Audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret (Slander boldly, something always sticks) - Francis Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum (AD 1623)
We the Politicians of the United States, in Order to avoid a more perfect Union, manipulate Justice, destroy domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common offense, promote general Warfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Progeny, do blaspheme and eviscerate this Constitution of the United States of America. ("Zack," circa 1966 -1970)
WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! SOCIAL MEDIA IS ADDICTIVE AND EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED PRODUCTIVITY, LACK OF SLEEP, SOCIAL ALIENATION, BIRTH DEFECTS, BLINDNESS, AND SEXUAL IMPOTENCY. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNTION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some exotic adventures with your hot wife and a future first-round draft pick. CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, inside a public library, inside any public or private school, or inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving or during sex. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be long country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari.To each of you, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it!
With our economy in the condition that it is in, with all that has just happened in our world and with everything that still might happen, you may be wondering if you really need to run out and spend a goodly amount of your hard-earned cash on a black rifle. The choice should be yours alone, without intereference from the government. You are the only one who can answer that question. If you have heavy debt on your credit cards you may wonder if it is a responsible act for you to add more debt by buying one of these pricey little items. Conversely, if you already own a black rifle you may be wondering if now may be a good time to sell it in order to pay down some credit card debt. You fear there may be another “assault weapons” ban and you fear there may never again be a chance for you to own one, but you can’t help but wonder if a black rifle is truly a must-have item. Again, only you can know what is best for you.
There is only one black rifle left on my rack, a pre-ban Colt Sporter Match HBAR (heavy barrel) .223; it is designed primarily as a target rifle. I don’t own it for tactical reasons, and I don’t own it for practical reasons; I have it just to have it. I have sold other rifles on consignments (through FFL dealers, of course) during some previous “gun-runs” that were caused by pending anti-gun legislation. Such panics were opportunities to make some money. Years ago, I sold one rifle in order to pay for the furnishings needed for my house. If the current high prices of black rifles rise even higher, I may just sell this last black rifle (through a local FFL dealer; this is not a solicitation so please, no email offers) and live happily ever after without an “assault weapon.” If the unthinkable happens in our country, a black rifle would not be my first choice for defense; it would be near the bottom of the list simply because I shoot better with many other types of guns.
Without a black rifle, just what are you to do when hordes of worm infested Zombies wake from their dirt-nap and proceed to devour the brains of the populace? If you are a shooter or a hunter, chances are good that you already have a gun that will serve you as well as any black rifle. If you do not already own a gun, as an alternative to purchasing an expensive black rifle take a look at a good old-fashioned pump 12 gauge shotgun or a lever-action rifle chambered for .45 Colt, .357 Magnum, or .44 Magnum. The .30-30 cartridge, commonly used in many lever-action deer-rifles, is equal to the 7.62.39mm used in the AK-47.
The skill and attitude of the shooter is what matters, not the type of the weapon. Somewhere in a neighborhood near you is a very nice, attractive female who sports an old High Standard Model 200 12 gauge 2-3/4 pump with a 28 barrel, along with a 6’’ Colt Python .357 magnum revolver as a backup. Even without a black rifle she is equal to any challenge; Zombies had best beware. The choice should be yours alone, without intereference from the government.
Please, all of you mother-BLEEPing public officials who are ACTING so indignant over Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich doing what ALL of you politicians do, just shut the BLEEP up.
I am unconvinced that there is a clear line between politics and crime. What Blagojevich did is a crime only because the FBI taped it. Possibly Obama and Hillary did not have an explicit agreement for her appointment to S.O.S. when she dropped out of the POTUS primary race and tossed her support to Barack, but there was more to their private conversations than "nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.” No, I am not Obama bashing; I am sure George W. Bush did the same “deals” on a HUGE scale to “appreciate” his supporters, as did Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., et al. Politics is all about control and power. Money BUYS control, and money BUYS power; political appointments are often rewards, and don’t BLEEPing pretend otherwise. People paying $25,000 a plate to have dinner with a politician are buying clout that is up for sale. When law enforcement busted former Illinois Governor George Ryan, he used two defenses. First, he used the "village idiot" defense, saying that he was unaware of what his subordinates were doing. Second, he said deals and “gifts” are part of politics and that everyone in politics does it. He was correct on the latter. "Pay-to-play" is STILL legal in Illinois; the new state law against it passed but does not take effect until January. Blago was racing Illinois law and he wasn’t bright enough to know that he may have been violating some Federal laws. The FEDS still need to make their case; so far, all they have done is to file criminal complaints. They need to fit together the puzzle of which federal laws Blago's actions violated, and then file their indictment. In turn, the Feds will most likely offer Blago their own deal. Perhaps if Blago has a bigger fish they can hook, some of the charges may go away, “nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.”
I know it is BLEEPing wrong for me to have this attitude, but I really do not trust politicians, ANY politician, especially CAREER politicians from Illinois, be they Republican, Democrat, or other. Politicians are all BLEEPing whores and pimps. They all ACT self righteously indignant about the actions of Blagojevich, yet they are ALL just as dirty. Blago may be talking to the Feds about some of those other politicians right at this moment; a deal may be in the works, “nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.”
Remington started making the .22 caliber Nylon 66 rifle in the year 1959 and ended production in 1987 after selling just over 1 million of them. It is a true American classic firearm and now enjoys a cult following among some collectors. Remington knew how to romanticize the gun; some advertisements in the periodicals of the time pictured a parka clad young man with a Nylon 66 in hand, tending to a trapline in the snowy dead of winter. The message was that you were not a true outdoorsman unless you owned a Nylon 66. The rifle was light in weight, durable, reliable, accurate, affordable, and downright cool looking. A young impressionable gunslinger could ask for nothing more. I learned to shoot with my Dad’s guns but my first personally owned rifle was a .22 Remington Nylon 66. I still have it tucked away in the gun safe, it is one rifle I doubt I will voluntarily ever part with. It holds fourteen rounds in the tubular magazine and one in the chamber for a total capacity of fifteen. That trusty old rifle dispatched many troublesome raccoons, groundhogs, and opossums for me back in the old days. It was a companion on many woodland hikes, and a decent enough squirrel gun when adorned with a scope. When using a .22 to dispatch any critter, especially something as large as a raccoon, a head shot is the best shot. It was my experience that, when using a .22, a single body shot to a raccoon rarely provided instant gratification; they are tough varmints, their vitals are small, and raccoons can be quite aggressive when hurt or cornered.
I bought my first house when I was 20 years old, a roomy, drafty old relic in need of more repairs than my meager income, limited carpentry skills, and deep-seated laziness could keep up with over the many years that we lived there. The house was at the edge of large woodland and near a swamp, so invasive creatures were a common problem. On one memorable night, two female raccoons got into the attic at the same time and proceeded to engage in a horrific donnybrook over nesting rights. There is nothing more demonic than the sound of two large raccoons screaming, snarling, and thumping around as they try their natural best to defend turf, especially when the brawl is taking place on the attic side of the thin drywall ceiling just above your head. As I stood beneath them, rifle in hand, pondering just what exactly my next move was going to be, the combined weight and gymnastics of the critters provided the answer by breaking through the ceiling. The snarling raccoons were hanging onto each other with their fangs all the while they were holding onto the edge of the broken ceiling with their paws, both unwilling to give up the fight and both trying not to fall from the attic to the floor below. Rather than wait for the fight to continue at my feet, it was in my best interest to deal with the raccoons while they were still overhead, so I opened fire with the Remington. After four quick shots, two to each critter, they both scrambled over the edge of the broken ceiling back into the attic. Following a brief eerie silence there was the sound of blood running from the attic to the floor where I was standing, then the howling battle resumed. I caught a glimpse of one of the raccoons through the hole in the ceiling and hit it with one more shot, which finally broke up the fight. That raccoon scurried out of the attic, jumped to the ground outside of the house, and from the rear window I watched it disappear into the darkness; I found its carcass in the woods the following day. It took a few more days of adventure to extricate the remaining wounded raccoon from the attic. Ah, yes, those were the good old days; on the other hand, maybe not so good. Click here for a Chuck Hawks article on the Remington Nylon Rifles. I picked up another Nylon 66 in like-new condition about a dozen years ago. You can’t have too many copies of a good old gun.
The yards and fields around here are snow covered, but we haven’t really had a monster storm yet. So far, this winter has been pretty much like last, a typical Chicagoland winter with no sign of global warming. Our high temperature today was 15 degrees F. Since early this morning, all daylong there has been flock after flock of high-flying geese, most of them in V formations, are heading directly south. I haven’t witnessed such a migration in years. Maybe these geese know something that we don’t. Just in case, a brand new Toro brand snow blower now sits in the garage, a Christmas present from me, to me; my personal effort to stimulate the economy. I checked prices at the major stores and compared them with prices from a small, local outfit that has been around for 80 years. The local merchant’s prices were a bit lower than the big stores, so the little guy got my money.
My 10-year old Toro is in the shop for a new drive belt and a tune-up. It will serve as a backup and as a loaner to needy neighbors.
The garage is now clean enough to park one vehicle; with more time and effort there soon may be room for two.
Another semi-automatic pistol that I keep readily available for home defense is a 1967 vintage Walther PPK chambered in .380 ACP. Why do I keep a PPK for home defense? Mostly out of habit, once upon a time I only owned a couple of handguns and this PPK was one of them. Not all PPKs are equal. This particular one has a decent double action trigger. I once owned a 1966 PPK in .32 ACP but the double action trigger pull was the worst I have ever experienced, so I sold it at my first chance to turn a profit.
Suppose that I did not own this PPK; some might ask if I would I run out to purchase a Walther PPK over all other handguns available for home defense or concealed carry. No, I probably would not, but I certainly would not fault anyone who did choose one; the PPK is a fine little pistol.
Older PPKs may be unreliable when fed hollow-point ammo. Mine does well with the Federal Classic 380BP hollow-point, which can be hard to find. I believe I have enough 380BP in the ammo locker to outlast my remaining heartbeats. If I use up my supply of 380BP before I kick the bucket I most likely will just sell this pistol or retire it to the gun-safe. There are plenty of other effective .380 ACP hollow-point loads on the market, but my old PPK doesn’t like any of them. If I absolutely HAD to get my PPK to work reliably with other brands of hollow-points, I would save up some money and have Cylinder & Slide do a tune-up.
Under license from Walther, Smith & Wesson currently USED TO make a modernized version of the PPK in the USA. I have never fired an S&W PPK so I cannot say how it compares to an older, European made PPK. Click here for a 2005 Charles E. Petty article on the old and new PPKs.
There are a few arguable advantages the .380 PPK may have over a .38 J-frame revolver. Some consider the PPK easier to conceal; the PPK is a flat, very thin pistol, while the revolvers are thicker because of the cylinder. The .380 PPK holds seven rounds of ammo (six in the magazine plus one in the chamber) while the .38 J-frames hold five rounds. I actually find it easier to conceal a J Frame in a pocket holster than I do a PPK. Since there is no manual safety to deal with on a J-frame revolver, I find bringing it into service (for me) is faster and more intuitive than a PPK. My ability to shoot accurately is the same for both the PPK and the J Frame; I find the recoil of both manageable, you may not. Click here for a Stephan A. Camp article comparing the .380 ACP with the .38 Special. Click here for some good Walther PP and PPK photos, and disassembly instructions.
I did my November market buying today, using 66% of my maximum monthly allowable, which is not a full vote of confidence on my part but (for me) a significant sum nonetheless. My next allowable window for trades will be in December. In spite of chest pains, migraines, and night sweats, I’m sticking to my “system,” it evolved over many years, it won’t make me rich, but it probably won’t bankrupt me either. Markets are unpredictable so I prefer a nice conservative set of rules to keep me sane and sober during market highs, lows, and everywhere in between those extremes.
The reasons I was a buyer today:
1) I had my trigger set for when the S&P-500 hit the range of 750. 2) I was thrilled to hear the Democrats acting as Republicans are supposed to by DEMANDING to see a business plan from the Auto giants before there would be any agreement to toss money at them. Way to go Democrats! Too bad Paulson did not require that from the financial institutions before feeding them hundreds of billions of OUR tax dollars.
3) I am still a believer in our country and in our markets. Sometimes you just have to believe when there is no reason left to believe.
4) Even after today’s purchases, roughly 50% of my portfolio is still cash. Cash is the only “hedge fund” that is effective against falling equity markets.
On a somewhat related note, why have I not heard Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase suggested as a possibility for becoming our next Treasury Secretary? The man is a master at making numbers work, and a master dealmaker. Yo, Obama people, James L. Dimon for Secretary of the Treasury!
Now that there is no doubt that we are in a recession, we need only guess how long the recession will last and how brutal it will be. A 5% decline in GDP would not surprise me, nor would 10% unemployment. Is a depression coming? We have already had a depression era meltdown of our financial systems, but I sincerely doubt that we will meet the definition of depression by suffering a 10% decline in GDP. However, this might still become the worst recession in our history. If oil prices spike again, I’ll guarantee it will be the worst.
At the worst of this market crash, the value of my portfolio was down 18% from its high point while the S&P-500 was down roughly 46%. That market low point was tested a few days ago and normally I would have taken that as an opportunity to follow my guidelines and do my buying for November. Instead, I lost my nerve and decided to sit tight. My allocation currently is 44% equities and 56% cash. The amount of cash I have left should last the rest of my life provided economic Armageddon does not take out my pension, and provided I am not foolish. It may be best that I not put more cash in harms way before I do some critical thinking, which usually requires that I do some solemn drinking. Three fingers of bourbon please, with no ice!
On the far side of foolishness, I am tempted to say, “Screw everything, we are all DOOMED” and squander what cash I have left on outfitting a boat worthy of some heavy-duty Lake Michigan cruising. My budget says that my available cash would purchase and float that boat for 10 years. My budget does not include income from Social Security, so if Social Security was available to kick in 10 years from now I could continue to float the boat, otherwise my finances would sink. Nah, betting on Social Security being around is not an option for me. I will NEVER count on the government to feather my bed. The boat idea is again out of the question. Damn!
Stock markets have only one absolute “support level,” they can go no lower than ZERO. Aside from that icy fact, any conceivable stock market scenario is possible. We all doubt that the major markets will become valueless, but they have dropped to within a nudge of 50% market losses. Many investors are wondering if the markets can drop to levels of 60%, 70%, or even 80% below their high points. Many are wondering what the markets will do AFTER hitting bottom. Will markets trade sideways in a narrow range for a decade or more? For the markets to sustain a rally, they need investors with money, investors with the ability to leverage, investors with the courage to invest, and there has to be at least the scent of a growing economy. We come up near empty on those requirements. The credit market crash, along with the equities market crash, has temporarily crippled some of the institutional investors. Many individual investors are saying “never again” to stocks and mutual funds. Yeah, the markets look bleak; the markets suck.
The minimum requirements needed to live through this economic epoch are prudence, prescience, and patience. I am hearing more “experts” telling investors to sell out of the markets at these near 50% loss levels. Since “experts” are usually wrong at market highs, and at market lows, normally I would take their “expert” advice as a good sign, but I am scared that more “unknowns” may drive these markets much lower. Maybe the “experts” are right this time; I am not prepared to promise that they are wrong.
My being scared may also be good sign, since I truly believe the markets will not turn around until everyone loses faith. I don’t know about you, but my faith is gone. The future looks dark and cold. Perhaps it is time for me to suck it up and buy more equities after all. If ultimately I win, I may be able to buy that boat I lust after and possibly still have enough cash to last until the end of my days. If I lose, I’ll have plenty of company in the soup line, remembering what once was, and wondering what might have been.
The government has already SPENT $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout money.
One of Barack Obama’s first great acts of leadership should be TO NOT HOLD OVER HENRY PAULSON as Treasury Secretary. In fact, I believe that George W. should “ask” Henry Paulson to immediately “step aside,” and then George W. should directly appoint whomever Barack Obama chooses as Paulson’s replacement.
In any case, Paulson today FINALLY smelled the coffer and realized that all of the TOXIC DEBT he was planning to buy from the “troubled” financial institutions was PURE SEWAGE and not worth a damn. Instead, he is proceeding with his SECOND WORST IDEA, which is to pump money into the balance sheets of those same “troubled” institutions that hold the junk debt. At the very least, I hope that Paulson will continue to trade our tax-money for equity in those institutions, and I hope that the Obama administration will have the fortitude to LIQUIDATE those “troubled” financial institutions if they don’t soon prove they can again become productive and responsible.
It is beyond logic why Paulson and Bernanke did not choose to take the bailout money and loan it to institutions that WERE NOT “troubled,” contingent on them taking total control of ALL of the assets of the “troubled” institutions. That way the U.S. Government would be rewarding GOOD BEHAVIOR, and they would be letting the “troubled” institutions “fail with grace” by being acquired by institutions with responsible management.
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, is a day to honor those women and men who served in our armed forces.
The Colt Model of 1911 pictured above served in the U.S. Army, although I am uncertain for how long before a soldier took it home as a cherished souvenir, or perhaps as a cherished friend.
Old 1911 pistols are becoming as rare as old soldiers from the same era are. During the 90-years since this pistol left the Colt factory (the serial number dates it to the year 1918), it has accumulated its share of blemishes consisting of dents, scratches, and pitting from corrosion. What little bluing that remains is mottled over both the slide and the frame. I doubt that the pistol was ever refinished during its time in military service, or during the years afterwards. The pistol was never “modified,” its sights are original. It has never been buffed; the lettering is still crisp. For some bizarre reason someone hogged out a bit of metal from the underside of the slide, but it does not affect function or safety.
When I first bought the pistol, I found that the barrel link was functionally the wrong size so I replaced it. The slide-stop was an ill fit, just barely engaging the slide-stop notch so I fit a new one; the slide-stop notch fortunately was only showing moderate wear from the original bad fit. The grip screws had been dished out very badly and were jammed solidly in the bushings, so they were all replaced. One of the grip bushings stripped from the frame so I replaced all four of them. Both grip panels were so dry and cracked I doubted that they would hold together during recoil, so I replaced them with new panels having the correct double diamond pattern. I installed a new recoil spring with a shock buffer, as well as a new firing pin spring. I saved all of the old parts so they could remain part of the history of the pistol, or reinstalled (if salvageable) for the sake of purity. A Wilson 7-round magazine makes the old war-horse superbly reliable. There will be no fancy beavertail grip safeties, no tricked out triggers, no match-grade barrel, and no fancy sights; it will remain just as stock as an old, well-used pistol can safely be. Arguably, nobody has ever improved what John Moses Browning created.
This old pistol may be a good candidate for professional restoration by Paul Lippold, but for now I like the old gun as it is, with all of the blemishes and wounds that it has earned during its 90-year existence. An old gun is a handful of history; if only this one could talk, what tales it might tell of those women and men who served our country.
There is a “run on guns” currently underway due to citizens fearing that anti-gun politicians will soon have enough power to pass every anti-gun law imaginable. Inadvertently, the pending administration has given a needed boost to the economy by sparking the sales of guns, ammo, and high capacity magazines.
Obviously, I am one of many against our government passing laws that will make criminals out of law-abiding citizens
The gun laws having the most common sense would read: A) Law-abiding people may purchase and possess any gun they choose. B) Criminals cannot purchase or possess guns. C) Go to A.
If you are a shooter and you have never fired black powder firearms, I recommend that you try it. It is fun, loud, somewhat dirty, and very educational. Black powder has roots going back long before the beginnings of our great nation. Once all of the “common sense” gun and ammo laws have passed, small-bore black powder firearms may be all we will have left for hunting and home defense. Then again, our elected officials may find it to be “common sense” to ban them too. Your vote counts.
The oil price bubble cost consumers, and many large and small businesses, every spare dime that they had available, and then drove (pun intended) them into unfathomable dept. Not only is all discretionary cash gone, discretionary credit lines (mainly credit cards for consumers and many small businesses) are also gone. All of that credit card debt will take a vast amount of time to pay off at the current usury rates. Gone are the days, at least for now, when consumers and small business could tap home equity to provide needed relief. The housing market crash, the derivatives crash, and the credit market freeze are all big issues, but fuel-costs broke the back of the camel.
This unsophisticated armchair economist would suggest that our government, current or pending, might wish to:
A) Henceforth, do whatever is in the power of government to stabilize fuel and energy prices. If they want to see a total economic disaster, worse than in 2008, let gasoline and diesel again surge past $4.25 per gallon during 2009. Our economy runs on oil, like it or not. Airlines cannot fly jets on solar energy. Oil at $140 per barrel was speculative nonsense; some still suspect criminal manipulation.
B) Insist that the lending institutions that are being “bailed out” with OUR tax dollars in turn “bail out” the consumers buried in credit card debt. Yes, I mean force the lenders to lower the damn credit card interest rates and kill the onerous penalty fees.
For the economy to recover, consumers and businesses need to get out of debt. Nobody can buy without having cash or credit, and if nobody is buying, this economy is going nowhere but down. Stimulus packages that give us all a touch of cash are fine, but relief from credit card interest rates would go much further.
Lest someone think I am looking for a break, I carry NO credit card debt from month to month, and my finances are sound. Being a conservative, I despise rewarding bad-behavior, but if our government is going to bail out the big lenders with our tax-dollars, the least government can do is force the big lenders into helping those taxpayers who “screwed up” and those taxpayers victimized by the big lenders. That’s not socialism, that’s justice. Our largely unregulated finance industry makes the Mafia look benevolent.
Barack Obama and the Democrats soon will have near total charge of a ship run aground. Wish them well, help them make their changes, and hope that they make changes that count.
An over one-hundred-year-old gun in my safe is a Winchester Model 1873 that left the factory in 1891. I consider it a companion to my 1884 vintage Colt Frontier Six Shooter Model 1873 revolver; both are chambered for the .44 Winchester Centerfire, AKA .44-40., AKA .44 WCF. Since the same cartridge fed both that model rifle and that model revolver, the load became very popular with frontier American shooters as a matter of convenience. My old Winchester ’73 holds 14 cartridges in the magazine, 4 rounds over the “assault weapons ban” benchmark magazine capacity of 10. The Battle of Little Bighorn was in 1876 and the Cavalry was using the single-shot Springfield Model 1873 .45-70 carbines. During the same period, having more foresight than the military, many civilians had armed themselves with the high-capacity Winchester repeating rifles, the 1873 being so common it was called “The gun that won the west.” The .45-70 load was not replaced until the military adopted the 5-round capacity .30-40 Krag Jorgensen in 1894, which was replaced in 1903 by the 5-round capacity Springfield Model 1903, which was replaced by the 8-round capacity semi-automatic M1 Garand in 1936, which was replaced by the 20-round capacity select fire M14 rifle in 1957.
The significance of this short thesis is that high-capacity rifles did not become universally popular with the military until long after civilians began commonly using them back in the frontier days.
Due to the logistics of car repairs, yesterday I drove one of my younger brothers back to his home state of Indiana. We then had a nice, long-overdue dinner with his family. I told my niece that it was good to see her without someone being dead in the room; I often lose track of the priorities of life and only get together with relatives at wakes and funerals. It was nice to catch up at little.
Today when I gassed up the Chevy Cobalt for the return trip, it was almost erotic to fill the tank in Anderson, Indiana for $2.09 per gallon. That’s at least half a rock cheaper per gallon than here in Northeastern Illinois. The autumn weather was perfect for the round-trip drive and the tree colors were splendid. There were some construction related traffic jams on the way there yesterday, but it was a clean drive back home today. The lower gasoline prices do have the highways coming back to life.
Where we were in Indiana, Obama ads ruled the radio and television airways, McCain dominated the bumper stickers.
ISRA-PVF Press Release: Chicago Mayor Daley's Call for Gun Ban is Insensitive and Misplaced
CHICAGO, Oct 28, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The following was released today by the ISRA Political Victory Fund (ISRA-PVF):
The ISRA-PVF finds it disappointing, but not unexpected, that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has once again exploited tragedy in an attempt to boost his gun control agenda. Commenting on the Hudson murder case during a Tuesday press briefing, Daley called for a total ban on civilian firearm ownership as a means of preventing such events from happening in the future. A closer examination of the facts shows that Daley's suggested solution to violent crime sorely misses the mark.
The alleged perpetrator of the triple-murder has a well established history as a trouble maker. At the time of the murders, the suspect in the case was out on parole for earlier convictions for carjacking and attempted murder. Published reports indicate that the alleged perpetrator was arrested in June of 2008 for drug possession. Amazingly, he was not sent back to prison for parole violation. Had he been locked back up, he would not have been able to commit the triple murder for which he is now being held.
"This case fits an all too familiar pattern," commented ISRA-PVF spokesman Richard Pearson. "According to the Chicago Police Department's analysis of murders in the city, nearly 90% of murderers have previous criminal records. The same report also indicates that about 75% of murder victims have previous records as well. This situation is exactly what one would expect when a broken justice system releases dangerous criminals into our communities. This is exactly what happened in the Hudson murder case. Unfortunately, Mayor Daley just doesn't get it. Instead of focusing on a solution to the real problem of recidivism, Daley diverts his unproductive rage towards law-abiding firearm owners."
"The total mishandling of the Chicago crime problem by Mayor Daley and Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine is yet another reason that the ISRA-PVF has endorsed the candidacy of Tony Peraica for Cook County State's Attorney," continued Pearson. "Tony has both the drive and desire to get to the root of the county's violent crime epidemic. Tony understands that his job as State's Attorney would be to manage a prosecutor's office, not to cultivate a patronage organization. We're calling on all lawful firearm owners in Cook County to support Tony Peraica on November 4th."
The ISRA-PVF is a political action committee affiliated with the Illinois State Rifle Association. A copy of our report is available for a fee from the Illinois State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.
Many gun owners fancy themselves as gun experts, or expert on certain types and / or models. I enjoy occasional recreational shooting and have a modest size, eclectic collection of guns. I am a gun enthusiast; I am not a gun expert by any measure. I am not a special tactics operator, and I do not shoot competitively. When true experts get together to talk, I listen, and if I get the chance I watch their shooting techniques. On the web, just as in the gun stores, there is plenty of fog blowing around from posers and it does not take long to figure out who is spewing fantasies, especially about the Colt Model of 1911.
Visit the Sight M1911A1 website if you want to start learning about the .45 ACP M1911A1. Forums such as The 1911 Forum have the participation of some experts; unavoidably, there is also some unstinting devotional fog coming for those eager to fit in with the major players. For me, I find it best at most online gun forums to just to lurk and learn.
After years of shooting, and after reading more magazine articles than I ever want to admit, I was never happy with a box-stock M1911A1 until after I bought my Wilson Combat CQB. Only after buying and shooting that wonderfully well-tuned, top line pistol with its perfect trigger did I begin to really appreciate and enjoy shooting my old stock government-model pistols. Some may take it as an apostasy, but I am just as happy with my Series 80 Colt 1991A1 as I am with my Wilson. That by no means is a slap at Bill Wilson’s guns, they are top tier, I can highly recommend them, but they are much nicer than what I need. I do not regret buying the CQB, I have enjoyed shooting it for the years that I have owned it, but I doubt that I will be buying another high-end pistol from Wilson’s, Nighthawk Custom, Les Baer, Bill Laughridge, or anyone else. Some shooters do not need perfect pistols; we just need them to be safe, reliable, reasonably accurate, and affordable. If you find you do need the best, or find that you simply lust after the best, you can find pistols built to whatever standards your wallet can bear; go for it.
Yeah, I am human and I do parade the CQB in front of any gunman I want to impress, but for some reason this aging enthusiast shoots better with a second hand mil-spec Springfield Armory M1911A1 than I do with anything else.
It has been over seven weeks since my last smoke. Cigars are friends that always lead my still ambulatory carcass to further degradation. I prefer to smoke cigars as an indulgence rather than as an addiction, the latter being the reason I usually light up. Smoking because of addiction brings no fulfillment; as an indulgence, few things are as satisfying as smoking a cigar after several weeks of abstinence, particularly on a cool, wholly depressing autumn evening while listening to pale whispers from the past and the hollow promises from the future. During cogitation, a cigar with quality bourbon occasionally can help reveal egress from the world of shadows.
I need to shun cigars and bourbon for a while longer, at least until after I am done with my semi-routine physical checkup. Once finished with deceiving my doctor and myself, I almost certainly will restock the humidor and wipe the dust from another bottle. Then I will smoke and drink until my lungs cry for mercy and the chest pains again become worrisome. When the smoke and drink no longer bring comfort or divine adventure, it will be time for another period of healing.
Primary elections had limited purpose years ago when the backrooms of the political conventions actually decided the presidential candidates. Primary elections now confound the power brokers of the major parties. John McCain was the choice of those who voted in the Republican primaries and not the choice of the leaders of the Republican Party. His record on gun rights has been fuzzy, so he was not the top choice of many gun owners. Republican Party leaders need to ask themselves why voters chose John McCain over everyone else. To me the answer is simple, McCain is a moderate, and many conservative Americans are extremely uncomfortable with the far right wing of the Republican Party. Many voters who once called themselves Republicans now call themselves Independents. If the Republican Party wants to continue holding certain hard conservative lines, such as advocating for a largely unregulated financial industry, then they can expect to lose more voters. The Republican Party also is going to have to deal with the fact that many Americans feel it is the “white male” party, that the minorities and women are only token commodities. The Republican Party needs more minorities and more women. The Republican Party is doing a lousy job selling itself, and I feel they often take the support of their followers for granted.
Pro-gun organizations also need to do a better job selling themselves to minorities and women. Many elected Democrats are pro-gun; gun owners need to quit alienating friends and potential friends by slandering Democrats as a whole. I believe it very likely that during this election many gun owners will be voting for Obama for reasons they believe are more important than their right to keep and bear arms. If, by some miracle, the leaders of the Democrats today suddenly became pro-RKBA I believe the Republican Party would lose this election by a landslide. The Republican Party does not make it easy for gun-owners to vote with one voice.
I hope that I am utterly wrong in believing that this election year is going to be very bad for gun owners. Many people who call themselves Democrats don’t like guns and they don’t like the “in your face” attitude of gun-owners pontificating about their “rights.” Those who vote are those who decide “rights,” so don’t ever believe The Constitution of the USA cannot be changed. Gun owners need to win the hearts and souls of the Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. People cannot be sold on gun ownership if gun owners are daring them to “pry my gun from my cold dead hands.” If gun owners someday become the minority, there will be constitutional changes to our rights. We need to win friends and not make new enemies.
Black Man With a Gun is a very interesting pro-gun website. Kenneth Blanchard does a great job presenting the right to keep and bear arms from the perspective of a minority. I have no idea how the man will vote in November, but I do know he is a friend to gun owners and has changed the minds of many people.
The SKS carbine is a well-designed, well-built, utility grade firearm once imported from China in such bulk that you could purchase a “new in box” item for just a bit over $100. Our government decided that too many citizens were arming themselves at bargain prices, so they banned SKS imports from China in 1994; another shining slice of Bill Clinton’s legacy of gun control silliness. The SKS is more akin to our WWII / Korean War era M1 Garand than it is to any modern military assault rifle.
The Chinese Norinco SKS pictured above was part of my collection for a few years, but was sold since there was no place nearby to have real fun with it, and because the gun-safe was too crowded.
EDIT: I sold this pistol in late June of 2016; I'm getting older and need to reduce my gun inventory for estate reasons. It is hard to say goodbye to a darn good gun. -----
Most of my readily available home defense guns are .38 caliber revolvers, but three semi-automatic pistols also are on my top tier; the largest of those pistols is the compact Sig P239 9MM with Siglite night sights.
For personal defense, the 115-grain Federal 9BPLE +P+ load is my first choice for 9MM pistols, followed by the 124-grain +P Speer Gold Dot. I have enough of each to last the rest of my natural life.
The Sig P239 and the Glock-26 are as small as I care to go with a 9MM pistol, and they would be as large as I personally would choose for concealed carry if it were legal to do so in Illinois. I own both and only marginally prefer the Sig to the Glock.
I VOTED TODAY! Yep, I am now finished with election year 2008. WOO HOO! Wake me when they announce the results, I have grown weary of it all. I have done my duty.
Not all states have “no excuses” early voting. I believe this is the first year for Illinois; it is the first year that I it noticed anyway. I never used the old absentee ballot method; up until today, I always voted on the traditional Election Day. After receiving the notification a couple of days ago that the early voting polls would be open from October 13 to 30 I decided to give it a go.
My usually polling place had a larger crowd today than I have ever witnessed on any traditional Election Day. At a glance, I would say that voters LOVE early voting and are really into this election year.
Some people and organizations object to early voting and my guess is their objections are out of fear that it favors the “other party.” IMHO, early voting is long overdue, that having only one day to vote is unfair and inconvenient.
We now need a failsafe way to vote from home using the internet.
If you should find the need, I am available as a write-in candidate for the high office; I am pro-gun, pronouns, and on probation.
The GMC van passed emissions inspection yesterday morning. Next inspection is two years from now; by then the major-purchase fund may contain enough money to pay for a new vehicle.
Gasoline is $2.95 per gallon at a few of the Waukegan, Illinois gas stations. My opinion is that high fuel prices contributed as much to breaking our economy as anything else. Our government must NEVER again let a speculative oil bubble get out of control.
I am seeing some anecdotal signs of a touch of economic recovery. During the peak of the fuel price bubble, highways were eerily light on traffic except during rush hours. Even rush hours had noticeably lighter traffic than in earlier years. Now traffic-jams grab me before and after rush hours.
Mall parking lots are filling up quite well, surprisingly so. There are some real bargains out there and people are finding ways to pay for them. I don’t believe the holiday shopping numbers will be high, but my guess is the stores will sell more than the experts believe.
Loans are available, but expect to verify every detail on your application and expect to pay some hefty down payments. It is a return to the old-days; you cannot get a loan if it looks like you cannot repay it, silly concept that it is. Credit Unions are doing quite nicely, I highly recommend belonging to one, they are often more accommodating than are banks.
My humble opinion is that we are very near the bottom of the housing crash, although we may bump along that bottom for a while. I see no for-sale signs in my neighborhood and very few elsewhere. People that own homes are now unwilling to sell them at these deflated prices. Once the foreclosures clear from the market (with luck, many folks will get some help refinancing), I believe there will be a very slow, very gradual but sustained uptrend in the market.
I’m not excited about the recent big stock market rally, and I am not excited about the subsequent big market dive either.
It was a neat old gun, but I really had no use for it. The 1901 Winchester 10 Gauge lever action shotgun pictured above was only in my collection for a short while. Lightly used for such an old gun, it even came with a small supply of the obsolete 2 5/8’’ 10 gauge shells. After a while, I realized that the purchase was strictly a regrettable whim, and I recovered my total investment when I sold it; sometimes it is nicer to have the money than the gun. Guns like that do grow in value over time if well cared for and rarely used, but if I own it, I want to be able to shoot it.
From the bull market highs: DOW down 40.3% S&P-500 down 42.5% My portfolio is now down 16.5%
On September 4, my portfolio was sitting at 45% equities, 55% cash.
As of Thursday, October 9, the crashing markets had withered my equities down to 36% of the total portfolio value, which put the cash portion at 64%.
On Friday, October 10, I moved some cash over to the equities, changing the allocation back to 45% equities, 55% cash.
Yes, my overall losses are now large enough to give me chest pains, but I’d rather be in the market than out of it, and down 16.5% rather than 42.5%. I’m sticking to my investment plan, still adhering to my personal rules and trading limits. My system will never make me rich; the design is to achieve modestly high returns on the upside and keep me from the poorhouse when the markets catch Federal Reserve resistant venereal disease. Most investors are their own worst enemy, and my system helps protect me from me. Nothing can protect us from our government, or criminals on Wall Street.
If the markets continue to crawl or freefall ever lower, I am in a position to do more buying. Am I prepared to go 100% equities? The fastest that my personal rules allow me to move the amount of remaining cash to equities would be in increments over the next 5 months. We shall see.
Seeing a stock market bottom is more hindsight than foresight. We will not know for sure that we reached rock bottom until the market has tested it and left it far behind.
Traditionally, October can be a wild month during a bad market because October 31 is the end of the fiscal year for many mutual funds; fund managers dump losing stocks as tax-losses then look to buy anything that can act as portfolio window dressing.
This crisis is international, so foreign investors also are cashing out of the American markets. Many Americans just received their quarterly 401K statements; they puked and entered sell orders. People are selling simply because everyone else is selling.
Eventually this bear market bubble will burst and then sanity will return until the next bubble forms. For better or worse, at the end of the worst week in stock market history, with 45 minutes left in Friday's trading session, I put in my October BUY orders.
George W. Bush is a contrary indicator. Whenever he speaks positively, the stock markets make huge negative moves. Everyone doubts his honesty and his competence. The best thing for old George to say is that the markets are heading to hell and everyone should sell. We instantly would move to a roaring bull market.
Well, so much for hoping that the 1999 GMC Safari Van would make it another year or more without major repairs. The starter decided to drop dead. I have changed starters before, but it isn’t in the cards for me to do this one; the van was towed in for repairs.
We have all heard someone say that an old vehicle was “nickel and diming” them to death, that buying a new car was cheaper than fixing the old one. I have trouble making the numbers work for that statement. To move up into a world of no repairs, I would need to spend no less than $25,000 for a vehicle that would suit my needs. Assume that I got a $25,000 loan at 0% interest for five years. I would be paying $5,000 per year, and the most I can recall spending in one year to repair an old vehicle is $2,500, usually much less. If I had spent $2,500 each year on my old van it would be a low-riding channeled and chopped showpiece by now, with custom spider-web paint, spinning-hub wheels, fuzzy dingle-balls hanging from the rearview mirror, dash mounted Uzi, etc. I think most of the urgency people feel to replace an old vehicle isn’t the cost of the repairs, but the frequency and unpredictability of the breakdowns. Breakdowns are always stressful and inconvenient. Paying the premium for buying a new or newer vehicle does buy some peace of mind.
The most miles I ever put on any vehicle was over 250,000 miles on my 1990 Chevy S10 pickup truck. The body rotted away to the point it was no longer safe, and the engine was so badly worn out it used a quart of oil every week. Yeah, it was time to say goodbye to that one. I’ll stick with the old van for a little longer, even though I feel it has betrayed me.
We had some rain today, and a power failure that lasted a couple of hours during the early evening. As soon as the sump pit was full, I decided I had waited long enough so I ran some extension cords into the basement to run the sump pump from the gasoline-powered generator. As soon as I had the sump pump running off the auxiliary-power, the utility company restored our main power. It works that way almost every time.
The fatheads in Washington passed the BAILOUT bill today. Somehow, the press was coerced into renaming it the “financial rescue plan,” in lockstep with the politicians. Rescue plan my ass; it was a damn BAILOUT for a big bunch of screwed up institutions. It does not do a damn thing for you or me. There was a GLARING lack of legislation in the BAILOUT to eliminate sub-prime loans and credit swaps. Instead of paying for a tanker load of water, politicians chose to put out a fire by throwing paper money at it. Nice job, morons.
Congress passed a funding bill for Amtrak on October 1. Amtrak is now a popular “idea” since it moves more people for less fossil fuel than do cars, and ridership sharply increased when the price of gasoline was at its peak. Senator Obama voted for the bill, Senator McCain voted against it. Jeez, McCain, can you give me one freaking reason I should vote for you? Your “pro-gun” record is hardly sterling, and now you stand out as “anti-Amtrak.” I am an independent voter that is on the conservative side. I cannot find a party to identify with; too many Republicans are far to the right of the Taliban, and too many Democrats are far to the left of Lenin. Amtrak is but a drop in Washington’s red inkwell, and Amtrak provides super service, a service vital to our economy, and vital to homeland security. REPUBLICANS, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? AMTRAK IS A GOOD THING!
Ah well, onto matters more mundane. Have you ever wondered why some people don’t retire when they get the chance, or why many of those who do retire run back to the workforce in very short order? Quite simply, a job is an excuse to keep people from doing those endless household chores they have put off for so many years. After putting in a sixty-hour workweek cleaning the garage and painting exterior house trim, you are nowhere near being finished and nobody is handing you a paycheck for your efforts. Still, I’d rather be here than there, doing this rather than doing that. The weather has been great this fall, most days perfect for outside work.
Thinking ahead to winter, my Toro snow blower has had ten years of heavy use, so I am watching the sales for an opportunity to pick up a new one, something a little wider and with a bit more horsepower. I doubt global warming will be enough to keep my driveway clear this winter.
Welcome to the wonderful world of scrambled nest eggs.
At a quick glance, followed by some quick barroom napkin calculations, Monday’s stock market selloff put the major markets down from their bull-market closing highs as follows:
DOW down roughly 27% S&P down roughly 29% NASD down roughly 30%
My modest little portfolio is now even more modest than before, down 8.5% from its bull market high. With the equities portion losing value, my cash position now sits at 60%. Adhering to my personal investment rules, October is my next window for a portfolio change. For now, my inclination is to move another preset monthly allowable amount from cash into equities. My rules do not obligate me to make a change each month; I can choose not to do anything. If I skip a month, my rules do not allow me to make two changes the following month; it is strictly one change allowed per month.
One would think we would see some market support in this -30% area of losses. If all of the cards were face up on the table then we could all start feeling optimistic, but there may be more surprises. The markets going another 10% to the downside would not surprise me, but there is absolutely know way of knowing.
Hang in there; I am sure that Paulson, Bernanke, Bush, and Congress have a bailout plan ready to cover all of our investment losses.
Citizens have told their representatives that the bailout sucks, and the house today voted NO on the bailout package. It is refreshing to see elected representatives actually represent their constituents. Bravo.
Citizens are used to hard times, and the apocalyptic scenarios prophesized by Paulson and Bernanke do not frighten them. My daughter put it best; when it comes to hard times, the average American is an experienced, highly trained professional. They know when to pull in their belts; they know not to buy new cars or big screen TVs when times are tough. If it comes to a choice of feeding their kids or paying for cable TV, they will cancel the cable. The government has never bailed out the average American; those citizens must suffer through life armed only with guts and determination. The government does not save the average American from foreclosures and repossessions; we take our beatings and move on. The average American knows what it is like to lose their job; many know what it is like to lose everything. The economy can burn, the average American will handle it, and the average American wants to see their rich corporate American counterparts learn what the tough side of life is really like.
The “experts” all say the bailout is essential. The “experts” got us into this mess. Why should the average American trust the “experts”? All of the “experts” agree on only one thing; they agree that the bailout may not even work. I do believe, that for $700 Billion, the average American wants an ironclad guarantee that it will work, and they want to see some regulations enacted to see that greed and stupidity does not let this ever happen again.
Everyone, back to the table, do it all again. Do not pass a bill that rewards bad behavior. Pass a bill rewarding the banks that did not screw up. There are many sound institutions sitting on cash simply out of fear. Take $700 Billion, loan it to those banks, at a preset rate and a fixed term, so they can get back into action doing what they do best, making loans to responsible people and corporations. Let those institutions that screwed up rot while trying to figure out what to do with all of those bad loans.
Hey Paulson! Hey Bernanke! Last week you guys promised us an immediate end-of-the-financial-world unless Congress paid $700 Billion, no questions allowed. You promised! Here it is a week later and we still don’t have an end of the world! Come on guys! Make with some serious Armageddon; this has become boring. Without an end of the world, each day that passes without Congress paying your extortion money makes you two boobs look like cheap parking-lot-insurance mobsters.
What will President Bush have to say tonight? Personally, I no longer care what that unlettered misfit has to say about anything. Things are bad; things most likely will get much worse before they get better, with or without Paulson and Bernanke’s plan.
The Associated Press clip below (with link to the full story) says the FBI is now on the case of the financial meltdown! Fantastic! First, we lock them all up and then we see if Congress wants to bail them out. FBI investigating companies at heart of meltdown WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI is investigating four major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned. Two law-enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurer American International Group Inc. Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. also is under investigation
7/3/2019 EDIT: CLICK HERE for a range session 1/1/2015 EDIT: This was initially written in September 2008. At the turn of this new year I decided to read what I wrote a bit over 6-years ago and see if I still felt the same about this old horse. Yeah, I believe I still do. I'm leaving the original post intact; please add 6-years to any mention of time. Goodness, has it been 17 years already? In 1991, not too long after Ruger started production of their first pistol chambered for the .45 ACP, I was the first on my block to run out and buy a Ruger P90. Rated for +P loads, weighing in at 34 ounces, it has a 4.5 inch barrel, stainless steel slide, anodized aluminum frame, double action / single action; mine came with a safety decocker. It is a reasonably light carry, easily fits in a winter coat pocket, and the large trigger guard accommodates a gloved trigger finger.
Initially I was concerned that I might wear it out so I called Ruger and asked for advice on longevity. An engineer said to shoot the hell out of it, that if I could break it they sure would like to know how I did it. The engineer went on to say they had sent a bunch of the pistols to gun ranges to be used as “loaners,” and that after thousands of rounds, and no cleaning, all of the pistols were still sound. After a blowing few thousand rounds through mine, many of them +P loads, I felt secure that my P90 would last a lifetime. I also felt secure that if it did break, Ruger would be around to provide repairs.
Little has changed on the design of the P90 over these many years; I was told that they eliminated the nub on the guide-rod, and they updated the magazine capacity from seven rounds to eight. Since my pistol guide-rod is of the original design, and supposedly, is not interchangeable with the new ones, I ordered a few extra guide rods and recoils springs at Ruger’s incredibly low prices. (NOTE: There is some confusion as to whether or not there was actually a change made to the P90 guide rod.)
The best pistol for the .45 ACP is the one designed for the load, the model 1911. That said, I wanted to have a double action .45 ACP pistol available and the Ruger P90 has been it since 1991. I’ve had the money and several opportunities to buy a SIG 220, but never felt it was that much better than the Ruger to be worth the expense.
Ruger still makes the P90 today, even though they have one or more newer models chambered in .45 ACP. Mine has been a great utility gun, one that I will keep for as long as it is in condition to shoot, which likely will be until the end of my days.