Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Match Results

Well, maybe I didn't do quite as bad on the pistol match portion as I had thought. While I wasn't great, they penalized 10 seconds for misses. Cleaning a stage smoothly can end up scoring you higher than you really thought you would. I managed to rank in the top quarter of the shooters. With pistol, that is.
Uh, with rifle, it was a different story. Thank Gawd for that guy whose new carbine broke down on him, altogether, or I would've been plum last. (Apparently "cool factor" doesn't even merit an asterisk.)
As soon as I've put a year in of shooting matches with my P.D. issue firearms, I think I'll go back to carrying my personal firearms in, and see how I fare:

Old School: Kimber Stainless Classic 1911A1 .45 acp, GM M1 Carbine 1943

Summer, 2004.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hee hee hee...

Monkeygirl reminds us that hysterical crazy people are so much funnier after dealing with them, than they are during.

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And that's why we practice.

I've thought of myself as a shotist for awhile. Yes, there are many better than me. But I generally come in at the halfway spot among those who have self-selected to compete in pistol matches, which is a better-than-average group of shooters.

But some days, you just have to accept the lessons taught you by experience. To do so, you have to put your pride away, and look plainly at yourself.


Yesterday was the local multi-department shooting match, and Dad and I shot in it. I shot it first with pistol, and found that I was doing reasonably well, shooting stages clean in okay times. Not blinding speed, but careful, miss-free shooting. Until the last "tie breaker" stage. Pistol empty with slide locked open on a barrel in front of you with a magazine with a single round in it next to it. At the buzzer, pick them up, load the pistol, and shoot the 7" plate that was probably all of 8 yards away. Misses cost 10 seconds on top of your time to shoot.

Well, you can guess.

Man, that will hurt your ego.

But redemption comes cheap, or just for the cost of another entry fee. I loaded up the AR-15, and shot the carbine course.

Murphy lives.

Turned on the Eotech.

Noticed that it was too dim for the bright afternoon, and tapped the up-arrow a few times while nodding to the rangemaster that yes, I was ready to shoot. On the beep, I threw it to my shoulder and... I was looking through a clear sight with no reticle, at the target, with only a front sight.

When this happens, do NOT attempt to turn on the sight. (I think I began to do that.)

Flip up the backup iron sights (BUIS), and just use those for the remainder.

In this case, the sights were flipped to smallest aperture. (seriously suboptimal on a small black target against a dark background, while I was in this sun.). I shot the target twice as required, and ran forward, flipping up the large aperture, leaned through a doorway, double-tapped two plates, turned to the stop plate, and.... Out of ammo.

We had been instructed to down-load magazines to given amounts. This stage required 9 rounds in the magazine, the next stage required 6. I had put the magazine holding 6 rounds into the rifle, in a stage requiring at least 7 to shoot it clean. After fumbling with my pockets for a second (no spare magazines-- 9 rounds maximum for this stage, darn it.), I just shot it with my pistol. Very slight cool factor for the method of solution-- the stop plate was about 15 yards or so off, and the pistol shot was pretty fast. But not that cool.

Before the next stage, I yanked the spare batteries out of hollow of the pistol grip (planning occasionally helps), and put them into the Eotech sight.

Nothing. Well, crap.

The rest of the carbine match went about like that. You know, things like not having properly sling-shot the bolt so that it would seat the round, but rather riding it slowly down, then failing to hit the forward assist. This of course results in a "click" when you want a "bang." Look, I'm letting it all hang out, here. It's shameful. I not only know better, I've known better for decades!

Can I claim complacency? I hardly could see how; complacency usually comes when you're moving along pretty well. Lack of practice? I don't put in a thousand rounds a month, but I do average about 50 to 100 rounds a month out of the AR, and try to make the matches. Fatigue? Naw, I was okay. Sickness? Distraction? Bad ammo? Broken rifle? Nope, not really (cell phone did ring and vibrate in my pocket during two stages, but that's life-- adapt and overcome or die); nope; nope (the rifle ran fine).

Some days, you just suck.

After, I checked the Eotech. Seems that the lithium batteries were, in a way, the problem. The labels on the batteries are a thin layer of plastic, whis is applied with adhesive to hold it to the metal of the outside of the battery. In intense heat, that adhesive will melt, causing it to run. Heat like... oh, say, the trunk of a patrol car that sits in Texas sun all summer long. That adhesive pooled on the battery face against the contact, and then dried on the Eotech battery contact point, making a nice little insulating dab of adhesive that prevented battery function as soon as rattling the Eotech around managed to cause the adhesive to work itself between the contact point and the battery terminal. A judicious scraping with a knife point finally cleared it (harder than I would have thought, as in the 90 degree air the adhesive was pretty gummy), and the 'lectric sight worked again.

This is why I sometimes shoot matches with the BUIS, only.

This is also why I try to shoot matches with the Eotech, only.

This whole exercise is why I practice.

Better to get the crap out of my system at the range, where I'm only red in the face, than on the street, where the costs are so much higher.

But damn, I am not looking forward to other folks seeing my scores when the rangemaster publishes them tomorrow. [/head slung]

I'll admit it. Pride's a motivator.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ron Mueck

I took my wife (the sculptor) to see the Ron Mueck exhibit at the Fort Worth Modern Museum yesterday.
This guy does super-realistic polyester-resin and fiberglass sculptures of people. But he puts a tiny little twist on them-- he plays with scale. Sometimes just a little, like half-sized babies and 1.5 X Wild Man. But sometimes, as in the case of "A Girl," he turns a still-bloody newborn into a 25 foot long behemoth. Note how her face is squeezed like a walnut. She's no more happy about awakening from her slumber in Mama's uterus than my 5 year old was about being joggled out of bed for school today.

Then there was the Big Man, which, while sitting, was about my height. I would call him 3X, in total volume. Maybe more. You felt very, VERY uncomfortable about standing in front of this one-- he didn't like it.

Mueck was a special effects guy in the movies for years. What he gets is texture, and attention to detail. You never really appreciate how much a pimple adds to humanity, until you're seeing one on a 5-foot face lying on its side about a foot in front of you.

I halfway expected to smell them. (Yes, for good or bad, humans have an odor.) But they were sterile, empty of any scent.

Worth seeing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Number One With A [silver] Bullet

Confessed B-movie fanatic Larry Correia comes up with his List Of Top Five Greatest Werewolf Movies.

He's got his reasons.

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Back in the late '80's, little brother got a Nintendo game system, with Super Mario Brothers. This tune became ubiquitous in the lives of anyone who had such a game system in their household. This guy's some kind of genius.

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I'm not a big sports fan, but...

...I have to wonder: Just what are the scantily-clad young females with pom-poms doing on the playing field at any rate, if not to distract?

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

...lest ye be judged.

"I was trying to somehow draw the contrast between myself and my daughter but tonight after talking with her and seeing her deal with some of the trials of late adolescence and a strange battle to fight (she's been all but ostracized because
she's Baptist surrounded by Pentecostals who think she's a heretic because she's
Baptist - you believe this nonsense? I do, because I know where she goes to
school.) - I sit down to bring all this together realizing that some things are
just universal, not the least of which is this:
No matter who you are, no matter
where you live, no matter what you do ... there will be people who will act
strangely toward you and presume to judge you based on their own uninformed,
preconceived notions."

In making a comparison, Babs talks about her amazing daughter--the beautiful, intelligent daughter who is respectful of her remarkable mother, and who basically is exactly the kind of young lady that a parent should pray that their little girl grows up to be.

Read that again, and see if it doesn't make your blood boil just a tad. Ridiculous, isn't it?

But stop and do a personal scan. Have you not presumed to pre-judge a Catholic? A Muslim? A Hindu? A pagan? An atheist? I submit that a lot of aspersions are being cast all around, for belief systems that aren't hurting the persons passing judgement, and before they've gotten a chance to actually know what they're actually talking about.

If your belief system helps you find inner and spiritual peace, then by all means, embrace it.

But if you're using its framework to criticize and faultfind others around you, then I would suggest that it's not providing you peace at all, and maybe you should re-examine your motives and methods.

Wars are fought over such issues, unfortunately.

And girls are coming home beleaguered.

Think that maybe you can teach your kid not to judge people so harshly?

I'm going to try.

Because I judge, all too often.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Googling Chuck Norris.

Seriously. It's fun.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just a quick note... apologize for the lack of activity right now (work and school are tearing into my family and blog time, sumpin' aweful), and to say this:

I do not now answer , nor have I ever answered, to the name of "Amanda."


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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good news!

Online friend and writer of Monster Hunter International. Larry Correia has a brand new blog.

Larry is huge, looks kinda like a Joey Soprano by way of Salt Lake City, shoots three-gun matches, is an accountant, co-owns and runs a gun store called FBMG (Fuzzy Bunny Machineguns), and writes cool novels and screenplays for B movies.

Go see. He's a good guy.

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Holy crap!

Lee L. Mercer Jr. seems to have a confusing platform for the U.S. Presidency that runs on education, order, rule of law, and, uh, a weird mixture of the above.

He alludes to some major qualifications. For example, after taking the Navy ROTC exam, he apparently was referred to West Point. (?) But this has been covered up.

Well, just look at his qualifications! It's simply unconscionable that such a qualified man is being kept down by the system!

On August 22, 1992, The State of Texas installed an intelligence hotwire
in me at the United States Army Military Intelligence Academy Camp Bullis
San Antonio, Texas.The continuation of my biography background experience,
graduate education and political experience is being held because of a Lack of
authorities debriefing funds and interest for their liability to me

I am in a stalled police debriefing with the Houston Police Department waiting for me to sue to complete my debriefing for my background biography with them in the United States Army Military Intelligence Academy Camp Bullis San Antonio, Texas, The University of Texas ROTC to West Point Military Academy U.S. Navy doctorate degree in Police Science.

Oh, it gets better:

I have a doctor degree Phd. as a doctor of laws, medicine ( not
practitioner of medicine, i.e. physicians, surgeons), theology, management,
engineering and other subjects that are guaranteed by the United States Army
in ROTC to be presented to me in a court of Law only.I will receive my
doctor degrees in a court of law only. My final graduation will be in a
United States of America’s Court which was ordered by my second ROTC Board
and Staff Janet Reno former U.S. Attorney General, former Chief of
Staff of the U.S. Army and Secretary Of State of The United States
General Colin Powell, Sr. and former Secretary of The United States Army
Togo West. They will be joining me circumstantially later.

I won scholar of the world in World Management at Rice University from the President Of Rice University development in engineering with him and the German Government.

I won road scholar from the United States Navy/United States Marine Corp. at West Point. All of my records of authencation will be
brought forward into court by former board and staff that I have named above
according to law for my day in court.

My friends, I present to you the single most qualified man for the job, your next President of the United States: Lee L. Mercer, Jr.

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If you could go anywhere. . .

Clairbell's mother makes her an offer she can't refuse.

"She wants to go on a trip with just me. Somewhere, anywhere. Without the boys, she says. Anywhere, for an undetermined amount of time, and doing anything as long as it’s not 'too rugged.' Not too hot, less than 100 miles."

So, if you had passports, several weeks, and a blank check to ANYwhere and back with your favorite close relative, where would pick, and why, specifically?

My wife and I play this game, but we've never even gotten passports. (Feel free to laugh and point at the pathetic hicks. We don't mind; we're used to it.)

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Breakfast with my 5 year-old today.

It went well. They did have biscuits and sausage, and some of the blandest scrambled eggs that I've ever put in my mouth. Again with the battle to get my kid to drink unadulterated white milk.

I walked her to class, as things were getting pretty late. I had no fears when I leaned down for a hug and a kiss-- at that age, hugging and kissing Daddy before leaving is What Is Done. Might actually get a cry of alarm if I didn't.

My wife tells me that I've got about 3 years before all Hell breaks loose with the older girl. But for right now, I've got two daughters who think that it's a treat to get to go with Daddy, anywhere.

I'm pretty damned lucky.

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Why do I picture...

...some guy just outside of Newport News, frustrated in his efforts to present himself to the Real Deal, and join up? No one he asks will help him in his quest. But as another closed door, I too represent to him a part of the Conspiracy Of Silence.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Worth reading.

Dad writes his perspective on the occasional, unpleasant duty of putting down dogs.

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Never fear, folks!

Tamara assures us that she's writing a new Sunday Smith entry for her Arms Room blog.
As Marko said on the phone today, "Tam would have joined Procrastinators Anonymous a long time ago, but she just hasn't gotten around to it."

[Grumble, grumble. Can't get your stuff published between hardcovers and sitting on peoples' frickin' coffee tables until you get some dadgum copy written. . .]

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No, I don't think we need that.

There's a staunch movement afoot to give Washington D.C. a vote in the House.

Um, no. I don't personally think that the D. of C. is representative of this nation. We are talking, of course about a city that re-elects Marion Barry, and elects Adrian Fenty, who doesn't want his citizens to be allowed to own the means even to protect themselves in their own house.

Washington D.C. is one of the most crime-ridden cities in this nation. Their own chief has declared a "crime emergency."

I don't want these people owning a voting seat in Congress and depriving a state of their own seat.

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Life in a small town.

One of our officers told me that a certain cowboy came by the PD the day before yesterday.

"Hey, am I going to get in trouble if I put down a stray dog?" he asked.

Our officer described the stray that's been all over town, and asked if that was the one. The cowboy said that it was. Our officer said that he was glad the dog had been put down, and asked where it was.

"In the bed of the truck," said the Stetson-wearing citizen.

Our officer stepped out and took a look: 4 or 5 pellets of buckshot had passed through the neck. The citizen had seen it in his front yard, and shot down from the porch at the cur, using the turf as a backstop.

"That big officer had told me I could shoot it if I had a safe shot," he said.

I did, too. He had a daughter, and I know a good ol' country boy when I see one.

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School breakfast

Breakfast this morning brought back some memories.

Today's my day off. Because my wife had to go to work earlier, I offered to take one of the kids to their school so she could drop off the other. She thought that sounded fair (Getting in is a pain, but it's the getting OUT that's really hard.). I asked my elder daughter (just now nine years old) if she wanted to have breakfast with me. She said "Yeah!" My five year-old began crying that Daddy wasn't coming to have breakfast with her. I wasn't dumb enough to make any promises, but I figure that I'll probably do that tomorrow.

Because of our schedules, we've taken to buying breakfasts for our kiddos at the school cafeteria, about 3/4 of the time. I don't even think my school offered breakfast. Knock it if you want, the first day I took my kids to this school, I saw eggs and biscuits and sausage and toast and fresh fruit.

So I parked at the school and walked my nine year-old daughter into school. She wanted to go straight into the cafeteria, but I pointed out that I'm supposed to check in at the office. The cop in me likes this, and the parent in me isn't too annoyed with it, either. The cynic in me suspects that I probably could have walked all around in the school without a "Visitor" sticker, and I never would have been challenged. But most of the staff there wears some kind of ID badge around their neck, so.... maybe it would rouse someone to call the PD if they saw a huge stranger wandering around in there. The stickers are printed up quick from a roll of stickers in a special printer next to a laptop at the office desk. It's actually pretty simple to get one with my name, purpose, and check-in time. In turn, the lady at the office can track visitors. Not bad. I was out of the office in less than thirty seconds.

My kid put up her backpack in a waiting area, and we went into the cafeteria, and started through the line. I knew I'd better watch her when she reached for milk. Yep, she went for the chocolate milk. "Nope," I said.

She looked at me blankly. "But Daddy, I really don't like that strawberry milk very much."

Times have changed. Back when I was in elementary school, there was a big bin of regular milk, an equal bin of chocolate milk, and a little bin of skim milk. Now it's a HUGE bin of chocolate milk, a large bin of strawberry milk, and a little bitty bin of 2% white milk. Nothing else.

"You're drinking white milk, and you'll like it, kid," I answered.

Into the lunch line. Oven toast made from sesame hoagie buns with grape jelly, or bowls of sugared cold cereals was all they had. Hmph. I been bamboozled! Where were the biscuits and gravy? The sausage or bacon? The eggs?

"We're serving biscuits and gravy tomorrow; you just picked the wrong day," said the lunch lady. Hmmph! I'm sure.

And no coffee! What the hell?!? Look-- I'm 6'5", my wife's 5'8", and my daughters are well into the 90th percentile for height. How am I supposed to stunt their growth? ( [sigh] I'm going to have to start buing them cigarettes.) We each chose a juice (orange or grape, 100%, I was gratified to see).

I paid for me, while my daughter just expertly ten-keyed her school ID number into the register. (I pay for her by the month.)

There were lots of kids gathered at the long rows of tables, but my daughter chose seats for us far in a corner. Fine by me-- those other kids were loud. We sat on little short stools that were built into the tables. Thank Gawd there was a steel support leg under each stool seat!

And we ate. Daddy and daughter, chatting. I talked her into finishing her milk, and she joked about my needing to eat less.

We finished and threw away our Styrofoam plates. (No more trays to wash, apparently.) My daughter showed me how they shake out their milk and juice containers into a large bucket that contained a disgusting mix of stuff. That was when it really hit me-- that slight disgust in a large room with painted cinderblock walls and waxed tile floors, where kids eat every day. I remembered, and the nostalgia hit me like a brick.

I dropped my daughter off at the waiting area where the kids line up by classes to be led to their classrooms. At the door, I asked for a hug with a piece of ice stuck in my heart. What if this was the time that she refused to hug me at the school? She's already refused to hold my hand as we walk to school. That ice melted immediately as she smiled and gave me a neck-breaking hug.

I checked out and went home. I didn't even mind the school drop-off traffic that made a 1-mile car trip take 10 minutes.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Brings new meaning to the term...

..."City of Brotherly Love."

Imagine, for a second, the uproar if a mayor from a major American city had called for 10,000 white men to patrol the streets. Or 5,280 Jewish men. Or 314159 Asian girls. Or 2718 Hispanic boys. (I'd throw American Indians into the mix, but can't think of a good mathematical constant, right now.)

As for the efficacy, well, I've certainly got no problem with citizens walking their own streets and reporting any problems that they see. I do wonder how many are going to mistake this as an empowerment to overstep their "authority."

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Wastes of time for you.

BallPark hotdogs "Plump When You Cook 'Em."
Well, check out what happens if you split 'em, cook 'em, video 'em, and speed 'em up and play insipid music.

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And then there's this.


Dog problems

The other night I wrote the following:
"It's about 60 pounds of solid, mangy dog.

It runs from officers on-duty when they try to snare it.

It's a stray.

It's reportedly been chasing children.

It's growled at many adults, and made some charges at them.

Tonight it gave me a good little false charge as I walked through town while off-duty. Enough so that I drew on it and wondered if I could get all 6 .380 rounds into it if it came to that.

Enough is enough!

I got my .22 to put it down; I have kids that live here, too.

It ran off. I followed. When I got a good sight and a good backstop on it, I realized that we were in a heavily populated area. No good. Even a .22 can be an alert, with the supersonic crack. Also, .22's have a spotty history against medium big dogs.

I'm going to load some nice sedate 148g lead hollow-based wadcutters into some .35 Whelen cases over just enough medium-burning powder to push them up to about 950 fps. Out of my Springfield's 22 inch barrel, it should go "pop," but hit with more accuracy and power than a +P .38 Special.

I don't want to have to fire a second shot. I don't want to risk the dog suffering. And I don't want to put the neighborhood in an uproar.

I just want it gone."

I didn't post that. Frankly, I just didn't want to hear the backlash from people who would whine that it's "cruel" to put the dog down. So I just left it in draft.

Well, I didn't load up some "cat sneeze" loads, and I didn't go put the dog down. A day later, it almost bit an older officer in the back of the leg, and he almost had to shoot it, though.

Today, after dropping off one of my girls at school, I saw it running near the school. I called the on-duty officer and told him about it. 10 minutes after getting home, I heard a "BOOM" from the direction of my dog sighting. Might have been a 12 gauge, but I honestly defy anyone to tell the difference between a 12 ga. discharge and a car backfire, while they're sitting in their living room.

Maybe it's gone. I'll find out this evening.

Just need to find the right load.

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For those of y'all who haven't heard, Dad JPG has fired up his own shiny new blog. He's only gotten one real post up, but stay tuned and keep checking in; he's about to post a review (with pictures) of the new Colt WWI 1911 replica.

And that pic of him? I took that at the range the other day.

Drop by and say hello to my pater.

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Helpful hint

$10 buys you a cheap headset with a 1/8" headphone jack to plug into a cordless or cellular telephone. Not an earbud, but an honest-to-Gawd headset with a wire bale to hold it on your head. When you call your insurance company or anywhere else where you're going to be put on hold or sent to Voicemail Hell, these things are worth their weight in diamonds. I've got one at the PD for when I have to call Dispatch for info, too. (That being low-priority, I always find myself being put on hold.)

Being able to type, move around, get things done, and not have to hold my hand to my ear somehow manages to reduce my irritation at being on the phone a LOT.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Something doesn't smell right.

Why are Russia's main stories lately ones of sabre-rattling, partial regime change, and new armaments?

When you're a poor country starving for recognition as a major world power, it's almost understandable that you'll feature any new developments that you can on the international news. Sort of a "Hey! We're still here!" Often the only thing that some countries have to show off is their military, and advances for same.

But this gives me an... unstable feeling.

(H/T to Tamara)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Calling him out.

Who here wants to read the writings of a 40 year veteran Texas lawman, degreed history major, gun aficionado/collector/shotist, formerly ranked IPSC competitor, reloader, hunter, handloader, firearms instructor (police and CCW), discussion board moderator, and dog wrangler, who by-the-way happens to be my Dad?

Show of hands?

Calling JPG: Your blog public awaits you.

Get busy.

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Patient from hell.

Go read DixieLaurel's tale of The Patient Of The Beast.

To quote PDB: "Blogrolled. I feel the snark is strong with this one."

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Chris Muir



September 11th: Memories

6 years ago today, almost to the minute, our nation was attacked.

19 foreigners, who were welcomed to our nation with open arms, murdered 2,974 fellow human beings (most of whom were my fellow citizens, but many of whom were also foreigners). At the same time, the attackers killed themselves. And they did it here in the United States.

How do you stop madmen who are willing to die to hurt you?

Well, our nation has tried.

Some would say that we've been successful. They can make a good case: no more major attacks by al-Qaeda on US soil, Bin Laden's still hiding and on the run.

Some would say that we've failed. Our reaction to the attack was to change the lives of United States citizens in incremental but very real manners. We passed a bill called The Patriot Act which allowed our government to bypass lots of protections to US citizens. It literally allowed our federal law enforcement to suspend habeas corpus. We began holding people without showing probable cause for a crime, or as proper prisoners of war. We made it possible for wiretaps to be set up without a court order within our nation, on US citizens. We made it possible for library records of citizens to be reviewed. We invaded two countries, and have more soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan now than ever before. They are daily being attacked by new and growing sects that are offended by being overseen by an occupation force.

I personally happen to disagree with the way that our federal government has and is responding to the terrorism threat. I'm pretty critical of our President these days. But he's my president. I personally believe the man is doing what he thinks is right, even if it's not what I think is right.

There's a lot of conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001. Well, I guess they're unavoidable, since the very act of 19 men coordinating a secret simultaneous attack on three targets in 4 airplanes *is* a conspiracy. But I don't hold with the "US Government Attacked US!" conspiracies. Similarly, I don't hold with the "US Jews Attacked US, So That We Would Go To War!" conspiracies. For the most part, in fact, I don't even think that our government has lied about the events that occured on September 11, 2001.

Call me a fool if you want.

But you have to hang your hat on something, and I'll start with that. I have my reasons for what I believe. (And you can fault them and debate them elsewhere; attacks on my naivete, and diatribes on how our government orchestrated 09/11/01 will be deleted from the comments of this post.)
_ _ _

I'm writing this to plea to you, gentle reader: please remember that, six years ago this morning, 2,774 people died because someone hated our country. I cannot believe that any living adult doesn't recall his emotions on that day, but I think that some need to be reminded of it. Here are some of my memories:

--I remember being angry.

--I remember having lunch with my father a week later, both of us nearly breaking into tears while discussing the number of Americans who had died.

--I remember losing my cool and going off on a Middle Eastern man who accused me of writing him a speeding ticket just because he was a Middle Easterner. I had never yelled at a person on a traffic stop before, and haven't since.

--I remember discussing with my wife the issue of my duty. I gave serious consideration to quitting my job and joining the military to help attack those who had attacked us. She made clear to me what my more immediate duty was.

--I remember how helpless I felt. I wished I could have been there.

--I remember how angry --furious-- I was, that our citizens were so cowed that they would let some terrorists take over planes that way.

--I remember how proud I was of the impromptu heroes aboard United Airlines Flight 93.

--I remember watching the smoking ruins on television, and arguing with my best friend Scott that we couldn't use nuclear force to respond to the attack. I remember being afraid that he was right, though, and that our nation would use the nuclear option.

--I remember being proud of our nation--prouder than I'd ever been-- in the days that followed.

I remember.

Do you?

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Must-read for anyone who has any interest in guns:

Even if you don't visit Tamara's Arms Room often, you should at least treat yourself regularly to her her Sunday Smith series.

Makes Mondays that much better, friends.

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Yes, I'm sure that I'm the very last person to have heard of David Wong.

But if there's one or two of you out there whose heads are as deeply buried as I am, I have to recommend his irreverent stuff for reading. Not only is it funny (crude, but funny), but I can honestly say, speaking as a grad student in Criminal Justice, that this guy explains social interaction pretty damned well. Probably better have my Evil Step-Mother weigh in on the issue from a sociological point of view, too.

Go check out: "Inside The MonkeySphere." Good stuff. For y'all with a short attention span: it's a quick read, and there's lots of pictures of chimps in silly outfits.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Avoiding real content.

Going to go shoot a pistol/carbine match with Dad.

Hey, it beats working.

Nothing else for you today. You come back tomorrow.

I have a post rattling around in my head about the Texas Castle Doctrine. But get ready: it's not completely lauditory.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

But then, too...

...there are far worse things than getting paid to shoot. On a nice day.

Far, far worse things.

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So much ammo.

Qualifications today.

My department, like most, is fine with me carrying backup guns or off-duty guns, but doesn't provide the ammunition for them.

I have to qualify with them.

I have to provide my carry ammo, and duty ammo for qualification.

The duty ammo has to be quality commercial ammo.

Ammo prices have gone up lately.

I may have to just do one backup gun, and come back later to qualify with the rest.

(I do try to keep my backup/off-duty qualification list down to 3 or 4, but those take time.)

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Daddy needs a new[er] car.

In the land of the decrepit hulks of dead cars, the man with the 11 year old Honda Civic with body damage and no A/C is king.

Somebody give Don a running sedan. He tends toward Chevy/GMC, but Gawd help him, he'd probably take something French or Yugoslavian, or even British, if it'd reliably get him from Point A to Point B.

I hasten to point out that Don and his wife are both hard-working, experienced schoolteachers with graduate educations and no addictions to expensive habits, but they aren't paid enough to keep a roof over their heads (and pianos) and keep their daily drivers rolling.

In entertainment news, I hear (against my will; I've got to listen to NPR more), that some idjit who goes by the questionable moniker of "K-Fed" is suing his slutty wife for a quarter million dollars a year alimony and child support. Because she's got it.

What in the hell is wrong with our priorities?

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Michael Jackson-- the only one that matters-- is dead.

I met Michael Jackson, AKA "The Beer Hunter," in Austin at a home brew competition I had entered, and it was like getting to shake the hand of a rock star*. This man had single-handedly brought beer from the back cabinet, and put it on the counter for inspection, study, and praise. His writing and studies and categorization was responsible for the microbrewery craze of the 1990s.

Michael Jackson was a heavily-bearded, curly-haired British man with a quiet laugh and a background in journalism. He said that he had for years found that he and other newsmen would gather at day's end, discussing beers of all kinds, their peculiarities, and where to find and try new ones. Yet when he approached editors and publishers (often those same newspapermen with whom he would have long discussions with about beers), he was always told that "people aren't interested in reading about beer." He finally did a book on pubs, in which he managed to sneak a little beer lore in, and from there managed to get a book on beer, and then another, and then another. He then started a BBC television series, and writing monthly columns in numerous publications about it.

Then he set to writing about Scotch.
Most of what I know about single-malt Scotches, I learned from Michael Jackson. He wrote some fine books on single-malts, and I own a couple. My old roommate Bill Hall and I would occasionally buy a new bottle of single malt (though Bill was by far the more avid collector; he had several dozen different representatives in his collection), and we would play "Name that Scotch," with one of us choosing a bottle from Bill's collection and pouring a secret dram into a clear glass for the other, while the drinker sat with a copy of Jackson's book on single malts, and would try to determine what exactly he was drinking. As there are 7 discrete styles, scores of labels, and hundreds of bottling, this isn't an easy game to play, but it certainly is a fun one to practice.

Jackson was, of course, cursed with a name that was made more famous by a pop star with questionable proclivities. He had a good sense of humor about it, and said that, while he couldn't dance, he did possess a good singing voice and a glove.

As someone who managed to convey to the world that good beer is every bit as worthy as any wine every made, he did the world a service. He brought dignity to the common man's pint, and taught pinky-pointing sherry-sippers that there was finery to be found in malt.

He died this past week at 65. He'd been living with Parkinson's for his last decade.
Rest in peace, Beer Hunter.
_ _ _

* The third place ribbon that I received for a fruit ale (a peach cream ale) was just icing on the cake. I got him to autograph one of his books.

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Setting the record straight.

Just some clarifications of The Truth, before my good name is defiled any further by a certain bambulance driver.

1. I saw him a mile and a half before. Assumed it was an ass, and didn't worry about it. (Life is too short. [/prim])

2. He did not ask me for Grey Poupon; he asked me where the nearest donut shop was. Which we were, in fact, stopped in front of.

3. Like a cat. A cat, I tell you. I see everything.

4. Uh, we don't actualy have a traffic signal in town.

5. On the opening weekend of dove season, seeing erratically-driving coonasses really isn't all that unusual.

Monday, September 03, 2007

"Team Six, but I can't tell you any more..."

"...without a Need To Know."

So said yet another yahoo, tonight.

Pal LawDog, who'd dropped by and was riding shotgun with me for a few minutes while passing through town, exchanged a sideways glance with me. We both tried to keep our smirks from showing as we faced away from him.

I don't think the yahoo could have seen them through the smudged Lexan of my patrol car's cage, anyhow. That, the darkness, and the fog of better than double the legal limit of alcohol would impair anybody's ability to detect inaudible snark attacks.


It's always "Team Six."

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Interesting class, I suspect.

Heh, imagine being in Cranky Professor's English class, during one of her rants.

Her use of adjective, adverb, and interjective would be positively inspiring.

And go ahead and try to tell me you didn't feel your blood pressure rising a tad when you started reading. Just try.

(That's why the release at the end is so good.)

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"You're a...!"

Ever notice that I don't ever post graphics that show that I'm a certain book or character or brand of disposable lighter or whatnot?

I don't know why other folks, often very talented and interesting bloggers, want to use such filler.

You've seen 'em-- they're cut-'n'-paste plug-ins that you put up on your blog after having taken a questionable survey. About the only one that I've seen lately that impressed me was one that said how much of a Mauser nut you are. (I took the test, and scored so miserably that I didn't even post it.) But that's quantitative, not qualitative.

You good people on my blogroll, and others that I've forgotten or haven't gotten around to adding-- Please, really reconsider those dang things; they drive me a little nuts.

And on that note (the issue of filling your blog with quality posts), I need to call out some names of delinquent bloggers: Clairebell, Don Gwinn, LawDog, Tamara, Marko, Mom... um, well, I may give John Shirley a pass, but just barely-- Y'all owe me some posts. Get off your butts and give me some content, people!

What am I paying you for, anyway?

Ranting is over-rated.

Babs posted on Why Today Doesn't Suck.

She's a nice lady. I'm so glad for her, and for people that get to know her.

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