Grinding Gears

Via Insty:

The overarching trend in the car world has been that the manual transmission is on the way out. People like automatics for the convenience, but they can be faster than manually shifting, and they’re frequently better at saving fuel. But the manual still has advantages. It’s small and light, it’s still sometimes more affordable than an equivalent automatic model, and, of course, it’s much more engaging than an automatic. For these reasons, automakers are still selling a variety of models with manuals. The list is certainly short compared to a couple decades ago, but the variety is impressive. Whether you’re looking for an extremely affordable commuter, a sports car or even an off-road oriented truck or SUV, there’s a manual-equipped car for you. And we’ve assembled the whole list of every single make and model of car with an available manual transmission for you three-pedal diehards.

…and then follows the list, for those who’d prefer driving a car instead of just steering it.

Manual transmissions are the bolt-action rifles of the automotive world.

And if you can’t see the similarities… well, I can’t help you.

See No Evil

In commenting on Florida’s proposed ban on social media for under-16s, Robert Shibley says this:

It would be wise for the big platforms to make it much easier for parents to regulate this stuff, because that’s far preferable to the law stepping in.

That’s a laudable suggestion, but unfortunately it doesn’t take into account the fact that getting kids hooked on their programs is the actual goal of the “big platforms”, simply to get eyeballs for their advertisers.  That any harm might occur to the owners of those eyeballs is to be ignored because First Amendment, dude.

I myself think that lowering the age of consent to 12 and the drinking age to 13 would probably do less harm to kids than does exposure to FaecesBook and the like.  What the hell:  if we’re going to trust kids not to do stuff that might harm them, let’s go all the way. [/Big Platforms]

Losing Character

I’ve ranted so often about shitty architecture on these pages that one might be forgiven for thinking that I’d be sick of it by now.

Silly rabbit.

Here’s the latest example of foulness:

Residents living next to one of the most expensive houses in Britain have blasted the home as a ‘monstrosity’.
The newbuild, in the exclusive London suburb of Chelsea, has been nicknamed ‘Gucci House’ by appalled neighbours because of its ‘gaudy’ appearance.
The ‘ugly’ mansion occupies land that was formerly a school playground and has a dark grey exterior and imposing metal gates outside.

The exclusive street is the oldest in Chelsea, dating back to at least 1566.

I know, it looks like a wart on a pretty girl’s face — not, mind you, that London residential architecture is anything like a pretty girl’s face:  it’s dated, and occasionally quite horrible — but whatever, it’s what gives London its character.

As to why some rich fuck and his equally-fucky architect would want to lessen or destroy that character, I leave it to you to decide.  But speaking of that architect, here’s a quote which describes the process perfectly:

Original architects, Gumuchdjian, describe the property as surrounding a garden courtyard with an entrance that echoes the Parisian Hotel Particular.

Okay, let’s just nip this little turd-piece in the bud.

There’s no such thing as the Parisian Hotel Particular — it’s not a specific building, so it shouldn’t be capitalized.  The hotel particulier  is a style of building, and denotes a grand townhouse.  Here’s a typical example of said style, in Paris:

To even suggest that this London carbuncle resembles the above is mendacity in the Clinton Class.

And here’s the final word on this catastrophe, from a neighbor:

‘My house has survived The Blitz, it was built in the 1780s, they’re not building to match the heritage of the area. It’s like vandalism. How can the council approve this when it doesn’t match the other ones?’

Here’s a clue:

The house changed hands just last year and according to data from the Land Registry, the price tag of £73.2million was 209 times the average house price last year which was £350,396.

When a house costs about $100 million, a hundred thou or so to the right councilor or planning authority is small change.

Just sayin’.

The Idiot Twist

How many times have you seen someone closing a revolver’s cylinder by giving a quick twist of the wrist, making the cylinder snap closed into the frame?  It’s mostly done in movies, of course, as so many shooty bad habits occur, but I’ve actually seen it done at various ranges, shaking my head at the idiocy.

Here’s a quick video which explains why this action is stupid, and how it can damage the gun (often terminally, when repeated often).

A couple weeks ago I went shooting with a Reader at my local killing-practice facility, and one of the guns I brought along was my bedside gun, the S&W Model 65:

Now the thing about a bedside gun, as any fule kno, is that it absolutely, positively, has to work all the time with 100% reliability.  You pull the trigger, it has to go BANG and when you pop the cylinder release to reload (assuming such an action is necessary), it has to open so you can dump the empties… right?

Well, on this particular occasion the first part went as advertised, all six rounds going BANG.  The second part?  Nu-uh:  the cylinder was stuck shut, and required a firm smack to get it to move.  Not good.  But I went ahead and reloaded it anyway, fired off the rounds, and popped the cylinder open — this time, without any problem.

I would have shrugged the earlier malfunction off, except for that irritating “100%” reliability thing.  So I dumped the empties, closed the gun up unloaded — and the cylinder stuck closed again when I tried to open it.


Back at home, I checked the 65 out.  Pawl bent?  No.  Ejector hangup on the frame?  No.  Powder buildup at the forcing cone?  Dirty, to be sure, but after I polished it clean, the cylinder still wouldn’t open every time.

If there’s one thing I hate more than a malfunction, it’s an occasional malfunction.

So I took it over to Larry at SPS Guns, and after a few minutes, his on-premises gunsmith — who looks about twelve years old, but they all do nowadays — diagnosed the problem:  the front of the ejector rod was sticking:

…most likely because it was no longer straight — the tip had been peened in one spot and the ejector rod ever-so-slightly bent out of true, no doubt by someone performing The Idiot Twist to close it up.  This was why the malf only repeated occasionally:  the peening and bend would only cause a malfunction depending on the position of the rod.

Anyway, the problem was fixed by the gunsmith ($$$) because I sure as hell wasn’t going to try, and after about a hundred or so repetitions the problem did not reappear.  He also cleaned up the gun, getting rid of all the crud I hadn’t been able to reach, yeah unto the innards of the gun itself.  (I don’t open up revolvers if I can help it;  I don’t do it often enough to trust myself to do the job properly.)

Anyway, all is now well:  a lengthy range session followed (just to dirty the piece up again, whatever), and the Model 65 could resume its rightful place on the bedside table.

By the way:  I bought the Model 65 secondhand, of course, and not knowing how well it was treated by its previous owner(s), I don’t load it up with .357 Magnums, but with .38 Spec+P:

I do know, now, that at least someone had been using The Idiot Twist in the gun’s previous life.

Do thou not the same with thine.