Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Stories of Grown Men Shitting Themselves, One of Whom Is Me

You may say I'm a pooper - but I'm not the only one

It happens. It's funny. So I'm going to tell these stories.  Don't like it? Tough, well, you know.

The first story concerns my boon companion Ken. How close are we?  Josie is jealous of him. Well, not really, but I figured I'd toss that out there.

Ken was on a third date, which, in Ken's world, means they've already had nasty sex twice, and they're ready to take the next step, which is farting in front of each other.  Before the date, she came over to his apartment. He was wearing shorts and was crouching down, messing around with a large ceramic potted plant. His shorts, as shorts do when one crouches, got a little v-shaped space right above his ass crack.

Remember, he had decided that he was going to deliberately crack a rat in front of this girl to show his comfort in front of her. So - when he felt one coming on, he called her attention to the oncoming wind, made some fitting remarks, drew a breath and bore down.

Unfortunately what came out was not gas but rather about a liter of steaming pudding, that shot through the v-notch in his shorts, straight up in the air about five feet, and with the help of gravity, came down directly on his head, shoulders, and t-shirt.

They did not go on their date, and the two of them never saw each other after that day.

My story pales in comparison, and is shorter besides, but I like to tell it to demonstrate my incredible smoothness under less than optimal circumstances.

Tootsie and I were heading out to dinner one fine evening.  As we got in her car I made a similar error in judgement and instead of passing some harmless flatus, made a much more substantial contribution to society and found myself swimming, as it were, in my own waste. But rather than shrink in embarrassment and apologize for my having mistaken one state of matter for another, in my most booming baritone I affected an aristocratic British accent and announced with great authority, "Dear - shut off the car.  I've shit myself."

Although I did not have to clean shit out of my hair, I did have to shampoo the passenger seat of Tootsie's car - several times, in fact. So, no harm, but incredibly foul.

What about y'all? I know you have.  Are you brave enough to tell the tale of stinky tail?

Monday, July 23, 2012

No More Gun Posts, Ever

That's because I've created another blog specific to guns and my experiences with them, and the people who love them. It's called Peace, Love, and Ammo, and can be reached at

My inaugural post is the range report for my brand-new (to me) handgun, the CZ-82. What a beauty! Be the first to leave a comment and I'll give you a shout-out here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Where the Hell Have I Been?

Out, is where.

I meant what I said about getting out of the house and off this horrible, hateful, benighted couch.  And I'm pleased to report that I'm actually getting that done, even though it's the heat of summer and part of me wants to sit naked in front of a fan until dark.

I'm going out.

I don't have an unlimited supply of cash, so it's not like I go out and spend a bundle on, I don't know, Jimmy Chu shoes and Ping Drivers and Peruvian cocaine. But I go out and do stuff that takes up time, gets me out of the house, and maybe puts a little fresh air into my lungs.

Some days I make what's called "the thrift store loop" - the Goodwill store and the three or four dollar stores near me to look for bargains.  I fantasize about buying a chair, like a recliner, and tossing this couch onto the curb. Then I remember the first rule of buying cloth furniture from Goodwill, which is: DON'T.

Some days I head down to my local gun shop to have a chin-wag with the old boys who think that President Obama is the Antichrist. My sense of obligation dictates that I buy something once a week - like a package of paper targets, or a box of ammo, or something small. Call it rent. And usually the owner of the shop buys us all coffee from the Dunkie's right across the street, so it's all good. Although since I'm the youngest one there by an easy 10 years I usually am tapped to go get it, but that's ok too.

I like to go to the shooting range, but I can't do that all too often, because it's $25 in lane rental fees, and  another 15-20 bucks in ammo. I mean, sure, I could take my .22 and put 100 rounds downrange for six bucks, but the whole idea of a .22 rifle is to be able to shoot out a quarter at 75 yards, and the range's longest lane is 25 - and that's no fun.

And there's food shopping, and errands, and various this-n-that's around town.  All in all I find myself out perhaps three weekdays out of five, sometimes four. And whereas that's good for me on many levels, it does not leave me much time to blog.

So - be of good cheer. I'm alive and well - better in fact than it some little while - and ever with the prospect of getting better. I won't make any grand sweeping statements about how I'm done blogging; in fact I might start right back up again with the same old frequency at the drop of a hat. I'm just going to be blogging a bit less.

Blogging less, and living more.  I have to say, I like the new formula.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Most Important Rules

So I was texting with brother Lightning, at first about the most delicious concoction known to man, Skyline Chili, when he mentioned that he (largely thanks to my drivel) was actually looking for guns at the local sporting goods store. I made a recommendation as to the first firearm he should get, but as he mentioned that he'd never actually fired one before, that some discussion of the basic rules of firearm safety were in order.  So I decided to post them here, just in case anyone else would like to know them who doesn't already.  Forthwith then the most important rules, NEVER EVER EVER to be ignored.

1.  Every gun is loaded.  Every time, all the time.  Therefore:
2.  The very first thing you should do before handling a firearm is to perform a safety check.  That means, drop any magazine, open the breech and physically check for a round in the chamber.  Then and only then can you safely handle it.
3.  Even after having performed a safety check, don't ever point the gun anywhere you don't want it shooting.  ALWAYS be aware of where the barrel is pointed.
4.  Never put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to fire the weapon.
5.  Never aim the weapon at anything you are not prepared to fire on.
6.  Be aware of your state's laws regarding how to transport a firearm.  Most states let you carry it to and from the shop you bought it from and to and from a bona fide firing range. When you transport a firearm, it should be unloaded and locked, and put in the trunk or some other place you cannot get to it. Most firearms come with a trigger lock or some other locking mechanism. Use it. Always. And keep the ammo up front.  And remember, carrying a loaded magazine, even up front, is the same thing as carrying a loaded firearm in many states, which is a felony.
7. Wear eye and ear protection.  If you're at the firing range and the range master asks you if you have "eyes and ears," this is what he means.
8. Know if there is anything beyond what you're shooting at and be aware that shooting a rifle can hurt someone more than a mile away.
9. If you have children in your house, keep the firearm locked and lock the firearm in a cabinet.  It's your decision as to whether or not to teach your children about gun safety but even if you do, keep your firearms locked up. Most states view any mishaps by children with firearms as the direct responsibility of the owner of the gun.  You don't want to deal with the death of a child and being charged with that child's murder.
10. Learn everything about the firearm you're shooting, especially, if it's one you own, how to clean it.  And knowing that info, clean it regularly. Bullets are dirty; they spew gunpowder residue all over the receiver and into the barrel.  Keeping it clean keeps it functional and accurate.

Well that's ten to begin with.  Anyone with any other suggestions, feel free to comment.  And Lightning, remember: Ruger 10/22, it's a great intro to firearms: light, accurate, inexpensive,  easy to shoot, easy to clean, and comes with a lock that renders it completely impossible to shoot.  Consider it well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Foxwoods, 8 July: Cranky in her Glory, Cash Game Purgatory, Tournament Horror Story

So Friday afternoon I get a call from Auntie Jo, inviting me to Foxwoods Saturday for a day of poker and fellowship.  In keeping with my new attitude of "be less of a miserable solitary bastard," I gladly took her up on the invite. I got there uneventfully and within 5 minutes got a seat right next to Jos and Cranky at table 22. Cranky was seat 8, Jos 9, and I was seat 10, right next to the dealer.

The first dealer dealt me absolutely nothing good, and as is my wont, I told the next dealer I was expecting better things from her.

The second dealer dealt me absolutely nothing good, and as is my wont, I told the next dealer I was expecting better things from her.

See the pattern?  To say I was card-dead doesn't begin to tell the tale. I didn't have anything worthy of making a move. When I was in position and conditions were right to steal, I'd get 7-2, 8-4, just absolute shite. It was a god damned miracle that I only lost about $40 of my buy-in over four hours of cash game play.

One thing that really got under my skin was when we were chatting amongst ourselves.  I mentioned blogging and Josie said something like, "Oh, you're not going to do another post about stupid guns?" At which point seat 6 says, "hey, nothing stupid about guns!" So we got to chatting and he mentioned that he just picked up an M4 rifle, which I thought was the Viet Nam era M4 until he told me it was like the one he shot in Afghanistan (lots and lots of repetition of names because for the military, M just means "model," which is why there are ten M1 rifles, an M1 tank, etc. etc.).  Since it's an automatic weapon I asked him if he had his Class 3 license and he said, "no, I don't ever buy my guns legally.  I don't want the government knowing I have any of these."

That turned me off right away.  I gave Jo an earful of this as we drove home, but there's nothing that pisses me off more than something like that.  The firearms black market is the REASON there are so many anti-gun laws, why those laws make sense. Lookit: the more important the thing, the more critical it is to follow the rules associated with it.  With poker, people have money on the table, in some cases their entire fortunes.  The rules of poker are so rigidly adhered to because there's so much at stake. The same with guns, because despite the rhetoric, guns DO kill people - especially black-market guns.  The black market of firearms is why the bodies pile up in the streets with no one left to mourn them. It is the fucking scourge of the country and if it didn't exist, legal gun owners wouldn't need to be hounded by an anti-gun lobby who all of a sudden would have nothing to do. But guys like this, who feed the fucking black-market, make the anti-gun lobby both powerful and relevant.  And it makes life more difficult for those of us who follow the rules.  I'm grateful that he served the country, don't get me wrong, but as a civilian he's just another fucking scumbag. And he doesn't deserve anyone's respect.

Anyway, back to poker...

As we were just about to wrap up and head to the grill in the poker room for a $9 cheeseburger (which, it must be said, my Angel Josephine paid for with points - thanks J-J-J-Josie!), Cranky earned her nickname for the first time in my experience.

She had J-J, and the board was really low, like 9 high with two diamonds. She might've bet out low, or maybe min-raised, or something, but the villiain, who had Axd, stayed in with his draw.  Alas, the A came on the river, he bet out, she called, and he turned over his pretty weak-ass rivered pair.

And Cranky flipped. Well, relatively speaking.  She didn't smash anything, or start screaming, or do anything that would have gotten her thrown out of the joint, she just got...cranky. But I had never seen her even come close to losing her temper.  For someone who named herself Cranky she's one of the most even-tempered cats on the planet. Just not right then.  She said she was leaving, and by God and sonny Jesus, she got up and left.  We found her near the cashier on the way to the grill, at which time the madness had passed, as it were, and was her normal convivial self.

So we have dinner, and Josie and I head upstairs to play a $110 deep-stack tournament. We part ways with the Crankster and register.  I requested to be at Jo's table and for a miracle they allowed that.

Josie started off running roughshod over the table, including me.  Around the fourth hand I raised it up with 99. It was folded to Jos, who raised it to like 1/3 of our stacks.  As I was contemplating shoving, thinking that she might be trying to run me down, I noticed that there was this warmth in my chest - then I realized that Josie had those Manson lamps of hers staring a hole right through me.  I thought, no way is this girl bluffing with that kind of strength on her face, so I folded, and sure enough, perhaps to be kind, she turned over KK, validating my decision.

However, two hands after that I was moved to another table.  But since I already had my blind in, I hesitated getting up, intending to ask the brush if I should play this hand since I was in it already. Before I could get the words out of my mouth he looks at me like this was my first time in a casino and says, "THAT means you get up and move to a different table."

Really?  Thanks, boss.  What would I do without you and your just delightful sense of humor, which others might find acerbic and shitty but which I find NO END of entertaining?

Anyway, I move, and limp along to the break, a few minutes before which I get moved to yet another table.  Alas, Josie comes up to me having been eliminated.  I don't remember the details; perhaps she can fill in.

Last hand before the next break, my luck changed for the better.  Jo and Cranky were sweating me when I looked down to find QQ.  I shove, being somewhat short, and get a nice triple up.  And after the break, my luck and my karma both held for some time.   I chipped way up and was kind of having my way.

Until, once again, I get an all-time fucking cooler.

As BB I held Q7.  One caller, no raisers, I knuckle the table.  Flop comes QQ2.  I play it cool, so does he, check check.  5 comes on the turn.  I check again, he bets out big, like 11K.  I put him all in; I have him covered but not by much.  I figure either he folds and I win a big pot or he calls and I win a fucking  monster.  To my great delight he calls.

With Q10. He had the other god damned Q and his 10 played. And I was left with maybe four BB's.  A few hands later I shove with 77 and lose.  GG Crafty.  Again.

Could I have gotten away from that hand? I don't think so.  I would never raise a stinker like Q7 with just one caller - the risk wouldn't be worth the reward. The villain had won a pot or two with second pair, and folded a few draws on the river; I had him pegged as a subpar player. I suppose I didn't have to check the flop but if I'd bet, he'd have raised and we'd have just been in one street earlier. You guys tell me: what could I have done to avoid this fate?

Anyway, I find Josie stealing the house's money at the blackjack table and we go home.  She was richer by dint of Dame 21, but I was both poorer and bitterer.

Sometimes I hate this game, I really do. But it was fun chatting with Cranky and Josie, at least, and that's not so awfully bad.  And Rob - you would have LOVED Josie's outfit. I had to whisper in her ear that she needed to adjust herself like three times.  In hindsight, I'm wondering why the fuck I did that.

If You're Going to Prey on People's Xenophobia, at Least Spell "Foreign" Correctly

This is a really good one.  The email came from " (" [email ampersand removal mine], which was a real good tipoff right away. Secondly the to: address was "," which is just some damned weak sauce right there. But of course the email itself is what really sells it.

(Emphasis added by me. Also I took out his username in the web address to avoid this genius vanity googling and finding me)


Security Notice

PayPal  knows that you care how information about you is used and shared, and we appreciate your trust that we will do so carefully and sensibly.
However we recently noticed that your account was accessed from several foregin IP addresess.
Because information about our customers is an important part of our business we treated this matter as a possible fraudulent attempt to obtain your personal (sensitive) information.
This has resulted in the suspension of your account untill your personal information can be verified .
To begin the verification process please access your account immediately by following the secure link below: [CS: hovering over this link shows a destination of  ampoulife_dot_com/userfiles/*guys user name*/ds.php. Realllly sneaky, guy: you almost had me]

       If the verification process is successful your account will be restored in aproximatly 24 hours.

Please Note: If your account information is not updated within the next 72 hours, we will assume this account has been compromised and will be permanently suspended.
We apologize for this inconvenience, but the purpose of this verification is to ensure that your account has not been fraudulently used and to combat fraud.


Awesome, right?  Bet they're just neck-deep in paypal account data. Come on! This is 2012! Is ANYONE still falling for this nonsense?

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Next One

**SPOILER** Firearm Content.  Someone, to whose blog I will not link here, does not like when I blog about firearms.  I won't mention this person's name; don't want to embarrass him or her, but I said to this person, "Josie, I'm not gonna stop writing about them..."

It required a selection process that encompassed months of research, discussion, advice, Internet hoo-haa, forums by wacko 2nd-Amendment types, and comments by my readers. However, after said herculean effort, Team Southpaw has at last made a decision on the firearm that both Tootsie and I are comfortable with as a primary means of defending Shangri-La (also known as The Jakewood). It has been purchased, inspected, approved, and is currently waiting out its purgatorial term of 8 days, the waiting period here in Rhode Island, at my local gun shop.

Before I tell you what I have decided on, allow me to articulate the needs that this particular firearm needed to fulfill.

The winner of this RFP, as it were, needed to be:

1. Above all else, capable of stopping an intruder to the house with one shot.  I interpreted this need to actually be a conglomerate of several sub-needs:
  • It needed to be of sufficient caliber to provide stopping power;
  • It needed to be accurate enough and easy enough to shoot to score a hit the first pull of the trigger; and
  • It needed to be user-friendly enough such that a female without significant experience with firearms could hold it, aim it, and squeeze off a shot without it frightening, intimidating, or injuring her.
2. As ambidextrous as is practical, as Tootsie is a righty and I am, well, a southpaw
3. Reasonably priced
4. Chambered for an inexpensive round (a 3-dollar razor that needs 5-dollar blades is no bargain)
5. Recommended by those who've purchased one
6. Easy to break down, clean, and reassemble
7. (if it fulfills items 1-6) A weapon of some historical significance, because a lot of my interest in firearms is based on the stories one can tell

As time passed and I started focusing my research, I made two preliminary recommendations to Tootsie and sent her some data and a few YouTube videos. To my great satisfaction, and some small surprise, she came back with some thoughtful and intelligent questions, asked for some further data to determine the differences between the two semi-finalists, and really took an interest in the process. Ultimately, she came to the same conclusion that I did; the best gun for the job is...

...The CZ-82, the Czech equivalent of the Soviet Makarov pistol.

Ain't she a beauty? Here's a little history.  If you're this far in, you're probably going to be interested, but if not, just skip ahead a bit.

The Soviet Union (the "Russkies") were, at the end of World War II, still arming its officers and non-combat enlisted men with the Nagant M1895 revolver and a clumsy simplification of the Colt 1911 called the Tokarev TT-33. The revolver was a nice enough piece but practically useless as a weapon.  It was inaccurate, used ammunition that was expensive to manufacture, and had a trigger pull that, at 11 pounds, was just one lead pipe bitch-and-a-half to fire. And they never saw the TT-33 as anything but a stopgap (though ironically the weapon is still in use in several countries).

They knew they had to make a change, but instead of first designing the weapon, they developed a round they wanted to use and built the gun around it.  The round they decided upon was a 9mm x 18mm round with a pretty good powder load.
Knowledgeable readers will note its similarity to the .380ACP round - and they'd be right

The winning design was submitted by Nikolay Fyodorovich Makarov, and has become the country's standard sidearm for over sixty years, from 1951 all the way to and through the fall of the Soviet Union; in fact it is still in use by the new Russian Federation to this day.

Eventually, around 1980 or so, the Soviets determined that all of the Warsaw Pact countries would develop firearms around the 9x18 round, now named the 9mm Makarov round. The Bulgarians, Poles and East Germans developed what were essentially clones of the Russian Makarov.  But the Czechs, long known as expert machinists and gun manufacturers, developed a weapon that outclassed the Mak and all its clones, with a completely different set of guts, and they named it the CZ-82, based, like so many firearms, on the year of its release.

The CZ-82 was the class of the 9mm Makarov guns; it was easier to field-strip, offered ambidextrous magazine releases and safeties; and featured a barrel that, instead of having rifling etched into it (the spiral that makes the bullet spin as it fires), was polygonal on the outside, then twisted, so that the spin was imparted by the barrel itself.  This made for a completely smooth barrel which meant that it was incredibly easy to clean and to keep clean.

Another difference between the CZ-82 and the Makarov is that the 82 could accommodate a double-stacked magazine, so it can hold 13 rounds instead of the Mak's 8.

For some reason the US Government put the 82 on its Curio and Relic list, making it easier to import into the US.  And, like so much else coming in from the former Eastern bloc, they're dirt cheap.  The first huge batch they brought in sold out right away, and those who didn't act were made to wait.  But eventually they sent another gigantic batch to the US, and at this point anyone who wants one can certainly have one.

The one they sent me was manufactured in 1990 and yes, I know it was refinished before it was exported to the US, but it doesn't look like this thing was ever shot. The finish is near-perfect (gun people use percentages; mine was estimated as a 90%), there isn't a drop of wear on any of the insides, and the barrel literally shines when held up to the light. It's as perfect a specimen as a 22-year-old piece of machinery could ever be. The trigger pull is beautiful - soft without being mushy - in either single- or double-action (in other words, pulling the hammer back and shooting or letting the trigger do both jobs).

And I paid the princely sum of $229 for it, which is less expensive than any but the absolute shittiest of available firearms today (can anyone say Hi-Point?). It came with an extra magazine, a cleaning rod, and a holster that, unlike just about any other holster on the planet, was ambidextrous.  Bet you didn't even know holsters had hand-bias, did you?  Well they do. Think about it: You put a holster on your left hip and the gun sits backwards in it.

Ammo for it is dirty-dirt-dirt cheap: I bought a box of 50 for 11 bucks.  Compare that with the $40 I "shelled" out for the 50 round box for my Nagant revolver! That shit pays for itself pretty much right away.  Josie, if you're still reading this, I'll give you a dollar - don't nobody tell her or I'll be pissed.  The inexpensive ammo makes it easy to practice with it, which is important for Tootsie, who needs to make herself more familiar with this, as she needs to use it as well, in case some shit goes down when I'm not around.

Just as important as anything else, nobody who owns one and gave an opinion on it had a single harsh word to say.  Praise for the gun was universal.

Anyway, there you go.  A quick shout-out to Duggle Bogey, whose glowing review of his Makarov led me down the road to the CZ-82.  Thanks, brother Duggle!

History Friday: Bad Stuff 'Bout the Sox*

The Boston Red Sox, to be sure, have had a chequered past. In fact, their present ain't exactly smooth either, but one post at a time. The point is this: The Sox have enough triumph and tragedy in the long tale that is their history without mistake, myth, and outright lie embellishing things.

Forthwith then two of the more prominent stories about the Red Sox, how close they are to the truth, and where applicable the true story.


Babe Ruth, who was at the time a good Red Sox pitcher, was sold to the New York Yankees after the 1918 World Series for a pittance so that the then-owner of the team, Harry Frazee, could finance a Broadway play called No No Nanette. At the time neither Frazee, nor anyone else for that matter, knew of his prowess with the bat.

STATUS: Almost completely false. 

Where to begin? First of all, yes, Frazee did in fact sell the rights to Ruth. And that's where truth and falsehood diverge. Frazee sold Ruth after the 1919 season, primarily for the pragmatic reason that he was the last good player on a team that was a pale shadow of the championship teams that won four World Series in the previous six years. The 1919 squad was old and mediocre besides.

Compunding matters was the fact that Ruth himself was hardly an ideal teammate. He had gained weight, was insolent to his teammates and his manager, and generally behaved, in the words of his teammate Harry Hooper, like "a big overgrown ape." So Frazee sold his rights to bring some money into the team, get rid of a clubhouse cancer, and hopefully retool.

The Red Sox knew full well, by the way, that he was capable of slugging; in the 1919 season, his last with the Sox, he clubbed 29 home runs, which at the time was the all-time record, while playing every fifth day as a pitcher.

And the "pittance" that the Yankees paid for Ruth? They paid $100,000 for the big lug; by way of comparison, Frazee bought the entire team, including Fenway Park, for $400,000 just two years earlier, in 1917. A hundred grand for one player was a jaw-dropping sum of money, and editorials in both Boston and New York papers sniffed that while Ruth was undeniably a great player, $100,000 was too much to pay for any one player.

Finally, the Ruth transaction had nothing to do with any play; Frazee put up his money for No No Nanette in 1925, six years after he sold Ruth, and by which time he had already sold the Red Sox.

Who can be blamed for these blatant untruths entrenching themselves into the public consciousness? A Boston-based reporter named Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote a book called The Curse of the Bambino, whose poor research and general curmudgeonliness led to the errors. That plus his greatest joy in life seems to be pointing out the miseries of the Red Sox and its players.


Long-time owner Tom Yawkey was a kindly old man, an avuncular owner who loved the Sox and wanted a championship desperately.

STATUS: Entirely false.

Yawkey was for most of his tenure as owner of the Red Sox an absentee owner, who cared more about giving jobs to his drinking buddies and keeping black ballplayers off his team than winning. To that end the missteps he made were as numerous as they were incredibly stupid.

For example, Yawkey brought in shortstop Joe Cronin, who was a decent enough player but well past his prime, and because he got along with Yawkey he became the Sox' player-manager, playing for years beyond when he should have. In 1939 the aging Cronin made 32 errors in the infield yet insisted on keeping himself installed as the Sox' starting shortstop. In fact he convinced Yawkey to sell the rights to an up-and-coming shortstop in the farm system because Cronin selfishly wanted to keep playing.  The name of the young up-and-comer? Pee Wee Reese, who made the Hall of Fame after having won seven pennants with the Brooklyn Dodgers and appearing in ten All-Star games.

Yawkey was also one of the most racist men to have ever been associated with Major League Baseball. For years he resisted promoting any of the black players in the Red Sox farm system or for that matter anywhere in baseball.

In 1945, a Boston city councilor named Isadore Muchnick threatened Yawkey with revoking the Sox' license to play on Sundays unless he auditioned some black ballplayers. So shortly after the start of the 1945 season the Sox brought in three black players for a reluctant tryout. Yawkey kept them off the field for two days, citing the recent death of President Franklin Roosevelt; they weren't allowed on the field until April 16th of that year.  When they finally were allowed to take the field, they took part in a very brief tryout. It ended earlier than usual when Yawkey, sitting in the stands, shouted (and please forgive the crudity) "Get those niggers off the field!"

One of those three players was named Jackie Robinson, who was taking part in his very first Major League tryout, and whose rights the Red Sox could have easily obtained.

Robinson was not the only future Hall-of-Famer who was denied a shot with the team because he was black. In 1948 a young black player was playing for the Birmingham (AL) Black Barons, the Negro League analog of the Birmingham Barons, a Red Sox-affiliated farm team. The Black Barons shared a field with the Barons, and because of this arrangement the Red Sox had right of first refusal of all the Black Barons players. This player was so good that it was almost universally agreed that he would catch on with a Big League team, but the Red Sox passed simply because he was black.  The player's name? Willie Mays.

Yes, these times are long since past, but It's not difficult to imagine how the fate of the Red Sox would have changed if Yawkey was perhaps a clearer thinker. Instead of decades of futility, it's not difficult to imagine how much better the Sox would have been if, in addition to Ted Williams in left, they had Mays patrolling center field, Reese at short and Robinson at first. But there was just no way that was going to happen under Yawkey's watch.

To be fair, Yawkey was hardly an island of racism in an otherwise understanding front office. For example, a reporter once asked Red Sox GM (and Yawkey drinking buddy) Pinky Huggins why the team wasn't promoting any of its black minor leaguers; Huggins called the reporter a "nigger lover." It would be another 11 years until the Sox broke the color barrier, the very last team to do so, when it promoted Pumpsie Green in 1959 – and Green, it hardly needs to be said, was no Willie Mays.

That's the influence of Tom Yawkey, the "kindly" and benevolent owner of the Boston Red Sox, who named the street in front of Fenway's front door after him.
*Five points and a shout-out to anyone who can tell me where I got the title for this post.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Range Report: Mosin-Nagant 9130 Rifle

Two very different firearms, two very different reports. Since we've last discussed matters such as these, I've had the opportunity to fire both my Mosin-Nagant 9130 rifle and my Nagant M1895 revolver (after a three-state quest for ammunition finally succeeded). Today's post, we'll discuss the rifle.

Some time last week I went up to my pal M's house up in East Overshoe, NH, and we compared and contrasted my 9130 with M's 8mm Mauser Model 98.  Both of these rifles shot a roughly similar round, and each had a good story attached to it, but that's about the end of the similarities.

M's 8mm Mauser

My 9130


M-N 9130: Saw military service in WWII. Killed Nazis. Actual honest-to-no-god Nazis. After war ended, packed with grease and stored for decades in wooden crates.  Exported to US. Inspected and stamped with US data. Purchased by Crafty Southpaw.

Mauser 98: A trophy of war brought back from Viet Nam by M's father, an Army Lt. Colonel. Captured by the Russians after conquest of Germany by the tens of thousands, they stripped Mausers to the component level (stock, barrel, receiver, trigger, bolt, etc etc etc) and sent them to North Viet Nam, where they were used as spare parts and in this case, pieced back together into working rifles.  Every piece of a firearm is stamped with a serial number, and all the numbers on M's Mauser are gloriously mismatched. I think that's a great story, maybe even better than owning a weapon that killed actual Nazis. At least it's a draw.


Between the Mauser and the Mosin, I think the Mauser is the slightly better design. Both weapons are simple, easy to field-strip, and reliable.  Both models are versatile enough to spawn a carbine model and a sniper model. But the Mauser wins on the details: Though I like the 9130's trigger pull, I prefer the Mauser's in-stock magazine, its sights and its safety. Also I have to give kudos to the bayonet: The 9130 is just a stick of metal in a cross shape, and meant to stay on the rifle, whereas the Mauser's bayonet can be detatched and used as a decent combat or survival knife. 

Just better design, plain and simple. Mauser wins this one.


Here finally we have a clear winner: 8mm Mauser rounds (7.92x57, technically) can run upwards of $.75/round, which makes firing a Mauser an expensive proposition if you and your buddies want to engage in any serious shoot-em-uppery. But the Mosin-Nagant uses unique ammo, 7.62x54r (rimmed), that was hoarded and stored with the same zeal as the weapons themselves.  As a result if you want to buy all the ammo you'll ever ever need in one transaction, you can buy 880 rounds packed in two spam cans which in turn are packed in a wooden crate with Cyrillic writing all over it for about $145, which comes to a staggeringly low $.17 per round. The gigantic advantage goes to the 9130.


A good test of accuracy for either weapon would be to shoot at targets from 100 yards at minimum.  We didn't have nearly that kind of space but we made do with what space we had, which was about 45 yards.  At that range of course you'd expect both weapons to be pretty dead-on and they both were.  Eacch weapon made quick work of gallon jugs filled with water from that distance, and this was without even sighting in my 9130, which hadn't been shot for I'm guessing at least 65 years. Another draw, but based on insufficient data.


M-N 9130: Simply put, the 9130 is an absolute beast of a thing, with kickback that would break your collarbone if you held it wrong.  As is after firing less than a dozen rounds I needed to put it down, as my arm was falling off  (and, like an idiot, I forgot my ear protection - ears rung for two days).

Mauser 98: Every inch as imposing a weapon as the Mosin, but was a joy to fire comparatively speaking.  The force transmitted to the shoulder was easily half that of its Russian counterpart. It fires a nearly identical round as the 9130, remember, but it's just an easier weapon to fire. Mauser wins again.


Both rifles are good at what they do, and neither infantry had a particular advantage or disadvantage by using one model or the other. The Mauser is the better rifle by a handful of metrics but a Mauser in good condition, properly imported, refinished, with matching numbers is easily $300-500. Whereas a similarly imported and refinished 9130 can be had for $89, and a really good one with a good looking stock and a nice clean barrel runs you no more than $129. Either way, you could for example use either of these to go hunting without any shame. I like the Mauser better but not enough to justify the added expense of shooting it.  OTOH, these are both curios, antiques.  They'll be shot twice a year, maybe taken hunting a couple times, and rubbed with a cloth diaper for the rest of the year; really, who's going to take this beast to the range every week? 

Get the 9130. It's a $100 rifle that can take down an elk. It should be part of everyone's military surplus collection anyway. Then if you want, get a Mauser as well.  

NEXT WEEK: The M1895 Revolver gets put through its paces.