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Archive for September, 2009

First time at a gun show!

Posted by Lissa on September 30, 2009

Eager to cement my status as a non-bahstid, I trucked over to Marlboro last weekend to visit Doubletrouble and his booth at the Best Western Gun/Knife Show.

Holy cow, there were a lot of people there!  Took me forever to find parking.  Shockingly (snort) there were a gazillion pickup trucks, often festooned with bumper stickers such as “GUN CONTROL MEANS USING BOTH HANDS” and “BORDER CONTROL NOT GUN CONTROL.”  I paid my nine dollars (yay coupon!) and examined the prominent signs by the front door.  Nope, I didn’t have a gun to surrender . . . nope, no live ammo . . . awwwwww, no cameras?!?  Dammit!!

I wasn’t terribly surprised that the demographics skewed HEAVILY in favor of the Y chromosome.  I’m talking at least 90%.  I did see the occasional female or young child, but I’m not sure I met another woman wandering around by herself.

(Ladies, did you know that if you go to a gun show by yourself you get hit on a LOT?  Of course, you get hit on in a VERY respectful and chivalrous manner.  After all, a woman at the gun show is probably not there to look at the plastic WWII figurines.)

Every gun was “secured”, i.e. it had a plastic doohickey locked through the chamber or trigger guard.  Pistols were also either under netting or glass, or secured to the table with elastic-thingies.

Ammo shortage?  What ammo shortage?  9 mm ammo went for $14.75 for a box of 50; hollowpoints went for $30.  They also had Federal law enforcement ammo available, which is apparently a “bounded bullet” that will stay intact.  The gentleman explaining that to me chatted me up for a little while; apparently his mother a) is 72, b) is my height, c) can put 15 shots into the center of a target in three seconds, and d) is meaner than a three-eyed rattlesnake.  I think that’s a lady I’d like to meet!

On to the guns!  In no particular order, I saw:

- a new Smith & Wesson M&P in 9 mm for $585, in .40 for $540, and used 9 mm for $410

- SigSauer 239 in .40 for $675, standard night sights (that thing must kick like a mule)

- SigSauer Mosquito .22 for $369

- SigSauer 229 in .357 for $785 (They wouldn’t let me hold this one without a permit.  Seriously.  The best she could do was hold it up at eye level for me.)

- a Glock 19 9 mm for $599; since it was available in MA, that means used and pre-ban**

- a massive gun safe for $950 picked up, $1150 ground delivered; a smaller one went for $799.  Wonder if it’d do double-duty as a fireproof box for important documents?  (I broached that idea to Mike, who pointed out that if the ammo DID go off the documents would be super-ultra-mega destroyed.  Hmmm.)

- FINALLY! a Sig 239 in 9 mm for $709 (and also a 226 in 9 mm for $639)

As a souvenir of the show, I’d bought a $10 SigSauer holster from Doubletrouble.  I pulled it out and thought it fit the 239, but it didn’t quite; the latch on the side wasn’t clicking.  Doubletrouble very kindly dug through his box of holsters and picked me out a Blackhawk holster to try.  I scurried back to the Sig 239 table and — yup!  It’s a match :)  Sweet!  (I think I’m the only person I know who bought the holster before the gun.  Like, weeks before.)

Yeah, I thought about buying a T shirt instead of a holster, but what fun would that be?  Although I was amused by the shirts; they included such slogans as “This State Allows Concealed Carry; Think Before You Act” and “Smith & Wesson: ‘The Ultimate in Feminine Protection’ “.  (That latter one was on a baby-pink shirt with the writing in sparkly silver.  Naturally.)

I was way happy to run into Borepatch and #2 son.  Like me, Borepatch wasn’t shopping for guns, but he’d grabbed some targets and a set of ear protection. This made me laugh like a loon, because I’d talked to Mike earlier — who had his own gun show in North Carolina — and guess what Mike bought?  Targets and a set of ear protection.  :)

To sum up — a lot of nice people and a lot of nice guns.  Thanks for inviting me, Doubletrouble!

**That’s gotta be one of the stupider regulations, when you think about it.  So the gun is legal, but a gun EXACTLY LIKE IT manufactured six months later is illegal.  Oy!

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For clarification

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2009

While this post was factually accurate, it’s misleading.

I wrote, “H/t of my sister, who I am desperately trying to convince that gun-owners are largely responsible, careful people.”  That is true — I have been desperately trying to convince her of that.

But the thing is — she doesn’t need to be convinced.  As she commented, “I have never stated that I think gun owners are largely irresponsible. Therefore, you have never had to try and convince me that they’re largely responsible. I have been QUITE clear that I am not against gun ownership and there is no possible way that you could have misinterpreted my position.”

I know Jenny’s not thrilled about my foray into the gun world; she’s told me so.  Ironically, this led to me frantically trying to convince her of something that she already knows — that guns are safe when in the hands of safety-conscious people — and I think I came off as rather a fanatic.  Serious backfire, there :)

So, to clarify — my sister does NOT think that all gun-owners are mouth-breathing hillbillies, and it wasn’t fair to imply that she did.  When she expressed her not-thrilled-ness with my gun stuff, she also stated right off the bat that she had complete faith in my ability to be safe, and that she had no doubt I would be the most responsible gun owner/user ever.  My apologies for the error.  Mea culpa!

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New NCIS commercial

Posted by Lissa on September 25, 2009

For my fellow NCIS fans

Like many ladies my age, I developed a soft spot for Chris O’Donnell a long time ago, and it all stems from this:

*sigh*

But Lissa, you say, can he really be forgiven for that travesty of a movie called Batman and Robin?

To which I respond, That’s not a problem because THAT MOVIE NEVER HAPPENED.  THERE WAS NO SUCH MOVIE.  SHUT UP.

(Previous NCIS blogging here, here and here)

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Kindle vs. Hardcover, and resisting temptation

Posted by Lissa on September 24, 2009

One of the reasons I’m madly in love with my Kindle is the quick delivery-instant gratification it provides.  I mean, you can pre-order a book and it shows up at midnight.  Pull the trigger (heh) on a purchase and start reading sixty seconds later.  Heaven!

So it’s currently killing me by inches that I haven’t ordered the latest Diana Gabaldon, Echo in the Bone.  It’s been available for TWO WHOLE DAYS!  And I could have it in SIXTY SECONDS!  If I’d pre-ordered I’d have had it Tuesday morning at 12:01 AM!  But then I’d have paid thirty cents MORE than the hardcover price, which wrecks one of the two major premises for buying a Kindle, i.e., cheaper prices than hardcovers.

What’s interesting to me is watching a publisher try to figure out the proper price and delivery for the Kindle version of a book that will most certainly show up on the NY Times Bestsellers.  Do they release it on the same day, or hold off for a week in the hopes that more people suck it up and buy the hardcover?  If they publish the Kindle book on the same day, should they charge the same amount as the hardcover, or $9.99 (as they will once it makes the actual NY Times list)?

My feeling is that Amazon.com screwed the pooch on this one.  If you check the Kindle discussion here, you find rather a lot of unhappy customers.  To sum up — they had a Kindle edition available for pre-order, but for the same price as the hardcover.  Then the link disappeared.  Then, in the week before release, they added back a Kindle version, but for thirty cents more than the hardcover AND releasing two days later.  Then, less than 24 hours after release, they dropped the Kindle price by three bucks.  And apparently those who pre-ordered before Amazon disappeared the link didn’t get the book.

I was quite impressed with Amazon’s handling of the 1984 Charlie-Fox; the apology was a real apology (i.e. “hot damn we screwed up and we’re sorry” rather than the “sorry if you were offended” crap you hear so much nowadays) and the $30 was much appreciated.  I’ll be interested to see how they manage this latest glitch.

In the meantime, it’s an exercise in self-control that this big, juicy, delicious book could be at my fingertips in sixty seconds.  My plan is to wait until Saturday morning — well, okay, probably Friday night — as that will allow me to read through until I finish the book without having to take a work vacation day.  PATIENCE, Lissa.  Patience.

. . .  WANT!!!

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Jealousy

Posted by Lissa on September 23, 2009

It so happens that there’s a range about twenty minutes away from Mike’s Bambi-watching apartment.  A range that rents guns for five dollars (though as usual you have to buy their ammo).  A range that doesn’t require you to have a state-certified safety course before you’re allowed to shoot.

In other news — we’ve all noticed the rampant murder sprees around gun ranges in New Hampshire as well as North Carolina, haven’t we?  After all, any place without the necessary and rigorous safety laws of MA must be running wild, right?

Right?

P.S.  On a this-is-interesting note .  . . apparently Manchester Firing Line *does* ask to see an LTC/CCW or safety course certificate if you’re by yourself. According to my father they’ve had two suicides over the years.  I guess most people don’t bring a friend to a suicide?  And if you can show a safety certificate it proves you’ve handled guns and not offed yourself in the past.

Please note — this is a choice by the owner of a business, not a NH law.  Always worthwhile to point out the difference.

P.P.S. OH FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD.  *grasps bridge of nose in migraine salute*  Hat-tip to Mike, who thinks the last line of the article is the money shot.

P.P.P.S.  The range near Mike does have M&P’s to rent, but I want to try it too!  Jay, I don’t know when Mike is next coming back to MA, but I’ll buzz you when I do ;-)  Maybe Borepatch could come along?

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Range report: Father edition

Posted by Lissa on September 22, 2009

Saturday morning Mike and I met my father up at Manchester Firing Line for some father-daughter-son-in-law bonding time :)  Sadly, they didn’t have the Smith & Wesson M&P Mike wanted to play with, so we settled for the Sig 226 (.40).

Sig 226

I hate to say it . . . but I did NOT like this gun.  I thought the sights were wretched and the kick was serious enough to screw with my aim.  Shot after shot would go low and/or wide.  After we’d jointly put 50 rounds through it, I said the hell with it.  Why beat up your hand, beat up your wrist and not enjoy yourself?  I walked out and rented the little Sig P239 darlin from my last trip.

Maybe I just can’t shoot .40?  Or I’d have to get used to it?  I understand that it has a lot more stopping power than 9 mm, but I think everyone agrees — better to get one 9 mm with less stopping power on target than to have .40s hitting low and wide.  It was a wise decision on my part; I went from being frustrated and disappointed to happily hitting the target.

(It may also have just been a bad day to try .40; I overdid the coffee Saturday morning and my hands were quivering no matter how hard I gripped the gun.  It was easier to control with the 239 than the 226; my hands were noticeably trembling with the bigger gun.  I know it was noticeable, because Mike noticed and commented on it.  Q.E.D.)

After I finished off my box of 9 mm — and yes, I did let Mike run through ten shots on the P239 compact; he was more accurate as well — we cleaned up our lane and went to go bother my father.

Daddy rockin' the Glock

(I also took a gun-profile pic of his piece, but . . . dude.  It’s a Glock 19.  It’s very functional and it has no soul.)

Daddy was West Point, so he’s been shooting guns just a wee bit longer than we have.  Just a wee bit longer than we’ve been alive, actually; tack on a few extra years for his being an Army brat.  Anyway, for the most part he let us just have fun, but every once in a while he would give us tips on our shooting.

Having ascertained that Mike (and I) tend to anticipate the shot and therefore dip the muzzle while squeezing the trigger, he ran through an AWESOME exercise with Mike.  He removed all the bullets from the magazine and handed them to me, clearing the gun and locking the slide back on an empty chamber.  He had my husband face forward towards the target and proceeded to hand him the Glock a number of times.  The first time, the gun was empty; we all clearly saw the muzzle dip as Mike pulled the trigger.

We repeated the exercise a number of times, with a twist.  Sometimes Daddy would take a bullet from me and put it in the chamber before closing the slide.  Sometimes he would simply pause a few seconds before closing it.  At all times Mike faced forward, so he didn’t know whether he’d be dry-firing or shooting an actual bullet.  (I don’t really need to say so, but — of course the gun was treated as loaded whether it was or not.  Duh.)

I thought this was a FASCINATING and very helpful drill.  Watching Mike go through it and applying the lesson to my own habit of anticipating the shot, I changed my firing method.  Instead of squeezing the trigger smoothly, I concentrated on pulled it back as slo-o-o-o-o-owly as I could.  The results were IMMEDIATE:

Glock 19 at 5 yards

The center bullseyes were all from the first magazine I shot with the new slo-o-o-ow trigger pull.  I did that consistently with my next few turns, too.  (I could hear my father even through my ear protection, commenting to my husband that he was a little scared of me.  *grin*)

So . . . if a goblin ever breaks in, I just need him to stand very still at five yards for the ten seconds it takes me to pull the trigger . . .

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Four Rules, you idiot!! FOUR RULES!!!!

Posted by Lissa on September 21, 2009

H/t of my sister, who I am desperately trying to convince that gun-owners are largely responsible, careful people.  Please y’all, do me a favor and chime in with comments on what a stupid d*ckh*le this guy is?!?

UPDATE:  For clarification — I was trying to convince her of something she already knows.  It wasn’t fair to convey the impression that Jenny thinks gun owners are idiots or irresponsible, since she’s never stated anything to that effect.  See the post here.

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Happy Caturday: Fur-brushing edition

Posted by Lissa on September 19, 2009

Rajah’s always super-excited to see me when I get home.  He’s also very fond of my hairbrush.  He LOVES to jump up on the bathroom counter when I brush my hair and — well, see for yourself!

And for any folks who are grossed out by my using my own hairbrush on the kitty . . . um, hello, y’all, he licks his ass with the same tongue that he uses to lick me.  The hairbrush is the LEAST of my worries.

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Universal health care

Posted by Lissa on September 18, 2009

This comment at a Miss Kitty post got me thinking . . .

She is a pediatric home care nurse, so she sees some pretty extreme cases of birth defects and the like. She also deals with families who have been bankrupted (or nearly so) by the medical bills of their children, some of which have no hopes of never liveing [sic] to see the age of 10.

Some of the things she talks about almost break my heart, but in the same thought I wonder, how can you be anti-choice and anti-public health care when you see what you see? I don’t doubt her compassion, or her skill as a nurse, but I don’t understand how she can hold the political/social views she does doing what she does. I wonder how your students plan to deal with that?

To me, it’s rather easy.  I’m anti-public health care because I think universal health care will make things worse, not better.

“Health care” is not a magical substance.  It costs money to produce and money to administer.  When the government tries to break down the “artificial” barrier of Do you have enough money to pay for the things you want, it doesn’t magically grow the pool of health care available.

Pediatric nurses need to get paid.  MRI machines cost money to produce.  Hospitals need electricity to run.

So — having determined that the system takes money to function, why is it unreasonable to require money from people who want use of the system?

Now of course I don’t like stories of families bankrupted by medical care.  But I don’t think that government health care will give better health care to more people. I think it will lead to limitation of those [life-saving] expensive medical treatment to a favored few.

There will NEVER be enough of the best medicine to go around.  Never.  To quote the great Sowell:

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.
The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

It’s easy to look at a family that is financially broken by caring for a child and feel pity.  No children should be fatally ill.  No family should be destroyed because a child got leukemia.  There but for the grace of God go I, and all that.

But rather than have the government try to administer a limited pool of health care goods without a) going broke, b) messing with the medical marketplace such that R&D folks no longer have good enough incentives to invent new drugs/practices etc., c) running the whole thing with the efficiency of FEMA and the compassion of the IRS (thanks TOTWTYTR!), I think there are other ways to improve the system.  The solutions laid out by the Whole Foods guy seem like a dandy place to start.

A health care system run by money is sort of like democracy — it sucks.  Morally, no one should die because they didn’t have enough money to pay for treatment.  I get that.

But it beats a system where access to care is determined by bureaucracy.

P.S. Health care is not a “human right” because it requires the labor of other people.  If your doctor doesn’t want to see you, you have no right to REQUIRE that s/he do so.  If doctors want to quit or retire — and it seems like they might — then the health care disappears unless you force them to provide care.  Last I checked, slavery went out of vogue a long time ago.  (I’ve seen that thought expressed in a number of different posts, I don’t claim to be the original thinker on this point.)

P.P.S.  I think medical privacy is important.  I don’t want the government to get NEAR my health records, let alone “may investigate the affairs of a Gateway, may examine the properties and records of a Gateway, and may require periodical reports in relation to activities undertaken by a Gateway.  A Gateway shall fully cooperate in any investigation conducted under this paragraph.

P.P.P.S.  Wish I had time to refine this post — it’s sort of unwieldy and rambling — but y’all don’t want me to be late to work, do you?

UPDATE:  TOTWTYTR links, and says far nicer things than I deserve.  Thanks!

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The stupidest thing you’ll read today

Posted by Lissa on September 17, 2009

There are of course many and myriad competitors jousting for that title seven days a week.  However, I’m really quite confident I’ve found the pick of the litter:

Are some Democratic legislators who are squabbling over health care secret supporters of the Taliban? Are some Republican legislators in cahoots with Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

I’m dead serious when I ask those questions, as we pass another anniversary of 9/11. President Obama must make critical decisions this fall about policies toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran – decisions forced on him early in his term because of wrongheaded policies by the previous administration.

OY.

Yes, boys and girls, it’s official — anyone who is “squabbling” over ObamaCare WANTS THE TERRORISTS TO WIN.  (And that includes Democrats trying to actually WRITE the damn plan.)

I do believe that’s even stupider than ANYONE WHO DOESN’T FAVOR OBAMACARE IS A RACIST.  And that’s saying something.

Also, I think that last sentence could use a bit of revision:

President Obama must make critical decisions this fall about policies toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran – decisions forced on him early in his term because of wrongheaded policies by the previous administration that he signed up for when he ran for President at a time when we were involved in global conflict.

There, fixed it.

(h/t Best of the Web)

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