In The Beginning

By Mike - Last updated: Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mike with a small guitarfishI suppose, really, I should thank my father for my lifelong interest in, and deep enjoyment of, fishing.  Not because he used to take me out fishing with him all the time – fact is, he didn’t.  Dad hates fishing.  He finds it just about as diverting as watching paint dry.

At around the age of 12, I suddenly got the notion in my head that I wanted to go fishing.  I had never been fishing.  I knew nothing at all about it.  All I knew was that I just had to try it.  I’m really not sure why I had such a desire, but I can be sort of funny that way.  Around that same time I decided I wanted to listen to country music (which I also knew nothing about), and I actually sat down and looked through the newspaper to find a local radio station I could tune in.  I listened, and I liked what I heard.  Today I’m still a diehard country fan.  Fishing was another relatively inexplicable impulse that just called to me somehow.

How little did I know what a lifelong obsession it would turn into.

Fortunately for me both my grandfathers were anglers, and one of them was willing to part with an old rod and reel that was busy collecting dust in his garage.  The rod was probably late 1960’s or early 1970’s vintage, made of fiberglass with a wooden butt; the reel was a similar vintage Penn baitfisher with a star drag.  No fancy line leveler or anything; if you didn’t guide the line back and forth across the spool with your thumb while you retrieved, you ended up with bare metal on one side and a hot mess on the other.  Grandpa filled the reel with 20- or 30-pound test line, gave me a handful of hooks and weights and other terminal tackle, spent five minutes showing me how to set it all up, and my great adventure was underway.

I had a lot to learn.  As the saying goes, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in General Fishing Stuff • Tags: , ,

Four Rules? What Four Rules?

By Mike - Last updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Well, this is rather terrifying, actually.  Seems New York’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner didn’t have a laser pointer handy during a presentation…so he just used the laser sight on his handgun instead. – Jerome M. Hauer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s director of homeland security, took out his handgun and used the laser sighting device attached to the barrel as a pointer in a presentation to a foreign delegation, according to public officials. It happened Oct. 24 in Albany at the highly secure state emergency operations center below State Police headquarters.

These officials, one of whom claimed to be an eyewitness, said that three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun’s laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.

Hauer, commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, was disabled by a stroke a few years ago and can be unsteady.

(Emphasis mine.)

Apart from any rumored “unsteadiness” Hauer may experience, I really think this isn’t a guy I want waving a gun around anywhere close to me.  Let’s see – he definitely violated Rules 1 and 2.  Here’s hoping he left Rule 3 well enough alone…

h/t Say Uncle.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Shooting and Hunting • Tags: , , , ,

For the Third-World Dictator Who Has Everything…

By Mike - Last updated: Monday, December 16, 2013

…and really, really wants to look like the ultimate extravagant pimp…I ran across these on eBay the other day:

Gold and diamond 1911 grips.

Wow. Words fail me. And not in a good way.

Yes, that is a pair of gold and diamond grips for a 1911.  And they can be yours for the bargain price of only $14,999.  According to the description on the auction page, there are over 2,000 diamonds on there, weighing in at 45 carats total.  Oh, and buyer beware – two of the diamonds are missing.  The seller assures us, however, that those can be “easily replaced.”

Gold and diamond 1911 grips.

Eat your heart out, George Patton.

Personally, I think these things look hideous.  But if I did buy them, I’d be afraid to put them on any gun I was going to actually shoot – because as sure as God made little apples, the recoil would eventually cause some of the diamonds to come loose and fall off, and then I’d be really upset.

I think for now I’ll just stick with my VZ Grips Double Diamonds:

1911 pistol with VZ Grips

Not shiny. Not fancy. But they work.

They work just fine, they’re durable, and I paid a whole heck of a lot less than $15,000 for them.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Shooting and Hunting • Tags: , , , , ,

“Stab Proof” Vest…Isn’t

By Mike - Last updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013

I recently read somewhere that if you want a truly terrifying thought, consider how smart the average person is…and then consider that fully half the people aren’t even that smart.

For a case in point, consider 18-year-old Justin Harder of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Seems young Justin had somehow acquired a “stab proof” vest made from steel plates and mesh, and he was eager to put its stab proof qualities to the test.  To this end, he asked a friend, 21-year-old Calvin Clackson, to stab him with a knife while he was wearing it.

No mental giant himself, Clackson was happy to oblige.  (Makes one wonder just how much he really liked Harder.)  The result was impressive, but not in the way Harder had doubtless envisioned.

Edmonton (Ottawa Citizen) – According to the agreed statement of facts, Clackson stabbed at his friend with a folding knife. The blade tore through the vest and plunged into Harder’s chest near his heart.

When Clackson withdrew the blade and saw “blood spurting all over the place,” he fled the apartment.

Harder was seriously injured and only survived because of emergency surgery that night, court heard.

“This was a pretty serious incident, even though the victim was incredibly stupid, to put it politely,” the judge told court. “It was foolish of the friend to give the invitation, but it was criminally negligent for Mr. Clackson to take up the invitation. Stabbing a person in the heart area, irrespective of a vest or not, is a dangerous activity.”

Clackson was sentenced to six months in jail.  Harder, we presume, has suffered sufficiently for his stupidity and won’t be trying that again for a while.

Sir Knight?  What say you?

He chose poorly

I’d say so.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in He Chose Poorly • Tags: , , , , ,

The Right to Keep and Bear Knives

By Mike - Last updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I consider a pocketknife to be one of the most basic tools of manhood which no true man should ever be without.  Fact is, I usually have at least two on me at any given time.  Any grown male who doesn’t carry one, I tend to regard with some degree of suspicion.

While Second Amendment discussion usually focuses on the right to keep and bear firearms, the good folks over at have taken pains to point out that knives, too, can constitute “arms” in the 2A sense, and are subject to the same Constitutional protection extended to gun ownership.  If you’re up for a good (albeit rather scholarly) read on this topic, the Kniferights folks have a paper on their site addressing this very topic.  It’s worth a look.  Along with the Second Amendment legal discussion, it’s also got good definitions of a variety of different types of knives.

h/t Say Uncle.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Sharp Edges • Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Right Tool for the Job

By Mike - Last updated: Monday, December 9, 2013

While I was at the range the other day, my friend Crystal walked up during a cease-fire and asked, “Which kind of optic do you prefer on a rifle?  A scope, or a red dot sight?”  The pause grew rather long as I tried to formulate an answer that made sense, and she continued, “I asked an impossible question, didn’t I?”

It wasn’t really an impossible question, per se, as I explained to her.  More a matter of comparing apples and oranges.  Telescopic rifle sights and holographic sights (aka “red dot” sights) are not really designed to do the same job.  Which one I prefer on a given rifle depends on how I plan to use that rifle.

A holographic (aka red dot) sight is the right choice for a defensive/tactical AR-15 as a rapidly-acquired substitute for iron sights.

An Eotech holographic (aka red dot) sight is the right choice for a defensive/tactical AR-15.  Does that make it “better” than a traditional scope?  Not by a long shot (as it were).

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Shooting and Hunting • Tags: , , , , , ,

The Force Is Strong With This One

By Mike - Last updated: Saturday, December 7, 2013

What happens when someone with actual talent creates a Star Wars-themed takeoff on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody?  Six and a half minutes of absolute pure awesomeness, that’s what.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Cool, Music • Tags: , , , , ,

Bad Day at the Range

By Mike - Last updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013

If you’ve spent any time at all perusing this blog, you know I’m a big proponent of firearms safety.  I’ve made reference many times to the basic Four Rules and the bad things that can happen if we fail to observe them.

Some situations, though, require a little more caution above and beyond the basic rules, and one of these is muzzleloading.  The black powder (or Pyrodex) used to load these arms is highly flammable, making it important to store extra powder someplace where it won’t be exposed to stray sparks or embers that can be generated by shooting.  Leaving an open container of Pyrodex pellets on the shooting bench near the muzzle of your rifle just might not be a good idea – as the guy in this video can attest.

I sincerely hope that he wasn’t hurt, and that maybe he and his buddies learned something from this.  Let’s all be safe out there.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Shooting and Hunting • Tags: , , , , ,

Don’t Mess With…Louisiana?

By Mike - Last updated: Monday, November 25, 2013

Everybody knows you’re just not supposed to mess with Texas.  Apparently it’s not a very good idea to stray far from the One True Path in Louisiana, either.

Seems that earlier this month, 29-year-old Bethany Arceneaux of Duson, LA was picking up her 2-year-old child at day care when the child’s father, Scott Thomas, arrived.  He forced Arceneaux into his vehicle and drove away with her.  (Arceneaux had a restraining order in effect against Thomas, for all the good it did her.)  Law enforcement officers found Thomas’s abandoned car near a sugar cane field later that evening and searched the field, but found no one.

Members of Arceneaux’s family, however, were not satisfied, and decided to conduct their own search of the area.  Good, old-fashioned southern-style butt kicking ensued.

ABC News – Authorities searched the sugarcane field Wednesday night and all day Thursday, but to no avail, Judice said. The cane towers as high as eight feet tall and was “a brutal search area” for officials, he said.

It wasn’t until Friday morning, when Arceneaux’s family members conducted their own search in the same area that they came upon a secluded, abandoned house behind a cluster of trees.

The house was directly across the street from the field where Thomas abandoned his car, but only the home’s roof was visible from the road, Judice said.

“[The family] converged on a piece of property about a mile from where the car was found,” Judice said. “One of the family members heard what he thought was a scream.”

Arceneaux’s cousin approached the home, kicked in the door in and entered, Judice said. Inside, he found Thomas with the woman. Thomas then began stabbing Arceneaux, and a confrontation ensued.

“The cousin, who was armed, began firing several shots at Thomas,” Judice said. “After a couple of shots, [Arceneaux] was able to get free of him and they escorted her out of the house.”

Arcenaux suffered several stab wounds and was taken by ambulance to Lafayette General Medical Center, where she is in stable condition, Judice said. It is not known if Arceneaux had been stabbed before her cousin found her inside the home, officials said.
Meanwhile, officers who heard the gun shots fired surrounded the home, Judice said. Upon entering, they found Thomas’ lifeless body on the ground. He had sustained several gunshot wounds.

Now that’s how you do it.  No charges have been filed against the cousin, who authorities stated was clearly acting in Arceneaux’s defense when he shot Thomas.  I just love a happy ending.

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Cool, Current Events • Tags: , , ,

I’ll Take That Ammo Well Done, Please

By Mike - Last updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013

We already know what happens when you put ammunition in a fire.  (Not much of anything significant, as it turns out.)  But have you ever wondered what happens when you cook ammunition in a microwave?  I actually hadn’t…until I saw these videos from Demolition Ranch on YouTube.

He starts out by nuking a box of .22LR cartridges.  Turns out it takes quite a while for anything to happen other than the arcing I would expect a metal object in a microwave to cause.  When the rounds finally do cook off, it’s pretty underwhelming.

After that, he goes on to a .50BMG cartridge.  (If you’re impatient like I am, the good stuff starts at around 3:05 into the video.)  Quite a bit more energy being released here, but again the microwave served to mostly contain the explosion – although it ended up a bit the worse for wear.

Just goes to reinforce what most knowledgeable shooters already know:  when you detonate a cartridge outside the chamber of a firearm, its energy is considerably diminished.  I still don’t recommend burning or microwaving your ammunition, of course…

Bookmark and Share
Filed in Shooting and Hunting • Tags: , , ,