more interesting to me than that of a revolver. You see, I take all my guns apart, basically to the screws. There are a few sub-assemblies that have daunted me in the past. But, the Internet now has disassembly/reassembly instructions for almost every gun imaginable and I bull forward with my punches and screwdrivers. What can’t the Internet do?

Because I take my guns apart, I see how the fifty-odd parts (sometimes more, sometimes less) intermesh to operate that firearm. It must be something like the thrill a gearhead has when he (or she) takes an old and cranky engine apart, fixes it, and reassembles it into something that purrs like an overgrown kitten. Guns are my gearhead fix.

I have taken revolvers apart and I do get some of that thrill, but for me the semi-auto rocks. Some have cams machined into the barrels, others have a cam attached to a little ear (looking at you John Moses Browning’s 1911).

Some you take apart by pushing the slide back just so and then jiggering the barrel until a slot aligns with a groove. Others you have to hold together while you slowly separate the parts lest a spring launch itself into the air, bounce off your forehead, and roll under the heaviest piece of furniture you own.

There are even some that are a true jigsaw puzzle of intricately machined parts that lock into place without benefit of pins or screws. I love broomhandle Mausers and already own three of them—more please.

So, do I expand my horizons? That’s the question. That will mean more “Ones From the Vault” (and I have guns that aren't featured on the site). That will mean more money diverted from unnecessary items like food toward the truly necessary like guns. Decisions, decisions.