Monday, January 26, 2015

Be Alert, Be Aware! Here He Comes!

My Nephew, The Spud, turns SIXTEEN today. And he's just started Driver's Ed.

So, in his honor...and as a warning to the rest of you all...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Morning Hell

Mornings. Such a peaceful, tranquil time.

Well maybe for non-dog owners, or at least those not "blessed" with Murphy and Belle.

Take yesterday morning. The alarm goes off, and before I can even reach over to switch it off, Belle is next to my bed, gleefully swatting me in the face with her paw--the huge paw with the non-retractable claws.

Murphy gets up a little slower, and typically Belle goes over to mess with him next, leading to the day's first bit of dog scrapping as Murph, not a morning dog, to be sure, lets her know with a growl and a light nip or two that her attentions aren't appreciated. She doesn't quit though, and before long, the two will be going round and round, grappling at each other, or else he'll be chasing her out into the dark house, knocking things over as they go.

Shoulda just got hamsters, I'm thinking. Hamsters would be sleeping quietly right now.

I get up, and they rush to the back door and line up, eager to go out into the dog run. I toss them out and set about grabbing some coffee and perusing the night's news.

Normally, they take care of business in short order because they both live for what comes next: breakfast. When I hear them on the back steps, I go open the door again, standing aside as I do because I know that 150+ lbs of Shepherd is going to be bolting for the kitchen like a couple of those bulls in Pamplona because they know that their bowls have been filled while they were out.

Want to see some truly confused and anguished looks of hurt and betrayal? Just don't put any food in their bowls while they're out.

Well yesterday morning was an exception to the last parts of this ritual, as Murphy, out in the pen, began loudly barking into the darkness. I knew from the bark that he'd detected some other creature out in the woods beyond the fenced boundary of the run, and he was doing his guard dog thing, letting both the creature and me know that he knew of it's presence and was ready to do battle.

Or maybe he was just telling every neighbor for half a mile that it was four AM. He's nothing if not thoughtful like that sometimes.

I go back to the door to pull them back in and what comes to the door? One dog. Just Murphy comes. Belle is...well that's the question for the moment, because she's sure not in the pen. I grab a show and walk out there, and sure enough, "Little X" has dug another bolt hole under the fence just adjacent to the last one, which I'd filled with big rocks not a week ago. She's gone.

Did I mention that we've still got a drizzly rain and fog thing going on?

I put Murphy on hold and go to the kitchen door. Opening that, with whispered apologies to any neighbors still asleep, I call for Belle. Since she's apparently a ways off out in the fog-shrouded woods, I ave to call a few times, each time raising the volumes, until I hear something running through the underbrush towards me. Yep, that's my little mud-covered Houdini, soaking wet, big grin on her face, and proud of herself for pursuing whatever it was in the woods off into the next zip code before getting the recall. I bring her in and trash another bath towel cleaning her up a bit, and then I bring Murphy in and hand them their bowls. Damn dogs.

I suspect that it's because of stuff like this that someone periodically swipes the "for sale" sign off of a nearby vacant lot and puts it in front of my house.


But this morning? No alarm this morning. No work to be at. This was my "sleep in" morning, which
really means that I get to stay in my bed, unmolested, until the first rays of daylight creep in at about 0714 hours, at which point, both of them come stand next to my bed and begin licking at my face and batting at my head with their huge paws...the ones with the non-retractable claws.

Definitely gonna be hamsters the next time I feel the need to have a pet.

"You are SO lucky to have us!"

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why is it always me?

So this afternoon, as I'm getting ready to leave work, my boss walks past me and says "Saudi King Abdullah is dead."

"Oh, really?" I reply.

"Yep. Guess it happened today. What do you know about it?"

"Hey, man," I said back. "I was here the whole day, and I got witnesses. Why are you people always suspecting me of stuff like this?"

The boss just shook his head and walked away.

My quarterly evaluations may not be the best, but they typically make for some interesting reading.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vigilante FAIL. Man Attacks Concealed Pistol Holder, Gets Arrested.

Screaming "He's got a GUN!", 43 year old Michael Foster attacked 62 year old Clarence Daniels as he walked into a Hillsborough County, Florida Wal-Mart after observing that Daniels had a firearm on his person. Only problem for Foster: Daniels has a concealed-weapons permit and was lawfully carrying his firearm when Foster jumped on him and knocked him to the ground.

Vigilante arrested for tackling licensed gunowner in Florida Wal-Mart

Foster was arrested by responding police and charged with battery, as he should have been.

Now my concerns go a bit deeper than the original story. First of all, it sounds as if Mr. Daniels, though a lawful CCW permit holder, was not doing a very good job concealing his sidearm if Foster could spot it like he did. (Remember folks, if bad guys can see it, they can attack--like Foster did--or take you out pre-emptively if they want to. The option is theirs.)

My second concern is that Mr. Daniels was apparently not aware of the fact that he was about to be attacked until Foster grabbed him. A major part of self-defense is situational awareness, and that means keeping an eye as to your surroundings and other people in proximity to you, especially those who seem to be eyeballing you. Now can we all be 100% aware 100% of the time? Not likely. However it sounds like Mr. Daniels definitely got caught not paying attention. Not good. Not good at all.

Now let's go back to Foster again. Was he simply some wanna-be do-gooder with a hero complex, another George Zimmerman wanna-be? (It is Florida, after all.) Or was he something worse, namely one of those whack-job anti-gun loons who urge each other on the internet to attack or call the police on anyone that they suspect to be armed? Hopefully this gets investigated, and if it's the latter, hopefully he is exposed and he pulls some serious jail time.

Either way, this is the sort of thing that anyone who carries a concealed firearm needs to be aware of, and it's a lesson showing that we've got to remain vigilant. And having a "Plan B" for those times when someone gets too close to draw on or tries to disarm you is never a bad thing. Does YOUR holster have any retention features, and have YOU thought of what you'll do if/when someone hits you from behind and goes for your gun?

If not, why not?

And To Think That I Saw It Off North Capitol Street

My side-trip to the Armed Forces Retirement Home last week wasn't just about a tank. They also have this really nice North American F-86 Sabre jet there. I just had to see it.
Like the tank, it's obviously being well-cared for. Though it sits outside and under trees, it's free of grime and bird droppings, and even the tires are properly inflated. She appears ready to launch any time.
And what I wouldn't give to fly this aircraft. Supposedly "viceless" due to it's stable flying characteristics and it's agility, it was regarded as the last true dogfighter. Even during Vietnam, when used as an aggressor aircraft to train other pilots, it was said to be capable of beating an F-100 or F-105 "in any envelope except nose down and full throttle."
Developed after World War Two by the same company that gave us the P-51 Mustang, the F-86 was the front line jet fighter over Korea. It was replaced in US inventory by more advanced fighters by the end of the 1950s, but over 9,800 of them were built, including 1,800 built under license in Canada, and it was given or sold to many of our allies around the world. In fact, they were still flown by several countries well into the 1980s, and Bolivia finally retired it's last military Sabres in 1994.
This one is a later model, an F-86H. It has the redesigned wing and four 20mm cannon instead of the six .50 machine guns that the earlier variants had.
It's got built-in boarding steps too, on both sides. But again, because of where it is, this one I can't really check out. Wouldn't be proper.
Got some interesting tabs underneath the elevators. Any ideas what these might be for?

She's a sweetie, to be sure. And it looks like she's got a good home here. Well worth the time spent coming over to see it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Very Interesting Birthday

Today, Arte Johnson turns 86 years old.

If you don't remember this, go ask your parents, kids.

Also born on this date: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (85 today) and KISS rocker Paul Stanley.

I knew that it was just a matter of time

Looks like someone got busted. Something to do with a couple of dozen cats missing around the neighborhood.

Either that, or a certain blogger has too much free time and photoshop handy. Hee.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Good Day For Shooting

Because Bruce, a relative newbie to shooting, is about to buy a pistol, several of us went out to the range today to put him on various handguns and generally just have some fun on a January afternoon.

Since Bruce wants a 9mm, we brought out three for him to try:
Top to bottom: Browning Hi-Power, Smith and Wesson M&P, and Glock 19.

I don't think that he even shot the Hi-Power, as he was already leaning towards an M&P just from his own research. But he got to shoot a 9mm M&P courtesy of John, who has one, (Mine's a .40.) and he liked it and did pretty good with it when he concentrated on sight alignment and trigger press.

Most importantly though: He was safe. No safety violations, so I was pleased. I'm thinking that he'll go far as a decent shooter.

We also got some rifle shooting in.

Here's Cindy, with her Savage .22:
I forgot to tell her that she needed to shift her rear sight up to go from 25 yards to 100. But she figured it out when she went down to see her target.

Here's John with his DPMS G2 Recon .308.
He added a decent scope and a Harris bipod, and his 200 yard target was a thing of beauty after he got done knocking it's center out. I'm going to have to get one of those now.

Here's Bruce, shooting my M-1 Garand:

And here's my Garand, s/n XXX5009 again.

Also present: A Universal M-1 carbine, one of the older ones that still uses a number of GI parts.

And special mention goes to our friend Keith, who was supposed to come out but decided to finish a cleaning project at home instead.

All in all, a good day indeed.

Tank You Very Much.

While out and about in Washington DC the other day, I happened across this nifty M60 M48 tank on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
I'd seen it for some time through their fence off North Capitol Street, so the other day I stopped by their main office and they were kind enough to allow me access to take some pictures.
This one is one of the first-generation M60s, later generation M48s and it sports the long bore-evacuated 105mm main gun, as you can see here.
These machines weighed in at approximately 50 tons, and they were powered by a Continental V-12 air-cooled, twin-turbocharged diesel engine that put out 750 horsepower. (Air cooled? How do you do that on an engine that big, especially one encased in steel?)
As you can see, this one is in great shape, without a single broken light or missing fixture.
Close-up of the turret below shows an interesting logo welded on the hull. Didn't notice it until I got home and went through the pics. What do you suppose it is? Perhaps Detroit Tank Arsenal's version of a hood ornament?
Detroit made a lot of these. Between 1952 and 1959, they produced over 12,000 of them for the US Military and our allies, and Pakistan was still using them in Somalia in 1993.
The US Marines made great use of them in Vietnam, literally writing the book on jungle operations with these monsters that were designed for the open battlefields of Europe. The VC and NVA quickly learned to fear them. A great book on that aspect of the war is Praying for Slack: A Marine Corps Tank Commander in Viet Nam by Robert E. Peavey. Likewise, Ralph Zumbro has written several good books on tanks and tank combat, with Tank Aces being a favorite of mine.
Gotta admit, I'd love to have this beauty under my carport. But she's apparently being well-cared for where she is, and she's where she belongs, serving out her days in the company of other veterans. Still, I'll likely pop back to visit her every now and again, just because.

EDITED TO ADD: Reader Knucklehead informs me that this is an M-48, not an M-60.

I still need one, though.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cop On The Beat With The Beat

OK, admittedly, this made me smile.

Good job, Dover PD public relations folks. And thanks to Katherine, this blog's token Liberal, for sending the link.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I Guess "Extreme" Is The New Word For "Retarded"

From Idaho, a place where people really should know better, comes this tale of a snowmobiler who considered himself "extreme"

Snowmobiler stranded in freezing Idaho ravine wrote goodbye notes

Long story short, guy went out for a ride in a remote area and wrecked in a ravine. He survived the plunge, but nearly died over the next few days because he hadn't taken any water, survival or self-rescue equipment with him.

The money quote from the story is this one:

"When you're an extreme snowmobiler and you get lost, you're usually dead," Barry Sadler told KECI-TV. "You're going places where people won't go -- where people shouldn't go."

The 54-year-old Mullan, Idaho, man said part of his extreme mindset was to ride without survival gear or water.

Some people are alive today because Darwin was apparently asleep or in the can when their moment came. Barry Sadler (not the former Greet Beret) is clearly one of them.

Sadler suffered some broken bones in his hands and had frostbite.

Two sheriff's deputies involved in the search scolded Sadler for riding by himself and without survival gear, an avalanche beacon or a satellite locator.

Gee, all that's missing here is for Red Forman to walk in and call him a dumbass.

Saturday Man Movie

In Hangman's Knot (1952), a young Lee Marvin's date with Donna Reed is interrupted by Randolph Scott.

Friday, January 16, 2015

How Do You Stop A Million Pounds Moving At 200mph?

And no, I'm not talking about Rosie O'Donnell chasing a cheesecake truck...I'm talking about a new Boeing 747-8 undergoing stop tests...with deliberately-manufactured bad brakes, just to make it interesting.

Boeing 747-8 Ulitmate Rejected Takeoff Video.

They say those brakes reached 2,500 degrees, and you can actually see them glowing once the aircraft is stopped. Way cool.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ever Vigilant

Good watchdogs have a dash of Warrior Spirit. This one has the whole jar.

"Come on, just a little closer now. Closer..."

Oh, and don't think that the other one is far away. She's probably out of the pen (as usual) and sneaking up behind you. But if you turn your back on this one to look...

You Want Gun Owners To Pay For WHAT?

Well that didn't take long. A Missouri state legislator named Brandon Ellington (a Democrat, naturally) has found a way to combine his hatred of gun owners and his contempt for the police with bills that mandate that all police officers wear body cameras and that every gun or ammunition purchaser pay for those cameras via a 1% tax on these items.

Missouri lawmaker wants police body cameras paid for by tax on guns, ammo

What a shock, eh?

Now while I like police car dash cams, I'm not a fan of body cams in principle, because I still think that police officers can, by and large, be trusted to tell the truth, and saddling each and every one of them with even more gear don't really address the problem of ferretting out and removing the relative few that aren't trustworthy. However, even if cameras are the way to go, (because we can never spend too much money making sure that violent criminals and crackheads don't get roughed up or "disrespected",) how does anyone, even a Democrat, justify passing the bill on to every law-abiding gun owner and target shooter in the state?

My suggestion to the representative and the Dems in general is that if you want to tax people to pay for police cameras, how about taxing the people that cause most police interactions?

--Put a tax on anyone who is arrested. Heck, what's one more court fine imposed? And it's pretty obvious that these people are "users" of our criminal justice system, and that should work for fans of a "user pays" form of government financing.

--Put a tax on liquor stores in urban neighborhoods. Can we not argue that much of the street crime occurs in or around these places or when their products are consumed to excess?

--Hell, why not put a tax on every store in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods, because that seems to be where 99% of the people who can't get along with the police live. Draconian and overly-broad? Perhaps. But you have to admit that it still makes more sense than taxing some rural farmer, suburban target shooter or a retiree living in a mountain cabin, none of whom are anywhere near as likely to encounter a police officer as as "the usual suspects", many of whom spend much of their lives under the supervision of some court or correctional institution due to their repeated "failure to do right".

Let's just call this what it is: an attempt by those who oppose freedom and law and order by the political party that is beholden to the criminal class and willing to hamstring our police and, in the process, hose lawful gun owners, most of whom typically vote for someone else anyway.