Guess Who’s back

It’s me.

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Living in the Green Country

My maternal grandfather was an Arkie — like the Okies from Grapes of Wrath, but he and his wife moved to California from Arkansas in the 1930s. As a kid I was always puzzled by Grandpa’s tendency to use “country” not to refer to the United States as a whole, but to a specific area of countryside — as in, “Well, fact of the business, that whole week I’d get up of a mornin’ and walk about the country for an hour or two before breakfast.” Or: “I don’t much like that country — not enough trees.”

Spotted this piece of art by George Callaghan on Twitter — Vivre dans le pays vert, or “Living in the green country” in French.

(To embiggen images below, right-click and open image in new browser tab. Yeah, I’m still figuring out why click-to-embiggen doesn’t work.)

Reminds me of a few of my favorite artists:

Grant Wood:

George Tooker:

And, of course Eyvind Earle and his fantastically styled yet still absolutely true depictions of California’s green and golden coastal farms, hills, and valleys.

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Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte

One of the Things I Did During COVID Lockdown was resolve to read a poem every night, generally whilst sipping something with a decently high proof. (See also here.) So I moved my meagre collection of poetry volumes to a spot under the liquor cabinet.

Poetry Library and Shelley
Did I have four years’ worth of liquor stored before the pandemic as I’d thought? I did NOT, I had TWO.

For proper contemplative and immersive value, I resolved to do my poetry-reading solely from printed books. So what you see here is double the size of what it was in 2019, and I’m pretty happy with the results so far.

Poetry Library and Shelley
The Poetry Library
Poetry Library and Shelley
From left: Collections of Greek and French smut poems and English poetry, and then it’s all alphabetical by poet, starting with a slim volume of Balzac (more smut, but hilarious) before Browning and Byron…
Poetry Library and Shelley
…including a battered 1834 Works of Lord Byron (which the title page breathlessly states is”Including the Suppressed Poems”), and Poems of the Past by Marcus Selden Goldman, about which more anon.
Poetry Library and Shelley
Continuing on to some volumes of my favorite poet, A.D. Hope, and a 1922 Kipling with an innocent-for-the-time honest-to-God-swastika embossed in the cover….
Poetry Library and Shelley
Finishing up with Poe, Sappho, Robert “Fucking Awesome” Service, lots of Tennyson, and a slim volume of Oscar Wilde, among others.

The half of these books I bought during COVID I purchased used — very used — on Amazon, for what I’m estimating was an average of ten bucks each, shipped — about fifteen bucks a month over the twelve months. Not bad! (All the Easton Press leatherbound editions shown I’d purchased way back in college; they don’t count.)

Poetry Library and Shelley

One of these delight-filled tomes is an ex-West Kentucky University Library copy of Volume II of the 1975 Oxford University Press’s Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Poetry Library and Shelley
Dominus Illuminatio Mea (“the Lord is my Light”), the opening words of Psalm 27 and Oxford’s motto in its coat of arms. Neat!

Prior to COVID my poetry experience was from high school or from allusions and excerpts in Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. I wasn’t sure I’d like Shelley that much; turns out there’s some gems here.

Poetry Library and Shelley

In this one, Shelley, an atheist who I presume supported the French Revolution, bemoans how the tyrant Bonaparte betrayed the cause of the Republic, and yet moans more still on how the forces of reaction, tradition, and religion combined to defeat L’Empereur. (Interestingly, it’s right below his rant about Wordsworth’s political betrayal of Shelley’s radical ideals.)


While the parallels to today’s politics are inexact, it’s fun to think of them. Observing the foaming-at-the-mouth reactions to both the “January 6th Insurrectionists”* and the subsequent Inaugural shenanigans, I thought of three:

  • (1) The poet, a BernieBro or BLM activist, crying “I hated thee, fallen tyrant!” at Trump yet bemoaning that his demise came at the hands of the old corporatist Democrat establishment;
  • (2) The poet, a RINO, crying “I hated thee, fallen tyrant!” at Trump yet bemoaning that the GOP is now firmly in the hands of a Trumpist base that’s legally textualist (“old Custom”), genuinely religious (“bloody Faith, the foulest birth of Time”), and perfectly willing to Do What’s Necessary to Win Next Time Because the Democrats Cheated First (“legal Crime”);
  • (3) The poet, one of that Trumpist base in (2) above, furious that Trump, “a most unambitious slave,” did so little to prepare for the obvious legal fights required to snatch victory from the forces of the corrupt Swamp (old Custom, legal Crime”) leaving us at the hands of the new Woke religious orthodoxy (“bloody Faith, the foulest birth of Time”).

And yes, this post was powered by a glass of that Courvoisier in the first pic. Napoleon’s brandy, indeed!

* Shit, it doesn’t seem so archaic and weird anymore that the French referred to dates as the “Coup of 18 Brumaire,” does it?

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Drop-In T-Track Channel Covers

Seen at Traction Control blog. Very cool. Saving this for when I get around to redoing the workbenches.

Info on how to get yours here:

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Orville Bierkle’s Revolver, 70th Anniversary

The 70th anniversary of the Chosin Reservoir battle happened last year, so I did a daily post of Sergeant Orville Bierkle’s war diary entries — with illustrative links — in the seminal thread to commemorate it. Entries span from September at Inchon to December 7 when the Sergeant arrived wounded in Japan. One commenter said the link-filled diary was better than a documentary, so that was gratifying. You’ll need to tab through the thread to get to September 2020. Check it out.

Restoring Original Grips on Bierkle Revolver
The Sergeant’s revolver with original grips restored.
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…Aaaaand we’re back!

Vertically stretched to hide COVID shelter-in-place bellyfat.

It’s been more than two years since the last post, but it’s time to dust off the ol’ keyboard and get back to it. The ease of posting on Facebook and Twitter sapped the gunblogosphere of its vitality, but I think we’ve all learned our lessons about that as of 2021, yes?

I’m still here in California, having successfully exited my fun but stressful career as consigliere to a couple of freewheeling entrepreneurs for a much less exciting, yet still fun, position in legal academia — one with the rare defined-benefit pension plan. Phil may pop in to tell of his adventures, but suffice it to say he’s doing quite well. Dave from Michigan’s still the only one of us, I believe, who’s actually competed in the Precision Rifle Series, and I hope he’ll chime in as well. Many, many thanks to big B for getting us back online safe and sound.

(Yes, the header image has the old site address. Yes, I’m working on fixing that. Be patient, true believers!)

Still lots of updating and link-fixing to do, but it’s good to be back.

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Currently puffing a celebratory Undercrown Maduro and sipping some of my precious stash of Elmer T. Lee. It’s been 25 years since I saw the lonely flyer tacked up in a back hallway of UC Davis Law School, plaintively calling for students to submit law review articles supporting the right to keep and bear arms in hopes of winning a year’s tuition. I joined the Federalist Society that day. That flyer was my awakening and introduction to a more than 30-year hard-fought campaign by the NRA, SAF, Calguns Foundation and to build up the legal scholarship to win Heller and McDonald, and soon more such victories… with BRETT

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Can a Song be Composed Entirely of Hooks?

I dunno about you, but Blood of Bannockburn by my current go-to earworm band, Sabaton, sounds pretty hook-filled to me.

Below’s my Youtube playlist of the earwormiest of their oeuvre I’ve found. The first one includes lyrics by Audie Murphy. Not kidding.

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Saving Western Civilization, One Mind at a Time

I’ve mentioned my high-school choir teacher David Pool once or twice before; a Juilliard grad, he was known for taking insecure nerds, geeks and social outcasts and turning them into self-confident young men and women, starting by treating us first as men and women, not children. Right out of the gate he’d hold us to higher standards — but teach us how to attain them, too.

Think of a drill sergeant making you a man (or woman) but referencing classical music and art and literature in between barking at you to “FIX it, [enter your name here]!” That command might have applied to hitting a note or sorting out your love life. Great advice in all cases.

I’ve not seen Mr. Holland’s Opus, but my mother said Richard Dreyfuss’ character reminded her of Pool.

Well, Jordan Peterson reminds me a bit of Pool, and he’s made quite the recent splash, viz,:

Now, this bit is certainly entertaining, and reminds me of the way Pool would work us through a music piece at a certain level, but Peterson’s skills at forensic combat aren’t enough to explain why young men are devouring what he says and writes and thinks as though they’re intellectually and emotionally starved for meaning. Given the state of discourse in society and academe, I expect they are. Men like Pool were few and far between when I was a child, perhaps less so now. Yet nowadays one man can have a greater reach than ever before. Who took up that baton? Arguably, Peterson’s running with it now.

The wife and I recently downloaded Peterson’s popular self-help  12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos on Kindle, and the cool thing about the Audible version is that Peterson reads it to you himself.

I really like his approach in this book — it is a useful practical introduction to concepts that I understand are part of his larger project, which seems to be nothing less than saving Western Civilization, as discussed here in the Weekly Standard.

(An aside: I follow the article’s various Twitter feeds, and it was gratifying to watch his tweets sort of talk through the idea of the article, and then get enough feedback that he had something valuable to say that he turned it into the Weekly Standard piece within a matter of days. That, I think, is the best sort of Twitter.)

One lesson of Sidney Hook’s The Hero in History was that great men rise to the need of the times. I’m cautiously optimistic, just three chapters in to 12 Rules for Life, that Peterson and his work may be part of the antidote to our great civilizational malaise.

UPDATE: Well, I guess the ‘Standard article is behind a paywall or something, so here’s the author’s own summary and further discussion of his Grand Theory of Jordan Peterson. Worth a read.

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7mm Dakota Specialty Pistol Article [Images restored March 2021!]

Who can argue with a 600-plus-yard pistol for elk? (And yes, I know about Elmer Keith and his .44 Magnum as a long-range elk gun. You and I are not Elmer Keith, and this is not about that.)

Ages ago I had a live link to this article by my specialty-pistols mentor and guru Ernie Bishop, but the link’s now dead, so Ernie graciously provided me with a copy to share. Temporarily hosting the files on Facebook until I figure out how to get them on the RNS server. I think clicking on each image below the fold should embiggen them.

Nowadays Ernie’s playing around with things like 6 Creedmoor necked down to .22 caliber at ridiculously fast twists for the 2k prairie-dog goal….

Continue reading
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