31 March 2012

Mustangs On the Mountain

This little internet group that started out with only three cars showing at our first event not even a year ago has gotten to be quite a growing thing.

We have scheduled a run to Deals Gap to drive the Tail of the Dragon for the second time as a group on the 28th of April, but this time we are holding it as a charity event to benefit Wounded Warriors (at the link select "Motorcycle and Car Event" for event type, 04/28/2012 for event date from/to, and NC for event state).

Check us out here (April 28), and if you want to join us check out the Mustang Forum post and let us know to expect you!

29 March 2012

Steel Wheels

One of my hobbies is model railroading.  Yep, I'm a train geek. I've blogged about it here occasionally, but I've long since established another place for it.

But it's worse than that, oh yes. Rather than model in a reasonable scale I'm one of "those people" who go for the small stuff.

Not the smallest stuff there is, by any means, but the small stuff just the same.

My name is Larry, and I am an N scaler.

But wait, there's more.

Not contented with the small stuff,  and being a big fan since boyhood of the East Broad Top Railroad, I had to go one bigger (smaller?) and get into Nn3 as well. Narrow gauge, N scale on 1/4" gauge Z scale track using Z scale locomotive mechanisms as the basis for my N scale narrow gauge locomotives. The two on the top in the center of the photo are narrow gauge consists, surrounded by standard-gauge trains.

 (Note on scale and gauge: gauge is the distance between the rails, scale is a designation representing the size ratio between the model and the real thing. N is 1:160, Z is 1:220, standard gauge was 4' 8 1/2" with narrow gauge being anything below that, usually 3' in North America.)

Five locos and counting; one American built from a standard gauge N scale Bachmann locomotive, one Mogul and three Mikados built on Marklin Z scale chassis, with two more Z Mikes in the box awaiting sufficient materials to convert them from German BR41 Z scale locomotives to East Broad Top Nn3 locos.

Most narrow gauge modelers, regardless of scale, model the western railroads like the Durango & Silverton or the Denver & Rio Grande, so most of the modeling supplies and equipment are geared towards that end of the country. I'm one of the crazy persons select few that model roads east of the Big Muddy.

It only goes downhill from there.

Not satisfied yet with being a niche modeler in a niche scale, I had to go one even further and set my sights on a long defunct never completed railroad in Perry County, PA.  This gets problematic for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that research materials for a tiny railroad that went out of business before the second world war are kind of hard to come by.

Imagine my delight in finding a new book from the Perry Heritage Collection about the Perry County railroads. It got here today, it's nice and thick, and I am going to sit down and look through it.

I'm torn, though. It's a beautiful day, high 70's, perfect top-down weather.

Maybe I'll sit in the car and read it...

28 March 2012

The Rest Of The Story

Lots more details have been released since we first heard about the Z-man/Martin affair. This morning the hosts of the morning show on the local news talk radio were talking about a police report that lists no less than six witnesses and a conversation with 9-1-1 in progress as the attack began.

I have not been able to find a link to the report, but Sean has a link to the report, along with some other information, and it has been referenced on several news sources I've seen by way of a google-search.  Funny thing is, most of the news stories are still trying to condemn Zimmerman even as they grudgingly admit to the things that are coming out.

It seems as if there will be some of us in the blogosphere with egg on our faces. I'll admit to a bit of a yolkish color myself. And once again, big surprise, the race baiters are on the wrong side of the story. I should just take the opposing view to the usual suspects as my default position, it seems to be a pretty good direction to go.

I still think getting out of the truck showed poor judgement, but the more I learn the harder it gets to be critical of this guy.

24 March 2012

As Usual

Tam says it better than I did.


I don't watch a lot of TV. There isn't much on that is worth watching in my opinion. I DVR the zombie show and a couple of others, but by and large I'd rather read than watch TV.

I was watching my zombie show and the DVR screwed up. It's been doing that lately and the only way to recover it is to unplug it and let it boot back up. Having already done that once today I decided I didn't want to mess with it, so I just turned on the regular TV to see what was there.

It came up with  TruTV's program "Most Shocking" where they were showing armed robberies. The episode in question was at a restaurant where the announcer said everyone lived because they were compliant.

BS, I thought, they lived because the scumbags didn't feel like killing them. The only thing that happens when you don't fight back is you die like sheep.

The next clip was a convenience store where the clerk fought back. The uniformed weenie spokesman said "We don't recommend you fight back, blah blah blah..." but the convenience store guy wasn't hurt and when the real cops finally showed up the perp was arrested.

The third clip was a young lady being brutally attacked with a hammer. She lived only because she was able to fight her way free and run to a house next door for help, but the perp walked away and the store is closed now out of fear that he will return.

The message that was conveyed in all of the stories was don't resist, don't fight back, the best you can hope for is to give them what they want and escape if you can. I say if you are going to die, die on your feet and make the bastards work for it.

Yep, I was right. Nothing worth watching.

The world has bad people in it. Be prepared.

23 March 2012

You Gotta Be S*&#ing Me Files, Item 201548

Never saw this one coming.

According to Jalopnik, the Dodge Rampage (and I'm assuming the 83 Plymouth Scamp as well) is number 5 on the "Ten Desirable Used Cars That Are Impossible To Find" list.

And to think...I just gave mine away...

War Stories

McThag tells a tale about falling off of a tank and finding a neat pair of boots. Other than the grievous bodily harm it's rather an amusing tale and I admit I laughed like a maniac as I read it. He's mostly healed up so it's funny now.

It puts me in mind of the time I fell off of an aircraft carrier. It was at night (I've worked the night shift most of my life, I prefer it) and I was walking backwards inspecting an aircraft and all of a sudden the ship just wasn't there anymore. My work crew said they watched my flashlight bob along beside the aircraft and then all of a sudden it just disappeared.

I ended up not in the catwalk...oh no, that would be too normal...but on one of the antenna platforms with no railing between me and the deep blue sea, right where the red box is in the picture. That's the ship (USS George Washington CVN-73), and even the right CAG (CVW-7) so I might have been on the ship when this picture was taken...but I digress.

 Funny thing is, there is a railing along the ship side of the platform, for reasons no one can explain, and as I stepped off of the deck edge my foot went between this railing and the side of the ship. I found myself dangling, flashlight in hand (believe me, you do NOT want to lose tools in Naval Aviation!), by one knee from this railing. I was able to kick myself free and stand on the platform. It was then I noticed the lack of outside railing.

They say the flashlight reappeared twice as quickly as it had disappeared. I was a lot younger then. Lighter. More nimble. Quicker. Today I'd probably just hold on to the inside rail and bawl like a stuck calf until someone pulled me back up. Of course today the only way I'll be on a carrier deck is as a tourist, pierside.

For those of you who would like to poke fun at my misfortune (like you think you're the first one to do that? Puh-leaze. I've been married. Twice. Once to a soul-less ginger redhead who would describe to me, in great detail, how she would spend my SGLI if I should off myself foolishly) here's some added fodder; I managed to fall off the ship and miss the water completely.

Ah, yeah. Good times, man. Good times.

22 March 2012


Zimmerman got out of his car.

Put as much window dressing on that as you want to, you can't get around that one fact. If he had stayed in his car, where he damn well belonged, he wouldn't be wishing he had stayed in bed that morning.

I don't care if the teenager was handing out an ass whooping. You chase some kid down just before dark and you might just run straight into one.

I don't care that he had a glass bottle, and if he had been shoving it up Zimmerman's orifices I couldn't care any less.

I don't care, I don't care, I don't care.

The most important thing you learn in a concealed carry class is how to de-escalate bad situations, not escalate them. One of the ways you do that...is not to start them in the first place.

Zimmerman got out of his car.

I don't see this ending well for him.

The worst part is that the rest of us (meaning, the entire "gun culture") are being judged by his actions.

UPDATE: Miguel adds some detail. He's absolutely right, now that Z-man has lawyered up and shut up we will likely never know what really happened. Not even a change in venue will get an impartial jury now, the case has already been tried in the court of public opinion. My prediction: no criminal case but the Z-man will be sued into the poorhouse through wrongful death suits (no wrongful death suits if there is no criminal case in Florida, that is a plus in my book).

UPDATE II: I don't think Zimmerman is guilty of anything more than douchebaggery in the first degree, which is not punishable by law. He didn't use his head, he didn't de-escalate, and he let his situational awareness get so out of whack that a kid was able to jump him from behind. This is all part of responsible weapons carry, yep bad things can happen to anyone (and often do), but there were many ways to not shoot this kid...starting with not getting out of his car.

UPDATE III: Had to add the video.

UPDATE IV: Well. Don't I feel sheepish.

Body Work, Part 1

Thanks to a fellow Mustang Forum member I was able to score the rear valence for a pretty good price, and it will cost me right at 5 bills to have the bumper cover removed, repaired, painted and reinstalled with the new valence. A bit painful, but a new bumper cover would be around $450 from Ford and would still need to be painted, so I think I'm getting it done at a good price.

It goes in the first Monday in April and I should have it just in time for the Raleigh meet-up on the 7th. They did an excellent job with the hood, so I'm expecting similar results with the other end of the car.

If anyone near north Raleigh needs a body shop, I highly recommend Pete's in Creedmore.

19 March 2012

Elf Box Funtime

This morning...well, afternoon...I got up to call the insurance company. To do so I was going to log onto the website and check the messages so that I could get the claim number.

The laptop was off, and I did not shut it off.  This is not good.

Firing the lappy up, the HDD light stayed on for a while (also not good) but eventually stopped flashing. I opened taskmanager to see if any unusual processes were running but did not find anything.  I thought maybe the power blinked and the computer shut off, but since the battery was well charged that didn't really make sense.

Sure enough, after about 20-25 minutes of running it shut off, and then wouldn't stay on long enough to boot up.

It does this every 3-4 weeks, and every time it is the same. Boot up in the limited mode, check everything and find nothing, run a virus scan and it's clean, do a system restore and all is well for another 3-4 weeks.

This time it wouldn't boot up after a system restore and had to do a startup restore as well, which I had never seen. I don't know what the problem is but I do know it's irritating. For now it's back, but for how long no one knows.

Anyone have any ideas?

18 March 2012


I finally got tired of waiting for the Falcon grips I had ordered from glockstore.com, so I went through Amazon and got some of these instead.

They have been installed and I am now awaiting a range session to check them out.

First impressions: they are easy to install and certainly do help to improve the grip, of that there is no doubt. They feel kind of like the non-skid that you get for your wooden ramps going up into sheds and such, like a fine grain emery cloth. The only problem I can foresee is with my left hand wrapped around the right the fingertips of my right hand are pressed rather uncomfortably against the rough grips on the left panel. It may take some getting used to for it to be comfortable to shoot.

I'm hoping that it will solve some of the grip issues I have, given that it is a lightweight gun and a large caliber it tends to twist a bit in my hands and I think it may be contributing to the FTF/FTE problems I have with it. Of course the G-36 has a somewhat unsavory reputation regarding this type of failure, with much discussion having been had about it.

I'll let you know how it works out.

16 March 2012

Well, damn.

I went to Virginia Beach today for a retirement ceremony. I kind of wish I hadn't, because while I was there I was backing out of a parking spot and backed directly into the front bumper of a Dodge truck.

Yes, I was driving the Mustang.

One rear valance, one rear bumper cover, plus a shiny new chrome bumper for an 06 Dodge Ram.

That sound you hear is me beating my head against the desk. I really didn't need this on top of everything else.

15 March 2012


Apparently they are going to turn Cousin Orson's* book into a movie.

This sort of thing seems to be going around.

When are they going to make movies out of these?

HT: Tam

*I don't know that we are related, but we do share a common surname so we could be.


What he said.

Frabulous Day

Last night I got a couple of hours overtime in.

Normally that wouldn't matter for anything, but this morning I was up at 0630, range bag in hand and Middle Daughter in tow, heading for the shooting range.

Not for me, for Middle Daughter. Her idea.  How awesome is that?

Between Range Partner and myself we had a variety of toys to play with, most of them his. I brought the G36 (which she has fired once and didn't like) and the High Standard. He brought a 22 conversion Glock, a G17, and a KelTec in 9mm for semi-autos and a .357 revolver just because.

We went over the Four Rules and talked a bit about sight picture, grip and stance. Once she had that down we loaded up and commenced to peppering targets. She started out on the High Standard and quickly moved up to the Glock, putting a lot of .22 caliber holes in the 9 and 10 rings.

Then we broke out the G-17. Ho-ley moley! It was like that gun was made for her, and she for it.

The large-ish hole where the bottom of the X ring used to be was where the first magazine went through. The rest of them were from the .22's. She put another magazine through the top of the X ring, and then she shot the KelTec and quickly decided she did not like it. She then put a couple of rounds through the revolver and decided she didn't like that, either. After that she was tired and the holes were going all over the paper except where she wanted them to, so it was time to quit.

I put a few rounds through the G36 and started having quite a few FTE/FTF issues, which I used as an opportunity to show her what to do about them. I also practiced some mag changes and was pretty satisfied with how it went. Clearing the malfunctions gave us a chance to discuss the importance of not quitting, clear the malfunction and get back into the fight. This prompted her to remark "That's when you charge them and hit them over the head with it, right?"

Please do note that she said nothing about running away. No back-up in this one, she is her mother's daughter. This makes me proud...and a little afraid...

Range Partner and I recommended a few web sites for her to look through, and then we packed up and went out for lunch. This is where we found a dish starring this handsome fellow and a few of his friends (please forgive the overexposure, it was snapped on a cell phone camera).

Y'know, someone had to be the first one to look at that and say "Hm, wonder what that tastes like..."  I'm guessing that there may have been fermented drinks involved, maybe a dare, and possibly a "Yes, this is a delicacy in our country (lets see if the tourist is gonna fall for this...oh gross, he ate it!)"

In the afternoon I got to go to the periodontist because I have a tooth that is persistently loose no matter what kind of brushing and flossing I throw at it. The good news is I get to keep it (I still have all of my molars, too, a fact which has surprised many a dentist), the bad news is false teeth would be cheaper. Looks like my tax return will go to dental work instead of toys. FML.

The day was bright and warm so the top stayed down all day, and hamburgers on the grille finished it off.

10 March 2012


Today I took the Scoobytruck down to the tire store. It has been pulling to the left and has had a vibration in the wheel since Daughter and S-I-L took it to Florida, and I suspected it had a bad tire.

It did, on the right front, which is where I thought it was. My tire-fu remains strong.

I had an open carry lunch to do first, and afterwards we went back to the tire store where we got four new tires and an alignment for about half of what it cost for the Mustang.

I was happy to see that Merchants Tire has an alignment rack.

I was happier to see what Merchants Tire does not have.

I think they will be getting my tire business from here on out.

On another note, TDP rides again, and this time I didn't have to spend a single thin dime on it.

08 March 2012

Pet Peeve



Some magazines are internal, BUT ARE STILL MAGAZINES!!!


Load bullets cartridges on to CLIPS (thanks AZfederalist!)


MAGAZINES load guns.

M1 Garands use an en bloc clip to load their internal magazines and the clip stays in the magazine until it is empty, but CLIP still loads MAGAZINE, MAGAZINE loads gun.

You do not have to use a CLIP to load a MAGAZINE, but you will ALWAYS use a MAGAZINE to load the gun*.

Any questions?

I really don't know why this bothers me so much, but it does.

(*You revolver shooters can save the wise-assery for someone else.)

Moving On

Guffaw has moved out of the trailer park into new digs.

Go say Happy Blogday!

04 March 2012

New Month, New Header

Continuing in the Mustang theme, and with high hopes for spring, this picture was taken nearby on one of our more beautiful days. You have seen a similar picture here, it is of the same subject and taken at the same time. It will be the header picture for the month of March unless I see one I like better.



The lovely and talented Ms X has had a bit of a tiff with He Who Named The Blogosphere over the meaning of the word "civility" and all of it's varied and sundry effects.

I won't go into the details here, the links are there for your perusal if you have to know all the gory points and counterpoints. My point is that I have occasionally had an unkind word or two regarding certain members of the species, and Roberta's observations gives me a summat uncomfortable feeling round about the collar area over it.

We've heard all about the only thing necessary for evil to triumph and looking into abysses, but for all of the words we hear and read the lure of the abyss is certainly tempting once in a while. Observing rule number four, rhetoric and hyperbole are wonderful tools to use in the justification of cattle cars and large smoky bonfires but it also serves to obscure the real target somewhat.

In short, it's not the people that are the root of the problem it's the philosophy. And when your philosophy dictates that I can be killed at random because mine doesn't perzachary line up with yours we are going to have...issues.  Doesn't matter where you hail from, where you live now or how many bullets you have in your phallus comparison collection, when we forget that "the other" is also a human being with his or her own thoughts, ideas and dreams we start the wander down a path that's best left to the brambles.

Shame that Bill doesn't see that.

03 March 2012


If this Moron ends up needing a job because of this incident, someone should snap him up immediately.

01 March 2012

Notes Of The Day

Danica Patrick joins the ranks of women who were more attractive before they spoke (but of course the news was about what Rush Limbaugh said, not about the fact that Patrick is just another statist).

Speaking of Rush, he is also being raked over the coals about his comments regarding the Georgetown law student who wants other people to pay for her contraceptives.

I keep getting invites to join NAPW.  I wonder what they would say if I turned in my application?

It's in the 70's and I'm running out of daylight. Rain tomorrow.  I'll blog then, since I won't have anything better to do.


Andrew Brietbart, conservative activist, has died. He was 43.

Also gone, of a heart attack, is Davy Jones from the Monkees. He was 66.

The saying is they go in threes.


I just got a message in my email spam filter with the title of "I Love mcthag.blogspot.com!" that said "My name is Spammer McDumbass and I recently stumbled across your blog mcthag.blogspot.com. I work for a company, Blog Services Inc., that connects bloggers with advertising partners. I currently have clients that are interested in sponsoring a few posts. This helps them with brand awareness and is a great opportunity for you to make some money from your blog."

Fail in so many areas it isn't even funny.

But, the good news is that McThag has fans, so he has that going for him.