Revisiting the AR

In decades past, an entry-level AR would set you back some $800 whereas you could pick up a decent AK pattern rifle for around half that. As a consequence, I became an AK enthusiast. At the time, they were cheaper to own and cheaper shoot (~$.20 a round vs ~$.35 for the equivalent 5.56 ammunition).

Accessories for the AK developed into a cottage industry, and before long, many of the features that used to be exclusive the to AR became available for the AK (e.g. railed hand guards, telescoping buttstocks, optics, enhanced triggers, AR-style grips etc.).

Even so, the utilitarian nature of the AK lacked many of the quality of life features standard on all ARs (e.g. magazine wells, last-round bolt hold-open, easier safety selector, better ergonomics… etc.). Do any of these features inhibit your ability to send lead down range, or appreciate the simplicity and elegance of a proven platform that has continued to serve its purpose for 70 years? Not at all.

So why consider an AR now? For the same reason I bought my first AK’s: price!

Over the last 6 months, we’ve seen a 180° shift in the market. AK’s (and other mil-surp imports) that used to run $400-800 are now selling for $900-1,600+. AR’s which were manufactured during the election scare that were fetching as much as $700-800+ for a basic plain Jane AR can now be had for as little as $300 with a stripped lower and parts kit.

For that reason, I decided to look into buying one, here’s what I settled on:

  • Caliber: 5.56. Exotic uppers and ammunition get expensive and can come later (if ever).
  • Mid-Length Gas System: Carbine-length (from what little I know) is intended for shorter barrels (14.5″ and less). Rifle-length barrels start at 18″+, and since I’m building on a 16″ barrel, mid-length was optimal.
  • MOE Furniture: Magpul furniture is solid and comfortable. The basic MOE buttstock was designed to be light-weight and snag free. I was very happy with my last MOE lower, and they are still a good option today. While I used to like quad-rail hand guards, I found that I never used all that rail space, which most people would just end up covering with panels/covers anyway. If I wanted to mount a flash light, sling adapter, rail etc., that would still be an option.

The last AR I built was on a Palmetto State Armory complete lower, which cost me $300 in 2012, which I was very happy with but ultimately sold to buy Natasha, an SGL41. Boris, my Saiga 12 will only tolerate 3″ magnum shells…

Today, you can get the exact same complete lower for $160. I opted instead to buy a mid-length rifle kit for $330, and a $40 stripped lower. With a Magpul PMAG and shipping, my total cost was $399.58:

PSA AR-15 Lower Safe/Fire - 1728

What am I expecting for $400? An entry-level AR-15 that cycles reliably under normal operation and is reasonably accurate (at least no less accurate than my AKs). Is that realistic? Ask me again once it arrives! The stripped lower has already shipped whereas the kit might take a little longer. My hope is that I receive both by next weekend month, but we’ll just have to wait and see!

…and now I’m Japanese!

In his book, God, No! Signs You May Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales,  Penn Jillette fondly recalls the line, “And now I’m Japanese, so fuck off!” from the mid-80’s porno movie, New Wave Hookers as delivered by the late Jamie Gillis.

Unfortunately for Penn, nowhere in the movie does Jamie say this, or anything like it. What actually happens is that the “Vice Squad” busts in on Jimmy (Jamie Gillis) and his partner, Jamal Lincoln Bubba Washington to break up their “New Wave bitches” prostitution ring.

They confuse Jimmy with Jamal, at which point Jamal jumps up and runs off into the night in his fly, banana-yellow jumpsuit. Jimmy, in all his fo-punk glory, is left to deal with the two agents. What he says next is this:

“Hey, listen guys. Hey, I’m not Jamal, but listen, you take it from me. You’re smart enough to throw in with us, you can have any of these fuckin’ bitches you want, any fuckin’ day of the week you want. Get it guys? I mean, fuck it. Don’t you recognize me? I used to work in your fuckin’ office. And now, I’m rich, I’m satisfied, and I’m Chinese you assholes!”

Not quite the impassioned speech from Penn’s Clorox-scented memories, but there it is. Incidentally, this is all an inception-like shared dream between the two protagonists.

Does it really matter what Jamie (Jimmy?) said? Or is this just another manifestation of the Mandela Effect? Like the plastic-covered seats of a seedy porn theater from a bygone era, memories can be slippery.

The Ultimate Secret to Happiness

Life is a series of lines in the sand; each represents a milestone, when achieved, will finally bring you happiness and contentment. I’ll be happy when…

  • I’ll be happy when I earn my degree
  • I’ll be happy when I land my first real job
  • I’ll be happy when I start making real money
  • I’ll be happy when I own my home
  • I’ll be happy when I buy my first new car
  • I’ll be happy when I lose 20 lbs
  • I’ll be happy when…

On and on it goes, ad infinitum. Each of these is a lie we tell ourselves for the hope of what tomorrow could bring. We all need something to look forward to, otherwise, what’s the point?

The truth is, happiness and contentment are mercurial. It can’t be captured in a bottle and preserved forever in your wine cellar – and even if you could, would you really want to?

Try to remember the great times you had…

  • I was happy when girls started to notice me
  • I was happy when I stayed up all night with my friends
  • I was happy when I quit a job I hated
  • I was happy when I impaled myself on the tree of knowledge
  • I was happy when I was a broke musician
  • I was happy when I was 12,012.83 km from my place of birth
  • I was happy when…

But don’t forget to take pleasure in the moment…

  • I enjoy paying myself $75/week to lose weight by bringing my lunch
  • I enjoy going for a 3-mile walk every night
  • I enjoy my first cup of coffee every day
  • I enjoy conversations with my friend Jim after work
  • I enjoy laughing to politically incorrect humor
  •  I enjoy talking to strangers
  • I enjoy making arbitrary lists…

When a Stranger Texts, Featuring Judge Judy!

So there I was, sitting at home, minding my own business, trying to get some work done when I get this mysterious text message from an unrecognized number.

Hilarity ensues.

Observe, all:

 

I don’t know anyone by the name of, “Alisha,” let alone one with a cute ass…Or was I the one who has the cute ass? I think I need to buy Alisha a punctuation.

Instead I decided to just go with it…

I decided to play it cool here. A suspicion was beginning to well up inside me that Alisha expected me attend her friend’s party, so I decided to give her a lukewarm response.

As predicted, Alisha counters by announcing her intent to get inebriated, then inquires about my well-being:

I maintain a relaxed demeanor and wait for the veiled invitation that’s sure to come.

My assumption was that Alisha was into older guys and Jerry Springer. I considered breaking out Matlock, but decided instead to combine Matlock with Jerry Springer to form a two-person Voltron (i.e. the Brad Neely technique), resulting in the Judge Judy counterplay:

This is where Alisha demonstrates surprising resilience, undoubtedly bolstered by the Drunken Booty-Call Bulwark™ (DBCB) defense. My improvised Easter Island emoji didn’t stand a chance – oh the carnage!

I realized that Alisha was no slouch, perhaps even – dare I say it, a pro! The way she masterfully rolled with the blow, Fédération internationale des fessiers appelants perhaps? Maybe even a Grand Master??

It was then that I decided to risk it all on the dreaded Boer Goat Gambit!

It is like that scene from Once Upon a Time in the West: I’m a Charlie Bronson, and Alisha is the Frank, and the Boer Goat is my Colt Single Action Army delivering the .45 caliber coup de grâce.

But Frank, errr Alisha wasn’t going to leave us without one last death rattle:

I decided to reply to her rhetorical question with a matter-of-fact answer, then continue expressing my admiration for Judge Judy. I had prepared a 6-page story detailing the adventures I got into on my quest to seek out the new KFC Zinger sandwich I was going use to get Ms. Kitts back into the barn.

Sadly, the lesson endeth here 🙁 …

I haven’t heard from Alisha since. I wonder what she’s doing now? I wonder how her baby sister’s prom went? So many unanswered questions. As I write this, I’m left with a deep sense of gestalt.

The way I figure it, right about now she’d be waking up, fixin’ to recover from her hangover with a Zinger from KFC and sweetened ice tea…

Alisha, wherever you are, whoever you are, know that you will always have a special place on my internets!

In Memoriam

~ Alisha ~