“Dear Dr. Kim”

“Dear Doctor Kim,
Is it OK to use a coupon when I take my girlfriend on a date? What about taking home leftovers?”
— Wondering in the West

Dear Blundering:
I suspect that you’re nervous about being called a cheapskate, but never fear: I have several ways through this minefield.

The only ironclad rule about coupons is: never ever use a coupon on a first date. I shouldn’t have to explain this.
On other occasions, however, whether or not to use restaurant coupons depends on a few factors.
1.) What restaurant are we talking about? If it’s McDonald’s or similar dreck, who cares? (The question in this case is: what kind of man takes his girlfriend to a hellhole like that in the first place?) If it’s Morton’s or Lawry’s, however, she should appreciate being taken there at all, so use that coupon at will.
2.) At what stage are you in terms of your relationship? If it’s still in its first bloom, you may want to hold onto the coupon for a while — once you’re settled, she won’t mind because (and I can hear the feministicals wailing already) less money spent at the restaurant means more money to be spent on her.
The only thing you have to avoid is not going to any restaurant on a date unless you have a coupon — it’s the infallible mark of a terminal cheapskate, and unless your girlfriend is of a similar bent, stand by for trouble.

As for leftovers: it depends completely on the food, the portion sizes, or whose food it is.
1.) No grown human being should take home leftover fast food, of any description.
2.) If the portion sizes are of New Jersey Diner Quantity (i.e. beyond the ability of anyone not Jewish or Italian to finish in a single sitting), then go ahead: there’s no shame in it.
3.) And regardless of portion size, if it’s her food we’re talking about and she wasn’t able to finish it but enjoyed it immensely, offering to take it home is going to be well received.

By the way: attempting to take home leftovers from an all-you-can-eat buffet joint should be punishable by scourging. There are limits.

–Dr. Kim

New Jersey Bastardy

From Reader Mark D in Comments yesterday:

On the topic of suppressors, I’ve been saying for a while that I want to move from New Jersey to America, but I NEVER thought America would be found in Great Britain…

Don’t even get me started. On Saturday last, we got a text from Doc Russia in Newark Airport, while he was flying Edinburgh – Newark – DFW:

Fun fact: going through Newark with a federally-licensed suppressor will end up with you face-down on the ground, handcuffed.

Here’s the deal. Doc has a legal suppressor for his Remington, all the paperwork done, tax paid, blessed by the Pope, yadda yadda yadda. He was about to pack it in his rifle case to bring home, when both Combat Controller and I suggested that he shouldn’t, because New Jersey. He laughed it off, saying his luggage was checked through to DFW — but agreed that discretion was called for, and that he could bring it back another time when flying direct from Britishland to Dallas.

It’s a good thing he did. Here’s why.

As we all know, when arriving in a foreign country, you have to go through Customs and Immigration in your arrival “port”, even if you’re connecting to go further. Now, if your connecting flight is from the same terminal, you’re good to go. If you have to go to another terminal for your connecting flight, things might get more tricky.

As is the case here. Suppressors are completely banned in New Jersey — no federal blessing counts, no paperwork is acceptable. Set foot in the state of New Jersey with a suppressor, no matter how legal, and you will end up face-down on the ground, handcuffed.

So had Doc arrived in Newark with his suppressor and left the international terminal, the NJ State Police would have arrested him, even though he was simply in transit — going from one jurisdiction where suppressors are legal to another where it’s also legal — the very fact that he was in New Jersey at all with his suppressor, albeit only for a few minutes, would have made him an instant felon.

And we know all this because Doc happened to ask a member of New Jersey’s Staatspolizei what their policy is. Apparently the offizier got instantly aggro, and insisted on checking Doc’s luggage for himself — just asking the question is grounds for suspicion in the New Jersey Reich.

I’m curious as to how many other states would behave the same way. I can see New York and California doing likewise, but if anyone can shed light on this topic, I’d like to know.

In the interim, all New Jersey People Of Our Sort should make preparations to leave that shitty place and move to the United States as soon as it’s practically feasible. Like I once did.

Proper Kit

Several people have asked for details on the shooting equipment we used in the Angus Glens last week.

Here’s a pic of the rifles we took up:

From left to right, they are: Combat Controller’s Browning A-Bolt, Mr. Free Market’s two Blaser R8s (the other is a “back-up” in .308 Win), my Mauser M12, and Doc Russia’s Remington 700. All of us used Harris HBLMS (9″-13″ tiltable) bipods, as they’ve proved to be the most reliable and rugged.

Here are their details, in order of seniority. (Mr. FM has been going up there for the past twenty-odd years, CC for seven, and Doc for four.)

Mr. FM:
Rifle:  Blaser R8 Professional
Caliber:  .300 Win Mag
Ammo:  RWS Evolution 165gr RapidX
Barrel length:  24″ (six groove, 1:11″ twist)
Scope:  Swarovski Gen 1 Z6i 2.5-15×56 w/ illuminated reticle + Swarovski ballistic turret
Binoculars:  Leica 8×42 Geovid w/integral 1,200-meter rangefinder

CC:
Rifle:  Browning A-Bolt
Caliber:  .300 Win Mag
Ammo:  Federal Premium 165gr Trophy Coppertip
Barrel length:  20″ — cut back from its original 24″ –(1:10″ twist)
Scope:  Trijicon Accupoint 2.5-10x56mm
Binoculars:  Steiner Safari 8×42

Doc Russia:
Rifle:  Remington 700 M40 long action (custom-built by Fivetoes Custom Rifles)
Caliber:  .300 Win Mag (Hornady  140gr)
Ammo:  Hornady Superformance 180gr SST polymer tip
Barrel length:  22″ (Proof Research Carbon-Fiber)
Stock:  McMillan M40A1 synthetic
Scope:  Nightforce NXS 2.5-10×32mm, with ballistic turret and Vortex Optics anti-cant device
Rangefinder:  Sig-Sauer Kilo 2000 (doubles as his binos)

Kim:
Rifle:  Mauser M12
Caliber:  6.5x55mm
Ammo:  RWS Dual-Core 140gr HP
Barrel length:  22″
Scope:  Minox ZX5i 2-10x50mm 30mm tube w/illuminated reticle, on Mauser Hexalock Quick-Release mounts. Unusually, it has a German #4 reticle:

My equipment was based simply on my own experience and, as we all know, was not tested on this trip. But all agreed that my rifle and scope, at least, were quite adequate for the task. (The rifleman, maybe not so much.)

Just a few additional thoughts:
We all agree on the wisdom of using range-finders. In featureless terrain such as in the Glens (and in places such as eastern Montana and the prairie states), it is almost impossible to gauge the correct distance to target because of hidden crests, no reference points such as trees, and so on. If possible, get a range-finder that can reach out to 1,000 yards/meters at minimum — not because you’re going to take many shots at 1,000 whatever but because the longer the reach, the higher the quality. If the range-finders are incorporated into binoculars (e.g. Mr. FM’s Leica), so much the better. And when it comes to binoculars: cheap ones just don’t work, period. I tried using the “back-up” Bushnell 6×32 binos, and they were just inadequate. Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Steiner, whatever: don’t skimp on the quality because it will almost certainly screw up your hunt.

Ballistic turrets are not absolutely vital, but they certainly make your precision a lot easier to come by. With his turret, Doc Russia calls his shots to within an inch of point of impact at almost any distance, and his number of one-shot kills has climbed to close to 100% on flat terrain (the uphill- and downhill shots still “need work”, as he himself admits). Also: have a ballistic chart for your ammo’s performance in your rifle (the manufacturer’s specs may not reflect reality, in this regard), and keep it handy. All three of the experienced stalkers in our group had them taped somewhere (sleeve, rifle stock, wherever).

Doc also has an anti-cant device (bubble-level) built onto his scope. When the horizon is hidden in the mist or otherwise unreliable and your firing position is not on level ground, a tilted rifle makes nonsense of ballistic tables.

Personal fitness. Muscle pain, puffing and panting, pounding heart and gasping for oxygen are no way to go through hunting, son. All the pros like Craig Boddington emphasize serious exercise as preparation for every hunt. I walked a couple miles each day before my trip back to the UK, up and down quite a steep hill between my residence and the village. I should have carried a heavy pack and done the thing twice or three times a day. Even Doc Russia, who works out in the gym in his garage, referred to himself as “fat and out of condition” after his first stalk. Our Head Stalker Dougal can walk the glens all day, and has been known to run(!) up to four miles in search of a wounded deer — and even if you can’t get to that level, halfway is an absolute prerequisite.

One last point: all our rifles, as seen in the pic above, carried sound suppressors / moderators, and I cannot impress enough on my Murkin Readers what a difference  these can make to hunting. Quite apart from the noise reduction (itself a wonderful benefit), the reduction in felt recoil is considerable and therefore makes target re-acquisition much quicker. The noise reduction, of course, simply turns “ear-splitting” into “bloody loud”, as we all know. (Ignore Hollywood’s depiction of a small phut! when shooting anything other than a .22 or 9mm subsonic cartridge. When sighting in our rifles on Day One, Doc touched off a shot before I could get my hands or plugs to my ears, and they were still ringing a half-hour later.) I would urge everyone to write to their Congresscritter(s) and urge them to get the HPPA (pro-moderator/suppressor) legislation to the President’s desk ASAP. It’s long past due that Americans can enjoy the benefits of suppressed-fire hunting and target shooting that our European counterparts have always had.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. Any further questions can be asked in Comments or via email, as usual.

Timekeeping (Ladies’ Special)

Some time back, I spoke a little bit about buying a dress watch, and soon thereafter was asked to do a similar piece for my (few) Lady Readers. That’s a problematic topic for me to tackle, because as always with women, I have very little clue as to what makes them tick [sic] and therefore any advice I have to give must necessarily be fraught with caveats and such. Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a shot.

As with my earlier discussion, I’m not going to argue about the merits and whatever of using a cheap and accurate digital watch, or about the merits or disadvantages of telling time via one’s smart phone. This post, therefore, will look only at the subject of dress watches — such as would be worn on special occasions, or for a job interview or whatever. As with the men’s watches, I’ll set an arbitrary budget of between $2,000 and $8,000 at first, then look at ladies’ watches from a different perspective at the end.

As women (even more than men) tend to treat watches as fashion accessories, something I’ll cover later, it may well be that choices may have to be multiple — i.e. one would wear this watch for that occasion, and that watch for another. Fortunately, women’s watches can be somewhat less expensive than men’s (although once one gets up there… phew), and so I’ll approach the topic from that angle.

Probably the most popular ladies’ watch ever made has been Cartier’s “Tank” model, worn by just about every fashion icon over the years (Jackie O., Princess Grace and so on).

That’s the Tank Americaine model, and while it’s spendy (the gold Cartier Tanks, as shown, can run anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000 depending on the bling level), I would respectfully suggest that if a woman were to own only one watch her whole life, this would be as good a choice as any. (Almost every ladies’ watch in this price range can add precious stones like diamonds or sapphires to the face, which drives the price up considerably. Your choice, your money.)

The stainless steel versions are the Tank Anglaise (also with the rectangular face) which is half the price ($4,000):

…and the Tank Française which is much cheaper (about $3,000) and has a square face:

Still beautiful, in my opinion, if a little more “masculine”, perhaps. But there are other brand options, so let’s look at a few. All three below are square-faced, and run around $3,000:

As with all things female, branding seems to be important — but I should mention that the lesser-known Baume & Mercier will have (I believe) a better action than the other two because the “fashion” brands carry a premium over their nominal price, for not necessarily better quality.

Should Madame prefer watches with a round face, or ones that look a tad more practical, there are these options, again all costing around $3,000:

“Nomos” is apparently watchmaker Glashutte’s “budget” line — GH watches typically cost well over $10,000 — and having myself owned a men’s Omega Aqua Terra before, it goes recommended; but Tag Heuer is excellent too.

Obviously, if a lady requires a very practical watch — Mrs. Free Market owns a Breitling because of her yachting “hobby” (obsession) — there are those types too, but be aware that their prices are usually well above what we’re looking at today.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t look at two of my favorite watch brands as well. Here are two from Jaeger-LeCoultre, at about $8,000 each:

..and another two from IWC, these running about $5,500 to $7,500 each:

Both the above are downsized versions of IWC’s Men’s Pilot- and Portofino variants.

Now let’s look away from the “one dress watch” category for the moment and examine watches instead as a fashion accessory — i.e. ones that can be matched to a particular outfit or occasion such as a garden party or suchlike. Here, the watches are considerably cheaper for the simple reason that Madame would probably prefer to have several different types. Here are some examples from the Olivia Burton line, which cost around $100 each:

OB is owned by Movado, so while they’re not Omega or Piguet, they’re not complete crap, either.

And should Madame wish to match her watch with her purse, here are some Michael Kors watches, each costing around $200 (i.e. somewhat less than the hand bags):

Frankly, however, if I talk any more about watches of this ilk, I’ll need to go and shoot something just to restore my testosterone levels.

Let me then, suggest a watch for those ladies who are independently wealthy, or who have indulgent husbands / long-time partners. It’s one for the ages, being feminine, practical, of high quality and eclectic enough so that anyone who knows anything about watches will give an approving nod. It’s a lottery watch, in other words (just as the Vacheron Constantine 1907 is my lottery watch), and because I’m an unashamed sucker for women, you get two choices, each costing around $30,000: a “plain” (classic) and something a little more ummm decorative.

Ladies: am I completely off-base here? (Wouldn’t be the first time.) Your thoughts in Comments, please.

 

 

 

Not Surprising

Oh boo fucking hoo. A bunch of tatted-up, pierced and hairstyle-challenged kids are having difficulty landing jobs, and of course it’s all The Man’s fault:

In 2017, individuality and creativity are widely regarded as desirable traits in an potential employee.
But it seems some firms still judge prospective hires on appearance, as well as experience.
Jobseekers have been revealing the pettiest reasons they’ve ever been overlooked for a position on the anonymous secret-sharing app Whisper – and tattoos feature heavily in the surprising confessions.
One man with dreadlocks who was turned down for a job said it was not a coincidence that all the other staff members had ‘preppy hair’.
Another woman who had the word ‘hope’ tattooed on her wrist to cover a self-harm scar was informed she was out of the running as a result.

Here’s a pro tip to the author of this piece: employers are looking for individuality and creativity in employees, all right — but self-mutilation and peacocking attitudes aren’t that.

One commenter had the perfect response: “Make a statement about yourself with a tattoo, and be prepared to be judged by it.” 

I note that a large number of these jobs involve interaction with the public, and surprise, surprise: people are turned off by freaky-looking employees.

And then, of course, comes the classic whine of the narcissist: “We shouldn’t have to change our appearance (no matter how freakish); you should change your attitudes because insensitivity.”

Fuck off, the lot of you. Enjoy your welfare existence.