29 November 2010
Bear in my mind that the last year has been filled with caring for a very sick dog and preparing and executing a move from california to Utah. Because of those factors my shooty time has been limited. Like none at all. I need something to get my competitive juices flowing and keep my skills sharp. Enter IDPA.
I decided on IDPA because they concentrate on CCW and severely limit gun and holster modifications which keeps costs down. Miguel and Larry Correia are men I respect and are very experienced IDPA shooters. If it's something they recommend and enjoy that's good enough for me.
I decided I needed to start preparing early for the Spring schedule. I'm going to shoot my Glock 35. It's a gun I specifically bought a few years ago as a potential competition gun. I looked around and found very few holsters for that gun and none I really liked. In my search I found Michaels Holsters. He makes high quality and beautiful custom holsters, mag carriers and accessories. He also has a lot of very positive customer feedback, very important to me. I sent Michael an invitation, an outline and asked for a bid. We went back and forth a few times, checking out the rules and discussing what I wanted and needed in a race rig. Miguel and Larry both took the time to weigh in and give us some solid info and good pointers. Michael made a few suggestions and I decided on a final build.
This is the description we settled on;
-Concealable pancake holster to fit Glock G34/35 with concealed tension adjustment screw, hidden stitching, 5-degree cant and a fully covered trigger guard, for compliance with IDPA rules. Hand-stamped, stylized basket weave dyed brown with black edging.
-Concealable magazine carrier to carry two Glock .40-cal magazines with concealed tension adjustment screw, hidden stitching, in an upright position, covering just over 2-inches of facing tube, for compliance with IDPA rules. Hand-stamped, stylized basket weave dyed brown with black edging.
-1.5-inch wide, double grain leather gun belt with nylon webbing reinforced core. Hand-stamped, stylized basket weave, dyed brown with black edging, black stitching, and brass hardware
The total will be just shy of $500 but that's actually not bad at all considering the completely custom, hand built nature of the rig, the fact it's for holster, mag carrier and belt and the lifetime warranty. Michael even gave me a nice discount for ordering the total package. Michael prides himself on his customer service and will not rest until the customer is completely satisfied with his work. He'll also repair it for free for as long as I live (hopefully that will be a while Michael). He did a lot of the leg work, checking the rules to make sure what he made would fall within the rule book, a service that is sadly lacking in so many businesses and was greatly appreciated. I never felt like I was out on a limb. Michael was with me every step of the way, insuring we got things right.
I sent him a confirmation e-mail just a few minutes ago. We'll settle on payment method and I'll get an idea on build time. When it comes in I'll fit it, shoot it and post some pictures here.
I've never ordered a completely custom rig of any kind before. Call it a combination Christmas and retirement gift from Lu who never even batted an eye. She asked me if that was what I wanted and then said order it. I do love that woman. And no, she doesn't have any sisters.
More to come later. It should be beautiful. I'm really, really excited. Thanks Michael.
For the FCC, this is with the strict understanding that no monetary compensation or other considerations have taken place between Michael and I other than the bid he submitted before I made the post (and he didn't know I was going to or that I even had a blog) and my acceptance to pay full value. (Really, you people just irritate me to no end)
28 November 2010
The Young Queen
The Commonwealth of Australia, Inaugurated New Year's Day 1901
HER HAND was still on her sword-hilt, the spur was still on her heel,
She had not cast her harness of grey, war-dinted steel;
High on her red-splashed charger, beautiful, bold, and browned,
Bright-eyed out of the battle, the Young Queen rode to be crowned.
She came to the Old Queen's presence, in the Hall of Our
In the Hall of the Five Free Nations that are peers among their peers:
Royal she gave the greeting, loyal she bowed the head,
Crying-"Crown me, my Mother!" And the Old Queen rose and said:
"How can I crown thee further? I know whose standard flies
Where the clean surge takes the Leeuwin or the coral barriers rise.
Blood of our foes on thy bridle, and speech of our friends in thy mouth
How can I crown thee further, O Queen of the Sovereign South?
"Let the Five Free Nations witness!" But the Young Queen answered swift:
"It shall be crown of Our crowning to hold Our crown for a gift.
In the days when Our folk were feeble thy sword made sure Our lands:
Wherefore We come in power to take Our crown at thy hands."
And the Old Queen raised and kissed her, and the jealous circlet prest,
Roped with the pearls of the Northland and red with the gold of the West,
Lit with her land's own opals, levin-hearted, alive,
And the Five-starred Cross above them, for sign of the Nations Five.
So it was done in the Presence-in the Hall of Our Thousand Years,
In the face of the Five Free Nations that have no peer but their peers;
And the Young Queen out of the Southland kneeled down at the Old Queen's knee,
And asked for a mother's blessing on the excellent years to be.
And the Old Queen stooped in the stillness where the jewelled head drooped low:-
"Daughter no more but Sister, and doubly Daughter so
Mother of many princes-and child of the child I bore,
What good thing shall I wish thee that I have not wished before?
"Shall I give thee delight in dominion-mere pride of thy setting forth?
Nay, we be women together-we know what that lust is worth.
Peace in thy utmost borders, and strength on a road untrod?
These are dealt or diminished at the secret will of God.
"I have swayed troublous councils, I am wise in terrible things;
Father and son and grandson, I have known the hearts of the Kings.
Shall I give thee my sleepless wisdom, or the gift all wisdom above?
Ay, we be women together-I give thee thy people's love:
"Tempered, august, abiding, reluctant of prayers or vows,
Eager in face of peril as thine for thy mother's house.
God requite thee, my Sister, through the excellent years to be,
And intake thy people to love thee as thou hast loved me!"
26 November 2010
Shelves are basically in order. Well, order as I define it anyway. The Stack On will eventually go next to the Winchester safe over to the left there and the wooden shelves will be replaced with steel ones. All those boxes and cans? Yep, they're all full of ammunition for my various flavors of shootin' iron. If any lefties make their way in here relax, it's strictly personal use.
So there it is. The place has testosterone dripping from the walls. Lu will tell you it's ground water seepage coupled with poor house cleaning habits from yours truly but trust me, it's pure manly goodness. It smells of cordite, leather and awesomeness as any Man Cave should. I can feel my eyebrows growing together every time I go down there. I can comb my knuckle hair.
25 November 2010
Lu and The Sarge and Mom-In-Law and I will be having dinner at the compound today. We'll stuff ourselves and watch some American Football. Chrisi's already salivating at the prospect of leftovers.
I'm thankful for my many blessings. My Daughter, grandkids, wonderful in-laws and to live in this beautiful, chaotic and irreplaceable place called America.
I'm especially thankful for each of you who visit here and have supported and encouraged me since this place went up. You have touched my life and made it better.
Now let me at that turkey.
23 November 2010
22 November 2010
I'm not a lawyer and don't profess to be but I was a Police Officer for a long time. As such I do know a thing or two about searches, both the justification for and the mechanics of.
The primary rule on searches is the 4th Amendment. Read that link and take a look at some of the rulings quoted in the body of the article, especially this one:
Chambers v. Moreny, 399 U.S. 42, 51 ('70). Because '[t]he integrity of an individual's person is a cherished value in our society, searches that invade bodily integrity cannot be executed as mere fishing expeditions to acquire useful evidence: 'The interests in human dignity and privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any such intrusions on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained.' Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 772, 769-70.
A 1968 Supreme Court ruling governs what are commonly referred to as Stop and Frisk or Pat Down searches (also called Terry Searches) of people where probable cause to arrest does not exist is Terry vs Ohio. For their own protection, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on "specific and articulable facts" and not merely upon an officer's hunch. Terry vs Ohio is an interesting read and a good example of the kind of police work we should expect from all of our law enforcement officers and agencies. A Terry Search is an exterior check for weapons, not a 'check the package' search required subsequent to a probable cause arrest.
So, for most situations where authority wants to initiate a search of your person they need Probable Cause, a Warrant or Reasonable Suspicion with clear and articulable facts that those to be searched are either engaged in or have been/will be engaged in immediate criminal activity. These are constitutional or well established and long standing case laws that govern what the government may do and how they must do it.
I think the requirements, case law, and outlines are pretty clear. Government is restricted in it's ability to conduct searches. You can go through the law and find cases involving involuntary blood draw, exigent circumstances and the like but the overarching concern for 4th Amendment rights is always present, even when exemptions and modifications are granted by courts. By courts are the key words.
One argument in favor of intrusive airport searches is that there is no requirement to fly. Don't want to go through the process? Fine, drive, take a train, boat, etc. Except that's a specious argument. There are many who must travel as a requirement of their job, including but not limited to airline pilots. Their choice is to submit or lose their employment. I want to go to Hungary to visit my daughter and grandchildren. Must Lu and I submit to current TSA screening searches prior to being allowed to exercise our rights as citizens and freely go where we please?
A second is that it's 'not that bad and it's for the public good'. Well, I've conducted my share or searches, both of the pat down and more intrusive varieties and I can confirm that they're anything but 'not that bad'. Every time a governmental agency searches a citizens person it's a seizure and an intrusion and the people being searched are keenly aware it is so. Even the criminals hate them and not just because I'm about to discover that crack rock in his pocket that he has no idea how it got there. It's just a bit dehumanizing. Searches are often necessary and justified and when so they must be carried out as emotionlessly, professionally and thoroughly as possible but they cannot be random.
Lastly, and it's the kicker, in 1973 the 9th Circuit Court ruled in U.S. v Davis that airports were allowed to conduct administrative screenings. It reads in part “noting that airport screenings are considered to be administrative searches because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme, where the essential administrative purpose is to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft.” They also noted that the search 'must be no more intrusive or intensive than necessary...' Clearly Homeland Security and the TSA are taking this ruling as far as they think they can get away with. What is going to be needed is a challenge to Davis to either set it aside or modify the ruling. Either that or an understanding by the administration that a lower level of initial screening is reasonable with a more intensive and intrusive search only where probable cause or specific and articulable facts exist to justify such.
Let's talk about the mechanics of a search. Essentially there are 3 types. There may be some differences among the various departments out there but these are representative of the basic policies and procedures all agencies should be following.
-Pat down/Terry. A pat search of the outer clothing for weapons. Illicit substances may be seized if the officer can articulate how he knew what the object was by feel and inference. Deep search, including checking the package are not allowed.
-Subsequent to an arrest. This is where check the package comes in but groping and cupping are strictly forbidden. Normally the search is done by quadrants starting at one side of the upper front of the body and continuing to the leg areas and then switching sides. When the groin area is searched the hand is laid flat against the inseam and then moved upward so the edge of the hand only comes into contact with package area. Bras are searched similarly where only the leading edge of the searching hand is used to bisect the breasts. Cupping either area is considered to be sexual battery. Clothing in non sexual areas is grasped and checked carefully but care is taken to avoid contact which can be misconstrued or crosses the line. If there is further probable cause that contraband exists where the arrest search cannot find it then a strip search may be authorized but that's so rare I never conducted one outside the correctional institution where I started my career. Even then they are always carried out at a jail and in the presence of multiple officers including a supervisor.
-Correctional institution. This is where you find routine strip searches. Anyone sentenced to a correctional facility, whether at the federal, state or local levels will be strip searched when they enter the facility, any time they have been outside the facility confines or when the staff suspects contraband has been introduced and is hidden in a body cavity. Keistering is the phrase most often used and needs no further explanation. Even then no physical contact is made with genitalia. If such needs to be done, for instance to remove a secreted object, it is either removed by the inmate or done at an approved medical facility by medical professionals. Never by staff. The reasons are obvious.
You will find things like metal detectors at government buildings, large auditoriums and the like but they are generally considered non-invasive and not really searches as such.
In my opinion the TSA and Homeland Security are exceeding their legal and moral authority. It shouldn't take more case law to introduce common sense and reasonableness into their thought processes but that is exactly where we're heading. If a police officer can't do it to you why should a poorly trained TSA agent be allowed? A fishing expedition is a fishing expedition no matter who's casting the lure and the 4th Amendment exists to protect our rights regardless of the administrations reading of Davis. The rules need to be modified and the TSA staff better trained and screened. Barring that I'm on board with San Mateo County DA Steve Wagstaffe. Incidents of inappropriate touching should be prosecuted as what they are, sexual battery.
I won't criticize without putting forth a possible solution. You need look no further than that Terry vs Ohio case. The officer was a 39 year veteran with 35 as a detective. He was smart, well trained, observant and very experienced. He noticed suspicious activity, watched the men and compiled a list of the specific and articulable facts that led him the the correct conclusion that Terry and his fellows were up to no good. Please note that the third subject, the one without a weapon, was subjected to no further action by the detective.
And that is the answer. Having the TSA staffed by folks no reputable law enforcement agency would touch is insanity. Instead how about this;
There is a wealth of experience out there, both police and military, currently being under utilized. I'm speaking about those who, like me, have put up their uniforms and settled into a life a little less exciting. We have the maturity, education and experience the TSA is crying out for. We'll even work at cut rates. Hell, I'll volunteer. I'll to go to any airport they need me at and I'll work for free. I don't need a salary, I don't need benefits and I don't need a union.
Let's add in another ingredient to our TSA stew. Dogs. I've worked with narcotic and bomb detection dogs and they're pure magic. How about we crank up the procurement machine and put out a request for bids and get a whole bunch more detection dogs out there working our airports. I mean a lot more. Like 2 or 3 orders of magnitude more. Dogs are relatively inexpensive (especially as compared to the unionized TSA) and far more reliable than back scatter scanners being operated by the incompetent and physical searches being conducted by their more morally ambiguous colleagues.
Bring back the metal detectors and x-ray machines for bags. Do more invasive searches only on those you have reasonable suspicion needs further scrutiny.
Will it work? I don't know. Could it work? Absolutely. Don't take my word for it. Ask any retired military or police officer you can find and ask them if they'd be willing and if they could handle the job. If you can't get a 90 percent "Hell Yes!" I'll eat my badge.
Here's the real truth about airport security. Airport screening will catch only the morons and the incompetent. I hate to say this but the truly smart crooks rarely get caught and then usually only by dogged work, a fortuitous break or a mistake. Even then the apprehension almost always occurs at a time and place away from the actual crime scene. I've put a lot of criminals behind bars and, with a few notable exceptions, they were invariably drunk, stoned or stupid.
The real work is done by Intelligence (I'll add detectives to this because they serve many of the same functions) and is done far away from the airline gate. To stop a smart and aggressive opponent it is necessary to intercept him before the attempt is made. We need to stop the bombers and hijackers in their homes and labs, not as they attempt to board.
The Romans understood this dilemma well. They knew that the key to the long term health of their nation and people was their ability to keep the roads open and safe for the free passage of goods and people. When they lost control of their roads they lost control of their empire.
Our skies are the roads that we depend upon. Don't think so? Try and run a business larger than one confined to a single general locality without the ability to hop on a plane and go visit suppliers, customers, investors, etc. Try to imagine a vibrant economy with brisk overseas business ties limited to the speed of an ocean liner. Consider the limitations to education and career opportunities if coast to coast travel was strictly limited to train and automobile.
We are in danger of losing control of our roads. Already the outcry is reaching a fever pitch and people are refusing to fly. Yet the TSA and the government, aside from providing a few reluctant apologies and explanations, show no signs of backing off. It's time for a new solution. It's time for the government to recognize that safety can never be assured but that reasonable and effective precautions can be taken at less cost to our personal freedoms than is currently embodied in the TSA.
21 November 2010
The Power of the Dog
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find, it's your own affair
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone, wherever it goes, for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short time loan is as bad as a long
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
20 November 2010
Here's Chrisi on the field expedient bed. I slept on it for 2 nights, Lu for 3.
Chrisi in a really empty house.
The Ford and Vette all ready to go.Lu and the house. We didn't build the house but we did build the home. We were here for 18 years, longer than we'd been anywhere. We love the place and put a lot of hard work into it. Why do we leave places as soon as we get them exactly the way we want them?
The last shot, me and the Vette turning the first corner away from the old place, en route to the new. 29 years in Salinas, California, almost to the day. Good times and hard times but our times. 12 hours later we were home.
We're settling in to the new place pretty well. It's great to have so much family so close. We're re-connecting with family we haven't seen in a very long time.
We've spent all week getting unloaded, unpacked, stowed and trashed so Lu and I are taking tomorrow off and going for a nice ride. I'm thinking Gooseberry if the weather allows.
It's good to be back.
16 November 2010
15 November 2010
12 November 2010
Posting will be non-existent for a few days until we can get settled in and unpacked. I'll be back next week with some moving photos.
Chrisi is really on edge. She's aware something is happening but she's not quite sure what it is and refuses to let anyone out the door without her. Luckily she knows the Utah house and once there I'm sure she'll adjust just fine.
Sarge, we'll be seeing you guys late tomorrow.
Take care everyone. I'll be back soon.
11 November 2010
Lu and I will work today. We will load and plan and worry. But we will remember and carry in our hearts the love we feel for all those who have served and are even now risking their lives in places most would dare not go. Your service and the memory of those who gave their last true measure of devotion shall never perish from this country. We simply will not allow it.
I am an American Veteran. I am proud of my service. I am more proud to say that my family, both by blood and by choice, have a long history of military service. May it ever be so.
To my brothers and sisters I say, I love you all. May America remember your sacrifices.
May every day be Veterans Day.
10 November 2010
Veterans Day 1999
This week the flags will wave again
We'll march down a city street
We'll try to keep the cadence
With grown old two left feet
We're veterans who have served our land
In places far and wide
Today we will be smiling
We won't show the hurt inside
The land that we all fought for
Is changing day by day
The people just don't seem to care
As their freedoms slip away
The Constitution was once sacred
A document held dear
Our founding fathers gave to us
A message once so clear
Now lying is accepted
And other things as bad
But we will show our smiles today
Pretend that we are glad
We will be with our brothers
And yes our sisters too
We, ones who wore the uniform
And kept our honor true
We fought to to keep this country free
Were our battles all in vain
My land, My country 'Tis of thee
Can we be free again
I'm breaking the seal on the wallet and renting a U-Haul trailer tomorrow. Between the two trucks and the trailer I should be able to load up the rest of the possessions. I figure we'll be outta here this weekend.
Here's Part 4 of Sweet Baby Schwinn in lieu of actual content.
We're getting closer.
I got this. A little bumpy but they'll work just fine and look okay once I get the brakes and shifter mounted. I hope. Of course I couldn't do this alone. I did have some expert help. They're taking a break here. Just before this shot they were all over that bike, slobbering on things and generally making themselves useful.
The fork. Please ignore that original yellow. The frame covers that up. I swear. I actually checked this time.
08 November 2010
A Poem Worth Reading
He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought is
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbours
His tales became a joke,
All hiss buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Tom has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.
He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'tho a soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing.
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greates contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
and offers up his life?
The politician's stipend
And the style is which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
and perhaps a pension, small
It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?
Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.
He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles,
That the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honour
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MORNING,
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY."
07 November 2010
Hymn of the Triumphant Airman
OH, LONG had we paltered
With bridle and girth
Ere those horses were haltered
That gave us the Earth-
Ere the Flame and the Fountain,
The Spark and the Wheel,
Sank Ocean and Mountain
Alike 'neath our keel.
But the Wind in her blowing,
The bird on the wind,
Made naught of our going,
And left us behind.
Till the gale was outdriven,
The gull overflown,
And there matched us in Heaven
The Sun-God alone.
He only the master
We leagued to o'erthrow,
He only the faster
And, therefore, our foe!
. . . . .
Light steals to uncurtain
The dim-shaping skies
That arch and make certain
Where he shall arise.
We lift to the onset.
We challenge anew.
From sunrise to sunset,
. . . . .
What ails thee, O Golden?
Thy Chariot is still?
What Power has withholden
The Way from the Will?
Lo, Hesper hath paled not,
Nor darkness withdrawn.
The Hours have availed not
To lead forth the Dawn!
Do they flinch from full trial,
The Coursers of Day?
The shade on our dial
Moves swifter than they!
We fleet, but thou stayest
A God unreleased;
And still thou delayest
Low down in the East-
A beacon faint-burning,
A glare that decays
As the blasts of our spurning
Blow backward its blaze.
The mid-noon grows colder,
Night rushes to meet,
And the curve of Earth's shoulder
Heaves up thy defeat.
Storm on at that portal,
We have thee in prison!
Thou hast not arisen!
03 November 2010
Bah. I'm done with these people. On to more important things.
Ok, Insane Crazy Welder Boy here with more proof of my insanity.
The paint and sanding Faeries apparently decided to skip my house this week so I was forced to do the job myself.
First up, getting rid of the old paint on the frame. Tools? Wire wheel on the air grinder. Heh heh. I love power tools.
I decided I needed to paint the bare frame, to get an idea where the problem areas were and to protect it from further rust. Yep, that's a can of OSH enamel. I had it on my shelf. It's cheap, sandable and covers well. This might be the final color. Unless I run out and have to find something else. I've gotta keep the costs down remember and that means using what I have wherever I can.
It needs a final sand, especially around the repaired area, but not too bad if I do say so myself and apparently I have to. Certainly no one sane person would.
The wheels were badly rusted. I thought I was going to have to replace them but the rust was all on the surface. I was able to power buff most of it off. I'll try lemon juice and aluminum foil for a final polish but I think they're definitely salvageable.
Hey, there's a wheel there! Now if only the hubs were going to be that easy. Sigh.
I didn't get to the worst, the rusty derailleur, crank set and the chain. I think all are history but remember that other frame I have? The one I hate? Yeah, it's got a good chain, derailleur and crank set. It's a single chain ring but beggars can't be choosers. Everything fits and I'm pretty sure the donor bike won't care.
Even if it does. Have I mentioned I hate that frame?