Four Times The Fun

March 16th, 2015

There was a lull of activity at the workplace.  My coworker shared a dream he had, where he was living back in time during the Old West.  When a wolf ate his daughter, he gathered a posse to hunt down the beast!

snarling wolf

The reason he wanted to relate this example of night time daring-do was because one of the posse members was equipped with a strange shotgun.  It consisted of four barrels, all lined up next to one another.

“Oh, you mean like in Phantasm II!” I piped up.

This puzzled my fellow wage slave.  “Phantasm two?”  He claimed to have never heard of the horror film franchise, let alone seen any of the movies.  But when I pulled up a picture of the quad shotgun wielded by one of the protagonists, he clapped me on the shoulder and yelled “THAT’S IT!!

phantasm ii shotgun 3

phantasm ii shotgun 2

phantasm ii shotgun

He might not remember ever seeing or hearing about the horror film that featured the quad shotgun so prominently, but his insistence that the prop is an exact match for his dreamtime weapon indicates that he must have caught a glimpse of it somewhere over the years.

This does lead to the question: Are there actual 4 barrel weapons out there that are intended for serious use, as opposed to novelty items and conversation pieces?

The answer, of course, is that there are!

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Keeping An Eye On The Help

March 9th, 2015

Long time reader Milo was kind enough to send me this article, which discusses a bakery in Yonkers, NY with an open door policy on new hires.  It seems that anyone walking in off the street will be considered for a job as long as a position is open.

job fair employment line

The business is getting some free publicity about this policy, mainly because standard practices to filter undesirables from those seeking a job are done away with.  No resumes, background checks, letters of recommendation, or past employment history is required.  If someone is a recovering drug addict or convicted felon, they are given a job as long as they apply when workers are needed.

criminal background check form

This hiring procedure has apparently worked well for the bakery.  Proof that society is prejudiced against those few who made a few mistakes in their past?  Vindication for the Liberal canard that all it takes to make a career criminal into a productive member of society is a job and a fair shake after they have served their time?

The author of the article I linked to above would certainly have you think so, and the people running the bakery waste no time patting themselves on the back for being oh so concerned about their fellow man.  But I notice that, while the jobs offered at the bakery are entry level positions, the workers who are hired are not treated as entry level workers.

I’ve had my share of minimum wage jobs, and management at all of them wanted me to start producing as quickly as possible.  Cookies needed to be baked, ditches needed to be dug, toilets needed to be scrubbed.

pushing a mop for that old minimum wage

Training consisted of following around a more experienced employee for two or three days.  Monkey see, monkey do.  I had to get my ass in gear and sling that mop.  After all, the vomit on the floor in the Ladies Room wasn’t going to clean itself!

This changed when I moved up to more skilled labor.  Training would take place over weeks instead of days.  The paychecks were bigger, but there was a lot more to remember as well.

This is how the bakery trains the “entry level” workers they hire for minimum wage scutwork.  “New workers go through an intensive training period and a 10-month apprenticeship.”  This is simply remarkable!  The current job I have now is fairly technical, and I didn’t have any experience in the field, yet I was fairly well trained in less than a month.  To spend that kind of time on people who are going to haul bags of flour around and mix up batter is something I never heard of before.  With such long-term scrutiny being leveled against new employees, no wonder the company doesn’t have to bother with any sort of pre-hire screening process.  If their employees are the recidivist type, it is unlikely they will be able to control their darker impulses for such a long period of time.

Anyone who has ever worked in law enforcement will tell you that those with multiple felony convictions have probably made a lifestyle choice that they aren’t going to change anytime soon.  The same people keep committing crimes again and again.  Catch them red-handed and you will probably just have to arrest them again in a few years because they will go back to their old ways very soon after being released from jail.

hands on prison bars

It has been my experience that it is possible for someone to turn their life around and follow the straight and narrow if they have been convicted of only one felony.  If they get punished but still decide to turn their hand to crime then, the occasional exception notwithstanding, it is a pretty sure bet that they are without the quality of redemption.

There is some speculation in the article that other companies may follow the trail blazed by the bakery, and hire without bothering with a screening process.  I suppose it is possible, if the company in question is rich enough to have a supervisor follow around the new guys for ten months while they scrub out toilets.

A Crushing Weight

February 22nd, 2015

This news article from 2011 claims that a fully equipped police utility belt weighs up to 40 lbs.

portland police utility belt

So how much does a full suit of plate armor weigh without the helmet?  About the same.

suit of plate armor

Thinking Outside The Box

February 22nd, 2015

A long-time reader was kind enough to send me a link to this news video.  (Thank you kindly, Greg!)

The short CNN segment reports on a device offered by Alternative Ballistics.  It consists of a mounting bracket that fits over a handgun, and a ball which sits in front of the muzzle.

alternative ballistics ball and mounting bracket

alternative ballistics bracket and ball attached

The idea is that a bullet will clear the barrel, only to slam into the base of the ball.  This causes the ball to fly downrange, striking a violent criminal with less lethal force.

alternative ballistics ball with bullet imbedded in base

It reminds me of bean bag rounds used in shotguns.

beanbag shotgun round

Increase the surface area of the projectile to try and prevent penetration, and hope that it still has enough energy to discourage the bad guys when it strikes the target.

So we have a new way to turn a handgun into a less-lethal impact weapon.  Would it work?  Yeah, probably.  Don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t, although I would be worried that it would interfere with the slide and cause the gun to jam.

But that isn’t the main issue.  The very first thing that popped into my mind was “So what is wrong with all the other less-lethal options modern police officers haul around with them?”

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Thrilling Tales Of Wonder!

February 16th, 2015


(Click on all pictures for larger versions.)

Why is that guy wearing a breast implant for a hat?

breast implants

See?  Can’t be anything else!


Dammit, will you get off the phone already?


For Pete’s sake, woman!  Can’t you see that now I’m on the phone?


Cripes!  Now she’s on the phone again!


Seems that Saddam Hussein had a copy of this painting hanging on his wall.


This is for all you cat lovers out there.

All of these came from the excellent site Pulp Covers.  As many of the magazines and pulp novels featured are in the public domain, links are provided so you can download those available for free.

Read a few of the novels and stories, however, and you will discover that most of the cover art is far more interesting than the tale.


A Tale Of Woe

February 10th, 2015

Columbus, Ohio is like most college towns in that there is a high population density near the campus area.

columbus ohio short north district and ohio state university

Lots of rental property, and lots of businesses to cater to the students.  Restaurants, bars, clothing stores, video game and music stores.  Things like that.  Everything is jammed together so closely that it is possible to walk everywhere you need to be.

Dan worked as a waiter in on of those restaurants.  After the eatery closed its doors, he liked to stop in for a few hours at a bar along the way home.  He made good tips, but spent whatever was in his pocket every night.

inside a rowdy bar

One evening he downed a few too many.  Four guys offered to walk him home in order to make sure he “… got there safe.”  He thought nothing of it because he had been drinking with the same fellows off and on for the past few weeks, and he knew all of their first names if not their last.  The erosion of sound judgement that comes from too much strong drink was on full display.

When the group arrived at Dan’s rented duplex, the four almost-strangers forced him inside and beat him up enough to ensure passivity. They ransacked the place, but became enraged when they found that there weren’t piles of cash lying about for them to steal.  Burglary and simple assault turned into rape.

Yes, men do get raped.  My experiences have convinced me that it is a far more common crime than anyone realizes, just as I am convinced that it is extremely difficult for male victims of the crime to report their experience to the police.  All of the support for rape victims, either cultural of institutional, is designed to help female victims.  Males often feel stigmatized and alone.

To his great good credit, Dan went to the police.  All of his attackers were arrested, and they were sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

A happy ending?  Well, not exactly.

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In Prison, Going Stabby

January 25th, 2015

prison shank 1

prison shank 2

prison shank 3

prison shank 4

prison shank 5

I kind of like the way Number 2 looks.

My Love Life Summarized

January 22nd, 2015

my love life summarized

A Lack Of Certainty

January 16th, 2015

There are a number of people who, when they find out about my charity work, decide to attack me verbally.

angry man pointing finger

They are angry, livid even.  They don’t like the idea that I teach violent crime survivors the rudiments of armed self defense, and they are certain that they have found a flaw in my reasoning that proves all my efforts are in vain.

“So what happens if the bad guy gets the drop on you?  Huh?  What happens if they already have their gun in hand before you even know they are there?  What happens if they come up behind you in the street and shoot you in the back of the head without you even knowing they are there?  Your gun won’t do you much good then!”

gregory peck with a fgun to his head

I have encountered people presenting this argument, if you can call it that, ever since I started my charity work more than two decades ago.  My answer is always the same.

Carrying a gun doesn’t ensure that anyone will be able to escape a violent criminal attack unscathed.  In the face of unreasoning and active violence, there is no certainty that the innocent will prevail.  Instead, the only thing that a gun carried by a trained citizen will do is give the good guys a chance.

The people who raise the objection detailed above seem to think that there is no reason to bother playing the odds unless there is some sort of guarantee.  I, however, deal in reality.  The real world is messy, full of chaotic factors that are beyond the control of anyone.  You do your best and you take your chances.  My job is to make sure that innocent people have that chance.

So I don’t give guarantees.  If you want a guarantee in the real world, you better go buy a washing machine.

1901 one minute washer antique washing machine

In the light of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, there has been some discussion here in the US concerning whether or not it a good idea for journalists to arm themselves against violent extremists bent on taking their lives.  This has caused some rather overwrought hand wringing from the usual suspects who claim that having a gun just leads to more violence, or that the best defense for violence directed against the press is the fact that journalists are assumed to always be unarmed.  In fact, the only objection that makes any sense whatsoever is that a handgun would be of little use against a rifle, such as the AK-47’s used by the terrorists that attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices.


(Picture source.)

So the argument against journalists arming themselves is that they have a better chance if they continue to be helpless against rifle equipped terrorists who are willing to die as long as they kill the members of the press?

The logic escapes me.

So far as the point that handguns are little match for long guns, it seems obvious to me that not having any gun at all when someone is hell bent on shooting you is not a strategy that will enhance your chances at survival.  Better to have some chance, no matter how small, than to suffer and die with no chance at all.

High Octane Nightmare Fuel

January 9th, 2015

hornets nest formed around mask in a shed