'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 April 2011


The official t-shirt of the Hurricane Half Marathon and 5K.

The 5K went off surprisingly well. We woke up at 0445 because we had been told we needed to be at the pickup point no later than 0530. We were going to be bused to the start, just out of town so be on time. Yeah. Turns out the first to go were the half marathoners who left about 0540. Our bus didn't pull out until 0640. Not an auspicious beginning. Still, it's not like I was getting a lot of sleep anyway.

Our race numbers, for whatever definition of race you care to apply. It sure felt like one to me.

I'm a visual guy as well as a bit paranoid. I need stuff like this be certain I'm really in the right spot. If it says so it must be true.

At the start line. It was cold. The wind was blowing and most everyone was wearing more clothing than the event would normally call for. In the first photo you can see the school buses that hauled us. It made me feel like I was 13 again. In that second photo, if you look past the woman in black you'll see Lu in her bright yellow jacket. I estimated about 250 runners in total.

Lu getting her runner game face on. She was my inspiration and my coach. She dragged me along, monitored my pace and just generally made the run a lot of fun. Have I mentioned how much I love this woman?

Let me see your war face. Aaargh! Let me see your real war face. AAARRRGGGHHH! I'm not scared, work on it. Hiding the pre-race butterflies behind a facade of studied indifference. I'm still such a little boy. I don't know which is harder, the anticipation or the actual run.

Without the DO and the grandkids we didn't have an official action photographer so Lu played pack mule and hauled hers along just so she could sprint ahead and take this shot. This was about a mile in. Do I look like I was having fun? Surprisingly I was.

Lu and I at the finish line after we finished together. Hand in hand. I'm a pretty sappy guy but finishing like that was dang cool.

The race numbers after the run with tags removed and the finish coin proving we were stupid enough to get up at odarkthirty and go for a run without a drill instructor screaming vile invective and threats for failure.

Now for the question I know is on everyones mind. What was the time? You'll recall my best time on the treadmill was 48 minutes and I was just hoping to break 50. Lu has done 38 in the Pacific Grove 5K. Our unofficial time (I was watching the clock as we crossed the line) was 36:17. The winner's time was 16 minutes and change. I hated him on sight.

Lu set a pretty fast pace (for me anyway) but the course was a slight downhill for probably 3 of the 5K. What wasn't downhill was pretty much pancake flat so take that time for what it's worth. Still, I was ecstatic and it was even a PR for Lu. Not bad for a meathead who hasn't run any significant non-treadmill distance since I got out of the Army in 1985.

We met some really great folks out on the course and just generally had a great time. If you're contemplating running one or even have a passing interest I highly recommend it, especially if you're with someone you love. It's a true bonding experience. Doing stuff like this together is marriage and relationship strengthening. In fact we had so much fun we're definitely going to do it again. There's a 4 mile trail run coming up in July and I think we're going to do it but we'll absolutely be doing more 5Ks.

Credit where credit's due time. Thanks Lu. I wouldn't have done it with anyone else and couldn't have without your love, guidance and support.

Now it's time for some food and a good nap.


29 April 2011

Why Is It....

That the night before an event I have a butterflies and won't be able to sleep? This in spite of the fact that there is absolutely nothing at stake (except for the ribbing Murphy's Law will give me if I don't manage to post a time that's at least somewhat respectable). I don't understand it. I'm sitting here with my stomach doing flips and picturing every step of the 5K in my mind. Over and over again. It's only 3miles. Heck, I'll walk the stupid thing if I need to (and I almost certainly will walk some of it. Hey, I'm comfortable with my middle aged masculinity. Stop that laughing ML).

It's sick. There's no other explanation for it. I care about what a bunch of people I don't know and will never know think about my ability to haul my 240 pound butt around a 5K course. That's strictly for charity. Tell me that's not twisted.

It's not like I don't have experience in competition or having to perform under stress conditions for outcomes that had a real impact on my life. This is literally a cake walk, one Lu and I are doing just so we can exercise and generally do something fun together.

I'm never going to get to sleep and we have to be in the staging area at 0530. Anyone got an Ambien?

Oh, and as for my time? I plan on lying. Often and spectacularly.


The Sniper On Afghanistan

It's funny how many people think that those who's military inclinations took them into the Infantry are dumb. The Sniper proves the fallacy of that assumption. He has a paper up here that explains, in clear and easy to understand words, the history of Afghanistan, why we're there, what works and more importantly what doesn't. It's a brilliant piece. It's long but I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Well done Sniper.


28 April 2011

Heroes Ride

Whatever you may think of his politics or policies, George W. Bush loves the men and women of our military. He started an event he calls the W100. It's a 100K mountain bike ride with some of our wounded warriors. You can find the rest of the videos here. The videos are inspiring, especially the interviews. Take a minute to watch some of them and remember the awesome debt we owe these men and women.

Riding with the heroes indeed.


h/t to Quilly at Justbarkingmad for turning me on to this.
This guy hits the nail on the head!

At a time when many Americans can barely afford Burger King and a movie, Obama boasts of spending a billion dollars on his re-election campaign. Questioned at a recent appearance about the spiraling fuel costs, Obama said, "Get used to it" – and with an insouciant grin and chortle, he told another person at the event, who complained about the effect high fuel prices were having on his family, to "get a more fuel-efficient car."

The Obamas behave as if they were sharecroppers living in a trailer and hit the Powerball, but instead of getting new tires for their trailer and a new pickup truck, they moved to Washington. And instead of making possum pie, with goats and chickens in the front yard, they're spending and living large at taxpayer expense – opulent vacations, gala balls, resplendent dinners and exclusive command performances at the White House, grand date nights, golf, basketball, more golf, exclusive resorts and still more golf.

Expensive, ill-fitting and ill-chosen wigs and fashions hardly befit the first lady of the United States. The Obamas have behaved in every way but presidential – which is why it's so offensive when we hear Obama say, in order "to restore fiscal responsibility, we all need to share in the sacrifice – but we don't have to sacrifice the America we believe in."

The American people have been sacrificing; it is he and his family who are behaving as if they've never had two nickels to rub together – and now, having hit the mother lode, they're going to spend away their feelings of inadequacy at the taxpayers' expense.

Obama continues to exhibit behavior that, at best, can be described as mobocratic and, at worst, reveals a deeply damaged individual. In a February 2010 column, I asked, "Is Obama unraveling?" I wrote that it was beginning to appear the growing mistrust of him and contempt for his policies was beginning to have a destabilizing effect on him.

At that time, I wrote that not having things go one's way can be a bitter pill, but reasonable people don't behave as he was behaving. He had insulted Republicans at their luncheon, where he had been an invited guest. I had speculated that was, in part, what had led him to falsely accuse Supreme Court justices before Congress, the nation and the world, during the 2010 State of the Union address.

It appeared, at that time, as if he were "fraying around the emotional edges." That behavior has not abated – it has become more pronounced. While addressing the nation, after being forced to explain the validity of his unilateral aggression with Libya, America witnessed a petulant individual scowling and scolding the public for daring to insist he explain his actions.

But during an afternoon speech to address the budget/debt, he took his scornful, unstable despotic behavior to depths that should give the nation cause for concern. Displaying a dark psychopathy more representative of an episode of "The Tudors" television series, he invited Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to sit in the front row during his speech and then proceeded to berate both Ryan and Ryan's budget-cutting plan. Even liberal Democrats were put off by the act. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough questioned the sanity of Obama's actions.

Today, criticism is coming from all sides. A senior Democrat lawmaker said, "I have been very disappointed in [Obama], to the point where I'm embarrassed that I endorsed him. It's so bad that some of us are thinking, is there some way we can replace him? How do you get rid of this guy?" ("Democrats' Disgust with Obama," The Daily Beast, April 15, 2011)

Steve McCann wrote: Obama's speech "was chock full of lies, deceit and crass fear-mongering. It must be said that [he] is the most dishonest, deceitful and mendacious person in a position of power I have ever witnessed" ("The Mendacity of Barack Obama,"AmericanThinker.com, April 15, 2011).

McCann continued: "[His] performance was the culmination of four years of outright lies and narcissism that have been largely ignored by the media, including some in the conservative press and political class who are loath to call [him] what he is in the bluntest of terms: a liar and a fraud. That he relies on his skin color to intimidate, either outright or by insinuation [against] those who oppose his radical agenda only add to his audacity. It is apparent that he has gotten away with his character flaws his entire life, aided and abetted by sycophants around him. …"

With these being among the kinder rebukes being directed at Obama, and with people becoming less intimidated by his willingness to use race as a bludgeon, with falling poll numbers in every meaningful category and an increasingly aggressive tea-party opposition – how much longer before he cracks completely?

The coming months of political life are not going to be pleasant for Obama. Possessed by a self-perceived palatine mindset, that in his mind places him above criticism, how long before he cracks in public? Can America risk a man with a documented track record of lying and misrepresenting truth as a basic way of life, who is becoming increasingly more contumelious?

Mychal Massie is chairman of the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives-Project 21 – a conservative black think tank located in Washington, D.C. He was recognized as the 2008 Conservative Man of the Year by the Conservative Party of Suffolk County, N.Y. He is a nationally recognized political activist, pundit and columnist. He has appeared on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NBC, Comcast Cable and talk radio programming nationwide. A former self-employed business owner of more than 30 years, Massie can be followed at mychal-massie.com.


27 April 2011

Miguel On Gun Control

Miguel over at The Gun Free Zone has been on a roll lately, dragging out the lies and distortions of the coalition to stop gun violence into the light of day. It's a series of posts (and I hope there are many more coming) but this is a good place to start.

The narrative from the anti gun crowd has taken on an interesting twist. The brave are unarmed. It's an insidious little lie that may well cost easily swayed dupes their lives and Miguel's been doing a good job calling them on it.

Keep up the skeer Miguel.


26 April 2011


Lu talked me into running a 5K with her this year so on Saturday I take the plunge. It's the Hurricane 5K and Half Marathon. Since I haven't gone completely insane we're going to pass on the 13 miler this time. Lu wants to do one down the road. I told he I'd be her enthusiastic cheer leader though I'm not sure the skirt will fit. The pom poms are actually kinda fun.

Anyway. Since I'm in training for the NowhereMan Triathlon this fits into my training schedule nicely. It's awfully early though. I think we have to be at the start line at like 6:00 AM.

Lu normally runs a 5K in about 38 minutes. If I can break 50 I'll be happy. And if I can't I'll still be Ok. A runner I am most definitely not.

Pics on Monday. If I survive.


25 April 2011

Dog Insurance And A Request

I'm soliciting thoughts, ideas and recommendations from anyone inclined to give them.

With the new pup on the way I'm giving some thought to insurance. Both Trooper and Chrisi had some very expensive surgeries. Trooper had a hip replacement that cost us upward of $7000. Chrisi's was actually more complex if a little less costly. She had a procedure to correct hip dysplasia that involved cutting her hip socket free, turning it so that it had better coverage of the top of the femur and re-attaching it with plates and screws. Call it right at $2500. Trooper's diabetes was intensive if not nearly as costly as it could have been but we had to buy supplies and testing materials and vet visits, etc. Throw in cuts, x-rays, minor surgeries and the like and we're probably talking $10,000 for Trooper and another $5000 for Chrisi in medical costs over their lives.

Now I don't feel a bit bad about any of it. Our dogs are part of our family and medical costs are part of the deal. Still, if I could decrease those potential impacts on out budget it would be helpful. Though I'm praying the new pup can avoid those kinds of issues there's no way to be certain. My breeder is conscientious. They make sure their breeding stock is as defect free as is possible. Hips eyes, ears, elbows and all the things pure bred Labs are susceptible to have been checked for in Momma and Poppa but stuff happens.

Lu sent me a link to Best Friends Animal Society which offers insurance fr as low as $28.00 a month. That's $336 per year. If the dog lives for 15 years (Trooper was 14 years 9 months. Chrisi is 14 years 4 months and counting) that would be $4340, not allowing for increasing costs. Call it somewhere around $5000 for the life of the dog. The insurance seems very similiar to people health insurance; deductibles, lifetime caps and a percentage covered (80% seems to be pretty standard). At those numbers I'd have saved probably $5000 on Trooper's medical care and done no worse than break even on Chrisi.

My question is have any of you had pet insurance? If so do you have any thoughts, tips or recommendations? I get the lowest rate and best coverage if I begin the coverage immediately, before any conditions can be determined to be pre-existing, so I'm motivated to do my due diligence and at least make a quick yes/no decision. I have no attachment to Best Friends so if you have another insurance group you'd care to recommend it'd be welcome.

I appreciate any and all input anyone would care to pass along even if it's to forget insurance completely. If I can find a best case solution I'll post it for all to see.

Thanks in advance.


24 April 2011

Sunday Kipling

One of my all time favorites and one that will be repeated here from time to time.
May this Easter Day find you all in good health and in the company of those you love.

Hymn Before Action

The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions --
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and forward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow --
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee --
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us
At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us,
Lord, let their faith atone!
If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror
Revenge that knows no rein --
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again,
Cloke Thou our undeserving,
Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving
To taste Thy lesser death.

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave!
Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need --
True comrade and true foeman --
Madonna, intercede!

E'en now their vanguard gathers,
E'en now we face the fray --
As Thou didst help our fathers,
Help Thou our host to-day.
Fulfilled of signs and wonders,
In life, in death made clear --
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, hear!

23 April 2011

A Liar Is A Liar Is A Liar

I came across this blurb whilst surfing the interwebs. It tells the tale of Rafael Mora-Lopez, a police officer in Alaska. Apparently he was a good and well respected lawman. The only problem is he's here illegally.

Lopez stole the identity of Rafael Espinoza, a U.S. citizen. Frankly, it doesn't speak well of the law enforcement profession that he passed the background check to get the job in the first place. Part of that process is a federal fingerprint check. You know, so someone who is say, a criminal, can't get such a job. It's kinda a big deal.

His chief, the US Attorney for Alaska and others praise him for his good work. Of course, the local defense attorneys are going to be inundating the local court system seeking the overturning of pretty much every criminal prosecution and arrest he's ever made. And that's as it should be.

One of the crash landing offenses for any law enforcement officer is, indeed must be, integrity. If you lie you die in the parlance of the job. An officer must be honest above all other things. It is as basic as breathing. If one will lie about one thing he'll lie about any thing. It cannot be tolerated.

This is part and parcel what is wrong with the idea of allowing, sheltering and supporting those who are here illegally. Obfuscation and dishonesty are a disease of the soul. Once down that path it is nearly impossible to get off, especially when the culprit refuses to come clean, admit what they've done and make amends.

I love this quote;
There are no immediate plans to file state charges, said John Skidmore, a state attorney. He and other officials stressed that the case was still under investigation. "At this time, we have no reason to believe, from what we know so far, that this gentleman or this officer's good work for APD has in any way been compromised or questioned," Skidmore said.

Nonsense. The very fact that he was working while here illegally definitely compromises the work he did. Without question. Lopez should be charged and prosecuted the the extent the law allows and when his sentence is done shipped back to the country he is a citizen of. Every case he investigated and was responsible for must be reviewed and those cases where another officer's testimony is insufficient for conviction must be overturned and the accused turned free. No matter how disgusting or unfair that seems to be. Lopez cannot be trusted. His word is worthless.

Another black eye for my profession and my honest brothers and sisters who work so hard to do things the way they're supposed to be done. I have absolutely no sympathy for mister Lopez. He deserves exactly the same consideration he's shown for the laws of this country. None. A dishonorable man who has earned his infamy.


21 April 2011

I Am A Heretic

I read a post by Larry Correia the other day about taxes and the deficit called Happy Tax Day. It was a fantastic post by a man who has the chops to talk intelligently about the subjects. The post got picked up by quite a few blogs, including at least one of the liberal slant. It's worth a read as well as his followup, especially the comments.

My long time readers know my feelings about engaging the blind left in discussion. It's a recipe for frustration and indigestion, nothing more. Still, the lure of battle cannot always be denied.

I'm a rather simple man. I tend to see things at their most basic. Some accuse me of a lack of intelligence or more often of lacking sophistication. I mostly disagree with that assessment but frankly, there's a certain amount of truth in it and I'm Ok with that. I have a good handle on who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are. I value common sense and intellectual honesty above degrees and an ability to tear down someone through a sense of superiority and a tendency toward self aggrandizement. Sharp words and an extensive vocabulary do not give one the moral high ground. I may have difficulty expressing complex thoughts and ideas but I can generally get my point across provided the person I'm talking to makes an honest attempt to understand what I'm trying to say instead of looking only for places to attack me. I used to joke about one of my Chiefs. When you talked to him he just watched your lips. When they stopped moving he knew it was his turn to talk again. The modern left is just like that except they don't wait for you to stop talking, they just shout over your voice.

Correia is hardly alone in his experience on this topic. Ed Rasimus has pounded the pulpit of fiscal responsibility for a while now as has Borepatch and many others I regularly read on my blogroll. The responses from the left are disgustingly similar. Here's how Larry characterizes them. I think he's spot on.

"The interesting thing was that the vast majority of the liberal responses followed the same basic formula, over and over and over again.

1.Find something to attack about the messenger.
2.Ignore or cherry pick whatever parts of the argument you feel like. (heck, you don’t need to have read it at all!)
3.Use step 1 and 2 to prove your intellectual superiority over the messenger.
4.Dismiss the argument.
5.Repeat until nobody dares to deviate from the group think."

If I had one idea I'd like to pass along to those on the left who engage in this kind of sophistry it's this. You keep trying to convince people that the problems and solutions are complex when really they're quite simple. The current debate on the budget deficit is a prime example. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that no one, be it individual, family or nation, can live beyond their means. We can argue about where the cuts need to be made and how deeply but the basic idea of the value of a balanced budget is pretty simple. You're like the mystics of old or modern day cult leaders saying,

"This is all too complex and hard for you to understand. I will interpret the signs and wonders for you and tell you what they mean. All you need do is follow me and I will lead you to paradise. True salvation only comes in doing as I say. Anyone who disagrees is evil and must be burned at the stake. Dissension will not be tolerated."

Individuality is the problem with this of course. Anyone who sees things differently is a heretic and any and all means of silencing them is justified. Just as the cult leader cannot tolerate opposition neither can the left. Logic, facts and appeals for rational thought fall upon deaf ears. Marching orders and formulaic responses the weapons of choice. Is it any wonder why so many of us refuse to be drawn into argument and debate?

I love a good argument. I'm not the most gifted debater in the world but I do enjoy the pursuit. The problem is I haven't yet found someone who's willing to actually have a back and forth discussion. Screeching at me that I'm too stupid to get it or too evil to be trusted with an opinion and a voice isn't a position, it's an invitation to a fight and frankly, I'm just too tired of the game to take you up on the offer. I tune you out as soon as you open your mouth and that's too bad because I know there are liberal voices out there worth listening to and engaging. They're just so covered by the white noise of the chanting masses that they can't be heard.

The debate about the deficit and the budget isn't really a debate at all. It's an attempt at indoctrination and sleight of hand. You didn't really see what you thought you saw. Pay no attention to the repo man behind the curtain. Give us your checkbook and Trust Us. We know best.

The left in this country has become a cult with no room for rational thought or innovative ideas. No place for an honest exchange of views and opinions. Just line up, shave your head and hand out the leaflets while chanting "Hate Speech Leads To Thought Crime".

I'll say it again. There's just no value in conversing with such or attempting to convince them that they may be wrong about any subject.

Bah. Color me a heretic. I'll wear the sobriquet proudly and in very good company.


19 April 2011

Over Regulation and Quality Of Life

Lu and I had a funny conversation yesterday. There's an old elementary school down the street, the very school Lu attended as a child in fact. It's no longer an institute of learning. When the new one was built, the city took it over and it's a community center now. Hurricane also has a community newsletter they put out once a month. In it they were warning of vandalism to the building and asking neighbors and parents for help. Here's a snippet;
"I call on all citizens to actively participate in efforts to stop this kind of criminal activity. Parents - I especially enlist your efforts......Active supervision - including knowing where your children are, whom they are with and enforcing family curfews can go a long way toward eliminating destructive behavior."
The conversation Lu and I had was about the "vandalism" we had seen at the old school. What we saw last time we were there was some small magic marker graffiti on some of the playground equipment. I made me wonder what they city fathers and residents might think about some of the vandalism at active California schools. That got me to thinking on the differences between this small southern Utah community and most every town or city in California.

As you drive through Hurricane, Utah it's like any other small city anywhere in the country. What's different about this city as compared to those in that state we fled is unnoticed, beneath the surface. It's an attitude.

You will find small signs scattered about Hurricane. It's a representation of a four wheel ATV. It designates those streets open to ATV use. Paved public city streets. And why not? The original idea was to have lanes that ATVs could use to get back and forth to gas stations but I think it's become more than that. I regularly see all kinds of folks motoring along, going about their business with nary a care or a concern. Utah also lacks a helmet law for adults. We still have burn days. The attitude is one of hey, we're all adults here.

As you drive down our streets you will see long stretches of white and stucco walls. Graffiti free. Not painted over graffiti free but never having been defaced at all. The police department does not have a Community Policing program or a community outreach because they don't need either. The community already understands the rights and obligations that goes along with being a citizen and they act accordingly. The police department is expected to do it's job, no more, no less and to leave the rest to the citizens.

Here's a truth. Less government oversight and downright meddling reinforces the idea that we are all sovereign and ultimately masters of our own fate. If we are less dependant on government we will be more dependant on our own God given skills and the work ethic we've developed. We become less dependant on government by having less government. Les government produces a society of independent adults. More government produces a society of needy children.

I've met the Mayor. He's a great old guy. He owns and runs a barbershop on the main drag. Government is his duty not his job. When you go into the city offices you find competent, friendly, helpful people who exercise a minimum of authority. They exist to find a way to help instead of hinder. Lu and I have been going through the permit process to build a garage/ storage building on our property. It's been a breeze. Every government office and every utility we've contacted have been easy to work with with a maximum of "yes sir" and absolutely no hoop jumping. We got most everything done in a day and the only reason we didn't get it all done was because I got lazy and decided to finish another day. Even the police department notarized our paperwork gratis because "The city paid for my Notary Public and since I'm on duty it's free". It's been eye opening.

Let's contrast and compare with a California city. Pick one, it hardly matters. Years ago when we put up a simple 10x12 shed on our property we had to wait a month for the city inspector. If you are required to fix or alter something, and you can bet you will, you'll need to make another appointment, wait another month and pay another fee. It's all revenue driven and they squeeze you for every drop they can. The attitude is overwhelmingly "you're bothering me. I'm in charge. You will do as you're told." You will not find a single open space without fresh graffiti or the painted over signs that the gangs and taggers have been there. It's everywhere and it's just accepted. We had a graffiti abatement program at my city because of the massive scope of the problem. We took graffiti vandalism reports each and every day of the year. We had a Community Policing program because the citizens are so neutered they have no problem solving skills nor are they encouraged to develop any. "Leave it all to us" is the motto for empire building. I've had parents turn their children over to me. Not because they didn't care but because they recognized a lose-lose situation and lacked the willpower and fortitude to do what was necessary and take on the system while parenting their kids. You can decry the parents while still recognizing the root cause; Government regulating away the very rights and obligations that make us who we are supposed to be. Who we can be.

I could go on and on but this is just a modest blog and you all get the idea. We become accustomed to government intrusion into our lives until we forget that we're supposed to be the decision makers and not beholden to political masters. We get the government we're willing to accept until we get the government we can no longer control.

Time is shorter than we think. We're at a crossroads. Do we go the California route or the follow the Hurricane example? Are we Americans or something else? A bastard stepchild of government control and willful ignorance. Now living free, I grieve for my brothers and sisters in California and everywhere that government has been allowed to run amok. Get out while you still can. Free America does exist.

The only question is for how long?


17 April 2011

Sunday Kipling

The Irish Guards

We're not so old in the Army List,
But we're not so young at our trade,
For we had the honour at Fontenoy
Of meeting the Guards'Brigade.
'Twas Lally, Dillon, Bulkeley, Clare,
And Lee that led us then,
And after a hundred and seventy years
We're fighting for France again!
Old Days! The wild geese are flighting,
Head to the storm as they faced if before !
For where there are Irish there's bound to be fighting,
And when there's no fighting, it's Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

The fashion's all for khaki now,
But once through France we went
Full-dressed in scarlet Army cloth,
The English-left at Ghent.
They're fighting on our side to-day
But, before they changed their clothes,
The half of Europe knew our fame,
As all of Ireland knows!
Old Days! The wild geese are flying,
Head to the sform as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's memory undying,
And when we forget, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

From Barry Wood to Gouzeaucourt,
From Boyne to Pilkem Ridge,
The ancient days come back no more
Than water under the bridge.
But the bridge it stands and the water runs
As red as yesterday,
And the Irish move to the sound of the guns
Like salmon to the sea.
Old Days! The wild geese are ranging,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish their hearts are unchanging,
And when they are changed, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

We're not so old in the Army List,
But we're not so new in the ring,
For we carried our packs with Marshal Saxe
When Louis was our King.
But Douglas Haig's our Marshal now
And we're King George's men,
And after one hundred and seventy years
We're fighting for France again!
Ah, France! And did we stand by you,
When life was made splendid with gifts and rewards?
Ah, France! And will we deny you
In the hour of your agony, Mother of Swords?
Old Days! The wild geese are flighing,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's loving and fighting
And when we stop either, it's Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

16 April 2011

Puppy Update

It's official,. We're expecting.

I called Donna, from Highland Labs, today and she confirmed that Momma was bred successfully on March 21st. If our math is correct the new boy will be born around the third week of May. I'll go out to see the pups in June and will bring the new baby home somewhere around July 9th.

Now I get to arrange the house, buy some new toys, collars and leashes and brush up on my Richard Wolters.

I have a name picked out but won't reveal it until he comes home.

I am on Cloud Nine.



Brigid is more than just a talented writer, she gets it and can explain it in a way that the rest of us can only admire. In this post she gets to the heart of why we carry. I can't recommend it enough, especially if you're female or have loved ones who are.

Thanks Brigid. For Lu and The DO and my granddaughter.


15 April 2011

A Chance To Give Advice To An Actual Author

Ed Rasimus, over at Thunder Tales, is as fine a story teller as I've ever had the pleasure of reading. He's got three new book ideas that he's working on and he's asking for input. If you get a chance head over to Ed's site, read the three stories and leave him your opinion. You can find them here:

Stoolies/The Mailman

Life With Mother

Strike Enable

I tend toward the military side of fiction so Strike Enable is my favorite but don't let my thoughts color your opinion, they're all dang good stories.


11 April 2011

Squib, It's Not What's For Dinner

First, a few reminders. I've spent 33 years carrying, shooting, caring for and teaching firearms professionally, both in the Army and as a police officer. Add in the 10 or so years when I was a kid first learning how to shoot and you've got a guy who has fired a few rounds in his life. When you factor in all the shooters I've coached and taught plus the many classes I've attended and I've seen an order of magnitude more go down range than I've fired personally. In short, I am experienced. In all that time I've seen pretty much every malf known to mankind. Except one.

Last week Lu went to California to do some work for a client. While she was gone I decided it was a good time to take out the next guns up on the rotation list. The guns were a K98, a MKIV, a Jungle Carbine and a sweet little S&W 19-5 that The Sarge gave me. The rifles performed flawlessly and many combatant targets were dispatched to cardboard Valhalla. Then it was the S&Ws turn.

I decided this was a perfect time to clean out some of my older inventory. Way back in the depths of my ammunition storage I ran across a box of 158 grain Round Nose FMJ that was probably loaded when Ike was in office. Just what the doctor ordered and when practice is done I could load up the cases with something a little more potent.

First cylinder ripped off just like it's supposed to. Smoke, noise and satisfying holes in things not previously perforated. Then a funny thing happened.

On the first shot of the second cylinder the gun did an odd thing. It just kinda went pop and the front sight remained firmly affixed on the bullseye. Not so much as a waver. As I've previously mentioned, I am a very experienced shooter. I've shot and talked and read all things forearm for four decades. I've seen and read the horror stories and thought I'd learned the lessons needed. I've scoffed at the severe damage incurred when common sense was ignored, secure in the knowledge that I'd never do anything so stupid. Then I nearly did something incredibly moronic. I almost ignored what must be obvious to every reader of this post by this point and did the disastrous. I almost pulled the trigger again.

The Voice was fairly screaming in my head by this point. "NO you fool. Check the barrel. CHECK THE BARREL!!". Fortunately I paused and listened. I thought "I'm smarter than this. I know what might have happened. It'll only take a second. Maybe I should check that barrel. Yeah, maybe I should. Well, I did and this is what I found.

Yes my friends, that is indeed a 158 grain Round Nose FMJ peeking back at you from the depths of a barrel intended to fling such bits of metal completely out of said slug throwing device.

The culprit? If you look closely at this fired shell casing you will see a crack that runs for the majority of the case. (Click to enlarge)

Here is a picture of the offending case with the Model 19 that gave me no previous indication it hated me and wanted to do me grievous bodily injury.

Here's the thing. The very experience I crowed about was nearly my undoing. Such a thing can never happen to me. "I'm careful. I take care of my ammunition and firearms. Things like that happen to other people. Lesser people. Not me. Never me."

I nearly failed to check the barrel and touch off another round through sheer arrogance, complacency and laziness. "I don't need to check that barrel. I'm way too cool/buff/tactical/pretty/lucky/magical/guardianangeled for such a thing to be a concern. And besides, I'm busy shooting, my feet hurt, it's too much trouble to unload and actually inspect the thing, it's never happened before and will never happen in a million years." Stop me if any of these thoughts have ever percolated through your cerebellum on the range. Well, I pretty much thought all of them when it happened to me. It was a stark lesson.

We post and read about this kind of thing constantly. A short journey through your favorite search engine will produce dozens of examples without even trying. But. It's never happened to me before so therefore it didn't happen now because it cannot happen to me. Those of us who are the most experienced may be at the greatest danger of complacency, especially if we've never experienced a squib load in person. I may be alone here but I don't think so.

So the lesson I've learned here and the one I fervently pray I'm never tempted to ignore ever, ever again is this. It can happen to me so I must always pay attention and if something seems wrong, pause and check it out. The hands I save may be my own precious manos.

A word to the wise.

Oh, and that Eisenhower administration era ammunition. I'm pulling the bullets, destroying the primers and powder and consigning the brass to the landfill.


10 April 2011

Sunday Kipling

Sorry for the late post. HoudiniGirl, AKA Chrisi, has found yet another escape route from the back yard requiring a trip to Lowe's and the purchase of new fencing materiel.

As the Bell Clinks
As I left the Halls at Lumley, rose the vision of a comely
Maid last season worshipped dumbly, watched with fervor from afar;
And I wondered idly, blindly, if the maid would greet me kindly.
That was all -- the rest was settled by the clinking tonga-bar.
Yea, my life and hers were coupled by the tonga coupling-bar.

For my misty meditation, at the second changing-station,
Suffered sudden dislocation, fled before the tuneless jar
Of a Wagner obbligato, scherzo, doublehand staccato,
Played on either pony's saddle by the clacking tonga-bar --
Played with human speech, I fancied, by the jigging, jolting bar.

"She was sweet," thought I, "last season, but 'twere surely wild unreason
Such tiny hope to freeze on as was offered by my Star,
When she whispered, something sadly: 'I -- we feel your going badly!'"
"And you let the chance escape you?" rapped the rattling tonga-bar.
"What a chance and what an idiot!" clicked the vicious tonga-bar.

Heart of man -- O heart of putty! Had I gone by Kakahutti,
On the old Hill-road and rutty, I had 'scaped that fatal car.
But his fortune each must bide by, so I watched the milestones slide by,
To "You call on Her to-morrow!" -- no fugue with cymbals by the bar --
You must call on Her to-morrow!" -- post-horn gallop by the bar.

Yet a further stage my goal on -- we were whirling down to Solon,
With a double lurch and roll on, best foot foremost, ganz und gar --
"She was very sweet," I hinted. "If a kiss had been imprinted?" --
"'Would ha' saved a world of trouble!" clashed the busy tonga-bar.
"'Been accepted or rejected!" banged and clanged the tonga-bar.

Then a notion wild and daring, 'spite the income tax's paring,
And a hasty thought of sharing -- less than many incomes are,
Made me put a question private, you can guess what I would drive at.
"You must work the sum to prove it," clanked the careless tonga-bar.
"Simple Rule of Two will prove it," lilted back the tonga-bar.

It was under Khyraghaut I mused. "Suppose the maid be haughty --
There are lovers rich -- and forty -- wait some wealthy Avatar?
Answer, monitor untiring, 'twixt the ponies twain perspiring!"
"Faint heart never won fair lady," creaked the straining tonga-bar.
"Can I tell you ere you ask Her?" pounded slow the tonga-bar.

Last, the Tara Devi turning showed the lights of Simla burning,
Lit my little lazy yearning to a fiercer flame by far.
As below the Mall we jingled, through my very heart it tingled --
Did the iterated order of the threshing tonga-bar --
Try your luck -- you can't do better!" twanged the loosened tongar-bar.

09 April 2011

Koran Burning And Hostages

There's been a lot of talk out there about the Terry Jones Koran burning, from all sides. Some cheer the action while others condemn it. The Jihadis have issued another Fatwa and put a price on his head. The truth is that the price on his head is really a price on all of ours.

I think Terry Jones is an attention whore who is doing nothing more than attempting to add to his flock and thereby increase the money rolling in. But the larger point seems to be lost. We're being held hostage as surely as if we were children in an elementary school in Breslan.

Think of this Koran burning and innocent killing as a hostage situation. Who are the hostages? We are, each and every one of us who refuse to submit the the dictates of Islamic law and the thugs enforcing it.

When a group of people, any group, can impose their will on the unwilling at the point of a sword then we're only awaiting the next set of demands. Where does it stop? What will satisfy this bunch of hostage takers? Money? Obedience to Koranic law? Death? What?

It's working, with the aid and comfort of a media and liberal class so entrenched in America and Christianity hating that they are blind to the idea that they're next on the menu. From politicians to pundits, the cry is to avoid offending the Muslims lest we or other innocents be killed. Well, hostage takers aren't always, or even usually, reasonable or sane. They're drunk on the power they wield over the helpless and the civilized and they won't give up that power unless forced to.

In this country we do negotiate with hostage takers. Right up to the point that it's apparent and obvious that negotiations have broken down, innocents have been killed and more are in imminent danger. Then we break down the doors, send in the knuckle draggers and kill every one of the scum that crosses our gun sights. I submit that this is exactly the point of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We kicked in their doors and sent in the trigger pullers because that was all we had left to do. Every other course of action was pointless unless we decided to give them everything they demanded. Remember that old saw about Dane geld? Loss of life is inevitable, however much we hate it and decry the loss. It was never our intention that the innocent should be killed but we didn't call this tune. We're dancing to the song of insanity being sung by the murderous.

Now we're involved in hand wringing because the bad guys are doing exactly what all of us knew they'd do all along. The only answer besides active and violent self defense is submission. Total, complete, absolute submission to religious tyrants and scum. If not that then answering them by bold and certain action is the only other way. Killing over a religious slight is just an excuse, not a reason and the Muslims that engage in such barbaric behavior don't really need a specific excuse. Any random cause will suffice and if we don't provide it they'll invent it all on their own. Because they love death more than life.

The solution to this hostage situation is no different that if they were holed up in a bank. The negotiations have broken down. Innocents have been killed and more are in imminent danger. It's past time for talking and pleading for reasonableness and mercy from those who have neither. It's time to show the killers that we refuse to submit to blackmail and intimidation. That if they continue their murderous ways then all bets are off and we go for broke. It's the only answer to such criminals and that is exactly what such people are.

Will I burn a Koran? I don't know. Perhaps it's needed. Maybe every American should burn one to prove, once and for all, that we cannot be bought, we cannot be intimidated, we refuse to submit. I do know that giving in to their demands is never the answer in hostage taking. Making the cost of such an attempt so prohibitive, so ghastly, so destructive to their aims as to discourage any others from even contemplating such an action is the only way.

I will not be a hostage. Not to the Muslims, the politicians or their media lackeys. I will decide for myself, based on my own morals and beliefs, what course of action I will pursue. No amount of threats or criminal behavior will dissuade me. And if any of those who would enslave me or use me as a bargaining chip in their push for world domination should try and make good their threats on myself or those I love I will fight to my last bullet and my last breath.

That's the only answer they will ever understand.


08 April 2011

Government Shut Down

I'm betting most of you have heard more then I have about the possible shut down as my news is limited to that which I get online. However, how many of you are aware that the active duty military won't be paid till a finance bill is passed? The members are being paid today about half of a typical mid month pay.

"If a funding bill is not passed, resulting in a government shutdown, the Department of Defense will have no legal authority to pay military members or civilian employees for the days during which the government is shut down."

As I understand it, there will be retro active pay after the end of the budget crisis, or so says Gates. However, if that isn't the case, and the above reads true, my husband and most all my friends will be working for free, and while it is admirable that they will do so in a professional manner and will sacrifice yet again to keep this country safe, the bottom line is that we have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Congress and the President will still be receiving their paychecks, and yet the men and women protecting and defending this nation are left in the lurch.

This shut down has also affect the Commissaries (the grocery stores) and the BX's (our little walmarts) on bases, including those overseas. As in the Commissaries and BX's are being closed as of tomorrow, and will stay closed until a budget is passed. Those here in Europe stayed open quite late tonight in an attempt to allow people to stock up before the shut down goes into effect.

Now, I do understand that there are more people affected here then just the military. The main issue is one that I believe most readers here understand: the federal clerk down the street will suffer as much as I will while this budget crisis is ongoing, yet it will be the only time she suffers for her nation. My family chose to put our lives, our safety, our security and our comfort on the line in defense of our nation. We send our husbands, wives, fathers and mothers to fight for the freedom of out country, and for the rights of the world. That those in Congress and the President would so shamefully disregard that price that we pay with yet another hardship is shocking.

Hopefully this issue is short-lived and my rant can be trashed in the garbage heap 0f history. Once certainly can hope.

~The DO

07 April 2011

Drag Racing

Last week Car Guy drove out and we went down to Las Vegas for the drag races. Now, I am also a car enthusiast and have been to races before. The difference here is I had never seen the Nitro cars run. I've watched on TV. I've seen Top Alcohol and alcohol sand drags in person. They compare to Nitro like a 60 watt lightbulb to the Sun. Nitro Rocks!

Before I get into the day let me make a couple of suggestions. First, if you've never been Go. No description can do the reality justice. Most races are three day affairs. Friday and Saturday qualifying with eliminations on Sunday. Go on Friday. The crowds are much smaller and you still get that Nitro fix. Bring ear protection. Trust me on this. Get as close as you can to the Nitro cars when they make a run. At least once. Go early enough to watch the Sportsman and Alcohol cars qualify so you'll have a good frame of reference for the big boys.

The view of Las Vegas Motor Speedway from our seats, which we used for about 10 minutes.

Sportsman cars during a wheels up launch. They seem awfully fast until the Nitro cars run. It's no contest.

There's a funny sign in the stands prohibiting smoking. You read it while the tire smoke from burnouts wafts by. Smells like freedom to me.

The Safety Safari is in charge of the track, including surface preparation. One of their tools is this machine. The tires on the back rotate in the opposite direction of travel and as they make passes down the track leaves a coating of sticky rubber.

John Force after a long, smoky burnout. They do this to put heat into the wrinkle wall slicks and lay down yet another layer of rubber at the starting line. I later bought a used piston signed by Force. My only souvenir.

In front of the grandstands is an area set aside specifically for picture taking. It's about 40 feet from the closest lane and where we spent the bulk of our day. It was awesome.

You can see how close we were.

A Funny Car without the body. They're surprisingly small, no bigger than my 1980 Corvette. This picture shows another reason I love drag racing, access to the pits. The Fuel car pits are located in Nitro Alley and you can stand just a few feet away from the crews and cars and talk to the drivers and anyone else you can snag.

This is the Top Fuel Dragster of Tony Shoemacher. 300 inch wheelbase and running 8000horsepower.

The teams have 75 minutes between runs to do maintenance. Normally they'll completely tear down the engine and check/replace components as needed. After they're done they start up the engine in the pits to make sure it runs and do a heat cycle to seat parts. The engine starts and idles at about 2500 RPMs. At the end of the cycle they'll blip the throttle, going from idle to full throttle in a fraction of a second. You can stand behind the car as it runs and get the full force of the thunderous engine, eyes stinging and watering from the Nitro Methane exhaust. It's a little slice of car nut Heaven. Everyone jumps when the throttle is blipped!

This is Brandon Bernstein's Top Fuel Dragster passing by at full song. You can see the header flames even in the bright sunshine. I can't begin to describe the sensation of a Nitro pass. I now understand how sound can be used as a weapon. The sound of a Nitro car at full throttle is physical. It goes beyond mere sound. It vibrates the very air in your chest. The sound will hurt your ears if you don't at least have your fingers in them as it passes. The exhaust rushing from the headers actually assaults your body.

Then the car is past, still accelerating toward the finish line. A good pass will be under 4 seconds at over 300 miles an hour. If you look closely you can see this pass was 3.96 seconds at 305 MPH. That's in just 1000 feet.

There's even a class for the kids called Junior dragster. I wonder if the grandkids can be convinced.....

All in all it was a great time. If you get a chance I highly recommend going and seeing these magnificent cars in person. Nitro Methane is the Eighth Wonder of the World. It doesn't burn it explodes. After you witness a thundering pass you'll wonder why the engines don't explode every time (as opposed to occasionally). After you see just how fast 300 miles per hour are you'll have a new appreciation for the sheer courage of the men and women who strap on these machines and hurl themselves down the track in a barely controlled explosion of sound and fury. There is just nothing like it and the very best of Drag Racing is right here in the good old USA.

God bless America!


04 April 2011


I've talked a few times about fitness and how important I believe it is, especially at my age. I'm just a few months shy of my 52nd birthday and I can say, with absolutely no fear of contradiction, that it's vastly easier to stay in shape than it is to get into shape as we get older. If you're fit make the effort to stay that way. If you're not there's no time like the present. I get asked from time to time what my workout regimen is like. I'm a fan of weightlifting and bicycling. The bike is my cardio training preference though I've been running a bit lately.

Weightlifting. I used to powerlift but as I've gotten along in age my joints are really feeling the beating I've given them over the years so I've (mostly) given up super heavy, very low repetition and gone with more medium weight/medium rep and light weight/high rep routines.

Bicycling. I love to ride. I've got a Giant TCR2 road bike and a Gary Fisher Black Marlin mountain bike. Lu and I like nothing better than a nice afternoon ride among the farms and fields of Hurricane. We tend more toward road riding but there are so many great trails here that there's no way we'll exclude the desert single track and slick rock the area has to offer. We also bought a roller, an indoor bike trainer when the weather turns nasty.

Running. Since I left the Army in 1985 I've detested running. I had to do it in the Academy but I usually need a powerful motivator to run. Lu, on the other hand, loves to run and has convinced me to do a few 5Ks with her this year so I've been running a bit more.

This is my gym. I've got a dip bar, squat rack, bicycle on the rollers
As well as a bench and treadmill. Behind this camera shot is an upright Bowflex machine for arm and shoulder work.
Now there's a bicycle guy out there named The Fat Cyclist (Fatty). Every year he has an event he calls The 100 Miles of Nowhere. The idea is to ride 100 miles on rollers or on an absurdly short course. I've been wanting to do it for a few years and this year, in honor of my mother, I'm going to do it. With a twist. I'm going to do a Triathlon but not a normal one. See, I can't swim. Oh I can kinda dogpaddle around and generally keep myself from drowning but I can't otherwise swim a stroke. Every time I try I look like a walrus being eaten by an Orca. Besides, swimming is for fish, dogs and sissies. So, what to do? Well I can lift so why not incorporate that instead of the swim? Genius and hard core as all get out.

The Warrior Triathlon has been born.

The Triathlon will consist of 100,000 pounds lifted, 100 miles on the bicycle (On the rollers), and a 10K run (On the treadmill). A couple of weeks ago I decided to test my fitness with a half distance attempt. I've completed every discipline except the 100 miles on the bike so I was fairly confident.

I started out with a 5K run.
From there I transitioned to the bicycle. The rollers lift the rear wheel so I put the front wheel on my squat rack platform.

Proof of distance.

After the Bicycle, 50,000 pounds. I concentrated on basic movements, Bench, Squat, Dips and the like. I concentrated on low weight with very high reps. For the half distance I did 50 reps per exercise but for the 100,000 it goes up to 100 reps per. When I last did 100,000 pounds it took me 1250 reps. The half distance was only 500 which is where I need to be, averaging 100 pounds per exercise. 1250 reps just took too long.

Dips are one of my fitness litmus tests. When I can rip them off without feeling like I'm going to have a coronary my strength is good. When I can't I need to get off my butt and spend more time putting in the effort. Right now 5 to 10 sets of 10 are very easy. I'll move up to sets of 15 or 20 when I do the full distance.

Bench is a staple and I'll need to find a lot of weight here.

Squat is another place where I'll be counting on a high lift total.

Minor body part exercises will round out the total. Overheads, curls and the like.

I made the half distance, 5K run, 50 mile bike ride and 50,000 pounds, in 4:43. That means I'm probably looking at 10 to 11 hours for the full Tri. I'll go 3/4 distance at the end of April. The event is June 4th. I also figured out the sequence of events. Lift, Bike and Run with squats as the very first exercise so my legs can recover before the bike and run.

It doesn't matter what your fitness level is or your physical limitations are. Get out there and work out. Challenge yourself. Find what you like to do and do it. Kick butt and take no prisoners. Find your motivation. It only takes a few times and it'll become habit. Heck, Murphy's Law is short a wheel and he runs (better than I do) and bikes. The alternative isn't even worth contemplation. Anyone can find 3 to 4hours a week and a workout can be as simple as a walk with a good friend.

And if you aren't doing anything on June 4th, have I got a workout for you!


03 April 2011

Sunday Kipling

Spring is in the offing and the scent of new life is in the air. It's a great day to be alive my friends.

The Glory of the Garden

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all ;
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks:
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.

And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:--"Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives

There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hand and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!