Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bad Boys in the Outhouse

Here's an interesting and controversial IPSC stage for you, from the February 10, 2007, ARPC Club Match.

The shooter starts out sitting in an outhouse. Literally. (See the video) Gun is placed on a barrel three feet in front of the outhouse door.

Right at the outhouse door is a foot trap: a ground-mounted device which initiates a moving target when you step on it. Plastic barrels on both sides of the foot trap direct the competitor right over it.

The thing is, when the foot trap is tripped, it starts a bobber mechanism which waves a no-shoot target in front of two (maybe 3) of the 10 IPSC shoot targets downrange. The thing is, this no-shoot is suppose to be waving into your sight picture while you're trying to shoot.

Why would you want that?

You wouldn't. And it presents some interesting Range Officer quandries, in that if you put a hole in the bobbing no-shoot you shouldn't be awarded the score for the hit on the backing shoot target.

The trouble is, obviously, that it's really difficult to determine which 'hit' went thru the notatively impermeable no-shoot target.

The competitors didn't want to deal with the shooting problem.

The Range Officers didn't want to deal with the scoring problem.

So when someone pointed out that the published stage procedures didn't REQUIRE that the no-shoot bobber target be activated at any specific time, it seemed like a self-resolving problem.

Just ... step over the foot trap and move on. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain who wrote at the bottom of the Stage Procedures:


The word 'Intent' is sort of a feel-good weasel word in this context. At least this is the opinion passed on from the "Bad Boys" squad which preceded us on this stage. They didn't activate the bobber, so we didn't either.

We figured, the MD's options were:
  1. throw out the stage
  2. make everybody who shot it without activating the bobber reshoot
  3. ignore it.
It was a long rainy day, we didn't think the MD wanted to drag it out any longer.

Other than that one little technical failure-to-communicate thingie, it was too interesting a stage to arbitrarily throw out.

Ultimately, the MD chose to ignore it. I'm sure it irritated the few people who actually activated the bobber and had to contend with the irritating white flash in front of their targets. Well, they had as much opportunity as every one else at the match to make strategic decisions about how they chose to shoot the stage.

So what do YOU think?

Were those who activated the bobber no-shoot on the side of the angels?

Or were those who stepped over it justified in assuming that it was a 'logic trap' inserted by the stage designer to test our ability to fit the stage procedures into the context of the existing rules?

You be the judge.

I hope someone uses the phrase "GAMER" in the discussion. No, not The Hobo Brasser or Whitefish. We already know that they're Bad Boys.

(You can view all videos from this match here, or you can download the original 13MB vidoe of this stage here.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Global Warming Deniers

(Note: Non-IPSC content.)

Have you been following the Global Warming controversy? Are you in the "Ho-Hum" stage yet? If so, you might be a Global Warming Denier.

Okay, I'm one of 'Them'.

I'm not sure whether I'm of the "there is no Global Warming" school of thought, or "Global Warming is merely a natural cyclic event" school, or the "Global Warming may or may not be a fact, but it has nothing to do with the Greenhouse Effect as affected by Human Actions" school.

All I can say is, when this became a matter of ideology, when science was overwhelmed by Politically Correct speech, when the Main Stream Media decided that there was no controversy here, and most important when the Weather Channel announced that weather persons on TV who failed to enthusiastically embrace Right Thinking should lose their accreditation ... I opted out.

Well, I didn't completely opt out. I decided that if these useful idiots embraced the concept of Global Warming Is Real, And It's All Your Fault!, then I rejected it.

I've resisted writing about this for several weeks, but I read a lot of articles about it and (sneaky bastard that I am) I saved the links.

Heh heh heh.

The single event that caused me to decide that the Global Warming Freaks (hereafter GWF) wer just wrong, wrong, wrong was when I read Michael Crichten's 2004 novel "State Of Fear". While I don't necessarily consider Crichten a Climatologist, an atmospheric physicist or a scientists of any kind, his citatations were credible and his reasoning persuasive.

Besides, it was a good read, even though Crighten is not without his detractors.

That set me up for Mark Steyn's article in Jewish World Review: "Don't ruin economy over tiny temp rise", which featured Steyn's typical charm and wit. It convinced me that it was time to unleash the power of all the articles I've saved.

Have you read the Steyn article yet? Go ahead, read it. We'll wait for you to catch up.

Done? Okay, let us continue.

Going back to 2 feb, 2007, the United Nations "International Panel on Climate Change" released its "Climate Change 2007" report. Summary: we're in deep doo-doo, and it's all your fault.

The Center for Science and Public Policy replied: "The Panic Is Officially Over". Which is a nice, British-style way of saying "you people are SO full of it, your eyes are brown".

Fortunately, the Contra Costa (California) Times had already weighed into the discussion by announcing that "Global warming is nothing but a paper tiger".

Oregon's Governor, The Egregioius Ted, fires an OSU professor from the purely symbolic title of "climatoligist" because his scientific opinion doesn't meet Ted's preconceptions about climatology.

Why fire him?

"His opinions conflict not only with many other scientists, but with the state of Oregon's policies."

Whoa! Guess what? It's no longer a matter of scientific theory, it's Politics!

And in my home (red) state. Who could have predicted THIS?

In the meantime, Al Gore (failed politician, failed climatologist, failed progenitor of The Internet, failed anything-he-has-ever-tried) accused President Bush of
paying money to scientists in an effort to encourage them to become Global Warming Deniers.

Finally, and most interesting, the Czech president Vaclav Klaus on February 9, 2007, explained his views on the IPCC panel.

This was high-lighted on The Drudge Report (the link is transitory) . Read the entire interview here.

Q: IPCC has released its report and you say that the global warming is a false myth. How did you get this idea, Mr President?•

A: It's not my idea. Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment. Also, it's an undignified slapstick that people don't wait for the full report in May 2007 but instead respond, in such a serious way, to the summary for policymakers where all the "but's" are scratched, removed, and replaced by oversimplified theses.• This is clearly such an incredible failure of so many people, from journalists to politicians. If the European Commission is instantly going to buy such a trick, we have another very good reason to think that the countries themselves, not the Commission, should be deciding about similar issues.•

Q: How do you explain that there is no other comparably senior statesman in Europe who would advocate this viewpoint? No one else has such strong opinions...•

A: My opinions about this issue simply are strong. Other top-level politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voice.

• Q: But you're not a climate scientist. Do you have a sufficient knowledge and enough information?•

A: Environmentalism as a metaphysical ideology and as a worldview has absolutely nothing to do with natural sciences or with the climate. Sadly, it has nothing to do with social sciences either. Still, it is becoming fashionable and this fact scares me. The second part of the sentence should be: we also have lots of reports, studies, and books of climatologists whose conclusions are diametrally opposite.• Indeed, I never measure the thickness of ice in Antarctica. I really don't know how to do it and don't plan to learn it. However, as a scientifically oriented person, I know how to read science reports about these questions, for example about ice in Antarctica. I don't have to be a climate scientist myself to read them. And inside the papers I have read, the conclusions we may see in the media simply don't appear. But let me promise you something: this topic troubles me which is why I started to write an article about it last Christmas. The article expanded and became a book. In a couple of months, it will be published. One chapter out of seven will organize my opinions about the climate change.• Environmentalism and green ideology is something very different from climate science. Various findings and screams of scientists are abused by this ideology.•

Q: How do you explain that conservative media are skeptical while the left-wing media view the global warming as a done deal?•

A: It is not quite exactly divided to the left-wingers and right-wingers. Nevertheless it's obvious that environmentalism is a new incarnation of modern leftism.•

Q: If you look at all these things, even if you were right ...•

A: ...I am right...•

Q: Isn't there enough empirical evidence and facts we can see with our eyes that imply that Man is demolishing the planet and himself?•

A: It's such a nonsense that I have probably not heard a bigger nonsense yet.•

Q: Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?•

A: I will pretend that I haven't heard you. Perhaps only Mr Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't. I don't see any ruining of the planet, I have never seen it, and I don't think that a reasonable and serious person could say such a thing. Look: you represent the economic media so I expect a certain economical erudition from you. My book will answer these questions. For example, we know that there exists a huge correlation between the care we give to the environment on one side and the wealth and technological prowess on the other side. It's clear that the poorer the society is, the more brutally it behaves with respect to Nature, and vice versa.• It's also true that there exist social systems that are damaging Nature - by eliminating private ownership and similar things - much more than the freer societies. These tendencies become important in the long run. They unambiguously imply that today, on February 8th, 2007, Nature is protected uncomparably more than on February 8th ten years ago or fifty years ago or one hundred years ago.• That's why I ask: how can you pronounce the sentence you said? Perhaps if you're unconscious? Or did you mean it as a provocation only? And maybe I am just too naive and I allowed you to provoke me to give you all these answers, am I not? It is more likely that you actually believe what you say.

Range Equipment Failure

Got a new one for you.

A "clamshell-type" target (hitting the steel plate pops up an IPSC target) fails to activate the object target on a 'good hit'.

Major power cartridges take it down easily, but Minor power cartridges can't make the reactive target function.

What do you do?

Here's some background.

The stage features "Classic" targets (eg: "Turtle", "Stop-Sign", "Amoeba" etc.) design targets.'

It's a rainy day, so targets are replaced frequently.

By the time THIS squad reaches the stage, the targets have been replaced at least twice.

The hitch is, the previous competitors aren't accustomed to shooting this target type so instead of ripping the 2nd (replacement) target off before replacing it, the previous squad just ... stapled another target over it.

Did I mention it was a rainy day? I thought so. The cardboard is fairly well saturated, so there's a lot of weight counterbalancing the initiating steel plate. This changes the dynamics of the target array.

As a consequence, the last squad (of six) to engage this stage learned the hard way that a counterbalanced target array is subject to the changing dynamics of one, two, THREE targets stacked up on the counterbalance.

Worse, the shooters don't always know how to handle it when the increased weight causes the reactive target array to fail.

This video demonstrates how important it is for the competitors (never mind the RO) to know the rules of competition.

If you hit the initiator plate fairly with a minor-caliber round, it should fall. If it doesn't, the fault may not be yours even if the Major-caliber rounds don't seem to have any problems.

Uh ... another point?

Don't shoot Minor.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Email from The Hobo Brasser

We've all got friends like him.

You know the guy (His name might be Larry D., or "Big Dawg".) He's the one who sends you all the funny emails that are making the rounds. The stuff that is part of the Internet culture, which you would NEVER proliferate by sending to on to your own circle of friends ... mostly because he's already sent it on to them, or received it from one of them. But you dutifully open the email, and laugh like crazy, and never NEVER tell anyone how much you enjoyed the not-so-subtle social/political points they illustrate.

I keep thinking I ought to resent this intrusion on my privacy ... the arbitrary take-over of my personal 'bandwidth'. But then I realize I don't know why I should object, because I enjoy reading them and I'm glad I have friends who think of me when they find something 'special'.

As I said, I never pass them on.

Until today.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the usual content of this website, but today I'm going to impose my silly sense of humor on you all even though I don't know your email address.

This is Silly Email Gone Mad, Geek Style.

You may not agree with the politics here.

Deal with it.

First offering: "Let's Say I Break Into Your House"

Let's say I break into your house

A lady wrote the best letter in the editorials in ages!!! It explains things better than all the baloney you hear on TV.

Her point:

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration.

Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house.
Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave.

But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors.
I've done all the things you don't like to do.
I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).
According to the protesters:

You are Required to let me stay in your house
You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan
You are Required to Educate my kids

You are Required to Provide other benefits to me and to my family. (my husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself.

I'm a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house.

And what a deal it is for me!!!

I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, I DEMAND that you learn MY LANGUAGE!!! so you can communicate with me.

Why can't people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America .if you agree, pass it on (in English). Share it if you see the value of it.

If not blow it off......... along with your future Social Security funds, and a lot of other things.

Next: Passenger

If you're on a plane are sitting next to someone who irritates you (and let's be honest, we've all been there)...

1. Quietly and calmly open up your laptop case.
2. Remove your laptop.
3. Boot it.
4. Make sure the guy who won't leave you alone can see the screen.
5. Open this message
6. Close your eyes and tilt your head up to the sky.

7. Then hit this link : HERE

USPSA Presidential Elections: Candidate Forums

Dave Thomas, Executive Director of USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association), recently announced to Presidential and Area Director Candidates that he has directed WebMaster Rob Boudrie to establish an online Forum for each Candidate at He'll soon "... be posting a notice on the front and member pages announcing that this election specific option is now operative."

(Actually, as of this date the notice has already been posted.)

He has encouraged each candidate to visit these forums regularly as he "would expect that there will be messages directed" to each Candidate.

The general public announcement of these forums is available at

If you are interested in the next leadership of USPSA, and you would like to learn more about the people running for office, please take advantage of this opportunity to quiz the candidates.

Monday, February 12, 2007

USPSA Records A Fourth Consecutive Year of Sustained Growth

(USPSA Press Release as reported by The Shooting Wire, subscription information here.)

Sedro-Woolley, Washington - After four years of sustained growth, the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) just posted another all-time membership record, the latest in a string of records dating back to June 2005. The numbers aren't very interesting; instead, it's the trend. After years of flat memberships, USPSA has grown, continues to grow, and now continues at a historic high. All this is happening in an unusual competitive environment, where USPSA and its competing organizations are increasingly working together. USPSA's magazine Front Sight featured their arch-rival's president on the cover, lauding his early contributions to the sport. Richard Heinie's Single Stack Classic became the USPSA "Single Stack" nationals last year, and shooters from all the organizations are increasingly moving among the various sports, enjoying them as opportunities arise.

Why the growth in USPSA?

Changes in 2001, and again in 2005 opened USPSA to shooters using simpler equipment - most notably the advent of Production Division. Brand-level competition in Production has become especially intense, with Glock, CZ, Sig, and others vying for titles around the United States.

Last year USPSA launched a provisional "1911 Single Stack" division, joining forces with Richard Heinie to put on a USPSA "1911 Single Stack Nationals." (The second annual happens April 26-28). Heinie's "Single Stack Classic" has a strong history, but last year's match under the USPSA banner became the biggest "Classic" ever held. Here again, brand-level competition has become intense, with Springfield holding a strong lead against competitors Kimber, Dan Wesson, Smith & Wesson, and others.

Symbiosis in Practical Pistol?

Warmer relations between the various Practical Pistol organizations has helped USPSA's growth. After some early hostility, those relationships have matured into a fulfillment of Rodney King's infamous statement "can't we all just get along?" At USPSA, we're seeing significant numbers of "crossover shooters" joining the sport from other organizations - without leaving their "native" sport behind. They shoot USPSA one weekend, then return to Steel Challenge, IDPA, GSSF, or SASS the next. Seasoned USPSA competitors are doing the same thing in reverse, donning "concealment garments" or cowboy duds to play the same game under a different set of rules. While the various organizations still compete for sponsors and "name" shooters on specific weekends, the lowering of social and technical barriers has encouraged cross-fertilization and net growth. USPSA's six divisions provide ways for most any defensive handgun owner to participate, regardless of equipment type. Go to for additional information.

Media Contact:
Dave Thomas, Executive Director
(360) 855-2245 (360) 708-6828

Playing With Fire: ARPC 200702 - IPSC Videos etc

A new shooter helps us to remember how EASY it is to DQ (Match Disqualification for violation of the Safety Rules) at a Club Match.

Match results here.

On Saturday, February 10, 2007, 78 competitors gathered in the overcast morning to compete in a means-nothing local club match and take their chances of shooting in the rain.

We were not disappointed.

The weather held at cloudy-but-dry and about 50 degrees temperature until around10:30am, and then the rain started.

Nobody went home.

This was an astonishing turnout for this time of year. A year ago, 60 shooters was about as many as were likely to show up for a Points Match. This match was a definite "Means Nothing" match. No honors, no Points toward winning a slot to the 2007 Nationals (the next points match is at Dundee on the usual Fourth Saturday match) and no reason to show up.

Except ... it has been a long yucky winter, and we have been hungry for some IPSC shooting.

One more thing. Due to the aggressive marketting efforts of ARPC Executive Office Mac McCarter, there were 15 ... FIFTEEN ... New Shooters trying for their finish their Columbia Cascade Section IPSC Certification. They went through the training, now they have to finish one match without a safety violation to acquire their Certification Card which allows them to compete in USPSA matches in this section without being identified as a New Shooter.

The certification course is rigorous, of course, and includes both an extended lesson in the IPSC/USPSA rule book and some practical range work to insure that each applicant understands the practical rules of IPSC competition as well as special safety rules and practices, as well as the protocol and ethics of the sport.

Usually, this is a cheerful chance to meet new people with similar views and values. Unfortunately, it is also and always a challenge to meet the standards of gunhandling expertise which are not commonly enforced in a 'open range' environment.

Since there were 78 people at the match, and 15 of them new shooters, the inexperienced pariticpants were distributed among the SIX squads. Our squad had 3 new shooters, and we were glad to get them.

We love to see new people joining The Sport, and usually we have no problems helping them to assimilate the techniques needed to safely negotiate even the toughest stage.

Unfortunately, as we become aclimated to competitive shooting, we tend to forget that we're Playing With Fire.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWe failed to adequately coach at least one of our new friends, with the sad result that he broke one of the primary safety rules ... keeping the muzzle downrange.

This was a personal failure which came home to me when the muzzle of his pistol swung lazily across the crown of my head during a reload. I was perhaps understandably disconcerted, and we were both unhappy with the situation and (he at least) with the resulting Match DQ.

The video of this event is included here, which is a 12MB compression of 44MB of video. For a much more compressed (and consequently less detail is viewable) version of the film, watch this:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Portland Barbie

If Barbie lived in your hood, would she look like this?

That's the question asked by the St. Louis Post Dispatch here.

There's a meme going around the Internet, asking what Barbie versions would look like if she were to be strategically prepositioned around urban areas ... such as Saint Louis, Mo.

Someone has taken a lot of trouble to convert this to the Portland, Oregon area. Thanks to SWMBO, I have received a copy of the Oregon version and converted it to my closest Urban location. Readers who live in Oregon may enjoy this.

The original document which I received is available as a MSWORD document here.

Your Oregon website version of this internet phenomenon is available at Geek Musing here.