Thursday, July 10, 2008

2008 R&R Racing Multigun Match at ARPC

Saturday and Sunday (July 12-13, 2oo8) Bobby Wright will be hosting the "R&R Racing" multigun match at Albany Rifle & Pistol Club.

The match is limited to 85 competitors, and will involve using 'any' combination of 3 guns (pistol, rifle, shotgun) on each of the ten stages.

Here's the line-up of stages:

Stage 1: "Knock Knock" (Rifle & Shotgun)
Stage 2: "Watch Your Breathing" (Shotgun & Rifle)
Stage 3: "Long Range" (Pistol & Rifle)
Stage 4: "Corridor" (Pistol & Shotgun)
Stage 5: "Ports" (Pistol & Shotgun)
Stage 6: "The Fair" (Shotgun & Pistol)
Stage 7: "Big Shot" (Rifle & Pistol)
Stage 8: "Cubicles" (Pistol & Rifle)
Stage 9: "Survivor II" (Pistol & Shotgun)
Stage 10: "Junction City" (Shotgun & Rifle)

The following documents are currently available at the R&R Racing Website:
Sign Up sheet. (Word Document)

Stages. (Excel spreadsheet)

Rules. (Word Document)

Sponsors (unknown Word Document)

The Match Fee (after May 24) is $275, it may betoo late to get a room in the Match Hotel, but contact Bobby (see the website for contact information), but if you show up at the match at 8am on Saturday, 12 July, 2008, you may still may be able to make some accommodation.

As usual, I'm posting this notice later than I should, but I'm assuming that interested competitors have already signed up for the match.

I'm not really trying to tempt more competitors here, although if the match is not yet fully subscribed that would be nice. Instead, I'm identifying a pending match.

I'll be there, taking pictures and interviewing participants.

Although this is not a USPSA match, , because the strict USPSA rules are not being followed (see the above rules description) and Wright is therefore not paying Match Fees to USPSA), I will be submitting an article to the USPSA Front Sight Magazine, which will probably be published in the November/December issue..

Are there rules of competition which are not best represented by the USPSA Multi-Gun rules?

I don't know.

Come, watch the match with me as we compare the two sets of rules to determine which are most reasonable.

I'll have pictuers.

Night of Thunder: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel

Stephen Hunter has a new Bob Lee Swagger book coming out on September 23, 2008.

I just pre-ordered my copy from Amazon.

Michael Bane has a pre-release teaser.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ari Conditioning as a Life Style

During the first hot weather of this year, I found it necessary to buy a new Air Conditioner for my mother. I chose a $400 "Portable" unit as most appropriate, and installed it in my Mother's 1976 model Double-Wide in The Trailer Park For Old Folks. (Mom turned 90 this year; don't go there, I'm warning you.)

As events occurred, it became obvious that her whole-house installed Heat Pump rendered the Portable Air Conditioner (hereafter to be referred to as "R2D2", because of the shape of the 100#+ unit) was superfluous to her needs. So I took R2D2 home, and stashed it in my garage.

Segue to This Week, when ambient temperatures exceeded 90 degrees for the second time in the year, with reasonable expectation that the trend would continue for months.

I had an el-cheapo 3,000 BTU air conditioner installed in my upstairs (2-level townhouse) Duplex Apartment, and it was entirely adequate to keep my bedroom cooled for sleeping.

But my Computer Room (the 2nd bedroom), also on the 2nd floor, was appropriately described as "The Hell Room", not only for the disorder typical of the Aging Bachelor, but also for the failure to provide heat-relief accommodations apart from a few fans.

Not working for me, Dude.

Yesterday, I packed R2D2 up the 14-step stairway and installed it in upstairs master bedroom. It worked fine, except when I got up in the morning I discovered the bedroom was sopping wet. Condensation on the condenser was my evaluation; after all, the R2D2 unit sits on the floor.

I soaked up the excess moisture from the rug using dry towels, and went to work assuming that the problem would correct itself in the anticipated ninety-degree heat.

Didn't happen.


When I got home from work this evening at 6pm, my first effort was to install the old window-style air conditioner in the Hell Room. Then I turned the R2D2 air conditioner on in "Dehumidifier" mode, to dry out the carpet in the Master Bedroom, installed the old 'casement-window' air conditioner in the Hell Room and turned on both air conditioners.

When I took the remnants from the cardboard boxes (used to block off the airflow from outside to inside) to the recycle bin, I noted that the hum of air-conditioners abruptly self-terminated.

The power demands of two air-conditioners (and an Edison Fan or two) on the 1970's design of cheap, easy and quick townhouse construction had exceeded design parameters, causing the circuit breaker (which assigned power requirements for the entire second floor) to fail.

I turned off all the obvious power-draining appliances ... both air conditioners .. and reset the circuit breakers.

Obviously, the electrical substructure of the apartment was not able to handle the power demands of two air-conditioners; and I had not even turned on the computer, which was the object of the exercise and the reason why I wanted to be 'comfortable' while residing on the 2nd floor.

So I can have two air-conditioners installed on the upper level of the apartment. I just can't have them both running at the same time.

I've turned off R2D2 in the bedroom, while I run the 'old' AC in the "Hell Room".

In a few minutes, I'll complete this blog article, which frees me to turn of the 'puter, and the window AC. I'll then turn on the R2D2 unit on "Dehumidifier" mode, to dry out the carpet.

Downstairs to cook and eat dinner while I watch the rest of the Terry Pratchett DVD, and off to bed.

The short story is that, while I have several hundred dollars worth of air conditioners installed, I can't run them both at the same time.

It isn't easy, being Geek.
UPDATE: 10-JUL-2008

I'm proud to state that, in spite of the base canards of my detractors, the attempts to dry out the carpets in the Master Bedroom were completely successful. By morning the carpet was dry, and I had slept deeply and soundly in cool 52 degree comfort.

(DBD Cartoon for 2008/07/09 -- click for full size)
Yes, it is true that I am incompetent when it comes to machinery. But I've learned to compensate for my limitations.

And I get better looking every day.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The French are not reliable aggressors

June 30, 2008 - The BBC News
French shooting show injures 17

A military show in southern France has left 17 people wounded, after real bullets were used instead of blanks.

The injured included five children. Four people, including one child, were said to have been seriously hurt - though three have now stabilised.

The incident occurred during a public demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at a barracks in Aude.


The soldier who fired the shots has been detained - though an official said it was probably an accident.

It is not clear why the wrong ammunition was used in Sunday's demonstration.

But it was "99.9%" likely to be "an unintentional fault," Colonel Benoit Royal, head of the French army's information service, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

'No psychological problems'

However, Defense Minister Herve Morin said: "I cannot rule out anything because we don't know what might be going on in a man's head."

He said "an experienced soldier" should not be able to confuse blanks with real bullets.

"According to initial findings of the inquiry, the incident involved a soldier with a perfect record, who had participated in operations and had seven to eight years of experience," he said.

"There is nothing that would make one think he had behavioural or psychological problems," he added.

Reports from the scene say the hostage scenario had been acted out five times before a crowd at the Laperrine military barracks, near Carcassonne, when on the sixth take real bullets began flying through the air, and onlookers fell to the ground.

In the military (at least in the U.S.), there are certain protocols in any 'training' situations involving blank-round firing.

The first is that every participant is individually required to show all loaded magazines before the situation begins, to prove that no live rounds are loaded.

The second is that, since blank ammunition is obviously different from live rounds, every participant is obligated to examine his own ammunition before loading the magazines.

The third is that no live ammunition is permitted on the premises when blank ammunition is being loaded into magazines.

Also (at least in the 1960's, when I was a member of the military), it was impossible to cycle he action of a military weapon in a full- or semi-automatic manner without inserting a special 'device' in the muzzle of the firearm.

A special 'device' was needed for the firearm to function in other than single-shot mode
Blank ammunition was deliberately loaded 'light' (very little gunpowder was inserted into the special-purpose, crimp-necked cartridge case) so that it would not cycle the action (move the rifle bolt to the rear to chamber another cartridge.)

In order to force the rifle action to cycle, it was necessary to insert a device into the muzzle of the rifle. This served two purposes: first, it restricted the gas pressure created from firing the cartridge from exiting the chamber/barrel assembly. This delay allowed the pressure to build up sufficiently for the stated purpose, which was not necessary with a full-power "Live Ammunition" round.

This device was so constructed that it provided a positive block to the exit from the barrel of any material object. That is, if a live round was fired from a rifle while this device was installed, it would hit the device, which was locked into the barrel forming a formidable obstruction.

The result of firing a live round through a barrel which was so obstructed would be to, essentially, blow the gun up. No second shot would be able to be fired from a firearm so obstructed. In fact, the most likely consequence is that the firearm would be damaged to the point of destruction, and the shooter would be injured by the consequences of the resulting back pressure.

[Note that military blank ammunition does not include a 'wad' to restrict pressure; rather, it looks very much like a cartridge case used for 'live' ammunition, except that (a) there is no bullet loaded; (b) the neck of the cartridge is squeezed together in a 'star-crimp' manner; (c) the blank ammunition has a shorter over-all length, lacking as it does a bullet; and (d) the cartridge is much lighter owing to the lack of a bullet and also to the amount of material included in the construction of the cartridge case -- it is thinner, because it need not contain such high gas pressures as does live ammunition.]

This leads us to consider a limited number of scenarios:

  1. If the firearms and blank ammunition used by the French military in this public demonstration were constructed differently, so that they were able to fire both blank and live ammunition without the installation of a device such as is described above, then the French Military and the French Government are guilty of gross negligence, malfeasance of office, and liable to several criminal and civil actions. They should never have allowed such a demonstration without positively affirming that it was impossible to fire live ammunition with the effect that it could result in the injury of any participant or observer. This was, or should have been, their primary concern.

  2. If the firearms and blank ammunition are similar to those used during my none-too-short military career, it would have been impossible to shoot 17 people using a firearm configured to shoot blank ammunition. Given that a typical military rifle magazine usually contains either 20 or 30 rounds, it seems reasonable to assume that much or all of a full magazine had been expended before the operator realized that he was producing carnage rather than 'sound and fury' in his demonstration. It is unreasonable ... impossible ... to assume that the shooter was not aware that he was shooting live ammunition for he would have had to perform several actions before changing the configuration of his firearm to permit the repeated firing of live ammunition. The only possible conclusion is that he deliberately made his firearm capable of shooting live ammunition, and then deliberately loaded and fired live ammunition at both his military colleagues, and at civilian observers.

    In this scenario, the fault is entirely upon the shooter. The consequences had been his goal, and he intended to shoot anyone in the vicinity with the intention of injuring or killing as many as he could.

  3. Regardless of whether the shooter deliberately, or accidentally, shot 17 people, the demonstration was set up without full consideration of the possibility of accident. It seems obvious that the area was not set up so that shooting would always be in a safe direction. (That is, at a minimum, that no civilian observers would ever find themselves 'downrange' of an operating firearm.) This event exhibits an appalling disregard for safety which would not be allowed on any reputable shooting range. You always assume that a firearm is loaded with live ammunition, and you always position non-participants where they will not be in the line of fire, and you always establish operational procedures with at least two, preferably three ways to insure that nobody can possibly be injured if 'something goes wrong'.
In the final analysis, it's impossible to believe that the military command will not be decimated as part of the fall-out from this tragedy; a commander is always responsible for the action of his troops.

And the individual shooter, the man who held the weapon and who loaded the live ammunition, cannot possibly be held to any lower level of responsibility. As a man who has been shooting for over 50 years, in military, hunting and competitive venues, I have always been taught that I am responsible for my own actions when holding a firearm (or at any other time).

In fact, when training shooters, I have stressed that: "You should always load your own magazines. If you allow someone else to load your magazines, you will eventually suffer the consequences, and you have nobody to blame but yourself."

That is the situation here, except that the Military incorporates a Chain of Command responsibility which is not part of individual competition, or hunting. They will pay for their assumption that their troops will always 'do the right thing'.

The Fall-out Begins:
Although it has been, as of this date, a week since the shooting, there are (so far) only two follow- up stories to report. The following are representative examples, chosen almost at random.

True to predictions, the 'Chain of Command" sacrifices one of its own ... a Judas Goat, so to speak. And the French Government says "I'm really, really sorry".


This is not helpful. By now, they should have made some progress in determining how this happened, and should be releasing information which defines the circumstances about whether the "very experienced" trooper who did the shooting was a deliberate wanna-be murderer, or just stupid.

They (the French government) should be releasing details on their procedures for this kind of demonstration. They should have identified the shooter, his background, and his motivation. They should have identified the person who was responsible for insuring that no live ammunition was loaded and available, and defined the situation which lead to the failure of established procedures .

Most important, they should by now know what happened, and why. This should be supported by material evidence, such as examination of the brass found on the scene. The first thing to do is pick up the brass, which the French army has already done.

By now, they probably have this information. But they have not released it.

The Internet is not making this information available. Tomorrow, they probably will still not have this information. We need to ask ourselves why it happened, but we also need to be asking why it is all being covered up.
UPDATE: 08-JUL-2008:
The only new information so far is that 16, not 17 people, were injured (or killed) in this shooting incident. This is information was originally reported on June 29, and more widely corrected on July 1, 2008.

It has been over a week since the incident, and no more information is available.

Don't expect to see much more explanation soon, if ever. This will be swept under the carpet and the press will not likely pressure the French government for more information ... ever.

Meanwhile, on July 8, 2008, the big news from France is:
"French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the opening of the Beijing Olympics next month."

July Blogmeat

Blogmeat: Stuff I find while surfing the 'net which is so interesting I can't bear not to share it, even if it's not interesting to anyone else.

I wrote a Blogmeat article a few days ago, but it was full of violent and negative 'stuff'. Let's try again.

June 18, 2008: Dallas News dot Com
Man accidently kills himself while trying to rob a Grand Prairie home.

A 19-year-old man accidentally shot and killed himself Tuesday morning while he was attempting to rob a Grand Prairie home, authorities said.

Cameron Sands, 19, of Fort Worth kicked in the door of the house and then shot himself in the stomach as he pulled a gun out of his pants to shoot the homeowner, Grand Prairie police said. The homeowner was not injured.

There, that starts us on a positive note.

June 19, 2008
John Kass of the Chicago Tribune opines that Of course it's fair that they have guns and you don't.
That Washington, D.C., gun ban that the Supreme Court should toss out any day now because it is unconstitutional is often compared to the handgun ban in Chicago.

But what's not often reported by the decidedly pro-gun-control media is that since Chicago's anti-handgun law went into effect in 1982, only two classes of people have had ready access to firearms:

The criminals. And the politicians.

Cynics who scoff at everything decent suggest these are one and the same, but taxpayers know the difference.
June 21, 2008 - NY Daily News
Thou shalt not swindle Charleton Heston

LOS ANGELES - A Hollywood business manager who broke the Eighth Commandment and stole more than $150,000 from actor Charlton Heston is headed to jail.

Sharon Walker, 56, Friday admitted embezzling $157,852 from the Academy Award-winning star of "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur" before his April 5 death from pneumonia at the age of 83.

Walker also copped to stealing $567,614 from the account of Emmy-winning TV writer-producer Stephen Cannell and his wife, Marcia. Cannell's credits include "The Rockford Files," "A-Team" and "21 Jump Street."

"She was forging checks and using that money to pay off credit card debt. She signed Mr. Heston's name and his wife's name," said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney.

June 22, 2008 - Fox News
"Harrier FA2 Fighter Jet Up For Auction on eBay"

The ultimate boys' toy could be yours at last - a Harrier fighter jet is being sold on eBay.

The decommissioned Royal Navy Sea Harrier FA2 was in service between 1987 and 1997.

It served with all three Fleet Air Arm Harrier squadrons.

But anyone wanting to take to the skies in the plane will be disappointed as it is not airworthy.

There is no engine fitted and many of the internal systems have been removed or made inoperative.

The cockpit is also stripped out but a mock cockpit has been created so, from the outside, it appears to have a seat fitted.

Despite this, the price has already exceeded $37,505.86.

The sellers say on eBay: "This is a rare opportunity.

June 23, 2008 -
"Fathers' Days cards banned in Scottish schools"

Thousands of primary pupils were prevented from making Father's Day cards at school for fear of embarrassing classmates who live with single mothers and lesbians.

The politically correct policy was quietly adopted at schools "in the interests of sensitivity" over the growing number of lone-parent and same-sex households.
June 27, 2008 -
"Justice Antonin Scala: Al Gore to blame for 2000 US election mess"

"Richard Nixon, when he lost to [John F.] Kennedy thought that the election had been stolen in Chicago, which was very likely true with the system at the time," Justice Antonin Scalia told The Telegraph.

"But he did not even think about bringing a court challenge. That was his prerogative. So you know if you don't like it, don't blame it on me.

"I didn't bring it into the courts. Mr Gore brought it into the courts.

June 27, 2008 -
Harness Volcano Power, energy experts say

June 27, 2008 - The
Exclusive: Scientists warn that there may be no ice at North Pole this summer

Things to do in Oregon on the weekend

Bend, Oregon, resident Kent Couch spend one day of his Independence Day weekend flying to Idaho.

In a lawn chair.

According to news reports, this is his third annual flight.

The BBC has it that he sat in an 'armchair', but perhaps the Brits don't have a word closer to 'lawn chair'. Either that, or their third-hand source of information is less reliable than mine. However, they do have a video of preparations, some short interviews with Couch and his wife, and the take-off.

CNN has a nice picture of the takeoff (reproduced here), as well of video from the 2007 excursion. It shows some details of the "gondola's" construction. Also, there's a decent story which is missing from BBC. However, the story is inaccurate on at least one detail: "It began after Couch, clutching a big mug of coffee, kissed his wife and kids goodbye, then patted their shivering Chihuahua, Isabella, on the head." In the BBC video, you can clearly see that he kisses the dog goodbye. Perhaps he patted his kids on the head. In all the excitement, it's easy to get confused.

"This thing has an up and a down on it, and that's all it's got."
During the 9 hour trip, it is said, he adjusted his elevation if too high by shooting a few of the brightly colored five-feet-diameter "party balloons", using a BB gun (in his 2007 flight, his 'back-up' plan was to shoot darts from a blow-gun). If he dipped too low, he untied a rope attached to a hose, draining some of the contents of the three large plastic containers of cherry flavored kool-aid. One assumes that sometime during that extended flight he also siphoned off some of the "big mug of coffee" he was drinking during the take-off. Be glad you don't live along that flight-path ... or if you do, pray that the 'rain' you felt was cherry flavored.

There is a rumor (started by an irresponsible blogger) to the effect that Mr. Couch's next trip will be to fly a sofa to Davenport, Iowa.

That's one video to look forward to seeing.