Friday, July 18, 2014

Gunmen rob train passengers in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago

Just keep telling everyone that Chicago’s crime is DOWN!

The rumor is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel views Chicago’s rampant crime as a bodacious tourist attraction.


These typical Chicago thugs must not have received the word that carrying concealed handguns on Chicago mass transit is illegal.  Then again, maybe they did know that and were counting on the honest folks obeying that law.

The only surefire way to stay safe in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago is to DON'T GO THERE!


Monday, July 14, 2014

A quick review of the Schwinn Sierra 2 comfort bike


A bit under two-months-ago, after several years of due consideration and idle promises, I finally went out and bought a decent bicycle from a decent local bicycle shop.  My bodyweight had been creeping up again so I figured I had no choice but to further increase my physical activity (and to return to strictly regulating the quality and quantity of my grazing).

With the seven-speed twist-grip shifting, along with fore and aft handgrip braking, this fenderless, thick-tire, entry-level bicycle is more than adequate for my daily (or nearly so) physical fitness use.   This bike should give more years of service than I have life left to live.  Let me be clear about one thing; I bought this bicycle for mercenary reasons; I am not a delusional bicycle fan-boy on an imaginary “Tour de France.”  Although it was a traditional childhood rite of passage, I disliked riding bicycles over a half century ago and nothing has changed my mind since then.  There is not one lick of nostalgia anywhere in my sixty-two-year-old-soul for bicycling.  I am doing it for my physical health, not my mental health. 

At the big retail stores, I found that this same bicycle (make and model) is rarely completely or properly assembled, but it is around $50 cheaper than it is from most typical local bicycle shops.  A couple of bicycle shops near me offer “tune-ups” for bicycles purchased from big box stores; this service ranges from $40 - $80, so I figured I was time and money ahead by staying with a bike shop.

The only safety gear I allow myself is a blaze orange hunting vest for visibility and sunglasses with a rearview mirror. 



Saturday, June 7, 2014

FINALLY went shooting


Not my best effort with the Glock-26, but it has been a while; a much longer time than I will publicly admit.   I will never be one of those gunslingers who can take a G26 and put fifty-rounds at twenty-one-feet into an area the size of a Post-It-Note.  I found that practice makes me better but not perfect.  Right now, I would settle for better.  I was in a hurry and probably spent less than fifteen-minutes inside the range; I spent more time loading magazines than pulling the trigger.  My stance and grip were laborious and unnatural.  Still, the session was a good restarting point for me.

I need to get back to shooting no less than once a month.  If construction-cost-overruns do not bankrupt the owners, a new range is supposed to open soon less than a mile from my door; the proximity will make quick range visits easier to keep on my schedule.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yes, my old 1999 GMC AWD Safari Van is still in service


As of today, all of the repairs the old mule needed are complete.  I’ve been retired for 7-years now and each of those years I expected to be the last for the old clunker, but it still serves dutifully.  I put in a new battery (last changed in September 2008; this one is a NAPA, not a Sears), along with a new alternator (it had not failed completely but was having trouble keeping the battery charged under full load).  The heater / AC fan motor had been out of service for the past couple of winters and I finally was able to cut and tear the plastic cover out of the way in order to gain access to do the replacement.  Further, the original resister for the heater fan was also bad and the replacement was a different size than the original, so I had to cut a larger slot in the chamber housing in order do the installation.  Naturally, doing the cutting was “blind” because it is located where nobody can see.  Simply said, it was all a pain; the engineers did not design the GMC Safari Van to be easily repaired.

The odometer has passed the 174,000-mile point (it was around 143,000-miles when I retired), but I have only put a bit over 10,000 miles on the beast since November of 2010.  The price of gasoline keeps us using our 2005 Chevy Cobalt for most trips; the GMC is used only for hauling and foul winter weather.  Once I get the bulk of my brick, stone, and gravel finished on my landscape (hardscape), I can seriously plan to replace the old van with something a bit younger and sexier, but still able to manage vile Chicagoland winter weather.






Friday, April 18, 2014

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg plans to ride a camel through the eve of a needle straight into Heaven.

Move over, Elon Musk.  Your rocket to Mars is nothing compared to this!

I have to tip my hat to Bloomberg.  That shriveled old runt sure does aim high.  Imagine how much clout and wealth it must take to bribe God.  All the bullies who once beat his skinny ass on the playground should now cower in awe; Michael Bloomberg has become the ultimate bully and may even plan to dethrone The Almighty!

I now stand vindicated; Bloomberg has fulfilled a prediction I made as a child during Vacation Bible School.  To me, all a rich man had to do to get his camel through the eye of a needle was to use his wealth to build a really big freaking needle; problem solved; time to rewrite the Bible.


Anyway, since my lifetime of blasphemous contraventions (and my membership in the NRA, SAF, and ISRA) guarantees that my camel is humping straightaway toward the barbecue-pit of eternity, the only way I will know whether little Mike’s scheme to breach the Pearly Gates succeeded will be by his absence in perdition, which my eternal soul would find just heavenly. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review of Galco Stow N Go STO204 IWB holster for Walter PPK and PPK/S

(ABOVE) Appendix carry cargo shorts with 1.25-inch gun belt




Disclaimer:

Owning a bit more than a couple of holsters and handguns does not make me an expert.  This review is simply “campfire conversation” and is not intended to influence anyone’s decision on the purchase or use of anything.

Quick Product Summary:

This is a major brand name, economical, mass-produced, inside the waistband (IWB) holster.

This model is usually available for around $30 or less and is commonly available from online outfitters; I purchased mine from a local gun store.

It is a simple, open top (i.e. no retention strap or flap) holster design.

The soft leather is (what I would call) utility grade, napped finished (some call it “suede”), steer hide.

The mouth of the holster is reinforced via a simple stitched leather fold-over.  The rear of the front sight on my PPK has a wee bit of a hook and does occasionally snick the inside stitching of the holster mouth during the draw-stroke; it does not happen often, but if it happens enough it will cut the thread.

Breaking the holster in does take considerable effort.  This soft leather holster is not form-fit or boned; in fact, the PPK will not initially fit into the holster; a new holster is much too tight.  You will need to take your UNLOADED PPK and work it into the holster to create the fit; you are stretching the leather.   Follow instructions that come with the holster.  As with most any leather holster, the grip of the fit relaxes with age and use.

The holster has a very substantial nylon belt clip (advertised to work with belts up to 1.75-inch wide); I used it with both 1.25-inch wide and 1.5-inch wide bespoke gun belts.  There was never a problem with the clip failing to maintain a hold on my gun belts, but IMHO the 1.75-inch holster clip size leaves far too much play on my narrower belts.  More on this is in the narrative.

Background:

I never take any holster for granted; I run tests on each one I intend for even occasional use.  I purchased this holster new in February of 2013 and put it through periodic use consisting of leisure-carry and active-carry.  I consider periods of vigorous work as active-carry, such as while performing chores during each of the four seasons over the past year.  Such chores include hauling and setting patio bricks and landscape boulders, cutting / trimming trees and bushes, mowing the lawn (tractor and push mower), moving snow (shovel and blower), etc.  Obviously, I do not believe that disarming is mandatory before performing physical activities (it is not unheard of in our area for miscreants to target folks working in their yards).  A holster must keep the handgun secure during these activities; losing a handgun in the snow can at the least be embarrassing and at the worst contribute to a tragedy if a child or other unqualified person finds and misuses it.   Further, handguns do not take kindly to being dropped onto hard surfaces; it can damage the fit, function, and finish of the piece; a dropped handgun discharging a round of ammo is a possibility.  “To the best of thy ability, thou shalt endeavor to avoid unintentionally dumping thy handgun.”  Due diligence on the choice of a holster can help prevent dire consequences.

Narrative:


Generally, with some exceptions and concerns that I noted further on, this holster does what a holster is supposed to do; it protects the trigger and (to some degree) keeps the pistol where it is supposed to be.  It is reasonably comfortable in all positions of IWB carry (although the small of the back works best for me), and it does not have any peculiarities that hinder concealment. 

The short-barreled Walther PPK presents some challenges for IWB holster designers; it is somewhat of a butt-heavy gun, i.e. a bit more of the weight is above the waistband than below, and there really is not much of the pistol ahead of the trigger guard for the belt and pants waistband to glom onto for control.  IMHO, this PPK IWB holster is best used with a sturdy, thick, tight belt and not with something flimsy and loose.  Let me repeat that using other words; “With this holster, the thicker and wider the belt, and the tighter you wear it, the better off you will be.”  It was my experience that the “one size fits all” 1.75-inch belt clip is not a good thing; I feel Galco would be better served to forego the 1.75-inch thick gun belt market and limit the holster clip size to 1.5-inch.  I do not own a 1.75-inch wide gun belt because none of my pants has loops that large.  The loops on my jeans will barely take my 1.5-inch wide gun-belt while my dress pants, my light casual pants, and (some of) my cargo shorts, can only handle my 1.25-inch wide gun belt.  

NOTE:  The following never happened during real-time active-carry.

I used chairs and other everyday items as experimental snags and was able to simulate conditions where the 1.75-inch holster belt-clip allowed the holster to move up against my 1.25-inch and 1.5-inch gun belts far enough that the gun and holster could twist the belt and flip out of my waistband.   This put the holstered gun upside down with the muzzle pointed at my anatomy.   Further, such “snag and tug” events could possibly yank the inverted pistol from the holster.  These experiments gave me pause early on and I became ever conscious about the status of the handgun and holster when carrying, especially when doing any vigorous activity. 

Conclusion:

I will likely keep using this holster and handgun combo on occasion, but only during leisure carry periods with little to no possibility of extreme physical activity that might contribute to snagging the pistol.

If I were to choose (likely, I will not) the Walther PPK as my dedicated, sole choice for IWB everyday carry, I would take the information that I learned from my experience with this holster (along with around $200) and head on over to my favorite custom holster maker.  A great deal can be learned from using affordable, mass-produced holsters that will help folks prevent making expensive mistakes on bespoke designs.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

We have blooming Daffodils!



Northern Illinois is edging out from the Winter Without End.

Four hours after I took the photo, many of those flowers were in full bloom. 

The standards (the green blades)  of my ever-faithful foundation planting of Irises are shooting up from between the row of bricks (used to limit the spread of the Iris rhizomes) and the hose faucet (where there is another row of limiting bricks; there is a bed of Dianthus beyond it).  The nearest bed has a row of Daffodils (planted last fall) by the wall of the house, a row of established Daylily clusters (this will be the fourth season for them) sprouting up in the center of the bed, followed by a row of Tulips breaking the surface (planted last fall).  In fact, things are now popping up all over the yard.

Despite the prediction of snow for Tuesday  Monday of next week, there is no denying our stealthy advance into springtime.  Gaia, northern Illinois is not alone in finding that you are a troublesome wench.


Friday, April 4, 2014

No spring flowers yet in our area of northern Illinois





Despite the calendar saying that we are two-weeks into spring, the sepia melancholy of winter hangs on.  There is no spring yet for us. “Verdant” is not a word anyone would use to describe our neighborhood landscapes, “Nuclear waste spill aftermath” would be a better fit.  Some daffodils have broken through the crust but there are scant few buds yet.  Most evergreens suffered through winter’s cold and snow with little visible damage, the exception being Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees, most of which showed substantial winter burn.

Perhaps Gaia will be kinder to us after another couple of weeks.