Thursday, December 27, 2007

Remington to purchase Marlin Firearms

Marlin, which owns New England Firearms and Harrington & Richardson, is in the process of being purchased by Remington.

The heck?? How many firearms companies are gonna end up under the control of Cerberus? Who's next, SIG?

Anyone have any comments? I'm officially leaving this one up to the peanut gallery.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Am Legend

I watched Will Smith's new movie last night with Randy. It's based on the book by the same name and is the most recent of several movie adaptations. The one that you might be most familiar with was Omega Man starring Charlton Heston.

Basically, this movie just felt rushed. It's only 100 minutes long and felt like it really should have been at least two and a half hours. The ending scenes were disjointed and should have been fleshed out for more interaction between the characters. It was almost like the director thought "Oh, this is getting too long, let's just put the ending here."

On the other hand, what interactions there are between characters are quite deep for the lack of dialog. Smith's portrayal of a man who has been out of contact with humanity for three years is very believable.

The action sequences were pretty good and I like the rifle setup they chose to have Smith use. His character is a research scientist who is also a Lt. Col. in the Army. It makes sense that he would use the weapon most familiar to him. The animation for the creatures isn't bad but it is, unfortunately, obvious. You don't look at the "Darkseekers" and think that they are real. I really think that they should have left the animation for the action sequences and used make-up for the tight shots.

In all, I'd say that this was a movie worth going to the theater to watch but you wouldn't miss much if you waited to get it on DVD.

Posts Intermittent

I'll be at my parents until around New Year's. Posts may be intermittent 'til then.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas party

We had both our office and plant-wide Christmas parties today. I managed to eat too much, listened to some rather talented singers/musicians, and got a fleece pullover and a waterproof throw embroidered with the company's logo.

And now I am going to curl up with a book until Supernatural is on and wait for my pizza to get here.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christianity and self-defense: The soapbox

Maybe I've got a different version of the Bible than other folks do. That's the only reason that I can think why people believe that, as a Christian, any taking of human life is wrong. Because in the version that I have, there were many instances in which God not only said that the taking of life was permissible but a command directly from Him!

Take the example of Deuteronomy 19 which goes into the requirements for cities of refuge within the new nation of Israel and how they are to be utilized in cases of manslaughter or murder.

“Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously ... he may flee to one of these cities and live; otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously.”

“But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.”

Here we see that the “avenger of blood” was the proper one to whom a murderer should be delivered for execution.

Then there is the case that I am sure most of us have heard (Exodus 21:3) of the thief who is killed in the course of his thievery. The Bible declares that “...there shall no blood be shed for him.”

Now these are examples pulled from the Old Testament. Most folks seem to think for some reason that God was different back in Old Testament times, that he was bloodthirsty. I'm here to tell you that God is no different today than he was at any other point in the history of the world. Let's take a look at a New Testament example.

In Luke 22, Jesus has just told Peter that he would deny knowing Jesus. He then turns to the rest of his disciples and says, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” His disciples replied, “No, nothing.” Jesus then says, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

Why would Jesus, a man who preaches peace, tell his followers “If you don't have a sword, sell some of your clothes and get one!” Well, first of all, while Jesus taught peace, he also said that he would not bring peace. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” As for why he told his followers to buy a sword, the answer is that he knew that the time of his betrayal was near and that the disciples were going to be scattered for a while. In the time that Jesus was referring to in the beginning of the quote, what has been called the limited commission, God had protected them as a way of showing his power, also providing food and shelter for the same reason. Now that God has proved his point, he will no longer be actively protecting and providing for them and they will need a means to protect themselves while out on their own. And the best tool for defending oneself from other men at that time was the sword.

You'll also notice that Jesus did not advocate his disciples disarming themselves and relying on Roman soldiers. The Romans were some tough cookies when it came to punishing lawbreakers but there were still plenty of people willing to risk that punishment for the quick payoff of crime. (Take Barrabas for instance.) On the flip side of that coin, he never advocated breaking of the Roman law either except when it flatly contradicted God's will.

Today, God still does not take an active role in providing for and protecting us. He has given most of us the ability to do these things for ourselves as well as commanded his followers to aid those who cannot do these things for themselves. And the best tool for defending ourselves today is the firearm.

And finally, note Romans 12:18: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” The implied and unfortunate part of this is that there are some men who will not let you be at peace with them.

Christianity and self-defense

There was a recent post on THR that got me to thinking about this topic again. And as soon as I'm back from services tonight, I intend to get on my soapbox.

Ron Paul and the founder of Stormfront?

Hrmm. It seems that our favorite presidential candidate has received a donation from the founder of the Stormfront White Nationalist website. (If you want to take a look, google it. I'm not gonna give 'em any more traffic than I have to.) It seems that someone has been going through Dr. Paul's contributions list and found this fella had donated $500. When whoever was looking into it contacted Dr. Paul's campaign about whether he would keep the donation, the reply was "Yes."

I imagine that answer might astound some who would consider it political suicide. However, I absolutely love the spin that spokesman Jesse Benton put on it:

"Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and inalienable rights. If someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinking he can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said. "Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom. And that's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does." (emphasis mine)

Darn straight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Man shoots intruders who turn out to be SWAT

YIKES! That's a scary, scary situation that I hope to never be in. Thankfully no one was seriously injured.

The thing that really gets my goat, though, is this: "Police haven't decided whether they'll try to charge Khang with a crime."

They bust into the wrong house on a no-knock (don't get me started) and they're actually considering charging the man who defended his home and family? How retarded is that? I don't care if you're yelling "Police!", flashing badges, or have those nifty vests that proclaim POLICE in yellow across the front, you pull something like that in an honest man's home, this is the least you should expect.

People are still using that?

This is a bit of old news but I just saw it and thought it was amusing. It seems that Con Edison has finally discontinued distribution of DC power! I didn't even know they were still using DC current. Who'd'a thunk it?

But that's not even the kicker! It seems that the Mid-Manhattan Library as well as a few thousand other users had to be transitioned over to AC power over the last few years. Their method? Install an AC-to-DC converter!

Though come to think of it, I'll bet the lights in that place are great for reading...

No good deed goes unpunished

God help me! People, it's called a turn signal. You were supposed to learn how to use it when you got your license*. It only requires about a 0.5" of movement of your little finger and 0.25 pounds of force to initiate. Why, oh why, do you refuse to use it?

Good grief...

*This is, of course, assuming that you are licensed.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A little help?

Okay, I'm about to go nuts here. I've been looking for an optic for my Saiga S-308 for quite a while now. I have tried the POSP scopes from Kalinka Optics, specifically the 4x24 and 2.5-5x24 models, but I can't seem to get a good cheekweld with the offset on these scopes. I currently have a PK-01 on a centered weaver side-mount using an Aimpoint 30mm ring. Unfortunately, as with most red-dots, the dot is oblong and tends to blur. I feel that I cannot make the most of the accuracy of my rifle using a traditional red-dot.

I've recently been looking at the Trijicon Reflex, specifically, the 12.9 MOA triangle reticle, and a Burris Eurodiamond 1.5-6x40. The Trijicon has the advantages of not needing batteries for low-light conditions, having a triangular reticle for more precise shot placement, being small and lightweight, and having unlimited eye relief. Its drawbacks are that the triangle may exhibit the same blurring as normal red-dots (unknown) and the lack of magnification which limits its usefulness at range.

The Eurodiamond has the advantages of a range of magnification that I would consider spot-on for a 16"-barreled .308, a standard reticle for more precise shot placement, a larger objective and tube to allow more light to reach the eye, and the fact that it's a Burris scope. These folks know how to make optics. The drawbacks are a limited range of positioning due to eye relief, no illumination or illumination that requires a battery to work, and the loss of reticle clarity at close ranges even on the lowest magnification setting.

I've also been considering trying out this optic to get an idea of how a low- and adjustable-magnification scope would handle on the rifle. It's certainly cheap enough...

Does anyone have any opinions on these two optics or, better yet, suggestions on an optic that betters either of these?

Health and fantasy authors

Due to a couple of mentions by LawDog and Tamara, I recently picked up the first couple of books of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. And I wasn't disappointed. Hilarious!

And then I see this and this. At least Mr. Pratchett is keeping a good attitude as evidenced in the letter titled "An Embuggerance" posted at the second link on December 11th. But, darn it, what's the deal with fantasy authors and poor health? First we lose Robert Jordan and now this.

Frankly, I think LD hit it on the head: BUGGER!

P.S. If Larry so much as gets the sniffles, me and Death are gonna have words...

Record breaking

I am, of course, referring to the donations that Ron Paul's campaign received yesterday. Over $6 million dollars in a single day. That breaks the previous record of $5.7 million set by John Kerry in 2004 for online donations in a single day. It also puts Paul's donations for this quarter at over $18 million, 150% of the goal of $12 million that some called optimistic.

Unfortunately, even this probably won't get him the media attention he deserves. They'd rather talk about Huckabee being endorsed by Chuck Norris. That's sooo much more impressive. (Then again, maybe they're just scared that Chuck'll roundhouse kick 'em through the cameras if they don't give him coverage...)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cerberus acquires DPMS

According to Shooting Wire, Cerberus Capital Management has acquired the assets of DPMS. This adds another AR-15 specialty manufacturer to Cerberus' fold in addition to Bushmaster Firearms. This third firearm industry purchase (the other is Remington) kind of makes one wonder in what direction Cerberus intends to take these companies. Remington is already offering the R-15 rifle that appears to be a re-branded camo Varminter. There has been some speculation that Cerberus may be gearing up to grab a share of the government's contracts.

I guess only time will tell.

In other news

Larry Correia has completed proofing his new novel Monster Hunter International. Larry is a moderator on THR and has been a contributing author to the online fiction started by Nightcrawler on said forum. I've been looking forward to this novel for several months and have already sent in my preorder. I don't figure there's any chance of it being in my hands by Christmas but I do hope that it will be out before the end of January.

Ron Paul FTW!

Well, as of 4:40 PM CST today, December 16, Ron Paul has received over $4 million in campaign donations for this week. (Wouldn't that just be today seeing as how it's a Sunday?) That brings his total for the quarter to over $15.5 million. His target goal for this quarter was $12 million. We've already bettered that by over 25%!

Those who know me in real life know that I have been rather excited about Dr. Paul's presidential campaign. Frankly, he had me at "I'm Ron Paul ... I am the champion of the constitution."

And if by some happy coincidence Dr. Paul happens to read this, just let me say: Thank you, sir.

Military Rumors

Thanks for this particular rant can go to the instructor I had at my new job with whom I was idly shooting the bull during a lull in class. He had asked how to spell my name. I replied, "Two 'r's and two 't's." At the same time, one of the mechanical engineers who had started at the same time as me said, "Just like the rifle!" (Note to anyone who has reason to write out Mr. Ronnie Barrett's company's name: It is two 'r's and two 't's. Not Barret. Not Barrette. get the idea.)

Anyways, the instructor made a comment that I cannot recall that led me to state that one day I will have one. (And I will.) Just because of the name. In turn, this led to a conversation that included his past service in the military and a mention of an old piece of incorrect information. "The fifty can't be used against troops, that's a war crime. It's an anti-materiel rifle only. You have to shoot at a wall or something and let the shrapnel get them."

As most folks who are reading this probably already know, that is complete and utter poppycock. See this post at THR for references. Unfortunately, he is a rather headstrong individual and dismissed out of hand the possibility that his DIs may have been mistaken. And I didn't make much of a fuss over this as my passing or failing the class was pretty much at his discretion. But things like this absolutely set my teeth on edge. (Another one is the myth that the AK-47 was designed to fire both Soviet and U.S. ammunition. But that's a completely separate rant altogether.)

After all, I usually hear things like this from otherwise intelligent people, such as my instructor. I mean how many times have we heard about snipers taking extraordinary shots at enemy personnel? It was just a few years ago that a Canadian sniper made a record breaking shot in Afghanistan with a .50 rifle. Do they really think that this would be allowed if it was a war crime? (As an aside, this is usually attributed as a crime under the Geneva Convention which affects more than just the U.S.) How do they reconcile things like this in their minds? Or do they even process the info, just accept it at face value?

I've missed logical incongruities before myself, but this and things like it are passed around too often and by too many people to just shrug it off as a brain fart moment.

Ah, Jayne

This video is a wildly incongruous mix of song and source material for images, not even close to professionally cut, and the character who is the subject of the video is a backstabbing, self-absorbed moron...

But for some reason it makes me smile.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Junyor's new toy

It seems our friend Junyor has a new blog. This is in addition to and Pownce. Apparently, Twitter allows for more usability via his mobile devices than Pownce.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All I want for Christmas... a Sig Sauer P220 SAO.

Those who know me know that I have a fondness for firearms with a manual safety that allows for condition 1 carry. It has never made a lick of sense to me to carry a pistol that does not mechanically allow for the easiest reasonable trigger pull available. Most of the double action pistols out there require so much force to compress the trigger to the point of tripping the hammer that, unless one is careful to avoid it, the shot may be "jerked".

Now, don't get me wrong, I can see the use in a double action sidearm for police use. Officers have occasion to draw their firearms in situations where it is not immediately necessary to discharge said firearms. A "touchy" trigger in such a situation could lead to disaster if the officer does not abide by the four rules of gun safety.

For a (hopefully) well-trained citizen who is lawfully carrying, I believe this to be less of a concern. Frankly, there are few situations that I can think of which would require a citizen to hold someone at gunpoint without immediate commencement of firing. Most states, to my knowledge, require the immediate threat to life or of great bodily harm to yourself or another person before the use of deadly force is authorized. And make no mistake, as soon as you point a firearm at another human being, you are utilizing deadly force. Why, in such a situation, would you not immediately act to stop this threat to yourself or another?

Personally, in just such a situation, I would want the best trigger pull reasonable on a dead-reliable pistol that fits my hand well. Enter the P220 SAO.

Sig made a name for themselves by producing reliable firearms ("To Hell and Back Reliability" is their motto) that are ergonomic and durable. Unfortunately for me, their pistol selection was for years plagued by the DA/SA mode of operation wherein the pistol is "made safe" by use of a decocking mechanism. This requires the first shot to be made by pulling the trigger through a long and heavy but smooth double action. All subsequent shots are single action.

The SAO eliminates the need for the double action first shot (and double action capability altogether unless I'm mistaken) and replaces the decocking mechanism with a 1911-esque safety. The safety on the models that I have handled have all been crisp, with positive engagement in both on and off positions. The remaining controls remain unchanged as do the lines of the weapon. Which is A Good Thing (tm) in my humble opinion.

Now the only question is, how do I patiently wait for my tax return with this pistol calling my name so?

How to make a wallet beg for mercy

As I mentioned in my previous post, my sister swung down for a visit today. After leaving my current place of employment, we sallied forth in search of lunch. (Egads but I love having half days on Friday!) Being the good brother I am, I picked up the tab. Then she managed to coerce me into doing some shopping.

To tell the truth, all it took was her asking if I minded doing some looking around. I had completely forgotten that the Christmas rush is upon us.

We made a quick stop by the local branch of her shoe store where I was educated on exactly how they were doing everything wrong. And then listen to complaints about how, in spite of this incompetence, they still managed to be the highest grossing store in the state.

Then we hit Target. And this is where the cries of mercy from yon pocket book come into play. We had intended to do a little shopping for some of our family members on our mother's side. We managed to pick out a couple of items that seemed likely candidates for a few folks on our list. Then we entered the DVD section...

Long story short, we ended up purchasing at least three times as much, price-wise, for ourselves as we did for those on our list. There were just too many good deals that we absolutely knew we were never going to see again. My sister ended up with three seasons of Friends while I managed to pick up a box set of The Lord of the Rings and the Bourne trilogy.

I decided at that point that it might be for the best to skip the trip I had planned to Best Buy...

Where to begin...?

How about with a little self-congratulatory back-patting?

If you're reading this, you probably know that I recently started a new job in central Arkansas. It's really rather nice as I'm able to visit family and friends with a drive that's half the time that my old place of residence required. Because of this, my sister was able to come down for a visit today and drop off a couple of large bags filled with shoes.

Why shoes? Well, the R&D department that I am now a part of has sponsored the local Women's Shelter for Christmas. My sister is a manager for a shoe store in ma familia's neck of the woods and she was able to find deals on shoes for 4 women and 6 kids without breaking my bank account. (That came later.)

It was rather fun to see the coworkers go a bit bug-eyed as I brought two large bags through the front door to the office and deposited them beside the box designated for accepting donations (as the bags would not have fit even had it been empty).

Now, would you mind giving me a hand? I think I wrenched my shoulder...