Sunday, November 22, 2015

52-years since the assassination of POTUS JFK

I am surprised that this topic is not splashed all over the interwebz.  Maybe it is getting to be like the assasination of POTUS Abe Lincoln, just pages from a requisite high school history class.

There are many of us who remember the JFK assassination very well; for some of us, the anniversary is a day of reflection.  Time will erase all of us, but hopefully the pages of recorded history will endure.

It was a crazy world back then.  I suppose the world is no less crazy today.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Subsequent to the Islamic Terrorist attacks in Paris, latest polls have Vladimir Putin surging ahead of all Republican and Democrat candidates in the 2016 United States Presidential Race

When our homegrown leadership fails in the war on Islamic terrorists, you'll be glad that we have Vlad!

(Mr. Putin was born in Hawaii and has a valid birth cerificate to prove it.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our national hero cop, buried with honors befitting a king, was not killed in action. His "murder" was staged; he killed himself because he was a selfish criminal and a common fraud.

This whole thing is sick. 

I have been told by more than one "regular cop" that most gung-ho "tactical cops" are nut-jobs that cannot be trusted.  Point taken.

Lake County, Illinois has a long history of law enforcement corruption.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ken Null SMZ holster for Beretta Cheetah 84 FS

The pistol has been here over a month now and I fancy that the Beretta 84 FS will work out to be a fine personal-defense concealed-carry piece.  It is not too big and not too small; it is kind of like a muscular Walther PPK sans the painful hammer bites and slide cuts.  It has the same capacity as the Browning Hi-Power but is chambered for the 9x17mm rather than the 9x19mm of the Grand Puissance. Still, 14-rounds of .380 ACP can hardly be considered unsubstantial defensive firepower.

Securing holsters for this pistol has been hit-and-miss; some holsters designed to fit this pistol really are marginal at best while other holsters intended for use with other pistols worked out well for use with the Cheetah.  It may take some time, but I'll put together a good kit of holsters for this pistol.  To see if the size and weight of the Cheetah was tolerable for me to use with the narrow straps of a Null SMZ shoulder holster I simply carried it for two weeks in a SMZ holster sized for a Colt D-frame revolver. There was plenty of sloppy space between the holster and the slide and frame of the pistol, but the pistol was secure and the draw-stroke was surprisingly 100% functional.  After a favorable trial period with the Cheetah in the revolver SMZ,  I gave Null Holsters a call.  I ordered the new holster last Wednesday and it arrived on Monday morning; lightning service is typical when dealing with Ken Null.

Ken wasn't quite sure about this one when I placed the order; he didn't have that model gun (or dummy) in his collection.  Still, I never doubted for a moment.  On the packing slip he wrote that he was confident that he got it right but if I found otherwise I was to simply ship it back. Heck, I worked with the gun and holster for several hours and found the fit and function to be just fine and dandy; I even had enough confidence to wear it to dinner at one of the finer local restaurants last night.  I have worn the rig all day today and intend on giving it an indefinite run.  It looks to be winner, but I expected no less.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Roses?

Yep, we are still blessed with roses even after a couple (or more) of (moderately) sub-freezing mornings.  

The Knockout brand of roses has been very trouble-free for us.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Our first freeze for the Autumn of 2015

It was 31 degrees F this morning.  The little pool of water left in the birdbath was not frozen solid but the surface was frozen all the way across.

Hopefully we will now get a good long stretch of Indian Summer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The steel wheels on some old Chevy Astro Vans and GMC Safari Vans may be hiding dangerous rust-through damage

At a distance (with one of the abandoned lakefront OMC buildings as a backdrop) the wheels on this 16-year-old >178,000 miles (AKA "Clunker") GMC Safari Van look acceptable.

Close up, for the most part, they still look okay.

Now lets remove that durable, non-removable, chrome facia (it is mounted to the steel wheel with an industrial-grade adhesive) and see what is hidden from view.

 Yep, on all but one wheel, the steel is rusted clean through in some very critical structural areas.

Not all of the wheels on all of the Chevy Astro Vans and the GMC Safari Vans were made the same way and not all of them have had 16-winters of exposure to road salt, but these wheels certainly do look to be a high-speed-pothole away from causing a serious situation.

The tires on this van are 5-years-old but have less than 15,000-miles on them; there is plenty of tread left.  Because of some slow leaks, earlier this year I had the beads on all tires cleaned and sealed; I also had the valve stems replaced.  The point being is that a well known, highly respected tire outfit missed the fact that all of the wheels on this particular vehicle were unsafe at any speed.

Although the old tires were salvageable, I decided to order 4 new tires to go with the requisite 4 new wheels.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Beretta Cheetah 84 FS .380 ACP is top quality, old school, made in Italy elegance.

Caliber .380 ACP (aka 9mm Kurz, 9mm Corto, 9 Short, 9x17mm)
Double action / single action
Barrel length = 3.8''
Magazine capacity = 13 (10-round available for those suffering triskaidekaphobia)
Pistol height = 4.8''
Pistol length = 6.1''
Pistol width = 1.4''
Sight radius = 4.9''
Weight = 23.3 ounces (unloaded)
Frame = alloy

The 84 FS does kinda look like a shrunken version of the Beretta 92 FS. 

If asked to choose a half-dozen models of .380 ACP pistols as my favorites above all other available models of .380 ACP pistols, I would have to decline the request.  Of all the different models of .380 pistols that the market has to offer, I have affection for only a very few, the Beretta 84 Cheetah being the most recent (and likely the final) addition to my small but eclectic .380 collection.  The Cheetah is intended to be a shooter (as opposed to a "Safe Queen") and a carry piece once I feel comfortable with it at the range, and subsequent to logging substantial time carrying it inside appropriate holsters.  It may take up to a year for me to see if this pistol suits me like I believe it will.

Each of the three .380 pistols in the above photo will fit into the side pocket of all brands of my bluejeans.  Simply fitting into a pocket does not make a handgun a practical pocket carry. The easiest pocket carry is obviously the Seecamp, followed by the PPK.  The Cheetah is akin to pocket carry of the chubby little Glock 26.  If the pocket bulge is going to be equal I would likely opt for the 11-round capacity of the more powerful 9x19mm G26 over the 14-round capacity of the 9x17mm Beretta 84. However, for knock-about shoulder holster carry or IWB carry, the Beretta suits me a bit better than does the G26. The Beretta also fits my hand far better than does the G26.

The thumb safety on the PPK flips UP to fire.  The thumb safety on the Beretta 84 FS flips DOWN to fire. That would be confusing during a life threatening situation; it is unwise for me to carry both of those pistols at the same time or to frequently alternate carry between those two.  The Seecamp has no external safety; it is a simple point-and-click self-defense device.  The Seecamp internal safety blocks the trigger when the magazine is removed.  The Beretta Cheetah internal safety "disconnects" the trigger when the magazine is removed.  The PPK has no magazine safety.

Capacity of each (with a full mag and a round in the chamber):
Beretta 84 FS = 14 rounds
Walther PPK = 7 rounds
LW Seecamp = 7 rounds

The most felt recoil is with the Seecamp and the least is with the Beretta (although, unloaded, the steel frame PPK and the alloy frame 84 FS Cheetah weigh about the same).  As far as getting the most velocity out of the .380 ACP, the longer barrel of the Beretta should lead that race followed by the PPK and then the Seecamp.

The Beretta has a bit more sight radius than does the PPK.  The Seecamp has no sights whatsoever but many shooters find the stylish little last-ditch-self-defense belly-gun capable of adequate accuracy at surprising distances.

In the above photo, the Walther PPK is stacked on the side of the Beretta 84 FS Cheetah.  The Cheetah is a bit longer and a bit taller than the PPK.  Sized to fit the 13-round double-stack magazine, the grip of the Cheetah 84 is far thicker than that of the PPK.  Although it is a bit more difficult for me to conceal than is the PPK, the added ammo capacity is an attaction and the Beretta is far more comfortable in my hand.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Another project for this year is complete. After many years, we can again park a car inside the garage.

That photo of the snow covered Chevy Cobalt is from the 2015 Super Bowl Sunday Blizzard.   I made a promise then that I would clear enough crap out of the garage so we could park at least one car inside before the next winter.  Not all of the crap in the garage was ours.  Some was storage for an evicted next-door neighbor (from 4-years-ago), some was from my Daughter's family when they moved to a new house that has no garage or basement.  Most of the crap, however, was mine.  It took some doing, but I got it done.  When will our two car garage again fit two cars?  Ahem, well, that will take further effort and engineering.   Perhaps I can have it done by the end of next year.