Rest in Peace, Connie du Toit

via Traction Control: Connie du Toit, beloved wife of Kim du Toit, passed away this afternoon.

Readers may recall Kim’s blog introduced me to the concept and importance of the American Rifleman, and inspired me to travel more than a thousand miles to Boomershoot when I’d never shot a rifle before. He changed the course of my life. Precision shooting, the Nation of Riflemen, RKBA blogging — the whole thing goes back to those days in 2005. Phil and I met shooting next to Kim and his son, which led to Phil inviting me to join the RNS blogging crew. Without Kim I’d never have met Phil, Dave from Michigan, Scott, Rolf, Bob and Kenda, Joe Huffman, Barron and Janelle, and so many other friends in this wonderful hobby — and also Kim’s wife Connie.

I never met Connie in person, but even the few conversations we had showcased her wit, warmth, and deeply-held concern for the Republic, our society, and its values; clear above all from the first moment to the last was the world-class mind on the other end of the phone. Truly a diamond of the first water, and now she is gone. The thoughts and prayers of all of us at RNS go out to Kim and family.

Posted in Heroes, Comrades and Brothers | 3 Comments

RNS Quote of The Day, 01/02/17 — Vice Edition

(He had done, he liked to say, all the vices.)

Larissa MacFarquhar, describing philosopher Bernard Williams in her endlessly-delightful New Yorker article on the late Derek Parfit, “How to Be Good.”

I find her prose, BTW, to be both astonishing and intimidating in its near-perfection. Full quote below the jump.

h/t Marginal Revolution, whose post on Parfit’s passing includes lotsa great links you should read.

Continue reading

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Time Travel: Berlin, 1900

I found this video, film of 1900 Berlin colorized and slowed to normal speed, tremendously affecting. The facial expressions did it. Those ghosts are all too real.



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Stephen Hsu and Some Guy Who Played Bongos

To some of us, this photo has the same emotional resonance as the one of Bill Clinton shaking JFK’s hand had to a very different tribe:

I still try to reread Feynman’s QED every year. You should too.


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Specialty Pistol on 6mmBR

Always nice to see more specialty pistols exposure, and 6mmbr sure does have pretty pictures:

XP-100 on custom aluminum frame. And on the C&J Convertible Rest — Hot Dog!

Cayle’s Custom 22BR Prairie Dog Pistol

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“Reading was not fashionable in the eighteen-fifties”

A delightful book worth seeking out is The Fantastic City by Amelia Ransome Neville, (link to free ebook, good luck on finding a hard copy) primarily for its humanizing nuggets of golden-state history (“Beckwourth, the explorer, lately returned from the Pacific Coast, sat near us and always ordered ‘apple pie’ for dessert”). But they’d be dull lumps indeed without her droll wit and often startlingly modern prose, viz:












“There were female freaks called ‘blue-stockings’….”

In a 19th-century memoir?



Ever pick up a book, thumb it open, and become captured by a single phrase? That one did it for me.

That, kids, is what you get when the writer’s in the later stage of life, a time of no fucks given, but perhaps many regrets.

Oh yes, regrets: “I am aware in this year of grace…”:








Which then segues into the passage quoted in this post’s title, and initially excerpted above. Gives the whole excerpt another level of meaning, don’t it? And this memoir of San Francisco was indeed completed in the certainly quite literate Ms. Neville’s later stage of life. Writing in the 1920s, her voice is far from that of an 1850s jeune fille, but captures the requisite innocence nonetheless.

I came to this book via a reference to the enigmatic Blind Boss of San Francisco, whose Ravenswood estate lies but a few miles away from mine, and was the source of not a few of the hall trees that furnish our home. Fun stuff.

This is Ms. Neville (Heya Phil, y’all know the Rickards?):














I’m convinced tables of contents were once intended as marketing tools. If you’re not yet convinced this book’s worth perusing, well, check out the contents:















A belated Merry Christmas, everybody, and do let us know what lit’r’y treasures, or other things worth sharing, that you might have come across during our sort-of-hiatus.

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Well That’s Interesting

Walter Russell Mead neatly catches the irony that, just as Obama handed the Palestinians a resounding political victory, a sober look at the situation suggests that the Palestinians have not been this weak, this divided, or this helpless in many decades.

In like manner, the Iranian regime, flush with its success in Aleppo, is increasingly riven.  Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has had two medical events in the past 10 days, and the scrambling for the succession has resumed….

What would President Trump do if Khamenei passed from the scene, and millions of Iranians took to the streets again?  The president-elect has said he’s not a great enthusiast of regime change, but it’s hard to imagine he’d abandon the Iranians as Obama did seven years ago.

–Michael Ledeen, “Bye-Bye Obama.”

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It’s been a while

Yeah, so I guess I owe an explanation.

The new job is going well, productivity wise and project coolness wise, but damn, the boss and I are not getting along for the past couple weeks and I’m not sure how long we’re going to be able to keep it together. I don’t like going in in the morning and when I’m leave for the day I have to recharge my attitude so that I’m not a prick to everyone I come across.

As the saying goes “The struggle is real.”

Sorry y’all, but I walked blindly into a den of stress junkies. I’m about solutions, and I have solutions to that which ills the shop, but not the power to enact them. I’m working on it, but in the mean time, I’m an insufferably rude asshole.

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So, two weeks off from the blog. Yeah, so, now that work is slowing down a bit as I get caught up, the wife has stated that I need to do some repairs on the home front. Spending time sitting at the computer is not making her happy, so I stayed away.

In other news, I spent a few days doing some installation work at a shop that I cannot show you the pics I took just yet because they’re not open yet. The shop is kind of like Jurassic Park, because no expense was spared and there is live foliage. However, on their opening weekend, you’ll get to see the inside and the basic metalwork I did.

In pics, I recently spent a decent amount of time manufacturing these beer tap tops for the chain.


One of my fellow employees attaches the wooden parts and tightens them together after these aluminum tops cool off. Yes, that’s my hood.

Lastly, this last weekend was the party for my brother’s 40th b-day. I waited until the last minute to find his gift because I wanted something funky and spontaneous. My plan worked at the first garage sale I went to that morning, and here is Bob with his mooseknuckle.


He loved it and I’ve since gotten a dozen pics of other party goers posing with it.

PS: I’m in my last week of product testing and Ill have a review of an awesome new product next Monday.

Posted in Kewel!, Life in the Atomic Age | 2 Comments

Catching Up

I’m still in the process of getting the metal shop I hope to inherit caught up. And still putting in 60+ hour weeks to do so.

One of the projects I was looking forward to getting at was a trellis for a local apartment complex. The specs are 14ft tall, 16ft wide and 4ft deep. The uprights were completed before my first day and shipped out for installation on my first day.

Sadly, when I went to the site to get the final measurements of the uprights for the trellis top, I discovered that the installers put the damn things in so that the top brackets are 90 degrees off. Basically, I wanted them to face east-west so that the main cross members could rest between them. Instead, they are facing north-south and I have had to redesign the cross members to fit the mistake.

Hence, the bump-out


My boss wanted it all mechanically attached (lots of bolts and washers) so that we didn’t have to rent a crane. This is it all assembled on Saturday. We’ll be taking it apart and sending it off for powder coating today. It should be back by Wednesday or Thursday and we hope to install it the following day.

One of the cooler projects that dropped into my lap was some very custom bits for a trade show booth for one of the clients we work with. I hit the fabricators trifecta twice this week, building with carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum all in one day.

One of the aluminum items I put together was this set of “branches” for an outfitting company that are made from 3/8″ aluminum round bar.


I’m not yet sure what I’ll be up to this week, but I do know I will be only working a half-day on Wednesday so that I can take my sister to see the “Weird Al” Yankovic concert for her birthday.

So maybe I’ll have pics of that too for you. Have a good week if I don’t get a chance later on to say hi.

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