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Monday, May 23, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #92 – Sean Survives Gun Skool

Adam and Sean bring you Episode 92 of The GunBlog VarietyCast!

  • Erin Palette answers Sean's questions about water storage containers;
  • Beth Reoch Alcazar tries to explain pink guns;
  • Silicon Graybeard tells you how to get started in electronics as a hobby;
  • and Weer'd finds another group of moms waging war against guns and calling it a war against gun violence.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.

Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Salem Watches A Movie: Captain America: Civil War

Minor spoilers ahead.

Marvel's treading some really interesting ground lately. While the comics are being simultaneously bashed for not being diverse enough and celebrated for changing genders, identities, and races of prominent characters, the movies are quietly slipping in some rather Libertarian-esque ideals, especially in Cap's films. While the first one was predictably a super-hero war film, the second one dealt heavily with the topical discussion around governmental surveillance, with SHIELD's Insight helicarriers capable of surveilling and potentially "removing" targets that could question the agenda of the people running them. Similarly, Captain America: Civil War deals with the topic of governmental oversight and Captain Rogers is now two for two in resisting, violently when necessary, government overreach, and doing so in a way that presents the topic in a much more effective way, arguably, than the comics that inspired it did.

Interestingly, there's been an argument that Cap is a soldier, and is clearly in the wrong for disobeying orders. Now I'm no soldier, but I grew up in a military family, but all the same I'll let a soldier debunk that one.

In the comics, there was a tragedy in Stamford, CT that involved a showboating young superhero team, a dangerous villain, and the loss of over six hundred lives which led to a superhuman registration act. In the movie, it's trainee superhero Wanda Maximoff, recruited at the end of the last Avengers film, who is behind the accident when she saves Captain America's life by diverting an explosion that could have killed dozens of people at ground level not quite far enough into the air to keep it from killing the dozens of people in the building above the market. These events lead to the Sokovia Accords, an attempt to reign in the Avengers under governmental oversight, and both Cap and Tony Stark's team make good arguments for and against it, even having moments where they question their respective decisions. The difference here being that the Superhuman Registration Act of the comics is a clear human rights violation, applying equally to people who operation with self-created enhancements and people born with said enhancements, such as mutants. The Sokovia Accords is much more of a grey area, politically, lending Team Stark a much stronger stance.

Marvel films have a formula at this point. They're 12 movies in since Iron Man kicked it off, and they all have similar characteristics. Slick character designs that are realistic but pay heavy tribute to their sources, snappy dialogue, and character development that takes place both on and off the battlefield. It's a tribute to the people making the decisions here that twelve movies in it doesn't feel stale yet, and there are scenes in this movie that still register a strong emotional response. The fear at Rhodey's "dead stick" moment, Ant-Man's "something big", RDJ's stunning line delivery of "so was I" or meeting Spider-man and Black Panther. Civil War is both everything we could have hoped for in a super-hero movie and a fitting chapter in the MCU's story. The only real criticism I have is that this is yet another Marvel film with a weak villain, as has been the usual. Loki still remains the only well-fleshed out villain in the MCU. That said, the villain, when revealed, has good motivation and a brilliant scheme, but we spend so little time with them that they may as well not even be there.

Always #TeamCap
The most surprising thing is that this movie has over a dozen significant characters, and doesn't leave any of them short on screentime, development, or spotlight. Obviously, we're introduced to Spidey and Black Panther in this movie. The former is a big deal because there's been no less than five Spider-Man movies in recent history with only the first two gaining universal acclaim. For the record, I quite enjoyed the last two, even though they're more or less the least popular. The general consensus is that Tom Holland's MCU Spidey got everything right that the last 5 movies couldn't in maybe 20 minutes of screen time. With the latter, I feel it could be argued that Black Panther is a little overpowered, but then he is one of the most intelligent and capable heroes in the comics as well, so it fits.

All in all, Civil War is an excellent movie. Well worth the price of admission, even if you want to see it in IMAX or 3D. It's fun, it's compelling, and it sets up the next chapters in the MCU well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

So I Guess There's a GunBlog VarietyCast Episode After All - #91

The day after I post "There's no podcast this week", Sean goes and posts a podcast he made at shooting class.


He writes:
"I spent the weekend at Southington Hunt Club training facility taking Safety Solutions Academy's Critical Defensive Handgun class with Paul Carlson. Paul, Ben Rd, and I recorded this special edition of The GunBlog VarietyCast in Southington's "Semi-Pro Shop." Great class, great time, a lot to think about. I'll be giving my thoughts on the class itself in Episode 92. (Spoiler Alert: Worth your time and money) The rest of the gang will be back next week!"

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.

Paul Carlson of Safety Solutions Academy has offered a special discount code for listeners. Use discount code “Variety” at checkout and receive 15% off when taking the two day Critical Defensive Handgun class.

Find their schedule here. Very highly recommended by Sean!

Monday, May 16, 2016

There's no Gun Blog Variety Podcast this week

Some of you are no doubt wondering "Where is this week's GunBlog VarietyCast? Did Erin forget to post it?"

Sadly, the answer is "No, I didn't forget. I didn't post a podcast this week because there's no podcast to post." This is because Sean Sorrentino, editor of the GBVC, decided that he'd rather spend his weekend in Ohio getting training at a free gun class for podcasters, so he didn't have time to edit the podcast for distribution.

But before you feel jealous, here's what happened based on his Facebook updates (yes, I have permission to post these):

1) He didn't get a soft bed in a warm hotel room. 
Instead, he slept in a tent on the shooting range.
What the heck is this? A tent? Am I supposed to sleep in that?
2) He had a squib lodge in his barrel. 
So I had a squib. But the next round wouldn't chamber.
Fortunately he noticed it before further damage was done and fixed the issue using percussive maintenance.
All fixed.
3) He got to meet Gun Jesus. 
Okay, that one isn't a bad thing. But can he multiply ammunition like Jesus multiplied bread and fish?
Class being led by ‪#‎GunJesus‬. (Good instructor, BTW)
‪#‎gunschool‬ ‪#‎gun‬‪#‎safetysolutionsacademy‬
4) He stayed up far too late on a cold night.
Oh, sure, he didn't have time to edit GBVC, but he had time to edit an interview.
So it's after 1AM, it's below 40F, and raining.
Why am I editing a podcast in an open pavilion? Going to bed.
(Later) Oh, and 50% chance of snow tomorrow morning (this morning!)
so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

5) It only got worse on Sunday. 
Like the Army says: If it ain't raining, it ain't training.

(Picture of Sean's car removed for Opsec purposes.
With the car redacted it was just a picture of some trees,
so it was deleted.)

I want to make jokes about "being hard" and "suck it Up,"
 but this is rough. We're up to 43F and rain, but we've seen sleet, 
and this sucks. The gun school training is good, 
but the conditions are making it way harder than it needs to be. 
I'm cold and in pain, but focused and safe. 
And I'm spending lunch break in my car warming up.

Apparently there was also snow earlier that morning.

Sean called me on the drive home and said something to the extent of "I'd have given you all of my ammo if I could have slept in a warm bed that night."

So that's why there isn't a GBVC this week. 
(Yes, I just made a post about how I have nothing to post.)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Quick Recommendation This Week from Salem

I'm incredibly busy at the moment. I'm between work meetings, I just built a new chair to attempt to stave off my spine falling to pieces, and DOOM releases in a mere few hours.

That, with the double-post of last week, leaves me with little time to formulate my thoughts on Civil War, and I plan on talking some more about it next week. I may catch a matinee some time this week to see it again. In the meantime, a rogue commentator has put out an excellent piece of parody work in the vein of Weird Al, and has faced a DMCA claim for his trouble.

Here's the video, but there's also a link to his bandcamp page where you can download the song for free, or pay him if you like. I'll see you all next week for a talk on Civil War, but in the meantime if you've been hesitating on seeing it, don't. It's fantastic.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday Night Whatever

I've just about got this illness kicked. Maybe. I think.

Anyway, in the spirit of keeping the blog alive, here are two videos that dearest readers might find interesting. The first can only be described as "What if The Empire Strikes Back got a James Bond-style opening sequence?"

Star Wars - Episode V "The Empire Strikes Back" Homage (Title Sequence) from KROFL on Vimeo.

The music doesn't exactly stir me -- as far as I'm concerned, James Bond opening sequences hit their zenith in 1995 with Goldeneye (although The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo gets honorable mention because, despite not being a Bond film, it still has a Bond-like sequence and stars Daniel Craig) -- but it's still a pretty good rendition of a niche artform.

In other news, Raytheon says it can turn old M60 Pattons into cost-effective units capable of defeating Russian-built T-90s by giving them stronger engines, faster servos and a larger (120mm) main gun.

Color me intrigued. It will be interesting to see these claims be put to the test.

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