'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

31 October 2010

Sunday Kipling

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!

From A Friend

Daphne has written a story about her beloved dog Max that is so sweet and powerful it is beyond me to describe and I love her for it. She's a very talented writer anyway but when the subject is so near to her heart she's magical.

I cried when I read it because I know of what she writes. Many of you will as well. That bond, that special bond with a beloved dog can't be adequately described it can only be experienced and talked about among those who understand without the words.

Thank you Daphne. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for putting into words about your beloved Max what I cannot about my Trooper. Thank you for remembering my own grief and bringing me the comfort of your faith.

My friend.


Happy Ha-toe-ween!

(The Boy likes to sing a song he made up about having a happy Ha-toe-ween, and seriously, it makes my day!)

To all our friends, hope it's haunted, and that you have Captain American or Spider Girl to save you!

-The DO

30 October 2010


Written by LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar
From the Book "Tears of Ink"


For years and years I really did
Keep all my bad thoughts safely hid

Those bad-assed memories tucked away
If someone asked, I wouldn't say

A real tough bastard, that was me
No one could touch me, can't you see

The past was past and buried deep
And only sometimes I couldn't sleep

The first years were hard, a real bitch
Like I was doing another hitch

I drank alot and went through hell
My fucked up life wasn't doing well

All this went on ten years or so
I wasn't dead, so more to go

I saw a doctor once, a shrink
A real know nothing civvie dink

I felt forgotten and alone
There just was no one in my zone

That's when I built my private wall
I shut my mind, and fuck'em all

I could face the world with no fear
I kept a pistol always near

Now that was one thing I could trust
Some fire power a real must

I really straightened up my life
With lots of help from my dear wife

I told her nothing, to be sure
Why take the chance without a cure

And then one day I saw the wall
Upon my life it cast a pall

But another vet said "Welcome Back"
My solid wall began to crack

It was then, I dared to cry
My prior years were just a lie

I had to face my times in hell
Another vet, someone to tell

I'm going to climb this goddamn hill
It may be steep and I may fall
But in the end, I'll tell it all

LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar

Submitted by Sarge

29 October 2010

Planes Guns And Music

I love Warthogs and still think the GAU8 is the greatest firearm ever made. Add in some ACDC and this is a great video for a dreary Friday.


26 October 2010


I did this just after I retired, when Lu and I first discussed renting out the California house. It wasn't certain at that point but the Magic 8-Ball said 'All Signs Point To Yes'. I hate that damn thing.

So it was time to do one of the honeydo's highest on my list of things I really, really did not want to do. Taking out the Jasmine vine in the front yard. Why now?'Cuz I don't want to end up like this guy.

This is what that mess looked like before I started. Each wing of the vine is 16 feet long and a little over 5 feet high. There are 3 main roots on each wing and, as anyone who has ever messed with these things knows, about a million little roots.

I started by pushing it over as far as it'd go because I'm a gorilla and that's what gorilla's do.
It's been up for 20 years or so and the 4x4's were rotted pretty badly. I pushed and pushed but surprisingly it completely failed to fall over and onto my trailer. It was pretty obvious some cutting was needed. Cue my double bitted axe because I broke my chain saw doing the back fence. Yeah, I'm that guy.
Half down and ready to be dragged away. Yeah, that's my help laying on the lawn sunning themselves with the cooler nearby. Oh, turns out the vine was heavy. Really heavy. Like about 500 pounds of heavy. Oh, my aching 50 year old legs. That's about 2 hours of solid, backbreaking work. Well..... work for an old guy anyway.

Hey, I can see the street!

And the house.

One down and one to go. Luckily for me my timing worked out perfectly and Lu got home just in time to help out with half number 2. Tell me that isn't a friggin mess.

Number 2 is gone and Lu poses next to her triumph. She finally got me to finish what I've been swearing I'd do for the last 15 years. Remember that bear in the procrastination poster? He's got nothing on Lu. Man, I need some window treatments now. Sigh.

For comparison. That trailer is 5 feet wide and 10 feet long. I'm 6 feet tall. That is a pile o' Jasmine. Unseen under that pile is about 1200 pounds of broken concrete and brick that used to be 2 benches (you can see one of them in the before photo). I'm thinking I'm gonna have to cough up a lung at the dump.

The After picture. Please ignore the partial glove on the left of the photo. I was lacking adult supervision at that moment. We can now see out and, even more importantly, it no longer looks like the entrance to the Brazillian Jungle Ride at Retarded Otto's Amusement Park. My neighbors will be so happy.

All this just so I can rent the place out and someone else will miss out on the joys of Jasmine pollen and Jasmine trimming.

Becoming a slum lord better be worth all this effort.


Part II Insane Crazy Welder Boy

With the move taking up so much of my time I'm going to speed up the posting of some of my older stuff from that other blog. I'll be posting some new stuff as well but not much for a couple of weeks. Sorry. Hope you enjoy the continuing adventures of a self described grease monkey.

When last we left out brain damaged wanna be fabricator he was contemplating a bent axle and frame. Let's check in with him now as we bring you the next installment of

Insane Crazy Welder Boy

OK. First up, straightening the bent axle.

Tools: 1 large hammer and 1 concrete driveway. Apply as necessary and there you have it. Axle all better now. (Note the cool argyle socks and white tennis shoes. Fashion is my middle name)

Next, rebuild the rear bearings. These are ball bearings. Not the nice ball bearings contained in a ball bearing race but loose so when you pull out the axle, say to straighten it for instance, they scatter in all directions in a shower of tiny, round, shiny expletives.

Now to tackle that frame. You remember that. It looks like this

And this. I mean, seriously, did some mutant pitbull chew on this thing??

But not to worry, I have a plan. See, I found another bike in a field. It has a straight frame. See the straight frame? Such a nice straight frame. Will the crazy man exercise a modicum of common sense and utilize the nice, straight frame? Does a bear do his business in the Vatican?

See, the problem is I have, for some irrational reason, become unnaturally attached to the Schwinn and have decided I hate the new frame. Schwinn = Love. New frame = Hate. I don't know why. Did I mention I'm a crazy man?

The solution? Remember the big hammer...er, I mean precision instrument, I used to straighten the axle? Yep. Judicious use got the frame more or less straight. The compressor and a wire wheel removed the paint. Whee! A quick trip to the local machine shop resulted in a nice piece of half inch i.d., eighth inch pipe (cost: Freebie. Woo Hoo!). The sawsall soon made short work of slicing that bad boy in 2 pieces and I'm ready for repair. It's simple, clamp it over the bad frame and weld it in place. Easy. Right? Right?

Clamp, clamp, clamp. Weld, weld weld, Welder Boy. Hey, that's kinda catchy. Somebody really should turn that into a song.

Hey, I almost look like I know what I'm doing! Please note the complete lack of safety gear except the helmet that allows me to keep being a sighted person. Now that's manly!

Liberal application of the air grinder and before you can say Xanax, it's a frame. Kinda. At least marginally straight and without those unsightly bite marks. I know it looks rough right now but I have it on good authority that the sanding and painting faeries have been seen in the neighborhood. So I'm assuming we're good there.

Next installment;
Why rust is not our friend
Can a man really find happiness with brakes from Fred Flintstones bike?
Tune in next week for another exciting episode of
Insane Crazy Welder Boy!!!

24 October 2010

Trooper's Gal

Laura over at Trooper's Gal has a new post up that really hit home for me and Lu. It's a strong post written by a strong woman. If you're married to someone who does what we do, or considering such it's a must read. For everyone else it's a glimpse into the heart and soul of a woman who's married to a Warrior with all that entails. For you Warriors it's a chance to be reminded of all that they do for us.

Lord, how I do love my Warrior Wife. She is all that is right in the world. To all of you out there like Laura and Lu..

Thank you. You make it possible for us to do what we do and stay sane and whole. We may not always say it but know in your hearts that we love you.


Sunday Kipling

It's a great day to be alive.

Buddha at Kamakura
"And there is a Japanese idol at Kamakura"

O ye who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when "the heathen" pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda's Lord, the Bodhisat,
The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura,

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master's eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
Of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A-flower 'neath her golden htee
The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly
From Burmah to Kamakura,

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums,
And droned -- "Om mane padme hums"*
A world's-width from Kamakura.

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh-Gaya's ruins pit the hill,
And beef-fed zealots threaten ill
To Buddha and Kamakura.

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?

*The Buddhist invocation.

23 October 2010

Tears Of Ink

Another Poem from LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar Titled simply Combat.


Roaring noises

Screaming voices

Metal flying

There and here

Eyes are burning

Guts are churning

Men are fighting

Full of fear

Guns are smoking

Lungs are choking

Through it all

Godawful smell

I hear crying

Men are dying

I'm alive

But I'm in hell

By LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar

Submitted by Sarge

The Torture Continues

Woo Hoo! The Giants win the National League Pennant over the Phillies by 4 games to 2. Final score in game 6 was another nail biting 3-2. The bullpen was nearly perfect with Wilson getting a 5 out save and causing multiple heart attacks in the process.

Cody Ross won the NLCS MVP and it was well deserved. They absolutely would not have won without him.

This team thrives on pressure and just finds a way to win. Now if I can only find a way to watch a game without my hands covering my face.

The Giants were not supposed to win this series. Shows what the pundits know. In my opinion the 2 clubs with the best team chemistry, the Giants and the Rangers, won their respective pennants.

Bring on the Rangers. It should be a great World Series.


21 October 2010

Tears Of Ink

While the Six was here and we were unloading his meager possessions, I ask him if I could post some poetry that was written by a friend. This poetry deals mostly with a warriors feelings after being in a war zone (PTSD). My friend's name is LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar, U. S Coast Guard (Ret). Bob served his country, in the Navy and Coast Guard for 31 years. During those years he was in Korea, China, and Southeast Asia (VN). He entered the service as a Seaman Recruit and after becoming a Chief Petty Officer, he received a Presidential commission to Ltjg, and retired as a Lieutenant Commander. I do have permission from LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar to submit some of his writings on this blog spot. The poems are from the book titled, TEARS OF INK.

The first poem I'll submit is titled---

I'm O.K.

I'll admit I'm slightly troubled
And there are times I'm downright sad
When I think back on things that happened
And some of those were really bad
But I'm O.K., I tell you truly
I'm alive, and that's a lot
I'm better off than some old buddies
Yeah I'm alive, and they are not
There are times I dream about them
But mostly now, I only sleep
I'm telling you I'm doing fine now
Why should I think of things so deep
I never cry, cause that's not manly
It's not the way that I was taught
And what the hell, it's all behind me
I've put aside just why we fought
I can't remember all the reasons
There had to be some, I suppose
I do remember, for God and country
But it was more than only those
I lost some friends, for lofty reasons
And now they are forever gone
But I'm O.K., yeah I'm still living
But sometimes God, I'm so alone

By LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar

Submitted by Sarge

I'm Beat

Lu and I sat down and finally made up our minds (Thanks for the perspective Brigid). We're moving to Utah permanently. We're going to rent out the California house (Thanks Fannie and Freddie).

In light of that decision I got up Tuesday morning and decided that I needed to make a run out there with a pickup and trailer load of stuff. I'm still wondering just what all this crap is, who it belongs to and how we somehow managed to end up with it all.

Lu and I spent all day loading up. I jumped in the Ford and headed out at 1530. I got to the house at 0230 Wednesday. Slept for a couple of hours then corralled Sarge to help me unload. Sat for a bit, ate and watched some baseball (Go Giants!). 2230 it was back in the truck for the return trip. Got in at 0840 this morning. A little over 1300 miles total.

Lu, bless her heart, painted the dining room (two coats of Behr Mushroom Bisque) and then waited up until I got home. We collapsed into the bed about 9 and slept til 1400. I'm groggy and tired. I'm getting too old for that kinda crap anymore.

I'm taking a couple of days off to recharge for that final push. There's still a ton of things to do. I'm happy with the decision but I hate moving.


18 October 2010


From the 'You Just Never Know' file.

Baltimore City detective Brian Stevenson was killed on Saturday night while off duty by Sian James during a dispute over a parking space. I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened but it doesn't take Holmes or Poirot to put together some pieces. There are a couple of lessons to be learned here.

In more than 24 years of experience as a police officer I saw more anger over parking spaces than anything else barring only domestic disputes. Maybe. Seriously, people get pissed over the idea that someone else has taken a space they believe belongs to them. I've seen people drive over someone who's standing in a space, 'saving it' for someone else. I've seen parking control officers and cops assaulted over a 25 dollar parking ticket. I've had normal citizens turn into raving lunatics when the think they've been slighted out of a choice space.

Violence can happen anywhere and anytime. If you're not prepared to defend your life at all times you're not prepared. If we knew when and where the bottom was going to drop out life would be sweet. We don't so we need to act like it.

I used to tell people to constantly evaluate potentially negative social interactions. Ask yourself; Will this be the last act of my life? Is this worth dying or killing over? We may have no choice but in most cases we do. I quote Louis Awerbuck on this incessantly. I live my life devoted to avoidance and de-escalation. If I can cross the street to avoid a fight I'll do it. If I need to park a block away to avoid the circling sharks I'll do that. If someone else wants that space and it looks like an argument may ensue I'll find another. It's not cowardice it's good common sense and may save your life or life savings spent on a defense lawyer. If I never get into another fight as long as I live I'll die a satisfied and grateful man. It may not be possible but I'm going to live as if it is.

If you're out at the clubs expect to meet people who have imbibed more than they can handle. Alcohol doesn't cause us to do things we shouldn't, it lowers our inhibitions and control over the less social aspects of our personalities. Drunks aren't violent because they're drunk. They're violent by nature and that nature is exposed while under the influence of intoxicating substances. Avoid drunks like they're plague carriers.

If the choices have been taken from you and you're faced with a fight for your life, recognize it quickly and react accordingly. A rock is a deadly weapon. A screwdriver is a deadly weapon. The human body is a deadly weapon. The list of things that can take your life is long and varied and you may only have a split second for recognition and reaction. Proper mindset is essential. I'm not saying we should all go around in a constant red state but when the angry words and balled fists begin it's time to realize bad things may be imminent and maybe we should work our plan. You do have a plan, right? If someone reaches for a chunk of concrete I'm reaching for my gun and as his hand rears back to deliver that missile I'll be delivering some 180 grain dissuasion. If they desist before the gunsmoke appears it's all good. Disengage and call in the cops. If they persist then protect yourself.

Sian James is a mutt and no doubt with a violent history. He needs to go away forever. Brian Stevenson sounds like a great officer and a fine man and I grieve with his family and friends. It's a damn shame what happened to him and my heart goes out to the Baltimore PD and the Stevenson family, especially his wife and three children. Let's hope we can all learn from this tragedy and not become statics ourselves.

Be alert at all times. Use common sense. Listen to that nagging little voice in the back of your head that's screaming and pushing the alarm bell. He may have seen something you missed. Have a plan. Be as physically fit as possible. Be determined. Plan your fight and fight your plan but be flexible to a changing tactical environment. Be prepared to go to the weapon of last resort as early as is necessary. Your use of force ladder may very well start at the top rung.

And if you do find yourself in the nightmare of a shooting I want you to repeat after me. "I was in fear of my life. I'm sorry officer but I'm just too upset to talk any more right now. I need to have my lawyer present before I'll be able to answer any questions". The good cops will understand and you shouldn't be talking to the others anyway.

Stay safe out there.


17 October 2010

Sunday Kipling

Have a great weekend.

With Scindia to Delphi
More than a hundred years ago, in a great battle fought near Delhi,
an Indian Prince rode fifty miles after the day was lost
with a beggar-girl, who had loved him and followed him in all his camps,
on his saddle-bow. He lost the girl when almost within sight of safety.
A Maratta trooper tells the story: --

The wreath of banquet overnight lay withered on the neck,
Our hands and scarfs were saffron-dyed for signal of despair,
When we went forth to Paniput to battle with the Mlech, --
Ere we came back from Paniput and left a kingdom there.

Thrice thirty thousand men were we to force the Jumna fords --
The hawk-winged horse of Damajee, mailed squadrons of the Bhao,
Stark levies of the southern hills, the Deccan's sharpest swords,
And he the harlot's traitor son the goatherd Mulhar Rao!

Thrice thirty thousand men were we before the mists had cleared,
The low white mists of morning heard the war-conch scream and bray;
We called upon Bhowani and we gripped them by the beard,
We rolled upon them like a flood and washed their ranks away.

The children of the hills of Khost before our lances ran,
We drove the black Rohillas back as cattle to the pen;
'Twas then we needed Mulhar Rao to end what we began,
A thousand men had saved the charge; he fled the field with ten!

There was no room to clear a sword -- no power to strike a blow,
For foot to foot, ay, breast to breast, the battle held us fast --
Save where the naked hill-men ran, and stabbing from below
Brought down the horse and rider and we trampled them and passed.

To left the roar of musketry rang like a falling flood --
To right the sunshine rippled red from redder lance and blade --
Above the dark Upsaras* flew, beneath us splashed the blood,
And, bellying black against the dust, the Bhagwa Jhanda swayed.

I saw it fall in smoke and fire, the banner of the Bhao;
I heard a voice across the press of one who called in vain: --
"Ho! Anand Rao Nimbalkhur, ride! Get aid of Mulhar Rao!
Go shame his squadrons into fight -- the Bhao -- the Bhao is slain!"

Thereat, as when a sand-bar breaks in clotted spume and spray --
When rain of later autumn sweeps the Jumna water-head,
Before their charge from flank to flank our riven ranks gave way;
But of the waters of that flood the Jumna fords ran red.

I held by Scindia, my lord, as close as man might hold;
A Soobah of the Deccan asks no aid to guard his life;
But Holkar's Horse were flying, and our chiefest chiefs were cold,
And like a flame among us leapt the long lean Northern knife.

I held by Scindia -- my lance from butt to tuft was dyed,
The froth of battle bossed the shield and roped the bridle-chain --
What time beneath our horses' feet a maiden rose and cried,
And clung to Scindia, and I turned a sword-cut from the twain.

(He set a spell upon the maid in woodlands long ago,
A hunter by the Tapti banks she gave him water there:
He turned her heart to water, and she followed to her woe.
What need had he of Lalun who had twenty maids as fair?)

Now in that hour strength left my lord; he wrenched his mare aside;
He bound the girl behind him and we slashed and struggled free.
Across the reeling wreck of strife we rode as shadows ride
From Paniput to Delhi town, but not alone were we.

'Twas Lutuf-Ullah Populzai laid horse upon our track,
A swine-fed reiver of the North that lusted for the maid;
I might have barred his path awhile, but Scindia called me back,
And I -- O woe for Scindia! -- I listened and obeyed.

League after league the formless scrub took shape and glided by --
League after league the white road swirled behind the white mare's feet --
League after league, when leagues were done, we heard the Populzai,
Where sure as Time and swift as Death the tireless footfall beat.

Noon's eye beheld that shame of flight, the shadows fell, we fled
Where steadfast as the wheeling kite he followed in our train;
The black wolf warred where we had warred, the jackal mocked our dead,
And terror born of twilight-tide made mad the labouring brain.

I gasped: -- "A kingdom waits my lord; her love is but her own.
A day shall mar, a day shall cure for her, but what for thee?
Cut loose the girl: he follows fast. Cut loose and ride alone!"
Then Scindia 'twixt his blistered lips: -- "My Queens' Queen shall she be!

"Of all who ate my bread last night 'twas she alone that came
To seek her love between the spears and find her crown therein!
One shame is mine to-day, what need the weight of double shame?
If once we reach the Delhi gate, though all be lost, I win!"

We rode -- the white mare failed -- her trot a staggering stumble grew, --
The cooking-smoke of even rose and weltered and hung low;
And still we heard the Populzai and still we strained anew,
And Delhi town was very near, but nearer was the foe.

Yea, Delhi town was very near when Lalun whispered: -- "Slay!
Lord of my life, the mare sinks fast -- stab deep and let me die!"
But Scindia would not, and the maid tore free and flung away,
And turning as she fell we heard the clattering Populzai.

Then Scindia checked the gasping mare that rocked and groaned for breath,
And wheeled to charge and plunged the knife a hand's-breadth in her side --
The hunter and the hunted know how that last pause is death --
The blood had chilled about her heart, she reared and fell and died.

Our Gods were kind. Before he heard the maiden's piteous scream
A log upon the Delhi road, beneath the mare he lay --
Lost mistress and lost battle passed before him like a dream;
The darkness closed about his eyes -- I bore my King away.

*The Choosers Of The Slain.

16 October 2010

Pure Torture

I'm generally not a huge stick and ball kinda guy. I like some football but I don't live and die by any team. I hate basketball and am totally indifferent to soccer and hockey (World Cup notwithstanding). I don't get mad when my team loses. No sulks or depression or broken televisions. No lost wager money. No money spent glorifying the exploits of spoiled children masquerading as adults. I spend my money and time on different pursuits, those where real experiences can be had. Most involve 2 wheels, 4 legs with fur or things that go bang.

There are always exceptions though and mine is baseball. I love baseball.

Baseball is an American sport. I know there are great leagues (and even better individual players) in South America, Japan, Cuba and Korea among others. But it was born here and is still played at it's highest level in the Land Of The Free. We all played when we were kids, whether hardball or softball, it's all baseball. The DO played Bobby Sox softball and my granddaughter can hit a fastball like nobody's business. I think the boy will be a football player but you can be sure his grandfather will give him plenty of exposure to the Grand Game. His dad and I agreed. He gets football and I get baseball. It's made him an odd blend of Patriots and Giants fan but his sporting card will be well filled, as any boys should.

I grew up playing the game, not usually well but always enthusiastically. I've hit a home run, struck out, scored the winning run and made the last out. I learned sportsmanship, concentration and athletic skills. I exercised my mind as well as my body. I discovered things about myself and the value of teammates and fair play. Win or lose, there's always tomorrow.

We came to California in October, 1981 when the Army looked over my duty requests of Hood, Lewis and Carson and instead hose to send me to Ft. Ord, a place I'd never even heard of. In April of 1982 my unit sponsored a trip to see a Giants home game. It meant a day off so I said heck yeah, sign me up. The Giants played the Braves. Bob Brenly hit a grand slam and the Giants still lost. Candlestick park was cold, windy and decidedly spartan but I had a great time and fell deeply in love with my now beloved Giants. We took The DO and Lu's parents and both our grandchildren to a game. All got their first exposure to The Major League in a Giants ballpark.

I've followed them through the good and bad. Most seasons I was left just hoping they'd beat the Dodgers and stay out of the cellar. I've seen them at their worst. I've seen them at their best. I've seen them lose a heartbreaking World Series when they were 5 outs from a championship. I've seen them knock the hated Dodgers out of the playoffs and miss a chance themselves when they couldn't win the N.L. West with 102 wins. I've seen them lose 100 games.

They're in the National League Championship Series this year after winning the N.L West on the very last day of the season. We tended to watch games this year while occupied doing other things. The name Torture was adopted to describe the G-Men and their long list of heart stopping games. They've been in more one run games than I can count. The closer, Brian Wilson has had Lu and I screaming at the TV. The offense is spotty at best. They're hard to watch without a roll of antacid and a strong drink. Or two.

But the pitching. Man can those boys ever pitch. Starters Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgardner and even Zito at times. Affeldt, Mota, Rodriguez, Romo and a bunch of no names in the pen. They can all throw.

Some late season castoffs in the field for some pop in the lineup. Where would they be without Huff, Ross and Burrell? Torres and Sanchez are starters now. All began the year with other teams. And don't forget the Panda. A probable rookie of the year in catcher Buster Posey. They don't score many runs but tend to produce at exactly the right times.

Tonight they took a 1-0 lead in their best of 7 series against the Phillies, a team that's supposed to be far and away better than the Giants. The score was a typical nail biting 4-3 squeaker that they somehow always seem to win. This is a mentally tough team that knows how to grind and take advantage of their opportunities.

I hate taking a kids game played by adults too seriously but I do love my Giants and watching them win. I just don't know if I can take it any more. These guys are killing me.

Ah, sweet torture, thy name is Giants.

I can't wait til tomorrow.


14 October 2010

Part 1. Challenge Accepted

As promised here is the birth of Sweet Baby Schwinn in 5 parts. This all began as a challenge from a bicycling professional that I just couldn't resist. The rebuild took place in August and September 2009. And yes, I am looking for the next bicycle project.

A while back Doohickey told me that I wasn't a real mechanic until I fixed a bicycle I found in the dumpster. That challenge has been percolating around in the back of my head for a while now so I kept my eye out for a suitable candidate.
Well, I found it. It wasn't in the dumpster. We found it abandoned on one of the trails we ride on old Ft. Ord. My wife said "sure, go for it" with a knowing smirk on her face. Yeah, it's going to be band aid time around here shortly.
It's a Schwinn World Traveler and it's best days were in the 70's. 1870's if it's condition is any indication. Still, a challenge has been issued and accepted. Let the swearing begin.
Uh, is that frame bent? Well, maybe just a bit.... It looks like that old Bond villain Jaws tried to take a bite out of it.

Broken and basically completely trashed thin tube aluminum handlebars? Check.

Rust? Check, check, check aaaand check!

Ok. This is the plan. I'm going to try my best to make this an actually working bicycle. One that rides, shifts and everything. I'm not promising it'll be pretty but I'll do my best and it will work. I'm going to keep track of my expenses (band aids will not be calculated into the final cost). I need to keep it as cheap as possible to stay within the (self imposed) rules of the challenge. I will need tires, tubes and a chain. Probably handlebars (but I've got some ideas about that). Other than that I think I can salvage everything else.

Cost so far: Spoke - $1.00.

Next up: The bent axle/big hammer confrontation.

Stay tuned. This could be a disaster.


Vote Them All Out

We've all heard 'All politics are local politics' or some variation. It's an old political saw that recently came home to Lu and I.

The next election includes our local City Council. I know our current councilman. We served together briefly when I was a member of the Sheriff's Office. We're casual friends, having known each other for the better part of 25 years. He's close to my best friend. He's also the incumbent.

A brief aside here. Salinas, California had 29 murders in 2009. That's 21.7 per 100,000 population. We're mentioned in the same breath as Oakland and Detroit. Housing values have plummeted. Our tax base has decreased by millions (12 at the last estimate I saw) and shows no sign of improvement. There's a turf war ongoing between the northern and southern branches of the primary latino gang structures. Joblessness is rising faster than the national average. Businesses have folded or fled and the council argues about whether or not to allow WalMart to open a brand new super store. That's dirty tax money apparently.

The incumbent asked for our support, bolstered by the recommendation of my best friend. Lu and I agreed and put up a campaign sign on the lawn of our corner, and high traffic area, home.

A couple of days ago the challenger knocked and asked for a chance to make her pitch. We invited her in and had a nice discussion of issues. We were impressed. She understands the problems we face and has some good answers. She's very pro-business and clearly understands the idea of prioritization and attracting a broader tax base. She has a criminal justice degree and can converse intelligently about crime and criminality. We liked her and agreed to do our homework and re-consider our support of the incumbent. She left us a lawn sign.

Lu and I talked, compared, contrasted and came to the decision that we were going to go with the challenger. Lawn signs were changed and we considered the matter closed.

A day later my friend called to warn that the incumbent was en route to ask about our switch. He knocked a short time later and wanted to talk about it. I informed him that we had made our choice and wasn't particularly interested in a debate. He refused to leave the matter alone and rode over my objections. Wanting to just get it over with I pointed out the issues and that the majority of the problems had occurred on his watch. I told him it was time for new answers from people who hadn't contributed materially to our downfall. His response?

It was at least partially Sacramento's fault. The clear implication was it was beyond his ability to effect and that he shouldn't be held responsible. The 'It's not my fault' defense.

I closed our little chat immediately and handed him his campaign sign. Undoubtedly a friendship gone with the political winds and I'm Ok with that.

I found this entire affair representative of what's wrong this country on a state and national scale. Politicians who's only qualification is experience in the job and a sense of entitlement where their office is concerned. Frankly, experience like that we can do with out.

I am tired of no answers, wrong answers and stupid answers. I am looking at all incumbents with a very dim eye. If you've got a good one then by all means give them your support. If you've got an incumbent like mine then it's up to them to prove that they deserve to be retained. Something my councilman singularly failed to do. Not just by his words and attitude but by his actions over the years. Fail is fail no matter how many rainbows you plaster it with.

Voting the party line is giving your vote to a group who will then package it with others and sell them to the highest bidder. Kinda like the mortgage derivatives that crashed the housing market but with even more dire consequences. Look no further than the RINOs currently in public office for proof. The only reason they got elected in the first place is because the national committee supported them and told us we had to hold our noses and vote for them or risk a D in that spot. We bought it for a long time but no more. It's ultimately a destructive strategy and leads to a political overlord class.

I'm not necessarily done with the republican party (though they're trying very hard to drive me away and succeeding admirably) but I am done with politics as usual. No matter your affiliation, if you're an office seeker you had best be prepared to face an electorate that is better informed and paying more attention than ever before. At least in my lifetime. It's a brand new ball game and whoever misses that is doomed to runner up status.

Lu and I have made our choices and are prepared to live with the consequences. I suggest that my city councilman and every other politician, whether in office or seeking one, do the same. We're not angry but we are very, very determined and we won't stand for the same old tired rhetoric for an answer ever again. Friend or not. Do the Will of The People, do your damn job, or be consigned to the ash heap of history and good riddance to you.

It's a new America and those who underestimate or dismiss us do so at their peril. I can't say it any plainer. I'm done.


13 October 2010

Greek constitutional history, cont.

Part two of the research into the Greek influence on the Constitution. Enjoy.

-The DO

Coming out of the colonial educational system, the Founders were so well versed in the classics that they often used the ancient example to illustrate their fears or their beliefs; as they assumed that those listening were equal versed, they often mentioned their example without ever telling the background story. The heroes and villains of ancient Greece became the foundation for the identity of the new nation. The heroism and cunning of Odysseus in the Odyssey, the patriotism of the Spartans and the great Spartan king Leonidas, and the triumph of the small Greek states over the giant empire of Persia were all stories that the impressionable American youth would have taken to heart. An example is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, written March 3, 1818. In the letter, Jefferson is trying to decide when exactly the revolution first started; his discussion took into account colonial reaction to the Stamp Act, and mentioned that the actions of the citizens of Massachusetts preceded those of the other colonies, among other revolution sparking incidents. He finally decides that “This question of priority is as the inquiry would be, who first of the three hundred Spartans offered his name to Leonidas.”# No explanation is made of who Leonidas is, but it is obvious that President Jefferson expects Dr. Waterhouse to understand the reference.
To Jefferson, the comparison of the American colonialists rising up against the tyrant of England was equivalent to the actions of the Greek King Leonidas and his 300. Leonidas was a Spartan King who led about 7,000 Greeks, against several hundred thousand Persians#, in defense of their homeland at a small pass called Thermopylae. The Greek forces held the Persians for 3 days, till they were finally flanked. The story tells of Leonidas sending all but 300 of the Spartan warriors and 400 other Greek soldiers away, leaving the small force to stand against the might of the Persian army. Leonidas chooses to stay and fight, believing that his sacrifice would bring honor to his people, and that his death would save Sparta from falling to the Persians. Jefferson, therefore, is connecting the colonial choice to stand and fight along side Massachusetts as the same heroic choice the Spartans made, sacrificing their lives for the safety and security of their homes.
The education of the Founders that gave them heroes like Leonidas also gave them a sense of the continuity of the human experience. What has happened before will happen again, and knowing the past was a weapon for changing the future. The Founders looked to the ancient republics as “laboratory specimens to be analyzed and dissected…in order to determine the problems that had to be faced and overcome in establishing a federal republic.”# In that light, the Founders sought out the historians of the ancients, to learn the lessons from the past, and to put their conclusions to the test.
James Madison used these lessons from the past in both his writing of the Federalist Papers and in his speeches during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. “Madison knew that he would have to be well-prepared with his ancient history. Given the classical predilections of he colleagues at Philadelphia, he understood that historical knowledge informed the kind of analogical and deductive reasoning his supporters and opponents, alike, would respect.”# During the Convention he kept copious notes that were, after his death, published into book form. Time and again different members of the Convention used the Greek example to illustrate their point. From slave insurrections, to the ancient confederacies and the “tendency of the parts to encroach on the authority of the whole,”# the framers actively used their understanding of the ancient examples to prove their points in argument. Again, the men at the convention were so well versed with the stories that oftentimes the simply act of mentioning the story was all the was needed.
Madison himself took the ancient experiences seriously, and used them as both lessons and warnings. In the Federalist Paper #38 he wrote that “It is not a little remarkable that in every case reported by ancient history, in which government has been established with deliberation and consent, the task of framing it has not been committed to an assembly of men, but has been performed by some individual citizen of preeminent wisdom and approved integrity…” He then posits the oddity that the Athenian people, so dedicated to their democracy, would choose to give the power of their destiny to only one man, even a man of such eminence as Solon. He make sure to note that the successes and failures of the ancient models “admonish us of the hazards and difficulties incident to such experiments, and of the great imprudence of unnecessarily multiplying them.”# For Madison, the examples of the past told of the pitfalls of the republican system, and only a fool would not listen to the wisdom of the ancient historians and philosophers.


#Note, I'm not adding the sources; however, if you are interested in them, let me know and I'll pass them on. I just don't want to clutter the reading when most people don't really care where the quote came from.

12 October 2010

An Answer To The 1010 Horror Film

By now most everyone has seen that vile snuff film put out by the 1010 campaign. The one that shows 'deniers' being blown up (including children) with the tag 'No pressure'. How to respond?

Geek Warrior has the answer in a video entitled 'Chamber Pressure'. Really, it's the only answer a free people can give to people who consider themselves as our masters, to the point of suggesting those who disagree should be horribly killed. It's a terrific bit of film making and a very pointed warning. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

My hat's off to the Geek warrior clan. It's warms my heart to see kids being taught American values and the proper mindset toward those who would take their futures, their freedoms and indeed, their very lives.

Now it's off to the range. I think I can still out shoot those kids but they're gaining on me fast and that is a very good thing my friends. Hey Trackerk, can I get an invite to the next shoot? California isn't that far away.


11 October 2010

Monster Hunter Vendetta

I read Monster Hunter International a few months ago and even wrote a review. Short version is I loved it but was deeply concerned that the new book, Monster Hunter Vendetta, couldn't live up to the original.

Fast forward to last week. I bought a copy, started to read and ended up in a marathon geek fest until the wee small hours of the morning. Yeah, my fears have been allayed. MHV may even be better than MHI but it's too close to call.

If you're looking for a good read in the Horror, Humor, Action category I highly recommend both of these books. Correia is a gifted story teller and his characters are real (even the monsters). He also isn't afraid to kill off the occasional major character. Or two. No more hints. I've already said too much.


Standard FCC disclaimer. I am a highly skilled and educated English major and Book Reviewer. (He's lying. He flunked 6th grade English and the closest he's come to being a book reviewer is talking about the latest copy of Juggs magazine with his equally prepubescent circle of friends.) I am sought after by major publishers and authors and am well paid for my services (Oh crap, where do I begin? His correspondence with major publishers consists of an increasingly rude series of rejection letters and court ordered cease and desist orders. As for well paid, he never sold a thing in his life except for his soul. He got a buck forty for it. 'Nuff said.) While I have not been paid for this particular review I am quite certain that the Author, after reading it's magnificence, will remunerate me accordingly. (Yeah, you hold your breath waiting for that there Skippy. Correia only knows he's alive because he keeps sending him mash notes. Jeez, what a dip.) I only recommend books that I have personally read and liked enough to review. (Yeah, all four of them. It takes too long to read any more. His lips move too slowly.) I understand your need to ensure the public welfare by requiring all reviewers to state their relationship to the reviewed material and I support that position. (He's lying again. He really wishes you'd all catch a bad dose of the clap and put your mothers out of the pimp business permanently. Not that I'm judging you or anything.) That said I have no personal relationship with this author. (No kidding Sherlock. He's not fooling anyone. He develops the occasional man crush and just hopes the authors come here, read his semi-literate scribblings and develop a sudden desire to be his best friend. Really, it's in his diary. What a mook.) You are keeping us all safe from the ravages of product reviews by uncontrolled bloggers. (Blogger? Rants and nonsense on a site read by 3 people a blogger does not make. Obviously the lithium dose is no longer sufficient.)
For that I say Thank you. (Piss off.)

10 October 2010

Sunday Kipling

Have a great weekend my friends.

The Ballad of Minepit Shaw
"The Tree of Justice"--Rewards and Fairies

About the time that taverns shut
And men can buy no beer,
Two lads went up to the keepers' hut
To steal Lord Pelham's deer.

Night and the liquor was in their heads--
They laughed and talked no bounds,
Till they waked the keepers on their beds
And the keepers loosed the hounds.

They had killed a hart, they had killed a hind,
Ready to carry away,
When they heard a whimper down the wind
And they heard a bloodhound bay.

They took and ran across the fern,
Their crossbows in their hand,
Till they met a man with a green lantern
That called and bade 'em stand.

"What are ye doing, O Flesh and Blood,
And what's your foolish will,
That you must break into Minepit Wood
And wake the Folk of the Hill?"

"Oh, we've broke into Lord Pelham's park,
And killed Lord Pelham's deer,
And if ever you heard a little dog bark
You'll know why we come here.

"We ask you let us go our way,
As fast as we can flee,
For if ever you heard a bloodhound bay
You'll know how pressed we be."

"Oh, lay your crossbows on the bank
And drop the knives from your hand,
And though the hounds be at your flank
I'll save you where you stand!"

They laid their crossbows on the bank,
They threw their knives in the wood,
And the ground before them opened and sank
And saved 'em where they stood.

"Oh, what's the roaring in our ears
That strikes us well-nigh dumb?"
"Oh, that is just how things appears
According as they come."

"What are the stars before our eyes
That strike us well-nigh blind?"
"Oh, that is just how things arise
According as you find."

"And why's our bed so hard to the bones
Excepting where it's cold?"
"Oh, that's because it is precious stones
Excepting where 'tis gold.

"Think it over as you stand,
For I tell you without fail,
If you haven't got into Fairyland
You're not in Lewes Gaol."

All night long they thought of it,
And, come the dawn, they saw
They'd tumbled into a great old pit,
At the bottom of Minepit Shaw.

And the keeper's hound had followed 'em close,
And broke her neck in the fall;
So they picked up their knives and their crossbows
And buried the dog. That's all.

But whether the man was a poacher too
Or a Pharisee' so bold--
I reckon there's more things told than are true.
And more things true than are told!

09 October 2010

Re-Post Of A Post Referencing My Cheapness And Alleged Fabrication Skills

Update: I used to have another blog where I talked about many, many things. Most of the posts were about things that were at least marginally painful. I'm deleting that blog but I want to keep some of those posts. Something about public humiliation or some such. The therapist was droning on and on and honestly, by that time I'd mostly fallen asleep.


The answer came to me in a benadryl fueled dream. Hey, transfer those posts here. Then you can benefit from my total lack of real world skills coupled with a painful obsession to prove my ineptitude.

Really, I'm just lazy. This way I can just copy and paste and it seems like a brand new post to anyone who didn't see the original and since 4 people in total actually read that blog I think it's safe to say that's pretty much everyone. Except Sarge and the DO.

To set the stage for later escapades in hurting myself with power tools here's a minor foray into the mind of a barely adequate but self delusional fabricator. Next week, Sweet Baby Schwinn.

So, I'm back into bicycling. Going out and riding and getting all the benefits of pain and sweat.
Good fun that.

But there's more to it than that. I really don't want to ride around here on the streets so I usually load up the bikes and whoever is going with me and heading out to a nice ridey place. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?

Not so much.

See I have not one but two trucks. Sweet. Just pick one, throw the bikes in the back and go.
Well, we have a dog. I say dog but really she's a Black Lab so she's more like a furry, pathetic begging machine. "You going somewhere? Can I go? Can I go? Can I go? Please, please, please....." You get the idea. And being that I can't say no (really, if I was a woman I'd be perpetually pregnant and have like fifteen kids) she usually ends up coming along.

So, we bought shells for both trucks. I really don't know why we did it for both trucks but I think you might be able to figure it out from the last paragraph (Salesman: you need the new Single Handle Doodad and look, it comes in Puce. Me: Ooohhh.).

The shells are nice and Chrisi loves them, hanging her little head out and barking madly at passing squirrels.

But. They are a pain to load and unload more than one bicycle into and out of. And I almost never ride alone (Hey, I have a mortal fear of those self same squirrels. Why do you think I have a dog?) so there's always at least 2 bikes coming along.

The answer is obvious to anyone with more than 2 working brain cells. Bike Rack. Perfect. Except for one thing. I'm cheap as hell.

I priced some racks at the local bike stores and REI. I was aghast and I don't ghast very easily. A good one was close to 300 bucks! Used ones on CL were still in the 100 dollar and up category.
And did I mention I was cheap?

So what to do? The solution was as obvious as it was potentially hurty and comical. Make one myself. I have a welder. I have some scrap. I have skills. Well, I have the fantasy that I have skills which is almost the same thing.

The end result

Another view

I had the hitch left over from an accident where an uninsured driver hit my boat trailer and bent it (My insurance paid for everything. Uninsured motorist coverage is a must these days). I hacked it up and added some square tubing I bought at a scrap yard for 3 dollars. two crosspieces to hold the bike frames, some carpeting to pad everything, a neato little hook at the bottom for a bunji and some black Krylon and Viola! A bike rack. I had everything in the shop except the tubing.

And it works pretty good too

Pretty cool eh?

Is it crude? Yes it is. Is it ugly and cheap looking? Oh yeah. Will the welds make any competent fabricator fall over with an immediate massive coronary on sight? Almost certainly (sorry about that). Is it a little crooked? Uh, yeah, it is.

Does it work like stink? Why yes, yes it does.

I figure I've got no more than 5 bucks into the thing. Proof positive that anyone with a little material, a welder, a high tolerance for ridicule and a misers attitude can make something at least marginally useful.

Of course, I did burn all the hair off my arms because I was welding in short sleeves. And I did pick up that cross piece before it was sufficiently cooled. And I did grind off a fair amount of flesh from a finger that later got infected and quite painful.

I guess in the end this project taught me a lesson even more valuable than the money I saved (Wait. Did I say that?).

Being a cheap bastard isn't for wusses.


Getting Her Pointed Shooty On

Try a 448 pound Black Bear with a bow.

I'm stoked that our kids are still interested in hunting and shooting. It's tough to get them to leave their high tech gadgets long enough to get outdoors for a walk much less hunting Bears in Canada. Jessica has a great Bear and an even better story to tell her high school classmates.

About halfway down though is my favorite quote of the article and made my whole week:

"The average bow shot is made between 17 and 22 yards from your target, whereas, with a gun you can be as much as 60 yards away, Folsom says."

Maybe he meant 600? Just guessing.


06 October 2010

Kanani Needs Some Assistance (Updated)

Kanani over at The Kitchen Dispatch is one of my favorite people. She's a talented writer and milblogger but more important, she's a Warrior. Her husband is downrange, in very bad places doing very good things as an Army Surgeon saving the lives of our soldiers. Kanani is always looking for ways to help, whether that means contributing to better awareness of the mission through promoting books and movies or bringing the plight of our wounded warriors to the forefront and keeping them there. This time she's asking for help in bringing aid and comfort to our Wounded Warriors. You can read about it here. If there is anything that'll help those men and women deal with their experiences and lessen the impact of PTSD I'm on board. I've seen what long term suffering can mean in a man I love and admire.

I know we all get inundated by requests for donations literally every day, to the point that it's easy to get a bit jaded about them so if you can't you can't. But this one is from one of us. Kanani is a milblogger and an Army Spouse. I love her and support her and her mission. Lu and I dropped her a donation.


Update. Ed Rasimus has a couple of Wounded Warrior charity links up here. Lu and I sent them a little love. We're not philanthropists but most all of us donate and I'm now firm that our money is only going to help our soldiers and their families and these are folks that Raz can vouch for.

The Sludge

No, the sludge isn't a cool new monster movie out in time for Halloween, it's the current living conditions of a few small towns not far from where we are. In fact, it's only about 40 minutes down the road, and we've been there shopping. We haven't seen any fallout yet, however, we are on bottled water for the moment, just in case. See, not far from the town of Devercser was a storage area for the by products of Aluminum production, and the holding walls collapsed.
"The two-metre (six-and-a-half-foot) tide of mud overturned cars, swept away possessions and has raised fears that pollution leeching from it could reach the Danube River.

Among the dead were two children -- aged three and one, said Karoly Tily, the mayor of one of the affected villages, Kolontar.

A 35-year-old man was killed when his car was overturned by the flood and an elderly woman died in her home, said disaster relief team chief Gyorgy Bakondi.

The red mud is a toxic residue left over from aluminium production. It is slightly radioactive, highly corrosive and contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and chromium." (AFP via Yahoo)

The people in this area are mostly poor, and many make their living through selling items in a yard sale/ flea market type environment, so having a few meters of toxic sludge covering everything you own is kind of a problem. The people here also depend heavily on their gardens and their livestock to feed themselves, and on fireplaces for heat in the winter; with all the heavy metal in the mud covering the wood stores many will be out a winters worth of heating ability and the wave killed the livestock, and ruined the gardens. This winter is going to be a catastrophe for this area.
(Look how high on the post the red is, that's how high the wave was. Crazy)
These people had little to begin with, and most everything they had is now ruined.

Here in the American community we are trying to figure out how to get needed items to the people there, but there is little in the way of civil organizations here. There is a Red Cross in town at the moment, but they are only doing a blood drive and we have yet to find the Hungarian equivalent. With a socialist government comes help from the government, help from the government means little ability for average person to help. At this point I'm not sure there is anything we can do, honestly, to help these poor people.
At this point we will continue to try different outlets to get help in, and hope that all goes well. As the sludge is threatening the Danube (one of the major rivers in Europe) things could get very bad here in Hungary very quickly. I'll keep you all posted on the news, and I do ask that you keep these people in your thoughts and prayers.

-The DO

05 October 2010

Firearms Training

Front Sight has a question up about whether or not to hire a certain instructor. Click on this link and go watch the demonstration videos. Please let Front Sight know what you think. I dropped them this comment:
Not only no but hell no. Skills are one thing but common sense is something else and every bit as important. I'm an FBI and NRA trained police firearms instructor now retired after 24 years as a police officer with 9 years as a soldier. I've never seen anything as reckless and stupid in my 33 years of duty. If I ever see this guy at any training I attend I'll run, not walk, in the opposite direction. I can't say it strongly enough. This man has no business on a firing range unless he's taking a forearms safety course. And even then he'd be handling a red gun if I was the instructor.

I sincerely hope it's tongue in cheek and that they have no intention of offering him an instructor position. Piazza simply cannot be serious about hiring this fool.

It highlights an important issue though. There are firearms trainers and schools galore out there. How do you avoid getting ripped off? Or dead? Do your research before you sign on and fork over your hard earned money for a training class. Instructors like this are all over the place and poor instruction notwithstanding, you can get seriously hurt or even dead should you choose poorly. Be leery of those who tout themselves as the be all end all of firearms training. Tam talked about the term Big Boy Rules and I echo her thoughts. Watch for the buzz words; Special Forces, Combat Training, Spetznaz, Israeli, SEAL, etc. I took a carbine class from Jeff Gonzalez and he never once mentioned what he used to do for a living. The training was intense, grueling, informative and SAFE. Ask questions and research the company and primary instructors. Send them an e-mail and read their response carefully. If it makes the voice in the back of your head start gibbering it's probably best to avoid them. There's loads of information out there and a lot of people to ask.

My absolute favorite instructor of all time, the man I most admire and wish I was just like is Louis Awerbuck. Awerbuck, in spite of his education and experience, would be the first to tell you that no one, including he himself, knows everything there is to know about guns and tactics. He advocates for de-escalation and avoidance where possible and common sense tactics when the fight is upon you. I'd give him my money any time because I know I'd learn something, have a good time and go home at the end of the class. He tolerates no nonsense on the range and everyone follows the Four Rules without exception. If it's good enough for him it's good enough for me.

I freely admit that there's an entire world of gunny things out there I am ignorant of. There's whole schools of handling and tactics I'm either ignorant of or have just touched upon. I'm open to new tactics and ways of doing things, but when the training turns from the ridiculous to the criminally stupid it's time to call a halt. Crappy instructors are a dime a dozen but the insane ones can get you killed and make no mistake, there are plenty of morons out there trying to pass themselves off as something they're not. Frankly, with a load of education and experience, I consider myself no more than marginally qualified to teach anything beyond firearms basics. I wouldn't dream of trying to pass myself off as a high speed low drag Operator and I guarantee you I've got way more of a background than most of these people. Take that for what it's worth but please apply the same standard to any training you're interested in. Call it the Six rule. If your potential instructor isn't way more qualified than me consider someone else who is. I do.

It's a buyers market when it comes to firearms training. There's a ton of schools but only a handful that are really any good. The good ones deserve to be rewarded with our patronage and the bad ones need to be weeded out with a ruthless resolve. Take the time to make sure the school and instructors you're trusting are deserving. No one wants to be disappointed with the class they just paid a lot of money to attend but even more importantly, your life may literally be on the line.

Don't feed the bad people.


h/t to Miguel

04 October 2010

A Must Read Link

I've said before that one of the things I love about blogging is the chance to read some of the very smart people out there and learn how things are supposed to be done. Brigid is one of those scary smart people. She has a post up here that I highly recommend. The common sense and information displayed here is pure brilliance.

I'm an FBI and NRA trained firearms instructor. I've taught everything from pistol to carbine to shotgun to less lethal and everything in between. I'm educated and experienced. Still, the depth of knowledge contained here is beyond me. Go read the whole thing and share it with a friend or loved one.


03 October 2010

Sunday Kipling

I'm running late today. Lu and I are tearing down wallpaper prepratory to painting and packing some boxes. It's looking more and more like we're going to make the jump and move out to Utah full time but it's not decided yet.


"Birds of Prey" March

March! The mud is cakin' good about our trousies.
Front! -- eyes front, an' watch the Colour-casin's drip.
Front! The faces of the women in the 'ouses
Ain't the kind o' things to take aboard the ship.

Cheer! An' we'll never march to victory.
Cheer! An' we'll never live to 'ear the cannon roar!
The Large Birds o' Prey
They will carry us away,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more!

Wheel! Oh, keep your touch; we're goin' round a corner.
Time! -- mark time, an' let the men be'ind us close.
Lord! the transport's full, an' 'alf our lot not on 'er --
Cheer, O cheer! We're going off where no one knows.

March! The Devil's none so black as 'e is painted!
Cheer! We'll 'ave some fun before we're put away.
'Alt, an' 'and 'er out -- a woman's gone and fainted!
Cheer! Get on! -- Gawd 'elp the married men to-day!

Hoi! Come up, you 'ungry beggars, to yer sorrow.
('Ear them say they want their tea, an' want it quick!)
You won't have no mind for slingers, not to-morrow --
No; you'll put the 'tween-decks stove out, bein' sick!

'Alt! The married kit 'as all to go before us!
'Course it's blocked the bloomin' gangway up again!
Cheer, O cheer the 'Orse Guards watchin' tender o'er us,
Keepin' us since eight this mornin' in the rain!

Stuck in 'eavy marchin'-order, sopped and wringin' --
Sick, before our time to watch 'er 'eave an' fall,
'Ere's your 'appy 'ome at last, an' stop your singin'.
'Alt! Fall in along the troop-deck! Silence all!

Cheer! For we'll never live to see no bloomin' victory!
Cheer! An' we'll never live to 'ear the cannon roar! (One cheer more!)
The jackal an' the kite
'Ave an 'ealthy appetite,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! ('Ip! Urroar!)
The eagle an' the crow
They are waitin' ever so,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more! ('Ip! Urroar!)
Yes, the Large Birds o' Prey
They will carry us away,
An' you'll never see your soldiers any more!

02 October 2010

Reason or Force, Great Logic

A good friend of mine in Wy, sent this to me; he and I agree that it makes a lot of sense.

It was written by Marko Kloos over at The Munchkin Wrangler.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason or force.

If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or Force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat---it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong,and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even and armed one can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gum makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists,bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the guns makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

It removes force from the equation... and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

So the greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equal armed and can only be persuaded, never forced.

Thank You

This preceding information just makes perfect sense to me. I hope you can benefit by it as I did.


A Little Music

When I was a kid the measure of how cool you were was how well you could drum Wipeout on the back of a bus seat with your fingers. I was never considered way cool.

The drummer is Mel Taylor, one of the best ever. I'm a big fan of instrumental rock and The Ventures in particular. The classics never grow old.


Excuses, Excuses

Raz has a post up about the creative excuses criminals give when caught red handed with prohibited substances. It got me thinking.

Excuses are wide and varied. I'm quite certain I've heard them all. I've also been flashed by both a very pretty woman and someone I'm quite certain carried more down below than most biological women do. At least the 5 o'clock shadow and prominent Adam's Apple gave one that impression. I've been threatened, pleaded with, cajoled, begged and subjected to a long litany of the dire consequences the person was going to be subjected to should they face incarceration.

Those pale in comparison to the incident that convinced me that work in penal facilities in contra-indicated.

I started my career at the local Sheriff's Department. One of my duties as the Deputy FNG was to check in prisoners who had been outside the county jail either on Work Furlough or one of the outside work crews. Checking in is a euphemism for a strip search for proscribed items.

One sunny afternoon I checked in a prisoner, well let's just call him Sphincter Boy. I had Sphincter Boy go through the process, empty pockets, check the mouth, shoes and socks, etc. Finally we got to the bad part. We both knew it was coming and neither of us was overly happy at the prospect. Still, it needed to be done.

"Drop 'em, turn around, bend over, stretch it open and cough hard." Yeah, that was my job. Envy me.

As Sphincter Boy complied I spotted something 'unusual'. The corner of a clear cellophane baggie protruding from his....well, sphincter. Even at that tender stage of my career I had a pretty good idea what it was. I mean, they had covered it in training and everything. Plastic baggie in the old poop chute equals illegal substances. It was right there in the handbook.

I looked at Sphincter Boy and in my best authoritarian voice told him, "Either you remove it or I'll do it. Either way it's coming out." Sphincter Boy froze and I could actually see the hair on his head stand up as he went through the thought processes that might allow him to find a way out of this predicament. I mean, it's not like he didn't know what was in there.

Slowly he reached a hand back to his first point of contact. Probing fingers located the offending object and he began to slowly pull it out and bring it forth, still obviously in the throes of searching for an acceptable or at least a believable excuse. Or maybe a last ditch plan. In that last he was successful as it turns out.

As the baggie came into view I was struck by three observations. First, the baggie contained a green, leafy substance. Second, that's gotta be uncomfortable. I mean, how do you even do that anyway? How do you cram a baggie which has to structural rigidity and is filled with a substance also lacking in firmness up there? I was baffled. Finally, I noted a distinct brown discoloration on the baggie surface itself. Yeah, like I said, envy the awesomeness that was my job.

So, I step forward to take possession of the offending article (Yes, I was wearing rubber gloves, thanks for asking). As I did so Sphincter Boy committed what can only be described as an act of Willful Coprophagic Desperation. He stuck it in his mouth and started chewing.

Bafflement turned to disgust and horror in a flat second. What had been a routine checking in had turned into a bad German fetish movie. My first instinct was to grab him by the throat and choke it out of him but I reconsidered. First, I really, really didn't want to touch him. Second, if he wanted to escape capture and prosecution so bad that he was willing to purposefully eat a baggie of marijuana that had just come out of his ass then screw it. His mojo was obviously more powerful than mine. I watched the terror stricken man as he painfully and hurriedly masticated the mixed brown, green and clear mess in his mouth and finally, with much gagging and coughing, managed to swallow it down. His eyes darted to mine and filled with the tears of a man who is trying to eat something never meant to be eaten. Finally finished he turned to me and managed to croak out a very dry "What?"

I motioned for Sphincter Boy to get dressed, took him from his general population housing and stuck him in an observation cell. Neither of us said so much as a word. I'm not sure who was more horrified but I knew who was sicker. He had that pale green color of someone who is desperately trying to keep a bad meal down and thinks he just might be failing.

I had him held there until I was sure the contents of his stomach had been biologically passed.
He didn't get off scott free though. When I took him back to general housing I took him off his outside work detail and he served the rest of his time inside. He never once complained though he did seem to avoid certain foods. I saw him blanch and scream when we fed him a salad. He tossed the whole tray and didn't eat for days.

I put in an application for the police department I eventually retired from the very next day and got myself transferred to a different part of the facility until I left. No more strip searches. Ever.

You know, for some reason they never show things like that in those cop dramas.


01 October 2010

Two Legged Dog

I hate to link to anything from msnbc but this was too good.

Dogs. Is there anything they can't do?