Aug 20, 2014

Now is the time...

It seems like the insanity of last year has finally calmed down. If you don't have an AR-pattern rifle and want one, now is the time.

You can buy a major-brand rifle for $800 (Colt, S&W) at friggin' Walmart.

Decent brass-cased ammo is running back in the $330-350/case range. Steel-cased is under $250/1000.

If you have an hour and a couple tools, you can build a complete entry-level rifle for $500:

PSA is running a "blemished" lower sale for $70. A lower parts kit is $50. M4 stock kit is $40. A middy stainless upper is $200, a bolt group is $100, and a charging handle is $20. Bam. $480.

Add either an inexpensive fixed-rear iron sight or a budget optic of preference and you're still under $600.

$250 will buy you a thousand rounds of blasting ammo.

$100 will buy you ten 30-round magazines.

Under a thousand dollars for a complete AR setup. Top of the line? Nope. Reliable? Should be. If you don't want to build it, or want the comfort of a warranty, it's real tough to beat this Colt 6720 price. Ditto the above, spend a couple hundred on a case of ammo and another hundred on a handful of magazines. Add an optic if you like, but you don't have to.

Aug 18, 2014

Accidentally recorded...

Half-watching CNN this morning to keep an ear on Ferguson happenings, and it is interspersed with other items of "news".

Breathless newsreader is aghast that Germany recorded calls placed by SecStates Kerry and Clinton. Germany is saying it was an accident. (Or at least it was an accident that they were caught doing it.)

In other news, I have a great price on a vintage bridge in the NY Metro area...

Aug 17, 2014


I've been pondering this tonight as I've occasionally clicked over to CNN to see what's going on in Ferguson - I'm nowhere near there but it's a fair barometer of what's going on in the minds of people.

And what I keep coming back to is this:

What's the difference between the questionable/intimidating actions of the various agencies in Ferguson MO and the questionable/intimidating actions of the various agencies in Bunkerville, NV in March of this year?

The population is angry.

In Ferguson, they're risking arrest (and a bit of tear gas) and staying out past a government-ordered curfew. There was a temporary no-fly (under 5,000 feet) the other night after a helicopter took some ground fire... All this as a result of a questionable police-involved shooting.

In Nevada, citizens were bearing arms against the perception of an overreaching government agency.

In both cases, we're not getting the full story - and probably never will.

But it's got me thinking about what the difference is, if any.

Aug 15, 2014

Layers on layers...

If the click-to-embiggen doesn't work, that caption reads, "[...] Pictured above, a bullet is loaded into an assault rifle."


Aug 12, 2014

Crème Brûlée

In the oven, right now.

I started with the recipe from Pioneer Woman. I've made it twice and it's just more than I want. Ten eggs and a quart of cream is a LOT of crème. It's also a hair sweeter than I'd prefer.

So I adjusted as follows:
1 pint heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1-2 tablespoons good bourbon

Preheat the oven to 325F. Put a kettle of water on low to warm up.

Put the cream, vanilla caviar, and bean hulls into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly.
Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until it is a pale yellow consistency - this is key. PALE yellow.
Whisk the bourbon into the egg mixture.
Strain the cream through a sieve into a large (1qt) measuring cup or bowl.

Now the tricky part, and this is even more important than the color of the eggs and sugar:
With your mixer on medium, TRICKLE the hot cream down the side of the bowl into the egg mix. If you add it too fast, you're going to cook the eggs and end up with sweet scrambled eggs. Once you've tempered the eggs with about half of the cream (which should take one to two minutes), you can add the remainder a little faster.

Put your ramekins (this should make 4-5 6oz ramekins) in a baking dish with a towel underneath them.
Pour the egg mix into the ramekins evenly. Pour hot water in the dish to about halfway up the ramekins.

Bake at 325F for about 30-35 minutes, until just set.

Remove from the oven and the dish. Cool on a rack about 30 minutes, then cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours until completely firm.

When it's time to enjoy:
Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top, then torch it 'til it's brûlèe'd to your taste.