Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shift Work

Ah, yes - after the amazing glory of almost an entire week off during a holiday Trooper is back to work. Night shift. Sigh...

Once again, my gun sits nearby, extra magazines with it. Once again, the dog is quietly shepherded to the pasture so that the Master can sleep. And, once again, the dinner hour is late so he isn't starving when getting to the end of his night.

I've been enjoying some the quiet time by reading again, sorting through the inundation of catalogues, and working on my photo collection. And yet, there is still so much to get done. I often feel guilty about it. Laundry, dishes, matter how much I try to remain on top of it, there is always more, sisyphean.

For Trooper, there is gun cleaning and uniform pressing, glove cleaning and shoe polishing. Fortunately (if one can say that), he just did much of it for the last funeral so it ought to be a bit easier to accomplish. He is quite serious about a boot polishing - all that water and flame, the plastic over his finger to avoid the transfer of polish through the rag. The edge dressing applied and then the boots laid away to keep things clean.

I was so pleased to see his photos, that perfect state of respect and alertness. An eye that does not see your mourning but protects it. I like how the gloved hands rest together over the buckle, then move in gently cupped folds to the pants seam. And the photo where every knee was caught in mid-raise, even and syncopated. I adore his dedication to the task and how much it matters to him that everything be just so.

I've no sense of detail like that except in photography. Only there do I strain for perspective, for balance and shading. I do sometimes miss it, those winter mornings on the trail where it was only myself and the crackling leaves. It was a kind of duty, a perimeter patrol. But it was a lonely one.

No, I suppose a pasture in chilly morning with a puppy's head stuffed in a warren is close. Not exactly the same cathedral of trees...but a sense of peace there, too, yes. A big wuffling salute to another day. After all, they are not guaranteed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Who DIDN'T Shoot This Holiday Away?

(In this post I will attempt to use accurate grammar. Unlike the prior post which was composed after the inhalation of much sugar and butter.)

Ah, what a wonderful day it was - we drove to Houston as did a few other family members - since my brother was on-call at his medical facility. We brought Ranger along, having introduced him to their behemoth and gut ripper dogs already. (He and Gut Ripper get along great. Behemoth has to just bark from the sidelines in his lack of stamina.) The dogs were outside much of the day, having a great time.

Inside, we were feasting like never before. I'd put all my sides in nukeable glass dishes which worked out nicely. Everyone got along and there were very few inappropriate comments. (There are poorly raised teens there who come up with foolish criminal situations to quiz Trooper with...) Dad was, as always, entertaining. Dancing, singing, speaking of many things. Trooper sat with the Rooskie and they talked about the Cold War, each from their view of things. It was extremely interesting for him.

But then, the next day, we fortified ourselves with buttermilk biscuits, eggs, and some more ham before heading to a new range. (Did you notice that this was re-enacted by nearly all the bloggers you know?!) This one is open 365 days a year! AMAZING! And tho not indoor, it has a generous amount of cover and the weather here is rarely so cold that you'd be pained to be out there. They were VERY professional and yet welcoming. So often a range or gun shop can house the worst in egos. The distant glare of wanna-bes who hate you for having been. But not here. I liked that you were assigned a rifle lane but can roam the pistol section and shoot as you wish there.

The entrance fee was quite reasonable - particularly when you consider that you need do nothing but shoot. You don't even have to police your brass. Matter of fact, if you intend to keep it, you'd better pick it up as the gentlemen run by with their funky sweeper often. I'm sure its a profitable endeavor for them.

They were doing a land office business and we got one of the last rifle lanes (shorter) available. We were going to get the sights all set so we waited for the cease fire and he set up the target. That was about the last fun there was for me. I have NO IDEA what was going wrong but I could NOT shoot the damned thing! OK, better put I could not AIM it. I suspect a number of issues - none of them related to Trooper's aid. Cross-eye dominance is, I think, a major issue. Old prescription of glasses needing updated is another. Having to crane my neck over to see through the sights while not knocking my glasses askew another. And, of course, the reports of MASSIVE weapons to either side of me startling me and making me even more angry.

I'll fess up right here and now. Tears of frustration started rolling and I had not a single hanky to hide them in. What was wrong with me?! I was just not making it work and no matter how much patience I applied it just wasn't coming off at the other end of the range. I gamely kept trying, the others to either side of us giving glances - tearful women with high powered weapons being a sensitive matter - but eventually, I just had Trooper shoot his SOCOM and stood back. I was smiling through the tears, angry at myself for them, wishing I could just make it stop. Wishing I could just announce to the guys that for me it's like trying to masturbate in an oven glove. NOT WORKING and pissing me off.

Ah, well - we moved down to the pistol range - the longer one which I think was 25 yds. He had his 1911 so we shot that. I love that thing. It is SO point and shoot. And the sights are just spot on. Also, I could use either eye to focus and, frankly, the left rocked. Head shots over and over, belly buttons given. Chests remodeled. Of course, they were the fun zombie targets that our friend gave Trooper as a gift. So, it all ended on a high point and I was happy to have proven to myself that I am capable of shooting well.

But I am damned well getting my eyes checked. And we'll go to the free range and work on that rifle issue. Oh, hell yes. Because I will not give up that easily. We'll figure it out and make it work.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Shoot

What a terrific way to spend a day with family? Well, some of them, anyway. Took visiting family members to the range to shoot a wide variety of weapons. The group was an interesting mix of new shooters, non-shooters (gimpy hand), a former Soviet Army shooters. And Trooper, of course, giving instruction.

I don't think we could have found a better endeavor! Everyone had a terrific time and were surprised, I think, at just how fun it can be. And this with your basic paper target. Nothing fancy. Turns out that the Soviets thought arms training for 12 hrs a day for a month was about right. Turns out that even 25 years later the training sticks with you. He was a terrific shot!! And so eager - he made it a fun time.

My sister has been wanting to try it and was very pleased with the experience - another one in the fold, as it were.

There was the handy ol' .380, my basic 9mm, his 1911 (gorgeous creature), and 45, as well as his boyhood's 22, my AR15 and his SOCOM rifle. A generous plenty (similar to the photo at the header though a few have been traded out here and there). I held off on shooting much, allowing Trooper to spend time on the visiting shooters. The non-shooter took dozens of photos, cackling at her husband's fluency with the weapons.

We'll head back Friday, I think, alone and spend time tuning the rifles with the new sights. I had no idea it'd go so well, frankly. We're trying to talk them into moving here and I think today's fun was a big step in the right direction.

And tonight? Well, I've been slaving over the "sides". My SIL is making the turkey and I am making everything else. Hence, this late post...done but for one more load of dishes to wash. And a shower. But I think that can wait till morning. Right now, this is for you guys.

Make it a SAFE and happy holiday - buckle up, sleep it off instead of trying to get home, and if the family starts to make you nuts, remember there are many empty chairs at tables around this nation and mothers weeping quietly in the kitchen for the lost and absent ones.

Well, that and apply alcohol. My SIL declares she has acquired more Mead for the occasion.

Dear God. It could get ugly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Morning Duty and Mourning Duty

Trooper had honor guard duty yesterday (and I fondly reviewed his photos online today - love that spit and polish uniform) and came home exhausted. Which, of course, meant that Ranger needed some personal time this morning.

We went to the local pasture, something he loves to do. We think he is far more suited to Search and Rescue than Security in terms of personality and the videos give the sense of why...I hope they aren't insanely large files...I wish you could hear his wuffling. Made me giggle. Oh Gawd...I am baby talking to him in the 2nd one. My apologies in advance. Please know that I am mortified.

We have to do some research but I think it could definitely be his "job". He needs one, being that type of dog. All in all, he makes it a fun if blustery excursion. (And I think he has the cutest doggie butt when he is all hunched up like that.)

If I don't manage another post of useless hooey, I hope everyone has a terrific holiday! Me? I am getting my list ready so I can go to the store. Woot!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

For The Ladies - and maybe some men, too

I don't like to judge, after all...

I think we can all concur that we like the chaps...thanks go out to Pioneer Woman. She found him first.

Marlboro Man, Sorting Cattle from Pioneer Woman on Vimeo

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stone Garden

On Veterans Day I took Ranger to the local park, a scrub brush and sponge in hand to clean the small granite marker under the flagpole at the forgotten rear of the park. We'd replaced the tattered flag again recently and I enjoyed its flapping above me as I gave the stone a quick wash. It just appropriate thing to do, really.

Trooper and I watched a Nat'l Geo program on Arlington the other day, each of us sniffing a bit here and there as the Old Guard did their job. We were glad to have watched it before watching the HBO program, Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery.

In the former program, one was able to see how the groundskeepers and everyone associated with the site had such tremendous respect for what they were doing, for the people there, living and dead. The HBO program made them seem callous or at least oblivious. What they do is a very delicate balance of getting work done around mourners.

Most of the family members interviewed seemed to be freshly grieving which, I believe, brought out emotions and words that were...harsh with proximity. But the one thing that stuck with me - that made me just weep - was the mother who said all she wanted was to, "...hear him say he forgives me for not being there with him when he died."

How evocative was that simple sentence? It said in a few words what poets have striven to embody for ages.

I have a particular reverence for the place. I know no one there. I've never been. But it has a deep connection for some reason. All the men and women buried there are familiar with the endings each other experienced. I imagine them conversing, comforting the newly arrived. I wish Trooper would think more seriously about going there. I think about how much I'd like to be there, someday, if room could be made near him.

And then, later, I thought about it in the future, forgotten and overrun with wilderness. The buildings no longer pristine, the marble barely visible through vines. Could that day ever dawn? Will I live long enough to see it?

I have to hope that there will always be someone there, caring for the place. That the Old Guard ensures its ranks never falter. Just keep it...sacred.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Log on that Fire

Heh, oh - rich, this.

In an official lunch with foreign diplomats, Icelandic President Olafur
Ragnar Grimsson shocked neighboring Nordic countries with inviting Russia to
take use of the strategically important airbase.

Foreign diplomats hardly believed what they heard when the Icelandic
president said that his country needs “new friends” and that Russia should be
invited to take use of the old U.S. airbase of Keflavik.

New friends, is it? Mmmm...I suppose we'll at least know where to drop the bombs if/when the time comes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Trip...

Around the sun, that is. It's official. I am middle-aged. I slept pretty well, considering.

I decided to get myself this little item. It echoes for me that fascination with the older symbology - the Morrigan, the harvesting...
A product of Elisson's progeny, Jocelyn Gayle offers a number of pretty little things. I think a few more will have to find their way into my collection. (I do adore the apple orchard necklace...)
A quiet day, I wonder about the next half of life. What will it bring? What wonders or terrors will I see? Time will tell...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just Watch

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reality TV 1968 Style

I was getting in a quick workout and Tivo fed me the following Bewitched episode, Playmates. Just listen to the prattling on and how it is...mockingly addressed. How could they know that it would actually come to pass and that the parents of today are raising far worse?

Guess it's just some freaky Friday fun...

(Apropos of above, I always thought I'd grow up and be like Samantha - the happy housewife...)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do What You Like With YOUR Money

It's MY money, chump, and not a lot of it. Try and take it - try, and see just how hard it becomes to get that April 15th payday. You've only noticed the smallest drop in the water level via those who are resolute against your thievery. You move forward with this and that well will dry up.

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House discuss confiscating 401(k)s, IRAs
By Karen McMahan
November 04, 2008
RALEIGH Democrats in the U.S. House
have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers personal
retirement accounts including 401(k)s and IRAs Ă¢and convert them to accounts
managed by the Social Security Administration.Triggered by the financial crisis
the past two months, the hearings reportedly were meant to stem losses incurred
by many workers and retirees whose 401(k) and IRA balances have been shrinking

The testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis
at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the
most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education
and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for
401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers
retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement
Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.

Oh, but it gets better, my's not all your money...

All workers would have 5 percent of their annual pay deducted from their
paychecks and deposited to the GRA. They would still be paying Social Security
and Medicare taxes, as would the employers. The GRA contribution would be shared
equally by the worker and the employee. Employers no longer would be able to
write off their contributions. Any capital gains would be taxable

Analysts point to another disturbing part of the plan. With a GRA, workers
could bequeath only half of their account balances to their heirs, unlike full
balances from existing 401(k) and IRA accounts. For workers who die after
retiring, they could bequeath just their own contributions plus the interest but
minus any benefits received and minus the employer contributions.

Hey, they have to prop up the broke SocSec account somehow and if you bastards stop dying off in a timely fashion, well...

Fools. Move that money before you can't. I think mine will be sunk into tangible wealth against the coming storm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Because I led a terrible, useless life in my early years I am vastly ignorant of American History and was unaware of the story told on the link here. Select the tiny speaker icon beside the story of the anthem.
What recitation...I had no idea...
Bless all those who serve, who died doing so, and all those who will stand when I am long gone.
I had no idea...

Sop It Up With A Biscuit

Yup, that's the proper way to think about this fella. Max Martini, he plays a fantastic character, Mack, in the show The Unit. Now, I'm not saying the show is realistic or accurate.

Just damned entertaining.

They took a trip overseas to visit with the guys they help portray. I like that. I also like that they do try to make the scenes as real as possible within the constraints of story line and - well, what Hollywood thinks they should be.

The last few eps have featured Mack and his slow slide into - well, perhaps not madness but...futility? He works this scene like crazy. And the look at his nemisis at the end of this one? Pure hate. Love it. If you haven't been watching, check out the full eps online. Like I say, it's not entirely lacking in BS makes up for it with beefcake.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sandy Claws

Santa Baby, guess what I'd like under the tree - for me
I think it shoots quite fast and gently - maybe
I like the bullets so sharp and tall
And the hole they leave in a wall

OK - all that aside, this is what I have decided I want. FN Five-Seven Tactical.

Of course, that's because I can't get one of these. (You ever notice how the guys with the best toys never LOOK like they would have them?!)


Sunday, November 09, 2008

An Appropriate Read

I've long been a fan of Asprin's Thieve's World. Mostly because it was evocative of where I grew up, echoed in those alleys the same internecine wars, the same cons and the same whores. But it also had the soldier, dutiful if flawed. The officer, holding what can't be held through sheer force of personality.

If things go as badly as they might, the books would be a good primer on the sorts of "politics" of the streets that may come up.

I had never considered my wasted youth to have any value. I suspect it may have been a preparation, far too early. Rusty, those skills. Being able to read a person from far know the "turf" and the owners thereof. It's a complicated business and the only thing I've seen that even comes close is The Shield. Even then, the characters tend to operate logically - far different from the truth, the random and manic violence that just happens.

And you may trust that anyone of less than respectable intentions will be...early to the process. The key is to see the change coming and to be in place before it does. But we've all had blinders on for so long - the dimmer light offers precious little illumination. Intentions harder to detect, motivations less obvious.

In other news...some new folks have been found. One uses "fuck" more than I do - amusingly! Another suffers my own need to know everything about everyone. Here a very brief review of cyber-security in the DoD. (Yeah, I'm not-famous for about 15 seconds.)

Lastly, from my best pal whose education and work I envy with every fiber of my being...and, of course, backed by one of my favorite techno pieces. Sorry but if that doesn't make you salute in your pants you need help.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

New Personal Anthem - Offensive If You're Sensitive, Just Like Me

Yeah, you just have to say it, sometimes...very much NSFW audio.

"The line to suck my dick starts to the left..."

Relatedly, in case the lines are familiar - give it a watch someday..."The Long Kiss Goodnight"

Just A Few More Things...

If anyone else espouses the point that it is so grand to have a black man as President I am going to have a fit. Because most of them are declaring themselves so pure of racism - and yet cannot let the fuck go of his race! Of course, he's not even black but that won't stop them. WTF, people? What in the hell does it matter what color he is?

Also, the whole "I accept that he is my President" line - folks, until he proves his citizenship I cannot. I won't be like the liberal assholes who declared it far and wide, over and over re: Bush. But in my heart, he hasn't got the job yet. And likely never will because he has all the keys, now.

Can I just tell you how fucking frightening it is that this man will now have access to the IDs and information on every single agent in the field? AQ needs to know how we're infiltrating? Done. Russia needs to know which railcar has the nuke? Done. For the first time I sincerely hope there is a separate "skunkworks" layer that will misinform the office.

Trooper wondered how many Secret Service agents would be seeking retirement, now. Not that it matters since Farrakhan will have a generous plenty of guards to offer.

I have never felt the need so deeply and strongly to be well-armed and practiced. I am not even kidding. I have GOT to get the CHL soon. And in shape - time to really concentrate on it. My body must be reliable.

I have this game I play in my mind about Texas - about whether we'd take on Mexico as an ally if things went so south that we had to put up a border on the north. If there is one state that could (and has) give(n) a nation the finger, it's this one. I may reside in the most liberal section of it but trust me - when the lattes dry up so will the liberals.

Get things in order...I look around me and wonder what I would have to bring if time was short. What to pack. All my English china - useless. Ephemera and pretties - useless. Maybe it's time to stop the acquisition of same for a time. Concentrate on things that will be useful. Like boots and packs, targets and ammo. Guns. I told Trooper that we'd be looking at what we don't have and filling in the spaces.

You see, I am not an alarmist, really. But I AM a planner. Plans, backup plans, and all what-ifs accounted for. He is that Ranger type - make do with what you have, take only what you need. Deal with whatever happens when it happens. Which means a frightening lack of toothpaste, I assume.

Lastly...this which is far too spot-on for comfort. Well, for the comfort of some. Trust me - it's coming. As soon as the mortgage bill keeps coming and the winter heating oil isn't free. Then the ennui...LOL Oh, it's gonna be fun.

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Crichton - Joins The Ranks

As seen here, Michael Crichton has also moved on and now knows the end of the story. What an incredible mind he I wish he could come and tell us all of what he now knows.

I think I know what is meant now about growing old...of how all those you once knew start dying. Time is a merciless bitch. You truly have to snatch her up and hold on.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Who WAS This Guy?!

As found via Better and Better, the collected scattered thoughts of one Jeff Cooper. (God Rest His Soul.) He finds this quote which sums up so much so well...

"The society of late twentieth century America is perhaps the first in human history where most grown men do not routinely bear arms on their persons and boys are not regularly raised from childhood to learn skill in the use of some kind of weapon, either for community or personal defense - club or spear, broadsword or long bow, rifle or Bowie knife. It also happens to be one
of the rudest and crudest societies in history, having jubilantly swept most of the etiquette of speech, table, dress, hospitality, fairness, deference to authority and the relations of male and female and child and elder under the fraying and filthy carpet of politically convenient illusions. With little fear of physical reprisal Americans can be as loud, gross, disrespectful, pushy, and
negligent as they please. If more people carried rapiers at their belts, or revolvers on their hips, It is a fair bet you would be able to go to a movie and enjoy he dialogue from the screen without having to endure the small talk, family gossip and assorted bodily noises that many theater audiences these days regularly emit. Today, discourtesy is commonplace precisely because there is no price to pay for it."

~Samuel Francis

The above illustrates why I am quite selective in my ventures among the great unwashed. I have an archaic sense of propriety in many things. (While, yes, being quite common in others, agreed.) I am amazed at the rapid decline in manners just in the last 15 years. It is frightening to consider what might come in the next decade.

Much else in my most brief review was quite interesting - esp as his concerns were raging even in 1993. Worth a visit even if only for that brief moment of, "Yes, I remember that, too..."

As for this evening's delights? I decline to wade in that...septic pool of utter foolishness. I know people state that if one doesn't participate, one cannot complain. I take the opposite stance in that we who abstain are the ONLY ones who have a right to complain. I asked nothing of you or them but to live, earn, produce, and someday die.

I don't pretend to be wise enough to come up with alternatives. I don't have all the answers. I just know what is so obviously broken can never be cobbled together like some sort of Frankenstein creature and be expected to function as intended.

Still, may you be pleased in what comes - that my wish to you all. But it needs a skald. So that it can be told and retold.

Another Raffle - Barrett Rifle

Yup, here it is - hope the link works whether or not you are a member of the group.

Barrett M468 6.8SPC rifle

Do we need another one? No...but then isn't there something about how the fastest reload is another loaded weapon?

Personally, I like the thought of having it as a spare. And the price was cheap - I think I bought 4 or 5 raffle tickets. Too, it supports the system of one of the coolest guys on the net (and a damned good photographer, too).

If you've never run a large site, you cannot imagine the expenses associated. If it's a large site with a larger fan base? Well, you better work a second job because if it doesn't have nekkid folks on it, you aren't likely to make much money via subscriptions.

And check out the lighter, too. Thinking of getting one of those for a friend. A gentleman of the road...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Further Evidence

Not to harsh anyones voting mellow, so to speak, but doesn't this just make clear how useless the entire thing is, now? Do you think this person is the only one, that it only happens on the local topics, that it isn't spreading like the plague?

Even if it wasn't wrong to give other men virtual guns to hold against others on your behalf - even then you have to admit that the mess is broken. Broken in the fists of people with absolutely no respect for your rights, and no sense of honor. None.

ACORN has so polluted this tragic affair that it no longer MATTERS what one does. One state alone has enough fraud to convict a dozen people. Just one state. Do you think they stopped there?

And I have found that good friends are revealing actually adoring the man destined to ruin this country. I am taking the high road, saying not a word, because it will make NO DIFFERENCE to them. Their own prejudice so deep and wide - all the while swearing that this will remove the stain from us all. Fuck them. Deeply and widely.

Does that make me a bad friend? I don't give a damn. It's about me, mine and the Republic. That's it.

It's enough.