Friday, November 14, 2014


Is that a word?

No, but it should be.


My last post mentioned some of my interests. Based on the title of the page (and this post and this post) you can guess I am into guns, as well. I'm also into cars. I'm not a gearhead or grease monkey, by any means. I just like cars.

Well, I like cars I can't afford. And I like listening to bumbling, sarcastic Brits prattling on about said cars I can't afford. So, naturally, I watch Top Gear.

And while Jeremy Clarkson may take the piss out of James May for getting overly pedantic regarding cars, engineering, physics, and design, it is entertaining because they DO IT TO BE ENTERTAINING. They are in on the joke. They expect you to be in on the joke. They expect the audience to understand the humor of a scraggly-haired car nerd at a white board describing the innards of a hovercraft.

Another example of Top Gear acknowledging their personal foibles is Clarkson going on about power, speed, and guns in his exuberant, pseudo-jingoistic manner (imagine a twelve-year-old with a monster truck fitted with rocket launchers and you will have a good idea).

Where I come to the point

So, I happen across a Top Gear video of Clarkson and May racing sport wagons on a biathlon course because of course they will. As part of this race, they do the shooting element of the course, firing the prone targets from inside the back of the car because of course they will. Clarkson, however, forgoes the standard Anschutz for a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachinegun because of course he does. 

Let the theatrics commence. I can wait. 

I showed the video to a friend. This led to questions about biathlon rifles. This led to biathlon, itself. I then happened across a great video produced by Sturm, Ruger & Co. Featuring Annelies Cook from the US biathlon team, the video shows a typical biathlon rifle and the use of it, including the unslinging and slinging (watch all of the various manual checks and manipulation a of covers).  There is some awesome footage of the shooters, proper form, and discussions of how they do what they do.

Really good stuff there.

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here...

A mantra of mine regarding YouTube: 

do not read the comments.
do not read the comments.
do not read the comments.

After viewing this video, I accidentally neglected my mantra. And this one time, it was gold.

Gun Guys in the audience will recognize some incorrect usage (clips, bullets, shells, and the like). As can be expected, some of "those guys" make an appearance on the comments lamenting the use of perceived incorrect terminology, America's lackluster biathlon performance in the Olympics, and what can only be described as a cross between "kids these days" and "get off my lawn!"

One of my fave Gun Guys - Steve Fjestad from Blue Book Publications
During my time as the Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, one of my favorite activities was talking to Gun Guys. One of my least favorite activities was talking to Gun Guys...

The following dialogue from the YouTube comments on the Biathlon video (screen-capped for posterity) made my day. It involves BOTH types of gun guys.

David W. is my new Hero of the Interwebz.

He used his wittiness, knowledge, and snark to defend against the demons of pedantistry. As another associated the woman's use of firearms terminology with reasons behind how America sucks at biathlon, David W. kept his calm and poked the troll in such a manner that he started using all sorts of unrelated arguments (the supposed wealth of Olympians, his military experience, and the use of the word 'Libtard' - the hallmark of all well-planned defenses).

David W. won the internet.

In search of a common language

While watching this discourse, I began to ask myself why we cannot progress beyond this argument of pedantic terminology. I remember getting into arguments about this more than three decades ago - as a GRADE SCHOOLER!

I think we are at a point in the shooting world at which we can recognize that language is malleable. Language changes. Language moves. Language bends. Language becomes new.

Yes. A magazine and a clip are, pedantically, two different things.

Yes. A bullet and a shell and a cartridge are all different things.

But people (most people) use them interchangeably. Most of us (students of firearms history and related esoterica) prevent ourselves from getting the vapors when we hear someone describe how they load bullets into a clip. We stop ourselves from hollering at people "It's a Magazine!!!"

You should too.

Friday, October 31, 2014

So. I have lots of interests...

Here is another: Theater

Some of my earliest musical experiences involved pit bands for two different high school productions of Fiddler on the Roof and a run of Guys and Dolls (I can still say almost all of the lines along with either). One of my sisters was in Oklahoma and a couple other shows. Throw on the usual attendances at Shakespeare productions and a viewing of the 1980s televised production of Mister Roberts and you have someone who has a healthy respect for the stage. I haven't had a chance to tread the boards, yet, but there is always time.



Something that comes out of knowing people and letting them in on who you are is the opportunities that arise when you share mutual interests.

Some folks I know have been involved in the local theater for quite a while. And, as you likely know, I work at a museum. In the name of cooperation and mutually beneficial partnership, we partnered with the theater to run a production of The Rainmaker. As a known nerd of the music, A/V, and technology variety, I was asked to run the PA as a favor.

A couple great weeks later and I was hooked (and a known entity).

Down the Rabbit Hole

I don't even think it was a month later I received a phone call asking if I was free over the dates of a run of August: Osage County. After checking my schedule (poorly, as it turned out) and with my better half, I accepted.

Two weeks into my participation - a week of tech runs and 4 of the 6 performances - and I definitely see more involvement in the future.

The Upshot

During this last two weeks, I compiled a list of observations (see number 7). Take from them what you will. Keep in mind that I am an outsider starting to move inside. Catch me in a year and I may take issue with some of this myself.
  1. The play (like the book) is often better than the movie.
  2. Spending three hours in a dark room isn't the best thing to do if you are tired...
  3. No two performances are the same.
  4. No two audiences are the same.
  5. Forgetting to unmute an audio channel is only funny after it is fixed...
  6. Watching the WHOLE CAST eat fried chicken and apple pie during the whole run while you watch them from the booth brings on an interesting response...
Sorry. This is the only pic you get - no GIFs for you! 

  1. Sixteen pages without a light or audio cue make Dave a dull boy...
  2. It's pretty cool being in the category of "Authorized Person"
  3. It's neat when you receive the head tilt people give when they learn that you do this and they never suspected.
  4. It's fun to watch actors relearn a part on the stage as they interact with the space, lights, and audience
  5. Watching actors pick themselves up when they realize they borked a cue, line, or mark can be a good light on their character.
  6. Watching audience members attempt to sneak in after a missed intermission also shine light on their character...

All in all, it has been a fun couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to more. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Manliness and California

OK. I have stayed silent on this long enough.*

I have known too many women who have been the recipient of mistreatment, negative attention, slut-shaming, and harassment, at best; abuse, violence, and rape, at worst. This is not the result of their actions as people. This is the result of the choices of others. These choices deriving from a belief that women should bend to their will and be the object of whatever attention the others choose to give.

I have known too many 'men' who act like this because we are still raised that women are chattel and somehow become our property once we enter into any sort of a relationship. (I use 'men' in quotes simply to denote that I do believe 'manliness' is very much a concept that drives a lot of this behavior)

I am hacked off at any of the attempts I have seen to make it sound like all men are guilt-free because "it wasn't us, it was him" (check out #notallmen on Twitter). Bullshit.

It was us. We may have not pulled the trigger, but it was us who allow others to act this way. The same self-perpetuating nonsense allows white men (of which I am one) to continue to fail to realize that we ARE a privileged group. This is not a case of white guilt, male guilt, or any other guilt. This is an acknowledgement that there are differences within our society - differences in how we are treated.

I have never been singled out by a cop, a clerk, or anyone else because of my skin, my sex, my dress, or my mannerisms. I have never had to be in fear of my safety because someone had any sort of intentions, sexual or otherwise. I never had to worry about how I dressed and how that would make others perceive me other than in a business sense.

I have been guilty of ogling and making assumptions of women due to their dress and actions. I have been guilty of making advances that were unwanted. After reflection, I realized I was in the wrong. That may have been years ago and miles away, but there are still people who still may feel the effects of  my actions and words. That is where my guilt lies.

What I can do now is show others that it is not OK to let this slide.

A boy in California (yes, I will call him a boy) was turned down by girls. In response to this, he decided he had to go on a shooting spree.

I know he had issues. I know he needed help. However, despite what some pundits have proposed, he didn't need to get laid - or, interpreted in another way, none of the women in his life needed to give in to his desires and give him what he apparently felt he deserved.

If a woman says she does not want you in that way: Let. It. Go.

If she wants to be 'friends': Be. Her. Friend.

Just because you want something and you do not get it, whether a look, a word, a kiss, a feel, or more, it does not mean she is a bitch, a tease, or any of a number of worse words. She is being a person with every right to control what happens to her being. If you choose to act in a manner that forces her to unwillingly give up this control, you are the one in the wrong.

If you are preventing someone from exercising their control over themselves (or you are enabling this), you are part of the problem. You do not have the right to someones agency. You have not "put in the hours". You have not "earned it".

You only have to acknowledge that the issue may not be with them. The issue may be with you.

Either way, driving around town with a gun and bad intent is not an appropriate response.

* Although I do discuss a male-female power relationship in this post, this type of situation can be present in any type of relationship, whether straight, gay, or otherwise. In all of these relationships, believing others are less can only lead to bad things. All of this article is a poorly-written attempt to straighten out some of this view in my own head. I can't guarantee any logical clarity or simplicity of view.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mosin-Nagant Humor

A friend posted me this one from Urban Dictionary:

The Mosin-nagant is an old school bolt action rifle from Russia. Originally designed by a drunk Russian engineer and an even more drunk Belgian gunsmith, who drew up blueprints on napkins in the back of a pub somewhere in Siberia in a vodka-induced stupor. The Mosin-nagant fires the 7.62x54r cartridge, which can kill a polar bear at a thousand yards and keep going right through the tree he was standing in front of. The Mosin-nagant was used by the Russians in both world wars, so it's killed more Germans than collisions on the autobahn and under-cooked sauerkraut combined. Surplus Mosins can be found at gunshops in the States for like a hundred bucks on sale, and ammo is cheap surplus, so this is what real men shoot who don't want to drop $1299.99 on an AR-15 which fires a .22 round and that's made out of recycled milk jugs and Legos. Many of them come with a bayonet that's roughly the size of the sword William Wallaceused in Braveheart. In the absence of gun oil, you can clean a Mosin by pissing down the barrel and wiping the bolt off with a dirty rag that you found on the floor in a Grease Monkey. Try that with a rifle that was designed less than 50 years ago.
Joe: " I need a rifle that is ten feet long and fires anti-tank rounds, but Ive only got 200 dollars!"

Ivan: "Amerikan comrade, you need mosin-nagant . Spend 100 on the rifle, fifty on case of ammo, use rest for vodka!"

In Soviet Russia, rifle fire you!!!
by Realmendrinkbeer94 June 19, 2011

I have a SAKO-rebuild that was dropped during the Winter War... nice gun...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Museum Professionals Who Aren't

One of the concerns across the museum field is the hiring of a person with specialist knowledge for a specialist position - for example, the job I had awhile back as the Curator at the Cody Firearms Museum.

This is a position that requires some specialty knowledge. Yes, the person in that job needs museum experience and understanding of the responsibilities of museum staff. It also needs knowledge of firearms.

Granted, you will find people who can take care of the collection without knowing the subject, but they cannot deal knowledgeably with patrons. They will not know where the collection gaps are. They cannot be a success going out and talking to Rotary about what they do. Positions above and below can do this, but they don't make a living as the subject expert.

The concern comes in when an organization is hiring. The organization needs the specialist. Who typically fits the mold? The enthusiast, the collector, the hoarder? It can be all of the above.

When the right person comes in, great success is had. Friends are made, gifts of money and objects come to the museum, and visitors come away better for the experience. When the wrong person comes in, things look great for awhile, but eventually the bill comes due...

I was reminded of this today when I saw an article out of France... This was a bad hire. Things likely looked tip-top. I'll bet everyone loved him. Granted, I don't know the ins and outs, but we have seen it done here in the US - moon rocks on ebay, guns walking out doors, and other outright thefts are the usual. The big stuff, though, is the use of museum funds to purchase materials for private use (embezzlement).

The case here is pretty bad. Most World War II armored vehicles sell in the range of $40-50,000. Most full-on tanks sell for a $150,000 or more... (And, yes, I know the M18 is not technically a tank...) Add in "arms and jackets" and we are talking something in the realm of $200-300,000 or more...

And people ask why audits are necessary.

As an aside, this also touches on a related subject - and one that can be almost as bad. Sometimes, a collector/museum employee is offered something for the museum that they want for themselves. They refuse the gift, but make an offer to purchase it privately. Don't know about you, but I consider this to be a conflict of interest, at least, and highly unethical... For more on this, take a gander at the American Alliance of Museums' Curatorial Code of Ethics as developed by the Curator's Committee (CurCom). (disclaimer - I was a member of the CurCom board at the time of the Code's creation and I am still on that board at the time of this writing)

Have a great weekend! (and don't embezzle anything from your museum!)