Vítejte, Přátelé*

Oooooh I love this development (via Insty, thankee as always):

CZ-USA, the U.S.-based affiliate of Czech firearms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod (CZUB), announced today plans to locate their North American Headquarters and build a new manufacturing facility on approximately 73 acres at the Port of Little Rock. CZ-USA plans to implement a two-phase approach with an investment of up to $90 million and create some 565 jobs over a six-year period. CZ products are considered some of the highest-quality firearms in defense, competition and sport shooting around the world.

Indeed they are.  I’ve owned several CZ / Brno guns in my life, and the only thing I can say is that I’ve regretted selling (because:  poverty) every single one of them.  In fact, here’s my list of Four CZ Guns I Would Own In A Heartbeat (in no specific order):

CZ 550 Safari / 602 Brno  (.375 H&H)

It is quite probably the most popular dangerous game rifle in Africa.  Arrive at any safari camp with one of these bad boys, and the guide / PH will nod his head approvingly.  Back in a previous life, I used a borrowed 602 (chambered in .458 Win Mag) on a large lion, with astonishing results.  (As the saying goes:  “The .458 Winchester Magnum:  delivering pain in equal amounts at both  ends of the rifle!”) More recently, the Cape buffalo head which fills most of a wall in Doc Russia’s den came from a beast taken with his .375 H&H 550.

CZ 550/557 Lux (any caliber):

I prefer the “hogsback” stock over the straight “American” style, but regardless of stock, the 557 (old: 550) is quite possibly the greatest rifle to be had anywhere for the price, and the single-set trigger (4lb pull to 3.5 ounces, with just a single forward push on the trigger) is beyond reproach.  My 550 was chambered in 6.5x55mm Swedish, I sold it to a Reader because poverty, and I’ve regretted it ever since.  (However, he tells me that he’s taken many, many  deer with it since, so I don’t feel too bad.)  What I love most about this rifle is that you can pick pretty much your favorite chambering (even the new 6.5 Creed!), and CZ makes it.

CZ 75B (9mm/.40S&W)

I have spoken before of my respect for this wonderful pistol, so no more need be said.

CZ 455/457 (rimfire)

Sure, you can get a better .22 rifle than the 457 (old: 455), but you’d have to spend a lot  more $$$.  As a 455 owner once put it to me:  “If you can’t one-hole a brick of .22 with this gun, you’re  the one at fault.”

And now a bonus:

Brno ZKM 611 (.22 Win Mag)

This was made by Brno before CZ bought them.  CZ doesn’t make the little 611 takedown rifle anymore [sob] , and that’s a pity, because it is the only rifle I’ve ever picked up and shouldered where it immediately felt like it was an extension of my arm.  Want, even second-hand.

The 611 has been replaced by the CZ 512 semi-auto , which also comes chambered in .22 Win Mag (as well as .22 LR):

Of all the CZ guns on this list, the little 512 is the only one I’ve never fired.  I’m reliably told that the 512 is an improvement.  Hmmm… have to say, I prefer the 611’s looks.

So welcome, my friends* at Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZ-UB).  Sorry you ended up in Little Rock instead of in my state, but hey… we’re almost neighbors (in Texas-distance terms, barely a couple 6-packs up Interstate 30), so expect a visit as soon as you open your doors.  (One question, though:  why did CZ-USA move out of Kansas City?)

Suicidal Decision

Perhaps she’s been worn down by all the Brexit negotiations with the Eurotools, or perhaps she just wants to stick it in the eye of the nation which seemingly wants her out of office (or both), but this piece of work by BritPM Theresa May is otherwise inexplicable:

Theresa May has today been accused of showing ‘very poor judgement’ and risking the special relationship with the US by allowing Huawei to help build Britain’s new 5G network.

I can think of a better term than “poor judgement”, but I still have some vestiges of the gentleman in me.  Try this deluded asshole, though:

But Cabinet minister David Lidington today defended Huawei’s potential involvement, insisting the company was privately run and not linked to the ruling Communist Party.

Uh huh… and when the SHTF and China possesses every last piece of information coming out of Britain, this Lidington guy can sit back and sneer, from the deck chair on the patio of his beach cottage in the Maldives:

…which of course he could afford on a politician’s salary [eyeroll].

Needless to say, this foolishness has not passed by without a reaction from our POTUS:

And Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in February: ‘If a country adopts [Huawei] and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them. We won’t even be able to co-locate American resources, an American embassy, an American military outpost’.

Which, by the way, is yet another in a long line of reasons why it was a good thing that Trump kept Hillary Bitch Clinton’s enormous ass out of the Oval Office in 2016 — or else we’d have to be learning Mandarin to communicate with the telecoms by now.

Speaking of which:  where were our  telecom folks in all this?  Were Verizon or AT&T taking a nap when the 5G bids were put in?  (Don’t answer that, it’s too depressing).

Sheesh, it’s bad enough that we have to spend untold millions to keep the fucking Chinese from taking over our systems with their army of hackers, without so-called allies just handing over the keys to the kingdom for nothing.

Unless, of course, a similar Chinese-sponsored condo in the Maldives is part of May’s retirement plan.  Which would not surprise me either, come to think of it.


Self-Propelled Cargo

The title, by the way, is how airlines (all of ’em) see passengers, and it shows.

Now, I know that technically, speaking, that happens to be true:  we are  just walking baggage — but that doesn’t mean that we want to be treated  that way.  About 80% or more of my business consists of taking sleepy executives to the airport in the pre-dawn hours, and let me tell you:  not one of them has anything  good to say about how the airlines treat them — and most of these people are Gold / Platinum / whatever the top rank is called.  So if these  people hate the airlines, how do you think we Economy-class passengers feel?

And it seems as though United Airlines — or their CEO, at least — understands this, and has talked about it at length.

Munoz acknowledged having to stay competitive with peers and match many of their offers, but he admitted passengers have had enough of paying the price.
He claimed: ‘Somebody asked me what advice would you give other travelers? I said empathy.
‘I think discourse between human beings is lacking, I have always lived by the concept that sharing is caring, and share with us.

Yeah, I’ll wait to see how this pans out.  Fine words uttered from on high are all very well, but let’s see how this translates to the flight attendants / ticketing agents / flight cancellation policy etc.

Many years ago, I worked for the Leo Burnett ad agency, who (at the time) had been United Airlines’s agency for decades — possibly even the only ad agency UA has ever had.  To say that it was a close working relationship would be a gross understatement, and in fact it was Burnett who had coined the genius “Fly The Friendly Skies” payoff line for United.

Then United decided that they wanted to change the thrust of their advertising, to be more businesslike, and even change the payoff line.  Leo Burnett disagreed with the change in marketing direction.  How much did they disagree?  They terminated a decades-long relationship — in essence, firing the client — because they thought it was the wrong direction to take.

Anyone know what United’s new agency replaced the Friendly Skies  line with?  Me neither.  And when United threw that unfortunate passenger off their plane a while ago, breaking his nose in the process, I can honestly say that while I was shocked at the action, I wasn’t surprised.  When they changed their marketing, I made a decision never to fly United again — and other than one (unavoidable) business flight in 2003, I’ve kept my promise.  (And just FYI, that flight was the worst trans-Atlantic flight I’ve ever experienced — Connie was actually sobbing with relief when we came in to land.)

I don’t think that United is going to change (despite their CEO’s unctuous words), and their skies will be just as unfriendly as all the other airlines’.  Why?

His comments came as United Airlines announced that its first-quarter profit doubled to $292 million as it carried more passengers and limited costs.

In a message to employees, CEO Oscar Munoz said the latest results vindicated a strategy of adding more flights, investing in customer service and managing costs.

United added more flights because the Trump-fueled economic growth has meant more people are flying;  not  adding more flights would have caused market share to drop.

As for their “investing in customer service”, watch Munoz’s little video towards the end of the article.  My bullshit detector went off like an alarm clock.  Yours should, too.  “Eliminating pre-assigned seating”?  The airlines have already done that, with sneaky little algorithms in the online ticketing process which deliberately splits seating assignments when booked together in the same transaction, and charging for the privilege of changing the seats.  Bastards.  I’m not fooled:  “managing costs” means “charging for stuff that used to be free”, or else “not replacing worn-out seats even when passengers are experiencing extreme discomfort”.  Feel free to add your own “cost management” examples.

As it happens, I may be flying the New Friendly Skies later in the year, and if so, I’ll let you all know how it comes out.  If I do, it will probably involve a stop in O’Hare (I know, I know:  I used to do 50-60 flights a year out of ORD).  If that isn’t a test, nothing is.

Anyway, you can color me cynical.  Right now, I hate all  airlines, without exception, and it’s going to take more than fucking “empathy” to change my attitude.

Strange Agreement

Okay, mark today on your calendars, because I happen to agree with NYFC’s Commie Mayor:

Mayor de Blasio: ‘We Are Going to Ban’ Glass and Steel Skyscrapers

Okay, my reasons for agreement are not the same as his reasons for this policy.  He wants to ban glass and steel skyscrapers because of oh-so-fashionable Green reasons, while I want to ban them because they’re cold and fugly.

Long ago, I used to work across the road from this  Helmut Jahn-designed monstrosity:

…and I just loved  those afternoons when my office was turned into a combination sauna / tanning salon.  The company had to invest in smoked-glass office windows and blinds for an entire floor because of this bullshit.

They’re also a menace:  try driving in a city at dawn or sunset, turning a corner and being utterly blinded by the sunlight’s reflection off some architect’s wet dream.

One of my favorite scenes in a movie was the last few seconds of Fight Club, where a whole bunch of glass skyscrapers are blown up.

I have an alibi.

Improving The Past

I talked about the David Lee resto-mod of the 246 Dino a little while ago, and either I’ve been asleep or there’s a growing movement afoot to taking old, gorgeous cars of dubious reliability and either restoring them with modernizations (David Lee) or building new models from scratch (usually at ruinous cost) from companies like Eagle GB (with their E-Types), and now, Frontline Developments with the venerable and exquisite MGB (compared to the original here).

And just like the gorgeous Eagle E-Type, the FD-built MGB is a sight for sore eyes:

…and yeah, the LE50 looks exactly like the old MGB GT — but whereas the old MGB used a 1800cc engine which produced 96hp and had a top speed of 95mph (downhill with a tailwind, half of that uphill), the LE50 has a tweaked Mazda 2-liter engine which kicks out 138hp and propels the lightweight LE50 up to 160mph(!!!!).  Oh, and the LE50 has banished Lucas / Smith Electrical to the fires of automotive hell, which means it will start every time, and that using either headlights or windshield wipers (but not both) is no longer a feature.  (Here’s the AutoMag review.)

Kim wants.  So too does New Wife — because she used to own one of the old MGBs back in the mid-1970s, when she was still a glamorous young socialite.

And at about $85,000, the LE50’s purchase will need considerable assistance from my retirement plan a winning lottery ticket… [sigh]

Oh, and one last thing:  on some forum or other, a twerp questioned whether anyone would pick the new MGB over a Porsche Cayman (at about the  same price, but with vastly better performance).  I can think of at least two  people who would, and they live at the same address.  In this house (and, come to think of it, at this blog too), class will always trump flash.

Not Sustainable

Apparently, there was a new thing at Coachella this year, whereby young sluts whores women walked around with only glitter to cover their superstructure:


I note that among this be-glittered set, there was a certain (shall we say) volumetric uniformity  amongst them.  Ditto age, whereby Mother Nature and Father Gravity have not yet exerted their joint influence upon such superstructures.

Which is why this fad can only be temporary.  Imagine the tonnage of glitter required for someone not similarly structured Read more