Two Nightmare Headlines

Dancing Sifaka lemurs Which one of these is more distressing:

David Cameron praises C17 plane just moments before it breaks down

Navy’s $670 Million Fighting Ship Is ‘Not Expected to Be Survivable,’ Pentagon Says

Meanwhile, whoever is responsible is pulling a Sifaka lemur on the British/American people and hightailing it to Piccadilly/Las Vegas on us. (Short version: someone screwed up and fled town.)

Squeezin’ 9s: the Sig Sauer Pistol Versus the Heckler and Koch Handgun

Gun Store, Las Vegas, Want to Rent a Machine Gun? Go Here

The Gun Store is located 3.5 miles east of the Las Vegas Strip. Just past the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

It holds the distinction, among indoor gun ranges, as having one of the largest varieties of machine guns and exotic weapons available for customers to shoot.

Some gun experts turn up their noses at the Gun Store, due to its high price and its gimmicky nature. As well as its Hollywood feel, as displayed in its advertising. But they truly have a great selection of boom-sticks and hand-cannons.

What exactly do they offer? Click on the picture:

The Gun Store, Las Vegas, Gun Rentals

So on my trip to Vegas this last week, we ducked into the Gun Store with the intention of getting one of the gun packages, a variety of handguns and machine guns. Was it expensive? Yes. Very. Look at the prices. But my friend had never shot and I wanted to give her a good introduction.

The Gun Store Indoor RangeThe Gun Store Indoor Range

Bad news, the wait was more than 1.5 hours. The line circled outside the door.

So we went into the back, where the Gun Store sold its merchandise. I  told one of the employees that I was active-duty and asked if he could show my friend some of the handguns. For her to handle and learn weight and fit.

Ed, the employee at the Gun Store, was great. He ran us through 10 guns or so. From Sigs to Springfields. He even let my friend heft the Benelli shotgun. What a beast! To rack that shotgun dry is entertaining in itself.

Iron Sights, Oceanside Ca

We left the Gun Store with a rain-check on completing the shooting experience. Hardly two days passed before we decided to cash in that rain-check. Iron Sights in Oceanside was the scene of our shootout.

We selected two 9 mils, the Sig Sauer P239 and the Heckler and Koch P2000.

Why 9s? My friend liked how the FNP-9 felt in terms of size and grip. But Iron Sights did not rent that handgun. They did, however, carry the Sig Arms and the H&K.

So with 8 targets (including two zombie, pumpkin-heads) and 200 rounds, we padded around to the indoor range. We had eyes and ears on (eye protection and hearing protection. Safety is always a must.)

Heckler and Koch 9 Mil

We shot the P2000 (H&K) first. It had a very long trigger pull. The weird mag release, just under the trigger guard, gave me problems in execution several times.

It was very comfortable in my hand. And the shooting was very smooth. The mag used the double-stacked method, in that the bullets were offset or staggered. It reminded me of a mid-range Mercedes, not that I have any experience with a such a vehicle.

Unfortunately, I had four jams, including one stove-pipe. (Where a bullet jammed in the chamber, preventing the slide from sliding.) And a couple of times, the rack did not slide back after the mag was complete. This could have been user error. Which has been known to happen.

Sig Sauer 9 Mil

The Sig Sauer. Always one of my favorite brands. It had less distance between the grips and the trigger. Which fit my friend’s smaller hand, but not mine. Still, the trigger had less travel. And I never had a jam.

Also, its mag was a single-stack and could only hold 8 rounds. The mag release, a round button on the forward part of the grip, was far easier to use than the Heckler’s. I had a much easier time grouping my shots with this weapon.

Conclusion: Shooting at Iron Sights was a blast. Next time: some bigger calibers and some smaller ones too. I feel like a hungry man at Soup Plantation. On the buffet line. With two empty plates. And a growly stomach.

Mario Batali Adds a Dash of Anti-Wall Street Crazy to His Cooking

Is Las Vegas backwards?

Las Vegas, Nevada; 3300 Stewart Avenue; City of Las Vegas Detention Center; General Lock-up, 0100 AM.

I had extra leave I needed to take from the Navy. Or I would lose it. So I up and left. To Las Vegas. If I did not burn the leave, I would forfeit the days I had saved.

Before I headed to Vegas, one of my co-workers told me I must visit Mario Batali’s restaurant Carnevino. She suggested the Beef Tasting Menu. Apparently, her husband loved it. What do you think:



Carnevino Beef

Wagyu Beef Crudo

coriander, saffron, fennel

Beef Cheek Ravioli

with aceto balsamico

Wet Aged Piemontes Beef

Semifreddo, part of a Fredo?

spinach, garlic, quail egg

Dry Aged “BBL” Beef

lobster, potato, bearnaise

Vanilla Semifreddo

pistachio rum strawberries

The Navy ceremonial guard at the White House

Sure, it looks excellent. Wagyu? Is that not the house beef of our White House? Not when the Navy is in town, but for the overseas big-toupees to mack. . .

What is Piemontes? And the Semifreddo? Is that named after the deer-eyed brother from the Godfather movie, Fredo?

Can we talk price? 120 clams. Not exactly el cheapo. Certainly not. I can’t afford that, not on a Navy salary. (Note: this is not a complaint. I think myself highly compensated. The non-monied salary, the honor of wearing the uniform and service to country, cannot be quantified.)

So who could afford to shell out those clammy prices? Well, white-collar professionals. Bankers, stock boys, lawyers, financial execs and ex-execs, folks who can afford to wag the wagyu. Uh oh. Guess what Mario just said. Brace for shock:

The Carnevino Bull, not the Wall Street Bull

“But I would have to say that who has had the largest effect on the whole planet without us really paying attention across the board and everywhere is the entire banking industry and their disregard for the people that they’re supposed to be working for.”

“The way the bankers have toppled the way that money is distributed, and taken most of it into their own hands,” Mr. Batali said, “is as good as Stalin or Hitler, the evil guys.”

Bad move Super Mario. I may be a Sailor with more Hong Kong tats than IQ points (okay, not really), but I know enough not to dribble wee-wee on the berber carpet. It did not take long for word to circulate up and down the Street:

Some financial executives sounded as if they believed Mr. Batali had attacked them personally — and they made it clear they would never slide into any of his banquettes again.

And some, trying for a light note, quipped that Mr. Batali had bitten the hands he feeds.

The Wall Street Bull, not the Carnevino Bull

“Really, Mario,” wrote a trader at an investment management firm. “Really?”

An executive with another investment firm declared flatly, “Cancel all reservations at Batali’s eateries, including Babbo and Del Posto.” Yet another wrote, “Done with Batali restaurants.”

On Eater, a reader who used the name Sanity Now wrote: “Major mistake on Mario’s part! What was he thinking?? Alienating those that frequent his restaurants and spend the $$$ needed to keep his doors open. Wonder how he got the financing for all those restaurants and Eataly?”

Super Mario Batali

Not-so-Super Mario emailed out a loose-ankled, limp-wristed apology. (It was never my intention, blah blah.) Good luck winning back the hundreds of high-paying customers once slurping happily in your soup kitchens. That Occupy Wall Street thing don’t play with the wagyu crowd.

I, too, know the pain of miscalculation. I once did a post on Justin Bieber and overnight my blog nosedived. I went from comfortably ignored to annoyingly unread. Bloggers: Bieber will do that to you. Watch out for the kid. Blog on Bieb’s haircut at your own peril.

Of course, Mario has courted controversy before. Back when he was an Iron Chef on the Food Network, he got into a serious beef wellington with the network execs. And he ended up bailing on the show altogether, before going cold turkey from the whole network. Caught in a bad romance, indeed.

Mario Batali, chins financed by Wall Street

Then again, there was always that thang with Gordon Ramsay. Mario, he of 4 Michelin Stars for his restaurants Babbo, Spotted Pig, and Del Posto. And Gordo, of 13 Michelin stars for his various dives.

Mario must’ve forgotten the Royal and US Navy both extended honorary Sailor status to Mr. Ramsay, due to his exotic vocab. All those beeps on Kitchen Nightmares? Yup, that. So what did Mario say of Gord?

The beefy “Iron Chef” has prohibited the star of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” who runs a fancy place at the London NYC Hotel, from entering any of Batali’s dining spots, including the Spotted Pig and Babbo, after Ramsay began calling him “Fanta Pants” to make fun of the orange shorts Batali sometimes wears. The effeminate moniker is a nod to the popular brand of orange soda.

Gordon Ramsay, never met a comb he liked

“I’ve banned him from my restau- rants,” Batali sniffed to London’s Guardian.

“Ramsay’s people call, trying to book tables, and I say no. I won’t have him in there.”

The feud goes back 18 months to when loudmouth Batali labeled rival Ramsay’s culinary fare dull and outdated and said he didn’t get New York.

Batali says Ramsay retaliated by making up the nickname, which he sneakily spread behind his back.

Mario Batali, manscaped beard, hidden capitalism

I will conclude this post with the thought that Vegas is an amazing city. I don’t drink or gamble, yet I still am enjoying my time here.

Kind reader(s), rest assured there are delightful gambolish details to follow this post. Wait, is not the Vegas tagline: what happens in Vegas does not get blogged about?

Anybody got any good Vegas recommendations, stories?

Also, in a completely unrelated matter, I need the name of a good (read: discrete) Bail Bondsman in the southern Nevadaish area. Preferably one with a military discount. I have a “friend” who is interested in learning that exciting trade. And he wants to talk to one. Right now. . .