Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Dozed, People Froze!

The Associated Press:
At least 42 people have died, including 11 in Kentucky, and conditions are worsening in many places days after an ice storm knocked out power to 1.3 million customers from the Plains to the East Coast. About a million people were still without electric Friday, and with no hope that the lights will come back on soon, small communities are frantically struggling to help their residents.
(Thanks to Ed Driscoll for the headline—it was too good not to steal. And thanks to Instapundit for linking Mr. Driscoll. I'm just meme-ing along.)

Assault Camera

It is an extremely stable platform to shoot pictures with (i.e. that's why rifles are designed that way). It is very natural and comfortable which results in good images.
Via The Firearm Blog.

Billy Carter, Roger Clinton, George Obama

In the honored tradition of Democrat presidential relatives, busted for pot.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Heavenly Father, deliver us from the evil that has overtaken the hearts and minds of the weak among us, and cause Obama and his filthy hordes to fail utterly in their attempt to enslave us. Smiting would be good.
&mdash found late at night in an obscure corner of the blogosphere.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Depending on U.S.

IBD Editorials:
For well over a decade, China's GDP has grown at an average rate of 10% — best in the developed world. This rapid growth has given China great clout and prestige as an up-and-coming economic power. Indeed, it has now eclipsed Germany as the world's third-largest economy (behind the U.S. and Japan).

Yet all's not well. In the fourth quarter, China's economy expanded just 6.8% year-over-year. Economists say that in an economy predicated on rapid, export-led growth, 6% or less would, in effect, signal a recession. China's dependence on the U.S. shows.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Far Distant Past

Max Boot on Obama's remark about the "partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago".
This is actually a revealing slip. To wit, it reveals two things: First, Obama's profound ignorance about most aspects of foreign policy, including the recent history of the Middle East. A second, and related point, is his tendency to blame the ills of the region on the previous administration — something that is only possible if you started following the Middle East around 2001 and have little idea of what came before.
Especially things that happened, like, way back when you were in get-high school.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bad News on the Burris

I dismounted the scope and put it in a box today, along with this note.
Burris Company, Inc.
331 East 8th Street
Greeley, CO 80631

Dear Sir or Madam:

I bought the enclosed Burris Scout 2.75 x 20mm scope on or about June 12, 2007.

Using Burris rings and scout base, I had an expert gunsmith mount it on a Remington 700 Mountain 7mm-08. I have fired about 220 rounds of Remington 140 gr. Core-Lokt — and nothing else — through the rifle. To the best of my knowledge the gun has never been dropped or bumped or had anything but the gentlest treatment.

Sunday, January 25th, I took it to the range and the view looked something like this.

What has gone wrong? Can you fix it?
Burris has a Forever Warranty on their optics. I'm optimistic.

One of the Local Boys

Over on the sidebar you'll find a list of the "Local Boys." These are bloggers from Oregon or nearby whom I have been reading regularly for some time. One of the newer names on the list is Jim Wickre. I don't know anything about him beyond his posted biographical information.

If I ever run into him, though, in an (ahem!) confrontational situation, I'm going to say,
“I'm sorry, your honor; I didn't mean to break the law. It's just that I was thinking about something you'd written on your blog and I didn't realize how fast I was going.”
Think that'll work?

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Don't Dare

Philip K. Howard in The Wall Street Journal.
Here we stand, facing the worst economy since the Great Depression, and Americans no longer feel free to do anything about it. We have lost the idea, at every level of social life, that people can grab hold of a problem and fix it. Defensiveness has swept across the country like a cold wave. We have become a culture of rule followers, trained to frame every solution in terms of existing law or possible legal risk. The person of responsibility is replaced by the person of caution. When in doubt, don't.
I read Philip K. Howard's book The Death of Common Sense back in '95. He was right then and he's right now. How come nobody's listening to him?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Milk Jug Massacree

I went to the range today and just for fun I took half a dozen plastic milk jugs filled with water. I lined them up on a plank and stuck a target spot on the front one. Here's the aftermath. The first two jugs shattered. The third was mortally wounded and fell off the plank. The fourth had entry and exit holes. The fifth had only an entry hole. I picked up the jug and looked at the bottom. Sure enough:

Remington 7mm-08 140 gr. Core-Lokt PSP

Paper Jam Boy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Holder vs. 2nd Amendment

Stephen P. Halbrook, whose book I am at this moment reading, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the nomination of Eric Holder for Attorney General of the U.S.

The Oregon Firearms Federation recommends that you write your two senators a brief note:
Dear Senator,

Eric Holder is not "change we can believe in." He is more of the same ethically bankrupt, "favors for money" politics from the past. I truly expect better from you and this administration. I urge you to vote "NO" on Eric Holder's confirmation.

Truly yours,
Save yourself a stamp. You can contact Oregon's two senators,
Ron Wyden
Jeff Merkley,
by email.

Le etat, c'est la Une?

Four takes on the Inaugural Address, which you really should read.

Mark Steyn found it brilliant.
How dazzling is President Obama? So dazzling that he didn't merely give a dazzling inaugural speech. Any old timeserving hack could do that. Instead, he had the sheer genius to give a flat dull speech full of the usual shopworn boilerplate. Brilliant! At a stroke, he not only gently lowered the expectations of those millions of Americans and billions around the world for whom his triumphant ascendancy is the only thing that gives their drab little lives any meaning, but he also emphasized continuity by placing his own unprecedented incandescent megastar cool squarely within the tradition of squaresville yawneroo white middle-aged plonking mediocrities who came before him.
Charles Krauthammer found it hopeful.
Obama's unapologetic celebration of Washington and the Founders of the original imperfect union was a declaration of his own emancipation from — or better, transcendence of — the civil rights movement. The old warrior Joseph Lowery prayed for the day when "white will embrace what is right." Not Obama. By connecting himself in this historic address to Washington rather than Lincoln the liberator, Obama was legitimizing the full sweep of American history without annotation or mental reservation. If we ever have a post-racial future, this moment will mark its beginning.
Fred Barnes found it a perfect weapon — for congressional Republicans to use against Democrats.
This is not as silly as it sounds. Republican leaders believe the speech pleased them more than it did House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Obama's "new era of responsibility" echoed the "Personal Responsibility Act," the third of the ten planks in the Contract With America. Obama also said that it's not the size of government which matters but whether it works. Newt Gingrich coined that thought years ago. Obama lauded "risk-takers." Democrats want to tax them to death.
And I found it enigmatic. That part where he said
We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age....
Who does he mean when he says we?

We the people?
We the government?
Or we, the victors of 2008?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flexible Displays

From The Economist:
Unlike an LCD's, this image does not require backlighting. Instead, the user relies on reflected light, as he would if he were reading a sheet of printed paper. Moreover, once the particles in the capsules have settled down they stay put. That means the image remains on the screen without drawing power. A further dose of electricity is required only when the image changes; when a user "turns" to the next page, for example. Not only does this mean that electrophoretic displays are cheaper to run, the lack of constant refreshment makes them more comfortable to read—as comfortable, it is claimed, as printed paper.

The Anti-Caroline

The New York Post has story and photo.
Gov. Paterson, defying the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, has chosen little-known, NRA-backed, upstate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as New York's junior senator, it was learned last night....
She is a Democrat, though.
Gillibrand, a mother of two occasionally resented by colleagues for being an aggressive self-promoter, was strongly backed for the post by Charles Schumer, the state's senior senator...
Cute, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Living In The Past

I prefer it there.

That's Edward Hopper, of course; Automat, 1927.

Grade AAA Snark

Tam's inaugural comment was the best.
I just felt a great disturbance in the Force... though millions of bank accounts cried out in anguish and were suddenly emptied.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So Long To A Class Act

We won't see the likes of him again for a long, long time.

Story and pictures from the last flight by Mark McKinnon at The Daily Beast, by way of Instapundit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warner's Warning

This will end in tears. The Obama hysteria is not merely embarrassing to witness, it is itself contributory to the scale of the disaster that is coming. What we are experiencing, in the deepening days of a global depression, is the desperate suspension of disbelief by people of intelligence — la trahison des clercs — in a pathetic effort to hypnotise themselves into the delusion that it will be all right on the night. It will not be all right.
Gerald Warner blogs at The Telegraph (cookies required).

Just Another Tuesday

Robert Stacy McCain in The American Spectator:
While TV news has spent the past week hyping the occasion as a moment of world-historical significance, for the typical Republican, it's just another Tuesday. He will celebrate the occasion by waking up, taking a quick shower, getting dressed, grabbing a cup of coffee and going to work.

Politics occupies a smaller place in the conservative soul. The whole point of limited government is to restrict the sphere of politics, so that the regular routine of everyday life is beyond the reach of political influence.

By contrast, liberals ascribe to politics a mystical transformative power that adds meaning and purpose to life. This explains the liberal media's breathless enthusiasm over the "Hope" and "Change" symbolized by today's ceremony.

No one should begrudge liberals this occasion, but rather feel sympathy for them. Whether they are celebrating a Democrat's inauguration or, as eight years ago, protesting the inauguration of a Republican, liberals seek in politics a transcendent meaning it can never really provide.

Monday, January 19, 2009

NT 4.0 (That's 105 In Dog Years)

This morning the family PC had a stroke: NTLDR is missing. I fiddled with it for an hour or so and couldn't revive it, so I called for help. Dennis Reagan, a local computer repair expert, came over and tried a few more tricks. Nothing worked.

"We'll have to wipe the hard drive and re-install XP," he said. "You'll lose everything."

"Tell you what," I said, "Let's buy a new hard drive and keep this as a second drive."

"We can do that," he said. He started unplugging cables and tucked the box under his arm. "I probably won't be able to get to it until..." He thought for a minute.

"Probably Monday."

Next Monday! A week without email? Without lolcats? My kids will go nuts. My wife will grind to a halt. We can't wait that long.

"I'll do the best I can," he said. "No guarantees."

After he left I thought for a while. Then I went down to the basement, moved some boxes aside, and dug out an old PC from a decade ago. As best I could remember it ran NT 4.0. And it was working when I dumped it there. I dusted it off and took it upstairs.

No USB. I'll need an old keyboard and mouse. I went back down to the basement and rooted around. Lucky for me I'm a pack rat.

It booted. Amazing. It ran. More amazing. I fired up Netscape and it found the Drudge Report. Incredible. I went to Firefox to see about a download. Firefox 3 no longer supports NT but Firefox 2 does. It did, and it worked.

"Don't bother trying to install Flash," I told the kids, "It won't."

But at least they have the web. No word processor. Email. But no games.

It's like life in the olden days.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Serial Buckshot

Someone this week described the load delivered by a magazine full of .32 ACP as "serial buckshot." I checked the ballistic data for 12 gauge triple-ought. Eight pellets at six pellets to the ounce. The .32 typically uses a 71 grain bullet, or six to the ounce. The Walther carries one in the chamber and seven in the magazine for a total of eight. Muzzle velocity is considerably less, but other than that, pretty close.

I just need to work on my pattern.


From the forecast discussion this morning:
A subsidence inversion that has been in place for the past several days is holding strong in the Rogue valley. The 1 am temperature at the airport in Medford was 24, while the temperature at the Ashland airport — elevation near 1900 feet — was 57 degrees.
If you don't like the weather, go for a drive.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flight 1549 Live Video

By way of Robert Stacy McCain, et al., live video of Flight 1549 hitting the river and the next eight minutes. Passengers out on the wing in seconds. First boat on the scene in less than three minutes. Three boats in five. Amazing.

Update: AVweb has a compilation of footage here.

I'm Not Using Mine

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's The Second Part I Worry About

Shamelessly stolen from Doc. I don't know where he stole it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Hero of Flight 1549

The AIM, or Aeronautical Information Manual, spells out the minimum that every pilot should know about any given aspect of flying. Chapter 6 deals with Emergency Procedures; Section 3 with Distress and Urgency Procedurs; Sub-section 3 with Ditching Procedures.
Touchdown should be at the lowest speed and rate of descent which permit safe handling and optimum nose up attitude on impact. Once first impact has been made, there is often little the pilot can do to control a landplane....

Once preditching preparations are completed, the pilot should turn to the ditching heading and commence let-down. The aircraft should be flown low over the water, and slowed down until ten knots or so above stall. At this point, additional power should be used to overcome the increased drag caused by the nose up attitude....
That's not an option if Canadian geese have destroyed both your engines.
If no power is available, a greater than normal approach speed should be used down to the flare-out. This speed margin will allow the glide to be broken early and more gradually, thereby giving the pilot time and distance to feel for the surface — decreasing the possibility of stalling high or flying into the water....
The pilot of Filght 1549, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, flew a perfect approach.
"One of the best landings I've ever experienced," declared a passenger who escaped without injury.

Pinhole Timewarp

Six months compressed into one image. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

The camera used to make this image is absurdly simple to build, requiring only a beer can, some duct tape, and a 5x7 sheet of photographic paper, and one really clever bit of photographic genius.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Icebergs: Frederick Edwin Church, 1861

Relax your eyes with this collection of Fine Art Wallpaper in resolutions to fit most computer screens.

Bacon: A Love Story

A tribute by Heather Lauer, now available for pre-order at Amazon.

For my Muslim friends (like I have any) we also have a recipe for Tofu Bacon. It's Kosher!

And don't forget—put it on your to-do list if you have to—to tape bacon to the cat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Post No Blogs

I do not like the news today,
The reason why, I cannot say;
But this I know: it's not OK.
I do not like the news today.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don't Ask Him To Punch Your Ticket

You might remember this picture from back in 2006.

By way of Coyote Blog I finally have the story.
Portland, Oregon, — Authorities reported on Wednesday that a wild coyote was chased off the tarmac at Portland International Airport. The traveling prairie pooch, realizing that it wasn't welcome to fly the friendly skies, proceeded to the Tri-Met Airport Terminal Station where it boarded the light-rail train bound for downtown.

At 11:30am, Port of Portland Airfield Operations and Wildlife staff were able to peacefully capture the animal and escort it to a more appropriate habitat.

Port of Portland spokesperson Elisa Dozono said that the little coyote (nicknamed "Wiley") had been seen darting under several trains before jumping onto the MAX Red Line transit where it rather calmly took a window seat. A wildlife official was able to quickly lasso the animal.

"He was really sweet," Ms. Dozono said. "He didn't growl or anything."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Balloon Slaughter

Lizzy went with me to the range today. We took some 30" lengths of fence wire, bent clothes pin notches in the top, and attached balloons. These we planted in the ground, some out at 100 yards, some at 50 yards, and some up close, about 50 feet.

Lizzy had wanted to try out the Walther PPK, and we did. But she also wanted to try the rifle, and I think she enjoyed that more. It was, as far as I know, her first experience with a long gun. She did all right. Balloons died.

All in all, we expended 46 rounds of .32 ACP, 36 rounds of .38 Special, and 26 rounds of 7mm-08. Eighteen balloons died. Two survived. We gave them to some kids shooting .22s.

The weather? Beautiful. Sunshine and shirt-sleeves.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Charlie had the hiccups yesterday along with a bad cold. Tonight I got the hiccups too.

"Maybe there's a connection," Leslie suggested.

"I'll google it."

I turned up this link on Google books.
The link between influenza an hiccups is well documented but most peculiar. Epidemics of recurring bouts of hiccup were reported during the influenza/encephalitis outbreaks between 1919 and 1924. For 4 to 5 days, affected patients had 1 hour episodes of hiccup that recurred every 2 to 3 hours. A strain of strep-
Yes. Yes? Go on....

Scroll down...
[Page 363 is not part of this book preview.]
I still have the hiccups.

A New Circus Comes to Town

Who's the fat lady in tights? Wouldn't wish her on our worst enemy (then again, maybe Mahmoud deserves her). P.J. O'Rourke in The Weekly Standard.

Also in the same issue, ten things Bush got right by Fred Barnes.

Both worth reading.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Over And Over Again

W's Biggest Hits

Two more top al-Qaida operatives collected their virgins on New Year's Day. Justice may be delayed, but not denied. Look up in the sky: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a . . . Predator drone!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Old Argos

After twenty years away Odysseus, disguised as a beggar and led by his old swineherd (who does not recognize him), approaches the gates of his palace.
Now, as they talked on, a dog that lay there
lifted up his muzzle, pricked his ears . . .
It was Argos, long-enduring Odysseus' dog
he trained as a puppy once, but little joy he got
since all too soon he shipped to sacred Troy.
In the old days young hunters loved to set him
coursing after the wild goats and deer and hares.
But now with his master gone he lay there, castaway,
on piles of dung from mules and cattle, heaps collecting
out before the gates till Odysseus' serving-men
could cart it off to manure the king's estates.
Infested with ticks, half-dead from neglect,
here lay the hound, old Argos.
But the moment he sensed Odysseus standing by
he thumped his tail, nuzzling low, and his ears dropped,
though he had no strength to drag himself an inch
toward his master. Odysseus glanced to the side
and flicked away a tear, hiding it from Eumaeus,
diverting his friend in a hasty, offhand way:
"Strange, Eumaeus, look, a dog like this,
lying here on a dung-hill. . .
what handsome lines! But I can't say for sure
if he had the running speed to match his looks
or he was only the sort that gentry spoil at table,
show-dogs masters pamper for their points."

You told the stranger, Eumaeus, loyal swineherd,
"Here—it's all too true—here's the dog of a man
who died in foreign parts. But if he had now
the form and flair he had in his glory days—
as Odysseus left him, sailing off to Troy—
you'd be amazed to see such speed, such strength.
No quarry he chased in the deepest, darkest woods
could ever slip this hound. A champion tracker too!
Ah, but he's run out of luck now, poor fellow . . .
his master's dead and gone, so far from home,
and the heartless women tend him not at all. Slaves,
with their lords no longer there to crack the whip,
lose all zest to perform their duties well. Zeus,
the Old Thunderer, robs a man of half his virtue
the day the yoke clamps down around his neck."

With that he entered the well-constructed palace,
strode through the halls and joined the proud suitors.
But the dark shadow of death closed down on Argos' eyes
the instant he saw Odysseus, twenty years away.
Translation by Robert Fagles.

Plstols At Dawn

Breda of the reference desk attempts to settle a dispute over the exact definition of the word "pistol".

Ten paces, turn, and fire.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

To Hell With The Palestinians

Back in 2002 John Derbyshire wrote a column to that effect.
Even if their lives had not been poisoned by the ministrations of a huge welfare bureaucracy, though, I doubt the Palestinians would have got their act together. None of the other Arabs have. Everywhere you look around the Arab world you see squalor, despotism, cruelty, and hopelessness. The best they have been able to manage, politically speaking, has been the Latin-American style one-party kleptocracies of Egypt and Jordan. Those are the peaks of Arab political achievement under independence, under government by their own people. The norm is just gangsterism, with thugs like Assad, Qaddafi, or Saddam in charge. It doesn't seem to be anything to do with religion: the secular states (Iraq, Syria) are just as horrible as the religious ones like Saudi Arabia. These people are hopeless....
That still stands today. Some columns, he says, you only need to write once.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Of Course There Are Dogs In Heaven

It wouldn't be heaven otherwise.

The Round Hound has gone ahead.

The Permanent Greene & Greene Exhibition

David Littlejohn in The Wall Street Journal reviews an exhibition of the Art and Craft of Greene & Greene at The Huntington Library in San Marino. He suggests you take the day, and visit the exhibitions first.
Next, drive five miles to the century-old Gamble House at 4 Westmoreland Place, just north of the Ventura Freeway in Pasadena, to take an hour-long guided tour of the one Greene & Greene house open to the public....

After the tour, walk right and then left on to Arroyo Terrace. Here, between 1901 and 1906, the brothers built a little colony of houses: 440, 408, 400, 370 and 368 deserve a look. Their rear windows and gardens overlook Arroyo Seco, Pasadena's picturesque wooded canyon, into which the Rose Bowl was inserted in 1922. Number 368, with its half-octagonal front room and octagonal studio above, was Charles Greene's own house....
The exhibition at The Huntington will end January 26th and then travel to Washington, D.C. and then Boston.

The Gamble House, and all the rest, will stay where they are.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Spirit And Opportunity On Mars

The Washington Times:
Five years after the NASA rover Spirit landed on Mars, the six-wheel robotic geologist and its twin Opportunity are still on the job.

Expectations were far lower when Spirit made a bouncing landing in a cocoon of air bags Jan. 3, 2004, followed 21 days later by Opportunity: The goal was to try to operate each solar-powered rover for at least three months....

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Took The Lights Down

Haven't put them away yet, though.

Walther On The Range

Starting from zero at the age of fifty-two, what I don't know about guns, as Philip Marlowe once remarked about another subject, you "could almost crowd into the Rose Bowl." Two years ago I began to learn a little about single action revolvers. Last year I began to study bolt action rifles. And today I started — just started — to learn about small-caliber blowback pistols.

Not being the sort that makes friends easily, I have few mentors outside of books and magazines. For all the epistolary virtues and vast knowledge of gun writers they have one major fault in addressing the neophyte such as me and that is that they have forgotten how much they once didn't know. They never state the obvious, and I still haven't guessed it.

Here's one fact I don't recall ever stumbling upon in my reading: pistols are filthy. The very nature of the blowback mechanism ensures that if you had any excess oil anywhere within the inner workings of your pistol that oil will, when the pistol, in effect, sneezes, be blown out every crack and crevice of the frame, grip, and magazine. As black, oily, snot.

What replaces the oil thus ejected is more nasty smelling blackness. I used to think that writers who advocated the "dunk and swish" method of pistol cleaning were just being lazy. They're not. They're being practical. Chandler has Marlowe sniffing the gun to see if it's been fired, and deducing how long ago it was fired, and so on, and cleaning the pistol to remove the evidence of its having been fired. Well, it's not working for me. I spent two hours cleaning it after I came home from the range and it still stinks.

Two. I may not know much about gunsmithing, but I know something about sharpening chisels. And no matter how fine the stone you use, when you've put a good edge on the chisel, that edge, if you look at it with a magnifying glass, will be as bristly as a pine cone. To finish it you need to strop it on a piece of leather.

The modern Smith & Wesson straight from the factory has edges, too, and as obtuse as they may be, that have not been stropped. Not on the $500 dollar models, anyway. On the first day at the range those edges will strop themselves on the thin leather of your palms. Ouch. I used to think that when they talked about "breaking in" a gun it was the gun that broke. Not so. It's your skin.

Three. If you want reliability stick to revolvers. I had two mis-feeds and two failures to chamber the first round (those were probably my fault, since the broken skin of my thumb and forefinger failed to snap the slider briskly). I see now that you need to carry an empty magazine everywhere you go for the express purpose of locking the slider open while you fiddle with removing the cockeyed cartridge. What a lot of bother.

Oh well. It's a learning experience.

Tomorrow I will go back to working with the rifle. I'm more dangerous at 100 yards with the rifle that at 50 feet with the pistol. I'm more experienced with it too. That's not saying much.

Genuinely Funny

The only must-read today is the Weekend Interview in The Wall Street Journal with Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
"Beneath the carefully constructed veneer of a blithering buffoon, there lurks a blithering buffoon."
Our own politicians may be funny in a gangsterish sort of way, but Boris Johnson is genuinely funny in a late-night comic sort of way.

Friday, January 02, 2009

That's It Until 2009

The PPK came in today.

I spent the afternoon field stripping and cleaning it. Pretty complex little piece of machinery. Tomorrow I'll take it to the range and try it out.

Leslie and I agree that if I restrict myself to one major purchase a year my hobby probably won't bankrupt us. This Walther was for 2008 though. What should I get next?

I'm kinda thinking the 870 Express in 20 gauge with the 26" barrel.

Bacon Fried Steak

¼ lb. bacon per steak
sweet mesquite seasoning

I use a deep pan to control the spattering. Fry the bacon until half done. Turn and move to the edge of the pan. Place the steak in the center and sizzle until browned. Turn and sprinkle with sweet mesquite seasoning. When the bacon is done — not too crisp — pile it on top of the steak.

Serve with knife and fork.

War Is Fattening

Faye Bittker tells of life on the front lines:
It could be the chemical high of the carbohydrates, or maybe the immediate kick of the sugar. It might even be the emotional pleasure of indulging in the chocolate in a guilt-free environment. I am no scientist, but my first-hand study has shown that when sirens are screaming, particularly if it is the second or third alarm in less than an hour, there is nothing more calming than a bite of fudge-filled chocolate cookie. Particularly when shared with the random gathering of strangers in the nearest bomb shelter.