Monday, August 30, 2004

Republican Convention

I’ve been away all day with the family and only caught a brief glimpse of the TV news tonight from the BBC- what I did see was an announcement that tempers were fraying amongst the protesters in New York- cut to a shot of a guy with a Kerry-Edwards placard spinning round and punching a guy holding a Bush-Cheney placard standing next to him. I think it says a lot about a Democrat supporter (who always claim to be anti-war, pro-1st amendment and demanding toleration for everyone) that he resorted to violence against the Republican. I guess the things that Democrats support include everyone (including the avowed enemies of America) apart from conservatives.

It speaks volumes too that the Democrats locked all the protesters in Boston up in a mini-prison, whilst the anti-Bush types get the free run of New York. Which, I wonder, is facing the biggest threat from terrorist attack? And which had the tighter security (I assume that’s the excuse the Democrats gave)?

Now, which party would you rather have running your country?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

10,000m Row

Yesterday I got mad at myself for missing a session this week and for doing too little work- so I decided to do a 10,000m row. So far 7,000m is the most I’ve done and I was a bit apprehensive about the Ten- especially considering how wiped out I was after the Seven. But I’ve spent the past couple of weeks watching athletes at the peak of fitness in the Olympics and it inspired me to make more of an effort. Knowing how taxing long rows are I took a single precaution- and bought some Viper drink mix from Maximuscle. It’s basically an energy drink designed to keep you hydrated but it also contains branched chain amino acids designed to keep you mentally focused. That sounds great but I haven’t the faintest idea how it might work!

Anyway, I mixed up the drink, climbed on the rower and started to work. Seeing as I had a fair distance to go I did my level best not to keep staring at the monitor tracking how far I still had to go. I put on the Chemical Brothers, turned it up loud and began to row, taking a deep drink roughly once per track. Viper is the most amazing supplement I have ever used. IT IS AMAZING. Coming up on 2,000m (my first look at the monitor) I was starting to sweat a lot and that’s when the Viper first came into its own. Normally I tend not to drink much when I row but the Viper really did make me feel more hydrated, no dry mouth at all. That’s one plus.

As the row went on and I continued to drink the Viper I felt a lot better than I usually do- better than when I started rowing! This stuff really kept me mentally focused, I felt a lot sharper and better able to concentrate than ever before when rowing. The next time I glanced down at the monitor I had 3,700m to go- and I felt really good. In fact I was able to track my progress on the monitor for the last 1,500m and to keep working at a fair clip the whole time- even managing to get my time/500m down to 1minute 59seconds for the last couple hundred metres. My overall time was 45 minutes and 52 seconds. Not fast but great compared to my 7,000m row. What’s even more spectacular was that I felt great when I was done, I still had some energy and was in excellent mood. It’s all down to the Viper. On my 7,000m row I was totally spent towards the end, unable to keep my speed constant or to even try to surge towards the end. After that I was exhausted, really done in. Not so with the Viper- this stuff rocks. What’s even more amazing is that it’s IOC legal so if you perform in a drug tested event, you can still fill up on this stuff. For any kind of endurance event, or even a long session in the gym, I’d definitely recommend this drink. Any readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of Maximuscle, but they’ve really outdone themselves this time. An absolutely outstanding product, far better than any energy drink I’ve yet tried. 10 out of 10 for this. Try it and see if it helps.

Invaders From Mars

I few nights ago I watched the classic sci-fi movie Invaders From Mars. While it’s a very enjoyable movie the one thing that really struck me about watching it now (it’s been a good few years since I last saw it) was the way in which the military is depicted in it. For those who haven’t seen it the plot basically involves a young boy discovering that Martians have been taking people over for their own nefarious plans. Eventually the US Army gets involved.

Now, if they were to remake this film now I can guarantee how the plot would go- the scientists in the movie would find out about the Martian plot- either the military would dismiss them out of hand (scientists always seem to know better when it come to national security in movies these days) or the military would over-react, thus endangering the people of earth. In either case, the scientists would save the day and the military would be pictured as either incompetent bunglers or over-zealous crackpots. Sound familiar?

Not so, in Invaders From Mars- when the Army gets involved we see lots of (I presume) stock footage of forces assembling, train loads of men, tanks roaring into position. From the word go, the Army is shown in the most positive light and they save the day, aided of course by the young hero of the film. There’s no wishy-washy identifying with the Martians, when the big green mutants are encountered they are brought down in a hail of gunfire as the valiant troops defend the Earth. It’s really refreshing to see a film like this where everyone knows what’s what- there’s good and evil, right and wrong. There’s no nuance, no attempt to evoke any kind of empathy for the invading Martians. They’re bad guys pure and simple.

Hollywood can’t seem to make films like this anymore and maybe that’s why we now have a generation that has problems telling right from wrong, and good from bad- why we even have politicians afraid to use the word evil to describe a foe which wants to end our very way of life. Maybe this is why Hollywood can’t make films which support their military in this time of international crisis. I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again- thank God, World War 2 was fought when it was- when Hollywood went to bat for the allies, when movie stars volunteered for service or to make movies which were for the cause. Right now they don’t seem to be able to do anything other than to disrespect the men and women putting their lives on the line to protect their freedoms.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


This arrived in my inbox today:

The teacher gave her high school class an assignment: Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it.

The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

"Little Johnny, do you have a story to share?"

"Yes, ma'am, my daddy told a story about my Aunt Carol. Aunt Carol was a pilot in Desert Storm and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a small flask of whiskey, a pistol and a survival knife.

She drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn't fall into enemy hands and then her parachute landed right in the middle of twenty enemy troops.

She shot fifteen of them with the gun until she ran out of bullets, killed four more with the knife, 'til the blade broke and then she killed the last one with her bare hands."

"Good heavens," said the horrified teacher, "What kind of moral did your daddy teach you from that horrible story?"

"Stay the f**k away from Aunt Carol when she's been drinking."

Friday, August 27, 2004


Came across this post at Barking Moonbat Early Warning System- one of the sites I try to read every single day. Let’s say this were to happen- I reckon Texas would start to get crowded pretty quickly!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Village

I got to the cinema and we saw The Village. All I can say is – wow. Go and see this film if you haven’t already. It’s a must to see it on the big screen because you really need the immersive experience of fantastic sound system and big screen to get the most from this. If you’ve seen any of Shyamalan’s other movies- Sixth Sense, Unbreakable or Signs- and enjoyed them, then you’ll love The Village. I’ve just seen it and its very fresh in my mind but I’m tempted to say that this is the best thing he’s made. The performances from Joaquin Phoenix, William Hurt, Adrien Brody and Bryce Dallas Howard (who was apparently a “surprised” Who in How The Grinch Stole Christmas) were all superb. The latter in particular turned in a really fine, convincing performance, but for my money Phoenix was outstanding, the best of a great bunch. What really got me about this movie is the stillness of it all- Joaquin Phoenix’s character was very calm and self-contained (a bit reminiscent of Bruce Willis in Unbreakable) and the atmosphere of menace was expertly crafted. There are even a few jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and the scares are really made by the sound and music. I’ve got to say that I love this film. The whole premise impressed me and the film is well paced, well acted and brilliantly directed. Shyamalan is a force to be reckoned with- I’m eagerly looking forward to his next project.

Going to see the film, I knew next to nothing about it- I try not to hear too much about upcoming films because reviews and hype tend to spoil my enjoyment of them. All I knew was this- there’s an isolated village surrounded by woods where monsters live. That’s all you really need to know- go and see it for yourself and enjoy. It’s a film to savour, so make a little time for afterwards to sit quietly and muse it all over. It’s just fantastic. A real treat.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Keep It Simple Stupid

They military have a saying- no plan survives contact with the enemy. Well, you can add children to that too. I had intended to get a 5000m row in today but my eldest girl, 2 years old, decided to wake me at 3:15- about half an hour after I’d got my three month old to sleep and had put my own head down. From then on until 7:00 I was woken even fifteen minutes or so as she did everything she could to stay awake- and keep me awake too. Finally, after she started singing “Happy Birthday” I gave in and we got up. By 9:00 she was sleeping again- I stayed up for another few hours but I was too wrecked to continue and went back to bed until the afternoon when I had to get up again and run a few errands. So, no exercise today. Damn, I hate when that happens. Back when I was training to join to Marines I had a strict routine and I exercised twice a day, five days a week. Now, it’s a struggle trying to get in three workouts a week. Times certainly have changed. I’m going to have to work really hard tomorrow to make up for it. My new plan- train really hard tomorrow and Friday, weekend off and then back to Mon-Wed-Fri workouts next week. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

After my 7,000m row on Saturday my metabolism has gone through the roof and I feel hungry all the time- it’s a struggle trying not to eat, and to eat healthily when I do. Everything that seems quick and easy to prepare is invariably full of fat. So far though, I’m doing okay and part of it is down to Maximuscle’s Max-Meal bars- they are low in fat and carbs, high in protein and quite tasty. An ideal “filler upper” between meals. The Max Meal drink is pretty good too (in chocolate anyway) but the bars are super handy. My other half has been forced to carry a few of these in her handbag for my hunger emergencies. If it weren’t for these I’d be eating goodness knows what. When we go grocery shopping I used to end up grabbing a blueberry muffin to keep me going until we get home for dinner- while research is now showing blueberries are good for you, I’m sure that muffins aren’t included.

Anyway, I had hoped to get a run into town to hit the gym for a weights session but as it’s hard enough getting upstairs to my rower, that may be put on hold for a while. At least I’m getting to the cinema tomorrow night- babysitter is lined up and now all I have to do is decide what I want to see- The Village, The Bourne Supremacy or I, Robot. I’d like to see the Bourne movie but I’ll probably end up going to The Village, and then take my Dad to see Bourne some other time. It’s been ages since I went to the cinema and I’m hoping the movie lives up to my expectations. Even if it sucks, it’ll be nice to have a night out with the Missus.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

7,000m Row

Well, on Saturday I decided that my poor performance in my last work out needed to be put to rest- so I cranked out 7,000m on the rowing machine. As 5,000 was the most I’ve done until now I set the resistance down from my usual 10 to 6, figuring that the longer distance would make up for the ‘easier’ setting. Big mistake. I was rowing more strokes per minute at level 6 but going slower than I normally do on 10- and to make matters worse, it felt harder. By the time I was 2,000m into the workout I’d had enough and flicked it back up to level 10. Straight away it felt better- I guess I’m just used to working at that level, slower pace but harder strokes. My speed went up immediately.

Between 5,000-6,000m I was really suffering, going purely on autopilot but I plodded on and picked up the pace a little in the last thousand metres. I felt totally drained by the end of it and my thighs were throbbing from the effort but it felt fantastic to have accomplished a new distance. My time wasn’t great- 32 minutes 04 seconds- but I was just happy to finish this time round. I’m going to try to do about three more rows at 7,000m before I attempt a 10,000m. My new plan (I seem to have a new plan every week!) is to have my week broken down into a 5,000m, a 2,000 and a 7,000m row. I had hoped to use my 2,000m rows to build up a little speed but for the next few weeks it’ll be a recovery workout in between the two longer distances- give my body some time to adapt to the increased workload.
Although I’m pleased with the progress I’m making I’m very aware of the fact that my recovery is nowhere near what it was a few years ago. Time was, I could have trained five days a week with the weekend off to recover- not anymore. Jeeze, is this what it’s like to get older?

Jurassic Park 4

I’ve been hearing all sorts of rumours about this proposed film for a while now, but none of them came to anything. About all I can say is that Keira Knightley is apparently on board. Until today, that is- Ain’t It Cool is now reporting on a possible script and it sounds absolutely outrageous- check out the ‘review’ here. Is this for real?

I’m not sure what to make of this- part of me is appalled (I’m very happy just watching regular dinosaurs- if they made a mock documentary about life on one of the dinosaur islands I’d be overjoyed)- but part of me wants very much to see this crazy movie get made. This just sounds plain crazy and if this is the story they’re going to go for then it’ll be a very fine line indeed between greatness and utter crap. Bizarre. Totally, utterly bonkers.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Body Fat

I made a huge mistake today and bought a set of Tanita scales- they not only register your weight but also your body fat. I was under the impression these things were really expensive but they’re not- I got mine for under £40. It’s well worth it, although I was highly suspicious that there was a major malfunction in mine when I stepped on them. Surely those figures aren’t right?

As of this afternoon my readings are 14st 0lb 2oz and my body fat reading is a staggering 28%. Wow. That body fat reading is unbelievably high. I should be under 20%! When I was cycling a lot and competing my body fat was below 5%. Now, admittedly that was when I was a scrawny teenager who cycled virtually every single day but even so- 28%!

That’s a bit of a blow considering that I thought I was doing a lot better- but it’s another goal to aim towards, as well as time and distance on the rower. At the end of the day I am certainly slimmer now than I was only a month ago and, more importantly, I feel a hell of a lot better. A few years ago, when I was weight training regularly, I was hard pushed to get my weight up. I ate loads (four meals a day) and took protein supplements and never once went over 11 stone. Two years ago that all changed when my first daughter was born- after that my weight crept up and my back problems worsened and getting to gym became a thing of the past. It’s pretty shocking to think that in two years I’ve gone up three stone. It’s not all fat (I hope) and I feel like I’m a different shape anyway- I’m stockier than I was. I’ll have to check with the missus to see if I’m making this up- maybe I’m just fooling myself?

Anyway, Tanita scales- recommended. They’re the one brand I recognise in this market and they’re simple to set up and use. Be prepared for the reading though- I wasn’t.

Sadr's last days?

News on Reuters is that the US are taking out Sadr’s militia with AC-130 gunships. It’s about time that strong and decisive action was taken against this terrorist leader. I can’t believe that he was even allowed to remain at large for this long and the Iraqi suggestion that he be permitted to enter into the legitimate political arena ridiculous. He’s already caused the deaths of enough people and the Iraqis themselves issued an arrest warrant for him months ago for the stabbing of a cleric.

He’s been given enough chances to retain his freedom and the time has come to wipe him and his “army” out- once and for all. Let’s hope that the US military is given the freedom to do their job and take him down.

Workout woes

Another workout and another disappointing row. Had planned on doing 3000m today but ended up struggling to finish 2000m, with a nasty muscle spasm down the right side of my back. I was a tad annoyed to say the least, especially as I was feeling fairly strong and was looking forward to getting a good time. What’s done is done and, at the very least, the first thousand metres was done at a good clip. Better a short workout than no workout. I’ll just have to hope that I can redeem myself next time.

As far as my weight loss goes- it’s not. My weight has actually gone up from 13 and a half stone (I’m 5’7”) to a hair under 14 stone. My body fat is slipping away and I’ve even noticed that my upper abs are beginning to become a bit visible once more. This rowing lark really does work!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Blackwater and the Magic Bullet

Since a report came in from Iraq about the effectiveness of blended metal bullets there has been a fair bit of talk on the net about them and the claims of their manufacturer Le Mas Ltd. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept the bullet is designed to pierce hard surface like body armour but to cause massive wounding when it hits flesh. I’ve repeatedly heard these claims ridiculed as impossible, over-stated and outrageous (by people whose knowledge of metallurgy and ballistics far surpasses mine) but after watching this video of the .45ACP version hitting a slab of meat, I’m inclined to believe the claims. The first story I heard from Iraq was from a private operator who shot a terrorist in the ass. The round impacting caused massive trauma and took the Bad Guy out of the fight straight away. Not bad for a 5.56mm hit! That’s when the story hit the net around the start of the year.

There’s a run-down of the blended metal technology (BMT) available at Defense Review. Now, I don’t pretend to even understand some of the arguments put forward to reject the claims of Le Mas but the visual evidence of a bullet turning a hunk of meat into hamburger is pretty convincing. Apparently the reports coming back on the damage the rounds can cause on actual human flesh (as opposed to ballistic gelatin) are also highly in favour of the effectiveness of this technology. And check out this statement from the Blackwater Shootout: “The reason every M16 in Iraq and Afghanistan isn't loaded with them, frankly, is that the bullets are considered too lethal. The kryptonite of bullets.” Sounds exactly what’s needed.

It seems to me that if a company has developed a bullet which will effectively penetrate body armour and cause massive wounding to hostiles, then that merits attention- a lot of attention. The US Army has money set aside for a study but as the BMT performs poorly in gelatin the study has not gone ahead. Le Mas runs a password protected website aimed purely at law enforcement and the military but Defense Review has a CD of videos of live animal tests on the round. Hopefully they will post them soon. The BMT may turn out to not be the magic bullet its makers claim, but it may just turn out to be a highly effective addition to the arsenal- surely that’s worth investigating. Frankly, heat transfer or whatever reason is given can be debunked to the cows come home by people who know more about this than I do, but if this bullet works I’d be happy enough if Le Mas told me that it’s because of the little imps inside the bullet; all I care about is whether or not it works, not how or why. If there’s chance this thing will act like a major upgrade to the 5.56mm rifle and give our troops the edge in combat, isn’t that the important thing?

Remington 870- the latest incarnation

Stumbled across this today after having a look at the Blackwater Shootout website- it’s a new, modular Model 870 pump action which can be configured from a “cut down” breaching weapon to a full-size, high-capacity shotgun. It’s a pretty neat package and all the mods can be done by the weapon operator. Even better it can handle buckshot, slugs and sabots. The breaching version would be a fairly handy weapon for a vehicle driver to have stashed away in the cab, especially if operating in built up areas were ranges would be short.

This is a nice package.

War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg may have crapped out of making a movie about the Munich Olympic massacre but he is planning on a remake of War of the Worlds. While I’m not a huge fan of the original book I do have a barely remembered soft-spot for the John Christopher Tripods books (which were also made into a TV series). So far as I can recall they were set years after a successful invasion of Earth by the giant tripods. I’m looking forward to seeing these behemoths striding across the landscape again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Latest Rowing

Missed my Monday workout due to a lot of back pain. Decided to try today anyway and pushed for a 5000m row- I’m concentrating on this for a bit of endurance and the 2000m to develop a bit of power and improve my VO2 max. I thought that I might as well try and get the hard session over for the week!

My last 5000m row brought my time down to 22 minutes and 13 seconds. I was quite please with that and I paced myself well, something I’m still getting used to on the Concept 2. Today’s row went well- much better than expected- and I was able to tolerate the pain in my back well enough to get my time down to 21 minutes and 55 seconds. One of the big advantages of the Concept 2 is the pace boat option on the computer- you can race against your own previous sessions and it’s a fantastic way to keep you motivated to constantly improve. Getting beaten by myself is not an option and the last 100m or so are usually a mad sprint to keep the nose of my virtual boat ahead of my previous session!

Rowing is a great form of exercise and I’ve noticed recently that most of my fat loss (I don’t really keep track of my weight, just how I look) has come in the wake of the 5000m rows. 2000m is a good distance for improving basic fitness as it’s an all out effort the whole time, but for losing weight 5000m seems to be the key. Next up is a 7000m row and then- maybe sometime in September- 10,000m.

25mm Sniper Rifle Follow Up

After MadOgre’s post about the new Barrett 25mm rifle (the XM-109) I did a quick search and here are some of the links that I came up with. First off, the always excellent Murdoc Online has a page dedicated to the X-Weapons- his is one of the best sources online about the XM8 too. Worth a look.

Strategy Page also has a nice image of the XM-109 and a brief discussion of it here, though the image is the same as the one on Barrett’s own page here. Small Arms Review also have a PDF about the “Payload Rifle” here.

Another new weapon to look out for is the XM307, the replacement for the .50 cal machine-gun- it can be quickly switched from .50 cal to 25mm. All in all a fairly exciting time for new military weapons.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Lost Chance- HK's G11

At the moment I’m re-reading the Amtrak Wars series ( has a copy of the first book for the handsome sum of $0.01 if you’re interested), books that originally entertained me back when I was a teenager. They’re a good read and one of the most interesting facets for me is the technology and hardware involved- the Federation’s solar powered micro-light aircraft, their 35 foot high armoured wagon trains and air-powered, triple-barrelled rifles. Good stuff all round.

Anyway, it got me thinking, for some reason, about Heckler and Koch’s G-11 rifle- a revolutionary firearm if ever there was one. Chambered in 4.73mmx33 caseless, it was capable of firing a triple burst so fast (a rate of fire of 2000rds/min) that all three rounds would impact the target. Back on full auto the rate of fire dropped down to a much more sedate 460rds/min. It could have been a vast breakthrough, leading to a whole new era in firearms manufacturing. In addition to the standard G11 rifle there was also a Light Machine Gun version and the concept, at least, of a handgun or PDW. The very best site on the net about these remarkable weapons is HK Pro.

The latest the G11 got along the developmental cycle was the G11K2 version, which not only had a 45 round clip, but which allowed carry of 2 additional magazines on the body of the weapon (and it still weighed about the same as an empty Garand!). The weapon underwent testing by the US military under the designation HK-ACR but though the tests were carried out in the ‘90s the G11 concept seems to have been discarded entirely. Though the rifle was rumoured to have been fielded by units of Germany’s Special Forces, that’s all I can make it out to be- a rumour (but I’d sure like to hear differently).

The advantages of the G11 are obvious- short length, light weight, high capacity and light ammo. I have found no details whatsoever about the terminal ballistics of the 4.73mm round but even if it was comparable to the 5.56mm the G11 has the edge- the weapon can hold 135 rounds (inc. the spares), a bit of an improvement over the M16.

The fact that the G11 never went into production is a huge blow to firearms development- had it been adopted by the German or US Army it would have led to a slew of other caseless ammo firing weapons, and perhaps other firearms developments as other manufacturers sought to beat Heckler and Koch. In short I believe that it would have given the industry and the technology behind it a huge boost. Think for a second about the pulse rifle from the Aliens movie- one of the best imagined bits of Hollywood kit. The G11 is a real pulse rifle- a three round burst at 2000rds/min. Now think about where firearms development might be right now if the G11 had been adopted 10 years ago.

I’m all for the HK XM8- it looks to be a superb weapon- but I’d much rather the G11 or something akin to it was the US Army’s new weapon. If the technology is available to create such a weapons suite then why not use it?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Large Calibre Snipers

MadOgre posted a link yesterday to a 25mm sniper rifle being developed by Barrett. While the .50 cal is often seen as being the pinnacle of long range sniping there are a few other big sniper rifles around. While the traditional hierarchy of sniping runs from 7.62mm to .338 Lapua and then to the .50 BMG, there are some calibres equal to, or surpassing, the Fifty. These are not the most man-portable weapons around and their use is extremely limited, but there is a place for them on the modern battlefield. While they may be reminiscent of the WW1-era Boys Anti-tank rifle, these are a whole new breed.

Here are a few that I know of, if you know of more do let me know-

1. HK WSG2000- unfortunately this seems to be stuck in prototype hell, along with the new 9mmx90 MEN round it was designed to fire.

2. Aerotek (or Mechem NTW-20- I’ve seen this on the net under both names) 20mm.

3. Truvelo Armoury 14.5mmx114- I have an image of this one saved on my PC but no link. The company’s website doesn’t list the weapon and Google won’t turn up the site I found this on. I’ll have another look and update with a link if I can find it. The 14.5mm is an old Soviet anti-tank round.

4. Steyr AMR/IWS 2000 chambered in an unbelievably massive 15.2mm- check out the pic to see it dwarf a 7.62mm cartridge. I don’t fancy carrying this one!

While I wouldn’t say no to having a .50 cal in my armoury I think that the Lapua .338 is as big as I’d go- there’s plenty enough challenge in shooting at its ranges, without having to go further out. Accuracy International make a pretty nice bolt action in this calibre which I think would suit me very nicely. As far as a standard calibre sniper goes, there’s only one choice for me- the Steyr SSG Police in 7.62mm. Wow, but that’s a nice gun.

Friday, August 13, 2004


Last night on the UK’s Channel 4 there was a documentary about a group of athletes being given steroids to scientifically monitor its effects. There were 24 men, eighteen being given either a placebo or testosterone booster, while the other six were given legal performance enhancers such as Creatine. As luck would have it I missed the end of the show (and the results of the test) but New Scientist has an article here about the study, and Channel 4 has a run down here.

What’s really surprising is that the doses they were given were very low and that they made really
big improvements in only three weeks. For the placebo group the increase in bench press was 1.8%. For the steroid group it was 8.2%!

Unfortunately neither website lists the improvements made by the legal supplement group- which is what I was most interested in. The downside of the steroid use was a decrease in immune system function and a decrease in empathy. I’m guessing that a lot of people will see this and think, “hey maybe steroids aren’t so bad after all”. At the end of the day though, for sports use, cheating is cheating. For those who train just for the sake of it and who never take drugs tests, I suspect some will be more inclined to use steroids.

Hopefully there will be some follow up articles on this and if I get any info about the legal supplement group I’ll post it here. I’ve used Creatine in the past and while I felt that I was doing better on it, I’m not able to say how much it improved my performance.

Catching Up

The past couple of days have been pretty non-stop, with short errands turning into hours long trips. Hence the lack of posts of late. I've had very little time to keep track of the news- the big story on CNN at the moment is the resignation of Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey, who has announced that he had a gay affair while married. Two things strike me about the story- one, his use of the term "gay American" rather than just gay, and second, the fact that he not only has a two year old daughter, but another child from a previous marriage. He's a 47 year old man so surely he would have realised a while back that he was gay? I know of a guy who came out of the closet recently, who had previously been married and I can accept that people can be conflicted about their sexuality- but two marriages? Surely it doesn't take 47 years and two marriages to realise that you're gay?

I must admit I've never heard of this guy before, but from the tone of the article it seems that he's come out because of this affair with a government employee, who was threatening to 'out' him. Is this the only reason he's admitting his homosexuality? If this guy hadn't been about to spill the beans, would McGreevey still have pretended to be straight and carried on his affairs? Strange.

This was a good read- seems like the Bush-Cheney campaign is starting to rev up a little and take the fight to Kerry at last. Bush has a reputation for not being a good public speaker but every time I hear one of his speeches I'm impressed- especially with the sense of humour displayed. And Lynne Cheney's comments on Kerry's "sensitive war" are priceless. Absolutely spot on.

Gore continues to rant- this time accusing Bush of appointing a partisan director to the CIA in the form of Porter Goss. I can't imagine Gore would be saying the same if a Democrat president had appointed a Democrat to the post- but then that's the way it seems to be with Democrats today, they're only happy when everyone does and says and thinks the same as them.

Another reason to leave the UK. Hang onto your hats for this one. Only days after a 73 year old was arrested for defending himself against a burglar, it turns out that a couple who were murdered, called the police half an hour before the attack took place. The police arrived at the scene SEVEN HOURS after the call. The couple- parents of a convicted killer, had been subjected to a gun attack last year- and the police knew about that when they were called. The police said that they were more concerned about "not drawing attention to the address". Perhaps if the couple had had the means to defend themselves we'd be looking at some dead goblins now, not a middle-aged man and wife. The actions of the police doesn’t seem to warrant any kind of action or investigation- that’s what gets me. Nothing is going to happen about this. It really feels like law-abiding citizens are being thrown to the wolves. I want out.

I don't suppose that I should really be surprised by this- an Anglican bishop wants a 'nationalistic' hymn banned. He not only confuses love of country, patriotism (which seems to have become a dirty word in the UK of late), with the government that runs it, but he also compares us with Nazi Germany and, to top it all, throws in an insult to Americans too ("the nastier aspects of right wing republicanism in the United States"). But hey, it’s okay- he’s only insulted the conservative part of the population and Americans. Try doing that to an ethnic minority and there’d be hell to pay, but as long as it’s only patriotic Britons and Americans it’s fine. That’s the way it is and it makes me sick. For this bishop to bleat on about a hymn written in the aftermath of World War One when, after a hugely costly war in terms of lives lost, people still loved their country is vastly irritating. That generation made a huge sacrifice and yet they did not condemn their country. Even now it’s still a popular hymn and for him- who clearly does not love his country- to call for it to be banned is appalling. Obviously he does not deserve the rights, the freedoms, that generations fought and died for.

For someone to brandish the Union Jack now in Britain is to be called a racist, a right wing extremist- or to be criticised for flirting with right wing emblems. It's patently ridiculous and for someone to be compared to Nazi skinheads because they fly their national flag is just sad. The only national symbol that seems to be tolerated at the moment is the England football shirt. Outside of that silly sport though, national pride is a thing of the past. It's a sign of the times I'm afraid and I'd be willing to bet that more Union Jacks are flown in tiny Northern Ireland than in the whole of the rest of the UK. Perhaps it's because Northern Ireland has been under attack for so long that we value our country, we appreciate it- a large portion of Britain doesn’t seem to be too bothered.

And finally, some good news- the achievement of a school teacher has inspired her class at a girl's school to take up weight lifting! Three girls at the school are now in the UK's top 10 junior weightlifters. Note the Team Maximuscle T-shirt on display in the picture, they are the UK's leading manufacturer of supplements. Excellent stuff.

It's fantastic to see girls getting involved in a sport that's mainly male- at the gym I go to, an old fashioned weight training place with a couple of stationary bike thrown in amongst the iron for good measure, there are only two women that I've ever seen train there. What’s even better about this story is that the teacher must be one hell of an inspiration to them- and teachers like that seem to be a rare breed now. I wish them all the best. Bravo!

Monday, August 09, 2004

5000m Row

I managed to do a very taxing 5000m row today. I had a pretty disappointing workout last week, aiming for 4000m but only managing 2300m. My back's been playing up and I found it impossible to breathe deeply- taking a deep breath resulted in a sharp pain radiating around my ribcage. Well, after a weekend of rest I flipped the Concept 2 up to level 10 and cranked out 5000m. Not a fast time by any means, just over 22 minutes, but the important thing for me is that I did it.

Right now though, I'm absolutely shattered. It really took a lot out me- more than it should have done. Just goes to show how unfit I am at the moment. My stamina is nil. Time to work on that over the next few weeks. 5000m is plenty to do on a rowing machine so I'm going to mix up my workouts- do a few short and fast ones and maybe keep the 5000m as a weekly "treat". Greater distance is a not so important priority, but a 10,000m is definitely in the works soonish.

One of my aims for training right now is to try and burn away the spare tire around my waist- something that doesn't seem to have happened AT ALL. I'm eating a little better than I was and my muscle mass has definitely increased, but the fat still remains. To target that, within a month- when the rowing has strengthened my back up some more- I'm thinking of hitting the gym to do some weights. Weight training is by far the fastest route to fat loss I know of. The hard part is combining it with the cardio work- when I weight train I want it to show (and I tend to be fairly driven when it comes to weights to lift all that I can, to push myself really hard), but cardio tends towards leaner muscle. More muscle=less fat. Mmmm. Probably my first few weights workouts will be very basic- leg press, deadlift and bench press. Try not to get to obsessive about it; more of a supplement to the rowing than anything else. With luck that should help shift the flab. Cardio would probably do the job but the results take longer to show.

Today’s training tip- within half an hour of a workout try and get some carbs and protein into you (I tend to have a protein shake and a banana or something like that). After cardio your body tends to be depleted of energy and eating within those thirty minutes will help speed your recovery. The thirty minutes right after a workout seems to be the optimum time.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Which one is the criminal again?

A 73 year old farmer arrested after shooting and slightly wounding a burglar on his property has been released on bail, pending further inquiries. I can guarantee that his shotgun has been confiscated in the meantime and that he will probably face charges.

The UK has gone officially crazy. He called the police to report the break in but as the cops didn't get there in time he defended himself. And was arrested for it. Elsewhere in Britain, a shopkeeper who was beaten by a gang of robbers in his shop has died of his injuries.

The rights of criminals are being placed above the rights of innocent civilians. They have the right to break in without fearing any sort of defence from the occupants. What a great message to send to criminals. If they face any sort of trouble, they know that it will be their victims looking at jail time rather than them.

If it was possible, I'd be on a flight to the USA right now. Get me out of here.

Cypher Review

I had the pleasure of watching the movie Cypher last night. It doesn't seem to have had any advertising over here but I saw it for rent and recalled reading a good review of it a while back.
Well, I'm glad I did because it's a great little sci-fi thriller with an excellent performance from Jeremy Northam- he's fantastic in the lead role of an industrial spy mixed up in some duplicitous dealings. It's a superb physical performance from him- pay close attention to him at the start of the film and then see a really, really well acted transformation. There's very little action but there is some impressive camera work and a nice atmosphere. I really enjoyed this and I'd definitely recommend it.

For some reason it put me in mind of Equilibrium although it's really not like that (great) film at all. Maybe it's the washed out look of Cypher or the fact that it too is a low budget sleeper?
Whatever it is, Cypher deserves more attention. Rent or buy it now!

Kerry and Vietnamization

Looks like Kerry's inane plan to paint himself as a Vietnam vet capable of leading the USA has finally begun to implode. How he could attempt to use his brief service in the first place is beyond me- he totally erased whatever credibility that gave him when he came back and became an anti-war protestor, swearing to Congress that GIs were nothing but war criminals. For him to now claim that service as his defining characteristic is just ridiculous. It was obvious from day one that his anti-war activities would override his naval service. Quite aside from the new campaign by the Swift Boat vets, Kerry has to have known that he cannot paint himself as a war hero when he attacked not only the war but the American troops who served there.

And check out his interview with O'Neil on the Swiftvets site for his attitude to Vietnamization- the training and equipping of the South Vietnamese to defend themselves- he seemed not at all concerned about massacres which would likely be carried out by the North Vietnamese when the US pulled out-

"I think that it's really kind of a baiting argument. There is no interest on the part of the North Vietnamese to try to massacre the people once people have agreed to withdraw. There's just no pur- –
I realize that there would be certain political assassinations, and that might take place. And I think when you balance that against the fact that the United States has now accounted for some 18,600 people through its own Phoenix program, which is a program of assassination, and when you balance that off against the morality of the kind of bombing we've been doing in Laos and the kind of destruction wholesale of the country of Vietnam, which amounts to some 155,000 civilians a year killed, then I think to talk about four or five thousand people is lunacy in terms of the overall argument and what we're seeking in Southeast Asia."

Now what I take from that is that Kerry doesn't believe that the communist N. Vietnamese will conduct a wholesale massacre after a US withdrawal, but they might carry out some political assassinations (some four or five thousand people) but that's okay, because the US war has led to the deaths of some 18,600 people. In other worlds, it's okay to abandon the United State's allies in S. Vietnam because the number of them who die as a result will not be near to the number of people killed by the US.
Is that the attitude of a man who should lead the United States as Commander-in-Chief? Is that the attitude of a man who should be anywhere near the reigns of power? That simply disgusts me. To Kerry, those people he expects to die, opponents of the spread of communism remember- the biggest threat to the free world since the end of World War 2- mean absolutely nothing. Zilch. He doesn't give a damn. Nevermind that John O'Neil points out that 50 to 60,000 people were killed when the N. Vietnamese took over the North, nevermind the sacrifice of the American troops already killed fighting the communists. Kerry just wants out.

I wonder if his attitude has changed; we're now involved in the same process in Iraq- training and equipping the Iraqi people to defend themselves while they prepare for democracy. Is Kerry going to cut and run out on them too? Does he care that the very people now striving to create a free society would be murdered? Does he care about the sacrifice already made by the coalition troops? I think Kerry's vague plan for Iraq, his secret plan, needs to be made public right now- because if it is to take American troops home and leave Iraq to the UN (who, let's face it will stay just until the first IED explodes) then we need to know. A quick Google reveals that 62 British troops have died so far in Iraq- and 925 Americans.

I'm not an American citizen, but the results of this election matter a lot to me- I'd rather those men, British and Amercian- and the 61 other coalition troops- did not die in vain. If John Kerry has a plan to solve the Iraq problem, to reduce the strain on American (and British) troops by getting other countries to shoulder their part of the burden- and perhaps save some from death by roadside bomb or RPG attack, then why doesn't he come out with it now? If he could prevent the death of another American soldier or marine, why doesn't he do it now? What's more important to him- the lives of American soldiers or playing political games?
I think the people deserve to know- where does Kerry stand? Will he support the Iraqi people? Will he try to save American lives by revealing his secret plan? Or will he pull the troops out if he's elected? Will he dishonour the sacrifce that the troops have made? Will he allow the pro-democracy elements of Iraqi society be butchered? Will he allow a nation to be taken over by terrorists?
This is too important a matter for Kerry to play games with- people have died and are still dying. Terrorists continue to undermine the movement towards democracy, they even continue to plot against the US and Britain. Where does Kerry stand? Will he see this through to the end or will he (like he did in Vietnam) cut and run?

Friday, August 06, 2004

Gun Lottery

Kim du Toit had a little poll recently (which I somehow managed to miss)- basically, you've inherited a $10,000 and you have to spend it on long guns at Collectors Firearms

For what it's worth, here are my choices:

1. Chilean 1895 Mauser 7mm
2. CZ 550 Magnum .416 Rigby
3. Marlin Model 444S .444 Marlin
4. Marlin 1894 Carbine .357 Magnum
5. Ruger Model 10/22 .22 LR
6. Alexander Arms Model 50 Beowulf
7. Springfield Armory M1 Garand
8. Steyr Tactical .308 Winchester
9. Springfield M1A .308 Win
10. Inland M1 Carbine .30 Carbine
11. Ithaca Mag 10 shotgun

Stay tuned for a handgun poll coming soon from Kim.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

One site that I've neglected to add to my links is the outstanding Gunblast- go check them out now and read some great reviews of a good variety of weapons. They've got everything there from (my personal favourite) the .45 Colt Ruger Bisley to Barrett's M468 6.8mm to Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf. Great stuff. Go there now.

The .22 Long Rifle

I've made a few weapons choices recently, but the two exceptions I've made are most likely the first buys anyone would make; the Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifle and the Ruger Mark II semi-auto pistol. Both are .22LR calibre weapons and this is the perfect round for plinking. The stock 10/22 rifle is a perfectly acceptable and, by all accounts, fun weapon to shoot; but part of the pleasure of having one of these babies are the virtually endless custom possibilities. There's a whole industry based around this little rifle offering you the opportunity to turn it into anything from a fully tuned race gun to (I kid you not) a replica MG42 machine gun. Talk about versatile! There are numerous stocks, barrels and mods available to customise this weapon to suit you and you specific needs perfectly.

The Ruger Mark II is also pretty much essential. Personally the bull barrel model is the one I prefer, but either of this or the standard gun should be in the armoury of any gunowner. Target shooting isn't for everyone, but plinking is- and the Mark II is a great plinker. While the stock gun is close to being the perfect .22 pistol there are also some fantastic customs available from
Volqartsen- I'm quite taken by the Stingray model. The Mark II is also available as the 22/45- basically the Mark II fitted with the same grip angle of the venerable 1911. This might be a good option for a frequent user of the 1911, but for me the better bet would be to fit the 1911 with a .22 conversion kit such as this one from Kimber. Light on recoil and low in cost, the .22 makes practice with the 1911 cheap and easy. For fans of the "europellet" 9mm and the absolutely superb CZ75 there is also a .22 conversion kit available. There are a lot of .22 firearms that I could recommend but the pair of Rugers- rifle and handgun- are two that I think are unarguably essential for any shooter. If you have a 1911 and don't have a .22 then a conversion kit is also recommended- that little round is a lot of fun to shoot; it's as simple as that.

The Great War

An event was held today in London to mark the beginning of World War 1 90 years ago. Four veterans attended and laid wreaths to remember their fallen comrades. The youngest was 103 years old and the eldest 108. He managed to struggle free of his wheelchair to lay his wreath. There are only 23 British veterans still alive.

Take a moment to rember the sacrifice that the allied troops made nearly a century ago.

Rowing Update

I missed my usual Monday workout because I was running round trying to get my car taxed and insured (nightmare) so I decided to make up for my bad routine keeping with a bigger than expected workout. Last week I was doing 3000m- this week was supposed to be 3500m, but I bumped it up to 4000m and did it in 17'51". Not a superfast time but the last time I was rowing regularly (March this year) my best time for 4000m was 18'23". So I was fairly pleased with the time. I felt absolutely knackered at the end of it and my legs are still worn out. That's strange, I would have thought my upper body would have struggled more than my lower- most people's legs are more used to repetitive, endurance-type activities.
Still, I survived the workout and next week I'm aiming for 5000m. Once I hit that I'm planning on varying the workouts- a few short and fast mixed in with longer rows. I'm hoping to do a 10,000m row at some point, but that'll be when the cooler weather comes in; even with a fan it's a bit too hot for me at the moment.

Have YOU Forgotten?

Everyone should have a look at the image posted here and then send this link to everyone you know.

There are two types of people in the world- September 10 people and September 11 people.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


USA Today reports that Kerry didn't get a bounce in the polls- there's a reason for that, even though the Convention went to plan; it's that Kerry is a self-serving empty shell of a man with no backbone or morals. The more people see of him the more they'll realise that he is not the man who should lead the most powerful nation on the planet. Isn't that obvious- Kerry is not the man the Democrats should have picked. Zell Miller would have been a much better choice!

BTW, I hear that there was some scandal involving his military service i.e. he didn't complete his time in the Reserves after coming back from Nam (yes, he was briefly there). What's happened to this? Crush Kerry brought it up a while back but I've heard nothing since. Anyone heard anything?

At the weekend I commented on Kerry's reaction to the growing threat from Iran and I proposed that he would talk about it, and then maybe talk about it some more. Actually, he has a three part plan- international (read, UN) arms control, securing nuclear weapons all around the world ( he'll do this by making a breakthrough in talks with the Russians- how this will be achieved is not stated- the man with a secret plan. Oh yeah, and he'll magically be able to secure material in 40 countries)- and finally, in a masterstroke, giving Iran nuclear material. Yep, he's going to solve the Iran problem by giving them nuclear material. I'm not quite nuanced enough to see how this will work but Kerry's willing to give it a go. Maybe he'll make them promise to be good little Islamofascists? The rest of the article isn't much better- France and Germany didn't do a damn thing to help in Iraq- they didn't sacrifice anything- but Kerry thinks he can get their help by awarding them reconstruction contracts? What a great way to show those who oppose America the result of their stonewalling- big bucks contracts.

Edwards is much more of a dark horse than I had expected- and I expected very little from the Ambulance Chaser. And given the Democrats demonisation of John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act it's hard to see how Edwards can justify pushing for a US MI5 (especially given his dubious ties with the Saudis- does Michael Moore want to make a movie about this?). Maybe the same way they can be opposed to the draft and yet still be the ones pushing for its implementation?

And Kerry's Middle East advisor isn't any better. The Democrats want the troops out of Iraq where they are working hard and well to help establish a democracy, but I'll bet they'll be glad that troops are sent to the West Bank and Gaza to "help" the Palestinians. What an appalling idea. The longer this campaign goes on, the less appealing Kerry- and his awful choice of advisers- becomes.

Slate has a pretty good examination of the sudden religiousness of John Kerry. I was somewhat surprised by his announcement recently that life begins at conception, followed up by a somewhat bizarre bit of backpedalling about viability- what the hell does that have to do with it? Either life begins at conception or it does not. The viability of the foetus is not the issue- it's
the fact that it's a life. This statement, perhaps more than any other recently, has shown that Kerry is a heartless opportunist. For him to now talk about how religion has given him his values is such a crock- if the church shaped his values he would surely vote against abortion, especially the heinous crime of partial birth abortion. Surely some reporter somewhere is going to take Kerry to task about this waffling- he can't have it both ways. When are people going to ask him some tough questions- and keep at him until he gives a straight answer?

Finally, the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has a great fisk on an article about the conflict in Sudan. Check it out. As per usual, he does a bang up job. I went to the Guardian to read the original but it seems that the link is dead. Maybe they removed the pile of tripe when they realised it was such a pile of offensive crap (no mass graves in Iraq? WTF?).

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Sunday News'n'Views

So British home Secretary Blunkett is to ban an extremist animal rights activist who believes it's okay to kill scientists- so why didn't he ban the Muslim extremist al-Qaradawi who advocates the death of Jews? (“There is No Dialogue between Us and the Jews Except by the Sword and the Rifle”)?

Forces are already at work in Sudan- hunting for Al Qaeda.

Maybe this is why there's so much trouble in Iraq at the moment.

The ACLU is not something I'd normally comment on but the argument they present in this case- not reading the terrorist list- is so monumentally stupid that I couldn't pass it up. The fact that their legal counsel thinks that this is reasonable just staggers me too. What on earth are these people thinking? Why are they pro-terrorist, because that's what they are doing by spouting this nonsense? And why was it a 'reprehensible mistake' to not have in their staff members who support 'totalitarian dictatorship'? Maybe I'm missing something, but aren't they in favour of Civil Liberties?

So, they're for civil liberties but they are also in favour of supporting totalitarian dictatorships and terrorists who threaten the freedom of America? Don't they get that if the Islamic terrorists get their way, there won't be any Civil Liberties left? Unbelievable. Utterly unbelievable.

So Iran has gone back to its nuclear program. France and Germany are threatening more talks and the UN may even throw a hissy fit too. What's John Kerry going to do about this one if he gets elected? Is he going to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon or is he going to go with his 'allies' and either;

a. talk about it some more, or

b. talk about it some more?

Those are the only two options his beloved France/Germany and the UN are giving right now and I can't see them changing their tune. Right at the end of the article we come across the UN's tough solution- they'll issue a rebuking statement. I'll bet Tehran is quaking with fear.

If Bush doesn't get back in, it looks like it's up to Israel to take care of this problem.

In another stroke of genius, British Home Secretary Blunkett doesn't seem to want paedophiles locked up where they can do no harm- he wants them out in the community, where they can occasionally take a lie detector test, to ask if they've been near children. In one trial of this it was revealed that a third of the 32 offenders had had unsupervised contact with children. I don't know what's worse- that Blunkett is in favour of testing people who should have been locked up, or that members of the Cabinet are opposed to compulsory testing? When these people committed these crimes they said goodbye to their civil liberties in my book. They are a threat to the most vulnerable section of whatever community they are in- it's even more galling that a failure of a lie detector test will not mean they go back behind bars, but will lead to 'greater monitoring and tagging'.

As a parent this leave me feeling sick to my stomach. The sheer stupidity of this just enrages me. Child sex offenders do not belong in the community where they may commit another crime. They do not deserve a 'second chance', they can never 'repay their debt to society'. Once convicted, if I had my way, they would remain in prison for LIFE. That a government minister would put children at risk in this way just beggars belief.

This, at last, is some good news- MI5 and MI6 are to investigate French corruption with Iraq.

You might think that the US has problems with its porous borders but here we have the government letting in flood of immigrants without any checks and then lying about it. And the guy who blew the whistle has been sacked for, and I kid you not, 'embarrassing ministers'. In other words, he told the truth, a minister lied, got caught out on that lie and was then forced to resign. Shouldn't he be given a promotion instead of being sacked?

Finally, here's a nugget of new information about the war in Iraq and that pesky WMD info- not only did Bush, Congress, the CIA, the UN, Britain, and Russia (to name but a few) believe that Saddam had chemical weapons- so too did the leaders of Jordan and Egypt, as told to them by Saddam Hussein. As General Franks said, what are you supposed to do with information like this?

And what a great ploy to deceive the Iraqi military with an imaginary invasion from the north. I've got nothing but respect for Franks' plan and this just adds to my admiration.

Long Arms

When it comes to rifles I'm something of a traditionalist- there's nothing too new or high tech in my selection. In fact, the opposite could be said to be true.

My first choice is for a Mauser. While I'd prefer a 7mmx57, a Brazilian M1908 perhaps- sorry, couldn't find a decent link- this one from Mitchell's would do the job just fine. 7mmx57 is an excellent long range round which the original commandos, the Boers, used with devastating effect on the British, and which has also been used to take game up to and including elephant (by WDM Bell). Ruger make their excellent M77 in 7mmx57 but there's just something about the full length military stock on the Mauser that does it for me. The 8mm version (Mitchell's) or even the Swedish 6.5mm are totally acceptable replacements. What's important is that the Mauser is an absolute classic bolt action and it's as good a platform now as when it was introduced.

Second up, I was going to go for the Garand M-1 but it was beaten out (just) by Springfield's M1A. The SOCOM and Scout are pretty handy versions of this weapon too, but the full length Standard would suit me very nicely. 7.62mm is a great, hard hitting round and the M1A is a battle proven weapon. It's also much more aesthetically appealing than the FN FAL clones or G3 type rifles available. For me, this is the best of the semi-auto military 7.62s. Lying on a range for a few hours with this beauty would make me a very happy man.

Third is the Marlin 45-70 lever action. Hunting's not something I'm into yet but if I were to go out the Marlin is what I'd like to be packing. The 45-70 can be loaded to take virtually any game- check out Garrett's website for some extreme details- and it's the versatility of the round that appeals, along with Marlin's classic design. The Guide Gun version is also a very compact platform, handy for hauling through the woods but even the full length 1895 would be an excellent weapon to have. They're also bringing out a .475 Linebaugh which appeals to the big bore handgun fanatic in me, but that's a whole other post!

Fourth, I'm going to have to say that I'd have an AR rifle. This may not be a popular weapon to equip an army with but for civilian use, where maintenance is no problem, I don't see much wrong with it. The M16 I used was an absolute pleasure to shoot and I'd really like one of these. There are probably as many manufacturers of these as there as 1911 clones and that's a big market to choose from. My own taste would tend towards a Cavalry Arms like this one in 5.56mm or, if I was feeling like being an "early adopter" (I tend not to do this- give the market some time to evaluate things first and make sure everything works as advertised), this Barrett in 6.8mm. I'm not yet convinced that this is the wonder round it's being hyped up as so I'd cool my heels a little over this one. There'll always be the opportunity to buy a 6.8mm upper for an existing 5.56mm AR. With an AR I'd also invest in a 9mm or .45ACP upper too- having a carbine and handgun in the same calibre cuts down on logistical problems and the pistol upper would turn the AR into a neat home defence item.

My fifth choice is for an AK. The bog standard AK is a notoriously reliable weapon (if only the modern British and US Army could field such a thing). Here there are two ways to go; either for the upmarket- the VEPR KTR-03 in 7.62x39; or for the cheap and cheerful. The KTR-03 is very pricey for an AK and if it's too big bucks for some then either this or this would be on my shopping list. In case you haven't noticed, I have a penchant for the AK-74-style muzzle brake. 7.62x39 would be my calibre of choice because it's cheap and plentiful. Effective range might not be as good on the cheaper AKs but it's a good weapon to have around "just in case" (having an AK for this option, I think that there's a good case for getting one in 5.56mm- there's surely a lot more of this in circulation in the US than Russian 7.62). Oh yeah, and it'll piss off the anti-gun types. That's just a small bonus.