Extra Ammo

Some wiseguy said this:

“I still don’t get the fascination for high-capacity mags in a non-military / non-law enforcement scenario. I mean, seriously: if the average gunfight is pretty much over, one way or another after three rounds have been fired, the remaining dozen in your double-stack mag are superfluous.”

That was in response to Tami Keel’s article about the low-capacity drawback of the 1911 as a carry piece.

But lo and behold, she’s just come out with a new piece which agrees with me, sorta:

Let’s get this out in the open: You can count the number of private-citizen defensive gun uses in the U.S. when a rapid reload made the difference between a dead good guy and a live one without taking off both mittens.
Reloading a handgun mid-gunfight, outside of a military or law enforcement context is pretty unlikely. Although he’s talking about carbines rather than pistols, a great quote from trainer Randy Harris springs to mind: “If you empty one 30-round mag in civilian-world USA, you’re going to be on the news … if you empty two, you’re going to be in the encyclopedia …”
Another trainer, Claude Werner, studies the reports of private-citizen defensive gun uses as collected in sources like the NRA’s Armed Citizen column. Over time, he’s found the average number of rounds needed in these encounters is low. One month, May of 2017, the average round count across seven reported gunfights was only 1.43 rounds per incident. That’s not a lot. Unless you find yourself caught up in the middle of an action-movie shootout, you’re highly unlikely to need that reload.

And of course, we both agree that having a spare mag is nevertheless A Good Thing should the one in the gun malfunction: the “drop [the mag], clear [the gun], reload” mantra is repeated endlessly in training, with good reason. (I myself generally carry two spare 8-round 1911 mags, by the way, because terrorist assholes / spree shooter possibilities and for another reason that I’ll discuss below.)

But I love the pic which accompanies her Recoil piece:

I think I saw that guy at the range a couple weeks back.

I know all the arguments for carrying spare mags but there’s only one sound reason I do, and it’s not because I’m likely to face off suddenly with a dozen rabid coyotes or the Plano chapter of MS-13, either; it’s just in case my hitherto-infallible PowerMag becomes suddenly fallible. Everything breaks, sooner or later.

And let’s be honest: the aforementioned terrorism / spree shooter thing is probably even less likely to happen to me than a mag breakdown. Any of these scenarios may be unlikely, but experience also tells me that most of the time, you don’t need a fire extinguisher in your car; but when you do need it, you need it really badly. Ditto ammo, hence my 16 spare rounds. I’m just not going to carry around a hundred spare rounds in ten 10-rounders — it’s heavy and spoils the look of my trousers. (Yeah, that’s me: Mr. Fashion Plate lol.)

Of course, the one qualifier to all this is geography. If your business trip takes you to or through unsavory neighborhoods full of gangs and similar goblins, why then, take as much ammo as doesn’t cause your trousers to fall down, with my blessing. There’s no need to be stupid about this issue, after all.

As with all things, your opinion may differ from mine (and in this case from Tami’s too), and that’s fine. Just don’t think you’re somehow deficient if you’re the only guy at the picnic who’s not bow-legged because of an overloaded ammo belt.

Just To Mess With Ya

Here’s an interesting math situation, wherein I prove that 2=1:

1.) Suppose you have quantities A and B, and suppose they are equal. That is,
A = B

2.) Multiply both sides by A:
A^2 = AB

3.) Now subtract B^2 from both sides:
A^2-B^2 = AB-B^2

4.) Factor both sides:
(A+B)(A-B) = B(A-B)

5.) Divide both sides by the common factor (A-B):
A+B = B

6.) Now, remembering that A=B, we have
B+B=B, or 2B=B

7.) Divide both sides by B:

And now, children, you will understand how Congress creates the national budget.

/Lewis Carroll


Back Then

Before I was born — hell, before my father was born — women dressed in the fashion of the day without regard to what it actually looked like. (Yeah, not much has changed.) Here’s one example, from the Roaring Twenties:

Of course, while that was what women wore in public, in private was a whole ‘nother story, as they say. Here, for your delectation, is a series of pictures of some of the Ziegfeld Girls of the era — most of whom were physically tiny, by the way — dressed (or rather, partly-dressed) in some private fashions.

This all came about when I was looking for some reference pics for a novel I’m working on — I needed to describe how a female character dressed back in the day, and suddenly, as so often happens on Teh Intarwebz, I ended up looking at these.

I’ll get back to the research any day, now…

Dramatis personae, from the top:
Adrienne Ames
Jean Ackerman
Olive Brady
Madge Bellamy
Lillian Bond

Seriously Bad News

I heard this news with the greatest shock imaginable:

Gibson guitar company, which has been a staple brand among various musical instruments since 1902, is facing bankruptcy.
According to the Nashville Post, Gibson’s chief financial officer, Bill Lawrence, left after six months on the job and just as $375 million in senior secured notes mature and another $145 million in bank loans become due if they aren’t refinanced by July. The departure of Lawrence was seen as a bad sign for a company trying to re-organize.
The company, which generates $1 billion a year in revenues, recently moved out of its Nashville warehouse, where it had operated since the mid 1980s. 

To call Gibson guitars a “staple” in music would be guilty of the world’s great understatements. The only equivalent I can think of would be “Mercedes Benz, which has been a staple brand among various automobiles since 1899, is facing bankruptcy.”

I have to say upfront that I’ve never owned a Gibson guitar myself — I was a bass guitarist and the Gibson basses never did it for me as much as my beloved Rickenbacker 4001S — but good grief, some of the greatest rock music ever performed was done on a Gibson. If I were to show pictures of famous rock guitarists playing their Gibsons, we’d need extra storage space for this website on the server. Let just one sample thereof suffice:

And the EDS 1275 isn’t even my favorite-sounding lead guitar, either: that honor belongs to the SG Deluxe.

I know, that’s not a Deluxe (it doesn’t have the three humbucker pickups, as below):

And I’m going to hear it from all the Les Paul fanbois now, but as a rock musician — and lest we forget, the Les Paul was originally designed as a jazz guitar by (duh) Les Paul — nothing beats the clarity and crunching sound of the SG at full throttle. (AC/DC’s Angus Young seemed to like it, and even though I hate the band’s music, Young’s guitar sound was beyond-words incredible.)

That said, I also loved the Les Paul when our guitarist Kevin played his (even though I preferred the sound of his Fender Stratocaster). This isn’t Kevin:

By the way: a guitar’s sound is such a personal thing; please don’t get offended if you prefer the Flying V.

…and don’t even get me started on the smooth, mellow sound of the venerable Gibson 335:

And even though I’m a totally crap guitarist (of the 6-string genre), I’ve always wanted to own a Gibson Montana Rose:

Yes, it has a voluptuous shape akin to Nigella Lawson. Go ahead and laugh at my oh-so transparent lusts…

Perhaps only now can you imagine the despair I feel at the terrible news above. I know, I know; the company may fall over, but the guitars will live on, somewhere, somehow. Still…

And never let us forget that Barack Bastard Obama spitefully (and illegally) unleashed his goon squad on Gibson for using “endangered” woods in their fretboards (they weren’t), simply because Gibson’s boss was a Republican donor. Just to make up for that piece of political thuggery, Gibson Guitars ought to live forever.

Dramatis personae:
On the SG: Nancy Wilson of Heart
On the Les Paul: Gretchen Menn of Zepparella
On the Flying V: Grace Potter
On the 335: Miki Berenyi of Lush
Not on the Montana Rose: Nigella Lawson


Airport Confusion

This article (via Insty, as usual) made me chuckle.

Having three airports in Washington is great. Until you go to the wrong one.

Having a super-abundance of airports is considered a big-city perk in Washington, as in New York, London and other major hubs. But with greater choice comes a greater chance that you will find yourself at, say, National Airport while your flight is boarding at one of the other two, Washington Dulles International or Baltimore-Washington International Marshall.

Online search engines are making the confusion worse. Shoppers using the airport code WAS often get a mix-and-match low-fare flight that sends them out via one airport and returns them to another. Cars get stranded and, sometimes, so do fliers.
“We see people getting deals on the Internet and having no idea that DCA and IAD are two different airports 35 miles apart.”

That hasn’t happened to me, yet, with our Dallas-Fort Worth and Love Field airports, but it’s only a question of time. Their airport codes are DFW and DAL respectively, so there are any number of possibilities for someone to screw up eventually. And even though they’re relatively close together — 20 miles or so — the highways connecting them are among the busiest in the U.S. even without any road construction: and there’s always some construction going on somewhere.

With DFW, you absolutely have to have the correct terminal information — the gate number within the terminal is helpful, but you can get by without too much hassle if you don’t. I did have one airhead woman from New York ask me to take her to DFW, and when I asked her which terminal — sometimes that will determine whether you take the North or South entrances to the airport, even — she said brightly, “Oh, just drop me off anywhere in the airport; I’ll figure it out.”

Now let’s be honest: Evil Kim might just have dumped her at Terminal E (the most remote and also least-patronized of the terminals) and gone on his merry way, but this time the old rascal stayed in the background while I explained to Miss Upper East Side that this wasn’t LaGuardia (which is small because it’s squeezed into an island and against the sea), there is no pedestrian connection between terminals, and it could take her up to a quarter of an hour to get from one terminal to another at the far end of the place, if the inter-terminal rail- or bus service was working at its maximum efficiency. (Frequent visitors to DFW can stop laughing, now.)

And she had a large suitcase and carry-on bag. I could have sold tickets just for the entertainment value. Anyway, she looked it up and lo! Terminal A. So all ended well.

I myself have made the mistake (in my private, non-Uber capacity) of going to pick up people at DFW when they were in fact coming into Love Field — and only my memory saved it from being a total disaster, when I remembered, too late, that Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly into DFW, only into Love Field. (They were relatives, so I didn’t get spit-roasted or impaled on a spike.) That said, I did make it from DFW to Love in record time…

One last funny story about the Dallas airports. Last week I arrived at a near-downtown hotel to pick up an older woman, and asked, “Love?” whereupon she smiled and said, “Maybe. You offering?”

I haven’t blushed like that since I was a teenager.

Afterthought for my International Readers:  if you’re arriving in DFW and flying on to another U.S. destination, always make sure that you flying into DFW and out of DFW (and not out of DAL). Also, when you book your ticket into DFW, make sure that your outbound flight is at least three hours after your scheduled arrival, because while international flights all land in Terminal D, your connecting flight can leave from just about any terminal in the airport. And you have to go through Immigration (a long wait), get your luggage off the carousel (an even longer wait) and then stand in a long line to re-check it for the domestic flight. Also, DFW has some of the worst signage of any Western international airport I’ve ever flown through, and their public “service” announcements in Baggage Claim usually sound as though someone’s gargling raw eggs through a fast-revolving tennis racquet, delivered (usually) by someone who sounds retarded, speaking with an incomprehensible Hispanic- or Ebonics accent because diversity.

My advice is to connect through Atlanta’s Hartsfield (ATL), as long as you know that Delta flies into both DFW and Love Field. I hope this helped.