Friday, June 24, 2016

No More Pop-Up Shops in Florence?/TNT Fireworks

Everyone know what a pop-up shop is? If you don’t, briefly it’s a small business that opens for a very short time, one day to two or so weeks, or sometimes a seasonal business that opens once a year. While the term pop-up is trendy at the moment, such businesses have been around for decades. Florence was for many years the site of at least two travelling bookstores which would annually appear in some small storefront to sell publishers’ overruns. We haven’t seen one of those in quite some time. Have they just disappeared because they are no longer economically feasible, or has the city stopped issuing licenses for a competitor of the local Anderson family?

Other such businesses have appeared on a regular basis in Florence in recent years. In March of this year, Singing River Brewery held a pop-up shop called “Pallet Art.” Competition for Tommy Mathis’ art gallery? Christmas 2014 saw the pop-up menswear store Cotton Creek arrive for a short time. Their main store is in south Alabama. Competition for JAR and Coats’ Clothing?

So now such pop-up stores will no longer be welcome in Florence. Or will they? If they are, we’re sure there will be a lawsuit…simply because Mayor Mickey Haddock made what the thought was the right decision?


While on the subject of fireworks outlets, those luxurious and aesthetically pleasing trailers that TNT Fireworks sets up twice a year are such an addition to any city, don’t you think?


Guns? Shoalanda herself is pretty much middle of the road when it comes to guns and the sales of them. Today we’re presenting part one of an article by our fellow blogger J. Redmon, and we didn’t want to miss the chance to take a dig at many journalists and their political hot buttons.

Assault rifle? We’re pretty sure handguns are used to assault as well. Even that first grader’s toy is an assault pea shooter. Another one of our bloggers, L. Stone, sent us this, and we think it really hits the mark:


The AR15 by J. Redmon

Prior to the conclusion of WWII, military planners were already fast at work on the next designs for America’s new battle rifle. The M14, with its 7.62 NATO round, was merely a ‘stop gap’ measure, and saw a very short-lived military service life as a general issue infantry weapon. With the ‘War on Terror’, however, the M14 has seen a new lease on life. What the engineers had in mind was something ‘better’. That something was the AR15 (Armalite Rifle, Model 15), commonly referred to by its military designation, the M16.

The M16 was the brainchild of Eugene Stoner. His brilliant mind gave birth to what has become one of the most successful and long-lived infantry weapons in US history. He designed and supervised its development while he was employed by Armalite, a division of Fairfield Engine Company, during the 1950s.

The M16 was a gas-operated rifle, firing from a 20-round box magazine, and capable of both semi-automatic and fully automatic fire. The new M16 fired a 5.56mm round, known commercially as the .223 Remington. It utilized a 55-grain FMJ projectile, fired at a nominal velocity of 3200 feet per second from a 20-inch barrel.

Mr. Stoner was intent on seeing his new creation in the hands of US servicemen, and vigorously marketed it to the Pentagon. The first branch to show interest was the US Air Force, adopting it as the AR15. They viewed it as a pilot survival weapon rather than a general issue weapon. However, once the Air Force adopted it, the other branches of the military lined up. Once adopted by the US Army and the US Marine Corp, the AR15 wore the designation M16. Early field experiences with the new weapon led to minor changes which resulted in the debut of the M16A1.

Volumes have been written about the M16’s early ‘failures’. However, its failures were not due to mechanics, but rather to a lack of knowledge by its operators. When first fielded, the M16 was touted as being a rifle that a soldier didn’t have to clean. In fact, the first M16s delivered to US troops came sans cleaning kits. A little known place called Vietnam would quickly dispel that myth.

The M16’s failures in Vietnam are legendary and resulted in a series of congressional hearings. These hearings found that a combination of powder change in the ammunition shipped to Vietnam, and a lack of proper cleaning was at the root of the failures. Once this information was found and acted upon, the M16 became a very reliable service weapon. Its light weight, low recoil and lightweight ammunition were welcomed by soldiers used to humping the heavy M14 and its equally heavy ammunition.

Lessons learned in Vietnam saw to the development of an improved M16A1, known as the M16A2. It featured improved sights, a more robust stock, a 1/7” twist (later changed to 1/9”), a reinforced receiver and the introduction of a 3-shot burst feature. This later feature was intended to replace the full-auto setting found on earlier M16s and M16A1s.

Operation Desert Storm was the proving ground for the M16A2. Most, if not all, of the worries of the M16A2 being incompatible with a sandy desert environment were for naught. All indications are that the M16A2 performed very well, much better, in fact, than many of its rivals.

The M16 series of weapons has continued to evolve over the past 4 decades. A soldier issued an M16 in the early stages of Vietnam would be at home with today’s newest version, the M4 Carbine. The M4 is an attempt to standardize, among the various branches of the military, on one personal individual weapon.

As with most previous military firearms innovations, the M16/M4 has a civilian-legal counterpart, the AR15. Originally marketed to civilians by Colt in the late 1960s as the ‘SP1’, the AR15 and its many variants have surpassed the Winchester Model 94 (your grandpa’s old .30-30) in popularity….and for good reason.


June is fast winding down; another month, another grand jury. It’s like Christmas, isn’t it?

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