Achtung, Juden! Das ist Verboten!

In processing a customer order today, we got a “Service Not Allowed” message from our credit card merchant services bank. They’re the ones who handle all of our credit and debit card transactions. We called them to find out what this message means, because we’d not seen it before. Well, they were by this time quite familiar with the “problem”. The problem is MBNA, in this case, who issued the card to our customer, DOES NOT ALLOW TRANSACTIONS WITH GUN RELATED BUSINESSES.

If you’re doing any business with MBNA, you’d best give them a jingle, and DO NOT FORGET this. This sort of thing seems to be on the rise, and it will get worse unless we push back, soon.

Update, Jan. 7, 2015; The customer called his bank, assuming the “Service Not Allowed” was due to a late payment on his part. As I explained to him several times; we were told by our Merchant Services bank that it was due to MBNA policy, and that our Merchant Services people were quite familiar with said policy as they’d had to deal with such denials many times previous. The customer only repeated what he’d said about a possible late payment. In any case, the transaction, on the same card, was approved today. All I can make of it, given what we were told by Merchant Services, is that MBNA will cave without comment or discussion once they’re called on it. From what commenters are saying, the practice of denying transactions may be random, or it may be targeted toward individual customers or vendors. Without more information I have no way of knowing. This would all seem quite unbelievable, except for what we already know about the recent IRS targeting, Fast & Furious, the attempted intimidation of Sharyl Attkisson and others, and other insidious pranks aimed at the perceived enemies of Progressivism.

Mugme Street news

This is about the area near where I work:

My heart is a little heavy because the city that I love, the city in which I grew up, the city where I’ve chosen to raise a family and make my livelihood, it’s just done. I’m finished with Seattle.

Two weeks ago, we were talking to Seattle police about the area around Westlake Center. It’s an area that has gotten completely out of control. There is rampant open weed smoking everywhere you look between Westlake and Pike Place. There’s open drug dealing going on down there. There is all kinds of crime.

There is no way I would bring a family into downtown Seattle right now. The criminals have won. The gangs have won. The protesters are out of control.

Seattle police, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Kshama Sawant, they’ve all lost. But they refuse to do anything about it because it’s the rabble-rousers that comprise their base. They don’t dare stand up to the criminals and protesters who have taken over downtown Seattle because that is the element that got our politicians elected.

Yup. I didn’t care for what I saw here over three years ago when I first started working here. There have been ups and downs since then but the culture I see and hear (literally, many floors up from the street I can hear them chatting nearly everyday) is that of looters (in the Ayn Rand sense). I don’t see it getting better any time soon.

It’s time for us to leave now

I was at Ry’s desk this afternoon when he got an message from Barron. He looked up at me and said, “It’s time for us to leave now.” “The verdict is out?”, I asked. “Yup”, was his reply and he offered to give me a ride because my bus wasn’t running for another hour or two. The protest was planned to start in Westlake Park which is directly across the street from where we work.

As we drove past the end of Westlake Park Ry saw “a wall of police” at the park where the Ferguson protest was planned to start. Here is part of what was being planned by the “protestors” (via Gay_Cynic):

The group’s Facebook page, which has a picture of an AK47 and the statement “the workers must be armed and organized” as its background, indicates this protest could take on a more aggressive tone.

“‘Diversity of tactics’ and ‘be your own bodyguard,’ will be in FULL EFFECT,” the site reads. “Remember where you’re at, who is present, why they are present, and what time it is. This is NOT a game. This is NOT the usual ‘activism.'”

As we drove home across the lake he talked about how many rounds of .223 ammo he had and, “Should we stop by Wade’s to get more?” I declined. I think a 1000 rounds is more than adequate. If an individual has more hostiles than what they can take care of with 1000 rounds someone on the other side is going to get lucky no matter how disparate your skills and equipment. What’s the point of giving them more ammo after they overrun your position?

Male Dog Senator

I get a lot of spam. First thing in the morning, and right before I shut down in the evening, I empty the spam bucket. I also empty it during the work day, so this evening I only had three messages in the bucket. I’ve gotten so I can filter out the rare legitimate message amongst all the chaff pretty efficiently. This time I did a quick glance at the first word of each title;

Harmonic convergence. There are two kinds of dog senators. The attack dog Democrats, and the Republican dogs that only know how to heel, sit, stay, roll over and beg. Mostly beg. Republicans seem to think that they need my money to win elections, which is bizarre because in reality all they have to do is stand up for a few basic, simple principles. Doing that, they’d get so much attention from the hysterical media and the community organizers (but I repeat myself) that they’d never need to spend another dime on campaigning. We’d just see who’s getting attacked the most for starving children, making children fat, kicking old people out into the streets with no food or medicine, making war for oil, creating bad weather, handing free assault rifles out to kids in school playgrounds, destroying everything the left has worked for in the last hundred years and so on, and vote for them. Totally free advertizing, 24/7/365 on 100 TV channels, all the sports networks, and all radio channels at once. All the money in the world could scarcely buy that kind of promotion.

And for you in the NRSC; you’re pathetic. I can spot your ridiculous attempts to appear chummy, with your e-mail titles, in under 6.5 milliseconds, which means I can ignore a thousand of your pleas-for-money in six and a half seconds or less.

I can explain it to you, but I cannot make you understand

I designed the UltiMAK optic mount for the Kalashnikov to align itself with the barrel (fancy that). There is a radius on the underside, which engages the barrel (something like. V-block, but we’ll call it an “interrupted radius”) so as the clamp screws are tightened, it simply WILL align with the barrel unless something interferes with that process. The “something” that can interfere is the gas block or the rear sight block, or more specifically, a radical misalignment of the gas block with the rear sight block.

The mount has several features that allow it to accommodate a slight to moderate misalignment of those two parts, and so there is a fraction of one percent of AKs (usually Romanian) that cannot properly accept the UltiMAK mount, but I digress.

Continue reading

A twilight zone of my own making

If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, right? Not necessarily.

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail, clearly and properly addressed to my company, from one of our out-of-state distributors. Inside was a copy of one of our invoices to that distributor.

This is all perfectly normal as far as it goes (it is common enough to send a copy of an invoice along with the check in the amount of that invoice) except that the check was missing.

I showed it to Stephanie, our bookkeeper, with a chuckle; “Oops, it seems they made a bit of a mistake there. No check. I guess I’ll have to call them…”

But since Steph is the one who prints the invoices and posts the payments, she looked at the invoice date and number, because each distributor and account status is familiar to her.

It turns out that it was not our distributor’s mistake, but our own.

It was a VERY recent invoice, you see. We had mailed ourselves one of our own invoices, by simply reversing the positions of the two address labels. The post mark being from a nearby town and dated one or two days earlier was another clue, only noticed after Steph had identified the problem, but who studies post marks before opening mail from regular associates?

Fortunately I didn’t get so far as calling the distributor to tell them about “their mistake”.

Spending time reacting to complete misinterpretations of reality. How much of our lives are spent doing that? That’s a much deeper, broader point, see.

Hm; now if we would take to sending ourselves the checks along with the invoices, maybe we could cut out the distributors and customers altogether. Then we could call ourselves The Federal Reserve or something.

‘Cheeze-grater’ forends

I’m hearing it more and more; some version of “I don’t want rails all around my (AR or AK) forend because they’re so rough on the hands”. I’ve had people tell me that over the phone, and when I suggest rail covers they pretend they didn’t hear me and continue on as though I’d said nothing. Key-Mod and other slick-sided forends, or even wrap-around fabric jackets, are the proposed answer. I don’t understand it fully. Those who are now in their 20s were of single-digit age when we first started selling rail covers, and rail covers of several types, materials and sizes were a well-established and readily available item before we started selling them. Apparently no one is doing enough marketing to even make people aware of the existence of the rail cover. I had always figured they were an obviously necessary component to any multi-railed system. Maybe we’ll have to start marketing rail covers as a “New Product!” in order to get people aware of them all over again. Next I suppose someone will come out with a “New!” insert for the Key-Mod forend that will fill the un-used slots, protect them from dings, and provide a nice gripping surface.


A man saw our ad in a magazine, got onto our commercial web site, had the wherewithal to find and click on “send us mail” at our web site, and then wrote the following;

“I saw your Ad in a recent issue of Shotgun News Mag. Please…let me know where I can purchase your products.”

Avoiding the urge to launch into scathing, blistering sarcasm requires patience and understanding. I’ve not always been patient or understanding. In fact I’ve actually taken pride in NOT being patient or understanding, if that makes any sense, and have often taken pride in my ability to express sarcasm in the most eloquent, mean ways with maximum insult, puffing myself up at someone else’s expense. The first step is recognizing the urge for what it is, and then realizing that my job is customer service, that I’ve been contacted by a perspective customer, which is the only reason why I am here. I’ve often said that we should be heartened by the fact that we are inspiring people to get onto the internet for their very first time (and yet even in that statement there is a twinge of sarcasm, no?).

Hello. My name is Lyle and I am a sarcasmoholic…

One day at a time.

Daylight savings

Our culture (root word being “cult”) is insane. Our government types apparently believe it is in their power to re-order the very rising and setting of the sun. They’re gods, and we’re insane enough to go along with it.

My brother sent me a text from Kalifornia on Sunday, asking me if I was saving any daylight at that very moment. I told him that it was beyond my power to do so, that I had called the bank asking to open a daylight savings account and they just laughed at me. That sparked quite the conversation.

I eventually told him that I could in fact save daylight using PV panels and storage batteries. He then told me that that wouldn’t do, because using stored electricity to make artificial light wasn’t saving “actual daylight”. I then said that we could, in theory, with the right technology, reproduce the same spectral content of the sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface, that energy, like currency, is fungible, that conversion to stored energy in batteries and subsequent re-conversion to artificial sunlight is in fact “saving daylight”, and that since this is daylight savings time, this then is officially the time to be working on such technology.

Regardless; if you want to get up and go to work or school at a particular time, that’s entirely between you and your associates. Government certainly has no business getting involved.

As it is, when a business says its hours are such and such, you don’t know what that means until you have their address, get out your time zone map, and then call the governor’s office in their state to see of they participate in “daylight savings time”.

We’d all be better off it it was the same “time” everywhere. You already know when the sun rises and sets during certain times of the year where you live, and that isn’t going to change significantly in your lifetime. If you’re unsure, look out of a freaking window.

Maybe I should start posting my business hours in UTC and leave it at that, but how many people even know what that means? As often as not, when I tell someone during a phone conversation that we’re on Pacific Time, their reaction is one of incredulity; “Oh…Really?!” (surely I must be mistaken). I’ve only lived here my whole life, but then the particular time zone I’m in is purely a matter of legislation and as I said; we’re all batshit insane, so my time zone status could have been changed without my noticing.

Cold Call

It happens over and over, and over again. Note to sales people in all fields; you might want to learn at least something about a business, or at least take a cursory glance at their web site before you call them and offer your services.

Today I got a call from a company that makes enhanced web site features for the visually impaired. I asked him if he (who offers web services) looked at our web site, “…because I don’t think you have.”
He says “Well, that’s something we would do…”

We sell gun stuff.

I’ve gotten several calls from advertisers asking for our address (?) asking what kind of business we’re in (?) what kind of corporation we are, etc., all of which is public information and most of which is blatantly and repeatedly displayed on our web site. I get several calls a month from various “yellow pages” companies (people still use those?) asking what business we’re in.

Sorry, but if you’re that unobservant I don’t want to do business with you even if you’re offering something I might want. It’s an extremely simple and highly relevant filter. Same goes when someone wants my vote or other political support. It usually only takes a few seconds to know who’s done their homework and who is just playing a game they don’t really understand.

Then there was the guy who called me last week, openly and for no practical reason telling me he was willfully breaking the gun laws in California and wanted my participation in the form of selling him stuff to help him break the law. When I explained it to him in just that way, and said I’m not doing business with him for that reason, and apologized to him saying none of this made any sense, I understand, and it makes neighbor suspicious of neighbor but unfortunately there it is, he asked me what I was talking about. “I’m not going to argue about it. Bye” and that was that.

I may really like your spirit, but… geeze.


I just watch the video Uncle put up on January 1:

It’s an hour long which is why I just now got around to watching it. I suspect that only about 10%, at best, of software developers will understand all of it. Non software security people will grasp only 10% of the material.

I had to look up several terms and I stopped it many, many times to more closely examine the classified documents. I am very impressed with the technology the NSA has implemented. That is amazing stuff.

They have tools that can, literally, fly over your home or city from up to eight miles and away infect computers with spyware. That’s just one of hundreds of tools they have.

There was some very serious bad-ass stuff in there that I knew was possible, and actually implemented prototypes of, years ago. They have it perfected and massively deployed. Seeing that they have it deployed explains some things that always bothered me about some of the projects I worked on or was sort of associated with. It all makes a whole lot more sense now.

The NSA people should congratulated on the awesome technology they have developed and deployed and then they should be sent to the gulags.

Ordered thought of the day

You know; ordered as opposed to random, just because I feel like being a smart ass.

The most ignorant, uninspired person in the room is the one who’s most interested in running things.

The person who’s doing nothing, seeing the person who’s doing something, will become irritated and try to tell the person who’s doing something that he’s doing it wrong or that he shouldn’t be doing it, and/or that the doer is victimizing the non doer with all his inconsiderate and irresponsible doing. Failure in that strategy requires falling back on plan B; taking credit for the works of the doer that could not be redirected or discouraged.

The non doer views the mastery of this simple strategy as incontrovertible proof of superior intelligence and worth.

This is the basis of all politics, in the same sense that space, time, matter and energy are the bases of life– It is a fundamental law of nature.

Differing only in degree and implementation

Ry stopped by my office today and after we completed the work discussion I mentioned that I had lunch with a friend who is in the health insurance industry. I repeated part of the rant I heard at lunch. It went something like, “We spent years implementing Obamacare and we had to get information from the Whitehouse blog because they did rule-making via the blog. Then last week it was from the President’s speech. And today they came up with a letter we will be ‘required’ to send our customers?”

Ry replied, “I hope they like discounts on Samsung products.”

I thought about that for about five seconds without being able to make any sense of it. I was a little behind in the news. Venezuela is nationalizing businesses and selling things at “fair prices”. Samsung is the most recent to enter into a “joint venture” with the government.

“So you think he will take over the insurance industry with the stroke of a pen?”, I asked. Paraphrasing just a bit; Ry replied, “Just like in The Matrix where there was no spoon, here, there is no pen. He is playing 3-D chess and we are trying to play checkers against him. We are concerned about the rule of law and he has changed the legal landscape and moved on. What is happening here only differs in degree and implementation from Venezuela.”

I have no counter to his assertion.

I’m at ground zero

Every day I go to work I see the park where this admitted Socialist Seattle Council person gave her speech the other night:

Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant told Boeing machinists her idea of a radical option, should their jobs be moved out of state

“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” Sawant announced to a cheering crowd of union supporters in Seattle’s Westlake Park Monday night.

This week, Sawant became Seattle’s first elected Socialist council member. She ran on a platform of anti-capitalism, workers’ rights, and a $15 per-hour minimum wage for Seattle workers.

There are people, ironically, selling communist newspapers on many of the street corners near here.

One street over, 3rd Avenue, is what Barb L. calls, “Mugme Street”. The Seattle Police department says that location is one of the crime hot spots in Seattle. All the warning alarms go off in my head as I walk on that street to get to my bus. Things “just aren’t right” there. It is rare not to see at least two cops on that street when I briskly walk through “the danger zone”.

The SPD and King County Sheriff’s Office just finished doing some street cleaning in the park and on Mugme Street:

Just in time for the holidays, Seattle Police and King County Sheriff’s Office have wrapped up more than 30 drug dealers and suspected gang members following a months-long undercover operation around Westlake.

“This operation was about helping downtown businesses and their customers as well as Metro Employees and transit riders downtown,” says Sgt Thomas Flanagan from the KCSO’s Metro Police Unit.

In September, members of SPD’s Gang Unit, Narcotics, West Precinct Bikes Anti-Crime Teams and deputies from the King County Sheriff’s Office’s patrol and Metro Units began Operation Happy Holidays after receiving numerous reports of drug dealing and gang activity near the 3rd Ave corridor. For months, police documented hand-to-hand drug deals and purchased crack cocaine, powder cocaine, pills, and marijuana in the downtown core and developed cases against 40 people. This week, police began making arrests.

Last night when I was leaving work I saw two police officers with a guy up against the wall just outside the parking garage for our building. They were going through his pockets.

This morning I looked around some. I didn’t see any of the usual shady people hanging around. Maybe it will stay clean around here for a few days.

I really wish I could earn the kind of money I’m addicted to back on the farm in Idaho. This is ground zero for criminals and, redundancy alert, Marxists.


I got a request from a guy who works for one of the gigantic firearms magazine publishing companies. They put out several major gun magazines, all of which you know well. He wanted high resolution images showing off some specific products of ours. I was heading out of town at the time and could not change my plans, no way, no how, and so I went to GREAT lengths, using digital back-channels, running into road blocks, fiddling this and that, and finally I got him his images in short order. It was a pain, but when a major publisher indicates that they want to run an article that shows off your products, you jump, right? So I jumped. I know the guy. He’s a big name in a huge industry– Why shouldn’t I jump?

Days later, after hearing no reply, I get this;

“Thank you for the images.

I am also interested in getting one of those [product name redacted] for myself…

Let me know what I would owe you.”

No mention of any specific, up-coming article in any specific magazine, just an implied request for a special personal deal on some special hardware (nod nod, wink, wink).

So I went through all that dorking around just for this?

This ain’t my first rodeo, bitches– I have decades of experience dealing with people attempting to use their very real influence for personal gain, and with those who accommodate them at every opportunity. Many of them have been in public employ too. I’ve also seen more than few of them fall flat on their faces for doing it.

Most people in any business, and all industries have this sort of thing going in spades, take the position; “Aw, just go with it. Don’t be a fool– It’s how the game is played and there’s nothing you can ever do to change it.” I’ve had it said to my face.

Uh huh. Well consider this post my reply to that, and count your blessings that I haven’t mentioned your name and your employer. Yet. Now let the reprisals begin, if you’re dumb enough. I’m ready.

Quote of the day—Barb L.

You don’t get to be your own museum.

Barb L.
September 15, 2013
[I moved to a new clock tower today. I now have a clear field of fire into the lawns of homes over a mile away. It’s awesome!

I sorted through dozens of old boxes of stuff. Some of them contained stuff from 40 years ago. I’m a packrat and it’s difficult to let go of things. But I threw out garbage bag after garbage bag of stuff.

There were some things I had received from Microsoft that I considered historic. I help build Direct X and Windows Phone 7. I participated in the attempt at worlds record for the largest number of paper airplanes in flight at the same time and have one of the airplanes.

When I came across an artifact from the launch of Windows Phone Seven I wanted to pack it for the move. Barb was there and said to throw it. I started to explain how it was from the launch but she interrupted me with the above quote.

My response was:

Picture by Barb.–Joe]

Quote of the day—Larry Correia

The most (maliciously) creative guys I’ve ever worked with were Army Special Forces soldiers. Their imagination can come up with a million fantastic ways to ruin someone’s day. They make authors look like pikers.

Larry Correia
July 18, 2013
Ask Correia 14: How to be a Professional Author
[Good to know.

There are a few reasons for this.

One, it’s their job and they do this stuff a lot so they get more practice than you, I , or Larry.

Two, they have a different mindset. When I used to do computer security stuff I would spend a lot of time “thinking like a bad guy” and try to break things. You don’t normally think like that. It sort of rubbed off onto other things I did and thought about. I could walk through the grocery store, or drive through farm country and get distracted by all the things someone could do to contaminate the food supply from a terrorist point of view. Or I would walk through a hardware store and “see” things for improvised explosive devices in nearly every aisle.

Three, they have had a lot of training and knowledge that has been handed down through the generations. It may seem incredibly creative to you or I but it’s only a minor variation on something that has been repeatedly done for the last 100 years.

Try changing your mindset. You might be surprised what you come up with if you decide to go all Firefly and “be a bad guy”.—Joe]

In my other life I am also a mechanic

I started repairing musical instruments in the 1970s. My hippie days. Started a business doing that when I was 19. Taxes and red tape slowly turned me, or helped turn me, into a conservative, if by conservative we mean someone who believes that people should stay the hell out of other people’s business.

Anyway it’s difficult to get away from the musical instruments completely. Below is a Yamaha 894– solid silver body and keys, and this one has a custom headjoint made by Drelinger in White Plains, NY. The Japanese have been making some fine instruments and this one is no exception. Each key is like a piece of jewelry, not in the sense that certain guns are said to be “jewelry” but literally.

Every key is fit to its pivots or shaft to perfection. Any tighter and it would bind with temperature changes. One key can have a half dozen or more parts, silver soldered together in a jig and hand polished. The soft pad each key holds must produce an air-tight seal with a light touch to the tone hole, it must do it quietly, and it must usually do it in mechanical combination with one or more other keys, so there is a fair amount of regulation of each key, and more regulation between keys.


The soft pads are leveled to the tone holes by use of paper shims of various thicknesses. I work with .001″, .002″ and .003″ shims mostly. Mark, remove the pad, cut a shim, paste it on the back of the pad, reinsert the pad, and try. Repeat as necessary, which can be many times per pad. You can see the punches, of which I’ve made several to fit various pad cup sizes, and bits of round shims, and a razor blade for cutting them into pieces. Sometimes you use whole shims to increase the effective thickness of the pad.

If you’re not already crazy it can drive you there. Many, many attempts, by many people (myself included) have been made over the decades to come up with a pad that’s more or less self-leveling and that can still hold up to moisture and all the rest, without sticking or making more noise, and so far it’s still the old felt and bladder skin pad that’s generally preferred.

It takes hours and hours, but I love it when it all comes together and the instrument finally becomes a “single thing” again, rather than the many parts I’ve been working on separately. You could even say it’s music to the ears. Lately though I’m given pause, wondering what good any of this does for anyone.

This flute is one of several owned by the principal flutist in a Northwestern U.S. orchestra, and yes; she knows that her flute is being worked on by a gun accessory corporation president. We’ve known each other for decades. She’s also a university professor and so it is safe to say that our world views differ somewhat. Two worlds. We get along very well all the same.