Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Roaring Silence...

I'd been keeping an eye on the Supreme Court's proceedings regarding McDonald vs. City of Chicago, which had the potential of either keeping the momentum of 2008's Heller decision, or just plain mucking up things royally for law-abiding U.S. gun owners.

Even though Monday's decision fell in favor of 2nd Amendment supporters by a close 5-4 count, it was good news.

Well, at least for some of us. Those crickets one hears in the background? That's the coverage afforded the McDonald decision by the major news venues, namely CNN, Fox, USA Today, etc.

Go ahead, Google it. It's been well over 24 hours, and you'll have to dig via the Washington Post or L.A. Times to merely find mention of this landmark case.

Scary, that. Makes one wonder if the "Liberal Media" moniker really holds water, don't it?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brightening up one's workday...

Thanks to a hectic schedule, I've been writing reports lately, and a lot of them, to boot. I wrote 27 pages just yesterday, as a matter of fact (Day off? What's a day off?) As anybody in the medical business knows, reports get written in black ink - period. There's no blue ink allowed, and no printouts via word processor. As a result, I'd been tearing through gel rollerball pens and refills like nobody's business, when it dawned on me that back in my prep school days I'd discovered fountain pens for report writing.

The idea had some merit, so I ordered a basic Cross ATX model, which arrived in mere days:

Until I get a converter ordered, I'll stick with the black ink cartridges, which I can buy at the local Office Depot quite easily. I'd forgotten how delightful it was to flow through a report using a fine writing instrument. Granted, I didn't buy a Montblanc, but the minimalistic Cross works nicely for my purposes, and adds a touch of class to the various other instruments on my busy desktop.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

More fun with fruit!

We picked 16lbs of strawberries today. There's a family organic farm maybe 5 miles from my house, and if you pick them yourself, they're a whopping $1.50 per pound. The picking season is all of about 2 weeks, so we boogied over there...

The couple pounds above are set aside for cereal, ice cream and shortcake. The rest of the batch have already met their fate. They're cleaned, mushed up, and on their way to becoming 3 gallons of strawberry wine, see below.

That's 3 gallons of strawberry wine just starting life on the left, 3 gallons of dandelion wine settling out in the middle, and 3 gallons of lemon wine still bubbling away in the primary bucket on the right. The 2010 wine season is well underway!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

For the fellow on "Top Shot" who couldn't hit the 50 yard target...

Guys, this is a Springfield M1903A1. It's pretty much the same rifle as the M1903 used on "Top Shot", save for the C-type pistol grip stock, which Uncle Sam in 1928 considered superior to the straight grip stock of the M1903. Many M1903 rifles were actually converted to M1903A1 configuration as they were rebuilt at government arsenals between the wars.

The stock ain't the problem, though. The rear sight, however, is. Lemmee 'splain, okay? M1903, M1903Mk1, M1903A1, and M1903 (Modified) rifles all had the windage-adjustable rear ladder sights that were zeroed for 547 yards, aka 500 meters, when the ladder was down to expose the V-notch. Back in the day, almost all the infantry-length (and even shorter variant) rifles of standing armies had super-long battle zeroes, be they Springfields, Swedish Mausers, Schmidt-Rubins, 98 Mausers, Lee-Enfields, you name it. I won't get into the semantics, but it was part and parcel of military tactical thinking back then to engage at distances somewhere between 300 meters and "volley" range. Some rifles even had separate volley sights mounted on the side, my NoIMkIII SMLE being one prime example.

Now, this is just an observation from watching "Top Shot" the other day - you were probably fighting that 547 yard battle zero. If you were using surplus M2 Ball ammo like I think you were, that means your point of impact would be 7.3 inches HIGH at 50 yards. In other words, you'd have to hold under 7.3 inches to centerpunch the 50 yard bullseye. Going out to 100 yards, it gets even more fun, with nearly 14 inches of hold under required to centerpunch the target at that range.

Doughboys knew that. My fellow Camp Perry shooters knew that. Many of us "cheated" and used the 1903's bottom peep aperture found in the ladder when flipped up to the vertical. The bottom peep is zeroed for 100 yards, which makes things a heck of a lot easier than using the 547 yard V-notch. Just sayin'...

Of course, were it up to me, I'd have used the 2.25x power scope as issued on my M1903A4 Remington sniper, itself based on the peep-sighted M1903A3 Remington (Springfield) rifle, but that's just me.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I love vintage airplanes!

Take a look at this completely restored 1950s-vintage USAF T-34A trainer, courtesy of yesterday's Reedsburg Fly-In/Drive-In Rotary Club Breakfast. The owner upgraded the powerplant, hence the 3-bladed paddle up front. My dad's getting ready to see if the keys are still in it...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

When the tornado sirens go off...

I stick my nose outside to see what the all the commotion is about. I mean, isn't that what everybody else does, too?

Turns out, the sirens weren't blowing just for the hell of it.

From my patio door, Woohoo!: