Weekend News Roundup

…wherein I comment on various snippets of what passes for “news” these days, and which happened to catch my eye en passant:

1.) Ireland threatens to poach U.S. business from the U.K., post-Brexit.
— It’s called the “free market”, and nobody should care about this other than the ignorant. Remember that you’ll be negotiating with the United States and against Great Britain, boyos. Good luck with that. And just hope that your masters in Brussels don’t punish you for straying outside the fold.

2.) Women achieve orgasm more often when having sex with other women than they do with men.
— Don’t care. Next:

3.) Prince Harry won’t sign pre-nuptial contract with divorced Hollywood starlet.
— Yeah, this is going to end well, considering there’s about $40 million involved. Dreamy royal ingenue vs. Hollywood lawyers… nope, not gonna take that bet. And the pussification of Harry continues apace…

4.) Saintly charity Oxfam involved with sex orgies and sexual harassment in Haiti.
— Considering that Haiti is one of the pox capitals of Shitholia, could this be conclusive proof of liberal idiocy, or is it just the Darwinian process? I report, you decide.

5.) Disloyal and dishonest asshole fired from the FBI before he can retire with multimillion-dollar pension.
— My only question: what took them so long? Should have been done over a year ago.

6.) Has-been CalGov Arnold Schwarzenwhatsit said some stupid shit in Austin, TX.
— Dude should have stuck to bonking hideous Hispanic housemaids. Of course, in Moscow-On-Colorado he’s going to get serious cheers for saying that “oil companies are killing people by abetting the burning of fossil fuels, and that all products using fossil fuels should be marked as associated with hazards like tobacco.” Yet another has-been liberal Republican who needs to just STFU.

And finally:

7.) SecState Tillerson was on the toilet when told he was fired.
— And we needed to know this… why? Somewhere out there, someone’s former journalism professor is reaching for the razor blades. (Not that this would be a Bad Thing, mind you.)

Gratuitous Gun Pic – Westley-Richards (.318 Nitro)

From Mr. Free Market comes this gem from the past, a Westley Richards takedown rifle, based on a Mauser 98 action:

Westley Richards & Co. has been around since the early nineteenth century, making them one of the oldest gunmakers extant. They have made both rifles and shotguns, the latter including models designed by the brilliant gunsmith John Deeley (which I’ll talk about some other time).

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Rather, I’d like to talk about their proprietary cartridge, the .318 Westley Richards (or as it’s more commonly known, the .318 Nitro), which came onto the market around 1907/08. Here’s a pic (from Wikipedia) which compares the .318 to other, more famous medium-game cartridges:

Note the long, thin(-nish) 250-grain bullet*, akin to the 7x57mm Mauser (a.k.a. .276 Rigby) and the 6.5x55mm Swedish bullets. This gives the .318 exceptional penetration, and given the times it was popular, it should come as no surprise that the .318 Nitro has felled more elephant —  in their thousands — than just about any other cartridge. Walter “Karamojo” Bell used it to great effect along with his other elephant-killer, the .276 Rigby, as did many other Great White Hunters.

The.318 Nitro was superseded by later medium game cartridges (like the superb .375 H&H Magnum) which had “belted” cases to handle the extra pressure. It will come as no surprise to Longtime Readers that this is of no concern to me, because I happen to think that many of the “older” cartridges are perfectly fine, thank you. (I have an old essay on this very topic, and as soon as I find it, I’ll re-publish it.)

I’ve never fired the .318 Nitro, nor have I ever fired a Westley Richards rifle, but I have to tell you all that after looking at Mr. FM’s picture… I have no idea what the rifle costs (several arms and legs, no doubt), but it’s irrelevant: it’s just drop-dead gorgeous. Sadly, though, Mr. FM’s following comment is quite true:

“Another one of those calibers that looks great on paper but trying to get ammo would be a nightmare.”


*In modern nomenclature, the .318 would be termed a .330 because nowadays we measure bullets from the inside-groove depth rather than from the “lands”, which was the British custom when this rifle was made.


Bad Hair Dames

And lo, in the years of the 1930s there was inflicted upon women the hairstyle known as “curly bangs”; yea and even the most beauteous of them were made hideous by this fashion:


And only in the 1940s did the ones known as “hair-stylists” get a clue and start to make amends:

Dramatis personae, from top:

Greta Garbo
Barbara Stanwyck
Greer Garson
Ginger Rogers

Veronica Lake
Lauren Bacall
Ann Miller
Dolores Moran

Resolve (January 19, 2004)

From Reader Todd, who (unfortunately for him) lives in the People’s Collective of New York:

My first instinct is to agree that all households should be armed; yet I have a question about it. If a goblin comes strolling into my home in the middle of the night and I come out of the bedroom loaded for such, isn’t it possible that I have created a distinctly more dangerous situation for me and my family if I don’t/won’t have the resolve to drop the scum bag? I mean, most good Americans like me have never shot anybody and I am concerned that I may get stage fright. Practicing at the range is fine for honing the technical aspect but what about the emotional end? If this is an issue, how do I prepare for it should the situation arise?

It’s an excellent question, and one I should have addressed a long time ago.

Civilized people, quite correctly, shrink from causing harm or death to another human being. This is perfectly normal, and is indeed laudable. (Sociopaths, of course, have no such compunction, which is why they themselves should be killed.)

And quite apart from any legal issues, the moral issue of taking a life is a weighty and terrible one.

Probably the best way to approach this issue is to look at how an army teaches its recruits to kill, and it follows three different paths simultaneously.

The first is through rigorous and continuous practice. As Todd points out, practice hones the technical aspects of shooting, which is well and good — it behooves everyone to shoot accurately, and competently.

Continuous practice, however, achieves another objective: it turns an unnatural act into an instinctive one. This is why professional golfers spend countless hours on the driving range and in the practice bunker: they’re training their muscles and instincts to make the shots as automatic as possible, so that under the stress of competition, the stroke will be identical to the thousands of ones they’ve practiced.

The same is true of self-defense. Under circumstances of great stress, your instincts take over — and those instincts should include the firing of a gun, that will have come about through hours of practice. There is no other way.

Any other outcome is a bad one. Hesitation may cause a struggle for the gun, and poor marksmanship can have undesirable consequences, too.

And practice with a “silhouette”-type target, not one of those silly “bullseye” things.

The second way an army teaches its recruits to kill is by dehumanizing the enemy. Whether done through propaganda or with dispassion, the message is: “This guy is trying to kill you. If you don’t kill him first, he will.”

By making the first statement, the concept being conveyed is that the person attacking you is no better than a wild animal — and a carnivore, at that.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons I don’t refer to violent criminals as anything other than “goblins”. To me, anyone who will resort to invading a person’s home, for whatever reason, is no longer a human being, but a predator — actually, a raptor (the literal meaning of which is “taker”) of life and/or property.

As such, I’m trying to strengthen that perception among my Readers. Unfortunately, as Western civilization has progressed, one of the less-desirable aspects thereof has been to instill in people’s minds that violent criminals are just misunderstood, or that their actions are somehow excusable.

They aren’t, and this fiction is one of recent vintage. All through the millennia of history, men have treated violent criminals with violence, either in situ or through civil punishment. Plato, for instance, talks of execution as a “deterrent”, not to deter others, but “so that the criminal may not strike again.”

It is only in the past fifty years that killing bad people has become a Bad Thing, with sophistic arguments like one being “judge, jury and executioner” — when the criminal, just by virtue of his own actions, has already condemned himself to lie outside the pale of civilized society.

I’m trying to reverse that stupid trend of “criminals are humans, too”, because they aren’t, and because ultimately, that mindset benefits only the goblin, while being deletorious to society as a whole.

Finally, the army will teach its recruits to kill by instilling camaraderie  that by killing the aggressor, you’re protecting others close to you. (The self-defense aspect, one would hope, would be instinctive — although in these modern times… oy.)

Fortunately, this should need little work on the part of a citizen at the wrong end of a burglary or robbery. Protection of one’s loved ones is one of the primal instincts, and suppression of that instinct (“leave it to the police”) is one of the basest constructs ever imposed on mankind by our supposed “civilization”.

Richard Pryor once remarked that after making the movie Stir Crazy on location at Arizona State Prison, he was really, really glad that prisons exist. He illustrated that by quoting an actual interview with a convicted murderer:

—“Why did you kill all the people in that family?”
—“Cuz they was at home.”

Think about the uncaring sociopathy in that statement. Now think of that same scumbag playing his ghastly little games of death with your kids. No, you don’t know that the goblin you confront in your bedroom hallway has that on his mind: but he’s already made the first step towards it by invading your house.

Statistics indicate, by the way, that the more burglaries a man commits, the more likely it is that he will eventually turn violent towards someone resisting that crime—in his mind, because he’s got away with it so many times before, it’s not your property, it’s his, and you’re at fault for trying to prevent him from taking what’s “rightfully” his.

Remember that protecting yourself and, more especially, your loved ones and property is not only a right, it’s your duty.

And for all those pussy laws which babble about “undue violence”, “proportional violence”, “life-and-death situations” and the like, I have only this to say:


Now quit reading my fevered rantings, and get your ass out to the range. You need to practice, because as I write this, some scumbag may be planning to rob your house or murder your family, tonight.