Hearing Protection

From Longtime Brit Reader Quentin:

How often should you practice shooting without ear protection?  Every photograph and video of people practising I’ve seen has people with ear and eye protection.  But when necessity strikes, you’re not going to have protection.  And if you’re in an enclosed space, can not the sounds and flashes be disorienting?  So, how do you prepare for that?

It’s an interesting question, and I must confess that I don’t have the real-world experience to answer it properly:  people have only ever shot at me out in the open (earning return fire, so to speak) and while my ears did ring a bit afterwards, it didn’t last long.

Indoors?  ‘Nother conversation altogether, I suspect.

My thought is that in a dire self-defense situation, the typical nervous response (tunnel vision, slowed-down time etc.) will tend to muffle or even ignore the sound of gunshots*.  Certainly, while hearing damage may well occur in such situations, the perception may not be that disorienting — but I will gladly be corrected by anyone who has been exposed to gunfire in a confined space, e.g. soldiers or policeman, either current or veterans.  I do once remember talking to a WWII vet who’d been involved in house-to-house fighting in Italy, and apparently it was a common sight to see men sitting around afterwards, completely deafened, and some men with blood running from their ears.

All that said, however, the immediate answer to “How often should you practice shooting without ear protection?”  is, unequivocally, never.  Not even out of doors.  The damage to one’s hearing is far more critical than practice for a situation which, quite frankly, is statistically rare.  Suffering some hearing damage from wasting a goblin in your home is, I would suggest, not important.  Deafening yourself unnecessarily is silly.  (I have serious tinnitus from decades of unmuffled .22 shooting in the outdoors.  Large-caliber indoors shooting practice?  I wince at the very thought.)

So, my Readers, what say you?

*The noise of gunfire in an indoor shooting range is different, of course, in that this situation is a non-stress one and using hearing protection is not negotiable

Old And New

I see that Honda’s trying to make a go of the wonderful NSX again.  For a refresher, here’s a sample of the previous generation (+/- 1995):

…and the reincarnation thereof:

To probably nobody’s surprise, I think I prefer the lines of the older one:  more understated, yet still beautiful — especially compared to the supercars of the late 1990s, e.g. the Lambo Diablo and Ferrari 355:

In fact, given that the Ferrari 355 is generally regarded as one of Maranello’s most beautiful designs, I would suggest that the 1995 NSX compares quite well in the looks department.

The new NSX seems to have gone more towards the dramatic lines of the Diablo (and of most modern supercars, for that matter), which is fine, I guess.

(Note that I’m not talking about performance, here:  the 2019 NSX has well over 500hp, the 1995 a mere(!) 340hp or so.  Yet I would suggest that for the average, or even above-average sports car driver, 340hp should be more than adequate.)

I just prefer performance cars to look understated rather than being schoolboy racecar-poster types.  Once again, this should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody.

And of course, when it comes to reliability, I expect that the new NSX will have a mean time-between-failures rate (MTBF) measured in geological time units, just like its predecessor.  And its competitors won’t.

Beyond Redemption

When we moved from Chicago to north Texas back in 2002, I have to admit to some mixed feelings.  On the one hand, there was conservatism, no gun-prohibition laws, non-intrusive state government, no union bullshit, no Communist representation in the U.S. House;  and on the other hand: all the above.

But there was this, the dawn view from our apartment in Lakeview:

…and the view to the south (it was a 10th floor corner apartment):

…and let’s not forget the Chicago River (view of my office window, back when I worked downtown):


But time has passed, and now we have shit like this:

Deerfield Sen. Julie Morrison introduced Senate Bill 107 on Wednesday. It would prohibit a range of rifles, pistols and shotguns and require every such weapon in the state to be registered with the Illinois State Police. Owners would pay a $25 fee for that registration. A person found in possession of one of the prohibited weapons without registration could face a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a $25,000 fine.

In other words, you have to register your “illegal” rifle in order to be grandfathered into “forgiveness” of your “crime” — and in return the state of Illinois would promise, cross its heart, never to come and confiscate said rifle in the future.

Uhhhh, sure.

Now I am glad I left (and tossed my Illinois Firearm Owner ID — the hated FOID card — into the Mississippi River on my way down to Texas) — and not for the first time, either.

I could live with the freezing winters, I could even live with the Commie Bitch In The House (Jan Schakowsky).  But as for the rest?  Fuck that.

Uneasy Feeling

Well now, this little development  gives me the Warm ‘N Fuzzies:

This would allow the IRS to meaningfully link tens of millions of tax returns, billions of information returns, and trillions of bank and credit card transactions, phone records and even social media posts. For example, if a U.S. citizen moves money from a Swiss bank to some other offshore bank, then uses credit or debit cards to spend the money in the U.S., Palantir’s software can link those transactions. It could also flag a person whose tax return shows relatively low annual income but whose social-media posts indicate something entirely different.

As Gummint is so fond of saying:

Me, I feel more like this:

…preparatory to this:

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range for a little AK-47 time.

Don’t Do That

This article got me thinking:

Locals reveal the ‘common forms of torture’ tourists subject themselves to when visiting their countries

Here’s the one that caught my eye:

For American Roger Cole, it’s ‘the Cross Country USA Road Trip’.
He wrote: ‘Let’s take one state, Florida. Rent that car in Miami after hitting the beaches and drive north. Guess what… in eight hours YOU’RE STILL IN FLORIDA.
‘You’ve seen 47 exit ramps and some ads for Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, golfing retirement communities, and road signs telling you Jesus Saves and don’t abort your babies.
‘You ate at McDonald’s or maybe tried some alligator meat at a weird little place off a highway exit that smelled like bug spray.’

So, O My Readers:  if someone asked you what not to do when you visit the U.S. of A. (or your home country, if yer a Furrin Reader), what are the top three (3) things you’d tell them not to do, or places not to visit?

Mine are, in no specific order:

  • Avoid New York City.  It smells terrible, the people are rude, and everything costs at least three times more than it should, for no discernible increase in quality.  Most activities are crowded and overrated (e.g. Broadway plays such as Les Miz), food in the “best” restaurants is no better than you’ll get in any good restaurant in your home town, and walking in the streets of Manhattan is as close to a contact sport as you’ll get off a rugby field.  Don’t buy into the hype;  New York sucks.  If you can make it there, you probably have organized crime ties (just like Sinatra did).
  • Don’t drive on the interstate highways.  Almost without exception, the scenery is terrible (writer Bill Bryson suggests that beautiful scenery along the interstate highway system is in fact banned by federal law), the distances are astonishing (except in New England), the highways around major cities (e.g. Washington D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles and even Dallas are more like (slow-) moving parking lots than highways, and the plethora of 18-wheeler trucks make driving a white-knuckle exercise.  You will never find any decent food just off the interstates unless your idea of “interesting” is McDonalds or Waffle House, and in a word, interstate highway travel is BORING.
  • Don’t visit a theme park, any theme park.  Disneyworld/-land/-whatever is horrendously expensive and at least half of the “rides” will always be closed for maintenance, regardless of season.  Sea World is crap except for the killer whales.  Six Flags and Wet ‘n Wild “amusement” parks are an anthropological exercise in trailer-park entertainment, and the non-franchise local amusement parks are even worse.  Avoid too the goober theme parks known as “state fairs”.  They are designed for and run by farmers, and unless you’re a farmer or country hick who enjoys looking at livestock, the day will be a complete waste of time.

Your suggestions in Comments, and feel free to disagree with my selections, as always.