28 June 2010
We'll keep up the miles. I'm shooting for between 50 and 60 miles in around 4 hours on the July 7th. Then I'll take a few days of easy riding just to keep my legs in shape for the big ride on the 11th.
I was looking at the course map and elevation profiles and there's a nasty little climb at the 70 mile mark. It's category 1, 1.8 miles long with a grade that goes from 5 to 12 percent. Oh my aching legs. I'm going to be increasing my climbing preparation but I'm assuming I'm still gonna be walking a bit of that 12 percent grade.
Can he make it? Will he crash or have a massive coronary? Stay tuned.
27 June 2010
Pharaoh and the Sergeant
". . . Consider that the meritorious services of the Sergeant Instructors attached to the Egyptian Army haue been inadequately acknowledged. . . . To the excellence of their work is mainly due the great improvement that has taken place in the soldiers of H.H. the Khedive."
Extact from Letter.
Said England unto Pharaoh, "I must make a man of you,
That will stand upon his feet and play the game;
That will Maxim his oppressor as a Christian ought to do,"
And she sent old Pharaoh Sergeant Whatisname.
It was not a Duke nor Earl, nor yet a Viscount --
It was not a big brass General that came;
But a man in khaki kit who could handle men a bit,
With his bedding labelled Sergeant Whatisname.
Said England unto Pharaoh, "Though at present singing small,
You shall hum a proper tune before it ends,"
And she introduced old Pharaoh to the Sergeant once for all,
And left 'em in the desert making friends.
It was not a Crystal Palace nor Cathedral;
It was not a public-house of common fame;
But a piece of red-hot sand, with a palm on either hand,
And a little hut for Sergeant Whatisname.
Said England unto Pharaoh, "You 've had miracles before,
When Aaron struck your rivers into blood;
But if you watch the Sergeant he can show vou something more. '
He's a charm for making riflemen from mud."
It was neither Hindustani, French, nor Coptics;
It was odds and ends and leavings of the same,
Translated by a stick (which is really half the trick),
And Pharaoh harked to Sergeant Whatisname.
(There were y ears that no one talked of; there were times of horrid doubt --
There was faith and hope and whacking and despair --
While the Sergeant gave the Cautions and he combed old Pharaoh out,
And England didn't seem to know nor care.
That is England's awful way o' doing business --
She would serve her God (or Gordon) just the same --
For she thinks her Empire still is the Strand and Hol born Hill,
And she didn't think of Sergeant Whatisname.
Said England to the Sergeant, "You can let my people go!"
(England used 'em cheap and nasty from the start),
And they entered 'em in battle on a most astonished foe --
But the Sergeant he had hardened Pharaoh's heart
Which was broke, along of all the plagues of Egypt,
Three thousand years before the Sergeant came
And he mended it again in a little more than ten,
Till Pharaoh fought like Sergeant Whatisname.
It was wicked bad campaigning (cheap and nasty from the first),
There was heat and dust and coolie-work and sun,
There were vipers; flies, and sandstorms, there was cholera and thirst,
But Pharaoh done the best he ever done.
Down the desert, down the railway, down the river,
Like Israelites From bondage so he came,
'Tween the clouds o' dust and fire to the land of his desire,
And his Moses, it was Sergeant Whatisname!
We are eating dirt in handfuls for to save our daily bread,
Which we have to buy from those that hate us most,
And we must not raise the money where the Sergeant raised the dead,
And it's wrong and bad and dangerous to boast.
But he did it on the cheap and on the quiet,
And he's not allowed to forward any claim --
Though he drilled a black man white, though he made a mummy fight,
He will still continue Sergeant Whatisname --
Private, Corporal, Colour-Sergeant, and Instructor --
But the everlasting miracle's the same!
25 June 2010
I simply don't have strong enough words to express my fury at what the New Orleans PD officers did during and after Katrina. There may have been some who acted appropriately, even heroically but I've seen no evidence. What I have seen evidence of is looting, illegal confiscation of citizens weapons, murder and cover ups.
Sheepdogs, or those who purport themselves to be sheepdogs, who turn and attack the flock are worse than the wolves. They have no place in our society and they must be removed. I am a supporter of the death penalty. Even absent deterrence (and I'm not convinced it has no deterrent value) at the very least those people will never again have the opportunity to again victimize others. I am a supporter of the death penalty in this case as well. The officers who brutally and callously murdered those people on the bridge and even those who tried so hard to cover up the atrocity should be subject to that ultimate penalty. Those who lied and schemed and did their best to cover up such an abhorrent crime have bought into the murders as surely as if they had pulled the trigger. It's called accessory after the fact and it should draw the same penalty.
I am a Warrior. I am a Police Officer (retired). I am a Soldier. I am a Sheep dog. I recognize danger and I recognize threat and I recognize when it's time to growl and when it's time to kill.
There are no excuses. There is no justification. There can be no doubt. Such men deserve neither pity nor mercy for what pity or mercy did they show their victims? If we as a society can mandate death for the heinous killers among us how can we exclude these men? The fact of their positions as police officers isn't a mitigating factor, rather it is all the more damning. They were supposed to risk their lives to serve and protect. Instead they turned on the flock and savaged the helpless. It cannot be tolerated.
Yes, I love my brothers and sisters in blue. The same way I love them in green or camouflage or khaki. But these men have removed themselves from that love. They have dishonored themselves and every man and woman in the profession. I am shamed and indeed, I feel dishonored.
If it were possible I would volunteer to flip the switch or pull the trigger that ends these evil men's lives. That will not happen but let those of us who honor our fallen brothers and sisters, who love freedom and liberty and America remain watchful for the creeping evil that has again shown it's fangs and never tolerate nor fail to attack those who would do harm to the flock.
Lest we lose our very souls.
23 June 2010
I was a kid in california in the early 60's. Back then we used to take our skates apart and nail them to a piece of wood to make skateboards. They were a brand new thing. There was even a song by the Jan & Dean called Sidewalk Surfing. Remember that? Baseball was still the national past time. Basketball and Football were still small (but growing rapidly) and Hockey virtually unknown.
As Football and Basketball grew in popularity, Baseball began to wane and Hockey remained the province of Canada and those states where snow fall is measured in feet.
Sometime in the 80's or so extreme sports exploded. Athletic suburban kids realized that they couldn't compete in the mainstream sports arena. 4 years of college was not a guarantee of professional athletic achievement and that's where the money was. There was no future in those sports for them. Then a funny thing happened. As extreme sports grew most of those kids realized there was big money to be made there. For a generation that eschewed a 9 to 5 lifestyle it was a dream. Mainstream sport money with acceptable competition. Extreme sports took off.
I also remember when soccer was introduced into our little southern Utah community. It was the 70's and it was coached by a local cop and was played by the kids who couldn't play one of the big 3. In the following years soccer grew a little. Professional soccer, the NASL started in 1968 failed in 1984. Finally, in just the last decade, it seems to have found it's American niche with the MLS. But American soccer isn't important in and of itself. We tend to play the game at an institutional level that is decidedly below that of the Europeans, especially in the Premier League and UEFA. What is important is that suburban American kids are once again seeing a sport where they can compete and make Big 3 money with acceptable competition.
There are 20 teams in Englands Premier League. UEFA has 53. NF-Board has 32. There are others. American kids who don't fancy their chances to make an NFL or NBA roster have another option. Baseball is still declining.
We're seeing top flight American athletes beginning to choose soccer over mainstream sports. the MLS is now a springboard for American kids to move to Europe where soccer is called Football, the people are fanatical about it and big salaries are paid to the top athletes. And the Americans are learning that man for man they can compete at the highest European levels. It is only a matter of time before an American is the highest paid player in Europe. They're bringing that knowledge and those skills back here and passing it on to the next generation of suburban kids dreaming of big money to be made playing a game.
All that doesn't answer the question about why I care. The truth is I'm like most Americans. I find soccer boring and frustrating. Lots of running around with little real action. Sound and fury signifying nothing. But I recognize that America's international athletic future is inextricably tied to soccer. The NFL failed in Europe. Baseball has failed in Canada and is falling here. (Their future is in the South American and Asian markets). Hockey has nearly failed completely and is only one more work stoppage from bankruptcy. Basketball has the best chance for world wide growth but the numbers of players are still relatively small and the salaries of all except the few elite are those of an office worker.
I have always believed that America produces the finest athletes on the planet. We are wealthy enough to be able to afford the time to train and eat the way we need to. We have a work ethic conducive to excellence. We have very smart people who make huge sums of money doing nothing but advising would be and rising sports stars. Eventually they will bend their talents to soccer in the same way they do the Big 3. I believe that is happening even now.
I've watched the last 3 World Cups. Not beginning to end but enough to get a feel for the game and the men who play it. I've seen the American athletes getting better and better. I've seen the coaches learn their craft. But more than that, I've seen the American fans. In foreign countries, wearing the Stars and Stripes, their faces painted red, white and blue. I've seen their anguish over losses and their joy over wins. I have come to realize that they are fans, as passionate about their sport as anyone in Chicago or Green Bay or New York. They know something.
What they know is that just like it's inevitable that Americans will rise to the top of European soccer it is also certain that America will become a World Cup power. There is no sport we cannot master and that thought gives me a warm feeling inside. I love the idea that we will one day take the notion that the provincial Americans, who lack the sophistication to appreciate soccer, will excel at their own game and stuff it down their throats.
That is why I think soccer is important to America. It's another chance to show the world that one nation of free people can conquer the world. That Americans can overcome all obstacles, bad calls and all. Go ahead, crap on us and denigrate us and stack the deck against us. It'll just make the victory all the more sweet when we get done kicking your ass.
Go Team America!
Update June 26. America 1 - Ghana 2. Crap. Just wait til 2014.
Eikenberry and Holbrook need to go next. Petraeus cannot be saddled with the two men most responsible for alienating Kharzai and the Afghan government.
I won't be surprised to see McChrystal entering politics in the near future.
22 June 2010
It is an absolutely true story. I swear.
Get better soon Nicki.
I think I have discovered proof of a secret medical language. Unh is apparently Secret Medical Speak for a shredded Achilles tendon. Let me elaborate.
I live in Monterey County California. We have a film Commission who decided to make an industry film about...well, making films in Monterey County. What a concept.
The producer of said kinda sorta film decided she needed an Heroic Police Officer for a critical scene on our commercial wharf. The Chief called me into his office and declared his total faith in my ability to handle this sensitive and important task. He said. "You can do this or get someone else. I don't care."
I left his office filled with the warmth of his obvious confidence. I decided I would undertake the job myself as I couldn't convince anyone else to do it. My sanity was questioned several times, but I digress.
I arrived at the scene and met with the producer. She was obviously overjoyed with the choice for Heroic Police Officer. She told me to stay out of the way and "Go wait over there until we're ready for you."
I picked a spot to wait and prepare for my pivotal role. Then I moved after someone yelled at me and questioned my intelligence for apparently parking Right In The Middle Of Everything. I settled into my new spot and waited. Three hours. The director came over and gave me...direction. She was clearly a top notch professional, leaving nothing to chance. She went over each phase of the scene, breaking it down to it's most basic elements so as to leave me no doubt of exactly what was expected of me. "Drive down there with your lights and siren thingy on. Get out; throw the blanket over the wet woman and leave. Got it?"
I nodded my understanding and mentally prepared myself. I got behind the wheel, my steely resolve showing in the set of my jaw and the intensity of my gaze. I may have questioned the director’s parentage but that was only my attempt to "Get Into Character."
At the signal I activated my lights and siren thingy and sped toward my destiny. Surely this was just the beginning of my long overdue discovery as the next great Hollywood leading man. I would soon find myself on the cover of Teen Beat magazine and earn billions of dollars making blockbuster films about Heroic Characters. I arrived on my mark, grabbed the blanket, stepped out of my Heroic Police Vehicle and prepared to run to the rescue of the Damp Distressed Damsel. At that moment my left Achilles tendon decided to horn in on the action. It apparently decided it wasn't getting enough attention so chose that moment to do a Very Bad Thing. It tore itself in half, although I didn't know it at the moment. Why it chose that particular action I can only speculate. Perhaps it wanted to interject some drama into the proceedings. How much better if the Heroic Police Officer must rescue the Distressed Damp Damsel while dragging a no longer operational left foot behind? Perhaps it was just pissed at being treated as an appendage. I don't know, but again I digress.
My foot felt as if it had been hit by a charging Rhino, or perhaps a medium sized Armadillo. Still, I managed a kind of hopping, shuffling, club footed sorta movement to our Leading Lady. I Heroically draped the blanket over her shoulder and murmured words of comfort to her. I think I may have mentioned that my leg was falling off or words to that effect but my intention was absolutely clear. Her well being was of paramount importance and anything else she says is just a stinking pack of lies.
I made my way back to the Heroic Police Cruiser and collapsed into the seat. With Heroic Dignity of course. The director mentioned as how she'd like a "Second take if you don't mind. And how about trying to walk like a real human being instead of the Shambling Horror From Space." I spent 5 minutes explaining to her why her parents had never married and informed her I'd be happy to give her a second take when I next saw her. In Hell.
I decided to call it a day and returned to the station whereupon I discovered I could not take my left boot off. Oh, it's not like I didn't try but every time I did I woke up on the floor, looking up at the ceiling and wondering who that was I heard screaming. Luckily for me the Fire Station, filled with Heroic Fire Persons, is attached to the Police Station. I managed a one legged, hopping shuffle to the Fire Station and summoned the Heroic Fire Persons therein.
Now the good thing about Fire Persons is that they are Threatenable. If one tells a Fire Person, "If you cut my expensive boots off with your Evil Scissors I will shoot you" they tend to believe you. Paramedics, on the other hand are Not Threatenable At All. I learned this the hard way. I was involved in an on duty motorcycle accident where I injured my left hip which is at the top of my legs, very near my actual waist. When I was loaded into the ambulance the Paramedic immediately produced a pair of Evil Scissors. I asked the purpose of said Evil Scissors and was told they were to cut my pants off. I informed the Paramedic that they weren't in fact pants but Motorcycle Breeches which we were required to wear by Gubernatorial Dictate. The main difference between Pants and Breeches is that Pants cost $29.95 and Breeches cost $310.00. I told the paramedic "If you cut off my Breeches which cost $310.00 I will shoot you". He laughed. I said "Look, my injury is my hip which is at the top of my legs and very near my actual waist and if I unbutton and unzip my Breeches I can easily slide them past my injury which you can then examine to your hearts content." The Paramedic informed me that I Did Not Understand and proceeded to cut my Breeches from cuff to waist. Apparently Breeches do not actually die if only one leg is cut so He then proceeded to cut the other, non-injured leg, from cuff to waist. Paramedics are Inscrutable and very non-Threatenable but I'm digressing again.
The Fire Persons managed to remove my boot, with much crying and pleading, some of it by me. It may have been the gun I had pointed at them but then again it may have been my socks. The Heroic Fire Captain took one look at my Achilles tendon and said, and this is a direct quote, "Unh." I said, "What exactly does that mean, Unh?" The Heroic Fire Captain said "Dude, you need to see a doctor right now." I asked why. He replied "You see this gap in your tendon? See how it feels like a bag of dead meat? It's not supposed to do that." I felt the area and it did indeed feel like a bag of dead meat (Don't ask how I know I just do) so I decided to heed his expert medical advice and went to the ER.
While in the ER I removed my sock and waited patiently. For another three hours. When the fine ER doctor came in he took one look and said, and again this is a direct quote, "Unh." I asked the doctor if he could maybe be just a tad more specific as to the actual problem. I may have inferred a too close relationship between himself and his mother but that is totally beside the point. He did seem to take a perverse glee in informing me that I had in fact ruptured my Achilles tendon but I thought the laughter was totally uncalled for.
Two days later I found myself in the Orthopedic Surgeons office, confident that the ER doctor and Heroic Fire Captain were all wet and this would turn out to be much less severe than I had so far been led to believe. The good Doctor took one look and said, and I must stress, this is a direct quote, "Unh." He immediately scheduled me for surgery to repair what he called "The worst blown Achilles I've ever seen."
So, what have I Learned? Unh is obviously Expert Medico Speak for Painful Ruptured Achilles Tendon followed by even more painful Surgery and Physical Therapy by graduates of the Marquis De Sade School of Medical Torture and Massage. Get the word out. The code has been broken.
So if you ever feel like your foot has been hit by a medium sized Armadillo and a Medical Expert says to you "Unh" don't say you weren't warned.
And whatever you do, don't let them cut your pants off.
21 June 2010
I found that away from the job I needed audio input when I drove. I needed someone talking in the background. Same at home. I couldn't simply sit in front of the TV. I also read, worked a puzzle or wrote/read on the Internet. Work with background voices.
I thought when I retired that would end. Turns out that isn't the case. I've been driving a bit alone lately, traveling to and from Utah and my buddy's house in New Mexico. Without Lu to keep me company and fill the silent miles with comfortable sound I had to turn to the radio. I tried XM but hate the expense. I have my collection of music CD's but that's different.
To me music is workout material. I like the most obnoxious rock imaginable when I'm in the gym. When I lift it's a short, directed outburst of effort and energy and bands such as Slayer and the like give me the adrenaline shot I need. I'm an angry lifter and I like angry music about death and war and eating ones enemies. On the bike I prefer classic 60's and 70's rock. BTO, Boston, Clapton, help me put away the miles and meter my energy expenditure so I don't bonk too soon. (Music is also reserved for the Vette. Gotta have the tunes cranked.)
So I turn to AM and talk radio. The problem is trying to find something to listen to across the desert between Bakersfield and Vegas. Frankly it's a mess and during the day so difficult to hold an interesting station. The solution?
Turns out books on tape are the cats ass. I tried it this last trip. The only book I had was the New Testament so I went with it and got most of the way through in about 36 hours of driving. I'm hooked and shopping for titles now. I'm going to be adding a pretty extensive collection but I'm not sure the content matters all that much, I just need the vocal input.
It's said that old habits die hard. I can attest to the truth in that. Still, as habits go I guess this one isn't too bad. It may cost me a few shekels to buy books on CD I already have on dead trees but at least I'm not hooked on what passes for music these days. Kids these days.
Frank Andrus fought for America in the Korean War, was wounded by shrapnel, and his reward is to receive his Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and other military honors...
In the mail?
Go over to Great Reader to read all about it. JihadGene is asking for help from anyone who can and I echo that sentiment. This is a damn shame and I am both shamed and angry at his treatment.
For Mr. Andrus. Know that you have our undying respect, admiration and support.
20 June 2010
The Married Man
RESERVIST OF THE LINE
The bachelor 'e fights for one
As joyful as can be;
But the married man don't call it fun,
Because 'e fights for three
For 'Im an' 'Er an' It
(An' Two an' One make Three)
'E wants to finish 'is little bit,
An' e' wants to go 'ome to is tea!
The bachelor pokes up 'is 'ead
To see if you are gone;
But the married man lies down instead,
An' waits till the sights come on,
For 'im an' 'Er an' a hit
(Direct or recochee)
'E wants to finish 'is little bit,
An' 'e wants to go 'ome to 'is tea.
The bachelor will miss you clear
To fight another day;
But the married man, 'e says "No fear!"
'E wants you out of the way
Of 'Im an' 'Er an' It
(An' 'is road to 'is farm or the sea),
'E wants to finish 'is little bit,
An' 'e wants to go 'ome to 'is tea.
The bachelor 'e fights 'is fight
An' streches out an' snores;
But the married man sits up all night
For 'e don't like out-o'-doors.
'E'll strain an' listen an' peer
An' give the first alarm--
For the sake o' the breathin' 'e's used to 'ear,
An' the 'ead on the thick of 'is arm.
The bachelor may risk 'is 'ide
To 'elp you when you're downed;
But the married man will wait beside
Till the ambulance comes round.
'E'll take your 'ome address
An' all you've time to say,
Or if 'e sees there's 'ope, 'e'll press
Your art'ry 'alf the day
For 'Im an' 'Er an' It
(An' One from Three leaves Two),
For 'e knows you wanted to finish your bit,
An' 'e knows 'oo's wantin' you.
Yes, 'Im an' 'Er an' It
(Our 'only One in Three),
We're all of us anxious to finish our bit,
An' we want to get 'ome to our tea!
Yes, It an' 'Er an' 'Im,
Which often makes me think
The married man must sink or swim
An' -- 'e can't afford to sink!
Oh, 'Im an' It an' 'Er
Since Adam an' Eve began!
So I'd rather fight with the bacheler
An' be nursed by the married man!
(US Army, Retired)
Of Lambs and Lions "I do not fear an army of lions if they are led by a lamb. I do fear an army of sheep if they are led by a lion.".Alexander the Great(great sig line!)
Greetings Wheels on the Road readers, fellow South Floridians, and indeed all Americans. It is time for our monthly political assessment and this one is rather personal. Last month we addressed what is at stake, and the response was the future of America. One of the factors affecting our Country right now relates to Alexander's quote mentioned above.Attorney General Eric Holder once lamented that America is a "nation of cowards", that is far from the truth. The problem we have in America is that we are being led by lambs, by an effete ruling class elite. America is a nation of lions, warriors, but when we find ourselves being led by a cabal of weak, ineffective, and indecisive appeasers the result is evident.Sure, the liberal progressives are dogged ideologues and tenacious poodles when it comes to nationalizing our production; healthcare, financial sector, energy sector, and automobile industry. They stand strong against the rule of law regarding illegal immigration. And there is no doubt no group will fight harder to redistribute wealth and turn America into a collective "balkanized" socialist Country.However, what scares the liberals more than anything else is the "Warrior Class". They abhor the men and women who find a commitment and conviction in believing in this Constitutional Republic and the principles which make America exceptional. This is a sentiment which over the past 30 days we witnessed being manifested from the highest office in our land, the President.When Barack Hussein Obama made the decision to take a "vacation" back to Chicago rather than attend Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National cemetery that was a complete disregard and disrespect to those who gave the "last full measure of devotion". I know, those who suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome are frothing and recounting that Pres GW Bush missed an Arlington ceremony....but he was at Normandy, a very appropriate place to be.But it was not just the missing Memorial Day, it was also the lack of any recognition of the 66th anniversary of D-Day. It was the failure to address Flag Day which was also the 235th birthday of the US Army. Lastly, Obama's refusal for the second year in a row to attend the "Gold Star Family" events clearly telegraphs his regard for our military does not go beyond photo opportunities. The malignant narcissism of the President, and the liberal progressives, is laser focused on the disrespect and the destruction of the American Warrior class. They detest anyone who has the courage of conviction and love of America, something which they find unconscionable.It starts with a national security strategy which refuses to address the enemy of our Nation, islamic totalitarianism and radical islamic state sponsored terrorism. We have sheep who are so oblivious to the threats to our security that the Obama administation's terrorism expert, John Brennan, stated that "terrorism is a state of mind and jihadism is a legitimate tenet of Islam". When at the highest levels we project a recalcitrance to confront our enemy, you only embolden them.When an enemy is emboldened, such as this one, they launch a "humanitarian aid" flotilla which is nothing more than a cover to supply a terrorist organization, Hamas. When you have a Sovereign State seek to protect itself, and even institute insidious rules of engagement, and yet is condemned for protecting its warriors, we are upside down......we are being led by sheep. Nothing pleasures wolves more than fresh lamb meat, and we are serving that up at every instance.This seemingly is not just an American phenomenon, but a worldwide epidemic. North Korea sinks a South Korean naval vessel and we ask for an apology. The international community demands that Israel apologize and submit to an investigation.We have created rules of engagement in Afghanistan which allows the enemy every opportunity to kill our men and women. We have considered such horrible ideas such as an award for "courageous restraint". We even allow former Taliban members who have attacked, and maybe even killed, our troops to be released from detainment based upon a "pledge" signed by their fathers and tribal leaders.Yet, we have our own Warriors such a Army 1LT Michael Behenna serving a 15 year prison sentence for killing a known Al Qaeda operative who attacked him. Worse however, is the fact that exculpatory evidence in his case was withheld by the Army prosecutors who also withheld a key witness. There in the military prison at Ft Leavenworth sit 10 Army Soldiers while Taliban fighters are being released. We just witnessed some of our finest Warriors, US Navy SEALS, having to endure a courts-martial because they "punched" a terrorist.That is why I will be heading to Ft Leavenworth in September to rally for the release of our Soldiers so that they can be reunited with their families. Those families who willingly sacrificed their loved ones, believing that they could be severely wounded, or even killed....but never imprisoned for doing what we ask Warriors to do.In the past 30 days we watched the House of Representatives so concerned about the military that they just could not wait, and voted to repeal "Dont Ask Dont Tell". This was done against the counsel of the Service Chiefs who asked for an opportunity to allow the men and women in uniform to offer their suggestions and insights. No, it is more important to have the military accomodate behavior rather than respect the professionalism of those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.We have seen the President nominate someone for Supreme Court justice who attacked the Solomon Amendment, allowing ROTC activities on our college campuses. We are willing to allow an Islamic victory tribute to be erected at Ground Zero in New York City because we have leaders who just cannot find the courage to stand....sheep.We have a running gun battle occuring on our southern border but we allowed a foreign leader to demean our laws and attack a Governor of a sovereign American State.There has never been a more critical time for our Republic and yet we find the worse possible individuals in control for this time. We have a Nation of men and women who embrace victory and detest the stench of defeat. However, all we get is more speeches, talk, empty rhetoric, and never an action plan....at least not an action plan which is commensurate with the foundational principles of America.I stated earlier that this subject is personal to me and that is because of my story from Iraq in 2003. Yes, I fired my service 9mm over the head of a detainee to ensure my men were protected. Yes, I was removed from command and fined $5000. Yes, I withstood the attacks from the liberal sheep and will continue to do so because I am part of the Warrior class. I retired with Honor and remain a respected member of that group of men and women who feel pride when the National Anthem is played, and tear up at Taps.When I look at Pelosi, Frank, Weiner, Clyburn, Klein, and Obama I see lambs, certainly not leaders. I see mundane deliberators, not decisive people of character. This 2010 election cycle has the most Veterans running for office since WW II and there is a simple reason.America will not survive as a Nation in a world of wolves being led by sheep, it will take Lions.
Steadfast and Loyal, LTC(R) A B West
18 June 2010
I'm a supporter of Israel but I have to wonder if national suicide is a genetic trait among western leaders. Certainly if Israel doesn't find one who is free of that defect their future looks very grim. As does ours I might add.
17 June 2010
I am not a pilot, never have been and probably never will be. I am a lover of all things winged though. I am in awe of the men who regularly lay their lives on the line to bring death and destruction to our enemies. Robin Olds was such a man (as is Ed Rasimus. I've read Palace Cobra and When Thunder Rolled and both are must reads). I have read a lot of biographical military books from Company Commander to Thud Ridge. From Marcus Luttrel to Carlos Hathcock. With apologies to the deserving, Fighter Pilot may be the best of the bunch.
Fighter Pilot takes the reader from Olds' childhood in the company of some of America's greats through his life and career, past his retirement. He talks about the Air Corps/Air Force as well as his family and friends. From internal combustion trainers to the best fighters of WWII to the beginning of the Jet Age and beyond.
What struck me most about the book though is how human Robin was. He not only talked about his victories and accomplishments, he talked about his fears and failures. He talked about how his experiences molded him into the man and fighter pilot he became. He didn't hold anything back and when I was done I was left with the feeling that Robin Olds was a man I would have dearly loved to have met and talked with.
It's also obvious from reading the words in this book and what others have said and written about him that Robin Olds was a singular leader of men and a historic and larger than life figure. As a nation we can be proud that we have produced such men as Robin Olds and I only hope that we still can.
I loved Fighter Pilot. It has a special place on my bookshelves, to be taken down now and again for a re-read so I can remind myself of what Americans can aspire to and accomplish.
Oh, and for the FCC? Bite me. I bought the book with my own hard earned pesos and I have no relationship with the authors or anyone involved in this book. Sheesh.
15 June 2010
First the weasel words. Trooper has Insulin dependant Canine Diabetes Mellitus. He's also
14 1/2 years old, mostly blind, a little deaf with a bad thyroid, allergies, no testosterone production and an artificial hip. This is our story, his and mine and I'm doing things the way that seems best to me from my Vet recommendations and what I've learned through research and trial and error. Please educate yourself and seek advice and treatment from a reputable Veterinarian. I am neither a Veterinarian nor a medical professional. My advice is based on my experience. Your mileage may vary.
A word of caution on filling the syringe. You must be certain all air bubbles are out of the syringe. If you get a vein the insulin will still work but if there's a bubble it can kill your dog. My syringes come with a small gap between the plunger and the base of the syringe. I start by depressing the plunger all the way. I insert the needle and do a partial draw. I flick the needle body with a finger nail and watch to make sure all air bubbles rise to the top. I press the plunger and expel the air and insulin completely. I do another draw 1 unit past the dose and then press the plunger again until I get to the correct dosage. Now we're ready. Get trained by your Vet and practice before you do your first injection. When you're ready be confident and sure handed. A word on units. Be sure you go over this with your Vet. It's easy to miss read the unit markings and give too much or too little and either can have catastrophic results.
I have Trooper lie down and get settled I grab a handful of loose flesh and expose the skin underneath. Trooper handles the procedure without complaint. Seriously, he's under absolutely no stress. I wish I was more like him.When we're both ready and I've picked the injection site i make a quick stab at a shallow angle and press the plunger to the stop. In this photo I'm pinching, lifting up and pulling forward. The injection is going in toward the head, below the pinch and into the meaty part of his neck flesh while not into the muscle. I was trained to do subcutaneous but intra-muscular is also acceptable.
14 June 2010
When I watched his severe overreaction my thought was that this is exactly the arrogance in the political class that is so alarming. When you add in the move by states to declare that taping police officers doing the job in public it begs the question.
What's next? Outlawing any taping of any public official any time they don't give their approval?
I spent almost 9 years in the military and 24 as a police officer. For the record I do not now and never have had any problems with being taped while on duty. I have in fact been taped many times over the years. I conducted myself at all times as if I were being recorded and taught rookie officers to do the same. No one in the public sector, whether they be cops, politicians or maintenance workers has any expectation of privacy. In fact, the very idea that they may operate in secrecy flies in the face of logic and democracy. We expect and are entitled to ethical behavior by our public workers.
If a veritable sea of camera armed citizens is the price of ensuring that behavior it is a small price to be paid by our very well compensated public servants. Catch that phrase?
Congressman Etheridge. I strongly recommend you take a class on ethics and remember what you are and what you are not. You are not an overlord. You are not a master.
You are a Public Servant. If you cannot remember that I'm certain the fine citizens of North Carolina can remind you.
And for those who have or are contemplating laws against taping cops on the job. Such laws are anathema to Americans and certainly unconstitutional. Shame on you. The honest cops on the beat have no problems being taped while they go about their jobs and the ones who do merit such scrutiny.
If this law becomes widespread you can count on general disobedience, including from this former public servant. I may be retired but I still remember who and what I am and I say such laws cannot stand in The Republic.
13 June 2010
The editor predicted that the age of the V8 was ending and that some day the V6 would be the base engine for American iron. I laughed and hoped it would never be so. At the time (probably 76 or 77) gas was still south of a buck a gallon and gas mileage was something only the village elders were concerned about.
Fast forward some 35 years and gas is generally around 3 bucks (not actually too bad considering) and the CAFE standards are about to go to 30.2 mpg for passenger cars. When that figure was released I felt a twinge of fear. I've driven quite a few of the over 30 mpg cars out there and while some are pretty spirited none held the kind of awe inspiring horsepower and torque my old 396 did. Dark days are surely ahead for the American gearheads right?
Not so fast. Ford and Chevrolet are debuting new powerplants for their 2011 Mustang and Camaro.
Both make upwards of 300 horsepower with around 275 ft. pounds of torque. Those are serious numbers. Remember my 396? 325 horsepower from a heavy cast iron block that probably weighed twice what the aluminum V6's do. Here's some performance numbers from the V6's.
2011 Mustang V6
-0-30 mph-2.20 sec
-45 mph-3.80 sec
-60 mph-5.60 sec
-75 mph-8.1 sec
-1/4 mile 13.9 sec @ 101.2 mph
-30-0 mph 26.0 ft
-60-0 mph 103.0 ft
-Slalom 68.6 mph
2010 Camaro LT
-0-30 mph-2.50 sec
-45 mph-4.10 sec
-60 mph-6.10 sec
-75 mph-9.0 sec
-1/4 mile 14.3 sec @ 98.0mph
-30-0 mph 28.0 ft
-60-0 mph 111.8 ft
-Slalom 68.2 mph
Those are serious numbers. The icing on the cake? The Camaro is listed at 29 mpg and the Mustang at 31!
Owners and lovers of 60's era muscle cars (and I am one) like to tell tales of the performance of their bias ply tired, heavy as hell, big and small block go fast beasts. Most of them are pure fantasy.
Take my 396/325 Chevelle. Car and Driver listed it's performance as;
1969 Chevelle SS 396
0-60 5.8 sec
1/4 mile 14.4 sec @ 97.4 mph
Displacement and horsepower 396ci/325hp
Source Car & Driver
Now the 350 and 375 horse engines did better but not a lot. The fastest Chevelle in 1969 was the COPO 427 with 425 horses.
1969 Chevelle COPO
0-60 5.1 sec
1/4 mile 13.3 sec @ 108.0 mph
Compare and contrast. I assure you that those big blocks got nowhere near 30 mpg. I can't find any official numbers but I'm willing to bet my beloved Chevelle was probably in the teens at best (That is when I didn't have my foot into it up to my knee).
Both the new Camaro and Mustang base prices are around $23,000. I bought a new Camaro in 1980 with a 49 state smogger 305 that probably put out in the neighborhood of 150 to 180 horsepower, got atrocious mileage and cost me $6500. When you figure in 30 years of inflation, $23,000 seems right in the ball park for a car that is enormously superior to both my old Camaro and my Chevelle.
I wish I could remember that editors name. I'd try to find him so I could apologize for my lack of faith and congratulate him on his foresight. He was dead right. The era of the V6 as the performance signature of American cars is upon us. Anyone who cannot duplicate these numbers in a reasonable, cost effective and reliable package will no longer be able to compete.
I'd also like to severely beat about the head and shoulders every American car manufacturer's CEO and board of directors. No one can convince me that the technology that allows Ford and Chevrolet to make 300 horsepower, 30 mpg engines is a stroke out of the blue. I know, I know, there is incrementalism in engineering and design but this is a leap ahead, an order of magnitude better than what came before and it's as much an indictment of Chevy and Ford as it is a thrilling view of what's to come. Think about it for a minute. 300 horsepower and 30 mpg. The mind boggles. Where was this a decade ago?
In spite of my more violent musings I found myself at the car lot this weekend, checking out both cars and thinking that maybe a purchase was not contraindicated.
I'm sure I'm playing right into their hands, the bastards.
Written for the Gathering of Survivors the Indian Mutiny, Albert Hall, 1907
To-day, across our fathers' graves,
The astonished years reveal
The remnant of that desperate host
Which cleansed our East with steel.
Hail and farewell! We greet you here,
With tears that none will scorn--
O Keepers of the House of old,
Or ever we were born!
One service more we dare to ask--
Pray for us, heroes, pray,
That when Fate lays on us our task
We do not shame the Day!
12 June 2010
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is one of the premier groups out there raising money to find a cure. They sponsor a variety of fund raising activities, one of which is a bicycle ride hosted in various cities called the Livestrong Challenge. If you click on the link you can see all the cities where the rides are taking place. One of the is in San Jose, California, a city just an hour north of us.
I love all things two wheeled. Two years ago Lu and I got back into bicycling in a big way. We love it. The longest I have ever ridden is 25 miles last November but I've been looking to up that. I'm going to go an order of magnitude bigger.
The challenge allows rides of 10, 20, 50, 65 and 100 miles. I consider myself a Warrior and Warriors do not shrink from a challenge. So....
I've signed up for the ride and selected the 100 miles. I've always wanted to do a Century and this seems like the perfect opportunity to both accomplish that goal and do something worthy at the same time. I'm also asking for donations and I refuse to go halfway when asking others to give of their hard earned cash.
I'm asking for your help. I've started a fundraising page at Livestrong here. My goal is to raise $500.00. Lu and I started us out with a $50.00 donation and I'm sure we'll give more as the time nears. If you can spare a couple of bucks and are interested in joining the fight against this indiscriminate killer please take a minute and drop us a donation. Anything will be appreciated.
You can read more about the San Jose ride here.
You can follow my fundraising here and donate here.
A tip of the hat and great respect to The FatCyclist. He's a man who lost his wife to cancer last year after a long and painful fight. He's one of the driving forces behind this fundraising effort and is my role model.
I will document both my training and the ride itself with pictures (no matter how unflattering). My pledge to you is that I will not fail. I will ride the full 100 miles.
Thank you in advance.
Now, on to the training. Stay tuned, this may get ugly.
07 June 2010
However, there are those times when cool or funny things happened and no one got hurt or dead. Well, things I think are funny anyway.
The following is a true story. It happened many years ago. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Dun Da Dun Dun Daaaa! (That's supposed to be the Dragnet theme music. I'm kinda lame that way. It probably easiest to just go with it.)
So. One bright and shiny day I got a call to respond to a local motel where an Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW) was happening at that very moment in their parking lot. The weapon was vehicular in nature. People were ducking and dodging, fist fighting had occurred, hair was removed in large, fluffy clumps. Yes, blond hair was wafting in the breeze. It was that kind of scene.
As we responded we were advised that the perpetrator had taken flight and subsequently was involved in a spectacular crash immediately adjacent to the ADW site.
Upon arrival we found two totalled cars, one shaken but uninjured driver and a subject newly follicularly damaged. The suspect, a female (women are definitely catching up with the guys where felonies are concerned. Go gals!) has fled the scene on foot. The motel manager is screaming. The victim is screaming and the driver is comatose (His deductible is apparently quite painful). Yeah, it's that kind of scene.
A perimeter was established and a foot search was initiated.
I stayed at the scene to begin collecting information for what was shaping up to be a rather lengthy crime report when a taxi drove into the motel parking lot and honked. He waited a few minutes and then, no fare having emerged to procure his transportation services, drove off. I continued writing and sympathizing. Blond hair wafted in the breeze.
A couple of minutes later the same taxi being shepherded by the same driver pulled up for a second time and honked.
I am by nature and training an inquisitive and suspicious man. A nagging thought had occurred to me and by now to you as well.
I approached the driver and inquired as to his intended fare. He got on the radio to his dispatcher and we were informed that the caller was female and calling from a cell phone. Hmmm. The specific instructions she had given to the cab company were to drive to an address on a street near the motel (not actually at the motel) and honk. Dispatch being what it is the message had been garbled, twice, and the driver had ended up at the motel. Twice. Hmmm again.
Now I am also a man who never looks askance at providence. I'm always looking for new and innovative means in fugitive apprehension. A plan formed in my fertile (or maybe febrile) mind.
I gave the driver strict instructions to drive to the location, honk and do nothing else. If gunfire erupted he had my permission to flee for his life, either afoot or ataxi. His choice. Then I got in the back, hunched my 6 foot, 240 pound frame (with gear, can't forget the 25 pounds of gear)into the rear floor area and concealed myself as best I could. By craning my neck in a particularly painful and humorous way I could just manage to see out the passenger rear window.
With a word to the rest of the officers not to screw this up, off we went.
Everything went smoothly except for the driver, who apparently thought he was heading to his imminent death. We never got above 2 miles per hour. Talk about walking that last, long mile.
We arrive, the driver honks and I watch. Can't you just feel the excitement and tension building?
A few seconds pass and I see a female approaching the passenger door. She's come out from in between two houses and is sweating and casting nervous glances over her shoulder. She has scratches on her face and hands. Her gang tattoos were just ruined. She still has strands of hair dangling from her meth thin fingers.
Ah good. She hasn't seen me. No, Lex Luthor's smarter sister she is not.
"Psst" I whisper. "Roll the window down." Not a hair on the driver's head moves as he slowly reaches for the switch. As the window descends she starts talking a mile a minute to the driver who has a death grip on the wheel, staring straight ahead and uttering nary a word.
"My car broke down. My baby is asleep and that's why I was waiting outside. I just washed my hair and I can't do a thing with it. Blah, blah, blah, lies, lies and more lies." You know, felonious chick jabber.
She's at the door now, her hand reaching out for the handle and I can see the satisfaction at an imminent escape, both well planned and perfectly executed, cross her face. Almost there. Almost there. Freedom, sweet, sweet freedom is only inches away.
Now. Now is the time. This is my moment. I open the door, step out and introduce myself.
"Hi. My name is Officer Six (Not my real name) and you're under arrest. Heh, heh."
If you were waiting for the Keystone Kops part of the story where I catch my equipment on the door and fall on my face and she runs away laughing and casting aspersions on my parentage I'll have you know that only happened to me a couple of times and in every case all the witnesses have been either bribed or threatened into silence so good luck proving anything. Anyway.
Felony Girl (FG) freezes like I did with that cute girl at the Prom that one time. I can only describe the look on her face as Priceless. I could actually see all the air leaving her body. I have my handcuffs in my hand. I take her seemingly boneless arms and cuff her without so much as a muscle twitch.
"If you don't mind miss I believe we'll be taking alternate transportation." Remember kids, never miss a chance at a truly unforgettable line when the opportunity presents itself.
The driver has by now stopped all movement, voluntary and involuntary.
"Hey buddy, you can breath now, it's over. You can go. Thanks for the help."
He puts the car back into drive and lays two black skid marks as he fishtails away, probably to find a less stressful career. Like motel manager. Never saw him again.
Oh, the car FG was driving when she committed attempted gross bodily and actual scalpal injury and totalled that nice, brand new MBZ as she tried to flee the scene? It was stolen. And she was a wanted parolee. She was identified by all parties and later pled out to a nice, lengthy stint in prison.
Yeah, it was a good day.
Go by Arthurs Hall of Viking Manliness and give them a shot. They're on the Warrior Roll. Go to the forums and noodle around. There's much there you'll love (and a little you'll hate, but that's good too. Makes you think, always a good thing) and everything is open for debate and discussion. It's a great site I spend a bit of time on. You'll even find some posts from me.
Thanks Art. I owe you.
06 June 2010
The company is Mahindra. I'd never heard of them until I read BD's post. I checked them out and their truck does look kinda sweet.
Well. Apparently they're suing a young man who started a blog in favor of their product and who was getting word out there to Americans everywehere. You know, free name recognition and publicity. Not a bash site. Not making a dime from product endorsement or selling anything to anyone. I hate bullies.
You can take a look at the site here.
Oh, and Mahindra corporation? You might want to avoid pissing on Dick's lawn. That man does not play well with others and it's unlikely to end well for you. Just sayin'.
It was bold and decisive undertaking, fraught with peril and holding horrible consequences should the invasion fail. It was a true test of man, machine and national will. It wasn't fought half way. It wasn't hamstrung by a media in league with our enemies. The new york times didn't give out the plans prior to the launch. msnbc wasn't there to belittle Eisenhower and question his patriotism and call him vile names. Congress didn't call Marshall to a hearing to explain our losses of men and materiel. Senators didn't get in front of the media and proclaim the war lost on June 7th because we were still fighting our way off the coast. Politicians and their media lap dogs didn't expound on the impossibility of the mission in light of the zeal of the enemy. No one called for us to try and 'understand' the nazi's and their culture. The Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines weren't hamstrung by an ROE that was diametrically opposed to the proposition that wars should be fought to be won.
The armed forces of The United States Of America simply went out and did what needed to be done.
Setting aside force levels and mission training;
How different an outcome could we expect if that invasion were attempted today?
Would we have the national will to do what was necessary?
Do we have the political leadership to stay the course or even recognize the necessity?
To my mind the answers to the second two are I think so and absolutely not. That leaves the consequences as catastrophic.
The solution? Simple. Fire everyone who is contributing to American Entropy, start all over again and don't stop until the answer to the first question is the same as on June 6th, 1944.
I think this sums up my feelings about the ongoing contest we're waging against the enemies of our Nation pretty well.
I'm proud to ride in this fight with comrades like you.
The Doorkeepers of Zion,
They do not always stand
In helmet and whole armour,
With halberds in their hand;
But, being sure of Zion,
And all her mysteries,
They rest awhile in Zion,
Sit down and smile in Zion;
Ay, even jest in Zion;
In Zion, at their ease.
The Gatekeepers of Baal,
They dare not sit or lean,
But fume and fret and posture
And foam and curse between;
For being bound to Baal,
Whose sacrifice is vain,
Their rest is scant with Baal,
They glare and pant for Baal,
They mouth and rant for Baal,
For Baal in their pain!
But we will go to Zion,
By choice and not through dread,
With these our present comrades
And those our present dead;
And, being free of Zion
In both her fellowships,
Sit down and sup in Zion --
Stand up and drink in Zion
Whatever cup in Zion
Is offered to our lips!
05 June 2010
Just kidding. I love prosecutors. The ones I worked with were among the sharpest and hardest working professionals I've ever been associated with and I respect their work deeply.
That's why I love Staghounds. Not only is he smart and sharp he's politically savvy as well.
It's like I told Bore Patch. When you surround yourself with smart people, others will just naturally assume you belong in their company.
No matter how big a knuckle dragger I may be.
04 June 2010
I wrote a while back that even though I am a pessimist by nature I am an optimist where it comes to The American People. I remain so. This post by Borepatch perfectly explains why. It is worth a moment of your time to go and read, agree with him or not.
I've been accused of being many things but being the brightest bulb in the chandelier has not been one of them. Thankfully I've got people like BP and the others you see on my blog roll to rely on.
Gives me more time for the important stuff like lifting heavy things and putting them back down again.
01 June 2010
The last F105D was withdrawn from USAF service on July 12, 1980.
I have to make a confession here. All you fellow ground pounder guys might want to look away now. I'm looking at you here Dick. You too Sarge.
I love military aircraft. I mean love them. I am in awe of Fighter pilots. If I could have done other than the path I took it would have been to fly fighters. There. I said it.
The 2 jet aircraft I like best are F4s and Thuds with the Thuds number 1 in my book. There's just something about them. They are, for me, the most beautiful aircraft I ever clapped eyes on.
But they're gone now, except in Museums. Right? Not so fast there Skippy.
Ed has a post up over on his site about an effort underway to obtain, refurbish and fly a Thud.
Yeah, I squealed like a 5 year old who just got his first G.I Joe with the Bazooka and live action Walkie Talkie. Talk about a Super Nova of Awesomeness.
A quote from Medal Of Honor recipient Leo Thorsness from his efforts to convince the USAF hits home for me (emphasis mine);
"I closed the meeting mentioning that we Thud aviators did our best for the Air Force and United States - often knowing the odds for Weasels were greater than 50 percent of being shot down at the beginning of the war. I appealed saying that I hope the Air Force would go to bat for us as we Thud drivers did the Air Force in Vietnam."
Please excuse my use of invective here but Fuckin' A! Click the link for Ed's site and go read the whole post.
The chance to see a Thud flying again would not only be a wonderful experience for any flying buff but also for our children. We need to keep out history alive. Especially now, when the current bunch in power are trying so hard to erase all signs American Exceptionalism. And when I say the Thud pilots were exceptional I am of course understating the fact by an order of magnitude.
What can we do? I'm not sure at the moment. Maybe a letter or call to keep the ball rolling. I've offered to do what I can and I know others have as well (Lagniappe's Dad may be an even bigger fighter geek than I am. It's ok though, he's an actual pilot). Ed will let us know what, when and if.
In the meantime I'm going to put this out there to get everyone warmed up and dream of a time when I can take my grandchildren to see a Thud in flight.
"See that plane kids? It was flown by heroes."