While driving home this afternoon, a young gentleman in a Kia drove up behind me, abruptly pulled to the right, and displayed the international driving signal known as “The Bird.”
Now, I am no stranger to being told that I am number one…but this one puzzled me. I was moving with the flow of traffic, I hadn’t tried to merge near her…why was I being honored with his display of affection?
Stay classy, buddy.
Some thoughts from my trip to Moscow:
1) Russians love to play American music. Unfortunately, they also believe that the American music scene stopped in 1987, and they LOVE to play American music. I should have known when I got off of my Aeroflot flight when they were playing an instrumental version of “Porgy and Bess” that something was not quite right. There was a lot of Abba and mid 80′s Madonna.
2) You cannot swing a dead cat in a Russian business hotel without hitting one, if not several, young ladies offering “professional companionship.” Sunday evening there were several ladies of the evening in the hotel but by mid-week the guest::hooker ratio was rapidly approaching dangerous proportions. As near as I was able to discern, the going rate is $100-$200 US$ per hour, and pre-payment is encouraged. There is no pay-at-the-pump option as far as I can tell.
3) Contracts. In Russia contracts are more like guidelines, really. Kind of like a fantasy baseball: a fun enough diversion, but not having any relation to the real world. True story: one of our speakers showed us a building that they were building that had received the necessary approvals. The mayor of Moscow happened to be driving by the site, and decided it was “too tall.” They were forced to shorten the tower. Total cost to builder: $4.5 million $US.
4) Related story: When they told us the above story, it was being relayed through a translator. Being a finance guy, I asked “How much contingency is generally budgeted for in Russian building projects?” I got a blank stare. “Contingency? You know, like for unexpected things that might come up?” “Oh, you mean bribes!” “Err….no.”
I’m had a good time, and learned a whole lot. Moscow, architecturally, reminds me of the South Bronx. The architecture is about of the same period, and like the Bronx it looks like it was built and then never maintained. The Russian economy is very dependent on oil…the price of oil drives everything, and building projects shut down when it gets too low. The food was, surprisingly, very good. The food at the hotel was essentially inedible, but I was able to go to several restaurants that were excellent. Including, incidentally, Макдоналдс. A cheeseburger is 25 rubles…about 85 cents at the current exchange rate. I got 2 burgers and”Coca-Cola Light” for 90 rubles. It was a little slice of heaven.
Well, I’m back from my week long Russian sojourn. Lots of great learnings.
Welcome to the blogroll Weer’d Beard, who has a new home at Weerd World.
Great day! I brought along the littlest Newbie (my daughter V) and my wife. V spent some time at the airgun range, and hit 5 out of 5 targets. Not bad for a 6 year old.
I ran into Breda, Alan, and Sebastian at the media room. I introduced Breda to V as “another girl who likes to shoot.” She regaled Breda with tales of the airgun range. “And the best part was, I was very safe. I kept my finger off the trigger.” Dad wiped a tear at that one.
On the ride home, I got to talking to my wife about the annual meeting. My wife understands and tolerates my passion about guns and the shooting sports, but she is hardly what you would call a gunnie. Our exchange:
“It wasn’t anything like I expected,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, from reading the Observer, I expected 70,000 people shouting ‘From out cold dead hands.’ But it was nothing like that. It could have been the Southern Woman’s Home Show, except with guns. Everyone was so friendly and polite. I had a nice time.”
Two thoughts on that. One, I’m not so sure what that says about me. :) Second,I think this is why we win. The anti-gunners paint us out to be frothing manics, and when the public encounters gunnies, they see we are just like them.
Finally, it was a real treat to get to meet so many members of the blogging community. It’s a little weird to meet someone for the first time, but think of them as old friends because you have read so much of their writing of their inner thoughts. So to Alan, Bitter, Breda, Countertop, Jay G, Joe, Weer’d Beard, Sebastian, Sister Toldjah, and XLRQ: 1) I hope I didn’t come off as a pyscho stalker, and 2) Thanks for coming to the meeting and hanging out for a bit.
Yesterday at the show, I got a chance to chat with Jimmy from Smart and Witty. He makes an innovative line of RKBA gear that features this logo:
Jimmy and I had a nice chat, and I bought one of his shirts. As I headed out to the show, I decided to wear my new shirt. Three people came up to me and asked where I got the shirt. So, Jimmy, if you are reading this, I did you a solid.
The floor was pretty cool. I’ve got pics and things, but I’m flying to Moscow (Russia, not Idaho) tomorrow, and I’ve got lots to do before I rest. But a few quick impressions:
- Got to handle the new LCRs. The small .38 has a really small grip. Not sure why we need that…I’ve never found the grip on the LCR to be a problem. The .357 is a little bigger than the .38. The grip is really comfortable.
- Got to handle the S&W Bodyguards. The .380 is about as big as the LCP, but feels heavier. The sights were not bad…not as good as those on the Kahr, but much better than the LCP. The laser was not as goofy as I thought at first glance. The .38 seems to be an answer in search of a problem. The cylinder latch is confusing and hard to manage. It’s light, and the grip is really small. Trigger felt much lighter than either the LCR or the other J-frame guns.
- S&W also has a new M&P in the line…in flat dark earth, with sights that feature both fiber optics AND tritium, in both .40 and 9mm.
Backstage at the Celebration of American Values, watching Sarah Palin. Coolest thing EVER!
Press cress…check. Camera…check. Wireless access…check. Let’s hit the floor!
Spent last night with fellow bloggers at the Second Amendment blog bash. Participants included Dod from American Manifesto, Joe Huffman, Say Uncle, Sebastian, Bitter, Xlrq, and Sister Toldjah. It was kind of like being among blogger royalty.
But the best part of the evening was getting to hang out with Dave Kopel, who apparently reads my blog! (*Fanboy Squee*). Normally I would dismiss it as his being polite, but he knew several details about my scribblings. It was awesome being able to hang out with these guys, and ask Dave about the legal issues of the day.
Welcome to the Queen City, y’all!
Looks like Ruger is adding to the LCR lineup:
I can’t wait to check these out at the annual meeting. Pics coming soon.