Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Open Letter to a Young Transman

(I originally wrote this as a private letter because the subject matter was private. But earlier today, I was asked to advise someone else as they began their transgender journey at the same time as the original recipient was moving forward with his life. I took this as a general sign from the universe that I ought to repost this for all see, in the hopes that it helps others. 

I have done my best to strip out identifying remarks, but if I remove too much context the letter will lose much of what makes it useful. Therefore, those of you who travel in the same social circles as I do may be able to figure out the person to whom it was originally addressed. I ask that you keep this information to yourself so that the original recipient can come out at his own speed. 

Thank you! -- Erin)


As one transgender to another, let me welcome you into the fold and say that you made the right decision choosing life. That was very brave of you. I know it must have been difficult for you to have decided to face the consequences of both your suicide attempt and life as a transgender person, but that is what made it so brave! You decided to take the harder path, and that speaks well of your character.

I'm hardly an expert at being trans, but I feel motivated to write to you now, when I ought to be sleeping, because there is no handbook for this sort of thing and there darn well ought to be. So if you will indulge me, I'd like to share some hard-won wisdom with you.
  • You can decide to get sexual reassignment surgery, and that's okay. 
  • You can decide just to have hormone treatment, and that's also okay. 
  • You can even decide not to have anything done to your body at all, and just dress in men's clothing and ask to be treated as a male, and that is also equally okay.
The important thing here is that you need to be comfortable within your own skin, because it's where you're going to spend the rest of your life (and I hope your life is a long, happy and productive one). You don't owe anybody else a justification for what is done with your body or how you choose to express your gender.

You will probably end up explaining yourself a lot, though, mainly to your parents and to doctors. This is okay, because they want to help you. Your parents may not understand what you are feeling, but they desperately want to understand because they love you! So please keep in mind that when they ask you to explain it's not because they want to argue with you, but because they want to know what you're going through so they can support you.

Doctors will ask you to explain because they want to make sure that the decisions you make about your body have been carefully thought out and all the consequences of those decisions considered. This will likely be a long and annoying process, but the good news is that you're going to learn so much about yourself that you didn't know before! Plus, when other people ask you why you did what you did, you can give them amazing answers that will shut them up.

Now on to the difficult portion: Yes, there will be people in the world who will give you trouble about your decision. That's the bad news. The good news is that their opinions aren't important!

I realize that, as a young person, you are worried about what people at school may say, and that their opinions are very important to you because that social environment is your whole world. You may not believe this now, but keep these facts close to your heart because as you get older you will find them to be true:
  1. Every kid in school feels awkward and is convinced that everyone is judging them. When you get older, you will realize this means they're all thinking about themselves more than each other, so most of the things which embarrass you now won't even register in their brains as being worth remembering. 
  2. Everyone is screwed up, and no one is perfect. The ones who seem perfect have only figured out how best to hide their imperfections. 
  3. Kids who taunt and harass are the ones who are really screwed up, and they're trying to hide it by having everyone look at the people they're taunting instead of themselves. 
  4. When you go to high school, all the middle school drama gets left behind. And when you go to college, you get to leave so much high school baggage behind that you can become anyone you want. In other words, what happens to you in school now, however painful it may be, won't matter in a few years. 
You may not believe me, and that's fine. Just refer back to this letter every few years and I think you'll see it coming true.

Finally, there is the question of coming out. We all have to do it in one way or another, and I expect you're worried about what kids at school might think. Well, see above. :) But there's a greater truth to coming out, because when you do you get to see the true character of people.
  • Some people will support you and cheer you on and not make you feel at all awkward about your gender or sexuality or anything else. Keep these people close, because they can be your dearest friends. 
  • Some people simply won't care because it doesn't affect them. These will be the vast majority of people.This is a good thing, because "None of my business" is a great attitude for people who don't know you. You'll spend some time finding a good balance around these people -- some will be "Yeah, you're trans, whatever" and others will be "I don't want to hear about it", so expect to stumble a bit around them. And guess what? That's also okay. 
  • Finally, you will meet some jerkwads and buttheads. They will call you names and try to make you feel terrible. You'll probably end up trying to make them like you (which is okay) but most of the time that won't work. This is fine for two reasons: 
    1. Remember what I said about people who are jerks make fun of others so that no one sees how messed up they are? Yep, that's them. Don't get mad at them (and that's hard to do, I know); instead, pity them. You're far more complete a person than they will ever be, because awesome people don't have time to be petty. 
    2. So much of life is about figuring out who you can trust and who you can't, who is worth your time and who isn't, who you should listen to and who you shouldn't. These people have put up a sign saying I'M NOT IMPORTANT! DON'T LISTEN TO ME! by their actions. This will save you so much time in the future. 
Finally, my dear young man, I need you to know this: You are not a freak. Everyone has baggage and issues to deal with; this is yours, and it's just a lot more visible than, say, people who are alcoholic or were abused or any number of things. This is the thorn that God put in your side, and how you bear it will be a testament to the strength of your character. Think of it like a video game: you are simply on a higher difficulty setting than other people (not "normal", never "normal" -- remember, everyone is screwed up somehow) and so when you win your scores are going to be so much higher than those who are on easy mode.

Make peace with yourself. Love your body. Exult in the wondrous feeling of becoming a man, and making your body your own.

I'd wish you luck, but with your attitude and your awesome family to back you up, you won't need it.

Knock 'em dead, kid.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Nifty or Funny Things Spotted at NRAAM

On Friday I talked about items of interest to preppers that I found at the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting; this post is mostly me cooing over pretty or unusual guns, with some occasional humor and bit of news thrown in. If you've listened to this week's GunBlog VarietyCast, you've likely heard me enthuse about some of these already... and seen the pictures if you followed the links in the show notes.

But really, who actually reads the show notes?

Here's the Palm Pistol, which Sean informed me I never once named during the entire segment. (insert Homer Simpson "D'oh!" sound here.)
The middle and ring fingers disengage dual grip safeties. The pistol is fired by pressing either the top button with the thumb, or the bottom button with another hand/ another part of the body/ something firm like a wheelchair armrest. Recoil from the .38 cartridge is mitigated by the barrel being directly in line with the arm.

I especially like how there's a mount for a laser at the muzzle, because something like this definitely needs it!
Pressing the button in the center disengages the breech and allows the barrel to flip open, ejecting the spent round.
The operator then drops a fresh round into the breech (the round needs to be rimmed in order to work this way, so no 9mm or .380 version is available; I do wonder how a .45 Long Colt version would handle.)

The breech can be closed by mashing the side of the barrel into a nearby surface (table top, leg, etc) until it snaps shut. Since there are two grip safeties, doing this against your leg shouldn't be too big of a hazard.
And here's the carbine version. I know it looks ridiculously overbuilt for a palm pistol, but this might be the only way someone with an injury would be able to go to the range. As someone whose parents are in their 80s, and whose mom has arthritis, I approve of any firearm that makes it easier for the elderly or the handicapped to go shooting.

A 2/3rd size IPSC target silhouette by Hill & Mac Gunworks.  Made from 1/2" AR500 steel, this particular target was said to have been shot over six thousand times by calibers all the way up to .50 BMG!

I checked the back, folks, and there wasn't even a bump or blemish back there. At $600 this isn't at all cheap, but considering what you can shoot it with I imagine there will be a huge return on that investment.

Speaking of Hill & Mac, they're the folks who make the reproduction StG-44 in a variety of delightful calibers.

I have no idea what this is (other than a motorcycle with a large gun on the front) or how it's supposed to operate, but it tickled me.

It's like Rob Liefeld had a Jurassic Park-based wet dream. 

These next pictures get filed under PRITTY GUNZ. I took all of them except for the last one (which was too blurry to publish). These were cerakoted by Blown Deadline, a company with an obvious sense of humor (the hashtag written on their actual business card is #CerakoteThatShit).
A Kriss Vector with suppressor and folding stock, cerakoted to look battle-distressed.

An AR-15 pistol, done in the style of one of the guns from the Borderlands series of games.

Another Borderlands conversion, this time of the Kel-Tec KSG. According to Salem, who is a Borderlands afficionado, this is an excellent representation of an actual shotgun within the game. 

A Glock 17 in Mandalorian color scheme.  (This is the one picture that I didn't take.)

A cutaway of the TAR-21 Tavor rifle.

This fellow was at the Appleseed booth. He's holding the "assault rifle" of the Revolutionary War, which is (I think) a Brown Bess. It's huge -- easily more than one Erin Palette in length.

Some really nasty-looking shotgun ammunition from D Dupleks, a Latvian ammunition company. I don't know if it performs better or worse than standard buckshot, but I like the concept of "performs like a slug until it hits, and then it performs like shot." 

The original name is Hexolit, but the American version will be branded Broadhead. I'm going to see if I can get some for Lokidude to use during hunting season. 

This is the Manta Ray, a mint-green 140 lumen flashlight by LaserMax that snaps on and off of rails so quickly that they call it the "kung fu grip" model. Instead of being clamped or screwed on, spring tension along the sides holds it in place. I'm going to see if I can get one of these to test, because I am curious if it will lose its grip strength after multiple repeated changes. 

And finally from Hazard 4, a tactical guitar case that can actually carry a guitar (yes, yes, it can carry a rifle too) and also doesn't look like it's tactical. At $200 it's not cheap, but it's a lovely piece of kit if you're both a gunnie and a guitarist.

One interesting bit of information about Mossberg before I close (I didn't get any usable photographs, sadly):  They have FINALLY SEEN THE LIGHT regarding how their shotgun magazine tubes mount to their barrels and are adopting a customizable pass-through ring system like the Remington 870 uses. So long, barrels mounting to the end caps of tubes! So long, having to buy new barrels if you want a magazine extension!

Great job, Mossberg! It took a while, but you finally made the right choice.

Oh, speaking of Mossberg, here's a 12-gauge-yet-totally-NOT-a-shotgun from Black Aces Tactical. Sure, it LOOKS like a shotgun, because it's built on a Mossberg 500 receiver and uses shot shells, but since it's not designed to be shouldered it's (per the ATF) not a shotgun, and since it must be operated with two hands it's (per the ATF) not a pistol. It's just a "firearm".

I love it when gun companies use the letter of the law to troll the Feds.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #93 – The Weer'dy and Pony Show!

Sean and Adam tried to bring you another episode, but Weer'd and Erin returned from the NRA Annual Meeting to take over The GunBlog VarietyCast. Best Show Ever?
  • Nicki Kenyon does her last regular segment, talking about Ben Rhodes and the Iran "Deal" fiasco.
  • Our newest regular contributor, Tiffany Johnson, joins us to introduce herself and her segment, The Bridge.
  • If you want to know about the birds and the bees, you're listening to the wrong podcast. But if you want to know how pregnancy will affect your gunny life, our very own mom with a gun, Beth Reoch Alcazar is here to give you the lowdown.
  • And in his triumphant return after months of being away, Barron B explains the hidden dangers of those digital personal assistants like Siri, Echo, and "OK Google."
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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Huffington Post: Not Even Wrong

[Author's note: This was originally written months ago, but due to a failure in communications between myself and my esteemed editor, it went unpublished. It's essentially an emotionally-charged piece that came in the wake of the shooting and its subsequent media fervor that put me off of social media for a short period.]

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I had to take the night off because I was getting tired of seeing propaganda surrounding the San Bernardino shooting coming from every direction. There was such a flurry of agenda-pushing that finally culminated in a masterpiece of gravesquatting from none other than Huffington Post.

In San Bernardino Shooting, Patriarchy Pulled the Trigger.” 

I'm sorry, but you what mate?

There's a concept called “Not even wrong.” The best way to explain it is probably a sports metaphor (or not; I'm terrible with sports): Imagine you're playing baseball, and someone pitches to you. You swing, but instead of a full-on contact with the bat, you only sort of wing it. The ball shoots sideways, hitting the umpire in the solar plexus. As you finish your swing, your grip on the bat gives way and it slides from your fingers, rocketing into the facemask of the catcher and giving him a concussion, as you realize you're in the stadium from Sharknado 2 and a shark lands on you, eating you whole and leaving only bloody cleated shoes at home plate as evidence you were ever there.

Okay, that might have gotten away from me. Let's put it this way. Correct would be to say 2 + 2 equals 4. Wrong would be to say 2 + 2 equals 5. Not even wrong would be to say 2 + 2 equals a shadow conspiracy to oppress 50% of the world's population. So let's take a look at what James Marshall Crotty thinks.
I am all for religious liberty and the freedom to wear whatever you want
No you're not. You're for supporting something that makes you look good to your friends. You're virtue signaling. And let's see if you'd support the freedom to wear a shirt with cartoon ladies on it.
including full-metal burka, but the relatives of American-born, Redlands-residing, "ISIS-sympathizing" (according to Farook's own father) terrorist, Syed Rizwan Farook, insult our intelligence when they proclaimed, through their associate attorney, Mohammad Abuershaid, that their "normal" son and his "quiet" and "petite" Pakistani-born Internet bride, Tashfeen Malik, were "living the American dream."
How is this an insult to our intelligence? For decades, when a white dude snaps and kills his entire family before blowing away the population of a local McDonald's, they interview the neighbors who say “He was such a nice, quiet man, we could never imagine him hurting anyone.” To me his sounds like progress, equality. approximate treatment regardless of identity.
As the Los Angeles Times has now reported, every time Farook's extended family visited Mr. Farook and his wife, they saw Ms. Malik completely shrouded in a black burqa, with only her eyes showing. Moreover, at such gatherings, according to Abuershaid, men and women were completely segregated.
Is it not halal to protect her from the male gaze?

See what I did there? Mixing ideologies? Clever, eh? Eh?

Eh... I'll just assume you agreed with me there. If you didn't, it's harassment.
Let me explain something to the Farook family. There is nothing "normal" or "All-American" about segregation of the sexes, let alone women clothed head to toe in a garment where one can only see the woman's eyes. We may tolerate such antiquated behavior here, but it is by no means "normal."
Really? That's awfully judgmental of you, that bit about antiquated behaviour and all. But the segregation thing -- I mean, safe spaces and the talk of women-only train cars and buses -- That's starting to sound a little all-American there. Disappointingly all-American.
Sorry, Mom, but when your "polite" Muslim son is married to a woman you barely know, who hails from an area of Pakistan (Punjab) widely known for its violent Islamic extremism and from a politically influential family widely known for its radical Islamic connections, and who is radically fundamentalist in her own garb and demeanor, and you are not even allowed to access your son's "man cave" (read: bomb factory) in your own home, then, shame on you for your grotesque and enabling incuriosity.
Yeah, mom! This is all your fault for giving your son a space of his own and not intruding on it! Down with man caves!

This part does confuse me, though, because for some reason Huffpo here is, quite problematically, conflating an entire region of a country with its extremists, something that I've seen admonished heavily both on its own site and lots of others, and with good reason: everyone from Muslims to gun owners to gamers to feminists to sport fans know that their bad apples that don't spoil the entire batch, right?

Until that time, we will keep alive this important, but secondary, debate about stricter gun control, better predictive analytics, tighter surveillance, and more rigorous visa waiver and fiancé visa requirements.
So you're endorsing gun control, profiling, violation of privacy, and immigration reform? What website is this, again? I'm so confused.
Unfortunately, in the highly secretive, segregated and patriarchal world of Wahhabist Islam, it was not considered proper to investigate those actions further.
Points here: you actually, for once, correctly identified a Patriarchy. Good job. Now will you, in return, call me an Islamophobe for criticizing it?

But here's the part where Huffpo not only misses the ball but takes out the Umpire in the process: all the evidence in (somehow) less biased reporting seems to point entirely to Malik being the one behind it all, and having been married previously.

I'm fully prepared to believe that a woman can be both inspired to, and capable of, pulling off an act of terror. Now that's what I call progressive!

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 is treading some really interesting ground lately. While the comics are simultaneously being 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 the Captain America films. While the first one was predictably a super-hero war film, the second one was an insightful exploration of 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 subject of governmental oversight and Captain Rogers is now two for two in resisting government overreach (violently when necessary), and doing so in a way that presents the topic in a much more effective way 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, trainee superhero Wanda Maximoff, recruited at the end of the last Avengers film, is responsible for 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 yet feel stale, 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 norm. (Loki still remains the only well-fleshed out villain in the MCU.) That said, the villain has a good motivation and a brilliant scheme, but we spend so little time with him that he 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 screen time, 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 fewer 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, and he did it 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

SHTFriday: BCP's New, More Professional Look

Hopefully I will have a more substantial article for you this weekend. If not... enjoy the pretty pictures!

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.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mosin May

McThag is doing A Mosin a Day for the Merry Month of May, so send him a picture of your Mosin and he'll post it on his blog.

The preferred format is with your camera directly over the rifle and one of your feet still in frame, like so:

The angle of  your rifle and the choice of background are up to you, although "horizontal" and "indoor carpet" seem to be favorites.

Email your sexy Mosin pics to mcthag at gmail dot com. He doesn't have enough to fill up the month (only 21 days so far), so let's all help him reach his goal!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #90 – Erin’s sick, Sean’s angry, and Adam’s Jeep is in pieces

It's Episode 90 of The GunBlog VarietyCast - Erin's sick, Sean's angry, and Adam's Jeep is in pieces.
  • Erin Palette is still sick from her trip out to Tennessee, but she dragged herself to her microphone and points us to a really fantastic series of articles she wrote about ionizing radiation.
  • Nicki Kenyon answers my question: Trump or Hillary - who would Russia prefer?
  • Beth Alcazar, fresh off the Concealed Carry Expo talks with Kelly Welke about the new USCCA initiative, Women's Community.
  • Silicon Graybeard wraps up the questions about LED shop lights. Don't miss this one.
  • And Weer'd finds us a very interesting Australian TV show about gun politics in Australia 20 years after the Port Arthur Massacre.
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. Go to www.FirearmsPolicy.org and help stop AB2607.

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 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Short Thought and a Shout Out

I'm mulling over some news from a doctor, and also have no real, tangible thoughts on anything this week (and there's Rifftrax Live tonight!), but I do have a small, important thing I'd like to say on a topical issue. And after we've got the serious thing out of the way, I'll end it on a fun note.

They're a big, nasty topic these days. There's a lot of misinformation and a lot of anger. Personally, I'm unconcerned with who uses what bathroom. I'm not sure why there's a differentiation, anyway. Bathrooms are bathrooms to me, and the only real difference is the number of stalls and presence of urinals. That said...
  • To the extreme far left: moderate conservatives are not calling trans women men in dresses.They're expressing a concern, perhaps poorly worded, that actual scary cis-het males are going to dress in drag to assault women and children in restrooms. Given your usual statements regarding cis-het men, I'm surprised you aren't more aligned with them.
  • To the extreme far right: please calm down. Who is allowed in the toilet probably isn't going stop a predator from entering a restroom just like a gun-free zone isn't going to keep a badguy with a gun out. In fact, the this fear of cis-het men entering restrooms dressed like women is starting to sound a lot like the androphobia expressed regularly by radical feminists.
  • To the moderates on both sides: Talk to each other, for crying out loud.

Something a little more upbeat
Remember when I said I wasn't really a Star Wars fan? I've sort of softened a bit, mostly in part to The Force Awakens. So, even though I was posting the Fourth Doctor like a jackass yesterday, here is a concession. May the Fourth be with you, even if I'm a day late.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Hey all, I'm still alive.

I just came back from the Tennessee Blogshoot with some kind of throat and chest bug, and it's got me completely wiped out. Between the illness and trying to get caught up from missing so many days, I'm too wiped out to do my daily blogging... which also puts me behind.

I don't think I'll be able to catch up with this week. Might be time to write it off as a loss and try to tackle thing fresh next week.

Wish me well.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #89 - Obama’s Purple Disaster Conversation

Adam and Sean bring you Episode 89 of The GunBlog VarietyCast!
  • Erin Palette asks, "What's your disaster personality?"
  • President Obama goes to Britain and tells them how to run their country. Nicki Kenyon tells us how that works out for him.
  • In the Pacifiers & Peacemakers segment, Beth Reoch Alcazar gives us a report on the Well Armed Woman Mid-South Purple Pow Wow.
  • The same way he showed us that a battery wasn't just a battery, Silicon Graybeard shows us that a shop light isn't just a shop light.
  • And proving the principle that it takes an order of magnitude more effort to debunk BS than it does to generate it, Weer'd finally finishes with Loaded Conversations, Episode 1.
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. Go to StopNewsome.net to help FPC crush Governor Newsome's ammo ban.

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
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.