Saturday, March 11, 2017

Library or library?

I go back and forth.  I love having a big library of my own.  I have five bookshelves of varying sizes and have gotten rid of a couple more when I went through a sorting jag.  They are all full and there are books stacked sideways on some of them.  I keep buying books and I periodically sort through and get rid of books.  Rationally I can't see owning a book that I am not going to read and re-read on a regular basis.  Even then, however, the library has most of these books, so what purpose does my library serve?

I guess I just like to be surrounded by books.

I have a friend who has never, according to his own recounting, sold a book.  Ever.  I have given away hundreds because I don't want boxes and stacks of books around.  When I do find a book to which I have a particular attachment or which I think I might read again, I do keep it around.  I sit here in my office with a tall stack of books behind me and it just feels right that I could reach back, grab one of them, and start reading it again. 

I still read most of my books from the public library, going through two or three a week much of the year.  And I don't have to store them or dust them.  That must count for something.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I am a reader

I don't mean someone who reads.  I mean someone who voraciously devours books.  During our snow week a few weeks ago I made three trips to the library starting Tuesday when I figured out that we were in for the long haul.  The first day I read three books and returned them to the library on Wednesday.  To be fair, they were mystery and science fiction novels which are quick reads, but still...

Right about now, you are undoubtedly thinking to yourself, also long winded and a braggart, but I'm not telling you this to brag about my reading skills (although they are pretty impressive :-) but to talk about a flaw in Goodreads.

One of the problems with reading a lot is that it is easy to forget what you have read.  I have read every book by Dick Francis, every book by Robert B. Parker, every Louis L'Amour novel and short story, well the list goes on and on.  Not a big deal when they are dead.  I read all their books, generally in order, and I'm done.  I may even go back and re-read a few because I'm not picky that way so long as I can be entertained for a couple hours.  I've read Lord of the Rings at least forty times.  (That is a special case because it used to be the only book I'd take on long car trips with the family so when I finished at the end I just started again at the beginning.)  I collect books but not all of them because a) it would be expensive and b) I don't have room in my house for all the books I've read.  I'm not a big fan of e-books although I have a Nook and I have the Kindle app on my tablet.  Mostly I like e-books when traveling or doing errands (never go anywhere without a book because you never know when you might have to sit and wait).  Otherwise I will read them if that is the only option or if I can get it now on ebook but would have to wait days for the library to order me the paper copy.  It is harder to catalog the books you own (for me) and harder to browse through looking for something to read (for me) when they are just lists of titles instead of spines on a bookshelf.

Years ago I tried to start a diary of what I read.  I was probably fifteen or so.  A daunting task even then but made more daunting by the fact that I could either organize chronologically (useless from a reference standpoint) or organize alphabetically (useless unless I was willing to invest in a card filing system) and so either way I gave up fairly quickly.  Same problem a few years later with the same results, an even more daunting task since I had, by then, read more books.

So who cares, other than compulsive list makers (yes that's me).  Well, I forget which books I've read.  Author I like, find a book I haven't read, get all excited, ten pages in "this seems awfully familiar".  Sometimes I'll find a new author.  Grab the book.  Ten pages in "...".  Or, even worse, I'll read a book, really enjoy it, then I'll completely forget about the author because they haven't written a book in a couple years and I don't, therefore, get their new books when they come out.  I may never remember that I read the one book and enjoyed it so I miss out on further reading.  (Believe me, that's not a good thing when  you read this much.  You run out of stuff to read.)  Or I just forget where I am in a series and end up either missing a book or ... yeah, the whole ten pages thing.

Enter Goodreads.  Open a free account, find a book, click the "I've Read It" button, and voila.  A list of books you've read.  Have I read this one?  Don't know, check my list.  Any new books by authors I've read?  Don't know, check my list.

Enter problem.  I've read so many books that every once in a while I try to add more to my "Books I've Read" list.  All the Dick Francis books, for example.  All 96 of them.  One at a time.  Right click, select Shelf, wait.  Next.  Booriing.

Wish there was a way to say "Hey I've read every book by this author".  Bam!  We have a winner!  It's that easy!  There doesn't seem to be and if there is I can't find it in the help files and all the discussion forums seem to be about books (oddly enough for a website devoted to reading).  I wish they'd had this when I was twelve.  They'd need a bigger server.

Oh well.  To quote from the classics "It doesn't matter.  I'll probably get hit by a car anyway."

Incoherence in court rulings

According to the 4th Circuit:

Actual military rifles used by actual armies in actual wars are not banned.

Case in point: M-1 Garand

Rifles resembling military rifles which have never been used by actual armies in actual wars can be banned.

Case in point: AR-15

The 4th Circuit ruled that the AR-15 was "like" the military M-16 and therefore not subject to protection under the Second Amendment.  They didn't extend that ruling to the M-1 Garand which actually was a military rifle, or the Winchester 1917, or the Enfield 1903, or the Sharps or Spencer carbines, or the ... well, you get it.  The only one that it is OK to ban is the one that has never been used by the military.

To clarify for those of you not familiar with guns, the M-1 Garand is a semi-automatic rifle which is reloaded using what is called an "en bloc clip".  It is a clip that holds six eight (thanks notClauswitz for the correction) rounds and is shoved into the top of the rifle.  Takes seconds to reload.  Semi-automatic means pull the trigger once, the rifle fires one bullet and is ready to fire the next time you pull the trigger.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle which is reloaded using what is called a "magazine".  It is a container that holds multiple rounds (depending on the size of the magazine) and is shoved into the bottom of the rifle.  Takes seconds to reload.  Semi-automatic in this case has the exact same meaning as it did in the previous paragraph.

So if you are not a gun person you might be confused as to why one is bad and one is good.  Well, if you are a gun person you might be equally confused.  The AR-15, however, can be make scary looking by adding accessories.  Do the accessories make the gun more deadly?  Nope.  Examples of things that make this rifle banned in some states include muzzle brake (designed to keep the rifle from having as much felt recoil), barrel shroud (that's the tubular thing around the barrel towards the front designed to keep you from burning yourself on the hot barrel since the stock on these rifles is not full length like the Garand), adjustable buttstock (designed to allow you to set the length of the rifle to whatever is most comfortable to you, the user), and pistol grip (designed to allow you to hold the rifle more securely while firing).  Oh, and aforementioned detachable magazine which, other than the availability of larger sizes is not much different than the en-bloc clip.

Can you take your Garand and put a modern military looking stock and all sorts of cool accessories on it?  Sure.

Does that change how it shoots, what it shoots, or how deadly it is?  Not in the slightest.  It now has an adjustable buttstock, a pistol grip, and a barrel shroud.  Is it banned as an assault weapon? Probably not because the en-bloc clip is not currently considered a detachable magazine even by legislators who get their panties in a bunch about "weapons of war".  Enough people put this stock on their rifles, however, and stand by for the hysteria.

Oh, and don't forget, less than 4% of all firearm homicides are carried out with any kind of rifle at all, let alone these "weapons of mass destruction" that you are always hearing about.   Almost three times as many people are killed by "hands, fists, feet, etc" under the "personal weapons" class.  This is not about safety, it is not about crime, it is about an irrational hatred of letting people possess the means of their own defense. 


I don't seem to be hearing about this one much. Maybe because she was being critical of someone on the left? And maybe because she has an R next to her name?

Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Double standards (it never stops)

So Sheriff Clarke (black conservative) calls some (race baiting hustler) commentator (also black) a jigaboo. Not exactly sure what that is and i can't be bothered to look it up. However the leftists are, predictably, up in arms about the name calling and the ad hominem attacks. Funny how I completely missed the media storm when United States Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, was called a house n**** on Twitter last week.

The good sheriff and all other conservatives should know, however, that we will be held to a completely different standard than the left, so not only is it not a good debate tactic to throw out ad hominem attacks,  it probably is a bad idea just from a "giving ammunition to the enemy" perspective.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Range test, 45ACP

Picked up a Springfield 1911 Loaded a bit ago.  Really enjoy shooting it and it's an easy carry.  Been picking up a box here and a box there to build up my ammo supplies and thought I'd try a range day to see if any of them were noticeably better.

Four types of ammunition, all 230 grain, all JHP except for the Federal HST.  Sig Sauer, Winchester White Box, Speer Lawman, and Federal HST +P.

So the one on the left is a single magazine of each type, offhand, mostly for practice not for testing. The one on the right is two of each, two handed. As you can see the Sig Sauer (bottom right) is significantly more scattered than all the rest. I wasn't expecting that to be honest. I'd have assumed that Sig would be making high quality ammo. The other three seem to be about the same (if you ignore the low 3 o'clock of the Federal, that was me).

The only problem I had with any of them was that one of my magazines (the unmarked one) wouldn't fully chamber the first round every single time. I use the slide release which some say can be problematic, but I had no issues with the three other magazines (1 Colt, 2 Wilson Combat) so I suspect the magazine. It is out of the rotation.

Stand by for more later when I compare my Ruger KP345 to my Springfield 1911.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A couple fun tidbits from today's browsing

Thing 1:  Best comment, from discussion on Althouse

Jupiter said...

It must be really frustrating, being Dean Baquet.

First you and the people working for you report fairly and honestly on Donald Trump, pointing out that he is a three-headed demon from Hell who eats Mexican babies for breakfast and made his fortune trading slaves. And he attacks you as brazen partisan hacks. Then, you and the people working for you report fairly and honestly on Hillary Clinton, pointing out that she seldom walks on water before Noon, and many of the people she has raised from the dead still lack adequate housing. And Donald Trump attacks you as brazen partisan hacks. You just can't win with this guy!

Thing 2: Best tweet sequence of the year