Thursday, March 29, 2012

My New Old Colt 1911

My dad’s Colt 1911 was the first pistol I ever saw, and I was instantly in love. Thirty years later, I purchased my first handgun, a Kimber TLE 1911, black-on-black, just like Dad’s. It wasn’t Dad’s, though, and that was always in the back of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great piece, but there’s something cool about a Colt.

Recently, he gave the Colt to me. Just like that. It was mine. I did some research on the gun and I found out that should a person want one today, he or she had better have about $1,500 to shell out, because it’s now a collector item.

The 1911 in question is a Colt MK IV Series ’70 Government Model .45. I looked up the serial number and found out that this particular gun was manufactured in ’76, making it an original specimen. It’s in wonderful shape, too.

Colt re-introduced the Series ’70 in the early 2000s, but the purists weren’t big fans because the gun was really an 80 Series with Series ’70 internals. Just about any Colt 1911 lover covets the original ‘70s, and they have become highly desirable.

The only thing I didn’t like about the gun were the wrap-around rubber grips. They looked out-of-place on such a beautiful pistol. Besides, age had gotten the best of the ones on my dad’s gun, and they weren’t in the best of shapes.

When I bought my Kimber, I also bought beautiful wooden grips to put on it. When I received the Kimber, however, I found that I really liked the feel of their synthetic grips, and so I opted not to change them out. Good thing I kept hold of them, though, because they look spectacular on the Colt.

I have yet to shoot the thing, but I did take it apart, clean and lube it. The gun is amazingly tight; I don’t think Dad sent many rounds downrange. It does feature an annoying “finger-collet” barrel bushing that makes the gun extremely hard to get back together, but is supposed to vastly improve the inherent accuracy. We’ll see.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

So, I finally broke down and bought a metal detector. I had been doing loads of research on them, and I even joined a forum. They aren’t exactly cheap, so I wanted to be sure it was something I wanted to do before I chucked $200 or more out the window.

After reading tons and tons of information about the various types, I ended up with a Fisher F2.

I liked some of the other detectors such as the Garrett Ace 250 but honestly, I’m real picky about how things look, and not in a normal way. The Garretts are awesome, but they are yellow; I have nothing against the color itself, but the thing reminded me of those waterproof radios from the late ‘80s that folks in the commercials were taking into the shower. Yellow electronics were lame then, and they are lame now.

The only yellow electronic thing I can think of that is not lame is the DeWalt construction site stereo-boom box with the roll cage around it – that thing rocks all day.

Even when I was a kid, I would buy shoes based on how the soles looked. Yes, the soles; I didn’t really care what was up top, but the tread and the colors of the rubber had to be bitchin’, or no-go. It may actually explain a lot, but I’m no psychologist and so I just pretend it doesn’t.

So anyhow, I have only had the chance to use my detector once, but the thing actually works. In the span of a single hour, it netted me a rusty screw, a rusty nail, two old bottle caps, and what could be half a coffee can or some aluminum siding. Exciting stuff! And, what’s even cooler, is that all those items were in my very own backyard.

My house was built in 1934, and I’m hoping that someone in the ‘40s or ‘50s buried a fortune back there, all preserved in mason jars. Then I can retire and have a lot more time for blogging and writing novels. How sweet is that?

I’ll keep you all updated on my groovy, life-changing metal-detecting finds.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New 1981 Smog Bill

So, rumor has it there’s a new bill on the docket that is trying to raise the mandatory smog date all the way to 1981. Let me tell you, that would change lives, and not just a few of them.

If we didn’t have to smog pre-1981 vehicles, then millions of ’76-’80 work trucks just became a viable option for the little guy who makes his own cash. It means that low-income families who are more or less forced do drive something from the late ‘70s get to save money and hassle. Unless, of course, CA triples the registration on vehicles from those years; wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

It also means that you can drive that ’76 Cordoba you always wanted without having the referee futz with it – who could ask for more?

This bill really needs to pass. Also, if it *does* pass, I know a lot of folks (myself included) who’ll be a little upset that they sold some vehicle or other. My dad gave me his ’76 Chevy long bed 4x4 that he’d owned since ’77. I put a new engine in it, I had a lot of fun with it, but I eventually had to sell it because I couldn’t afford to register and smog the thing while also getting a neat 8 mpg.

If this bill passes, it means I could have kept it. Well, I guess it’s for the best, because I really, really like Dodge trucks better. I’m a MOPAR guy, and there’s not a thing I can do about it.

Anyhow, below is the information about the bill, and contacts you can make to voice your opinion in the matter. Do the right thing, here, and get Uncle Sam’s greedy-ass hands out of our older vehicles.


In 2004, legislation was enacted to repeal California’s rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older and replace it with a law requiring the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. This year, a bill has been introduced in the California Senate (S.B. 1224) by Senator Doug LaMalfa ( ) to exempt all motor vehicles prior to the 1981 model year from the emissions inspection requirement. The bill will be considered in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on March 27, 2012.

We Urge You to Contact All Members of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee (Contact Info Below) Immediately To Request Their Support for S.B. 1224

· S.B. 1224 recognizes the minimal impact of pre-1981vehicles on emissions and air quality.

· S.B. 1224 acknowledges that pre-1981 vehicles still constitute a minuscule portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction.

· S.B. 1224 endorses the fact that pre-1981 vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven (a fraction of the miles each year as a new vehicle).

· For years, legislators, regulators and stationary source polluters have felt the heat from failed efforts to meet air quality goals and have looked to older cars as a convenient scapegoat, using false data and inflated annual mileage assumptions to further their case. S.B. 1224 helps validate the truth. The old car hobby should not continue to carry the burden of past mistakes!

DON’T DELAY! Please contact members of the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee immediately to request their support of S.B. 1224. Please e-mail a copy of your letter to Steve McDonald at Also, please forward this Alert to your fellow car enthusiasts. Urge them to join the SAN and help defend the hobby! Thank you for your assistance.
Senate Transportation and Housing Committee

To e-mail all members of the Committee, copy and paste the email address block below:;;;;;;;;

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (Chair)
Phone: (916) 651-4007

Senator Ted Gaines (Vice Chair)
Phone: (916) 651-4001

Senator Tom Harman
Phone: (916) 651-4035

Senator Christine Kehoe
Phone: (916) 651-4039

Senator Alan Lowenthal
Phone: (916) 651-4027

Senator Fran Pavley
Phone: (916) 651-4023

Senator Michael Rubio
Phone: (916) 651-4016

Senator Joe Simitian
Phone: (916) 651-4011

Senator Mark Wyland
Phone: (916) 651-4038