Archive for July, 2017
31 Jul 2017

Jeanne Moreau, 23 January 1928 — 31 July 2017

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from “Jules and Jim” (1962).

Guardian obituary

31 Jul 2017

Another Article on Paris Theodore and the ASP

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Guns America:

The story of the ASP reads like a Ludlum or Flynn novel. In 1966, a young Paris Theodore founded a custom holster company known as Seventrees Ltd. Located in New York City, on West 39th Street, Seventrees designed and produced “modern” concealment holsters for professionals. The company’s clientele ranged from NYPD detectives to “spooks” from a variety of countries. Documents show that Seventrees was awarded several contracts from a variety of U.S. agencies including an order for handcuff cases from the United States Secret Service.

The holster business, while both legitimate and profitable, was only part of the story. Located in the back room behind a vault door, Seventrees’ sister company, Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP), was a clandestine laboratory that worked with various government organizations designing and producing specialized weapons. In fact, Theodore designed an “experimental submachine gun,” complete with a shoulder holster, a belt holster, and a unique sight.

However, the most lasting project from Armament Systems and Procedures was the ASP pistol. According to Theodore, the ASP was developed on behalf of a government agency who had a need for a concealable handgun chambered in a “major caliber.” During the early development, numerous 1911s, Commanders, and the Browning P-35 Hi Power were cut down and reconfigured. In each case, the end result was found lacking.

The ASP was extremely compact, with rounded edges and an intriguing round-counter window cut into the grip panels.
Solid Foundation

Theodore finally settled on the Smith & Wesson Model 39 as the base platform for the ASP. The Model 39 was introduced in 1954 to compete in the U.S. Army service pistol trials and was offered to the commercial market in 1955. The Model 39 featured an aluminum frame, 4-inch barrel, and a double-action, fire control system. It was chambered in 9mm with an eight-round magazine capacity. The most notable feature of the Model 39 was the one-piece, deeply curved back strap. To this day, the 39 fits my hand better than any pistol I have ever owned.

The trigger guard of the ASP was recut and welded to have a forward recurve, something that came strongly into vogue later in the 1980s.

The ASP was the result of some 212 modifications on the stock Model 39. The most dramatic modification was the reduction in the size of both the slide and frame. The slide and barrel were shortened by ¾ inch while the butt of the frame was reduced by 9/16 of an inch. Both reductions required extensive internal modifications with regard to the barrel bushing, recoil spring and guide, the mainspring and back strap assembly. To lighten the slide, the muzzle end was tapered. To further reduce the size, the hammer spur was removed and the thumb safety was shaved. Each pistol came with three reduced-size magazines that featured a patented finger rest base plate.

One striking feature of the ASP was the uniquely shaped trigger guard. The standard trigger guard was cut and a hooked extension was heli-arc welded onto the pistol using a comparable alloy. The design was patented as a “forefinger pocket” and designed to aid in a finger forward, two hand grip. The forward half of the trigger guard was reduced in width by 50% to allow improved access. This reduction was tailored for either right- or left-handed shooters.

The ASP’s sighting system was revolutionary. Theodore’s patented sight, called the Guttersnipe, consisted of a machined block of steel with a tapered channel that ran longitudinally. The sides and bottom of the sight channel were painted yellow for high visibility. There was no front sight. The Guttersnipe required the shooter to subconsciously balance the yellow panels on the sides and bottom of the channel to align the ASP properly. In practice, the Guttersnipe was extremely fast to acquire and was “battle” accurate.

Theodore understood that it was rare for anyone involved in a violent encounter to keep track of the number of rounds that were expended. To that end, he cut a large witness window in both sides of the magazines and equipped the ASP with Plexiglas stocks. This allowed the user to visually observe how many rounds were in the magazine. It also added one more exotic touch to the pistol.

The entire design of the ASP was focused on the rapidly changing dynamic in a moving gunfight. To quote Theodore in a Combat Handguns article, “Our mission was to create a major-calibre weapon which was readily concealable yet could be brought into action with “the speed of an impulse.” That was pretty shocking in 1970! Every edge was radiused and it was void of any textured gripping surfaces. Instead, the shape of the grip and trigger guard caused the pistol to seat in the hand during a panic draw.

RTWT

2006 Paris Theodore obituary

ASP 2000 A Tribute to Paris Theodore

31 Jul 2017

New York, 1900

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colorized

31 Jul 2017

“When You Get Tired of Social Justice”

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30 Jul 2017

New Version

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30 Jul 2017

A Pleasure to Read

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Michael Thau comes to Donald Trump’s defense, in the process totally demolishing that exquisite twit Rod Dreher.

Last week, the American Conservative published a headline that, with the addition of a little profanity, would fit right in on the bathroom wall of some Leftist dive: “Donald Trump, Treacherous Loon.” But the piece isn’t by an antifa graffiti artist seeking mainstream attention; its author is one of the site’s senior editors, Rod Dreher.

If you haven’t yet heard of Dreher or his recent book, The Benedict Option, it’s definitely not his fault. You probably never visit The American Conservative, where he’s used his perch as senior editor to write 17 posts plugging the book in the last four weeks alone. That’s on top of the thousands upon thousands of words he’s written about the book since its publication in March.

For those unfamiliar with his work, Dreher became prominent in the early 2000s as a writer for National Review. His most famous NR piece begins, “One day this summer, I told a colleague I had to leave early to pick up my weekly fresh vegetables from the organic food co-op to which my wife and I belong.”

Legions of men, in Dreher’s circumstances, have courageously told their wives that buying food labeled “organic” is a waste of both time and money; legions more have capitulated in silence. But it takes a truly self-absorbed man to publicly rationalize his capitulation into a heretofore undetected strain of conservative thought; and a hopelessly twee one to label it “crunchy conservativism.” Monetization quickly followed rationalization, and a book with a title as lengthy as it is nauseating was born: Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party).

Besides sucking up to liberal elites, Dreher also showed his flair for self-promotion in his NR days. He got them to run, as lone dissenter Jonah Goldberg called it, “a blog entirely dedicated to [his book], in which most of the contributors seem committed to finding new and exciting ways to illustrate the genius of the book and the insights of its author.” …

Dreher’s penchant for turning self-absorption into self-promotion reached almost artistic levels in a later essay explaining his conversion from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy. His reason involves the gravest of matters: disillusionment by the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals. But, his essay reads like Dostoyevsky’s caricature of Turgenev’s account of a ship wreck. …

When Dreher summarizes his remarks, the actual victims of abuse get pushed aside to make room for the true subject of interest: “I have talked about how the Church itself failed me in all this . . .” Dreher’s mania for self-promotion also manifests itself; he refers to his book twice; indeed, the very title of this allegedly serious piece about religious depravity and conversion is, almost unbelievably, “Crunchy Con’s Conversion Crisis.” He’s even so immodest as to brag of his modesty: “you won’t see me ballyhoo my conversion to Orthodoxy as I did with my conversion to Catholicism.” Nope, no ballyhooing here at all. And the above is just a taste of the unseemly narcissism exuded by Dreher’s story.

So, as you can probably tell, Dreher isn’t just a simple Christian. Christianity is an essential part of his commercial brand and, hence, the Eucharist isn’t the only kind of bread the Lord provides. Thus, his self-absorption notwithstanding, it’s surprising to hear a man who lauds the “Amish example of forgiveness and detachment from anger” call the president a treacherous loon. My first thought was that maybe hurling abuse is, like vulgar egotism, a habit for which he hasn’t yet managed to follow Christ’s example and break. So, I searched for some headlines about President Obama that were equally nasty. But, the closest I could find was “Obama Disses Chaput,” which only the most fanatical admirer of both Obama and the Archbishop would find at all offensive.

So, what had Donald Trump done to deserve the appellation of “treacherous loon”? Surely, he must have exceeded Obama’s many transgressions. Had Trump sold guns to Mexican drug lords? Had he used the IRS to target his enemies? Did he secretly send billions of dollars in cash to Iran? Perhaps, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he lost track of $6 billion in government money or used a charitable organization as a pay-for-play service.

No, in fact, the president hadn’t done anything. Dreher’s crude insult had nothing to do with Trump’s actions. The fuss was, rather, about something he said; namely, that if he knew Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia probe, he wouldn’t have appointed him attorney general.

Now, at worst, the president’s remark is a perfect example of Michael Kinsley’s famous definition: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

RTWT

30 Jul 2017

Libertarian Game of Thrones

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30 Jul 2017

Pie Chart of World’s Most Spoken Languages

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29 Jul 2017

Shame!

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Game of Throne characters exploit environmentalist superstition to sell a home sparkling water device in this Australian ad.

Bottled water makers sued!

HT: Karen L. Myers.

29 Jul 2017

In a Hurry

29 Jul 2017

Not Created Equal

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Marines at Khe Sanh.

Captain Katie Petronio, in the July 2012 Marine Corps Gazette, went on the record opposing the opening of the Infantry Officers Course (IOC) to women. Her comments seem particularly applicable in the aftermath of the president’s announcement of a ban on transgenders serving in the military.

I would ask everyone to step back and ask themselves, does this integration solely benefit the individual or the Marine Corps as a whole, as every leader’s focus should be on the needs of the institution and the Nation, not the individual?

Which leads one to really wonder, what is the benefit of this potential change? The Marine Corps is not in a shortage of willing and capable young male second lieutenants who would gladly take on the role of infantry officers. In fact we have men fighting to be assigned to the coveted position of 0302. In 2011, 30 percent of graduating TBS lieutenants listed infantry in their top three requested MOSs. Of those 30 percent, only 47 percent were given the MOS. On the other hand, perhaps this integration is an effort to remove the glass ceiling that some observers feel exists for women when it comes to promotions to general officer ranks. Opening combat arms MOSs, particularly the infantry, such observers argue, allows women to gain the necessary exposure of leading Marines in combat, which will then arguably increase the chances for female Marines serving in strategic leadership assignments. As stated above, I have full faith that female Marines can successfully serve in just about every MOS aside from the infantry. Even if a female can meet the short-term physical, mental, and moral leadership requirements of an infantry officer, by the time that she is eligible to serve in a strategic leadership position, at the 20-year mark or beyond, there is a miniscule probability that she’ll be physically capable of serving at all. Again, it becomes a question of longevity. …

[W]hat are the Marine Corps standards, particularly physical fitness standards, based on—performance and capability or equality? We abide by numerous discriminators, such as height and weight standards. As multiple Marine Corps Gazette articles have highlighted, Marines who can run first-class physical fitness tests and who have superior MOS proficiency are separated from the Service if they do not meet the Marine Corps’ height and weight standards. Further, tall Marines are restricted from flying specific platforms, and color blind Marines are faced with similar restrictions. We recognize differences in mental capabilities of Marines when we administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and use the results to eliminate/open specific fields. These standards are designed to ensure safety, quality, and the opportunity to be placed in a field in which one can sustain and succeed.

Which once again leads me, as a ground combat-experienced female Marine Corps officer, to ask, what are we trying to accomplish by attempting to fully integrate women into the infantry? For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force. In the end, for DACOWITS and any other individual or organization looking to increase opportunities for female Marines, I applaud your efforts and say thank you. However, for the long-term health of our female Marines, the Marine Corps, and U.S. national security, steer clear of the Marine infantry community when calling for more opportunities for females. Let’s embrace our differences to further hone in on the Corps’ success instead of dismantling who we are to achieve a political agenda. Regardless of the outcome, we will be “Semper Fidelis” and remain focused on our mission to protect and defend the United States of America.

29 Jul 2017

Michelangelo’s Grocery List

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Open Culture:

Living in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Italian High Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangelo… had only to send assistants off to market to bring back what he needed. Though vanishingly few of this prolific creator’s papers survive today, we do happen to have a few of the grocery lists he sent with them, like that which you see above.

John Updike once wrote that “excellence in the great things is built upon excellence in the small,” and the observation holds up ideally when we think about Michelangelo’s numerous great achievements — Pietà, David, The Last Judgment, St. Peter’s Basilica — in comparison to this humble yet striking rundown of ingredients for a meal, of the same basic kind each of us scrawl out regularly. But when Michelangelo scrawled, he scrawled with both a craftsman’s practical precision and an artist’s evocative flair. “Because the servant he was sending to market was illiterate,” writes the Oregonian‘s Steve Duin in a review of a Seattle Art Museum show, “Michelangelo illustrated the shopping lists — a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and ‘a small quarter of a rough wine’ — with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.” As we can see, the true Renaissance Man didn’t just pursue a variety of interests, but applied his mastery equally to tasks exceptional and mundane. Which, of course, renders the mundane exceptional.

28 Jul 2017

PC Today

28 Jul 2017

How Many Discreet Ways Can You Imply “Rich” & “Thin”?

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Harvard Magazine is their equivalent of the Yale Alumni Magazine. All the Ivy Alumni Mags are actually currently in cahoots and they run the same Personal Ads.

Mallory Ortberg has also noticed just how incredibly pretentious these Personal Ads can be.

Every time I visit Nicole’s house I get to read the personals section of Harvard Magazine, a feature that an anonymous Washington Post commenter called “vulgar” in 1987. It is the highlight of my year, in no small part because every single advertiser feels like it is VERY URGENT to stress exactly how rich and thin they are. …

And the further you get into the weeds of the personals, the more frenzied the synonyms get, because everyone is concerned with making ABSOLUTELY SURE that you are picking up what they are putting down, but they are also (belatedly and barely) concerned about seeming judgmental or close-minded, so they try to speak in the world’s most breakable code.

“Trim widow – fit, energetic, health-conscious, Grace-Kelly-like, sylvan, sylphlike, Hepburnesque (Audrey), could probably fit through two fence slats, svelte, as heavy as fifteen Vogues stacked together, could be cast as a tree nymph in a play about Greek mythology, I’m hiking right now actually, could fit into Julian Casablancas’ from the Strokes’ jeans circa 2002 – seeks Harvard grad who has been on an airplane with a staircase and was allowed to climb that staircase, never has to wear the loaner jacket they keep behind the hostess podium at Per Se, has the same last name as someone from the 1600s, wouldn’t look out of place if for some reason the Reagan Administration took over tomorrow due to a rift in the space-time continuum, has had reason to correct someone’s pronunciation of the word “veldt,” has completed at least two lecture tours outside of Continental Europe, can see the ocean right now from his office, has had bottles of wine opened with a sword for him more than three times, could be cast as a background character in an Agatha Christie adaptation without needing to make significant wardrobe alterations.”

“yacht-adjacent”

“You: Could get up to use the business-class lavatory without being questioned by a flight attendant.”

“Tired of being on symphony committee boards”

“You: have been recently aghast”

“Excellent at dressage on a regular-sized horse but could easily compete riding a much smaller animal, like a sheep, if the situation called for it”

“You enjoy long walks from cars to helicopters, or from helicopters to shipyards”

“The number of pages in my last prenuptial agreement were greater than my current bodyweight in imperial pounds”

“You: Could easily hike to the elevation above sea level, in feet, that corresponds to your checking account’s daily limit.”

“gamine” …

“Me: finds the seats in first class are too wide and have taken to traveling with a life-sized porcelain doll to fill the space”

“has strong opinions about rainscald”

“You: are often shown advertisements for Patek Philippe watches without having to go out of your way to see them”

“don’t have gout but could probably get it in a week if you wanted to”

“You recently executive produced a documentary about berries or manatees or watersheds”

“Your grandfather: The number of research libraries that share his last name is greater than zero.”

“recently remodeled something”

“I could be cast as a proficient martial artist in a Joss Whedon franchise, if I were familiar with the work of Joss Whedon, which I am not”

“You: Have never been inside of a Tommy Bahamas”

HT: Glenn Reynolds.

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