Bucket List Entry #6: Monaco Grand Prix

Today sees the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monaco, and while I’ve seen a couple of Grands Prix before (at the old Kyalami track in South Africa, back when SA was still on the F1 calendar), this one is #6 on Ye Olde Buckette Lyste.

So why Monaco, you ask?

For pretty much the same reasons as to why I would want to watch cricket at Lord’s: because Monaco is one of the oldest racing venues — hell, they were racing at Monaco (1929) before there was Formula 1 — and unlike most of the other F1 venues, it takes place inside a city, on city streets. It is one of the crown jewels of motor racing (Le Mans and the Indy 500 being the other two), and it’s one of the few times I can be swayed by that awful word “prestige” when applied to an event.

Besides, it’s Monaco, FFS, itself the crown jewel of of the Midi.

But enough about the place. The race itself is impossibly difficult: winding through narrow city streets, there are no gravel runoffs, very few cushioned buffers (mostly, they’re stern, unforgiving Armco barriers), and if it starts to rain… oy.

Pole position in qualifying the day before almost guarantees victory the next day, so difficult it is to overtake someone. Here’s the famous Fairmont Hotel hairpin (taken at 30mph):

But let there be a slip-up in the pits, a bad tire decision or even a millisecond’s inattention by a driver during the race, and everything can change in a heartbeat.

Fortunately, I can get in to watch the race from a decent location (at time of writing, good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise) because Longtime Friend and Bandmate “Knob” lives in Monaco, and I have a standing invitation to visit and stay with him for the occasion. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t make it to Monaco this year — e.g. poverty, bad timing etc. — but next year, Rodders [obscure British TV show reference]

Bucket List Entry #5: Cricket At Lord’s

To most Americans, “Cricket” is a darts game, or else a stupefyingly-boring sport played by Brits, or something.

To me, and to millions of people around the world, cricket is the ultimate gentleman’s sport: leisurely, subtle, with occasional moments of great excitement and still-more periods of escalating, gut-wrenching tension made all the more so by the quiet  hours that led up to them.

I’m not going to bother to explain the mechanics of the game: either you know how cricket is played or you don’t, and that’s it. Suffice it to say that there are essentially two kinds of cricket: first, there’s a quick slogfest that takes just a little longer than the average baseball game, but wherein over three hundred runs can be scored by each batting side (as opposed to the average winning baseball score of only four or five runs… talk about boring). It’s called “limited overs” cricket, and as the name suggests, each side gets a set number of “balls” (pitches) to get the highest possible score, the winner getting the higher score. I don’t much care for limited-overs cricket, because it’s just a slogfest (and therefore more popular with hoi polloi, go figure).

The second type of cricket is called “Test” cricket and is played between different nations — mostly, it should be said, by England and the former British colonies: Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh and the West Indies. (Other nations also play cricket, e.g. Scotland, Holland, Zimbabwe, Kenya and even the United States, but those are considered lower-class competitions, not Test matches per se.)

Test cricket is played over a much longer period of five days, and each side gets two innings to bat and field. (Unlike baseball, in which only three batters play per innings, cricket has all eleven players bat consecutively in a single innings.) If you think that a game which takes five days is going to be unbearably dull, well, it sometimes is. But that very dullness is not dull for the players, as each side attempts to penetrate the defenses of its opponent whether by bat or by ball, and dullness can be turned into heart-pounding excitement in a matter of seconds, let alone minutes. Over those five days, well over a thousand runs will likely be scored by the two sides — unless of course it rains (something which happens from time to time in England) and the match becomes shortened. It is also possible that five days will yield a draw rather than victory for one side.

Anyway, having not explained cricket to people who aren’t familiar with it, allow me, then, to introduce you all to #5 on Ye Olde Buckette Lyste.

5. I want to watch a cricket match, and preferably a Test match at the Lord’s ground in St. John’s Wood, London.

Lord’s is rightly called the “home of cricket”, and cricket has been played there since 1787 (admittedly, in three different locations, but the current ground had its 200th anniversary in 2014).

Currently, South Africa is touring England, and the first Test will be played at Lord’s on July 6-10 — and Mr. Free Market has informed me that he’s trying to get tickets for at least one of the days. (It’s a difficult task because both England and South Africa have very powerful teams at the moment, the rivalry goes back well over a century, and interest is therefore keen among the sport’s many followers.)

I’m holding thumbs on this one, but I have to say that if he’s unsuccessful, I’ll settle for watching a county match (between the home team and any other county side). It’s Lord’s, FFS, and it’s my personal haj (if you’ll excuse the cultural appropriation).

(Some people may comment on the unsightly colored advertising splodges on the otherwise-emerald-green turf. Don’t get me started.)

And about that rain business:

Colloquially, that’s known as Pub Time. And yes, I’ll be taking my brolly and wellies, just in case.


Incidentally, the darts game known as “Cricket” in the U.S. is called “Killer” everywhere else in the world. Just thought I’d clear that up.

Conundrum

I have a terrible confession to make.

While I do have a couple of bolt-action rimfire rifles (Marlin 880SQ in .22LR and Marlin 882 in .22 WinMag, see below):

… I do not currently possess a semi-auto .22 plinker.

Now, I am fully aware that I am probably breaking some Texas law by such a glaring omission. But my defense to prosecution, Yeronner, is that I gave/sold all my rimfire plinkers away to people who at the time had greater need of them than I, and I don’t think I should be arrested for altruism/poverty.

That said, when I return from my sabbatical in Britishland, I intend to remedy the situation. My conundrum is that while I’ve fired just about every brand and type of rimfire plinker ever made — old ones, new ones, you name it, I’ve fired it — I’ve been thinking about it long and hard and I’ve ended up with Choice Paralysis. So I’m going to need the assistance of you, O My Readers.

The essence of a rimfire semi-auto plinker is that it be cheap (under $250), reliable and reasonably accurate (“reasonably” because no semi-auto can compete with my 880SQ; I’ve got the accuracy part covered).

The cost criterion, sadly, excludes such beauties as the Winchester Model 63 and its Taurus counterparts:

This pains me because I learned to shoot rifles with my Dad’s Mod 63, but sadly, it’s way too spendy, and so are the Taurus (discontinued) copies, when you can even find one. Another spendy but beautiful one is the CZ 512, but it’s way spendy (albeit drop-dead gorgeous, and maybe the most accurate of any semi-auto .22):

Just to make matters more complicated, I also don’t want to get a .22 semi-auto rifle I’ve owned before, which rules out the Marlin Mod 60 and Ruger 10/22. (See? I may be conservative, but I can embrace change…)

A cursory look at the various local retail outlets’ websites shows that my choices are limited to these (in no particular order):

Remington 597 (scoped):

My only quibble with this one is that it doesn’t have iron sights, in my opinion a sine qua non for plinkers.

Mossberg 702:

This one I haven’t fired before, but Doc Russia has one of these and the next time we hit the range, I’ll try it out.

Marlin 795:

Over the years, I must have fired a dozen 795s, and they are just fine.

Savage 64:

I haven’t fired many of these — as I recall, one belonging to a Reader, at a range somewhere — but also as I recall, it’s a lovely thing. And it’s a Savage, so it’s not going to be a bad choice. None of them are, I think.

(If I buy the “scoped” Savage 64 package, it’s still under the $250 limit, as is the Rem 597 above. With my failing eyesight, it’s a consideration.)

Of course, I’d prefer to buy a wooden-stocked plinker (because wood feels better than plastic in my hands), but it seems that the only ones available are the disqualified Mod 60 and 10/22 or the expensive Winchester/Taurus and CZ [sigh]. Remember, I’m looking for a knockaround rifle, not a safe queen or pinpoint shooter.

All suggestions, recommendations, war stories/tales of woe, warnings and such in Comments, please, and will be much appreciated. Don’t chide me for being in this situation; I’m greatly mortified as it is.

 

Attitudes

Following on from my earlier post about Islam in Britain, I discovered this little bit of research:

Feel free to draw your own conclusions. I will only say that when you deliberately set yourself outside the mainstream culture and society, don’t be surprised when people from that society treat you like the outcast group (that you created for yourself).

Surrendering To Criminals

So here’s something to get you in a cheerful mood before the long weekend:

Police warn it is no longer safe to walk and talk on your mobile as scooter gangs pocket £2,000 an hour from drive-by phone snatches

As officers battle an epidemic of moped muggings, police are now warning the public not to stand on a curb or street corner with their phone in their hand or risk having it torn from their grasp by thugs who can sell on a single handset for £100.
Up to 50,000 offences a year are being committed by thieves on scooters and mopeds in the capital, while some teenage thieves are being arrested up to 80 times but not sent to jail.

Well, that last sentence is yer problem right there, innit? You stupid idiots. Especially when you have a situation such as seen in the pic below:

Somebody explain to me how this doesn’t constitute armed robbery, and why this little thug and his buddy do not qualify for at least ten years in jail? (Somebody from Britain, I mean. My US Readers are baying like a pack of hounds at this travesty.)

But it gets better.

Over the last 12 months a total of 15,100 mopeds and motorbikes were stolen in London compared to 10,704 the previous year.
Gangs of mainly teenage boys can steal scooters by simply breaking their steering locks.
Detectives are targeting at least 500 known offenders behind the spree.
Yesterday Superintendent Payne compared the desirability of mopeds to thieves as the ubiquitous Ford Cortina in the 1980s, saying: ‘This is the Ford Cortina of the 21st century, they are easy to steal and when we spoke to the manufacturer they said they can fix the problem but it’s going to be three or four years away. They are in the Ford Cortina bracket, you do not need any skill to ride them, you don’t even have to change gear.
‘The theft is all done on a stolen bike. Thieves can steal these bikes in less than 60 seconds, it’s really quick. [They] take hold of the handlebars and break the steering wheel lock by pulling it, it’s like a lump of metal. Most bikes are then stolen by just walking it round the corner and they either sell it on or use it to commit crime.’
The warning come after a spate of muggings in central London, with riders using weapons such as machetes and hammers to intimidate and injure their victims as they try and snatch their mobile phones.

I would probably end up in jail after intervening in one of these little romps.

How, you ask? Imagine having just nicked some fool’s phone out of his hand, and you’re driving off on your stolen moped feeling proud of yourself, when some old geezer (that would be me) steps into the street in front of you and smashes his thick wooden cane* across your face, causing you and your thieving buddy to crash and spill into the road like a broken bag of vegetables. Then said geezer runs over to you while you’re lying there stunned, and starts to put the boot into your ribs, and when he’s done with you, tries to rip your little hammer-wielding friend’s head off his body by pulling his helmet violently around in a full circle. And then things start to get seriously violent.

It’s probably a Good Thing that I’m spending only a little time in London, because otherwise I’d be spending a lot of time in London, if you get my drift. Because while these little shits are obviously part of a “catch and release” program, I have no doubt that I would qualify for a very stiff sentence.

Can’t be endangering the lives of violent criminals, after all. That’s against the law.


*Yes, I walk with a cane when I’m Over There, because my gouty toes start to ache after I’ve walked more than half a mile on city sidewalks, and I need the support.

Bullies

Via Insty, I read this little snippet [NRO link warning] and I confess to being a little bit puzzled.

If some ugly harpy came up to me in, say, a restaurant (forget that gym nonsense), and screamed: “I find your presence in this [place] to be unacceptable, your presence in this town to be unacceptable”, I’d tell her, politely, to fuck off because her opinions are of no importance to me or anyone else. Then if she persisted in her bullshit, I’d punch her in the face because, quite frankly, she’s nothing more than a bully, and I’ve found that bullies become somewhat less bully-ish when they encounter violence coming from their intended victim.

In the case of this particular harpy, a punch in the face would not affect her appearance much, and may even be an improvement:

Why do all these liberal fanatics get that pinched, unattractive look? I call it the Perpetual Scold, which somehow manages to incorporate a wagging finger into a facial expression.

“Oh but Kim,” you might say, “she’s going to sue you for assault!” Maybe so, maybe not — there’s a good chance I could plead self-defense in the face of such a verbal attack — but whatever; I might be sued, but she’d still have massive facial injuries.

And in future, maybe her little liberal buddies might be a little more civil, even polite, lest something similar happen to them when they start berating someone with whom they disagree. (In classical terms, this approach is called “Pour encourager les autres.”) Or, as some dickhead ex-President once put it: “Punch back twice as hard.”

We need to see more of it from conservatives, but unfortunately, conservatives seem to have this ingrained politeness and deference when treating political adversaries, and especially so if they’re women. (I know I do; believe me, I’d punch Professor Fair in a mood of utmost sadness and reluctance.) But we need to get over this reticence because gawd knows, the Left has none.


Update: The folly of my reaction has been pointed out to me in Comments, and I am advised that mockery would be a better course of action. So:

“I find your presence in this [place] to be unacceptable, your presence in this town to be unacceptable!”

…would be met with:

“Hey… it’s not my fault that you can’t get laid, you bitter, ugly bitch.”

Then, if she were to attempt to strike me, I’d go with Plan B (see above).