Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Friday, October 24, 2014

Huh

Vacation was pretty fun, looking at the pictures.


Who'd a thunk it?

Thank you, Grammar Nazi


Sears is Closing Another 100 Stores

This is just the latest in a series of store closings. It looks like inevitability and I feel for anyone losing a position in these closings, but it is going to happen. All they are doing is liquidating and shutting the company down.

Sears was a huge presence in America for many decades. The company was at one time the largest single retail employer in the country. Sears is where we shopped when I was a boy, and when I got married, getting a Sears card seemed like part of growing up. We bought our kids their clothes there, bought appliances, went there for family pictures. I can still remember getting the Christmas wish book every year. But that Sears is already gone and has been for years.

I would still be a customer if they hadn't thrown me away. I'll only tell my final story. I bought a kitchen faucet. It was Sears branded and had a warranty. A few months after getting it the faucet started leaking. Not dripping, but more like a small steady stream. I turned off the water and took it out and went to the store. The same faucets were on the shelf, the warranty plainly printed on the packaging. I was told that, in spite of the words my lying eyes could read, I would have to accept an o-ring kit and rebuild the faucet.

So back to the parts department. Then back to the sales floor to get the SKU off the package since they couldn't be bothered to look it up. Back to the parts department. Oops, that parts kit is out of stock, we'll order you one. This, while my kitchen sink is apart, and since it was an old house without cut-offs, the water is shut off at the meter.

Back to the sales floor to find a manager. We talked of costs, storeroom overhead costs related to the stocking of spare parts, whether or not my expectations were reasonable, store policy, yadda yadda. Eventually I got past him and found myself talking to the store manager, about a fifty dollar faucet, about two hours after I walked into the door. He was resistant, but eventually honored the warranty I showed him on the box, giving me a new faucet, and parting from me with these words, "Here's a new one, don't bring it back."

I agreed to these terms. When the new one started leaking less than a year later, I went to Lowe's.            

The Sopwith Camel, the Hawker Hurricane, and the Harrier jump jet

What are airplanes from the company founded by Sir Thomas Sopwith.  If you are a military aviation nerd, you will love this in-depth article at The Register.

Adobe ebook reader spies on you

Jerks:
Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters detailing a user's reading habits.

Previously, this information was not encrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept it.

The software collects detailed records about the books the user has been reading, such as which pages were read and when, and sends this intelligence back to the adelogs.adobe.com server. There is no way to opt out of this short of deleting the application.

Now that information is transmitted using HTTPS, apparently.
There's a whole lot of not getting it wrapped up in that last bit.  Those of you who use Adobe's ebook reader might want to choose an alternative.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Years Ago

241 Americans on a U.N. peacekeeping mission, mostly Marines, died on October 23rd, 1983. It was the most Marines killed in one day since Iwo Jima.

Four month later, the U.S. started withdrawing from Lebanon.

It was one of the worst policy decisions in our nation's history. A strong response then would have precluded much of what followed over the ensuing decades. We knew little then and we have learned little since.


Isis is currently calling on all believers to attack with whatever means they have. Here's their action plan:
"Hinder those who want to harm your brothers," the ISIS spokesman said. "The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies."
Civilians should not be exempt from brutality, he said. "Do not ask for anyone's advice and do not seek anyone's verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war."
"Oh Americans, and oh Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe," the ISIS spokesman added. "It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.
He gave specifics on how to attack Westerners: "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes."
War comes. It is always so. It came to Canada yesterday. And to Queens today. 

Lee-Enfield rifle finally being phased out by Canadian Military?

Maybe, maybe not.
The Canadian Rangers — a component of the armed forces reserves — conduct sovereignty patrols and assist search and rescue missions in the Far North and in remote coastal regions across the country.
And the red-shirted Rangers — made up largely of aboriginal volunteers — have been using Lee-Enfield rifles little changed from the First World War version since the group was first established in 1947.

“The Rangers were not issued this weapon to fight an enemy, they were given the rifle because they are operating in one of the harshest environments in the world,” says Capt. Mark Rittwage, officer commander of the 3rd Canadian Patrol Group, Northern Ontario.

“And . . . the predators that are there, polar bears, wolves, even bull moose during rutting season, can cause a danger to our Rangers,” Rittwage says.
It seems that the Canadian military is putting out a bid for replacement rifles to equip the Rangers, but it also did this in 2011 and withdrew the tender.  Certainly I'd prefer to have my Enfield than many (most?) semi-autos in -20°C weather.  Err, if I were to venture out in -20°C weather ...

It only hurts when I laugh


Shamelessly stolen from Chris Byrne's facebook page ...

Garand Cycle of Operation

Here's the mystery opened up and explained.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Environmental Science: reduced carbon emissions are actually increased carbon emissions

One of the benefits of fracking has been a substantial reduction in the cost of natural gas.  This has caused a lot of coal fired electric generating plants to shift to natural gas which has substantially reduced carbon emissions.  Now I don't much buy into the whole ZOMG Greenhouse Gasses are killing teh childrenz thing, but you'd think that people who do believe this would think that this shift would be A Very Good Thing Indeed.

Alas, no.  Because cheaper energy leads to increased energy use which leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions.  Because Science!
A new study published in Nature has revealed that switching to cheap Natural Gas will not reduce CO2 significantly, because all that cheap energy will stimulate the economy so much that we will all use more energy.

According to the abstract;
If these advanced gas production technologies were to be deployed globally, the energy market could see a large influx of economically competitive unconventional gas resources. The climate implications of such abundant natural gas have been hotly debated. ... Here we show that market-driven increases in global supplies of unconventional natural gas do not discernibly reduce the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions or climate forcing. Our results, based on simulations from five state-of-the-art integrated assessment models of energy–economy–climate systems independently forced by an abundant gas scenario, project large additional natural gas consumption of up to +170 per cent by 2050.
Because computer models say so. 

And so we see that the Environment Science establishment is not interested in reducing impacts, it is interested in ending economic growth.  OK, then. How many children and elderly must freeze in the dark to satisfy the computer models?  The World wonders ...

There's Bubba'd and Then There's This

This is sporterized, not bubba'd. Now maybe you think that he shouldn't have, but he did was done extremely well. From CalGuns, an example of what can be done with a K-31 Swiss if you have about 3 months and some money to spend.

Most of the original stock is under there. In the pictures you can see how they milled parts of it flat and then added what you see here.


 Then here's the write-up and lots of pictures, including several of the finished rifle. And finally a quote explaining why he did it.
"...this was a hell of a fun project and its now a one of a kind K!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oooh, shiny!


Apple to Fanbois: All your data are belong to us

If you use OS X Yosemite, your laptop sends data to Apple even if you disable this in System Preferences:
Having read DuckDuckGo's privacy statements, you might decide to switch Safari's default search to DuckDuckGo. If we enter a new search in Safari, we can then search the logged data to see who the search terms are actually sent to.

The logs show that a copy of your Safari searches are still sent to Apple, even when selecting DuckDuckGo as your search provider, and 'Spotlight Suggestions' are disabled in System Preferences > Spotlight.
It would be interesting to see what breaks if you put network Access Control Lists to block access to *.apple.com.  I'd think that it might effectively brick your laptop.

No mention at the article as to what (if anything) Apple does to fight National Security Letter snooping.  My guess is little or nothing.

Remember, Linux is free.

Buying Used

Buying used guns can be a joy. It can also be a good way to get a winter project box full of parts you will never use because you don't trust them. Tam wrote an article on the topic of buying used for Shooting Illustrated. It got me thinking about the ones I've bought used and what I wished I known before I got my wallet out. After you read what Tam has to say, here's a few more articles that offer good tips.

Here's advice from The Truth About Guns.
Don’t be afraid of used guns, but maintain a clear head while shopping. Depending on where you go, you’ll get to see and experience all sorts of nonsense. I’ve heard blatantly wrong information and occasionally dangerous advice. I’ve seen absolute junk marketed as new-in-the-box. I’ve also bought good pieces at good prices, so can you.

And another from Policemag.com, with advice that goes double for non-LEOs.
Buying a used firearm for duty or off-duty carry can present liability issues. If you have an accidental discharge or shoot someone in the line of duty, you will have to answer some very probing questions about the gun. Was the trigger worked on? Was the safety tinkered with to make it easier to use? You get the drift.
And from Gunsandammo.com, which offers a great piece of modern advice and has some interesting comments below the article.
We live in the age of information. There’s no reason to start shopping for used guns without some idea of what a reasonable price looks like.
I'm also not afraid to get experienced help in assessing a possible purchase. Even someone who doesn't have an armorer's certification can put another set of eyes on a gun and help decide if you really want this particular example or you want to keep looking.

H/T to SayUncle.


Thank you

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things.  The discomfort is less than it was, based on how much I've been scaling back on the meds.  I'm back at work which is interesting since it's not easy to type with limited use of my right hand.  I find that I get tired very easily (still) which is very frustrating - this is the first time that I've had to convalesce for more than a day or two, and it's very annoying that I still need help getting dressed.  Bah.

But I'd like to thank all of you who left comments expressing encouragement - that's some powerful medicine right there.  I've been really quite dreadful about replying to emails, and will try to catch up.  Thanks to everyone who sent a note.

And a HUGE thank you to reader Tony, and also to Chris Byrne for offering to come down to Florida and trailer my bike back to the ATL.  I'm speechless at the generosity you showed.

Lastly, it's hard to express just what a relief it's been that this blog has been in the capable hands of ASM826 while the meds have had me orbiting Mars.  His daily dose of bloggy goodness has removed a real source of discomfort from me, letting me put down the keyboard for what's really been two full weeks (!) without letting things go dead here.  Thanks, brother.

And this is really, really funny.  Courtesy of Miguel:


Monday, October 20, 2014

The American War for Southern Independence*

It was not about what you think.

* The "Civil War" for those of you who went to public schools.

Tiffany Guns

Between 1880 and 1905, Tiffany did silver engraving on guns. Mostly for the manufacturers to take to shows, but also for wealthy individuals. Here's one.


Here's the link to the full article and more pictures. Some examples are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and can be viewed in the on-line collection.

Be that guy


(via)

Fury

Went to the movies and saw Fury on the big screen. A WWII tank movie done over the top, characterization is thin, some of the deaths you can see coming, there's no good guys, just "us and them", etc.

So, um, I liked it. It's well done. It's hard to watch, lacking even the hope that Saving Private Ryan offered. An in-your-face movie that takes place late in the war during the final push into Germany. I don't want to post spoilers, so here's the trailer.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bryco 380

Tony Tsquared inherited them. At least he didn't buy them...

I inherited 2 Bryco model 38 in 380ACP - one is black and the other is chromed. One will shoot it's mag all the way through. The other will FTF/stovepipe on every bullet. Switch magazines and I have the same results. On both guns if the target is more than 15 feet I cant get a bullet on the paper. They both will have a light strike with the firing pin once in a while. These are close up, Saturday night specials that may or may not fire when you squeeze the trigger.

Tony apparently was feeling generous when he wrote this, other things I find are much more cruel.
Here's a review at Guns.com and a quote that raises the snark level:
 Would I recommend this pistol to you? No. My local gun shop sells the Jimenez .380 for about $145 and though the gun ran fine for me, I would not recommend it unless you had no other options. And I mean, kitchen knives, baseball bats, or an angry housecat should be considered above this in terms of defensive weapons.

Red Flags Ignored

 Raptor ignores the warning signs on a Sig P232. A search for Sig P232 problems was interesting, but when it's your problem, there's nothing fun about it. After you read what he says about it now, I would like to direct you to Raptor's blog and the hopeful words he wrote when the gun first got back from the factory. It's that wanting to like a gun that makes these issues so painful.

SIG P232 that I bought used from my favorite gun shop. Red Flag #1 should have been that it was the only gun in the used case with "AS IS" written on the tag. Red Flag #2 should have been that it didn't want to field strip. But I ignored that uneasy feeling in my gut and bought it anyway.

Turns out that the takedown lever was busted, so the locking block wouldn't rotate down far enough for the slide to retract far enough to clear the guide rails. If I'd done due diligence and actually researched the gun before I bought it, I would have learned that busted takedown levers seem to be very common with modern P232s. Something about SIG switched making their small parts from forged steel to MIM components.


Oh, and the magazine it came with was buggered up too: the feed lips were cracked, so it would only feed FMJs, no HPs of any kind.

Anyways, brought it back to the shop, and they sent it back to SIG, covered all the costs too. Put less than 1000 rounds though it before the lever broke again. So I sent it to SIG myself and got it fixed again, than brought it back to the shop a few weeks ago, where I traded it towards a brand-new Springfield Range Officer Compact. The gave me $100 less than I'd initially paid for the gun.

Between repairs, new grips, three new mags, and a full holster/belt/mag pouch combo, I don't even want to think about how much money I wasted on that POS.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The National Anthem

Somewhere in America...

Jimmy Buffett - Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.


Be wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes
to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have already fled:
seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next day. 

- Horace, Odes
Life is not what you plan, it's what you live.  Two weeks ago I rode off on a motorcycle adventure, one where the plans did not include a stay in the Intensive Care Unit.  The ancients knew what a fickle goddess Fortuna was, and how to mentally prepare for a fickle world.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a dream; our world is now. 
Carpe diem, seize the day.  Even now envious time has fled.

As someone who has spent much of my time on this good Earth living in either the past or the future, this has been a subject of much meditation  lately.  I've wondered if I've watched two thirds of my life pass by without actually living it.  Life, and love, and family - all make life worth living.  All can change in the blink of an eye.

Seize the day.  Life is now.



Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On (Songwriters: Jimmy Buffett, Matt Betton)
I bought a cheap watch from a crazy man
Floating down canal
It doesn't use numbers or moving hands
It always just says now
Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And If I have trouble the warranty said
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

And it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, we've seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain leaking through the door, tides at war

If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead
It will make you strong
Don't try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

And it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain buried the 9th Ward to the 2nd floor

According to my watch the time is now
Past is dead and gone
Don't try to shake it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Don't try to shake it just bow your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On