30 January 2015

Do You Mean To Tell Me

that I don't have any .45ACP target ammo to shoot up?

Well, I will be damned. I have absolutely no excuse for the sorry state I find myself in. It's a good thing I can find it on the shelf these days otherwise I'd have to break into my reserves.

Looks like I'll be spending some quality time with the reloading bench. I wonder if the toy store has any pistol powder? Since I'll be in the neighborhood I'll drop by and check.

Yes boys and girls, it's RANGE DAY!!! I can certainly use it.

27 January 2015

There It Is

This morning when I left RTP it was a little damp and the clouds were starting to clear away.

As I got closer to home I started to see snow on the ground.

 Yes, I pulled over to take these.





Doggeh didn't quite know what to think of it.



By the time I got up this afternoon it was all gone.

24 January 2015

Chicken and Rice

When I did my first cruise on USS Washington (CVN-73) Laura and I had not yet been married a year. She wasn't much of a domestic goddess so she didn't cook much. Imagine my surprise when I returned from that first cruise to find out she had prepared dinner for me.

Let me interrupt this tale to relay the fact that on Washington we had some kind of chicken and some kind of rice for every single meal, including breakfast. The chicken may have been eggs for breakfast, but there was always rice. Steamed rice, rice pilaf, Mexican rice, and yes, you guessed it, chicken and rice.

Needless to say I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about the evening meal.

It was the last time she cooked chicken and rice. In fact, it was the last time she prepared a post-cruise meal for me at all. It was not, however, the last time I heard about it. If there are any active duty military reading this post take some advice; if the wife cooks you something when you get back home, shut up and eat it. With a smile. Without comments, except to tell her how great it is and how much you appreciate her going through all the trouble. Trust me on this.

At any rate, today I had a hankering for some good old fashioned chicken and rice.*

Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:
1 medium chicken, 4-6 lbs
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme (1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
Ground black pepper
Kosher salt
3 cups rice

Directions:

Combine the chicken, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, and a tablespoon each of salt and pepper in a large pot, add water to cover. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Add water as necessary to keep the chicken covered, and continue to gently simmer until the chicken is fully cooked (the juices from the thigh will run clear), about 40 minutes to an hour.

Remove the chicken from the broth and allow it to cool for approx 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to debone. Strain the vegetables from the broth and put them into a large bowl. Pour the strained broth into another container so that you can use the stock pot.

Debone the chicken and place it in the bowl with the vegetables. Add about a half cup of broth to moisten the chicken back up and stir well. Put the chicken and vegetables back into the stock pot. Add 6 cups of broth and the rice, stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is done.

You will have about 2 quarts of broth left over. Freeze it and use it in other recipes, it's good stuff.

*Please note, this is not her recipe. In fact, I don't think she had a recipe other than cook rice, throw some canned chicken into it. As I said, she wasn't much of a cook.

22 January 2015

uhhh...

I got an email today from FaithVoters4Hillary.

I think they may want to check their email lists against their target demographic. I'm pretty sure I ain't it.

21 January 2015

Southern Weather

Yesterday the temps were in the mid 60's and the sun was shining, so I took the car down and washed it. It needed the wash job pretty badly, I'm not as good about washing it as I should be (because every time I wash it I seem to find another ding in the paint).

Astute observers might recall that a mere seven days ago we were experiencing freezing rain. Oh what difference a week makes.

You have to take these days where you can, the freezing rain should be back Monday morning.

 UPDATE: Now it's just rain for Monday, but we're supposed to have wintery mix a week from Saturday. When these guys can predict the weather accurately a week in advance I might be a little more convinced about Glow-Bull Warmening. Until then...yeah, not so much.

16 January 2015

Of Kilts And Quilts

I only got into the kilt thing because of the annual Kilted to Kick Cancer campaign but it is an interesting garment with an equally interesting history (TL;DR, if it weren't for the hated British Army kilts may have no longer been with us, they were banned from 1746 to 1782 except for the Highland Regiments of the British Army).

A traditional kilt (the one that everyone thinks of when you say "kilt") is a tailored garment, but a Great Kilt is essentially nothing more than a blanket, 54 to 60 inches wide by 7-9 yards long, held on with a belt. Kilts may be pleated to the sett, which repeats the pattern around the pleated part, or to the stripe, which centers a selected stripe of the tartan on each exposed portion of the pleat. Most "military" kilts are pleated to the stripe because it was easier and therefore faster to do.

The traditional kilt only needs half the length of material to make than the Great Kilt because modern looms weave 54-60 inch widths; it is essentially cut in half and sewn together to make the length. The Great Kilt requires the 54-60 inch width so it can't be cut in half and must have the entire length.

(Here's an interesting note, the Great Kilt was originally made from cloth woven on 30" looms; they needed two 7-9 yard lengths sewn together to make a 60" width. Since modern looms weave a 54-60" width rather than 30" you only need one 7-9 yard length to make a Great Kilt now.)

American patterned kilts have an apron length 1/3 of the waist, but the traditional Scottish pattern has an apron length 1/2 of the waist. Since the Scottish pattern has less pleated length it actually uses less material.

At any rate, once you check into kilts you find they are damnably expensive, partially because of the work involved in the pleating process and partially because of the cost of the cloth itself. The cost includes the weight and the dyes; true tartans are not printed, they are woven from individually colored threads and so it takes a lot of work on the part of the weaver to create specific tartans.

Additionally, the tartans are registered and sometimes can only legally be made by one manufacturer. The U.S. Navy Edzell and Seabee tartans, for example, are registered to and can only be legally made by Strathmore Woollen Company and will run you 31 pounds sterling (currently a bit over 47 USD) per meter for the lighter weight fabric and 35.17 pounds ($53.51 USD) for the heavier fabric.

The amount of cloth needed to make a kilt depends on the style of kilt you are making, the waist measurement of the intended wearer, the sett (distance until the pattern repeats) of the tartan, and the desired pleat width (which can itself be a function of the sett). The formula for determining how much material you need, for the American pattern, is:

{[(waist/3 x 2) x (sett + pleat width)]+(waist/3 x 2)} x 1.2
72

For the Scottish pattern (waist/3 x 2) is substituted with waist/2 in the formula, so the second term simply becomes the waist measurement, simplifying the equation:

{[waist/2 x (sett + pleat width)] + waist/2} x 1.2
72

American kilts are 1 1/3 waist length and Scottish kilts are 1 1/2 waist length, but the pleated parts are 2/3 waist length and 1/3 waist length respectively, and since the pleated portion gets multiplied by sett+pleat width the American pattern takes more cloth. For the American pattern, using the Edzell tartan at 5 5/8" sett with a 1 1/8" pleat width and a 40" waist, you would need roughly 3.5 yards; for the Scottish pattern using the same measurements you would only need a bit over 2.5 yards (I would need 4.1333 yards and 3.1 yards respectively and I'll thank you to leave that math alone).

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm considering making my own kilt for this year. My mother's family name, Roberts, is associated with Clan Donnachaidh so I could conceivably claim any of their tartans (although I'd certainly want to get the DNA testing done first), or I can use the Roberts of Wales tartan, or there is the US Navy Edzell tartan, and if I really want to stretch it I might be able to lay some claim to the US Navy Seabee tartan from my paternal grandfather (although in that case I'd want to pleat to the sett rather than to the stripe).

However, since some historical records indicate that the clan adoption of individual tartans didn't occur until after the ban was lifted (before the ban they depended more on the individual weavers and thus were more regionally associated) it really isn't critical that I use any specific tartan. Given the costs involved I'll probably just find something suitable and use that, at least for my first attempt.

And so, armed with a couple of websites, I make my plans. Maybe something will come of it and maybe not.


(The astute observer will note that, despite the title of the post, no quilts were mentioned...until now.)

15 January 2015

Kirby

Yeah, they were just here.

They spent an hour demonstrating how the brand-new Kirby can pick up more dirt in an hour than the old Kirby can pick up in 5 minutes, and then offered me a great deal on the new one. I think they were a bit put out when I pointed out the two machines were identical besides the color of the bag and declined their generous offer.

The old one would probably work better if I put it to work more often.

14 January 2015

Winter Weather Advisory

Freezing rain today in the Triangle. I got to drive home in it.

Note to my fellow North Carolinians: 4WD is not magic and it will not automatically enable you to continue to drive like an idiot on the ice. Also, slow down and stop following me so close, I'm not going to speed up. Not today. Watch out for that tree there bub...like the way you did the complete 180 and hit it tailgate first, though. That should buff right out. Sure, no problem, I'll wait for the state trooper, I obviously have nothing better to do.

Fortunately I have nowhere to be today, and all day to get there.

09 January 2015

My First Official Act

One of the things you may or may not know about the ol' Scoundrel is I am an ordained minister through Universal Life Church (and you can be, too!) although I've never done any official clergy type stuff. I only got it so I could counter some jackass using his ordination as moral superiority in an online chat room. (remember those?) Not a very good reason, I agree, but it is a reason.

Now my bluff has been called, so to speak. I've been asked to officiate a wedding ceremony, and according to everything I have read so far I am qualified under the laws and guidelines of the State of North Carolina to do so.

I find this oddly satisfying, and since the person requesting is a close personal friend I am honored to do so. Said blessed event is over a year off, but I'll be ordering the required materials immediately so that the planning can be started.

I'm looking forward to this (which is another thing I find oddly satisfying).

08 January 2015

This

is just ree-damn-diculous.

I moved south to get away from temperatures like this.

Well, that and because there aren't any aircraft carriers home-ported in Omaha.

02 January 2015

31 December 2014

This Is The End, My Friends

Of the year, that is.

Come this time tomorrow 2014 will have shed this mortal coil and the upstart 2015 will have usurped its place. As in years past foul play will not have been suspected, although once again the timing certainly is convenient.

And at the end of the old year, allow me to suggest a theme...some none of my lies are true.

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article4940373.html

(click on pic for Dave Barry's column)

Everyone stay safe tonight, see you next year!

27 December 2014

Be Careful What You Ask For

I don't think this will end like they think it will end.

Maybe someone could explain to me what the sense is in picking a fight with the people who own all the guns?

Mailbag

Yesterday in the mail were two items of note.

The first was a book, Altered Perceptions, that I ordered as part of an Indiegogo project to help an author out with mental issues. It has short stories and snippets (including an alternate ending to Brandon Sanderson's "The Way of Kings" which I won't be  reading until I've finished with the book) from several well-known authors including (obviously) Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia and John C. Wright. I'm looking forward to the read, but it goes to the bottom of a substantial stack of paper books (darn this Kindle addiction).

The second package contained gun leather. I alluded to having a holster made for Grand-dad's High Standard and promised to elaborate when the new belt and holster for the Sig had arrived. Today is the day. The belt and holsters were made by Ed Hall, and when you order yours as you know you want to you can contact Ed by email at chucksteelman5@gmail.com.

First, the pics:





First impressions of the gun belt:

This is a substantial piece of leather.

This is the first actual gun belt that I have owned and I must admit that I was not quite prepared for the solidity of it. When I threaded the holster on the belt I was impressed by the tight fit of the belt to the belt openings. I actually had to unthread the belt once to reposition the holster because I had not slid the holster back far enough when putting the belt on, and let me tell you once that belt is threaded through the holster the holster WILL NOT move.

Aesthetically it is a fine looking piece of leather as well, the tooling and color is just right to match the holsters and it is just a nice piece of work. I especially liked the intricate weave pattern that the maker put on both the belt and the holsters, it is a nice touch and really ties them together.

Functionally it holds the holster solidly, once you put the holsters in place they STAY in place, just as it should be. It holds the holster much tighter to the body as well, which will certainly enhance the concealability of the rig when such things are an issue (such as when I carry in Florida).

Moving around I liked the way I wasn't constantly knocking my elbow against the gun, and no matter what I was doing I never had the impression that I was losing control of the firearm. The gun butt stayed tucked tightly in to my side, just as it should, which has certainly not been the case with the regular belt I had been using.

I tried it with the Sig's new leather, the Sig's old leather (a commercially made Bianchi Minimalist), the Galco Stow n' Go I use for the Glocks, the Dragon Leatherworks Fugly for the Glocks, and the Galco Matrix paddle holster for the Glocks and the new gun belt held every one of them solidly. I had stopped wearing the Fugly in particular because it felt like the holster was tipping over when I was sitting and I was afraid I'd drop the gun out of it. Since this is no longer an issue I expect I'll be wearing the Fugly more often now.

In short, until you have actually owned an honest-to-goodness gun belt you don't realize just how much you need one.

First impressions of the holsters:

When I got the holster made for Grand-dad's High Standard it was the first piece of leather I had ever had made for that particular item. None of the regular manufacturers, either custom or commercial, had a holster for the High Standard Model H-B, which is not surprising given the age of the gun. Since it was on the way when I was going to Florida for Thanksgiving I contacted Ed, dropped the gun off to him and picked up the gun and the holster on my way back.

As you can see it is a very nice looking piece of leather in its own right, and as can be expected from a custom fit it fits the gun like a glove. It holds the gun securely without hindering the draw, and it is exactly what it should be - an attractive and functional home for the gun when it is being carried.

The Sig's holster is likewise a handsome and functional cut of cowhide. The only caveat about the Sig is that it was made from a P226 form instead of molded to the actual firearm (P220) like the High Standard was so it is a bit tight on the fit.

Ed explained to me that it would likely be this way and included instructions on how to loosen it up a bit. If I had the P220R model with the rails, like everyone else, this probably would not have been an issue but of course I have to be difficult.

At first I had some trouble with the draw, the pistol did not want to come out of the holster. I attributed that to the tight fit, but as it turned out the issue was not a fault of the holster at all but rather with the Sig's front sight.

I had not noticed it before, but the back edge of the front sight was vertical and extremely sharp and was digging into the leather and pulling at the stitching when I attempted to draw. Rounding the back edge of the sight has done wonders in improving the fit of the holster, and the draw is now smooth.

I will of course have to carry the Sig in its new leather for a while before I can give a long-term report on it, but going on first impressions I am both fully satisfied with my purchases and enthusiastically willing to give Ed Hall the Refuge Seal of Approval (for what that is worth).

26 December 2014

It's Official

My new shirt that Youngest Daughter got me for Christmas:


The picture I got from Middle Daughter via text message on Christmas night:


I'm not saying they were working together, but the timing certainly suggests it.

It's Not That Liberals Know Nothing...It's That So Much Of What They Know Is Wrong

I am a gun owner.

I have bought several guns.

I have bought guns from private individuals and I have bought guns from retail outlets.

If you buy a gun from a retail outlet you are GOING to get a background check...yes, even at a gun show...either on the spot through NICS or through your permitting process when you get your concealed carry permit (or in NC, your pistol purchase permit).

In some states you will even have to wait a week or so to take your purchase home, even though the background check has been done and the only thing that is happening is the clock is ticking.

If you are legally buying a gun from an individual, it is likely going to be someone you know personally or someone that someone you know personally knows personally.

Either way, a legitimate gun owner transferring a firearm in a private sale is NOT going to leave him/herself open to the tender mercies of the courts by knowingly selling a gun to someone who may use it in a crime.

If you think buying a gun is so easy let's run a simple check. Go buy a gun. Legally. Used or new, it doesn't matter. Now go buy a car. Buy a knife. Buy a bow and arrow. Which is easiest?

Criminals get their guns from many places. NONE OF THEM LEGAL. One more law is not going to stop them.

Please stop trying to "educate" me on how much easier it is to buy a gun than a *insert whatever object your internet meme tells you* or gun show loopholes or if we only had universal background checks, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Whatever the Facebook meme of the day is you can be sure of one thing, and one thing only.

It's probably bullsh!t.

24 December 2014

Merry Christmas


Santa's secret weapon: a 400+ horse open sleigh.

So jump in bed and cover up your head, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

20 December 2014

Yay

The snow is falling in the Piedmont.


Not much of it, and it isn't expected to stay around, but it is falling. We're getting a light accumulation on some of the colder surfaces. It's expected to turn into rain by noon and then go away completely.

But still...snow for Christmastime. That's nice.

Especially since it won't stick around.

19 December 2014

Lazy Today

Go read this guy a bit. He's a recent addition to the Wall o' Shame and has a lot of stories and links on gun related matters.

After that there's a lot more links on the sidebar. I should probably hit a few of them up today myself, maybe it will prompt me to write something substantial.

You can't say you don't get your moneys worth here. :D

18 December 2014

NOW it's Christmas!

Larry Correia has just put up the latest installment of Christmas Noun.



Merry Christmas everyone!

11 December 2014

Note To Prospective Advertisers

I'm not looking to make money off of my blog.

I'm not interested in making you any money off of my blog either.

That's not to say I won't review products that I buy, but I'm not interested in becoming a billboard.

Thanks for your interest, but no thanks.

05 December 2014

Party Time

Mustang Club and company parties both tomorrow, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

I have a cheesecake in the oven for the Mustang Club party right now. I've pulled a couple out of the book that I've never tried before, one peppermint and one eggnog. The peppermint has candy sprinkles on the top that didn't work as well as I had hoped, they melted and sunk down in causing holes in the top. If I ever make this one again I'll put the sprinkles on after the cake has baked. I also made this one in the springform pan and it didn't work out as well as I had hoped, I'll use a pie pan crust next time.

The second is in the oven now, I'll have to see how it worked out when it is done. It smells pretty good in the oven, though.

Peppermint Cheesecake

To the basic recipe add 1/2 cup peppermint candies that have been crushed fine, I used a food processor to do the deed and found that 16-18 candies made a half a cup. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, sprinkle another 1/4 cup (8 candies or so) crushed peppermints on top, then allow to cool.

Eggnog Cheesecake

This one is for the springform pan, but if you want to use ready made pie crusts it would work the same. If you use a springform pan the recipe says to press the crust up the sides of the pan 1 1/2 inches.

To the basic recipe (for the pie crusts) add 1 1/2 tablespoons flour when you blend the sugar and vanilla in. Only use one egg, then add 1 1/2 tablespoons rum, 1/2 cup heavy cream and two egg yokes. Bake at 325 for an hour. For the springform pan double everything and bake at 325 for 75 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to cool in the oven, this should help to prevent cracks.

If they taste as good as they smell they shouldn't last very long.

04 December 2014

21

She was a red-headed hellion, but she was MY red-headed hellion.

I am grateful for the sixteen years I had her.

01 December 2014

December


28 November 2014

Splashdown

We have returned.

The car has been unloaded and that's as close to unpacked as I'm getting tonight. Tomorrow everything reverts back to normal routine.

On the way down I dropped off Grand-dads High Standard to be fitted for a holster, and on the way back I picked it up. It is a very nice piece, but I've been asked to hold off doing a review or publishing pics until I have the matching belt. Suffice it to say that I like it well enough to order a matching one for the Sig.

Review will happen when the goods are in hand.

Note to FTC, I'm buying these with my own cash, so piss off.

26 November 2014

Apprehension

Youngest Son will be meeting his birth father for the first time today.

I'm not quite sure how that will go, and even less sure of how I feel about it.

Ultimately it isn't about me, it is about Youngest Son, and he does deserve to know.

I just pray that the cost of knowing does not exceed the value of it.

25 November 2014

Fun Time

Youngest Son and I hit the road bright and early Monday morning heading to Jacksonville FL for Thanksgiving.

Middle Daughter and Son In Law have recently purchased a pair of S&W semis, one in .40 and one in 9mm, so today we took them out to put them through their paces. Also along for the ride was the .22 revolver that Son In Law found at Pops.

Youngest Son begged off, but I took Grandson and his friend for their very first range time. After a 4 Rules drill and proper handling techniques they fired all that was available, but they liked the .22 the best.

The last firearm to make an appearance was a rental that Son In Law's brother just had to try; a .50 caliber Smith and Wesson 500 revolver. The rounds were $5.00 each, and after he had fired two I knew I had to try it as well.

Yeah, it was fun. I'm glad the barrel was ported though.

All in all it was a good time.

14 November 2014

A Message From Our Sponsors


We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

11 November 2014

Happy Veterans Day

from an old fat retired squid. Thanks for your service, be it 2 years or twenty.

09 November 2014

Gender Wars

So I was reading through a thoroughly enjoyable Attack of the Correiakin on Brad Torgersen’s Facebook page where he was destroying a troll over the whole Republican/conservative “war on women” hashtag twitter battle thing. One of the things the troll kept bringing up was the whole gender-gap pay-gap meme.

I’m not going to look for links, do your own damn homework, but that has been pretty much proven to be bunkum. It has to do with leave of absence due to child rearing, which is something that most women choose to do, combined with the fact that mothers are going to be more likely to take days off for family things and the like. The problem with that is it leaves a huge gap in your resume with the resulting decrease in pay due to less time in service and smaller paychecks due to not being compensated for all the days that are taken off.

It strikes me as funny that this should be an ongoing issue when the matter has been so thoroughly explained, but it keeps coming up time and again as proof that old white men hate women or some such thing as that. What I find so funny is that this is what the womyn have been agitating for all along...equality. If a man has a gap in his resume he also is going to experience lesser pay because of it. If he takes time off for family things he is not going to be paid for all of those days.

Congratulations ladies, you have reached parity, you have attained your goal, you are now being treated exactly as your male counterparts would be treated given the same set of circumstances. This is what you have striven for, is it not? Hear you roar! Or is that...why are you crying? Isn’t this what you wanted?

No?

Welcome to the real world. Very often what we think we want and what we actually attain are two separate and sometimes diametrically opposed things.

In this particular case you are faced with a choice, as we all are. Either your kids are worth the sacrifice so you chose a decrease in pay later on in return for the rewards of watching them grow, or you accept what has traditionally been the male parents burden of missing out on everything while you try to make a living, only to wake up one day and realize this is the day you are to walk your daughter down the aisle; that she has grown up quite without your consent and you have missed the whole thing.

I completely agree with the notion that one parent should be a stay-at-home parent, studies have proven that kids who have a parent at home are going to do better in school which translates to doing better at life in general. Traditionally this role has been filled by the female parent, but more and more the roles are being reversed. Either way, one parent is going to watch the child grow and the other is going to miss quite a bit of it as they earn the family's daily bread. The bottom line is, nothing is free, all things have a price.

Take what you have paid for.

05 November 2014

Historical

So it was a pretty good election day for the Republicans, not so much for the Democrats.

The Republicans picked up eight seats in the Senate, sixteen additional House seats (18 new ones minus two losses), and added four new governors as well. When the new Congress is seated in January it will be firmly in Republican control once again. Time will tell if they have the sense to hold it this time.

Everyone is talking about that, but there are a few things that it seems no one is talking about. Historical things, things that are happening for the first time ever.

One of those things is the election of a black man from the South, Senator Elect Tim Scott. He is not the first black Senator from the South, there have been others that were appointed in the years following the Civil War, but he is the first one elected to his position.

In the Congress Utah now has a solid Republican bench, re-electing three and adding one, Mia Love, who becomes the first black Republican woman ever.

Elsewhere, in New York Elise Stefanik becomes the youngest woman Congressperson ever and Senator Elect Joni Ernst is the first woman veteran elected to the Senate, and with that my birth state of Iowa now has two Republican senators for the first time in as long as I can remember.

Not bad for a bunch of sexist racist mouth-breathing gun-toting sister-swapping rednecks (and those are some of the more polite names I have been called).



And on another note so long/good riddance to the junior Senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagen, who was unable to win over Republican Thom Tillis even though the Democrats poured more money into her re-election campaign than has ever been spent in any election anywhere in the US.

What makes this particularly special is...I don't even particularly like Thom Tillis, and neither do a great number of North Carolina gun owners who remember his duplicity in stalling gun related bills in the NC state house, but as long as he remembers to stay bought he should be OK.

And last but certainly not least, since it is November it is the month of Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I leave you with something to be thankful for, this month's ROTM.


26 October 2014

Reading Room

Old NFO has a new book out.

Get it for your kindle here, or if you prefer the hard copy, here.