Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting the Laugh

When I first saw this play enacted on HBO by the absolute MASTER of the art, Emma Thompson...I wept. And not merely because the story demands it but that she had such a light touch on it, the role. It's sad, yes. And evocative of sights and sounds some have known too intimately. But it is my hope that, if ever I were in such a dire strait, I could find my own Wit.

And here...ah, to be a child again, and find comfort in our darkest hour..."an allegory of the soul..."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Cut of her Jib - I Likes It

Found this LEO wife via Meadowlark and have spent an hour perusing. The post that brought me was a sad one but the others? Funny, touching, wonderfully sarcastic...just what I like.

Thought you might, too.

Friday, March 26, 2010


There is no one else on this planet who could have managed such a sharply witty remark that includes "The Golden Bough".

She made my night with that...

Remembering Joseph

Today was Joseph Campbell's birthday. He had such an impact on my thinking when I was young. His series, The Power of Myth, certainly brought a life-long study of, and interest in, philosophy to a kind of crescendo. It felt like, "Yes...yes...this is what I meant."

The entire series of the Myth broadcast seems to be available online. I absolutely recommend it. This is one segment that I really like - minute 25 (if you prefer to fast forward) starts a very nice story.

Joseph Campbell - Sacrifice and Bliss (4 of 6)

R-CANE-1 MySpace Video

This is why, again, I am not a fan of organized religion. No one needs to translate these things for you. The tales are your own. Every story is the same story, all gods are one god...nothing new under the sun.

But the one lesson he tried to impart is to "follow your bliss" (min 52 of video). I've tried often in my life to figure that out - thought I knew only to find that it was not bliss but sacrifice. It, too, has its place - but my bliss was found in the elements. The mountains of Colorado, the gentle gulf waters, the wide and windy land of Texas.

When you meet someone who is genuinely happy watch what it is that they do and you will see that they have managed to find that thing - that path - that brings them deep satisfaction. And from there springs hope and charity. From that well one can drink deep and nourish others. Call it God if you like.

It is a terrible thing to know that generations have been taught to ignore it, that search for grace - taught that an overlord will give you succor. And that you should call that...servitude...a kindness. Rather, look squarely at what it is you are asked...what tithe for your soul and freedom? And pass the plate to another. When your cup runneth over you will know what to do. And your grace will lead you. No one and nothing else ever could.

Recruitment Video

As found at Ace...check out the grin on the liberal at 6.36 - you know he was feelin' just fine right about then.

I'd love to spend an evening at the grill with that man - not to mention inside with a glass of wine with his wife. Can you imagine the stories?!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And...and...ONE scorpian!

Oh, sweet fancy Moses! DO watch this but no fluids allowed during. It's a level 10.5 spit-take warning here, my friends.

Courtesy of the Ghost, the most amusing little place...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Into The Woods

Brigid offers a timely reminder, "What would we be, were we shed of all those material things, of our possessions, our titles, of our names?"

Trooper and I speak of it more often lately. Could we get enough for the house to walk away from it? Should we cash in my meager 401k to build something small and serviceable?

I look at this photo from years gone of a place that I once walked every week. I knew it intimately and in every season. There was one time of year when the sun would come up just beyond that point, flooding it with golden syrupy light. It truly felt like heaven was unfolding in front of you and you need only keep walking to find yourself in it.

I miss having that sensation. I miss the quiet, the scent of earth and leaf. And everytime we go to the ranch I have that sensation again - the not wishing to leave. There, gladness is found in laying on the ground, letting the sun and wind scour the worst of life from your flesh.

The last time I walked through my favorite glade, tossing Forget-me-not seeds in the entry, other seeds here and there in a haphazard way that perhaps spring and summer will make order of. It was a sort of planting of hope.

It is easy enough to romanticise the "simple" life. But a look at the gnarled hands in photos of the past tells a tale of the hard life it can be. I don't truly wish for such hardship but...I hope, if it comes, I've enough to meet it. Be ready.

Waste no time, now. All medical conditions, dental work, new glasses, and every little thing that you want to keep - get it done, get it stashed, and stay tanked up. It is tiresome being on alert for what could be a long while. But knowing you've prepared...that makes it a bit easier to take.

Now, I just need to order that Kirkpatrick holster...

The Boiling Pot

Damned if Billy hasn't put it in his usual crystal clear way.

"I don't care about that little bastard. As long as he's in play in this -- and you started it -- I hope he curls up in a little ball and drops dead at his mother's feet.

Do you understand? I don't care: you sonsofbitches are pricing me right out of the market for "care" every single day, now."

And though I thought I had it to rights in the previous few posts - No...

I mean, I'd heard what was coming next but I didn't nearly have it all in sight.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Then Must We Do?

I can recall quite clearly first seeing this movie. Things are not always as they seem. And some see it all and decide what must be done. Add it to your list if you haven't yet.

What May Be Wrought

This was an interesting article - I then read through some of the comments. To those who declared a change was a-comin' in a few years I offer this: what in the world makes you think that they will take all your freedoms and yet leave you with the freedom to choose your master?
I doubt very much that they will leave that place without a formal...armed, perhaps, eviction. He has already made clear that " [he doesn't] spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate."

I prefer to consider a life lived on its own merits - perhaps without comforts - but my own. I don't think that is the plan being offered. It looks more and more like a gentle herding toward the - heh - slaughter with a short, sharp shock at the end.

I think I'll pass.

Meanwhile, if they do manage to do this vile thing to all and sundry? Do not discriminate - it matters not at all how they would have voted. You may summarily vote them ALL out (if you are still permitted to) and teach them that taking a stand would not have cost them nearly as much. Your price will remain the same.

Addendum: I just had the strangest little vision/thought thing - Texas as West Germany with acres of people at its borders and babies being thrust over fences...goodness...

Working It Out

I've been giving a lot of thought to being ready and a few classes are in my future. (As soon as the root canal gets the hell out of the way of the budget.) In referring an option to my stepdaughter I found their offering here.

What a way to honor that sacrifice. "He's dead. You're not."

Front Range CrossFit, "Murph" 10-22-08 from Skip Miller on Vimeo.

Move it while you can - that's the lesson.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

His Ride

Well, now...not related to the prior post but certainly another bee in a bonnet, so to speak...Trooper did what he likes best the other day. Hung his butt out of a helicopter for a few minutes.

No matter how much I refuse to believe that they OUGHT to fly, I cannot help but want to give it a go. Of course, I jumped in the truck to watch him depart - took the guy a moment to find the designated spot. And I cannot help but want to be near an aircraft. The sound, the buffeting wind, the smell...
I have a feeling I'd probably NOT like the sensation of flight in the thing so it's probably wasted wishing. Still, I'd love to find out!
I am trying to deal with the current "Defcon 3" status with less anxiety and more proactive measures. A lot goes on in the background that comforts me. And I've assurances that let me know we'd only have to hold out for a little while. But it still takes rather a lot of brain power away, leaving me with little to manage work life. Hard to concentrate, really. Lists fill my mind, tasks, options...
It will all be fine eventually but there are a lot of days between now and then. And I am a planner which means I am not happy with all these unknowns. No, not at all. I will have to learn to - what is it he says? Improvise, adapt and overcome. Sheesh - I've always been irked by that but I can see now its simple truth...damn it.
You know what is most humbling? Knowing so many people - so many of YOU - that have dealt with far more immediate...hazards. Over and over again. You're all mad, of course. I've no idea how you manage(d). But you give me hope and comfort.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kicking the Ant Hill

Things have been rather...busy lately. Trooper managed to start a bit of business that promises to bring "interesting" times. He needs to make a call or two and get that CHL pushed to the top of the pile because, laws be damned, this girl isn't going anywhere without rather a lot of security tucked here and there.

Time to get drapes up, the solid back door installed, and all manner of other options rolling. Indeed, it frustrates me because it could have all been avoided with a bit of thought - roll that SWAT van and the disguises is what I'm sayin'. Because there are only a few of those orcas in this town and the drive-by at the office was only the first of a few, I imagine, to determine which one is which. (Of course, he managed to make a point to the fools but still...) At least the local ranger is apprised - many are looking to get a piece of this disgusting pie.

It needs to be an overt and vastly superior amount of firepower. It will demand silent and very deadly overwatch. Light sleep and maybe even another dog. And, yes, Ranger Boy won't be staying home as much. Insurance can cure any loss there when we're gone. But if anything happened to his dog? There'd be one hell of a reckoning.

There's a line in the sand, like another Alamo. Except this one comes with backup from all manner of alphabet soup types. Because Trooper has friends. Very kind, very good, and very skilled friends. And there's always a place for me to run if it gets out of hand.

I'd written in the past about how this trinket and that stack of books might one day have to be glanced at and, in a moment, relinquished. That time may come sooner than expected and from a different quarter. An ill wind blows from it. But we'll snap one of these on. A black reminder to
Ranger the Fuck Up, indeed.

But, like any woman, I'm not going to let him hear the end of it. Goddamned ant hill...just couldn't let it be, could he?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sign #37 of the Apocalypse

Really, I just don't even know what to say. I mean, I'm pretty hip and all (dear me - is "hip" unhip now?) I would think it'd be more useful to have one of those NSEW cardinal point symbols and you could just tap on it as needed. You know, just to...lead the way, so to speak.


Practice Makes Perfect

While going through Tam's recent posts, I saw this on maintaining technique and skills.

I am very fortunate to not only live with a superb shooter but to also be friends with and shoot with the highest quality weapons trainers around.

(I know - I don't give names or post pics of folks much. I try very hard to respect the privacy of our friends. I am sorry if it makes posts seem overly "black ops". Really just being thoughtful of their preferences...)

The other day we were at the local range (it's a PD range so we can shoot anything we want any way we want - blessed!). They were working through a training course that they provide so I was a good test case, so to speak. It was a level 2 course and they talked about concealed carry methods, shooting from holster, magazine use and change. The most fun was where one guy was training on mag drop and reload as Trooper shoved mags into my spare mag pouch with unknown rounds. If you haven't tried that, you should. It really was tremendous fun as well as teaching me to discern an empty gun without counting rounds. It was surprisingly hard to notice when you are in the zone as my eye focuses ahead and hardly sees the slide move. But practice permits you to feel that subtle kick of the slide to the rear and the slight change in weight of the weapon. At least such was my experience.

They talked about not just dropping near-empty mags in the dirt but to pocket them as they may be the last rounds you have to work with. Of course, they did their fun stuff, too, after. "From the dirt, shoot left hand, laying on right side..." I hardly noticed the misting rain though Trooper did. Later that evening he was cleaning guns for quite some time.

We discussed holster styles because (for now) Texas won't let me wander around with the beloved thigh holster. I tried the in-the-pants version - not a fan. Maybe I'll try a small-of-the-back version. And I DO like the loaned Kirkpatrick so I may get one since they aren't that expensive. My shopping has changed, too - will that jacket be light enough in summer? Does that linen tunic come in black? I have to admit that it's been fun to come up with options...

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be doing practice drills and haven't yet. I suppose I ought to force myself to do (empty) reloads and dry fires for every blog visit. Too, I have to practice that small toss maneuver necessary to arc that mag eject button around to where my thumb can reach it. It's a small movement but one I need to be doing over and over.

All of this - the training, the muscle memory, the understanding of how to see a target, determine a threat and react - I take it seriously. One can make it fun, but in the end it is a serious business. You do not walk away from a shooting incident unchanged. hope is that I can acquire enough skill to make it a brief fight. And a winnable one.

I am fortunate, indeed. But I have to tell you - it certainly can be intimidating to work with men of that skill level. One feels like an infant clinging to the trousers of gods. Not that they have ever acted as though they know it. Gentlemen, soldiers, and honorable to their very core.

Who'd ever believe a Chicago punk would wind up in their company?

Sometimes You Wonder Why

Such as this little tidbit from Ed. Really? The Dept of Education needs 27 shotguns? First thing that came to me: "We have to protect our phony baloney jobs, gentlemen!"

The second thought was that perhaps someone thought it was a safe and quiet place to stash that little budget item.

Interesting all the way around.

Update: Nice post from Tam on the matter...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Range War

So we mosied on out to the range yesterday to give the new 1911 a trial run. But there was a problem.

Trooper sees something...

And so does Ranger.
It's a bit off in the distance.

Now, really....

It's simply impossible to believe because there are no livestock on this ranch...

But there are.

And one of them is back there, scratching his horns on a perfectly good berm, the bastard!

Time to herd Longhorns the easy way - from the Ford. Hoo-yah! Get along! YAA!! *honk honk*

But now Ranger is going absolutely nuts in the back. But he doesn't get to jump out yet because...

This one is being stubborn.

We have to get out and herd them on foot through the mesquite.

They start moving on and Ranger risks a broken leg and neck to jump out and help Daddy with those really big dogs. We got them all turned and herded, Ranger doing a really fine job, actually, of keeping them moving while remaining out of their reach.

Finally, the range was clear and we could get down to business.

Yes, she's so much prettier in the light of day, eh?
We shot quite a few rounds through it - see?

OK! Fine! That's not my target.

Trooper was shooting the other 1911. I am too ashamed to show you mine. Not that I was out of the 6 toooo often - just enough to be irritated with myself.

I blame the excitement of a new friend. Still, I can see that I'll need to get to work on it, putting a lot of rounds downrange and understanding the trigger pull innately.

But it's happy we are. True, true. Now, time to get Trooper a steak and egg breakfast. And Ranger a bath. That pond has turned his bathing beauty self into a real stinker.

P.S. Thanks, Brigid, for the shout out!! Next time you cross the border, we'll be meetin' ya! (Maybe it's time for a TX Shootout Blogmeet...)

Friday, March 05, 2010

This Just In...

Yes, my friends. That's her. The one I've been waiting for - how long now? August of last year, maybe? Well, this is what 3 days of Trooper training salary will get ya. SUHWEET.
Mind you, there was not ONE to be had in the country. Well, not this precise configuration. And most assuredly not at the price point we were given by a very kind associate.
The trigger, you ask? A delicate and lovely pull just right for me. The grips? Indeed, a tidy checkering with definite smooshy goodness. Like a very hard tire tread. If it was skin.
Um, yeah.
Anyway, I am in love and can't keep my hands off her. Tra la la! And, can you believe it? It's Trooper's birthday! And I got the gift! (Oh, he has his, too. One of these shirts. But shhhh. He doesn't know yet.)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Taildraggers, Spears & Kilts

I've no idea how I ended up here,connections clicked through as Trooper pulls an all-nighter for some spare $. It's a strange little blog but I've enjoyed it. And a link led to this video which appears to be a tale that I was unaware of. But then my stance on missionary work would make that understandable.

What's that? Indigenous people have always known God. They do not - GOD does not - need anyone to tell anyone else how to believe. Nor even if they ought to believe. I assure you there are times when I am quite certain that He simply cannot Be. But that is the course of faith and I think it is supposed to wend its way like a stream in a forest - you never see it, whole. You can lose it, backtrack, turn your back on it when a raging river sings a siren song...and you can pollute it. In the end, it is just you and that faith. Nothing else crosses that limitless sky. So why concern yourself with others? It becomes...sullied. Still, some people do feel that need and I try to look on it with a kind of patient regret.

All that said, the flying is what I meant to bring you. The wings...

The beloved motion of the wind...

Just Do It

Ed smacks this one out of the park without even trying.

"If Texas were to secede we would then have 24 million people who did not have to bear the burden of federal taxation, regulation and restriction. We could use Texas money to fund our schools, our roads and our Medicare. We would not have to beg Washington. Our state taxes would rise but we would no longer have federal taxes. We would be in control and I've got to believe we could administer the situation more efficiently."

Damn straight.

Makes my current listening pleasure a bit more satisfying...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Rough Work

Well, this has been taking up a lot of our mental capacity lately...

"...involved in a wreck Sunday afternoon that left three children dead and two seriously injured..."

It's been a long couple of days and Trooper's coping relatively well but...I guess "disturbed" may be the best way to describe the situation. There is no sense to be found in any of it which leaves a person with...nothing. Even the funeral home personnel turned away for a few minutes, grappling for some kind of decorum.

Those frozen images that he has to deal with are hellish and I do not know how men and women do that work. Where do you put those memories? How to fold away the vision that you are not allowed to avoid? I know that everyone bitches about DUI blood draws and I understand the sense of the jackboot on necks that permeates many cities.

But in the midst of that anger and frustration try to remember that those same people sometimes have to load a somber line of body bags with limp children. You can't get training for that. There is no class in academy to cover Hell in your hands. You're just a human being dealing with some of the worst things humans are asked to deal with and are often not even thanked for it. - for saving the rest of us from doing that dark duty.

Have mercy is what I'm saying. And pray that the duty never falls to you, that those memories never have to be filed away in your mind. Trust me - there is no corner small and dark enough to hold it.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Modest Bit of Whining

Now, let me preface this by saying I LOVE her. I do. I waited in a very long line to get her exhausted self to sign books for me. I put up with Trooper's agony in that same line, surrounded by portraits of the shop's preferred liberals. So I say this with a gentle nod her way.

Stop with the damned Photoshop already, people.

Okay, okay. I know that was a bit strong. It isn't that I am some photography luddite. Who doesn't like to adjust the brightness, maybe soften the wrinkles...but there comes a point where you have taken a shot of reality and turned it into what it never was.

Her photo contests are a case in point. How many of them were hyper-manipulated? Lovely, sure! But not at all what IS. My own photos - back when I actually TRIED to take really good ones - were just that. Mine. Unadultered. SOOC. Being limited can make you a better photographer and it makes those unexpected great shots so much more rewarding.

Take that deer up top there - it was very early in an autumn morning, damp and foggy. Pretty much not a great time to take a shot. Add in that it was an SLR and I had to not only creep up on the thing - we surprised each other - but I then had to turn on the camera, raise and focus in time. Sure, I could toss some digital edits at it and maybe improve it a bit. But I prefer to look at it as it really was - that moment in time that I can still remember...

Having said all that, I suppose I ought to try and dig up some of those older shots. There were a few I was quite proud of...

"We Win, They Lose"

Well, now...isn't this a little something?

Tip o' the helmet to Ghost of a Flea