'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 September 2012

Murphy's Law's Father

Is not doing well. If you haven't yet please go over and leave him some love. It's such a hard thing.

You are in our thoughts and prayers my friend. May grace find you and your family and may your beloved father know peace.


Passed.  Losing a parent is gut wrenching. Lu and I will be keeping Murphy's Law and his family in our prayers. May they find the peace and comfort they so need at this most difficult time.

29 September 2012

Sunday Kilping

 Another Sunday is upon us. Too many and all tool few left until the choice is upon us and our course laid bare. May your path lead to your hearts desire and our children's happiness. As for us, Lu and I will spend the day together, with a certain black dog along to keep us company and to remind us of what is important and what is not. I hope this day finds you all in good company.

And with that, an ode all those who love their machines.


The Inventor

R. W. Emerson
-- The Muse Among the Motors (1900-1930)
Time and Space decreed his lot,
  But little Man was quick to note:
When Time and Space said Man might not,
  Bravely he answered, "Nay! I mote."

I looked on old New England.
  Time and Space stood fast.
Men built altars to Distance
  At every mile they passed.

Yet sleek with oil, a Force was hid
Making mock of all they did,
Ready at the appointed hour
  To yield up to Prometheus
The secular and well-drilled Power
  The Gods secreted thus.

And over high Wantastiquet
  Emulous my lightnings ran,
Unregarded but afret,
   To fall in with my plan.

I beheld two ministries,
  One of air and one of earth --
At a thought I married these,
  And my New Age came to birth!

For rarely my purpose errs
  Though oft it seems to pause,
And rods and cylinders
  Obey my planets' laws.

Oil I drew from the well,
  And Franklin's spark from its blue;
Time and Distance fell,
  And Man went forth anew.

On the prairie and in the street
  So long as my chariots roll
I bind wings to Adam's feet,
  And, presently, to his soul!

28 September 2012

I See Employed People

When SNL satirizes obama you know it's really over.

27 September 2012

An Unexpected Purchase

I'm retired so we're on what is known as a fixed income. We're comfortable but tend to prioritize our purchases. We have a fund for the various non essential stuff we want to some day acquire. When the fund for a particular item is empty or otherwise insufficient we don't buy until it is flush. Until yesterday anyway.

See, ever since my days as an evil motorcycle cop I've lusted after a BMW RT. I spent 3 years riding one full time and another 4 part time. You know how it is when something is just right. It fits and works in a way that is both comfortable and intuitive. For me and motorcycles the BMW is such a machine. I wanted one way back when I bought the BigBandido but time was short and the motorcycle fund was what it was. Most of the RTs I saw were a bit out of the fund's range at the time. Don't get me wrong, the big Suzuki is a fine machine. Big, fast and relatively comfortable. It lacks bags, has a smallish gas tank and lacks a bit of weather protection but is otherwise very competent. It's just not a BMW.

So I've been perusing the want ads, keeping an eye out for older BMWs. You know, just in case. Yesterday I saw an ad out of Las Vegas for a 1999 R1100 RT. The price was significantly under NADA for the year and mileage. An older owner/rider who just wanted it gone so he could move on to something else and who absolutely hated selling stuff. He priced it to move with no muss and no fuss. It had some cosmetic issues and a few of the non essential electrical systems needed to be addressed but it was otherwise mechanically perfect. And the price was fantastic. More than the current motorcycle fund had in it but way too good to pass up. So I called the guy, made an appointment to see it, hooked up the trailer and headed south. When I got there it was actually better than advertised. Handshakes and cash were proffered and the deal was struck. I am now the proud owner of this;

That is a very nice example of a BMW Boxer Twin, a 1999 R1100 RT. The tach needs a bulb, it needs a new battery sometime in the not too distant future, the fuel gauge needs a new sender unit and the left mirror was actually duct taped on. Both seats have a few small rips/ tears but nothing bad. That's about it.

It has the usual nicks and scratches you'd expect from a 13 year old bike but with a little spit and polish she cleans up real good.

Luckily I have quite a bit of experience with these bikes so the mirror fix was simple. Cleaning off the baked on tape glue was a little harder. Tools of the trade. Lemon pledge for general clean up, Speed Bead for final wax/shine and Invisible Glass for mirrors. Throw in some soft rags, elbow grease and a bit of sweat equity and one can work wonders.

I spent the afternoon cleaning, repairing and generally going over her. I think she's beautiful. The tank is nearly 7 gallons, the bags are voluminous and the weather protection is superb. The windscreen even goes up and down at the touch of a button. And did I mention the electrically heated grips? Heaven. She's shiny, comfortable and gorgeous.

What chaps my butt is that I paid exactly 50 bucks more for this BMW than I did for the BigBandido. Not that it's a bad thing (really, it was a fantastic price) just that the timing really sucked. Now I'll go ahead and sell the Bandit and call it even. Well, since I also hate selling stuff Lu has stepped up and graciously offered to sell it for me. Thanks sweetie!

Even now I'm perusing the BMW catalogs for a GPS mount and maybe a trunk. I mean, it does already have the rack just sitting there and all. Maybe a trip to Corbin for some new seat skins. Car Guy is enthused. He just bought a V-Strom 1000 based on the limited range and carry capacity we experienced on our long ride. Now we both have detachable/lockable luggage and big fuel tanks. Come next Spring we'll be pooping in tall cotton!

I flat got lucky on this one. The seller placed the ad the night before, late. I just happened to be the first caller the next morning. By the time I got there he'd already had a host of other callers but held it for me since I was first. Heh heh. I really didn't want to spend the money but when it came up I had to jump or lose her to someone else.

A big sport/tourer with intercontinental range, style and comfort. And that wonderful boxer twin music. Oh yeah, I am a happy man today.


25 September 2012

Angus And I Are No Longer Allowed In The Gun Store

So today Angus and I went shopping for a gun for Lu. We headed over to Sportsman's Warehouse, not because we love them but because they do tend to have the best prices locally. They also look kindly on dogs and invite you to bring in your K-9 pal if you so desire. Or maybe I should say they did.

After Angus got his expected greetings from the cashier nearest the front door we headed for the fun aisle. As we walked he did his usual; "What's that? Oooh what's that!? Can I eat that? Do you want me to sniff your crotch while you scratch my ears? Was that a squirrel?" I was lost in thought, contemplating the incipient purchase and the adulation that was certain to come my way when it was presented to a certain appreciative wife. Then I noticed the leash was suddenly slack, which is pretty unusual as Angus is very much a 'lead the way' kinda dog. I stopped and glanced back only to behold my dog, my best friend, my pal, the furry canine companion I love and spend so much time, effort and energy on...

Copping a squat.

Oh, not over in a rarely used, currently empty aisle where no one would see him. No no no. Right there in the main pathway to and from pretty much everything in the store. In front of staff and patrons and everybody. Right where everyone in the store could behold my mortification and shame. I tried to get him to shut it off. "What are you doing? Stop that. Come here. No wait, don't come here but please, for the love of all that is holy stop what you're doing. Uh....SIT!"

Alas it was to no avail. Angus gave me the "you have got to be kidding me" look and, recognizing when I'm beat, I let him finish his business. To the titters and outraged intakes of breath from the non doggie set and the evil eye from the "I am so not cleaning that up!" staff. I had a much battered paper towel in my pocket that just let me pick up the freshly steaming pile without getting more than 4 of my digits completely covered in Angus poo. I picked up the handkerchief of shame and mortification, tucked my head down and headed for the front door as fast as my legs would carry me. Proceeded by a certain black dog with a spring in his step, a smile on his face and not a single shred of remorse.

Needless to say Angus and I are no longer allowed back in the Sportsman's Warehouse. By mutual and unspoken understanding.

Note to self: Take Angus for a walk before going somewhere potentially humiliating.


24 September 2012

Spiders And Wasps

Yesterday Lu and Angus went out to the front yard. A few minutes later Lu came in towing an obviously excited Angus by the collar and announced that a wasp was on the front porch in the act of killing a spider. being an intrepid reporter I grabbed the camera and headed out. To be greeted by this.

That is a spider being killed by a wasp. As near as I can determine it's a Spider Wasp. And that's no small spider. It was at least the wasp's mass. One of those big, hairy, Shelob kinda spiders. Apparently it was no match for the wasp.

Lu saw the initial strike by the wasp. It came in from behind the spider, jumped him and took him by surprise. Stinging him to death or immobility in a bare second. 

By this point the spider may or may not have been dead. I'm voting on the latter because I saw it's legs twitch every time the wasp went back and stung it again. Dead or not the wasp dragged the spider off the porch and into the gravel next to the concrete.

Every time the spider would twitch the wasp would pounce on him and work him over again. 

I thought the wasp was going to drag him into a void in the concrete but we later saw that he'd drug him way over to the other side of the porch. This shot was post Angus investigation where the wasp decided that a large black dog was a bit more than he could handle. Just a few minutes later though, both wasp and spider were gone.

Neither Lu nor I had ever seen a wasp kill a spider before. These large spiders are common and if you'd have asked me I'd have sworn the wasp bad enough to kill one of these monsters was the product of a delusional mad scientist mind. It wasn't even a fight. That spider was badly over matched and taken unawares.

Nature is neither cruel nor capricious. It is reality. Some are predators and some are prey. Even predators can find themselves on the lunch menu quicker than they can comprehend. And there is certainly a lesson in there for us all. Carrying is fine but without training, awareness and a willingness to use your tools and will to prevail we run the same risk as the spider.

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security. There are wasps in the world. And they're hungry. Watch your back. Or better yet, hang out with another spider you trust to have your back.


23 September 2012

Sunday Kipling

It's another Sunday and another chance to be with those you love best. Lu and I will spend the day as we usually do. A little football on the tube, a nice dinner seared over open flame and an evening just spent in each others company.

Take heart my friends. No news is so bad as to take time away from friends, lovers and family. The barbarians will ever be at our door, howling for the blood they deem their right. And we will face them, as we face all attacks on who we are and what we hold dear, with fortitude, courage and the a steady heart.

Lu and I wish you a joyous day and a brief respite from the storm. And if you're interested in who John Bunyan was there's some info on him here.

Take care my friends.
Six & Lu

The Holy War


"For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that built Mansoul, that the
walls could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse
potentate unless the townsmen gave consent thereto." -- BUNYAN'S Holy War.

A tinker out of Bedford,
A vagrant oft in quod,
A private under Fairfax,
A minister of God--

Two hundred years and thirty
  Ere Armageddon came
His single hand portrayed it,
  And Bunyan was his name!

He mapped for those who follow,
  The world in which we are--
"This famous town of Mansoul"
  That takes the Holy War.
Her true and traitor people,
  The Gates along her wall,
From Eye Gate unto Feel Gate,
  John Bunyan showed them all.

All enemy divisions,
  Recruits of every class,
And highly-screened positions
  For flame or poison-gas;
The craft that we call modern,
  The crimes that we call new,
John Bunyan had 'em typed and filed
  In Sixteen Eighty-two.

Likewise the Lords of Looseness
  That hamper faith and works,
The Perseverance-Doubters,
  And Present-Comfort shirks,
With brittle intellectuals
  Who crack beneath a strain--
John Bunyan met that helpful set
  In Charles the Second's reign.

Emmanuel's vanguard dying
  For right and not for rights,
My Lord Apollyon lying
  To the State-kept Stockholmites,
The Pope,  the swithering Neutrals
  The Kaiser and his Gott--
Their roles, their goals, their naked souls--
  He knew and drew the lot.

Now he hath left his quarters,
  In Bunhill Fields to lie,
The wisdom that he taught us
  Is proven prophecy--
One watchword through our Armies,
  One answer from our Lands:--
"No dealings with Diabolus
  As long as Mansoul stands!"

A pedlar from a hovel,
  The lowest of the low --
The Father of the Novel,
  Salvation's first Defoe,
Eight blinded generations
  Ere Armageddon came,
He showed us how to meet it,
  And Bunyan was his name!

22 September 2012

SF Giants - 2012 NL West Champions!

Without cheater Melky Cabrera mind you. Now it's time to get the guys rested, the rotation set and their post season game faces on.

Come on Ed. Giants v Rangers World Series again?


21 September 2012

Miscellany from the DO

This week has been an interesting one, and a bit stressful.  There were so many posts I had running in my head, yet nothing made it to virtual paper. Monday was Constitution Day (225th anniversary of its signing),as well as the 150th anniversary of the battle of Antietam, and Wednesday was the 7th anniversary of my uncle’s death in Iraq (Lu’s little brother). Quite the week. I have a paper due Sunday, but I think I’ll take tonight off, throw in a movie, pop some popcorn, and snuggle with my family. Hope you all have a great weekend!

~The DO

Borepatch Is On Fire

Borepatch (one of those very smart folks I mentioned in my last post) has been on fire with his political writing. It's said that one's measure of a persons intelligence is inversely related to how closely they agree with you. In that light I am bathing in the radiance of a man who could out think me while he was comatose.

Read this and consider what you're hearing from the dinosaur media. I've always been leery of public polling, especially when done by those who have a particular axe to grind. Remember, no one, no matter how pure of heart is completely unbiased. That goes up by two orders of magnitude when talking about the media and polling results. Watch for a sudden and 'unexpected' change in the poll numbers a week or two out from the election. At least from those pollsters who make their living by being right.

I'm feeling better and better Dug. This year I'm gonna win.


20 September 2012

Book Review - Open Wide And Say Moo

As the poster boy for the average American I try very hard to hang out with and otherwise associate myself with smart people. Take a look at my blog roll and you'll find a lot of very smart folks. One of those who go into the Very Smart list is DrRich at The Covert rationing Blog. If you haven't perused his writings I highly encourage you to spend some time at his place. Like I said, agree with him or not, the man is positively bulging with smartitude and medical badassery. Considering his education, profession and background he's easily in the genius category. Yes, I freely admit that I am a DrRich fanboy.

Over the last bit (in his munificent free time) DrRich has been writing a book on health care. It's about how we got into the mess we're in, who the major players are, what they did to basically screw up the system and how we can actually fix it short of rationing or total collapse. And it's a doozy. He explains his rational for writing a book that is surely not making him any friends in the medical health establishment or among politicians of either party.

The book is available in two places, on his site here (find the header labeled Open Wide and say Moo, click on it and select a chapter) and as an e-book available for the Kindle here. Since I'm a Luddite who doesn't have an e-reader and DrRich is a generous and all around nice guy he sent me a download of the book for my perusal. It's $5.99 on Kindle and worth every cent. Since he didn't take my money and it's available for free on his site Lu and I will be making a donation to the American Heart Association in his name.

It's not a long read but it is chock full of information, much of which I did not know. The best part is it is most emphatically not written as a dry as dust missive full of medico jargon and 5 dollar words. DrRich has a wit that is sharp as a Ginsu knife and dry as a fine Martini. Reading it is a little like passing a spectacular car wreck that you know was caused by massive stupidity. You hate to giggle at the catastrophe but you just can't help yourself. I mean, the title alone bespeaks the wonders hidden inside.

And DrRich takes no prisoners here. He calls out those he views as responsible for soaring costs and plunging rhetoric. No one is safe as the good doc takes a scalpel to modern health care, administration of such and how and why the insurance companies and politicians are playing poker with our dollars and our lives. Eye opening is a vast understatement. But DrRich is among the very few critics of our current health care debacle who has common sense answers, proposals and solutions. You may agree or disagree with him but I at least can find no fault with his logic or reasoning.

I gave the book a quick first read and am now going back over it more slowly. There is a huge amount of information here; the section on fixing the problem alone deserves devoted study. I'll be re-reading this one many times, especially with the election coming and the answers we must have in the new year if we are to preserve American medical care as the best in the world.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I consider it a must read for anyone who is politically aware and needs unbiased information with which to make the monumental decisions facing us all.

And if you get a giggle along the way at the driver who managed to run his car up the telephone pole guy wire you are hereby given a pass. Consider it an additional benefit for doing the necessary research.


18 September 2012


Before I get into this review of such a critical item I want to make a Full Disclosure. I paid for these socks with my very own money. The company that makes/distributes them, World's Softest, does not know I am reviewing them or I'd almost certainly be receiving the cease and desist order even now.

Douglas Adams was completely wrong. The most useful item, not to mention the most necessary (except that I just mentioned it), is socks. Soft, comfy but still durable socks. I'm very particular about my socks. Lu would say I'm obsessive but she wears ankle length socks with jeans so what does she know? I like mine thick, white and knee length. Not 'have to tug them up with block and tackle to get them to just touch the general knee area' knee length. That's simply barbaric and a practice enjoyed only by sock masochists.

A couple of years ago, to finally get me to stop complaining and whining, Lu went on the 'Great Sock Research Project'. She visited stores, went online and spent literally hundreds of seconds searching for the perfect Six Sock. At the end of her exhaustive search she succeeded. Behold the World's Softest Sock.

Unlike more pedestrian and lesser socktorial offerings these socks are both immensely comfortable and quite durable. I've got a couple of pair that are well past 5 years of constant wear and still going strong. And soft. Have I mentioned how soft they are? If these socks were a tree...well I don't know what tree they'd be but you can bet your last weasel it'd be a soft one.And they're actually knee length. They go all the way up with nary a tug or curse word. Bliss.

I'm pretty sure they're made from Unicorn fur and are darned by kindly old grandmothers who live in shoes and raise vast hordes of children who will someday grow up to become Keebler Elves. 

I hate to run short so Lu orders me 10 pair whenever she hears that whiny tinge in my voice. These came in just the other day, shipped in a plain brown box to fool the Sock Stealer Cartel and your prone to jealousy neighbors.

Tactical Ninja Old Guy Knee High White Socks. Yeah. That's right. I went there. Of course you don't have to get them in white. They do come in other colors. If you're a philistine. 

I love me these socks.


16 September 2012

Sunday Kipling

I'd like to remind the murderers and the appeasers that this administration of apology and weakness will not last forever. The polite words will end. The unloaded gun will be made ready and strong arms will take them up. And we will build a samadh that will reach to Heaven.

The Grave of the Hundred Head

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
  Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
  A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
  Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
  Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
  Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
  And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
  Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
  Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
  As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
  A blanket over his face 
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
  The men of an alien race 
They made a samadh in his honor,
  A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
  They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
  Should go to his God in state,
With fifty file of Burmans
  To open him Heaven's gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
  Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
  The village of Pabengmay 
A jingal covered the clearing,
  Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
  Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
  Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
  With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
  Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
  On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
  Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
  Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
  Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shickaris
  Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
  Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village 
  The village of Pabengmay,
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
  Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
  High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
  Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
  Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
  Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
  The head of his son below 
With the sword and the peacock-banner
  That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
  Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris 
  The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
  Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
  A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
  And Sniders squibbed no more;
    For the Burmans said
    That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
  Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
  A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
  Who tells how the work was done.

14 September 2012

Home again, Home again...

Got a comment from Car Guy:

Well... Your humble blogger should be back home sleeping right now. His help on this project was truly appreciated. I wish he could have stayed longer so we could have just had some play time, but alas, he worked from the moment he arrived until the moment he left. Bike Nurse was quite amazed at just how hard he could work. I just hope I get to go return the favor soon.
Car Guy.

Hopefully we will be privy to the melodious thinking of the Six:)
~The DO


I rolled in at about 0800 local time. I think I actually fell asleep during a conversation with Lu. Car Guy found a work around for the roof so I did end up getting to help him with sheathing  least a bit. More later.
Melodious. Yeah, that's me.

13 September 2012

Why A Lab?

When dogs were asked how many of you does it take to screw in a light bulb;

The Border Collie said "Just one and I'll take care of that out of code wiring while I'm at it."

The German Shepherd said "I am not afraid of the dark. I'll kill it before it even knows I'm there."

The Lab said "Pick me, pick me, pick me. Can I do it? Can I? Pleaseohpleaseohplease!!

Six (from CarGuy's house)
HT to Family Dog Magazine

09 September 2012

Sunday Kilping

I'm traveling tomorrow so it's time to 'pull out on the long trail'. Visiting Car Guy and his lovely bride. Bike Nurse. I'll be gone for about a week but I'm certain the DO and Sarge will keep the blog fires burning. I won't be able to really help Car Guy but I can watch and criticize his work and tell him how much better I could have done it :) I hope you all have a fine Sunday, watch a lot of football and eat something hot and tasty. I'll see you all in about a week.


There's a whisper down the field 
where the year has shot her yield,
 And the ricks stand gray to the sun,
Singing: -- "Over then, come over, 
for the bee has quit the clover,
 And your English summer's done."
    You have heard the beat of the off-shore wind,
    And the thresh of the deep-sea rain;
    You have heard the song -- how long! how long?
    Pull out on the trail again!
   Ha' done with the Tents of Shem, dear lass,
   We've seen the seasons through,
   And it's time to turn on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
   Pull out, pull out, on the Long Trail -- 
the trail that is always new.
It's North you may run to the rime-ringed sun,
 Or South to the blind Horn's hate;
Or East all the way into Mississippi Bay,
 Or West to the Golden Gate;
    Where the blindest bluffs hold good, dear lass,
    And the wildest tales are true,
    And the men bulk big on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
    And life runs large on the Long Trail -- 
the trail that is always new.
The days are sick and cold, and the skies are gray and old,
 And the twice-breathed airs blow damp;
And I'd sell my tired soul for the bucking beam-sea roll
 Of a black Bilbao tramp;
    With her load-line over her hatch, dear lass,
    And a drunken Dago crew,
    And her nose held down on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail
    From Cadiz Bar on the Long Trail -- 
the trail that is always new.
There be triple ways to take, of the eagle or the snake,
 Or the way of a man with a maid;
But the fairest way to me is a ship's upon the sea
 In the heel of the North-East Trade.
    Can you hear the crash on her bows, dear lass,
    And the drum of the racing screw,
    As she ships it green on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
    As she lifts and 'scends on the Long Trail --
      the trail that is always new?
See the shaking funnels roar, with the Peter at the fore,
 And the fenders grind and heave,
And the derricks clack and grate, 
as the tackle hooks the crate,
 And the fall-rope whines through the sheave;
    It's "Gang-plank up and in," dear lass,
    It's "Hawsers warp her through!"
    And it's "All clear aft" on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
    We're backing down on the Long Trail -- 
the trail that is always new.
O the mutter overside, when the port-fog holds us tied,
 And the sirens hoot their dread!
When foot by foot we creep o'er the hueless viewless deep
 To the sob of the questing lead!
    It's down by the Lower Hope, dear lass,
    With the Gunfleet Sands in view,
    Till the Mouse swings green on the old trail,
      our own trail, the out trail,
    And the Gull Light lifts on the Long Trail --
      the trail that is always new.
O the blazing tropic night, when the wake's a welt of light
 That holds the hot sky tame,
And the steady fore-foot snores 
through the planet-powdered floors
 Where the scared whale flukes in flame!
    Her plates are scarred by the sun, dear lass,
    And her ropes are taut with the dew,
    For we're booming down on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
    We're sagging south on the Long Trail -- 
the trail that is always new.
Then home, get her home, where the drunken rollers comb,
 And the shouting seas drive by,
And the engines stamp and ring, 
and the wet bows reel and swing,
 And the Southern Cross rides high!
    Yes, the old lost stars wheel back, dear lass,
    That blaze in the velvet blue.
    They're all old friends on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
    They're God's own guides on the Long Trail --
      the trail that is always new.
Fly forward, O my heart, from the Foreland to the Start --
 We're steaming all-too slow,
And it's twenty thousand mile to our little lazy isle
 Where the trumpet-orchids blow!
    You have heard the call of the off-shore wind,
    And the voice of the deep-sea rain;
    You have heard the song -- how long! how long?
    Pull out on the trail again!
The Lord knows what we may find, dear lass,
And The Deuce knows what we may do --
But we're back once more on the old trail, 
our own trail, the out trail,
We're down, hull down on the Long Trail -- 
the trail that is always new.

06 September 2012

Hysterical Incompetence

One of the things I most despise in this world is rushing to judgement. I spent a lot of years in the public eye and on more than one occasion was the subject of Monday morning quarterbacking for things I felt I'd done correctly. In that light I like to take the let's wait and see attitude. Mostly anyway. But sometimes I see something so egregious that it bears comment without the entire story yet being known. I believe the NYPD shooting outside the Empire State Building is one such instance. I've let some time pass in deference to the victims and my desire to avoid being seen as dancing in their precious blood.

As I've mentioned (ad nauseum) I spent 9 years as a soldier and 24 as a street cop. In both I was a firearms instructor and Field Training Officer (FTO) so I do know a little about this subject. A quick note on word choice and semantics. I tend to talk about cops and civilians. I understand completely that police are drawn from the civilian populace and are simply those chosen and paid to do what is incumbent on every citizen to do. In the words of Sir Robert Peel "the police are the people and the people are the police". It just makes things easier for me to write about cops and civilians rather than civilians who are specifically charged with the enforcement of society's laws and civilians who are not. I also tend toward the masculine in my narrative. Again it's not a slight to women it's just easier not to have to write him/her, his/hers constantly. I'm wordy enough as it is, as you will see if you manage to read this entire post without falling asleep because I'm going to hammer on two themes over and over again; incompetence and negligence.

As a police officer, a public servant, I am responsible for all my actions including, but by no means limited to, each and every bullet that exits the muzzle of my firearm. Each And Every One. If I feel I must shoot I own every bullet I fire. Own Them. If a cop is in a crowd they're supposed to be trained enough and possess common sense enough to know that shooting in such circumstances might be problematic and to plan and act accordingly. We're not supposed to shoot innocents, even when it's not on purpose. In our world there's no such thing as an accidental discharge, only unintended and/or negligent and it really comes down to the same thing, Negligent Incompetence and Hysterical Incompetence.

There are at least two areas of incompetence we are dealing with in an incident like this one, Personal and Departmental. In the first there's an officer who somehow managed to make it past the barriers and requirements and became a street officer without ever showing (or maybe even knowing themselves) that they were a hysteric. The second is an agency, in this case the NYPD, who either knowingly hired and retained a hysteric or completely and totally failed to train him to task and standard such as would have caused a reasonable officer to act in a way that would have avoided wounding 9 innocent people. I don't want to hear DAO trigger either. Either you're absolutely competent to do the job or you're not. Remember kids, in the world of civilian policing there is no such thing as acceptable collateral damage.

Let me answer the first question that comes to mind when you read my ravings. What would you have done? That's easy. I'd have left my gun in my holster, grabbed the shooter and beaten him to within an inch of his life. Taser, baton, pepper spray, hands, feet. Anything but a gun. Why? Because there were at least 9 civilians within the immediate area that were going to be endangered by any shooting, wild or otherwise. Let me try and justify that position.

I've talked about hysterical officers and training/retention issues before, specifically here and here and I have made no secret of my feelings and observations. Car Guy and I have had many discussions about these issues. If you read that first link all the way through I tell the story of the time I put my money where my mouth was and went all in with a man with a gun. I'm not just talking from the comfort and safety of my lounge chair. I've been there, done that and put my life on the line because I decided that I could avoid shooting someone I might not have to kill. It was the right choice both ethically and morally. And this is where we as police officers fail so often these days.

I heard it many times. Maybe you have also. "I'm not here to get killed. I'm going home at the end of my shift." I heard it so much and went off so many times on the utterer that those so inclined learned not to say such nonsense in my hearing. Because it is just that. Nonsense. Here's the bottom line if you're a cop and may Robert A. Heinlein forgive me for ripping him off so shamelessly. 

If the situation calls for him to do so, it is absolutely a police officer's job to die in the line of duty. Blanket statement.

That's not an easy thing to write or say for a man who devoted so much of his life, sweat and blood to his chosen profession but that doesn't make it any less true. If the situation calls for you to spend your life in the performance of your duties then spend it you must or go find something else to do. A cop who is so afraid of death as to shoot wildly in a crowd is morally bankrupt and has no place in the pantheon of heroes who have gone before him. Simple as that. A police officer owes it to the citizens we're sworn to protect and defend and to the very profession that nurtures us and pays us and gives our life noble purpose. Every one else walking and driving and just standing around also wants to go home at the end of your shift and it's your job to ensure that they do so to the limit of your ability. It is not our job to kill people and break things. Sometimes we must do so but it's always the exception and not the rule. If we have to kill we have failed in our primary duty to preserve life.

There are a lot of reasons that incidents like this one and the two I outlined in the above links happen. The first three are negligent hiring, training and retention. Agencies are under financial (and in some cases political) pressure to meet certain hiring marks. Quotas if you will but not limited to race or gender. Many are hired who shouldn't be allowed as mall guards much less police officers. Hiring, training and retention standards have been bastardized to the point that they no longer function as the means to weed out the unfit. FTOs and trainers are routinely ignored where their opinions differ from what the administration and command staff desire. Hope triumphs over reality and the hysterical incompetents are sent out on an unsuspecting public.

And that public has a large measure of blame in this as well. For anyone not familiar with it, violence is ugly. Sometimes very, very ugly. Guess what? Sometimes it's also very, very necessary. Nothing I say here about moral and ethical choices to employ lethal force should take away from the fact that sometimes it's simply unavoidable. Even necessary. In the civilian world we see it virtually every day. Citizens using force, even lethal force to protect themselves or their loved ones. Even complete strangers. All legal, moral and ethical. Cops are no different we're just under a different microscope. But it looks bad. Real bad sometimes. Especially when it's the  lead story on the local news, or Heaven forbid, CNN. We as a society need to make a decision. Is the use of force by the police ever justified? If the answer is yes then we also need to understand the whole it's going to look bad what with the yelling and screaming and blood and stuff and back our cops. If not, no problem but please make the choice and convey it to your police officers before they go out on the streets.

Want an example? Ok, here's a doozy and one that will undoubtedly earn me rivers of flame.

Rodney King richly deserved an ass whipping. Oh not the one he got but an ass kicking nonetheless. But the LAPD made one monumental and entirely avoidable mistake. They hired, poorly trained and retained 5 hysterical incompetents who completely fucked up what should have been a very routine arrest. 

Ok, explanation time. What do I mean by Hysterical Incompetence? Let me break it down a bit. Fear is a very real and all too human emotion. We all feel fear from time to time. Cops get it every shift, sometimes many, many times. It's not the feeling of fear that marks the hysteric it's what they do when they feel it that does. The hysteric loses control and all training as well as ethical and moral behavior goes flying right out the window. No matter how well they're trained. No matter how experienced they are. When the hysteric is pushed to the wall they revert to pure fight or flight and Katy bar the door. They bully and beat and threaten and sometimes they kill. It's not restricted to the police profession but in my line of work it's the one thing we absolutely and positively cannot tolerate and can so easily identify and correct. That out of control reaction to the natural fight or flight impulse differentiates the hysteric from the calm professional. It's forced incompetence. Hence the term Hysterical Incompetent. Yes, I coined it but I don't get any royalties so feel free to use it yourself. Throw in inadequate, inappropriate or even a fundamental lack of training and you run the risk of inducing a hysterical response in someone who might otherwise function adequately or even well in a given circumstance if properly prepared and inculcated to the realities of the duties upon which they are about to embark.

Back to the LAPD. The officers at the scene were afraid. Ok, pretty normal reaction but when I viewed the scene and read the reports it didn't strike me as a particularly bad situation. High tension with lots of adrenaline from the pursuit absolutely. Dangerous? Meh. Maybe is as far as I'm willing to go. As soon as King refused to comply and it became obvious he was intoxicated or otherwise impaired it was time to go hands on. And now is when we come to the crux of the hysterical incompetent argument and how public perception colors everything cops do.

Instead of dog piling King, taking him down and putting him in handcuffs they decided to stand off and beat him into submission. That arrest would have taken my agency, indeed any competent (there's that word again) department about 30 seconds to resolve. Instead we get an unnecessary sticking, national outrage, a riot that killed innocents, further restrictions on our use of force and a jaundiced eye toward same by a reasonably reticent populace. King deserved to get slammed and arm barred and cuffed none too gently but instead the hysterical incompetents, led by one Sgt. Stacy Koon who damn well should have known better, let their fear overcome their moral and ethical duty to use the least amount of force necessary to effect the arrest and we all lost. They were afraid to go hands on with King for two primary reasons:
1. LAPD was woefully ill equipped for less lethal resolutions. Their primary method of hands on control at the time was the carotid restraint, commonly referred to as the choke hold. The problem was that because of the size and complexity of the department training in the technique was poor at best and negligent at worst. LAPD managed to kill a significant number of would be arrestees, primarily African Americans, and the public perception, not without some cause, was that carotid restraints was simply an excuse to kill minorities without shooting them. The street level officers and supervisors were reluctant to employ the technique for fear of media coverage and public outrage should they kill him. Koon admits as much in his book (yes, I read it as well as the trial transcripts and the FBI file or as much as was released). Again, not an issue where careful, continuous and realistic training are employed. This is a case where incompletely informed and alarmist public perception coupled with grossly negligent training crossed paths and created a monster. I blame the media and LAPD command. The media whipped things up into a firestorm of controversy and the LAPD administration failed to address the issue through better training and better less lethal tools.Oh and retaining five hysterical fools as street cops.
2. Very early on in the encounter it was determined (still not to my satisfaction and almost assuredly by Sgt. Koon) that King was on PCP. Everything that followed flowed from that supposition and fear ruled the night. King was not a small man and as soon as the magic words "He's Dusted" came out the hysteria came to the forefront and incompetence was the result. Koon employed a Taser with no or limited effect and their worst fears were confirmed in their already battle fogged minds. I'm also of the opinion that Koon misused the Taser because I've seen them in use and when done correctly are devastating to even highly intoxicated suspects. I know there are anecdotal cases of ineffectiveness but they are the exception. I'm unwilling to call Koon out on it because of that but I very much doubt his competence in the Taser use. And we go back to training and competency.

That is what Hysterical Incompetence does. It causes a trained (at least to some degree) and experienced officer to shoot into a crowd of people rather that accepting that they may die and charging into the fray regardless of the personal cost. When you add in governmental and departmental incompetence to the mix it's volatile and damn dangerous.

We need to revamp our training, especially officer safety training. This is a very sore spot for me as I've seen officer safety training go from common sense to houses of horror where the officer trainee, usually very young and easily impressionable men and women, are subjected to a wide and wild series of scenarios designed to do nothing more than scare the ever loving crap out of them. I have absolutely no idea what the end result is supposed to be. No, I take that back. I know exactly what the end result is supposed to be. Officers who have been preprogrammed to respond to potentially lethal events in a way that will allow them to survive. That is a very noble and necessary part of officer safety training but it's only a part. There also needs to be training on what to do when it's all dropped in the pot and usual response is going to get others, innocents, killed or injured. It needs to include training in ethical and moral decision making. And that is just not happening. Officers who are never exposed to the idea that they may have to knowingly and voluntarily give up their lives in the course of their duties are officers who are ill prepared for reality when it smacks them across the face. They run the risk of hysterical paralysis or incompetence just when they need to be the most clear headed and decisive. If your only trained response to a shooting call is your gun then you have no other tools to fall back on if the situation is more complex than envisioned and maybe shooting into a crowd is contraindicated. If you never train for and practice (and practice and practice, etc.) hands on techniques then the baton is the automatic reset. If an officer has exhibited signs and symptoms of uncontrolled fear or hysteria in volatile situations and hasn't been either removed or corrected then that is his base line and he will revert to it when it matters most. Fear sets in and with nothing to fall back on and only fractions of a second to make a life and death decision one stands a very good chance of either going into a fatal lock up or hysterical incompetence. That's negligence on the part of the department. Period.

Some of this is budget related and if there's one idea I'd like to get across to city and county administrators and police chiefs across the country it's this. Spend your money wisely and effectively. Forget the SWAT teams and armored cars. Forget the UAVs and whiz bang. Concentrate on the basics, the things that make up your core competency. Hiring, Training and Retention. Invest your money in improving just those three simple areas and watch the effectiveness and competency of your agency grow all out of proportion to your costs. Get rid of the hysterics and make good, common sense hiring decisions. Hire good trainers and stop being afraid to go outside your own training environment. Not Invented Here isn't going to cut the mustard any more. We're generalists and we need the specialists to teach us all the myriad skills we must have to be competent. There's a wealth of knowledge and experience out there that can help you immensely and a lot of those doing the training and teaching are more than willing to work for relative peanuts if you approach them reasonably and ask nicely. I know some who will work for free. Money spent here, hiring good cops, training and equipping them well and dumping the unfit, no matter how expensive, beats the hell out of the alternative. Add in an investment in the exploding less lethal technology arena and you're on the track to creating an agency you and the public can trust absolutely and be proud of.

I have always maintained that I'd much rather work alone than with an officer who's competence and temperament I doubted. An officer who cannot maintain control in a violent and chaotic situation or one who simply doesn't have a clue is a danger to everyone around him, including himself and me. Work short instead of hiring or retaining the borderline just for the sake of adding a body. Nothing good ever came from incompetence.

Look, I've always had great affection for the profession of policing and police officers. Ever since I was a small boy and saw my first motor cop I have wanted to count myself among them. Simply put I love them, admire them and wish all of them long lives and happy, fulfilling careers. I want them all to be safe and go home at the end of their shifts. I've been to far too many police funerals, including that of a friend and co-worker, not to understand viscerally what it means to police the streets of America. In my admittedly biased opinion policing is the most difficult job in the country. It is filled with dangers and pitfalls and most of the time you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. It's difficult, dangerous and usually frustrating. It's filled with violence and death and horror topped off with byzantine laws that even lawyers and judges often do not clearly understand. There are reports to write and Heaven help you if you misspell something or leave something out because you may be required to testify to the incident many years after the fact and a good lawyer will beat you to death if there's anything that you can't remember. It is a profession filled with some of the finest men and women it has ever been my honor to know and be associated with. It is thankless and lonely and our life spans post retirement are measured in a bare hand full of years, not decades. Alcoholism, divorce and suicide are often the rewards for a job well done. It is also immensely satisfying to do well and competently.Don't believe everything you hear and read. There are an awful lot of fine officers out there doing some great work. Mostly unseen and unheard and that's exactly the way the truly competent like it.

So be it. It is what it is and anyone who pursues such a career had better have a firm grasp on the realities of the job. I am not blind to the shortcomings of some and the further problems I see coming because of the way modern police departments do business. We need to get away from the way we do officer safety training. Oh, we still need to train for worst case scenarios but we need to de-emphasize that and give our officers better threat and potential collateral recognition training and tools. It's better for everyone involved. It is in fact vital because if we lose our ability to police ourselves what comes next will be orders of magnitude worse.

I saw just this morning a video out of Maryland where a cop rushed a kid and bashed him over the head with his handgun. A handgun with one of his Hysterically Incompetent digits wrapped around the trigger which subsequently discharged. Then he lied about it because he's still in Hysterical Incompetent mode even after the encounter is over. Instead of an arrest it's national news, another black eye for my brothers and sisters in uniform and a 10 million dollar lawsuit. Nice.

We don't get the law enforcement we deserve, we get the law enforcement we allow. Be active in your community politically. Get to know your leaders and your cops. Be involved and be informed.And please remind your police administration that the vilest word in the law enforcement lexicon is Incompetent.

Don't let the Hysterical Incompetents win.


04 September 2012

Blue State Tyranny Or Why Do California Democrats Hate Women And The Handicapped And The Poor?

Warning: Rant with some unsafe for the kids language.

I got a call from Car Guy today. We are unhappy campers. I was scheduled to head out to his place in California on Saturday to help him replace his roof. The shake shingles are old, worn and leaky and it needs to be replaced. It's a job he and I have done many times before. We're not exactly licensed professionals but we're pretty damn talented DIYers. We're friends of many decades. Really he's my brother by choice as opposed to by blood. That doesn't even really matter. He could be a neighbor, casual friend or even just sum dood and if asked I'd still help him with the task. It's what we do for each other as members of a civilized society.

But no. It is not to be. Why? Because the ever so caring and concerned (Democrat controlled) state of California has decreed that if one replaces their own roof on their very own house they cannot be helped by anyone who isn't a blood relative who lives under that same roof. I'll give you a minute to re-read that last sentence and absorb the wonderfulness that is liberal politics. Done? Cool but wait, there's more.

When Car Guy went and got his permit, that he paid the very same fee as roofing companies do but that's for another post, he was informed that the city would forward his application information to the state and that said state inspectors were actively checking roofing sites to ensure compliance with their draconian rules and regulations and had in fact already issued 'several' citations. The fine? I am so glad you asked. $100,000.00.

One Hundred Thousand Dollars. Contemplate that for a moment my friends. ONE. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. Minimum. Which means it most certainly will be more if the state can see any way to squeeze you for more. For having a friend help you roof your house. But hey, that sounds totally fair. I mean, it's roofing being done by the unlicensed! How horrid!

I'm not talking about inspections to make sure the work is done to code. No no no. I have no real issues with that. I'm talking about doing to code work with the help of a relative or friend who isn't authorized by the state to do the work. It's not rocket science or brain surgery or even food preparation. It's roofing. It's not that fucking complex or dangerous. It's ROOFING!

But just hold on there a second there Mister Six, you say, how exactly is that hate on women and the poor? Aren't you really nothing more than a shill for the Republicans who and a closet Islamohomogynophobe? You're nothing but another rich banker fat cat one percenter hating on the state for ensuring that no one who isn't a licensed roofing professional is allowed to expose their tender hides to the unmerciful elements and risk their very lives doing something only the select few should be allowed to do. Sit down and STFU Mister Six lest you die.

Well, let's do a little scenario role playing shall we?

Let's say I'm a husband and father of 2.5 bright and wonderful young children. I make a decent living and my wife works part time. We get by and even manage to put away a few bucks every month. We scrimped and saved and managed to put down enough for a down payment on a fixer upper house. It needs work but it's in our price range and it's close enough to schools and shopping that we can even walk. I have basic construction skills so am planning on doing the necessary work on the house to make it the home we've always dreamed of. I'm a nice guy so I also have many friends as well as family, all of whom are happy to pitch in where and when needed. Comes a strong storm and we lose some shingles. Suddenly the roof leaks. Badly. The damage is severe enough that a new roof is required. Ok, life happens and I'm not totally unprepared. I have just enough in savings to cover materials cost and I can totally do the work myself. Except that I was in an accident a few years ago and my back/legs/arms don't work as well as I'd like. No problem. I have lots of friends and family who can do the heavy lifting. All is well. What's that you say Mister City/County/State public employee? If I get anyone to help it'll cost me my house and me, my wife and my lovely elementary school age children will lose everything we've worked our entire lives for? Instead I should hire a licensed roofing professional for 8 to 15 thousand dollars which I absolutely do not have because I'm totally unqualified to do the work on my own house myself? I can't make my own decisions? Yeah, that sounds totally fair.

Or how about this. I'm a single woman, living alone because that's just how I like things. I love my little house but it needs a new roof . On my modest salary I can't afford a licensed roofer. I do have some very close friends who are totally into things like that though so for a fraction of the cost of hiring licensed professionals I can get a new roof. Isn't this a great country? No? I can't do that because it'd ruin me financially? Oh, I understand completely. Hand me that pan would you? I need to catch this leak.

Or. I have a house that's slightly under water (thank you House and Senate Democrats). I'm renting it out and can just make ends meet because I signed on the bottom line and am the sort of person who takes their obligations seriously. Rather than abandoning the house and adding another foreclosure to the unending list I'm trying to be part of the housing crisis solution. But. The house needs a new roof and as the landlord I'm obligated by California Rental Law to make the necessary repairs or face slumlord sanctions. But I no longer live there. I fact I live in another state where it's cheaper just so I can meet my financial obligations. I load up my tools and fill my truck with 4 dollar a gallon gas and head out because I can afford the materials and can do the work myself but I can't afford to hire licensed professionals. No? One hundred thousand dollar fine you say? Here ya go Mister Mortgage Holder. Here's the keys. Have fun finding a buyer. Sorry about that Renter Family. I know the rent was reasonable and there's nothing available at a cost you can afford. Hope your parents have room in their basement.

That last one? Yeah, that's me. Lu and I actually subsidize the rent to the tune of 800 bucks a month rather than just throw in the towel and default. Think we're going to hire out thousands of dollars in repairs or upgrades? Not in this economy Governor Brown. I'll kick out the renters and abandon the fucking thing before I so much as spend a dime on licensed professionals to do work I can do myself.

Or or or or. I could go on and on and so could anyone with an ounce of compassion or common sense. But both of those things seem to be missing fro the State of California. They'd rather see the proles go without than permit the common folks to work on their own property. They're not licensed you see. They don't know what they're doing. Doesn't matter that they have access to someone who does, he's also not licensed. Doesn't count. If you can't do it, all by yourself with no help but those who actually live with you and share a common ancestor it's just not going to be tolerated.

It's the nanny state gone wild. It's those who claim the high road selling out to special interests and the lure of a fast, budget propping buck. Taken from the picked over carcass of already over burdened tax payers. It's a prime example of why businesses and productive citizens are fleeing the state in droves. It's about money and control and it's fucking outrageous.

The worst part is this is hardly a single instance. It's everywhere from Pate de Foie Gras to guns to child care to health care to anything and everything you'd care to name. It's politicians pretending to champion the little guy sticking their finger in that same little guy's eye, plucking out that soft orb and then skull fucking him to death. And don't give me any shit about it's both parties. Not in reliably blue California. Other places yeah but not in the People's Socialist Democratic Republic. It's Democrat run from top to bottom and it's rocketing to financial ruin on the dead bodies of those who have tried for years to prop up the monster through hard work and gobs of wasted taxes. They tried to outlaw circumcisions for Grapp's sake until they passed a bill to outlaw outlawing circumcisions. Really? This is what you in the state house are worried about and arguing over? Circumcision? Calling it a freak show is insulting to fat bearded ladies the world over.

Lu and I have always planned on moving back someday. As soon as I get the Utah house to the point where it would make financial sense to sell it. Now? I'm split. On the one hand Car Guy lives just a few blocks from my house and I'd dearly love to see him every day. The other hand is shit like this that no sane person could endure if they could avoid it. The gripping hand is I see no end to the abusive foolishness of that state.

 So. That's where we are on this fine Tuesday morning. I'm still going out to see Car Guy and his lovely bride because I love them and I want to spend some time with them. I will sit on my fat ass on the sidewalk and shout singularly unhelpful tips to Car Guy whilst he toils away on a job I should be helping him with. A job he's still going to come out here and help me do because I don't live in a Liberal Paradise and can actually take care of my own property in the way that seems best to me, the property owner. I will not stiff arm salute the state inspector when he comes with his demands of "Papers Please". I'll even keep my mouth shut and not talk to him with a bad fake German accent while goose stepping around the property because he'd only take it out on Car Guy like all the good little Liberal Nazis do and Car Guy doesn't need any more aggravation. And I will cry at what's been done to a state I once loved and a Country I still do because this is just a taste of what's to come.

It's Blue State Tyranny. Coming soon to a state near you?


Monster Hunter Legion Out This Week

I guess it's coming as no surprise to basically anyone that in addition to my myriad other faults I'm a bit of a book geek. A couple of years ago I got hooked on Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International series. The only problem is waiting for the next book to come out as I tend to read the current one in one go. Still, he is fairly prodigious in his output so I'll just stop complaining now. Especially since his newest tome is coming out this week. Monster Hunter Legion. If you're not familiar with Correia and his work all I can say is give him a try. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Guarantee not valid anywhere language is spoken

I'll be at the bookstore if anyone needs me.


02 September 2012

Sunday Kipling

My favorite uncle came for a visit this week. I gave him an old travel trailer I had stored at Mom's place. We hired a realtor and she got an almost immediate offer which we took so we all headed down for a final clean out. First time I've been back in her house since the last time I saw her alive. I finally cried. The last chapter has been written and I think the reality has come home to her son. Officer Six stood down and I got to grieve for my mother at last. Cathartic and necessary. I feel pretty good today. It's going to be quiet here. A nice, lazy Sunday. Just Lu and me and Angus. I hope this day finds you all feeling good and that you are with someone you love.

The Mother's Son

"Fairy Kist"
From "Limits and Renewals" (1932)
I have a dream -- a dreadful dream --
  A dream that is never done.
I watch a man go out of his mind,
  And he is My Mother's Son.

They pushed him into a Mental Home,
  And that is like the grave:
For they do not let you sleep upstairs,
  And you aren't allowed to shave.

And it was not disease or crime
  Which got him landed there,
But because They laid on My Mother's Son
  More than a man could bear.

What with noise, and fear of death,
  Waking, and wounds and cold,
They filled the Cup for My Mother's Son
  Fuller than it could hold.

They broke his body and his mind
  And yet They made him live,
And They asked more of My Mother's Son
  Than any man could give.

For, just because he had not died,
  Nor been discharged nor sick,
They dragged it out with My Mother's Son
  Longer than he could stick....

And no one knows when he'll get well --
  So, there he'll have to be:
 And, 'spite of the beard in the looking-glass,
   I know that man is me!