'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

30 March 2011

Baseball Season

The 2011 season begins tomorrow so it's time for my predictions. I know that all the gamblers out there have been waiting with barely concealed disinterest for my pronouncements so without further ado here are my picks for the new season.

American League. Who cares? It's the league of the Red Sox and the Yankees. I mean, it's got the designated hitter rule for Ghu's sake. Bunch of Philistines.

National League East. Do they still play Baseball out there? I'll take Taiwan. National League Central. One of the beer teams. Michelob maybe.
National League West. The only division that matters. San Francisco Giants who will win 160 games (They'll take a couple of games off at the end just to rest The Freak for the playoffs. Not that he needs it).
World series. Giants. The rest of the NL will forfeit as soon as they're paired against the Giants. The AL team will announce they're "Just glad to be there". I predict there will be a lot of crying.

So there you have it. An unbiased prediction based on an in depth study of the Giants and a quick glance at all the rest of those losers. You can take it to the bank. Seriously. Have I ever steered you wrong?



Apparently soneone hacked me and sent out a mass e-mail. I profusely apologize to any and all who recieved spam from my e-mail account. I'll get it fixed post haste. Six Update. I've switched to a new e-mail; warriorclasssix@aol.com. If you get an e-mail from bdkennels@aol.com I didn't send it so please don't open it.

29 March 2011

By Ken Burger, The Charleston Post and Courier, Thurs, March 4, 2010

The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced; a place where everybody is busy but not too busy to take care of business. Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with. That's because you could read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score. Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they've served.

I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon. I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the sidewalks, the bark of sergeants and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.

To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it's very serious business, especially in times of war. But I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we crisscrossed on the flight line. I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds. I even miss the hurry-up-and- wait mentality that enlisted men gripe about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they'll ever know or admit.

I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender. Mostly I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea. Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world they left behind with their youth.

Face it guys [and gals], we all miss it. Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life.

One Nation Under GOD.

Everything Is Cyclical

The Army is updating it's physical fitness test based on lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan. Call it reality based Physical Training. If you go to the link you'll get a fair idea of what the new tests will entail. Balance while carrying weight, ability to pull a heavy weight (think down soldier drills), maneuvering through obstacles while keeping a rifle downrange and on target, running a quarter mile. All of it in full gear. I think it makes a lot of sense and I applaud the Army for being flexible and making changes where it's obvious they need to be made. It also reminds me of the old PT test. I went to Basic Training the summer of mumblemumble. What? You missed that? OK, it was 1977. The Army was just switching from Starched, cotton fatigues to perma press. The Army's NCO and Officer corp was almost exclusively Vietnam vets. The PT test of that time resembled the current test pretty well. The emphasis was on a wide variety of skills and muscle testing events. As I recall it went something like this. -Monkey Bars. Just like on the playground but to a ridiculous degree. -Run Dodge and Jump. It was basically an obstacle course but with a cool Army name. -Crab Walk. My favorite. On hands and feet but facing the sky instead of the ground. One had to walk a certain distance (I can't for the life of me remember the distance but it was unpleasant). -1 mile run. -Push ups. -Sit ups. All events were timed. Sometimes we did it in PT uniform (fatigue pants, boots and a t-shirt) and sometimes in full kit. Usually that depended on how badly we had pissed off the drill sergeant. It was an interesting test and, really, a lot of fun. I missed it when the new test got instituted shortly thereafter (push ups, sit ups and 2 mile run). I never thought the new standards reflected the reality of life in the field. It also tended to favor the greyhounds to the detriment of those of us who were more heavily built. I think the Army is rediscovering that reality. Of course, in another 30 years, when we've been decades from an actual conflict, the test will undoubtedly change again. Triathlon anyone? Six

26 March 2011

Sunday Kipling

For Ma.

The Appeal

It I have given you delight
By aught that I have done,
Let me lie quiet in that night
Which shall be yours anon:

And for the little, little, span
The dead are born in mind,
Seek not to question other than
The books I leave behind.

Update On Mom

Borepatch gently reminded me that I haven't updated Mom's status in a while. I suppose I'm still in a bit of denial.

Mom has confirmed lung cancer. Being who she is she has refused any more testing and any treatments except pain meds and an inhaler (though she will be on oxygen very soon). The specialists who viewed her x-rays said she had one large mass and a whole bunch of smaller ones. It's apparently pretty aggressive. She's already started to get worse. We're being told the prognosis is 2 to 4 months. Doctors are frequently wrong about that kind of thing but we all are preparing and thankful we have the time and chance to do so. The DO and the kids were just here and had the opportunity to see her and say their goodbyes, for which I will always be grateful. She only lives 3 hours away so Lu and I get to her house once a week or so. We're trying to prepare as best we can for something I really don't even want to think about much less face but what can we do? Life is what it is and if we're going to live we must also die and face the death of those we love.

I am hardly alone in this. Both Brigid and Borepatch have lost a beloved parent recently. Many, even most, of you have experienced the same. You know very well what I'm going through and, if you'll forgive my presumption here, that knowledge gives me comfort. None of us are truly alone. There are wells of strength in our families and friends just waiting to be tapped in times of need and I'm going to need that strength in the coming months. I'm not going to dwell on what I cannot change nor am I going to wallow in self pity. I am going to carry on as best I can and do what a son is supposed to do. I will love and support my mother for as long as I can and as best I can and then I will grieve and honor her memory. Mom wouldn't have it any other way.

I have Lu by my side and she's a rock. A true pillar of love and support. I was truly blessed on the day we met. I'd be a basket case without her.

I'll update as I can and as the time of our parting nears but I'm also going to carry on here as before. We all cope in the way that seems best to each of us and my time here, talking about the mundane as well as the important, is a balm to my soul. Thank you all for all your support over the time I've been here. I consider each of you as friends and always will.


25 March 2011

B2 At Nellis

My mother lives in Pahrump, Nevada, which is just an hour westish of Las Vegas. We're making a lot of runs down there to look after her and get things settled. We do go right past Nellis AFB coming and going. We see a lot of fighters, F16s and F15s primarily. On one of our trips I spotted a bat shaped aircraft heading right up N/B I15, right toward us.

Is That? Could it be?
It is! A B2 bomber.
It flew right over us, still pretty low. I have no idea where it was heading but a practice bomb run is a distinct possibility as I know there are ranges in the area. Ed might have a better idea where it was going. These shots were taken just a few miles north of Nellis.
I'd never seen one in person before. The DO and the kids were in the truck with us and I just pulled over, grabbed the camera and took these shots before it disappeared. It was awesome. It was eerily quiet, nothing like the fighters which you can often hear long before you can see them, especially when they're flying low, as they often do in the neighborhood of Nellis.

Have I said how much this old ground pounder loves the Air Force? I have nothing but respect, admiration and awe for those who can pilot such craft.

20 March 2011

Job Scams

Lu recently decided she wanted to take on some new clients. She answered an ad looking for part time accounting help. She got this e-mail reply. She's sharp so she asked me to look it over because it sounded fishy to her. It is.


Hi ,

Thanks for the mail...Are you serious having this part time job? I
am looking for someone who can handle my personal and business errands
at his/her spare time. Someone who can offer me these services: Mail
services: Receive my mails and drop them off at UPS(nothing
illegal)Shop for Gifts Bill payment ( pay my bills on my behalf)Sit
for delivery( at your home) or pick items up at nearby post office at
your convenience.
Let me know if you will be able to offer me any/all
of these services. Where are you located? I would love to meet up with
you to talk about this job but I am currently away on business. I am
in Australia so there will be no interview
I will prepay you in
advance to do my shopping. I will also have my mails and packages
forwarded to your address.
If you will be unable to stay at your house
to get my mails, I can have it shipped to a post office near you and
then you can pick it up at your convenience. When you get my
mails/packages; you are required to mail them to where I want them
mailed to. You don't have to put money out of your pocket, all you
have to do is have packages shipped to your house and do my shopping.
You are allowed to open the packages to reveal its content. The
content of the packages are computer and electronics, clothing
business and personal letters..

All expenses and taxes will be covered by me. You will work between
15 and 20hrs a weekly. How much will you charge per weekly? I will
pay $300.00. That is not a bad offer is it? I need your service
because I am constantly out of town. I work in real estate and I own
an Art Gallery in Australia. I will return to in March 2011 so this
process will be on going till then. (Todays date is March 20, 2011. ed.)

If you don't mind, I will meet up with you when I return and then we can talk about the possibility of making this long term. Well, let me know if you are able to handle the

Hope to hear from you I will email you the list and pictures of
what to shop for when I am ready
. No heavy packages is involved You
can do the shopping at any nearest stores. You will be shopping for
Electronics and clothing's..
I will provide you my personal UPS
account number for Shipping. All you have to do is provide my account
number to UPS and shipping charges will be applied into the account. I
will provide clear set of instructions for each task I need done as
well the funds to cover them. If I were to mail you money to do my
shopping plus upfront payment for your service, where would you want
it mailed to?
How should your name appear on the money? Maybe you can
provide me with the following details below!! Also could you please
let me know if you do have personal bank account Yes Or No

Full Name:
Full Address:
Zip Code:
Phone Number:
Occupation :
Thank you

This is an enticement. It looks and sounds fairly innocuous but it isn't. It's bait and switch. What will happen is he'll send a bunch of e-mails over a few weeks expressing his concern about her honesty and then finally send her a check, ask for certain purchases and ask for her to refund to him whatever is left over from her personal account. The one he asked if she had. The purchases are a cover, the job offer and $300 per week salary the bait. He may or may not ask her to send them but if he does she'll find out the UPS account has no money in it and he'll then ask her to cover those expenses out of the 'check' he has sent her. Probably not, this is about the money he can convince her to send him in the form of an 'overpay' and not the property. She'll get a big check in the mail with instructions to deposit it in her account along with a list of items to buy. The next e-mail will instruct her to mail the items to him but 'business issues' require the return of the balance, minus her salary of course. The switch.

I outlined the areas that scream scam in red. He wants to know where she lives, always a no no unless you're certain of the potential employer, if she has a personal bank account and personal, identifying information. Never give out such information to anyone you haven't met or can't verify their legitimacy. He's trying to allay any fears she may have that she's sending contraband but the items he's asking for, electronics and clothing, are readily available in Australia. Note the date of his return, March, 2011. She'll get later e-mails explaining how he's been unavoidably detained in Australia. They'll never meet but he's quick to tell her that he wants this to be a long term relationship. The language is stilted and the grammar and punctuation poor, not really believable if he's a Utah resident. Maybe but it's a real red flag. No mention of his local business account or bank. No mention of his local business at all. Again, red flag city. There's no way to verify anything.

I've seen this many times during my career. It's especially evil in times of economic hardship, when people are having a hard time finding jobs. These people know this and are using it to prey on the vulnerable.

My recommendation, and what I've advised Lu to do, is to answer thank you very much but no thanks. Make up an excuse, any excuse. Don't flame this guy. He may (and probably will) try to convince her some more and then move on to another person. If you really piss him off he may very well try to cause you more trouble than the exercise is worth. Check with your local PD and find out if they have, or know of, an agency that follows up on this type of crime (I'll be handling that for Lu). Make no mistake, this is an active attempt to commit a crime and one this guy (or more probably group of people) have committed many, many times and will continue until forced into something else.

Information and vigilance are the keys. If you have a concern, if that nagging little voice is speaking to you, listen to it and get some advice. I'm always willing and available to consult with anyone who has questions about stuff like this. These people really piss me off. The folks they most often victimize are those who are who are the most vulnerable to their enticements and who can least afford to be ripped off. Death is far too good for them.

That old saw is as valid today as it ever was. If it looks too good to be true it certainly is.


Sunday Kipling

I hope you're Sunday is a fine one my friends.

An Imperial Rescript

Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser decreed,
To ease the strong of their burden, to help the weak in their need,
He sent a word to the peoples, who struggle, and pant, and sweat,
That the straw might be counted fairly and the tally of bricks be set.

The Lords of Their Hands assembled; from the East and the West they drew --
Baltimore, Lille, and Essen, Brummagem, Clyde, and Crewe.
And some were black from the furnace, and some were brown from the soil,
And some were blue from the dye-vat; but all were wearied of toil.

And the young King said: -- "I have found it, the road to the rest ye seek:
The strong shall wait for the weary, the hale shall halt for the weak:
With the even tramp of an army where no man breaks from the line,
Ye shall march to peace and plenty in the bond of brotherhood -- sign!"

The paper lay on the table, the strong heads bowed thereby,
And a wail went up from the peoples: -- "Ay, sign -- give rest, for we die!"
A hand was stretched to the goose-quill, a fist was cramped to scrawl,
When -- the laugh of a blue-eyed maiden ran clear through the Council-hall.

And each one heard Her laughing as each one saw Her plain
Saidie, Mimi, or Olga, Gretchen, or Mary Jane.
And the Spirit of Man that is in Him to the light of the vision woke;
And the men drew back from the paper, as a Yankee delegate spoke:

"There's a girl in Jersey City who works on the telephone;
We're going to hitch our horses and dig for a house of our own,
With gas and water connections, and steam-heat through to the top;
And, W. Hohenzollern, I guess I shall work till I drop."

And an English delegate thundered: -- "The weak an' the lame be blowed!
I've a berth in the Sou'-West workshops, a home in the Wandsworth Road;
And till the 'sociation has footed my buryin' bill,
I work for the kids an' the missus. Pull up? I be damned if I will!"

And over the German benches the bearded whisper ran:
"Lager, der girls und der dollars, dey makes or dey breaks a man.
If Schmitt haf collared der dollars, he collars der girl deremit;
But if Schmitt bust in der pizness, we collars der girl from Schmitt."

They passed one resolution: -- "Your sub-committee believe
You can lighten the curse of Adam when you've lifted the curse of Eve.
But till we are built like angels -- with hammer and chisel and pen,
We will work for ourself and a woman, for ever and ever, amen."

Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser held
The day that they razored the Grindstone, the day that the Cat was belled,
The day of the Figs from Thistles, the day of the Twisted Sands,
The day that the laugh of a maiden made light of the Lords of Their Hands.

18 March 2011

The Kids Are Gone, It's Time For The Adults To Play

The range session with the kids got Lu and I in the mood for an adults day so we loaded up the truck with some tasty bits and headed for our secret shooty place in the Arizona Strip. We decided it was a good day to familiarize or re-familiarize ourselves with some old friends as well as some newish ones we hadn't yet had the chance to experience.

From left to right;
AK47, Mini 14,Winchester 94 30-30, Marlin 336 30-30, Springfield 03A3 and a sweet little Stoeger Uplander 28 gauge.
Lu with the Stoeger in recoil, the smile already plastered on her face. I bought this shotgun on a whim after an encounter with a 15,000 dollar gun from Rigby Rifles. I knew Lu would love it and told her at the time she'd claim it as her own after shooting it once. Yeah, it's all hers now. That's a good thing. You can't buy a smile like that for any amount of money and bringing joy to my wife's life is both my job and my pleasure.
The 03A3. This might be my current favorite rifle and it's all thanks to Murphy's Law. He wrote a post a while back about his and after reading it I just had to have one for my very own. I absolutely love the thing. It's even more fun to shoot than my Garand and no pinched thumb. Thanks ML!
Lu with the 03A3, proof she's tough as a bag of nails and a hell of a shot. Trust me, you do not want this woman shooting at you. I try to be as nice to her as I can at all times.
My Winchester. Short, lightweight but still pushing 170 grains of lead out the barrel. It was easily capable of ringing the gong at 200 plus yards using the stock buckhorns. Still a mighty fine shootin' iron.
Is that squirrel giving me the stink eye?? Lu with her Marlin. I decided the Marlin fit her better than the Winchester and is more accurate. With the flat top allowing for easy scope installation should she ever decide on that route it makes a better deer rifle. Lu loves it.
Isn't she cute? Notice the good form. Like I said, don't piss her off.
The AK47. Lu shot it well but didn't really like it all that much. Neither did I.
This is a kit AK, built by Car Guy back when he was an FFL. I have admission to make that may make some question my manhood or at least my sanity. I don't really like the AK platform. I've been shooting the AR, both as the AR and the M16, since my days at basic in 1977 so I may be a bit prejudiced. That being said, while I like the cartridge I hate the rifle itself. It's ergonomics don't seem to be made for actual American sized humans. It's too short, the butt is too low at the comb and the recoil impulses are unpleasantly transferred to the shooter. The sights are crude and the trigger is atrocious. I'm going to dig into the mail order catalogues and get some new furniture and sights. Maybe that'll make me a believer but for now this one is going into the safe until the zombie horde is at my door. I'll keep it, mostly because I have a ton of ammunition for it, but I fear I'll never love the thing.
Die you commie bastards Die!!! It was actually way more fun to shoot it this way. That may explain a lot in the world where the AK is ubiquitous.
Lu and her Mini 14. We both like it. It shoots like most of the rest of her rifles and it's more accurate than advertised, as long as you don't heat up the barrel too much. She rang the 200 yard gong regularly with it. We're going to be working extensively with her AR and I think she'll make the transition but the Mini is still fun to shoot.
See, I had this 30 round magazine I needed to test. Yeah, that's it. Testing.
Though she's a natural right hander Lu grew up shooting lefty because she has trouble winking with her left eye and is left eye dominant. She's been working hard and I think she's got the issue solved. If you look closely her left eye is closed and her right eye is open. Proof that new skills can be learned at any age and any experience level.

All in all a fine day and a good time was had by all. Next range day I'm taking the new rig out for more break in time. Lu has this little H&R 20 gauge single shot that's her first (and so far only) impulse buy at the gun shop and she hasn't yet had a chance to shoot it. We need to correct that forthwith. Maybe some holster work as well.
Hey, it's going to be a great Summer.

16 March 2011

NRA Response to Obama

Be Sure To Read NRA’s Rebuttal to President Obama on Gun Control Laws

Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox rebut the President in a letter delivered to the White House on March 14, 2011. Read the letter below.

National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

March 14, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We read your editorial submission to the Arizona Star. However, to focus a national dialogue on guns – and not criminals or mental health issues – misses the point entirely. Americans are not afraid of gun ownership. To the contrary, they overwhelmingly support the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. The primary reason why tens of millions of Americans own firearms is that they fear violent criminals roaming the streets undeterred.

We agree with your assertion that "Americans by and large rightly refrained from finger-pointing" in light of the shooting in Tucson. In truth, the professional corps of gun control lobbyists moved with lightning speed to exploit the tragedy. These included the Violence Policy Center ("In the wake of these kind of incidents, the trick is to move quickly"), the Brady Campaign ("Gabrielle Giffords Shooting 'Inevitable'") and Mayors Against Illegal Guns-MAIG ("Bloomberg, Mayors Outline Steps to Help Prevent Another Tucson Shooting"). Your article contains talking points nearly identical to the ones circulated by MAIG for weeks in pursuit of its longstanding gun control agenda. In contrast, it was the National Rifle Association that avoided "playing politics with other people's pain" with our consistent response that only thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families were appropriate in the immediate aftermath.

We also agree with your statement that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. Your record as a public official, however, is anything but supportive of the rights of law-abiding gun owners. In fact, when Congress had an opportunity to voice its support for the basic right of lawful Americans to own firearms, you refused to join a bipartisan majority of more than 300 of your colleagues in signing the congressional amicus brief to the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. In addition, you previously stated (and have never retracted) your support for both Washington, D.C.'s and Chicago's handgun and self-defense bans that the Court rightfully struck down in Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. Further, you surrounded yourself with advisors who have advocated against the Second Amendment for years (Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, to name just a few) and you nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, one of whom has already attempted to eliminate the Second Amendment right entirely. More recently, you selected Andrew Traver to head the BATFE, despite his long-standing association with groups that support onerous new restrictions on our rights.

If you do in fact believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right, we suggest you demonstrate that in your policies and those of your Administration, which you have not done to date. Simply saying that you support the right to keep and bear arms is mere lip service if not put into action.

The government owes its citizens its most vigorous efforts to enforce penalties against those who violate our existing laws. The NRA has members proudly serving in law enforcement agencies at every level. Rank and file law enforcement want to arrest bad people – not harass law-abiding gun owners and retailers.

As for enforcing the laws on the books, we strongly suggest you enforce those that actually take violent criminals off the streets. To start, we urge you to contact every U.S. Attorney and ask them to bring at least ten cases per month against drug dealers, gang members and other violent felons caught illegally possessing firearms. By prosecuting these criminals in federal court – rather than state court – strong sentencing guidelines would apply and charges would not be plea-bargained or dismissed, nor would criminals be released after serving only a fraction of their sentences. This simple directive would result in roughly 12,000 violent criminals being taken off the streets every year. Surely you agree that this would be a good first step.

Unfortunately, your Administration is currently under a cloud for allegedly encouraging violations of federal law. We suggest that you bring an immediate stop to BATFE's "Fast and Furious" operation, in which an unknown number of illegal firearm transactions were detected – and then encouraged to fruition by your BATFE, which allegedly decided to let thousands of firearms "walk" across the border and into the hands of murderous drug cartels. One federal officer has recently been killed and no one can predict what mayhem will still ensue. Despite the protests of gun dealers who wished to terminate these transactions, your Administration reportedly encouraged violations of federal firearms laws – and undermined the firearm industry's concerted efforts to deter straw purchases through the "Don't Lie for the Other Guy" program. We hope you agree with our belief that this burgeoning scandal merits a full and independent investigation.

There are additional steps you can take to prevent tragic events such as the Tucson shooting from occurring in the future. One of these is to call on the national news media to refrain from giving deranged criminals minute-by-minute coverage of their heinous acts, which only serves to encourage copycat behavior. If media outlets won't show a fan running onto the field during a baseball game because they don't want to encourage that behavior by others – surely they can listen to law enforcement experts and refuse to air the photographs, video messages, or Facebook postings of madmen and murderers.

Another step is to encourage people to report red flags when they see them. In the case of Tucson, a man clearly bent on violence was not reported to the proper authorities by those who had good reason to believe he had serious mental problems. That's not a deficiency in our gun laws, it's a deficiency in our mental health system – and should be treated as such.

In closing, we agree that gun owners in America are highly responsible. This is in large part due to the NRA's 140 years of dedication to promoting safe and responsible gun ownership, an effort on which we take a back seat to no one. We welcome any serious discussion on policies that focus on prosecuting criminals and fixing deficiencies in the mental health system. Any proposals to the contrary are not a legitimate approach to the issue.


Wayne LaPierre
Executive Vice President
National Rifle Association
Chris W. Cox
Executive Director


Borepatch has a post up here about abuse at state run facilities for the mentally disabled. I'd like to add my voice to his.

During my years as a police officer one of the most heartbreaking and infuriating things I had to deal with was such abuse and the downright inhumane indifference that often goes on at such places. It's important to remember that the predators out there are drawn to situations where their inner evil may flourish. Watchfulness is the key. Sometimes we have no choice but to place a loved one in a care facility but our responsibility does not end there. We must be vigilant and frankly obnoxious about their care. Whether the facility is private or government run, the price they may have to pay for a failure on our part may be catastrophic. I've seen it and disgusting is far too weak a word for what can go on. People in those facilities are shockingly vulnerable.

No one asks to be placed in such a situation, whether it's to us or someone we love, but things we wish never were do happen. We cannot forget them and we cannot forgive those who would prey upon the most vulnerable among us, be they children, elderly or disabled.


15 March 2011

A New Puppy May Be Coming

I got a call from our breeder, Highland Labs, the one responsible for both Trooper and Chrisi. I'd called a few months ago inquiring about any upcoming litters. I was told that they would be doing some breeding in the new year and was promised a call when they were ready. Sunday I got the call. One of their bitches had come into season and is going to be bred some time in the next 10 days and was I still interested?

I thought it for about a half second. Well hell yes. I'm ready. I should know sometime in the next two weeks whether it took or not and if I'm going to be a new daddy. The breeder is in California so if all goes well I'll be making the trek in July or so.

I'm now on the list for first choice black male (it'll be a mixed color litter).

I think Trooper would be happy for me. I already have a name picked out.

Wish me luck.


14 March 2011

New Shooters

All of us who are shooters are responsible for introducing new people to our sport. When it's your grandchildren you are getting to instruct the joy of teaching is increased by an order of magnitude. The DO wanted me to begin the kids' introduction to the shooting sports. When they heard about it both Jaina and Brendan asked every day when we were going shooting. So on a bright and sunny day, after a couple of rainy ones, we loaded up and headed for the range.

Here are our shooters, Jaina 6 and Brendan 5.

What's the best way to begin the shooting careers of a 5 and 6 year old? I decided that fun was the order of the day. In that light I thought a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun and a Crossman pellet pistol were ideal. First up the Daisy. Ever given a range safety brief to small children? I tried to break it down into words and concepts they could understand but the 4 Rules were covered and enforced. Jaina was sent to durance vile in the front of the Ford twice but she learned not to go forward of the firing line. She wasn't the only violator as you will see later.
Brendan volunteered to be first. He caught on quickly.
Jaina was next. She's a natural, getting a hit on her third shot ever.
Jaina kept reaching for the trigger with the wrong hand but she also learned quickly.
Did I hit it? Can I go check?
Steady. Raise it to your eye and squeeze the trigger.
Brendan tended to shoot high until he learned not to cant his head too far and raised the stock to his face.
Hey, I think there's holes in there. Targets were a milk bottle and aluminum cans at about 10 feet. Success is key as is simplicity in teaching methods.
The girl was a natural, switching form the milk bottle to the cans in a matter in just minutes.
Here we see Lu pouting in the front of the Ford for a firing line violation. She was a good sport and the kids learned that the rules are inviolate with immediate punishment for anyone who commits a violation.
On to the pistol. The kids thought it was OK but preferred the Daisy rifle. We shot the pistol a few times, mostly for familiarization, then switched back to the rifle.
Brendan has ham like hands. They're thick and strong but he has stubby fingers. Grip was interesting. That's my boy.
See son, here's how you do it.
Jaina has longer fingers but even she had a hard time reaching the trigger.
Good job sweetie.
Proof of success.
Look Papa, I hit it! Yeah, that's one of Grandpa's old police hats. Once I gave it to him he rarely took it off, even to sleep.
And a good time was had by all. A grateful grandfather/range instructor with his two prized and happy students. I don't know who had a better time. I think it was me.
I think the next session I'll eliminate the Crossman. It's almost full sized and a bit too big for the kids' small hands. I'm looking for a smaller pistol. Next time I'll also introduce a .22 into the mix. By then Jania will be 7 and Brendan 6. I'm looking at a Chipmunk.
If you've done this you understand exactly how I felt. It was an awesome experience. If you haven't then do everyone a favor and try it. It's not only joyous fun but it's also the future of the shooting sports and, indeed, the Second Amendment. If we don't get the next generation interested you can be sure the opposition will do their best to bring them into their sphere of influence and the results will be disastrous.
Besides, there's nothing like the smile on the face of a kid who's just rung the gong for the first time. Priceless.

13 March 2011

Sunday Kipling

I've been terribly remiss posting lately but the DO and the kids have returned to Hungary and I'll have more time for all things not kid related. It's funny, when we moved to this house it seemed to small. After a while I got used to it and it was normal. With the kids gone it's never felt so big. Today's Sunday Kipling is dedicated to the two people I love most in this world, Jaina and Brendan. I miss you guys.


The Children's Song

Puck of Pook's Hills

Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.

Father in Heaven who lovest all,
Oh, help Thy children when they call;
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.

Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,
With steadfastness and careful truth;
That, in our time, Thy Grace may give
The Truth whereby the Nations live.

Teach us to rule ourselves alway,
Controlled and cleanly night and day;
That we may bring, if need arise,
No maimed or worthless sacrifice.

Teach us to look in all our ends
On Thee for judge, and not our friends;
That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed
By fear or favour of the crowd.

Teach us the Strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under Thee, we may possess
Man's strength to comfort man's distress.

Teach us Delight in simple things,
And Mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And Love to all men 'neath the sun!
Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
Oh, Motherland, we pledge to thee
Head, heart and hand through the years to be!

10 March 2011

The Green Thing

This was in my email today. I hope you enjoy as much as I did, because I still remember.

It’s All About "The Green Thing".

By Jim Knowles

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that
plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized
to her and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day".”

That’s right, they didn't have the green thing in her day. Back then,
they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the
store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized
and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were
recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator
in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and
didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two
blocks. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn’t have the
throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts, wind and solar power really did dry the
clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn't
have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house that eveybody gathered
around as a family, not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen
the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have
electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile
item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it,
not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut
the lawn, they used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised
by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills
that operate on electricity. But she's right, they didn't have the green
thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled
pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor
blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because
the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school
or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi
service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of
sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized
gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space
in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her

(and they are "still" living to a ripe old age)

05 March 2011

A Sunday Kipling Dedication To Borepatch And His Father

We're thinking of you BP. Lu and the DO and I send our love and prayers. God speed to your Dad. May all fathers have children who grow up as fine as you my friend.

A Ballade of Burial

("Saint Praxed's ever was the Church for peace")

If down here I chance to die,
Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of "I"
To the Hills for old sake's sake,
Pack me very thoroughly
In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry
This observe for old sake's sake.

To the railway station hie,
There a single ticket take
For Umballa -- goods-train -- I
Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly
Spite of clamour coolies make;
Thus in state and dignity
Send me up for old sake's sake.

Next the sleepy Babu wake,
Book a Kalka van "for four."
Few, I think, will care to make
Journeys with me any more
As they used to do of yore.
I shall need a "special" brake
'Thing I never took before
Get me one for old sake's sake.

After that -- arrangements make.
No hotel will take me in,
And a bullock's back would break
'Neath the teak and leaden skin
Tonga-ropes are frail and thin,
Or, did I a back-seat take,
In a tonga I might spin,
Do your best for old sake's sake.

After that -- your work is done.
Recollect a Padre must
Mourn the dear departed one
Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don't go down at once. I trust
You will find excuse to "snake
Three days' casual on the bust."
Get your fun for old sake's sake.

I could never stand the Plains.
Think of blazing June and May
Think of those September rains
Yearly till the Judgment Day!
I should never rest in peace,
I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease,
To the Hills for old sake's sake.

03 March 2011

I Humbly Accept

Murphy's Law at Lagniappe's Lair has tagged me with this Stylish Award. That means I must
tell 7 (ish) things about myself that most people do not know and then tag 10 (also ish) others I read regularly and deem worthy of such accomplishment.

1. I once worked as a dishwasher and cook at a JB's Big Boy restaurant. I got fired for refusing to do something the manager told me to do but he later rehired me.

2. I wanted to be an Oceanographer at one time in my life. I even became a certified diver. Then I figured out that I really don't care for swimming and you know, that seemed like a bit of a problem.

3. I like David Bowie (I am sooo embarrassed). Young American is still one of my all time favorite songs.

4. I've been hit on by guys. Once on duty in uniform.

5. I'm great with color and patterns. Lu and the DO always consult me on any big painting and quilting projects. I could be an interior designer. Really. Is there a pattern developing here?

6. I'm a huge klutz. I constantly fall off things and collide with hard/sharp objects. I regularly bash my noggin. I've had at least 3 major concussions, one when I was hit in the head by the boom on my grandfathers tractor. I've got scars everywhere, especially on my bean which actually explains a lot.

7. I'm a hopeless romantic. I married Lu twice. I used to watch the DO when she slept and still do the grandkids. I cry during sad movies. Not chick movies but Old Yeller, Red Dawn, The Shootist, Brian's Song and other manly but emotional fare. In spite of what I've seen and done my faith in humanity and America is still strong. I am completely unafraid to tell my family and friends that I love them and I always mean it. I have few close friends but I keep them for life.
8. I write in my spare time. Many of us are closet writers so I guess I'm in good company. I've written 2 complete novel length stories, Earth America and Gray Wolf. Both are on my hard drive where they will stay forever. I've started a new one called Champion. I've written many short stories. No, you cannot read them. They're blindingly awful.
9. I used to drive a Vega. A tan one.
10. I have never eaten Sushi.

I guess someone is going to revoke my man license now and with darn good reason. On to the next suckers...er, I mean worthy recipients. I know many of you on my blog roll have already been tagged and I tried not to nominate you twice. If I got you again or somehow missed you I apologize but it's all in good fun. Remember, I love you all.

Anna's Clue Tank

Cranky Chicks With Guns

Gun Free Zone

Life, The Universe and Everything (Gotcha kiddo!)

Guns and Coffee


The Mad Ogre

Old Retired Petty Officer

The Kitchen Dispatch

The Reluctant Paladin

Portia's Life

The Redneck Engineer


Yankee Mom


02 March 2011

In mourning

A sad event today took the lives of at least two of my brothers. Two airmen were killed in Frankfurt, Germany, by a Muslim of Albanian decent. They were stationed at Lakenheath, my home for 2 years, and were on their way to Ramstein, a base I will be visiting in the near future, to be deployed to Afghanistan. At this point I'll reserve my opinions of the situation till the SP's and investigators do their job, but I can say that it is a reminder that no matter how hospitable a place may seem, we are always targets. Though the airmen we not yet in a combat zone, they still gave their lives for our freedom, and for that I will be ever thankful.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families grieving now, and hope for some level of peace to find them.

~The DO

01 March 2011

A Wet Ride

Lu and I decided it was time to get back on the horse. If you've been reading my scribblings for a while you're aware of the disaster of my last attempt at an organized ride. If not then never mind. Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

My leg is healed and Bike2Bike held a ride to benefit Spina Bifida on Saturday. We checked it out and decided that the Quarter Century was just the thing to test our fitness and stick a toe back into the competitive waters.

The day dawned wet and cold. It was not a heartwarming sight but we were determined not only to ride but not to whine unceasingly. Lu made it, I complained all day.
In the staging area parking lot, the bicycles ready for the day.
All numbered up and ready to go. That jacket and pants I'm wearing are the very ones I used in my Police bicycling days. I wasn't any better looking then.
And we're off! The inane grins on our faces disappeared about the time our feet froze but for now all is golden.

We had our own cheering squad. The DO and the grandkids trailed us every step of the way, cheering madly. They were great and made the whole day a lot easier.
That's Jaina giving us her best Princess wave. Ta Ta now. Do call us when you arrive.
About 10 miles in. It was about this time that the rain finished soaking into our shoes and the feet became increasingly ice cube like.
Brendan, The DO and Jaina. A finer cheering group never existed. Aren't they cute?
The rain convinced a lot of the riders to stay in bed and watch Saturday morning cartoons. It got pretty lonely at times. We never saw another rider all day once we got away from the start line. This is about 20 miles in.
And a high five from the cutie pie at the side of the road.
This is at the base of the toughest climb on the course. Lu and I shed our rain gear to save weight and keep cooler. If you look closely you can see that I'm wearing a Fat Cyclist jersey. Clydesdale Horsepower.
Man that climb sucks and it was just beginning.
Deep in the pain cave and thinking about hitching a ride on the cheering section minivan. Oh, the ignominy. Keep pedaling sweetheart!
At the top the fans were cheering us on. Go Papa! Go Grandma!
Yeah us! At the top of the climb from Hell. V is for victory. It's an easy 8 miles to the finish from here.
Coming in to the finish line and the end of our adventure. 28.5 miles and, with the DO and the kids there to watch and cheer, we never enjoyed a ride more.
Just steer me to the shower and the food.
At the end of the day Jaina and Brendan had a surprise for us. Hand made ribbons and congratulations. Recognition from the only people who's opinion counts. I don't know who was more excited, us or the kids.
Lu and I love having an outlet for our competitive sides. I think it's also important to show the kids that such things are fun and a necessary part of our lives. Never give up and never be afraid to try. Lu and I were so happy they were here to share this with us and I think it'll be with them for a long time.