During a recent trip to the Metroplex to visit Nana, my local guide — when visiting foreign lands it’s best to acquire the services of a local guide — introduced me to Ramune soda.

An Engrish version of “lemonade” original-flavour Ramune is a light citrus-y drink that is rather good, actually.

What is absolutely charming about Ramune is that it is packaged in Codd bottles.

In 1872, London engineer Hiram Codd patented a unique and fairly radical way to bottle pressurized liquids.

To fill a Codd bottle, you first introduce a polished glass marble into the bottle itself. A rubber gasket (plastic today) containing a hole somewhat smaller than the diametre of the marble is fitted into the mouth of the bottle.

The bottle is then inverted, and your beverage of choice is squirted into the bottle, followed by a stiff shot of carbonation. Gravity pulls the marble down towards the gasket, where the pressurization forces the marble into the gasket hole, producing a wonderful seal.

A secondary lid (to prevent accidental decanting of the drink — and, coincidentally enough, preventing contamination of the drinking surface of the bottle) containing an opening device is then fitted over the marble and gasket.

To open, one removes the secondary lid, exposing the marble and what looks for all the world like a hyper-steroidal thumbtack. The lid is thrown away, and the stem of the “thumbtack” is placed upon the marble, followed by a firm push — or good whack — with the palm of the hand, forcing the marble back down into the bottle and allowing the drink to be consumed.

I had no idea that the Codd bottles of the Victorian Age were still being used.

Absolutely charming — and not a bad drink, either.


Burns Night

On this day in 1759, a son was born to William Burness and his wife Agnes in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland.

A farmer and self-educated man, William taught his children reading, writing, math, geography and history — well enough that his eldest son, Robert, was able to be tutored in Latin, French and advanced mathematics for three years by a man named John Murdock.

In 1786 Robert Burness published a book of poetry, called “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect”, and signed his name as “Robert Burns”.

The book was an immediate success, and young Robbie Burns — later considered “The National Bard of Scotland”went on to pen a great many songs, poems and prose until his untimely death at the age of 37.

He had his faults — Robbie Burns was an inveterate skirt-chaser (fourteen+ children by six+ different ladies), whisky-swiller, general all-around rake (he only married one of his lovers, and their twins were two years old before the banns were read), and rabble-rouser — but the man was a gifted poet whose works were easily quoted by Everyman and have withstood the test of Time.

In the years after Rabbie passed on, his friends gathered on the date of his death to celebrate his life and works; and each year since then — excepting only that the date has changed from the day of his death to the day of his birth — people have continued to celebrate.

Burns Night has become the second National Day in Scotland and is more widely observed than the official National Day in that country. Moreover, in the 250 years since, the tradition of Burns Night has been spread around the world by the Scots and their descendants.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae the Lord be thankit.
–Robert Burns

Happy Burns Night, everyone.


One helping of crow, extra ketchup.

A couple of years ago, I posted an opinion that the Democrats were nuts for running a candidate for President who had a Middle-Eastern name at a time when a significant portion of America was in a war with folks with Middle-Eastern names.

Boy, did I mis-call that one.

Ah, well. This is an example of why I’m a cop and not a political prognosticator.

One of the things that really irritated me about the Moonbat Left during the last eight years was their continued declaration that President Bush “Isn’t MY President”.

Of course he was, and everyone uttering that statement should have been backhanded across the mouth and sent to bed without their supper.

Barack Obama was not my candidate. He is a gun-grabber; a closet Marxist; a liar; a snake-oil salesman; and the corruption of the Chicago Political Machine goes far deeper than the blood and bone in the man.

However, the Electoral College has spoken, and tomorrow Barack Hussein Obama will become the 44th President of the United States of America — and my President.

We will never see eye-to-eye — and I will freely admit that I intend to spend the next four years exercising my First Amendment right to ensure that Mr. Obama doesn’t get a second term in office — but for the next day or so, I offer my congratulations to our new President; wish for him the best of luck and join him in praying for the blessings of Providence upon our mutual Nation.


Trivia for the day

If you possess a magazine-fed firearm that you bet your life on, spare magazines should be acquired either from the company that built the firearm, or from a reputable company that supplies magazine to the firearm company.

Oh, there are a few companies out there that produce really good after-market magazines — Chip McCormick, Wilson Combat, but in general it’s best to go with OEM.

At gunshows, and in the back of dead-tree gun magazines, you will find adverts for companies that sell after-market ammo feeders. Companies like ProMag, USA Magazines and the like sell magazines which are okay to use in plinking guns, but really shouldn’t come within snuggle distance of your defence firearms.

One of the more disappointing, yet amusing, experiences in my little life was slapping a USA Inc magazine into a Smith and Wesson 5900-series and getting this gorgeous brass fountain out through the ejection port before I could hit the slide release.


Factory or OEM only.

There is, however, a rather nifty use for El Cheapo magazines.

If you have a single-action revolver — a Colt Single Action Army, Ruger Vaquero or somesuch — the next time you’re at a gunshow, pick up an El Cheapo Desert Eagle magazine in the proper calibre.

Take said magazine home, pull the baseplate and snip off a coil or two of the magazine spring before reassembling the mag.

The next time you’re loading your hog-leg, hold the revolver in your left hand with the loading gate open, hold the full El Cheapo magazine in your right with the top round at the loading gate and thumb that top round into the cylinder.

Voila! Just rotate the cylinder with your left hand while thumbing rounds in with your right and you have just converted a piece-o-junk magazine into a nifty little speed-loader.

I am informed that this also works if you have a double action .22 rimfire revolver and a 25-round El Cheapo .22LR magazine.



I’d like to apologize to my Gentle Readers about the dearth of posting around here. The New Year has given us — along with the usual holiday mayhem — an eager new Sheriff with new ideas.

One of those new ideas has involved your Humble Scribe getting his job title changed more than a bit.

I’ve been dragging myself home, sitting blearily in front of the Magic Elf Box and staring vacantly at this little white screen, before grunting and plodding off to bed.

I think my Muse is mocking me. Come to think, I’m sure of it.

Anyhoo, once I get used to new hours, new responsibilities and new challenges, I’ll get that post rate back up, I promise.