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Friday, October 21, 2016

The Final Countdown: Who Wins, Who Loses?

Finally. We reach this, the final showdown. The last debate of the 2016 political free-for-all that's become so consistently embarrassing that it's now cliche to even call it a shit-show. So then, my thoughts?

  • Moderator Chris Matthews opening with "None of the questions have been shared with the parties." Good. Makes for a pleasant change of pace, doesn't it, DNC?
Topic: Supreme Court
  • Hillary, why are *you* against Citizens United and dark, unaccountable money? You wouldn't be standing there without it. 
  • Trump's judges will be pro-life with a clearly conservative bent. There goes his chance with disenfranchised Bernie voters. 
  • Hillary: "I support the second amendment." No, you don't. No further comment needed here.
  • Roe V Wade: I'm with Her on this one. Not on the Planned Parenthood thing, but on Roe V Wade, definitely. Planned Parenthood has documented income outside the government, nearly half of it's income, and it could survive without it. Or better yet, incorporate it into existing health care structures. 
  • Hillary on late-term abortion bans "When I voted as a senator I did not think that was the case." Did you not READ the case? 
  • Trump, If they "rip the fetus out of the womb" 3-4 days before the due date, wouldn't that just be a cesarean, unless the baby turned out nonviable and a threat to the mother's health? 

Topic: Immigration
  • Trump, there's a difference between a "path to citizenship" and amnesty. One actually involves making it easier for people to become citizens legally, the other just ignores the problem.
  • He's not wrong, despite the meme of "Bad Hombres," about having some people that have crossed borders that need to be taken back. Have you seen Breaking Bad? I live in Albuquerque. I know people like that. It's practically a documentary. 
  • Hillary: "I voted for border security in the senate." Yeah. A fence. Which acts much like a wall. 
  • The words "Twitter War" just happened during a presidential debate.
  • Trump: "Hillary Clinton wanted the wall." Called it. 
  • Hillary: "New technology to protect the border." I read that as "drone strikes on the US/Mexico border by 2018. 
  • Trump: "Obama has deported more people." Yep. He's right. ABC News even ran a story on this
  • Hillary, stop manterrupting the moderator.
  • Hillary's response to Wikileaks: "RED SCARE RED SCARE RED SCARE
  • Wait, are we still on immigration? 
  • Why *won't* anyone else say the words "radical Islamic terrorism?"
  • Trump: "If Russia gets along with the US, that'd be good." Why is this a bad thing? I don't want another Cold War. Can we *please* make some kind of peace with Russia? 
  • Hillary calling Trump a puppet is the only time I've ever seen "NO YOU" used as a valid defense.
  • Trump, stop manterrupting the moderator.
  • Both of these people want us to remain Team America World Police. Trump just wants us to get paid for it. 
Topic: Economy
  • Hillary's not doing bad here. She's mentioned trades and apprenticeships, which is good because college degrees have been devalued over the last few generations. 
  • Stop name-checking Bernie, Hillary. We haven't forgotten, and it's not making you look any better.
  • So the basic difference here is Trump wants to invest in rich business owners, trusting them to spend that money to increase jobs. Hillary wants to invest in education and the middle class, trusting them to use that to better themselves. I think Hillary's got this one. With one caveat that she's ignoring. The income from being Team America World Police.
  • I love Trump's strategy of "I've done all this shady shit, so I'm in a perfect position to identify it and remove it." He's not wrong, but god damn the balls it takes to say that. 
  • Hillary: "Donald thinks belittling and attacking women makes him feel better." Hillary, Donald belittles and attacks everyone. Didn't you watch the RNC debates? Little Marco? Lyin Ted? Low Energy Jeb? He's not discriminating here. 
  • "Make our country even greater" - Hillary Clinton, 2016
  • "Nobody has more respect for women than I do." Still don't believe you, Trump. Neither does the audience.
  • "Let's not be divisive, let's lift people up." Like you did Bernie, right, Hillary?
  • "Took money to buy a six foot portrait. Who does that?" You trying to diss Copperhead's Biggie painting? 
    • God DAMN Luke Cage was good.
  • Aaand we're back to tax returns.
  • Trump has a good point here. How do we know Hillary won't protect her donors? 
  • Trump: Media is corrupt. Media: TRUMP LITERALLY HITLER. 
  • Hillary: "Media is fine." Media: SOMEBODY SAID WIKILEAKS CUT THE FEED.
  • Trump says Hillary shouldn’t be allowed to run. So that makes two of you. 
Topic: Foreign Hotspots, or "What's a Mosul?"
  • Do we want to put troops back to replace the troops we pulled out when we finished the job the first time? Ugh. But Trump is right about one thing: You don't telegraph your movements to your enemies. The people we're after probably *are* already gone. 
  • Hillary: "You should ask Bernie Sanders who he's supporting for president" We would, but he's too busy In his third house. Which probably has a bathroom bigger than my flat.
  • "What's an Aleppo?" A catastrophe. Have you seen it? Have you? HAVE YOU? 
  • "If a Russian plane violates the no fly zone, does President Clinton shoot that plane down?" Oh boy. Here we go.
  • "Women and children" Oh right. Women are the primary victims of war, right Hillary? Right? 
  • It's swaths, Trump, not swatches. 
  • GDP vs debt: "Why are both of you ignoring this?" God DAMN Christ Matthews you are a hero. 
  • "I wonder when America really was great?" Comparatively speaking to the rest of the world? For a while now. Will both of you stop bashing the US? There's a hell of a lot of worse places to live than the US. 
Topic: Social security and Medicare
  • What does Obamacare have to do with this? 
  • In the middle of Hillary's answer Trump mutters "such a nasty woman." Oh Trump, we're gonna hear from VICE or Vox or Huffpo about that one. Or all of them. For a solid week. 
  • Hillary please stop talking about HIS plan and start talking about yours. You've spent more time talking about his plan than yours. 
  • "Emphasize wellness." Hillary, my right leg hurts. I have a nerve that misfires in my right thigh that causes pain, itching, numbness, whatever depending on its mood. I have a muscle in my hip that has me on a prescription for Valium because it tenses and squeezes another nerve. I have an ankle that was pulverized when I was 17 and still hurts, and I can't feel about 30% of my foot. Please tell me how wellness will help that, when my GP visits are 50% more expensive than they were a few years ago, and my insurance covers not even 20% of an MRI? 
I voted Obama. It's terribly conflicting when Trump says "You get four more years of Obama when you elect her" because that hope that was promised fizzled. But he's such a joke. This was surprisingly subdued for a final debate. Hillary is the ultimate culmination of generations of political breeding. She's the Apex Politician. Trump is a madman that's managed to calm down quite a bit. I still don't want either of these two. At this point, I can't help but lean more towards the mountain-climbing hippie pothead that doesn't seen to own a pair of slacks and sometimes randomly sticks his tongue out and forgets the names of cities and leaders. I feel like he'd do less harm to the country than either of these two.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to take a Valium to relax my hip muscle and a Vicodin to stop my thigh from burning and hope that whichever of these potential monsters takes over the country I can still afford them a year from now. Since this was the last debate, next week I'm going to take it easy and talk about a topic I enjoy and show you all something really neat I got. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Feng Shui: Bag Full of Guns

I acknowledge it's been a while since I've talked about the Traveller RPG. Have no fear, I'll get back to it in time -- I've just been in an odd headspace lately, what with all of the traveling (heh) I've been doing, and dealing with a hurricane, and... well.. being distracted by another shiny RPG:
For people who don't travel in the same nerd circles that I do, Feng Shui is a balls to the wall action RPG that attempts to emulate all the awesome goofy goodness of Hong Kong cinema (and, to a lesser extent, Western action movies as well). Anyone who's watched a Jackie Chan or Jet Li movie already knows what I'm talking about, but if you aren't a fan of subtitled movies, then go watch Big Trouble in Little China; it's basically a Hong Kong movie made for Americans.

I played the first version of Feng Shui back when it first came out... dear gods, twenty years ago, I feel so farking old now... and I backed the Kickstarter of FS2 last year. But while I love PDFs for looking up rules during a game, I have trouble actually getting into a game unless I can browse the dead-tree version at my leisure, and the hardcopy version of the game isn't cheap. But thanks to the glory of Amazon gift cards via the Affiliate program, I was able to afford the printed rules!

And like you'd expect from me, I immediately started going "Hm, I don't like that rule... this needs to be changed,.. wait, they left THAT out?" And so, I'm going to indulge my House Rule impulse until I get it out of my system.

This post deals with the Bag Full of Guns schtick, which is a good attempt but falls short of what it could me. Here's the stock version:
Bag Full of Guns I
Start each fight with a revolver (9/2/6). Each time  you fail an attack roll, spend 0 shots to move to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4).
Okay, that's... not terrible. The notion of escalating firepower is cool, but a level 1 schtick allowing a 0-shot weapon switch seems excessive (it normally takes 3 shots to switch weapons). But Bag Full of Guns levels II-IV have the kludgy and totally unnecessary "homemade weapons" rule which is as unnecessary as the homemade guns are overpowered.

Here's how I would do it:
Bag Full of Guns I
Start each fight with a revolver (9/2/6). Spend 2 shots to switch to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4).

Bag Full of Guns II
Start each fight with a revolver (9/2/6). Spend 1 shot to switch to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4), M16 (13/5/1).

Bag Full of Guns III
Start each fight with a revolver (9/2/6). Spend 0 shots to switch to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4),  M16 (13/5/1), Hand Grenade (23/2/-). [You have a theoretically infinite number of grenades in your bag.]

Bag Full of Guns IV
Start each fight with a revolver (9/2/6). Spend 0 shots to switch to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4),  M16 (13/5/1), Hand Grenade (23/2/-), Grenade Launcher,  Rocket Launcher, or other ridiculous form of explosive or incendiary military hardware (18/5/6). [See rules for Military-Grade Weaponry, p.130.]
With this version, each increment of the schtick decreases weapon switch and gives an increasingly impressive ultimate weapon without the ridiculous "homemade weapon" rule.

Before you ask: There are no current rules for belt-fed machine guns in Feng Shui. However, since an M249 SAW is the same caliber as an M16, the M249 basically has the same stats as the M16. Be sure to check the "Automatic Weapons" rule on p.128. The .30 caliber M60 has the same stats, except it has the "two skulls" damage of 7.62mm ammo, as opposed to the "one skull" of 5.56mm.

Other Thoughts
I didn't want to clutter the rule block with additional info, as the entire point of Feng Shui is to be shot, sweet, and deadly, but here are a few notions I wanted to append to the Bag Full of Guns concept:
  1. The FS2 core book says "you can personally carry a number of guns and clips equal to your Strength Action Value. Bring a gym bag, however, and all bets are off. Tip: bring a gym bag. Needless to say, the schtick Bag Full of Guns comes with its own gym bag." From this I decude that anyone with the BFoG schtick can carry a theoretically infinite amount of guns and ammo, subject to the good humor of the GM. 
  2. Based on this, and bolstered by the Full Metal Nutball "Ready Resupply" schtick which seems to indicate tossing a fresh gun or magazine to a teammate, it could be easily argued that any PC who wants to spend 3 shots next to a Bag Full of Guns schtick owner could get fresh ammo from the bag. 
  3. It is less easily argued that a teammate might be able to take the next gun on the list, because that could lead to abuse. On the other hand, they are spending shots doing it rather than doing fun action hero things, so at least a price is being paid. If the GM is feeling cranky, perhaps the teammates need to spend a Fortune point as well as shots in order to rearm. 
  4. "How is BFoG different from Lightning Reload?"
    • BFoG allows you switch weapons for little/no shot cost, but reloading them is not affected. It's basically the "New York Reload" schtick with escalating lethality. 
    • Lightning Reload is better used for characters who really like one kind of gun and want to keep it running. 
  5. "The rules say 'start each fight with a revolver.' What if I want to start a fight with something else?"   
    • The BFoG schtick belongs to the school of thought where quantity is better than quality. If you want to start with a specific weapon, maybe you should invest in a different schtick, such as Fast Draw. 
  6. "If I have the Signature Weapon schtick, how does it work with the Bag Full of Guns draw order?"  
    • See above. 
  7. "If BFoG is about dropping empty guns and picking up new ones, why not use the Battle Scavenge schtick?"
    • Battle Scavenge forces you to roll to rearm, but gives you a free Fortune die if you're successful. BFoG requires no roll and grants no free Fortune die. 
    • BFoG grants control over what you pick up; Battle Scavenge only lets you glean what has been dropped by dead NPCs. 
    • It's basically a question of "How do you want your Guns character flavored?"

Next time, I'm going to address the question all the fans of supernatural creatures are asking:  "What the heck happened to the Brain Shredder schtick?"

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Necessity of Solitude

If you've been wondering why I didn't post on Friday, or why today's post is so late... well, the title of my latest Blue Collar Prepping article might be a clue.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #113 – Hurricane Matthew After-Action Report

In this Very Special Episode, Erin and Sean share their memories of evacuating from Florida and hunkering down in North Carolina, and talk about the lessons they learned from the experience

Stay tuned after the regular show for a quick update on Sean's opening day hunting adventures!

BethBarronTiffany, and Weer'd will return next week with our regular podcast format.

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 sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Salem is Still Doing Political Play-by-play?

Here we go again. Rooster vs Lizard, part 2, GO:
  • The pre-game show: Bill Clinton vs Melania Trump. I'm waiting for Bill to jump her and try to chew her ear off. Literally. That's not a joke. 
  • Oh damn. Broderick and company are in the audience? That's gotta be awkward. 
  • "I want us to heal our country." - Hillary Clinton, 2016. 
    • Do you mean you want... to... make America.... Great... Again? 
  • "I want to make America Great Again." - Donald Trump, 2016
    • Do you mean you want... to... Heal... Our... Country?
  • Trump, you sound really subdued, bruv. You had a rough weekend? 
  • "Nobody has more respect for women than I do." I really beg to disagree, Mister Trump. I'm not one of those people that's onboard with you being the devil or Literally Hitler, but I'm fairly certain that statement isn't true. 
  • I really don't get the outrage over the #TrumpTapes. None of this stuff is shocking in context with other things he's said. Does make for good memes, though. 
  • The reason Bill's proclivities keep coming up, if you'll allow me a bullet point to rant, is that the same people that say "Rape Culture" isn't people literally going around raping people unpunished, it's society's way of making excuses for it, are the people ignoring the legion of women that have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault of varying degrees while Hillary either (according to varying reports) looks the other way or intimidates them into silence. Hillary is an enabler of Rape Culture. She's possibly the worst advocate for women that I can imagine. 
  • "Mister Trump, were you a different man 11 years ago?" Scientifically speaking, he was a different man approximately 7 years ago when all of his cells shed and regenerated. Psychologically, who hasn't changed in 11 years? 11 years ago I was a con artist and not psychologically damaged to the extent I am now. 
  • Aw, man, Trump even brought the victim of the guy Hillary defended way back in the day? Why didn't he just come on-stage smoking the cigar that Bill humidored with Monica? 
  • Hey guys, Hillary has a website. Anyone know if she's written a book? 
  • "Because you'd be in jail."
  • Oh... Hillary took the bait. Trump kept badgering her about the emails and Hillary took the bait and got mad. Good. GOOD. GOOD, HILLARY. SHOW SOME PASSION. You almost convinced me you're not a lizard-person. I want to see you mad. I want to see you passionate. I want you to show me that you've got some kind of range of emotion. 
  • You know, it's a recorded phenomenon that men use their health insurance less in general, and that's not even taking into account reproductive health services. Men pay more for car insurance because they're more prone to have to use it. Women paid more for health insurance because they were more prone to go to the doctor instead of waiting it out. 
  • How many times can Trump name-drop Bernie Sanders in 90 minutes? Let's find out, as he baits the anti-establishment crowd for all he's got. 
  • "Is it OK for a politician to be two-faced?" This is a question that someone asked a politician. Props to Hillary for bringing up Lincoln. Lincoln personally believed black people were inferior, but was still the figurehead of the anti-slavery movement. Do I believe Hillary can hold heinous beliefs and still do good things? Do I believe the opposite instead? 
  • Hillary, you bring up Russia as often as Tim Kaine brings up Tax Returns. 
  • Speak of the devil, there's the tax returns. 
  • Trump, channeling Tyrion Lannister: "Wouldn't be nice if we could work WITH Russia?" In a recent episode of Game of Thrones, Tyrion reminded Grey Worm that "You make peace with your enemies, not your friends." 
    • That said, I don't particularly want Trump as president, but I also don't want Cold War 2.0. 
  • On taxes: "Everything Donald says isn't true." Really? I want George Soros's tax returns, then. 
  • On Syria: "What's an Aleppo?"
  • Trump, with all the complaining about time limits and interruptions, you're starting to sound like Ted Cruz. You made fun of him for that. 
  • Oh boy, we're talking The Deplorables. Are we going to get a Rare Pepe out of this? 
  • Hillary: "The campaign Bernie Sanders and I ran." U FOKIN WAT M8? 
  • Calling it now: Huffington Post runs a headline about how trump saying "Rejiggering" is racist.
  • "Name one positive thing you respect in the other." Oh, this is gonna be good. 
  • Hillary: "He's got good kids." What, you mean the one with the M&Ms and Rapists Skittles and refugee picture? 
  • Trump: "She doesn't quit and she doesn't give up. She's a fighter." Damn. Taking the high road, Trump. Good shot.
I call no winner. I call Mulligan. This is basically my impression. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Final GRPC Interview

This video is the first interview I did during the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Tampa, and ironically it's the last to be aired.

Yes, I am aware that a t-shirt and a skirt do not sit well on me. I didn't realize it THEN, but I know it NOW.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Vroom Vroom, Baby

My name is Erin Palette and I'm a Performance Tranny. *

And now, context:

Tuesday, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and even tough I came out as trangender three years ago, I wanted to observe the day and also let all my friends know that any word I use for myself is a word you can use for me -- so long as you use it kindly.

I acknowledge that some transgender people dislike the word "tranny", and so I won't use it to describe them and I encourage everyone else to be gentle with its usage. But personally, I find the entire thing funny -- after all, doesn't a transmission "switch gears" and doesn't a transgender person essentially do the same thing in the eyes of society? -- and by using and laughing about a word which is allegedly offensive, I reclaim it and remove its harmful power (c.f. the Pink Pistols and their reclamation of the pink triangle).

Ignorance = Fear. Keith Haring, 1989

I refuse to be told which words I can and cannot use for myself because no one except me is allowed to dictate how I identify. The LGBTQ community has long held that Silence = Death, and I believe that censorship is how we silence that which frightens or offends us. If we are silent, if we cannot be heard, then we might as well not exist in the mind of the public, and that is how we become marginalized and stepped upon.

So yes. I'm a tranny, and when called upon I perform like you wouldn't believe.

Vroom vroom, baby.

* I'm told that I'm a 4:11 final drive, with a 6-speed double-overdrive and a competition clutch.

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