Over at Knuckledraggin’, Kenny posted this interesting gif:

…and it got me thinking.

I’ve never bought into the whole jewellery thing.  It’s not just my long-time hatred of the loathsome De Beers diamond cartel and their criminal business practices (although that certainly plays a part), but there’s a part of me which just applies commonsense and cynicism to the whole ethos of “precious” metals and stones.

The “metals” part I can sort of understand because they at least have useful properties for some applications, and ditto diamonds when used industrially (cutting, grinding and what have you).

But as decoration?  What a load of old bollocks.  Wearing diamonds as decoration, in necklaces, pendants, bracelets and (ugh) engagement rings is really just a way to say, “I’m rich and can afford to spend money on these useless baubles as a way to show off my wealth”.

In the old days, jewellery was used by royalty to show their social superiority over their subjects.  Nowadays, when some illiterate oaf who is able to string a series of mumbled rhymes into a “song” can load up his neck, chest and teeth(!) with gold and diamonds — well, that kinda devalues the whole thing, doesn’t it?  Except that’s precisely the point  of expensive jewellery.

I don’t care much for most modern terminology / slang, but I love the word “bling” because it describes perfectly the inherent emptiness and worthlessness [sic]  of slapping shiny rocks onto everything in sight.

Don’t even get me started on those tasteless morons who load up their (already-expensive) wristwatches with jewels, driving the price into the stratosphere for absolutely zero  added utility*.  Here’s one example:

“MasterGraff Ultraslim Tourbillon” (AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

And when I said “stratosphere”, I wasn’t kidding.  I don’t know the cost of the above — Graff is remarkably (and understandably) coy about publishing prices for their watches — but one of their other timepieces (which is too ugly for me to picture here) went on sale for $55 million.  Small wonder that these and their ilk are the preferred watches of drug kingpins, Arab oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs — breeds not known for their exquisite taste — because that is the target market of all jewellery:  people with newly-acquired wealth who have to show it off.

In a way, though, I’m glad that these parvenus pricks buy into this nonsense, because it enables us to label them, correctly, as “suckers”.

So when somebody looks at a diamond pendant and sniffs, “Glass”, I’m the guy who replies, “Who cares?  It looks just as pretty.”

And if it gets lost or stolen, you can simply shrug and buy another one, more or less with the loose change in your pocket, while the owner of the identical-looking “genuine” diamond item has to open negotiations with the insurance company.

Next week:  art.

*Longtime Readers, by the way, know that I love expensive watches — my “lottery” watch is a Vacheron Constantin Royal 1907 (retail: ~$50,000) — but that’s (much) less than the sales tax  one would pay for Graff’s foul “Hallucination”.

News Roundup

Short takes and outtakes:

…[sigh] they grow up so quickly, these days.


…next, they’ll be saying the same thing about a situation going “tits up” and a mistake being called a “cock-up”.

tyrannical judge says do this, cops say fuck you.  In Houston.

…it’s still the most dangerous place on Earth, only now it’s because of Muslims and not airborne cobras.

and yet, he wasn’t executed on the spot.  Because California.

I think that should read “COSMETICS” watchdog.

Coronavirus: Calls for price controls dismissed as ‘economically illiterate’
which of course they are.  Read the article to remind yourselves, if you’ve forgotten the arguments.

and absolutely NO PRIZES will be awarded for correctly guessing the ethnicity or national origins of the rioters.


I have often snarled at the .dotmil, who never seem to miss an opportunity to create weapons systems that are so laden with bells and whistles that they add all sorts of other problems, e.g. COST not to mention MORE THINGS TO BREAK.

It’s not just the military, of course.  Try this wonderful screw-up from a different government department (emphasis added):

There’s a massive shortage of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) test kits in the U.S., as cases continue to skyrocket in places like Seattle and New York City. This is largely due to the failure of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distribute the tests in a timely fashion.
But it didn’t have to be this way. Back in January and February—when cases of the deadly disease began aggressively circulating outside of China—diagnostics already existed in places like Wuhan, where the pandemic began. Those tests followed World Health Organization (WHO) test guidelines, which the U.S. decided to eschew.
Instead, the CDC created its own in-depth diagnostics that could identify not only COVID-19, but a host of SARS-like coronaviruses.

“No, not just a test kit to address the immediate issue;  let’s make one that’s more complicated but can test for every single virus in the world, plus others that don’t even exist yet!”

And as any fule kno, when you try to make something to do one thing, but expand the mission for it to do lots  of things…

Then, disaster struck:  When the CDC sent tests to labs during the first week of February, those labs discovered that while the kits did detect COVID-19, they also produced false positives when checking for other viruses. As the CDC went back to the drawing board to develop yet more tests, precious time ticked away.

Government:  fucking it up six ways to Sunday, each and every time.

Excuses, Excuses

From a Reader:

“It seems like a lot of your articles are just an excuse to post pics of women.”

You mean I’m causing situations like this?

Okay, then.  I promise to post more pictures of guns and trucks ‘n stuff in future.  Like these:

(pics courtesy of these guys, who have the Right Stuff)

I live to please…

Monday Funnies

Mondays now exist only as a milestone whereon we mark “x weeks since we began the lockdown”.  So today we’re only going to look at the wonders of Nature:

No, we’re not.

Or, more to the point:

And on with Teh Chinkvirus-Related Funny:

And to return to the subject of Nature’s wonders, the hills:

And to end on a musical note:

Yer welcome.


Longtime Friend & Reader Mark S. sent me this missive a week or so ago:

The attached is a photo of a high school classmate’s mother, taken at the Balboa Gun Club in the Panama Canal Zone (sometime in the 40s or 50s, I think). We were wondering if you had any guesses or opinions about the rifle and scope. The items near her right knee are cash bundles of her winnings in a competition.

The rifle was no problem, and I identified it immediately:  a Remington 513 Target Master (513T), made from 1940 until the late 1960s.  (I actually had a chance to shoot one of these beauties when I helped the TSRA instructors get Son&Heir’s Boy Scout troop get their rifle shooting badges.  After they were done, the TSRA guys very kindly let me shoot off the rest of the .22 ammo they’d brought along.  One-hole groups and Big Smiles From Kim followed.)  Here’s a 513T exactly as used at the Boy Scout shoot, with a Lyman peep sight:

(The 512 model had a tube magazine, but was pretty much the same rifle.)

I would shoot this rifle against any modern commercial .22, even an Anschutz or CZ 455.  I might be beaten, but I sure as hell would not disgrace myself.

The scope was also easy, although I couldn’t figure out its magnification.  It’s the venerable Unertl, used mostly by the U.S. Marine Corps until late in the Vietnam War.

I suspect that the actual scope in the rifle club pic has 8x magnification, as it was the most common in civilian use (the USMC used the 10x).  And here’s a pic of the two together:

…and an unscoped Sporter model (essentially the same gun as the 513T, except that the bolt handle isn’t raked back) at Collectors, for just under a grand:

Ask me if I love this old tackdriver…