A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, May 31, 2008

911 Analysis

First the news story..........

It was April 17, 2008. Columbus Ohio. A drive-through business owner was investigating his burgular alarm that was set off at his place of business after he had closed the doors for the night. The time was approximately 10:37 PM, thirty-seven minutes after closing time. An intruder had entered the building.

The owner, after investigating the outside of his building and finding nothing amiss, believes he is dealing with a false alarm. He goes inside, and turns on the lights. The intruder is in the owner's office down the hall.

Alerted to the owner's arrival by the lights being turned on, the criminal leaves the office. The two men encounter each other in the hallway. The owner is fortunate to have a firearm. He knows that stored in his office, which the criminal has emerged from, he keeps a .45 automatic and a 12 gauge shotgun. The likelihood that the criminal has found them is extremely high.

The owner's first reaction is to defend himself, and he raises his fists telling the criminal to get on the ground. The criminal refuses, advancing towards the owner. The property owner takes a couple of steps back, draws his gun, and takes control of the situation. The criminal goes to his knees and acts as though he wants to comply as he lies about why he is there. He claims he was locked in the building by mistake. The property owner knows better as he begins to call 911 from his cell phone. Then the criminal gets to his feet again, refusing to comply with the owner's verbal commands at gunpoint to go prone. While the owner dialing the cellphone, the criminal advances towards him, lifting his shirt, obviously trying to close the distance so he can attempt to disarm the property owner.

The armed defender/property owner wisely steps back, maintaining his distance to counteract the criminal's advance. He points his firearm at the criminal's head, again commanding him to back off and get on the ground. The criminal turns around, and walks away while displaying the universal "I'm a felon" sign, placing both hands on the back of his head, fingers interlaced. The criminal goes prone and the owner finishes dialing his cell phone.

A Columbus 911 operator answers. "I've got a gun on a guy that's in my business," the property owner informs her immediately, "Get the cops here."

Realizing he will not be talking his way out of this one, but also that the property owner is distracted, the criminal again gets to his feet. He paces, trying to quickly formulate a strategy as he advances on the business owner. The business owner gives the operator his address while backing up, maintaining distance between himself and the criminal. Quite obviously, the only thing preventing the criminal from attacking the property owner is the prospect of a loud injection of lead to his body.

After having been told why, the operator asks the property owner "Why do you have a gun on him?" She is again informed of the dire situation the property owner faces. Trying to again take control of the situation, the owner begins to give the advancing criminal verbal commands, telling him to back off and get on the floor. The operator, incomprehensibly, begins to give a few commands of her own. "Sir," She says, "You need to talk to me....You need to talk to me...Who is this gentleman that's in your business?... Hello?"

The criminal can barely be seen moving against a background of stock. At one point, it appears he sits on it, and then he appears to be getting on the floor, closer to an escape route, between the pallets of stock, this time. The business owner turns his attention back to the uncomprehending 911 operator. "Yeah, what can I do for you?" he asks.

"You need to talk to me and tell me why do you have a gun to this man's head!" the operator demands. "Is the business closed? Did he break in?" After having been told previously exactly what the business owner was facing, the 911 operator amazingly thinks the property owner may have a gun to a clerk's head. At this point, the property owner is in grave jeopardy, if responding officers have a false impression of the situation created by the 911 operator.

Fortunately, the property owner corrects her. "Yeah, my business is closed, I was here a half hour. He was hiding in here. I shut the door and then my alarm went off. I come over here and the guy's in my business," he says.

"Stay on the line with me," the operator replies. "I have officers en route." Over a minute has elapsed, with a resistant criminal advancing time and time again on an armed citizen. Each time, the property owner has shown amazing restraint in not shooting the advancing man. Then the operator tells him "When an officer gets there you have to put the gun down. Do you understand that?" The property owner states his understanding.

Next, the criminal, being closer to an escape route, puts his plan into action against the distracted property owner. The criminal introduces another threat to deal with. He lies. Desperate criminals have been known to lie in the past, and this one is no different. The criminal fabricates an illusion out of thin air. He either lies or he speaks aloud to an unknown party, giving the property owner the impression he has an accomplice. As the 911 operator asks for the property owner's name, he responds "There's two of 'em in here."

Now, the playing field has shifted. The armed defender must be prepared for an unseen attack from any direction. His focus must be divided between the man he has on the ground between pallets of stock, an unknown threat, and the 911 operator. He can be seen backing up, scanning the area. Meanwhile, his daughter arrives outside in her automobile, alarmed that it has taken him this amount of time to return home. She toots her horn outside. The criminal, hidden from view in the security video apparently again rises to his feet, with the property owner commanding him to get back down.

Then the 911 operator inexplicably asks, "Do you have a permit for that gun, sir?" No permit is required to own a handgun in Ohio. The man has already informed her time and again that he is on his own property.

"Yes I do," he replies, referring to his concealed handgun permit, "And I'm on my own property," he informs her again.

Now the 911 operator decides to get testy. "OK, well, you need to answer my questions and stop being brief to me," she tells the citizen who is trying to defend himself against a repeatedly advancing, noncompliant criminal. "What is your name?" she asks.

Apparently auditory exclusion has diminished for the property owner and he hears his daughter honking the horn outside. He believes it is the police and he moves to unlock a door to allow them in. The criminal immediately seizes the opportunity, rises to his feet and darts out another door. "Get back here!" the property owner vainly shouts into the darkness outside.

The 911 operator asks for a description, and can finally be heard relaying the information to someone else. "Obviously I've got an emergency situation. I have a gentleman with a guy at gun point," she says, with the alarm blaring in the background. The property owner lets the criminal disappear into the night, turning his attention to the second threat, an illusion the criminal created of an accomplice. Apparently, the 911 operator still has not grasped what is occurring on the other end of the line. She has been told time and again exactly what is occurring, but her own prejudices are coloring what she is telling others, placing a citizen who is defending his life with admirable restraint at risk for being gunned down by responding officers. "We have officers en route. They're still en route," she tells the property owner, "You called the Columbus police department so we're having to relay the information to the county if you could stay on the line with me."

The property owner is vainly searching for the imaginary second intruder. He shuts off the alarm. "I'm here," he informs her, letting her know he is still on the line.

"I understand that sir," she replies, getting defensive and again showing her inability to understand what she is being told. "I'm, ah, we're trying to get the county out there. You called the Columbus police department."

"I called 911," the property owner corrects her.

"You've called the Columbus police department. Your cell phone has come to the Columbus police department. We're getting on the phone with county to have them respond sir," the 911 operator argues defensively.

Know what lady? Who gives a damn? "I'm glad there were no shots fired," the legally armed business owning citizen observes dryly.

"OK, sir, do not be angry with me," he is told. The business owner continues to search for the second imaginary threat telling the 911 operator "He's in here somewhere."

Four minutes have passed since 911 picked up the phone. "I'm going to patch you through to the county. They are en route. I'm gonna transfer you there. You need to stay on the line," she tells the citizen. Then she places the icing on the 911 cake. "Don't do anything stupid," she says.

A cruiser can be seen finally arriving outside the building as the first police officer arrives on the scene. Meanwhile, the two 911 operators discuss the incident. The first 911 operator tells the other operator that the caller "had a gun on these people that were inside." Fortunately, a quick thinking uniformed officer is already on the scene to prevent the property owner from being killed because of the 911 operator's misinformation. Obviously, the first responding officer grasps the reality of what is occurring. He does not make the property owner go prone. Indeed it can be seen that he allows the armed defender to retain his weapon in the face of a possible hidden criminal in their midst. They join forces to search the building for the imaginary accomplice, guns drawn.

Several lessons can be learned from this 911 debacle.

First and foremost, when a citizen is trying to preserve their life against a very real threat, they do not need an incomprehensibly dense 911 operator berating them with questions and spreading misinformation of what is occurring. Dividing one's attention between the threat at hand and a cell phone link to a 911 operator's demands places the citizen at grave risk.

Each time the property owner's attention was diverted away from the intruder, the intruder responded by getting up from the floor, advancing, and gaining advantage. I have little doubt that had the intruder discovered the firearms that the owner had kept in his office, he would have shot the property owner to escape. Instead, because the intruder was not armed, he willingly placed his life at risk again and again to gain advantage while he formulated an escape plan to put into action. When he was in the right place, and the citizen was distracted, the criminal upped the ante, making the citizen believe there was an additional threat. Finally, with the citizen's attention divided between a real threat, an imaginary threat, and a demanding 911 operator, the criminal escaped into the night.

The property owner did everything right. He maintained his distance. He did not try to restrain the criminal, only detain him. When the stressors became to much too endure, he kept his focus on staying alive in the face of the imaginary threat and allowed the known threat to escape into the night. He gave a good description to the county dispatcher. The only thing he could have done better would be to initially give the 911 operator his location, a description of the criminal and then one of himself so they could be differentiated by responding officers, and then put the phone down with the line remaining open to record the incident. The property owner did not need the 911 operator's input, nor her defensiveness and judgemental attitude. She was intent on screwing up anything she was told with her own bias anyway. Far better to deal with one real threat and the possibility of another without the additional distraction of a 911 operator clouding your judgement and diverting your attention. It is not a crime to provide the information necessary and put the phone down. Doing so may be the best course of action.

Kudos to the quick thinking responding officer.
Thank you to Oleg Volk for the use of his images.

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Vintage Raleigh Bicycle on ebay

Time warp barn find!
Up for sale is offered a very interesting bicycle in terms of condition and style. I bought it brand new back in 1986 and has been in storage for more than 15 years. It has been locked up in a dry storage hence the condition is very good. I had it sprayed with WD40 periodically so as to prevent any potential humid effect so even slightly greased it is rust-free.

Apart from expected wear there is no signs of abuse and damage, comes together with the original leatherette saddle back bag, everything is complete except from the red round hazard sign on the rear wing.
Rod brakes, a Brooks springer saddle, a chain case, original dynamo driven lights, full fenders, a hand pump....... Just what I've been looking for! US $99.00

To bad you have to go to Pafos, Cyprus for local pick-up......


Friday, May 30, 2008

The British Victory Model

In 1941, the British Isles witnessed the evil sweeping through Europe. With the Brits facing the Nazi blitzkrieg alone, Smith & Wesson stepped forward to supply the Limeys with the sidearms necessary to fight back. Between October 1941 and May 1945 over 570,000 of these military Aussie Victoryissue revolvers were shipped all over the globe on a "lend-lease" program to the British Empire.

Commonly called "British Victories" by some, the revolvers shipped to our future allies are more properly referred to as Smith & Wesson Model K-200 or .38/200 British Service Revolvers. Like the Victory Models later issued to American troops, the K-200 was a Model of 1905 with a rougher, sandblast blue finish, although early models received a polished or brushed blue finish. Most sported plain walnut grips, but some early K-200s had checkered grips. Unlike the US version, the K-200 had a five inch barrel, and was chambered in .38 S&W, a shorter cartridge, slightly larger in diameter than the ubiquitous .38 special. On the butt was a pivoting lanyard ring. In addition to being stamped "US Property" on the top strap, the British Service Revolvers have British proof marks as well as the occasional proof marks of other countries. Some even had "Not Made In England" stamped into their frames, in spite of a corresponding "Made In USA" rollmark from Smith & Wesson.

After the war, Great Britain disarmed, and many of the revolvers were returned to the United States as surplus over the years. 1963 Guns and Ammo AdvertisementSadly, quite a few of them were converted to .38 special by reaming out the chambers. Alas, the chambers were too large in diameter for the .38 special, and ruptured shell casings were commonplace on firing them after this conversion.

In addition to the rechambering, some were butchered even further, receiving new ramped front sights on chopped barrels, and a chrome finish to make them more attractive to the US market. The returning K-200s were sold for between $25 and $35. Today, unmolested examples in Very Good to Excellent condition often command prices between $375 and $500. Original accessories can drive the price up a bit more.

I still hope to find a K-200 in unmolested form, as well as a pimped up, chopped and chromed version for a fair price. Somehow, I think I had better buy while the buying is good.


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Jean Lafitte's Coffee

lick to enlarge
Café Brûlot

Coffee, lemon and orange rinds, cloves, cinnamon sticks and Orange Curaçao. Flamed with brandy.

Served up at Arnaud's on Rue Beinville, Nawlins.

Starbucks ain't got nuthin'........


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hotel Security

Eight hotel safety tips reside at Tripso.

Here's one of mine...... If the door looks like this, bring Ilsa and a 45.

The Wind at Mt. Carmel

I don’t know why I had to go there, but I had to go there. I had to see Mt. Carmel, the site of the Branch Davidian compound where 80 or more people died in a botched raid by the ATF and FBI. We were traveling down to Austin to visit my mother and our route took us through Waco. Mt. Carmel isn’t actually in Waco; it’s a few miles to the east of town. There are no signs which might direct tourists to the place. You have to know where you’re going. I’m sure the town of Waco would be more than happy to forget that Mt. Carmel ever existed, and to escape the linkage of their town’s name with tragedy. It won’t happen anytime soon.

It was a sunny May morning in Texas. The temperature was already climbing into the nineties. The sky was clear blue and the land looked lush and fertile. Golden rolls of hay sat in green fields of grass. Lush young corn stood in rows. This is good farmland, not the postcard cliché of desert so often associated with Texas. My son, Alex drove the car and I followed the map, navigating us into one of the darkest moments in American history.

My anxiety began to rise as we neared the place. Would the gate be locked? Would someone come out and run us off as a couple of sick vultures come to poke around in the bones of the dead cult? What would be waiting for us there? As it turned out, the only things there to meet us were the wind and our own dark visions.

We drove right to the site. I’m pretty good with maps. I remember thinking that I could have found it without a map – just follow my intuition. I grew up on little Texas roads like that. The gate was open. We drove in slowly. There’s a tree in the middle of the gravel road with a stack of granite stones, each with the name of a slain Davidian, stacked on either side of the tree. A little office building stands to the right of the road and double-wide a little further in. We looked at the windows and waited for someone to flag us down or come out to ask us our business. No one did.

They have built a little church there, more or less in the center of where the compound stood. We drove up to the church and stopped. I opened the car door and put my right foot out, and suddenly a strange apprehension hit me: I was about to put my foot on hallowed ground, un-insulated by the shiny Nissan Maxima. It was a weird sensation. I put my foot on the ground. Nothing particularly remarkable happened except for the sense of reverence that swept over me.

We immediately began to walk, simply walk, and look at the ground, this earth where so much happened. From the church, the first remnant of the compound you see is the swimming pool. It still has water in it, but it’s rainwater, green like any natural pond with bulrushes growing in it. In the southwest corner of the pool is a pile of concrete rubble pushed into the pool by FBI bulldozers eager to cover up the evidence of what happened there.

I would like to say, “I don’t have a dog in this fight.” I’m no fan of renegade federal police units with murderous intentions, but on the other hand, I don’t care much for apocalyptic cults with kinky sex practices. I didn’t like the Clinton administration under which the attack occurred and I didn’t like the Bush administration before it, under which the action was initiated. I think Koresh was a sexual deviant with messianic delusions. There aren’t many good guys to be found in all of this, except perhaps the Texas Rangers. But, I do have a dog in this fight, and it’s the same dog that every American has. We have a right to be secure in our homes and personal effects. We have a right to worship as we see fit. We have a right to a fair trial. We have a right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. We have a right to live free of the mind control of self-appointed messiahs. It has been 15 years since the flames consumed Mt. Carmel and these things are still unsettled. We have a dog in this fight.

Just after noon on April 19, 1993, a friend of mine called and said, “Turn on your TV.” I did and watched with millions of others as the Mt. Carmel complex burned to the ground, and only one survivor, Clive Doyle, was seen coming out of the building. The attack fueled the most intense anti-government sentiment in this country since the Vietnam War. Two years later, the Murrow Building in Oklahoma City was bombed in retaliation for the Mt. Carmel massacre. The litigation and investigations went on for years. “Remember Waco” became the battle cry of the “militia movement.” Even to this day, what actually happened and on whom the blame falls remains in dispute. Clarity has never really been reached.

Now, I was standing on this hallowed ground with nothing but the wind to talk to me about what happened there. I had bought a white straw cowboy hat to keep the sun off my head. The wind would suddenly gust up and whip the hat off of my head as if to say, “Take your hat off in this place.” The sun was hot and I put it back on.

I don’t know how much time passed before I remembered the cameras. This trip was about pictures. What I saw, I shot. I went back to the car and fetched the Lowepro two-camera backpack. It carried the space-age Nikon D70s digital SLR and the 1980-vintage Nikon F3 35mm. I carried the backpack to the edge of the swimming pool and unzipped the main compartment. The wind gusted up and threw the cover back. “Photograph this place,” the wind said. I pulled out both cameras and shot a few quick frames of the pool and “the underground bunker” before I gave the digital to Alex. I went to work with the F3 shooting color slides.

Fifteen years have passed since tanks and choppers roared across this land. Nature, in its way, has covered the scars with grass and pink and white flowers. A memorial grove of fruit trees stands to the south of the compound site. The Davidians have built a plain little church approximately where the tower and “the concrete room” once stood.

Alex first noticed the ant hills. The top of the soil is white, perhaps from some chemical leeching from the ground. But when the ants bring up soil as they build their ant hills, the earth they bring up is distinctly ash grey. The FBI tried to bury what happened here with their bulldozers but the ants won’t allow it to remain buried. They bring the ash to the surface. It is the ash of a community, of a building, and perhaps it is the ash of human bodies incinerated here.

When you come to this place, you feel powerful things. I have seen so many film clips of the assault that I could visualize the building, where the tanks were, the desperate gun battle, and the fire. Strong emotion sweeps over you like the Texas wind. I certainly don’t approve of Timothy McVeigh’s action, but standing on this blood-soaked ground I could understand his rage. David Koresh may have been a bastard – I don’t know, but I do know that 80-some people didn’t deserve to die like this.

I walked the foundation line of the building that once stood here. It is still visible. Finally, we shot all the pictures we could think of and felt the feelings that the place evokes. It was time to go. Cameras again packed into their case, we fired up the little car and drove away. A part of me is still there, haunted by the memory, unable to let go of “the worst day in the history of American law enforcement.”

Syd Wheedon

Published with author's premission.

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Blogging Abroad

Recently, on a trip to Nawlin's, I decided to finally join the modern age and try going online from my hotel room, and maybe blogging and posting to a forum I moderate. I took my wife's laptop. Here are a few lessons learned.

1. Make certain you are familiar with the lap top computer.
2. Get a mouse and mouse pad, or a trackball.
3. Have a photo editor program on board.
4. Have the adapters to get your photos out of your camera.
5. Have web based email.
6. Know how to use your web based email.
7. Place frequently used data from home on flash drives.

I found that once connectivity was accomplished, and once I had a track ball (my preference) things went pretty smoothly.

10 laptop traveling tips.

More laptop travel tips.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Manhattan's Only Shooting Range

A New York Girl learns about shooting.

Hatsoff to Breda

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Empty Holsters

Endeavor to return mail

My name is Tony Chan Chun-chuen, friend and close confidant to Nina
Wang Kung,Who passed away on the 3rd of April 2007.I will save your time by
not boring you with all the details at this time, Which has already been
disseminated by the international media during the Controversial
dispute that erupted between her and her late husband’s Relatives concerning
the huge estate he left behind. To save my time and yours I ask that you go
to this link,http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-04/04/content_843604.htm
Now the reason why I have contacted you is that there is also some
other Funds in the tune of $12,000,000.00 with the Hang Seng Bank China,and I
want Your assistance for me to transfer these funds in your name to your
account for Both of us I will agree to take part in this mutual benefiting
opportunity. I await your earliest response to enable me furnish you
with more details. I remain Tony Chan take part in this mutual benefiting
I remain Tony Chan Chun-chuen
Meh. I love gmail.

See 419 Eater for more generous offers.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Finishing Touch

Click to enlargeAfter I applied the Bike Punks sticker to the Armstrong, I still felt something was missing.

I rode a while and pondered. I didn't know what it was.......But it was missing. At a donut shop, I looked through the glass at the bike as I stirred my coffee. Since I first fabricated it, I never really liked the brass reflector support on the scruffy old Armstrong. I had done the same thing on the Raleigh One Speed. It was appropriate there, but on the Armstrong, it was repetitious. Then I looked into my coffee.......And I found my solution.

The silver spoon is a Chantilly design, in keeping with the French Super Champion rear wheel and Norex saddle I suppose. I like the ornate Rococo filigree as a tension of opposites with the weathered velocipede itself.

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Monday On Tuesday



Governor Bobby Jindal Honored

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was recently honored at the 2008 NRA convention for legislation designed to prevent future gun confiscations similar to those in post-Katrina New Orleans. In this video, along with the statements of confiscation victims, you will see a brief description of Vinnie Pervel of Algiers Point and the resistance he formed against looters, known as The Algiers Militia at Fort Pelican.

Balie nef, blaie prope.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Ride

After a couple of cases at the hospital, I was finally able to get back home around 1:00PM today. I wolfed down a couple of burnt dogs and a hamburger, and then decided it was time to work it off. The sun was still blazing as I straddled the Armstrong and cranked the rat-trap pedals down the street.

In the heat of the day, the spicey aroma of neighborhood bar-b-ques wafted through the air, bringing back memories of the Orient. It was an odd juxtaposition, the forgotten memories of far away places among the American Craftsman and Victorian homes with the Stars and Stripes undulating in the breeze. Still, I found it somehow fitting to remember my old friends in the good times of liberty ports, as well as remembering the men who gave their lives in the cause of liberty.


Directive from the Commandant

In a message to all Marines worldwide, the Commandant recently informed his troops that Marines were to cease and desist from using the age old term "Squid" to refer to members of the US Navy.

"Use of this word to refer to a member of the Navy is totally inappropriate," the Commandant said.

"According to Webster's Dictionary," the Commandant's message continues, "Squid is defined as 'a higher form of marine life.' Obviously, we must hide the truth when referring to Sailors."

They finally figured it out.

Observe Memorial Day. The squids, jarheads, grunts, airheads and puddle pilots deserve it.

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Thank You.

Bryan Benson
Jonathan Schulze


As we place out the flags this Memorial Day, let us not forget that the war is not over once our boys get back home.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Keffiyeh, Shemagh, Keffimaghflap

First there was Pam Atlas. Then Michelle Malkin. Next, Jawa, Red Alerts, and Wizbang. John Cole weighed in. Static emitted from Radio Left. Break The Terror broke. Holly had her say. Meanwhile World Net Whirled Nut Daily ran a similar story. LawDog had long expressed his opinion. Finally, Breda spoke.

The quickest way to drive a symbol into irrelevance is through saturation. If it was even a symbol to start with......

If only I had a pig.......


Rudge on ebay

Probably the neatest bicycle head badge ever designed adorns a British bicycle, the Rudge. I've often wondered whether the outstretched hand is that of a palm reader's customer, that of a policeman, or maybe that of a wheelman. There is an old Rudge three speed up for bids on ebay right now. If I saw it at a garage sale or flea market, I'd venture an offer.

Winning bid: US $164.50

Shipping: US $85.00


The Elusive M1911A1 Pistol

Another person is wanting a M1911A1 like Dad used to carry........

Click to enlargeMy response:
The least expensive but still durable option is a Springfield GI45. Swap out the goofy US grips for genuine GI grips (about $15) fit a genuine GI thumb safety, ($10) and Bob's your uncle. If you want to get fancy, swap in a GI mainspring housing to get rid of the ILS. Take a quick look at this pistol. This gets you into the game for $600 or so, including taxes. There are cheaper guns available, but they are cheaper.

Next up is a shooter grade M1911A1. These can be Colts, Ithacas, Remington Rands, or occasionally Union Switch & Signals. Sistemas fit in here too. These are the real deal historical guns. What you want is a pistol with enough finish wear or mixed GI parts to take it out of the collector's realm. These start at $600-800 and go up as high as the seller thinks possible. Click to enlargeKnow your stuff here. Experts and good info are available at the USGI section of the 1911 Forum. Register and learn. Read up on The Sight M1911A1 for good info.

Next will be the Colt M1911 or M1911A1 repro. These start at $1000. Occasionally you can find one for less, maybe $850-900. People think they are instant collectibles. If they are, all Colts are. Buy one and shoot it. These are fairly close to the real deal. Swap out the trigger on the WWII repro with a genuine GI trigger. The M1911 is fairly close on the small parts.

Finally, there is the M1911A1 itself. Click to enlargeExpect to pay $1500 and up for an original Very Good unrefinished condition Remington Rand, Colt, Ithaca or Union Switch & Signal M1911A1. The good thing is it will hold it's value, and indeed become more valuable if you take care of it and just shoot it. If you want a Colt M1911 (not A1) in this condition, think $2000. These pistols are one of the best investments in the gun world, if you can afford one. Again, be wary of fakery, and know your stuff. A year or two spent on the USGI forum reading and educating yourself is beneficial. If you get into this area, be aware that just about everyone gets burnt once, some multiple times.

Remember, always buy the gun, not the story. Money spent on books will be recouped when you evaluate a pistol. Use my Pre-Owned 1911 Checkout to check out any prospective purchase. Lastly, have fun in your search.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

I don't know what this top break zip gun is.

It was apparently made in 1960.

I do not recognize the type of writing.

I bet it has an interesting history.

It might be fun to shoot.

It's still ugly.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Real Bicycle Shop

A week ago, while riding my newly christened Armstrong Single Speed on her maiden voyage, I popped a couple of spokes. That's the breaks when using old spokes for lacing up a new hub. I was looking curiously forward to riding my gnarly old British bike to the local bike store to pick up a couple of spokes. As I rolled up and took the flaky black velocipede inside, the sales staff stood slack jawed at the apparition in their doorway. I walked over to the counter and asked for two spokes.

A sales kid measured my rim and I was sold two spokes. I asked for a bit of tape to secure them to the seat stay for the trip home, but no tape was available. Not to worry, I held them in my teeth as I pedaled homeward. Click to enlargeOnce home, I took off the rear wheel, and removed the cog to get at the recalcitrant spokes. As luck would have it, the sprung spokes were on the worst side to deal with. I suppose I should not have been surprised that the spokes did not fit. Too short. I taped them to the seat stay and rode back to the bike store for an exchange, a roll of electrical tape threaded onto my handlebars this time. When I got back home with the replacement spokes, they were the right length, but they were to large to thread into the nipple. Back to the bike store. I took my spoke wrench and my hub wrench this time.

I suppose the bike proprietor was surprised to see me roll my ugly bike back inside, and ask for different spokes. This time, he looked carefully at my rim, and picked out yet a different pair. I flipped the bike and attempted to install them. Wrong spokes again.

I asked if he had any spokes like the ones in my rim. He suggested I change out the entire wheel. No, I wasn't willing to do that. I rolled the bike back outside after I had my money back.......all $1.62 of it. I resolved that I would ride the bike missing a couple of spokes if need be.

Later in the week, I had the good fortune to find myself 200 miles away, in Baton Rouge. Once I had finished the business at hand, I realized I had the opportunity to look for spokes. Only one problem.........I had neither the bike, nor the broken spokes. I was told The Bicycle Shop on Highland Road, beside LSU might have the spokes that I required. A bike shop beside a major university was indeed an excellent prospect. I was told they closed at 4:30. It was 4:20. I rushed over and zipped into a loading zone. Tires screeched as I dashed across the street.

I must have looked as though a bit of meth was coursing through my veins as I quickly walked past the Specialized and Orbea velocipedes all lined up like soldiers for inspection. "I need two spokes," I sputtered to the proprietor, "No, four spokes...."

"What size?" he inquired, looking up from his work. The area behind the counter was awash with bikes torn down, used parts, tools, and the aroma of grease was in the air. Things looked promising. These folks knew old bikes.

"I don't know," I replied as he raised his eyebrows. "They are off what I think is an old Pugeot rim, 27 inches, no, 700c, with a coaster brake as a hub."

"A coaster brake? Do you have the rim?"

"No, but it's an older chrome rim, 27 inches, cut for one of the steel valve stems with the funky twisty release on top."

"27 inches? Can you bring in the wheel or a spoke?"Click to enlarge

"You don't understand.....I am 200 miles away from the bike. I didn't think I would have this chance to get the right spokes, I can tell you it's a 700c rim, with a really oddball size of spoke. I went to my local bike shop three times, and even the ones that were the right length would not thread into the nipple."

"Was it a long nipple?"

"I don't know, it was a smaller diameter threaded section, the spoke would insert, but not thread."

"Is the nipple longer than this one?" he asked, handing me a stubby thing.

"Yes, definitely," I said.

"27 inch huh? What size tire does it have on it?"

"No, it's a 700c rim, chrome. It has a Pesta valve stem, and a Specialized 700X28c Touring II slick on it."

"Coaster brake.........Why would you do that?"

"Have you tried it? It lightens the bike, clears the handlebars and frame of unnecessary junk, and makes a great trainer or even a clean, minimal lightweight get around bike."

"It's no wonder the spokes popped, putting that kind of stress on them........"

"The rubber is narrow, and a fixie or track bike sees the same stress when skidding........"

"Ya gotta point........You did this yourself?"


"Coaster brake huh? Any idea what make of rim that is?"

"I don't know. It has a sticker on it that says 'Super Champion' and another one that says 'Gentleman'."

"Three cross or four cross?"

"Three," I replied, proud that I knew an answer.



"OK, it's an old 700c 36 spoke rim of unknown origin, with a 'Super Champion, Gentleman' sticker, laced up three cross on a coaster brake."

"Yeah, with a Pesta valve."

He smiled and said "I'll be right back." He went to a computer monitor in the rear of his shop and began searching apparent manuals. After a minute or two, the fellow left the monitor and walked over to a rack stocked with boxes of bicycle spokes. He selected four from a worn green box and brought them back to the counter. "This is what you need," he said confidently.

"Are you sure?" I asked, suspicious after being burned thrice by my hometown bike place.

"Undoubtedly. The ones you have are tapered spokes, more narrow in gauge in the center and becoming larger in gauge at the ends, right?"

"I suppose, they are kind of floppy when tension is released......."

"Right. You have French rims, good ones. Super Champion rims take a specific spoke for a specific nipple. Now these are not exact, they don't have the taper, but they are the right length and they will thread up."

"Maybe I should buy a range of lengths....."

"You don't need to, this is correct."

I decided to place my trust in the fellow. I had nothing to lose. Rather than insult the shop owner who went beyond the norm to assist me, if the spokes he was offering were the wrong length, Click to enlargeI could pick up replacements on my next trip to Baton Rouge. I paid the money, $4.58, and placed them on my dashboard for the long trip home.

Last night, I removed the broken spokes, and installed the ones from The Bicycle Shop. They fit perfectly, just like the man said they would.

This morning, I found The Bicycle Shop on the 'net, and I sent them an email:
I am the bicycle nut that came running into your shop on Thursday 5/22/08 in search of four oddball spokes. I told you that I had a coaster brake on a 700c Super Champion wheel. After considerable confusion initiated by myself in my rush, you were able to calculate the size spoke I needed to replace the broken ones in my oddball application.

I wanted you to know that your calculations were exactly correct, and I want to thank you for your calm expertise. I installed the spokes this evening, and they were perfect, exactly what I needed.

When I drove down to Baton Rouge, I was not expecting to even have time to search out the spokes I needed, much less find a bike shop that knew or cared what I was talking about. That is why I did not have a broken spoke with me.

I want you to know that when I purchase my next new bicycle, or any parts that you stock and ship, it will be from you. If need be, I will drive the 200 miles to BR to pick my next bike up!

Any bike store can sell bicycles. Your establishment is not a bike store. It is a bike shop, and there is a world of difference. Thank you so much for your patience and professionalism. Next time, I will have a spoke!

Thank you.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Temperment Training

I took Ilsa riding this afternoon, and we worked on her training. The temperament standard for a German Shepherd Dog is an important component of the breed.Click to enlarge
The German Shepherd Dog has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence, and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as a companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand. The dog must not be timid, shrinking behind its master or handler; it should not be nervous, looking about or upward with anxious expression or showing nervous reactions, such as tucking of tail, to strange sounds or sights. Lack of confidence under any surroundings is not typical of good character.
To this end, I introduce Ilsa to new and potentially frightening experiences that will help her build greater and greater confidence and trust. Click to enlargeIt is not that the confidence and trust is not there, but whether it will serve her well, no matter what the circumstances. Canine stress inoculation. One of the tests I know she will have to accomplish is the elevated grate. Grates are spooky things to dogs unaccustomed to them. Ilsa's test will be twenty feet up with gusts of wind and even water coming through it. Click to enlarge

.........So how does Ilsa react? She lays down and takes a rest.

Ilsa's willingness to stay on task, snorking every potential hidey hole for the scent she in trying to follow is exemplary. I commonly use one of the local high schools or a park as a training ground because of all the confusing layers of scent from the many different people.Click to enlarge

We use a section of capped off and drilled out PVC pipe containing used socks and underwear from the person being sought as the search object. Occasionally, if possible, we will enlist the assistance of the actual person.

When she is tested, Ilsa will have evaluators trying to distract her from her task. Evaluators have all manner of distractions including other dogs, cats or squirrels introduced into the search dog's path. The first human encountered is the Registration/Entry Clerk. As the dog continues to work, the Neutral Stranger shows up. Next, a Friendly Stranger arrives with treats trying to lure her off task. Click to enlargeIf she continues on task, a Can Rattling Stranger pops out from behind a corner. A Gun Shooting Stranger has a starter's pistol waiting in the brush. The Umbrella Opening Stranger usually carries a supply of umbrellas because of failing candidates. Finally there is the Weird Stranger, who may have any sort of costume, designed to freak out any dog they approach. They may be dressed in tinsel playing bagpipes with an accomplice or two waving flags. Anything goes.

This is the Triathlon of Agility. Through it all, Ilsa must stay on task.

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Fat Dog?

Ilsa and I went to the vet today and found this. Slentrol.......dirlotapide........A weight control medication for dogs.

Weight does play an important role in a dog's health. Some breeds and mixes are prone to weight gain. Excess weight can play hell with joints, leading to early onset hip dysplasia. It can cause arthritic back pain in extra long dogs like Corgis and Dachshunds. Heart disease and breathing problems can result. A vicious cycle of overeating and lack of exercise from a lethargic lifestyle can lead to a pet not being as happy as they should be.

If you own a dog, and your dog is fat, take a look at yourself. You are in total control of it's diet. Use a measuring cup or a tin can to dole out the kibbles, and cut back on the amount. Send the table scraps down the garbage disposal. If your dog is fat, it's because you feed him to damned much. He doesn't need dope. You need to stop being one.

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Tracks Of My Tears

Heck, I can't think of anything to blog, so here's Smokey....


Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Colt Army Special

One old Colt revolver that occasionally comes up for sale is the Army Special. The Colt Army Special is a superbly fitted handgun that was crafted by some of the finest artisans of it's day. Colt Army SpecialIt was developed from an 1890's Colt double action revolver frame known as the Colt "41 caliber" frame. The Army Special was available in several calibers, .41 special, .38 special, .32 WCF, among others. They were available in blue and nickel finishes.

The term "Army Special" moniker was a marketing ploy. No army ever officially adopted the revolver as a sidearm. In 1927, the Colt Army Special became the Colt Official Police with only a name change. This particular revolver is one I picked up at Kay Clark-Miculek's place for $275 a couple of years back. The prices have not changed drastically since then, but Here is a Range Report.


Thick Air

It was already humid when I rolled the Fixie out for an early morning ride. The air conditioned frame instantly developed a moist glaze of condensate from thin thick air. As I warmed up myself, the sweat shirt soon came off and the steamy morning air cooled my body as it rushed past. It's looking as if I will be getting up earlier and earlier for the ride.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My CCW Gun Requirements

People sometimes inquire as to my criteria for a CCW gun. Here are my requirements, in order of precedence.Click to enlarge These are only my requirements. You do not have to follow suit.

1. Reliability
2. Portability and/or Concealability
3. Speed of deployment
4. Stopping power
5. Accuracy and/or Shootability
6. Durability
7. Capacity
8. Ease of maintenance and availability of parts

Reliability: If a gun fails to function, in a crisis situation, then I find myself taking a poor choice of action if I draw it. Unfortunately, I find out after the course of action is chosen. The failure of a gun combined with the decision to use it equates to my potential death. This is because the gun should not be drawn from concealment in defense of one's life unless one's life is in jeopardy. If one's life is in jeopardy and the life saver fails to function, one's life is lost. Unless one's killer is frightened by a gun that jams or goes click........

Portability/Concealability: The old saw that it is better to have a mousegun in your pocket than a cannon back home is true. If you do not have your gun when you need it, it is as useless to you as the nitroglycerin tablets on your bedside table if you have a heart attack at the corner Burger King. If you can not easily carry and conceal your weapon, you cannot reliably follow the laws you agreed to when you obtained your CCW, and you will sooner or later fail to strap it on to keep with you all day.

Speed of deployment: The person who fires the first shot usually survives. Others are reacting to his actions. Greater speed into that first shot gives one the split second needed to make it an accurate shot. Firing the first accurate shot increases your survival rate immeasurably. Speed of deployment can be compromised by methods of carry as well as the gun's platform. Other platforms and carry modes enhance speed of deployment.

Stopping power: I want the first shot to have the ability to stop the attack if correctly placed. I want it to have the greatest potential to stop the attack if I fail to strike an incapacitating area. If a hit is so far off the mark that it fails to stop or repel the attack, I want it to slow the attack so the next shot can be placed more accurately. Fewer shots mean more ammunition conserved in case of unknown numbers of attackers. Believe me, when you are attacked, once you deal with the initial attack, the first thought in your mind will be the curiosity of where his accomplices are. Fewer shots also mean less likelihood of "overkill" claims in civil court at a later date.

Accuracy and/or Shootability: Self defense with a gun and target shooting are not the same. When a person's life hangs in the balance and their attacker is engaged in trying to kill them, they do not have time to make certain the front sight has an equal amount of light on each side with a 6:00 hold. They just need to get some lead into the son of a bitch as quickly as possible.

Durability: There is a good chance that the shots you fire in self defense will be fired after you have been knocked to the ground from behind, slammed up against the wall, and had your pistol struck against something. Even your draw while trying to evade your attacker may result in your pistol hitting something solid. You may drop it. Nobody plans to drop their gun in a life or death situation, but when the rush of adrenaline numbs fine motor skills and tunnels one's vision, plenty of people do. If the gun design will not function after being dropped on concrete, it fails the #1 criteria, reliability. Further, a carry gun leads a tough life in a holster getting smacked on door jambs, floors of public restrooms, etc. Click to enlargeIf it's not up to the task, it can't do the job. I don't like cars I have to work on all the time either. Tools that break suck.

Capacity: Having sufficient ammunition to stop an attempt on your life is the key. Capacity is important. Accuracy is vital. If you can't hit squat, a 50 round magazine will not help you. Survival in a gunfight depends a lot on skill and tactics, but a major player in the outcome is luck. That is something that Jim Cirillo taught, and it can't be ignored. Capacity can help you hedge your bets if your luck goes sour.

Ease of maintenance and availability of parts: I don't have time or inclination to be coddling a tool that should be performing it's job protecting my ass. If I can't wear a gun all day, clean it once a week, or as needed after a gully washer drenching, I'll find one that will allow me to do so. If something breaks on one of my carry guns, I want the part yesterday. I do not want my safety compromised because some dude in Yonkers figured cheap part would be good enough. I do not want my safety compromised because I do not have my gun.

People sometimes wonder why I chose the old single action 1911 or a snubnose revolver for self protection. This is why. They may not be glamorous guns, but they fit my criteria. Our lives may hang in the balance of our decisions at any given time. We may be attacked suddenly, without warning. If that occurs, to survive, we need to stop the attack. Quickly. Effectively. Efficiently.

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Best Bike Lock

Even the best bike lock demands intelligence.



Click to enlargeSometimes the rear of a built in saltwater tank is more impressive than the front.

I've seen less life support mechanisms inside intensive care units!


Xavier on Fashion

I went out to do some clothes shopping yesterday. At one time in my life, when people were still doing the Hustle and digital media was a dream, I was a clothes horse. I would scan GQ and buy the latest styles. I do credit the Capezio shoes with helping me dance better, but the square bottom knit sock ties were bore patches waiting to happen. Times changed. I got older, wiser, I found less time for fashion frivolity. Over time, I simply began to become more discriminating with my time, and clothes shopping became a burden to be endured every three years or so. I would avoid it all together and let my wife buy my clothes, but I learned that was a bad idea. The first time I crawled under the car in a $70 T-shirt she bought for me, I regretted it. Classic styles stay in style. Classic styles mean I do not have to go back see the local suit peddler until I gain weight or the one I have is threadbare.

I learned it's easy to pack a gun under a sports coat. I have a small collection of sports coats for that purpose, actually. I try to find a Chaps by Ralph Lauren sports coat in a weave I can tolerate and a size I can fit into. They hide a pistol nicely. I wear a 50 Long. Not an easy find there...... But when you think about it, even the brand name is pretentious... Chaps.... by Rrrralph Llllauren.... These aren't chaps dude. Why the hell are you calling your brand "Chaps?" Lifestyle marketing at it's finest. The item I selected was a single breasted two button tropical weight Navy blazer. There ain't many cowboys wearing this jacket at the rodeo.....

I detest the squirrley young salesmen in the men's department too. They saunter up and introduce themselves, sticking their hand out in a businesslike way as though they were an executive. I'm sorry......I'm not stupid. I was that age once too, and I just can't help but picture them clocking out, stripping off the silk tie and the stylish store haberdashery, then putting on a T shirt and saggy pants with a ball cap on crooked, and getting into their fluorescent green rice burner and cruising my neighborhood with their rumble thumping rap noise beating on my walls. At their age I was liberating countries, quelling insurrections, converting virgins, and sailing the globe like a giant among men. I'm not impressed by a head full of grease and an overpriced tie around your neck. Nothing against a young man trying to make an honest living, but damn kid, have some respect and leave the pretentious bullshit at the barn when dealing with an old man. You will sell more and your customers will come back. Yeah, this sports coat I am wearing was custom tailored by Mr. Son in Hong Kong. I don't think your off the rack stuff can match it, but I don't have the inclination to return to Kowloon to have another one made. At any rate, I managed to find a tropical weight Navy blazer in my size that will hide a pistol while making me look decent. Navy blazers are great. They will work with a T shirt and jeans, khakis or slacks.

Shoes, I found to be a whole 'nuther matter in 2008. For casual wear, I prefer the Sperry Top Sider look. Lets face it. I was a sailor. I still think nautical. I like the ability to slip my bare feet into a boat shoe and still look some what respectable. Boat shoes can go with shorts, jeans or khakis. When I actively sailed, I would wear flight deck boots on deck, or neoprene dive boots on the deck of sail or motor boats, but I digress...... I don't really like the Sperry brand, because their razor cut siping eventually splits the sole of the shoe right at the ball of the foot. I want something durable so I won't have to go back shopping again. Thus, I lean towards the leather Timberland brand. Other types of shoes that I will wear include loafers, (but I leave the tassels to the attorneys) single color oxfords or wingtips, and hiking boots. Sports shoes are relegated to when I am participating in sports. It's just the way I was raised, I guess.

It is depressing to find that there are few classic styles among men's casual leather shoes today. Everything looks as though it was constructed for a diabetic at risk for amputation or an astronaut. The blending of sports attire and casual attire has resulted in men's shoes that are laughably ugly. Maybe I'm just being old fashioned, but I just want something on my feet that will last a couple of years, keep me from landing on my ass if I slip, and will not make me look stupid. In other words, I want the blue blazer of shoes, and it has gone into hiding.

Finally, with Little Darling's prodding, I relented and purchased three pairs of shoes. One is a moccasin style loafer with a segmented sole that reminds me of the pads on a dog's foot. Totally weird. Next, I decided on a pair of Timberland shoes that looked to be a cross between a sports shoe and a brogan. Finally, to ease the pit in my stomach, I bought some khaki canvas Top Siders. Then I grabbed Little Darling's hand and escaped the clutches of consumerism. Hopefully, I will not have to make another foray for a few years........

I'm going shootin'.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama on Gun Owners


Dinner Party Colt

Sometimes you never know when an old pistol will pop up. I was shown and offered this Colt 1903 Hammerless this evening at a dinner party. It was a nice pistol, with quite a bit of remaining finish. Everything functioned correctly, and it appeared to be all original.

The owner was not really motivated to sell, simply saying he had an "old Colt" he might get rid of. I disassembled the little shooter and checked the bore. It was good. I ventured $400. He declined. I decided to let it continue to reside with him. Often, that is the best policy if you are not certain about the value of a gun for sale.

More information on the 1903 Hammerless can be found at Colt Autos.com.


The Little Ghost Nebula

This pretty planetary nebula, cataloged as NGC 6369, was discovered by 18th century astronomer William Herschel as he used a telescope to explore the constellation Ophiucus. Round and planet-shaped, the nebula is also relatively faint and has acquired the popular moniker of Little Ghost Nebula. Planetary nebulae in general are not at all related to planets, but instead are created at the end of a sun-like star's life as its outer layers expand into space while the star's core shrinks to become a white dwarf. The transformed white dwarf star, seen near the center, radiates strongly at ultraviolet wavelengths and powers the expanding nebula's glow. Surprisingly complex details and structures of NGC 6369 are revealed in this delightful color image composed from Hubble Space Telescope data. The nebula's main ring structure is about a light-year across and the glow from ionized oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen atoms are colored blue, green, and red respectively. Over 2,000 light-years away, the Little Ghost Nebula offers a glimpse of the fate of our Sun, which should produce its own pretty planetary nebula only about 5 billion years from now.

Astronomy Picture of the Day


Monday, May 19, 2008

Unwanted Inheritance

Honest old Colt 38 Super. Gun was in family 4 generations(Great-Grandpa's pistol).Serial in low 10,000 range. Only 30,000 Supers produced before the WWII. Gun shoots great. The 38 Super was most powerful handgun until .357 Mag came along. All prewar 1911's are highly sought after with 38 Supers being especially prized.
Somehow, I find unwanted guns like these to be rather sad. Maybe I should establish an orphanage for old Colts......

Current Bid $1,825.00 Buy it now for three grand.

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