Sunday, October 19, 2014

So I got this new foot...

And this thing ROCKS!
It's an Ossur Flex Foot, and it's part of my newest running leg--the third one that I've had since I decided that just walking wasn't gonna be good enough.

The first one was pretty crude, being little more than a curved piece of hi-strength fiberglass laminate bolted to the back of a regular fiberglass and plastic leg sleeve. It wasn't adjustable for height or camber or anything, but my prosthetist is good and he got it chose enough to perfect on the first try that eventually I was able to run the Army Ten-Miler with it.
It wasn't much-in fact, the sole was covered by a hard rubber that started life as an industrial floor tile, but that leg served me well until I went down for more leg surgery, after which it never fit right again. So a second one was made, this one little more than a clone of the first, the exception being that the laminate running blades were now starting to evolve as companies began putting some serious research and development into them.
This one was somewhat adjustable (but not much) and the running blade had a pad, a double-thickness for more energy return, and a real running surface on the bottom.

Sadly, I never really got this one working right. There was always a spot inside where I'd get pain during a run, and we were never able to solve that problem despite cutting out large sections of the hard plastic. But after a second bit of leg surgery, this one didn't fit right anymore either so it joined the first one in a box of cast-off legs in the basement.

Enter the third one. This one is cutting-edge technology. It's fully adjustable in all directions and for height and it has a removable/replaceable sole make by Nike. It's also made of a new material and it's easily half the weight of the last one. This thing is cool beyond description.
On Saturday, I took it out for a test run. Rock Creek Park in Washington DC closes off much of Beach Drive on the week-ends, restricting the road to pedestrians and bikes only. I happened to be down there, and the fall colors made for a nice run along the creek in the company of countless other fitness-minded folks. This was my first off-treadmill run in over a year, so I didn't push it too far. I kept it down to a mile and a half, and though I really wanted to run farther at the end of that run just because it felt so good, I knew from past experience to cut it there per the plan, and lemme tell you, today I'm glad that I did; I'm feeling it a bit from that run, but not really bad like I would be had I decided to run farther and over-do it. But the stiffness today is all in my other joints--the leg feels great. This running leg fits perfectly and there were no hot spots under it when I was finished, so I'm thinking that me and this leg are going to be great friends indeed. Heck, maybe next year, we'll do the Ten-Miler again, or even a half marathon. And one day, before I'm done...a whole marathon. I've just gotta.

A nice promotional video put out by the Ossur folks:

Sadly--but good for me and others--the advances in technology on these legs over the last decade has been greater than at any other time in the history of prosthetics, and it's all courtesy military spending due to the large numbers of amputees coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of what I use today on all of my legs wouldn't even exist but for that.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Man Movie

Ever have one of those days when nothing goes right and the VC take over your whole camp? This scene from The Green Berets always puts a smile on my face, and, I suspect, the face of everyone who appreciates airpower and John Wayne and America.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some things we just don't share.

Murphy and Belle will share the rug on a sunny day.

They'll share the dog cushion.

They'll share the old sleeping bag on the floor in the reloading area.

They'll even share the guest bed, although they're not supposed to be up there.

But the one thing that isn't shared? MY bed.
Murphy is allowed to sleep on my bed when I'm there, with this permission dating back to a period when I worked nights and needed to sleep during the day. The only way to get some sleep, free of his paws constantly clicking on the hardwood and his barking at things outside, was to bring him up on the bed with me and make him sleep there, too. It worked, but now he still feels entitled. Belle, on the other hand, was never granted that priviledge initially, although it was pretty clear early on that she wanted to get up there, too. Recently, I've softened and began inviting her up, but Murphy won't have it and every time she's tried to come up, he growls her back off. A couple of times, I've coaxed her up when he wasn't around, and she's in her glory right up until she hears him coming down the hall, at which point she skedaddles. And if he's around when I pat the bed, calling her to join me, she just goes over and plunks down on her dog bed; she will not come up on my bed if he's anywhere nearby. Considering that she established herself as the Alpha dog when she came into the household last year, this is curious indeed.
Dogs can be so quirky.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guns Save Legislators Lives in PA.

Remember when Barry Obama sneered at Pennsylvanians as "bitterly clinging to their guns and their religion"? Well for a couple of Pennsylvania lawmakers, clinging to guns saved the day when a punk pulled a gun on two of them, only to be met by the gun of one of the legislators, State Rep. Marty Flynn, who has a concealed weapons permit.

Statehouse Shootout: Pa. lawmaker exchanges gunfire with would-be robber

Imagine that--guns saving lives. Who'd have thought, eh? Looks like at least some of the Pennsylvania legislature are apparently more secure than B.O. is in the White House. Of course they're taking responsibility for their own safety and not trusting their lives blindly to a bunch of people that they've disrespected for six years straight.

As for Pennsylvania, I'm betting that we don't see much in the way of CCW restrictions out of that legislature, at least for a while. And mad props to Harrisburg Police for responding quickly and nabbing four of the punks responsible for the attempted robbery.

And a Good Morning to all of you, too!

Oh, what a morning.

To start with, it's pouring down rain outside, but an e-mail exchange that I've been having with a fellow M1 fan had me rooting through old boxes of gun parts before the sun came up, looking for a misplaced box of Garand parts, which I eventually found. To my surprise, I have more spares than I thought, which is good, because it looks like I'll have an interesting new project to start work on shortly...stay tuned.

Then it was time to put the dogs out. Belle will go out and happily romp in the rain, but if it's even damp outside, Murphy has to be bodily shoved off of the porch to go do his dog business. This is funny when you consider that he's the enthusiastic swimmer and she's petrified of the water.

Next came breakfast and a morning movie that I'll be shaking my head over all day...the 1966 classic "Billy The Kid Versus Dracula." Yeah, they really went there. Chuck Courtney played Billy and John Carradine, father of actors Keith and David, played the vampire. (Carradine had played Dracula in earlier films, House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945)). Melinda Plowman played Betty, the girl that Billy fought to save from Dracula.

William Bonney was a crack pistolero, but bullets don't stop the undead, as both he, then the sheriff, came to find out. So what does Billy do to stop the immortal Count?

Yep. When all else fails, throw the empty pistol and knock him out.

The whole movie can be found on-line for free of you want (Amazon Prime and Youtube) and it's mercifully short at 1:14.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to run into town for a bit. Back later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Fed-Ex Fairy Came Calling

And a box from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) got left behind.

Opening it up, I find this beautiful service-grade M1 Garand rifle.
At first glance, I'm pleased. The wood is tight and sports just a few little nicks here and there. The finish is great. This rifle looks to have been used very little.
But appearances deceive. This rifle sports a serial number that indicates that it was made in November of 1943. As such, there's a pretty good chance that it saw service in World War Two, and maybe Korea as well.

At sometime in it's life though, it saw enough shooting that it's original barrel was replaced at least once. Now it sports one made in March of 1965, twenty-two years after the rifle itself was made.
This barrel has a muzzle wear of 1 on a scale of one to ten, one being virtually new, and ten being shot out. It also has a throat erosion of 2 on that same scale.
All of it's marked parts appear to be Springfield Armory parts, so there will be no temptation to remove bolts, trigger assembly parts or operating rods for substitution onto other Winchester, H&R or IHC rifles. But I'm good with that, as this rifle came here intact and it's parts are it's parts, either original to it or added during some chapter of it's service life.

The stock is undoubtedly a replacement, as it bears no stamps indicating arsenal re-working. Pulling the stock off reveals that she saw an arsenal rebuild on September of 1965 at the Red River Army Depot.
Interestingly, they seem to have left the early-style gas cylinder lock on instead of "upgrading" to the newer version with more metal on the top.
That pleases me, because I like the older ones like this.

This one is a beauty, and I can't wait to get her out and see how she shoots.

Of course I might have a bit of trouble taking it out. It looks like Miss Memphis Belle is laying a claim on it for herself.
Trade you for a marrow bone, Belle? How about two marrow bones?

And no, it didn't come with a sling. CMP seems to have stopped sending those with the rifles. But fortunately I have a few spares so I could put one on quick before Tam calls me out for not having one on my rifle again. ;-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Selfless Cop Saves Special Needs Girl's Service Dog

In Washington State, bastion of liberalism, a heartless creep ran over a little disabled girl's service dog and fled. Fortunately, Pierce County Detective Ryan Salmon happened by. Not only did he rush the girl, her mom, and the dog to the vet in his car, but when the mom didn't have the money for the dog's vet bills and faced having to put the dog down, Detective Salmon paid the bills himself.

Dog of special needs girl saved with help from detective

Kudos to Detective Salmon. My kind of cop, indeed. But then again, most of them are good people like that; it's why they became police officers in the first place.

Fall Color Flight

It was an overcast day yesterday, with a slight chance of rain forecast, but the fall colors are changing and I'd promised my friend Annette a flight, so off we went.

Here's a quarry just off the airport. Getting deep fast, and if you look close, you can see the big trucks hauling rock out of there, Sunday nothwithstanding.
Hopping over the first ridge to the west, you can see the green changing to reds and oranges already.
Here's the Cacapon River, meandering north towards the Potomac.
And here's the Potomac as it cuts through the ridge in Maryland, on it's way down to the Chesapeake Bay 90 miles to the east.
And here's Interstate 68, heading east through the Sideling Hill Cut, just south of the Maryland/Pennsylvania line.
Downtown Hancock, MD, as we make a base turn, heading into the Potomac Airpark just across the river. It's at this point that Annette asks, "Uh, we're going to land?"
Yep. Airplanes do that sometimes.
Shot a nice touch-and-go for the practice, waving at a family that was using the airport for go-cart riding as we did, and then it was on down the river towards Harpers Ferry.

Along the way, we passed over Fort Frederick. A close look shows what appears to be one adult and one child inside at the gate. Looks like they've got the whole place to themselves. How cool is that?
Here's the Potomac River again, meandering lazily through Maryland farm country.
And here's a neat little dam on the river. I've overflown it several times and I need to find it and go see it on the ground sometime.
Here's the visitor center and Dunker Church at Antietam Battlefield.
And here's Burnside Bridge where it crosses Antietam Creek. I never tire of looking at it and pondering that day, September 17, 1862, when 500 Union troops died trying to take that bridge and cross the river.
And here's Harpers Ferry, where the Shenandoah comes in from the south. Washington DC is just sixty miles downriver from here.
Here's Annette flying the airplane, and hardly nervous at all.
Izak Walton gun club on Leetown Rd.
And we're home.

And the rains started fifteen minutes later. But our flight was practically perfect and a great way to spend a fall afternoon. Four states covered in less than two hours.

The second most aggravating thing in the world...

is when you're late to go somewhere and you've misplaced your keys.

The first most aggravating thing in the world is when you're frantically going from room to room in your house looking for those keys, and you're followed every step of the way by two amped-up German Shepherds who have convinced themselves that this is the greatest game ever.

My neighbors might have been wondering why I was yelling "LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!!!" on a nice Sunday morning yesterday. On second thought, they've known me and the dogs long enough not to have to wonder.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

This is gonna be fun!

The Great Keads has offered to set up a bowling pin shoot at the upcoming blogshoot, and for those of you who have never shot one've been missing out.

In a pin shoot, the shooter is faced with a table of five or six evil bowling pins, and when the timer beeps, the shooter has to raise their pistol loaded with six rounds--and six rounds only--and knock all the pins off of the table for time. Easy, you say? It's not. If a pin is hit solidly, it usually leaves the table, but if it's just clipped, it often falls over on it's side, and more hits are required to get it off the table. Oh, and that six rounds/six pins thing? if you're good, you might get all of them off the table without a reload, but most of us will typically end up having to reload under time pressure to finish up, and that's where the real skill comes in.

The best time of the day will win something nominal I guess, plus bragging rights. The money raised from this event and the blogshoot in general (less our range fee) will all go to Cancer Care this year, an organization that helps patients and families dealing with cancer and one whose overhead is very low, ensuring that most of the money that they receive actually goes to the cause and not salaries and mailing expenses.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Because life is getting in the way, I'm short for posts, so here--watch a couple great police tazer videos.

Some people really don't know when to shut their mouths, follow basic instructions and just be cool.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Where does this outrage come from?

So now the Liberian National who came into our country with Ebola--the one who lied to both Liberian and US Customs about his medical condition as he came in on a tourist visa while actually planning to get married and stay here indefinitely--is dead. And it took just a few hours for his friends here to start criticizing and threatening lawsuits against the hospital that treated him, the State of Texas, and pretty much everyone else that they can try to loop in. They claim, among other things, that he wasn't given the same high-tech drugs that the other two Ebola-sufferers received, and that he wasn't transported to a specialist medical facility for no-holds-barred treatment like they were. and now they're doing press conferences and talk shows and Jesse Jackson has already arrived on scene and begun declaring things to be "racist".

Excuse me, but why would these people think that the rest of us owe this guy anything at all?

The two others who were treated were both doctors who went in harm's way to help stop this disease, and both were Americans. This guy was just a foreign national who was trying to game our immigration system for his own benefit, and I seriously doubt that he came into our country with medical insurance or a big bag of cash to pay for extensive isolation and comprehensive treatment. No, all he did was show up and expose at least 48 other people that we know of tho his disease, and the bills for his treatment and observation and monitoring of the others has already run well into the millions of dollars. were we supposed to just open our national checkbook and disburse unlimited funds to save this guy who isn't even one of us? He got basic care for free just like any other uninsured person showing up at an american hospital would have, but now that the usual suspect race-baiters are on the stage, suddenly that's not good enough and there are insinuations that we as a country somehow "owed" this guy unlimited access to scarce resources with money being no object.

Screw that. What we should have done--and what we would have done if I was president--was seal this guy up in a medical isolation bubble and fly him right back to Liberia, and then stop all flights back to our country from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. But I'm not president, Am I? Unfortunately that job went to some guy who is not only keeping our airports open to carriers of the disease, but sending our soldiers into those countries so that they can catch it, too.
It would seem that THAT is what Jesse Jackson should be spouting off about, but I guess that he's going to wait until our servicemen (specifically our black servicemen) start coming back with this disease.

America is doomed unless our leaders butch up and put protection over politics and common sense over color.

Why I can't have nice things.

Here they are, Exhibit #1 and Exhibit #2.

First off, a counter-surfing Murphy shatters a pyrex bowl that I was particularly fond of a few weeks back. So blogger Mr. B kindly sends me two replacements and they arrive not long afterwards. Well I put the new yellow one to use for breakfast this morning, and no sooner had I set it aside on my small office table, then Belle came in to get some petting and swept it off the table with her wagging tail, reducing it to fragments. I'd used it twice.

And how can you even get mad at a dog who breaks your stuff while trying to show you how much she loves you?

Damn dogs.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Oh yeah? Suppressor race continues

In keeping pace with The Miller's challenge, my completed suppressor transfer packet hit the mail yesterday. Priority. And I enclosed $5.00 suggesting that the examiners "misplace" his for a few days.