Oracle is ready to move into its new headquarters in Texas, having brought employees from the most liberal part of California. You know how they will vote even without rigged voting machines don’t you?


Gadget Corner

Concept mask lets you breathe underwater without compressed air tanks or a rebreather (such as a Drager). …more here


Where is all the Ammo?

American Rifleman responds: “Consider this a public service announcement of sorts regarding the current ammunition scarcity. I’ve spoken to the top three manufacturers, and if you were/are having difficulty finding ammunition, it’s not because they aren’t trying to keep up with demand.

“Each one of them reports that they have produced record amounts of ammunition this year. I include Hornady now within that big three, at least until the Remington facility in Arkansas is back up to speed. Just so you know, the Remington plant was perhaps the third or fourth largest ammunition plant in the United States. But more on that in just a moment.

“Demand actually was on the upswing before the year 2020 even began. Then the dumpster fire that is 2020 wrought havoc on both gun and ammunition availability. This is a pure demand-driven issue. The government guys who may or may not be in black helicopters are not interested in small rifle primers or .22 Long Rifle. Good luck finding either on the shelf. …more here


Barbie Punji Sticks

Get your children ready for the Apocalypse the right way. Simulated Punji sticks are on sale wherever fine toys are sold.

Do you plan to survive the Apocalypse?

LL directing expedition vehicles (also useful during the Apocalypse).

My rig, The Scorpion, exploring a mine shaft.

Near Sedona, AZ.


Trivia Corner – The development of the Bow of First Rate, Ships- of- the-line 17th-18th century

While the basic layout of the first rate remained unchanged for most of its existence, it was subject to constant design improvement which affected its appearance – the amount of sheer, for example, or architecture of the stern. A detailed understanding of these changes helps to date models and paintings, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the bow, where the shape and angle of the cutwater arrangement of the headrails, and the style of the figurehead provide evidence for precise dating.

The earliest three-deckers, like the Prince Royal retained the long, low beak head of the Elizabethan galleon, with low flat sides carrying decorated panels; this allowed an equestrian Figurehead to take on a naturalistic, almost free standing pose.


The bow of Royal Charles 1610 (left) and the Sovereign of Seas 1637 (right)

The stem curved up from a rounded fore-foot. This design was retained for the Sovereign of the Seas, even though the complex decorative work must have been very susceptible to damage in a seaway. The obvious response was to shorten and elevate the head, while open, curved headrails were introduced to allow seas to wash through the head. Which was also important, after all, this was where the crew’s toilets were located.


The different parts of the bow, just for understanding (x)

The Royal James of 1671 shows that this pattern persisted for more then a decade, but also demonstrates the rather awkward angle forced on the figure, the straight stem meets the keel at an angled fore-foot. The principal advantage of a low head was that it allowed forward fire from guns on and under the forecastle, as seen in the prominent gun ports in the beak heads bulkhead of the Britannia of 1682. By this time the head is shorter but the figure is becoming ever more elaborate, but faired into a rounded stem, testing the ingenuity of the carver.

The Royal James 1671 and the Britannia 1682

By the beginning of the 18th century, the head has become shorter but very deep- the four rails on this draught of the London of 1706 is typical of the Queen Anne period and signals the end of the two-decked high beak head bulkhead. The London 1706 and the Royal William 1719 were classic examples.

At this point the figurehead designer give up to put a single complete statue on top of the bow, but developed instead a double figurehead on each side.

The Queen Charlotte 1790

In course of this century the head became higher and lighter, with only three sets of rails, but the double figurehead was now on every bow. Only the Queen Charlotte is an exception here. the beak head bulkhead was only lightly timbered now and in action proved vulnerable to raking fire from ahead.


  1. As a carpenter I was always fascinated by the frame work of the tall ships, and their ability to handle rough seas and the storms of life. LL I’m impressed by the shear volume of your posts.
    My bug out buggy is a 1974 International Scout with no electronics. EMP proof I hope!

    • You know I was tempted to buy one of those new. I was a gnat’s eyebrow from making the purchase back in that timeframe. I ended up getting a Toyota 4×4 pick-up with locking hubs, as was the way back then. I put a camper shell on it and it was somewhere to sleep when I took it out camping.

      The Toyota FJ is not a comfortable place to sleep, but I’ve spent a number of nights in it (when it’s just cold outside), with the heater on.

    • Most of my camping is on N.F. unimproved/dispersed sites, and my gear is repurposed backpacking and tent camping items.
      Tired of setting up camp under dark, windy, rainy, snowy or muddy conditions so I transitioned to a different camping mode.
      Vehicle requirements included sufficient internal space for sleeping and gear. This precluded Jeeps, FJ40s, Broncos, Blazers and Scouts. Wagoneer and FJ 60 also did not make the cut.

      A short bed K10 pickup with shell worked OK. Insulated and carpeted the interior, gear was stored on a shelf at front of the bed, and a twin size mattress made for comfy snoozing.
      One of my favorites was a ’65 K10 Suburban. Equipped w/ Rockwell 205 transfer case, 4-speed/granny, manual hubs, and 383 smallblock stroker
      motor. Sold it to a buddy who had hounded me for many years.
      About that time I acquired a clean ’71 K20 Suburban, TH 400, Dana 44HD front, 14-bolt/locker rear axle. Replaced the tired factory motor with a 4-bolt 350, QJet, Performer manifold, dual pattern cam and Thorley tri-Y headers. It had saddle tanks and a total fuel capacity of 55 gallons (about enough to get me from L.A. to Flagstaff.) The interior was set up similar to my previous trucks; gear stored in the footwell behind the front seats, ice chest could be reached from driver seat, and mattress on the rear floor. Access to the rear was enhanced by the passenger side 3rd door, and cooking could be done on the tailgate.
      My current rig is an ’86 VW Vanagon Syncro: factory AWD, 4 speed/growler transaxle w/ diff lock, P/S, PDB, and AC. The VW motor has been replaced with a Subaru EJ22 which fits the engine bay beneath the sweet queen-size bed like it grew there. More reliable and more power than the factory motor, and it purrs like a kitten.
      This van is Just About Right for my purposes. It is fun to drive and surprisingly capable off pavement. On road trips it gets about 24 mpg- twice that of the Sub.
      It is complicated and difficult to work on, a steep learning curve after a lifetime of driving Detroit iron. I’ve done what I can to make it as reliable as possible.
      After a couple of years I had enough confidence in the VW to sell the K20 Sub…

      Hope this didn’t bore you.

      • Not boring at all. It’s good to learn more about why people select a particular platform and how that platform works. No rig is a Swiss Army Knife. There are trade-offs, and decisions that have more to do with how you plan to drive, where you plan to drive, what your camping philosophy is, etc. Now that I live in the national forest, quite literally, what I want to do and how I want to do it has morphed. I’ve bugged out…so where do I go from here? And more importantly, WHY?

        • Trade-offs: That ’71 Sub would go anywhere it could fit but the long wheelbase made it unsuited for skinny trails with tight switchbacks. Spacious interior, though. Drivetrain and suspension were nearly bulletproof. Locking diff made 4WD unnecessary except under extreme conditions or when low range was needed. Offroad, the torquey stroker motor was overkill when gearing down for rough terrain, but came in handy when encountering mud.(I hate mud.) It got about 14MPG on the highway.
          The ’86 K10 pickup was a bit more nimble and got better gas
          mileage but seemed flimsy in hindsight. It was only adequately convenient for camping, replaced by the ’71 Sub.
          I like Chevys due to parts interchangeability.
          My first truck was a ’56 panel with a 265 V8 and a Hydramatic 4 speed trans, 12-bolt w/ posi and 4.11 gears. I installed a rebuilt 327, and when the trans. finally died my buddy and I replaced it with a granny gear 4 Speed manual. About $400 for junkyard bellhousing, trans and pedal assy. Resurfaced the flywheel, new clutch, pressure plate and TO bearing. Everything bolted right in. The driveshaft even fit without modification. Took us an entire weekend.

          The Vanagon is an entirely different matter …

  2. Scouts will go anywhere; the 3 speed transfer case is nuts.

    Out here, the doors rust off while you watch, though.

    • No, it has AZ plates and I’m going to have AZ Historic Vehicle (vanity plate) plates on it in the coming year. It’s an older photo. Today it has a canoe rack (home made) on it. I’m able to age the photo by the mods as it slowly morphs into a Mad Max vehicle.

  3. Didn’t I see The Scorpion in a Google Earth photo near that desert obelisk? Mystery solved, it was you. (nice rig)

    “…this century the head became higher and lighter”. And in 2020 half the USA “heads” have gotten even lighter and higher than a kite.

    The craftsmanship and artistry is stunning on these vessels. A ship timberwright is hard to come by these days.

    • Freezing your rump literally as you swing it out over the head and the waves crash up on early AM watch in the winter. Fun…

      • A friend’s grandma’s house in Maine had that, when she (the friend) was a kid… the outhouse was platformed over the sea, on a windy day you got a free Atlantic Ocean Bidet for no extra charge.


  4. Great photos of the rig and yes, California moving to Texas is worrying. They’ll doubtless vote donk, but what am I saying? Elections don’t matter anymore in the brave new world of tolerance and inclusion.

    • Yes, if the voting machines aren’t changed you can have 100% of Texans vote Republican and the Democrat candidates will win. 68% failure rate…

  5. Trying a different browser here, and it’s working OK so far.

    There were two wooden ships built in the parking lot at the L.A. Maritime Museum in San Pedro some years ago. I can’t remember their names, but I watched them being built, and the workmanship that went into them was astounding, as they were built by hand, the old fashioned way.

    IH Scouts were pretty indestructible. Several of my friends back in Illinois had them, and they just kept going, and going, and going….

    They’re currently cheaper than Broncos and Blazers of the same era, but I’d expect them to get “discovered” soon, and the values will skyrocket.

    Our current “bug out” vehicle is the Chevy Colorado Z71. I’ve been screwing around in the snow trying the various 4WD modes, and while it seeems pretty good so far, it just doesn’t have the same “feel” my Grand Cherokee did, so I’m being easy until I learn what I can get away with before it turns around and snarls at me. The Jeep was incredibly sure-footed for being such a big beast (to me) with a lot of torque. I have a feeling the Chevy could start to dance around unbidden if you’re not careful at the limits…..

    • As I replied to TW above, it’s all in what works for what you want the rig to do. Where do you want to go? For how long? Overnight, a week, two weeks, longer, graded dirt road of literally off road/off trail. How hard do you want the rig to be, how heavy? I tend to go toward the armored belly with substantial rock sliders, but in the back of beyond I am not racing. And it’s always better to have another rig and driver with you in case you bog down or break down.

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