Friday, December 25, 2009
I don't know if you guys have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it, I hope so. Perhaps I haven't been as eloquent as other bloggers out there, such as the people I consider my Blog Daddies, Texas Law Dog and Ambulance Driver. But it has allowed me to make dear friends such as Brigid, and has given me a chance to express my views and find a bunch of kindred spirits. I entered a world that has been both exciting and educational and I am looking forward to sticking with it. So fellow bloggers, thank you for taking me into your family, and dear readers, thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, ideas and simple rants. It's been one heck of a fun ride.
I am very grateful for the gifts I have received, most of all a very special gift that was presented to me 2000 years ago, the birth of my savior.
I also want to wish you all the very best of the season. Good fellowship, the love of family, feasting, and every thing else that makes this time of year so special.
This is from the Virgina Almanac from the 18th Century and it pretty much sums up my take on the holiday.
Now Christmas comes, 'tis fit that we,
Should feast and sing and merry be.
Keep open house, let fiddlers play
A fig for cold, sing care away........
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!"
The "Shining Bauble" that Cromwell referred to was the Mace of State which was always present when Parliament was in session and signified the authority of Parliament.
On the negative side, I see the Senate passed their little bill at 01:00 this morning.
I guess times have changed, Judas Iscariot only took 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus, not the millions that some Senators took to betray our country.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The Germans built a prison camp there to systematically kill those who didn't fit into their plans or fit into the German ideal. Over 1 Million Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communist, Homosexuals, Political Prisoners or anyone else that just didn't fit in, only left Auschwitz riding in a cart to a nearby mass grave, or in the smoke of the crematoria chimneys.
To calm the prisoners as they entered the camp, (Or to show off their perverse sense of humor) the Germans in 1940 had some of their Jewish prisoners make up and place a large metal sign over the main gate of the camp that said " Arbeit Macht Frei ". Translated, the phrase means "Work Sets You Free" This sign was so popular that it was copied and placed on the gates of other camps, but the one at Auschwitz was the biggest and first.
I heard tonight that this sign which had been over the gates of what is left of the camp since the end of WW II was stolen today by party or parties unknown. I don't know if the sign was taken by someone who was Anti-Semitic and wished to have a (In their mind) very cool souvenir, or perhaps a collector who wanted the ultimate in historical artifacts. No matter what the reason, the perpetrator(s) should be hunted down like a rabid dog and placed underneath the prison. There has to be a special level of hell reserved for any person who would steal something like this.
I love the Christmas holiday, but I have a special road trip planned for just after Christmas and into the new year. I head to the Northern Neck of Virginia for about a week to spend time with my adopted family to include my favorite budding shootist Miss Susan. If you follow the stuck in Massachusetts blog you have seen her photos as well as read the story of her learning to shoot her purple b.b. pistol. I will be up there for a week or so, and while I am up I will be doing a wee bit of coaching to Miss Susan's mom on C.Q.B. drill with the handgun.
I just didn't know how much I was looking forward to being in the teaching mode until last night. The goodwife was watching a Bette Davis movie, "The Letter" on DVD and I was doing some reading. Somewhere in the movie, Miss Davis opened up on a man with what looked like a 38 revolver and when he hit the ground, she then dropped the weapon and looked confused. All I could think was " Police up your gear and brass and move back to the seven yard line "
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It was the first time that I have been out in the field in period clothing since April and it felt good to be back but I have lost so much weight that my clothing was almost falling off. Luckily, that didn't happen, but I was worried.
For those of you who wonder what I look like, please check out my messmate Andrew's blog. To tell us apart, I am the fellow in the blue jacket with the brown knit hat talking to another messmate Chris who is wearing a tricorn hat. Check it out.........
Monday, December 7, 2009
In all that I have read or heard about the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked, the most common thread is that all who were there said that it was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm, the kind of day that brought out the tourist. I wonder if the horrors that latter occurred on that fateful day might have magnified the contrast between the beautiful surroundings and the destruction that befell the men at Pearl Harbor. I have also heard several 9/11 survivors comment about how nice the weather was in New York on the day of the attack on the twin towers.
Not many folks know this, but the U.S.S. Arizona had been refueled a few days before the attack, so her fuel bunkers were full. The Arizona took a bomb hit in the early part of the attack which penetrated her forward magazine exploding it and sending her to the bottom with the loss of 1177 of her men. Because of the damage to the ship they could not raise her, so she is still resting on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. A large amount of her oil was not burned off in the explosion and resulting fire so droplets still float to the surface. The Park Service and the Navy have concerns that with the deterioration of the ship's metal, that there may be a major release of oil that will damage the eco-system of the harbor. Survivors of the attack however, say that the Arizona will quit "weeping" oil when the last survivor of the attack dies.
Something else interesting is that Navy and National Park Service policy allows that anyone who was serving on the Arizona on 12-07-1941 has the right to have his ashes interred in the Arizona when they die. The urn containing the sailor's ashes are placed in what is left of the ship's forward turret. I think there less than 2 dozen survivors of the Arizona's crew alive that could take advantage of this. Other Pearl Harbor survivors can have their ashes scattered over the harbor, but the Arizona is reserved for her crew.
Also lost on that morning was the old battleship U.S.S. Utah which had been turned into a target ship. It was said that due to the wood placed on her decks to cushion the practice bomb hits, it may have miss led the Japanese into thinking that she was a aircraft carrier. She suffered so much damage that they couldn't raise her so she also still rest on the bottom. The U.S.S. Oklahoma too was sunk, but they were able to raise her. However the ship's damage was so severe, that there was no attempt at repair, but rather she was stripped for parts and later sank while being towed to the west coast.
68 years ago today, a date that no American should ever forget............
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I took a road trip to Fayetteville to a gun show, just to get out and do a wee bit of last minute Christmas shopping. (Mostly for myself) I picked up some pistol grips, a few magazines and other odds and ends. Since Fayetteville is the home of Ft. Bragg, this show leaned to a LOT of surplus, tactical, and other military related stuff. Prices fluctuated between reasonable and outrageous as normal. I did notice a bunch of Mossberg cruiser shotguns for sale. Prices were $230.00 to $260.00 depending on condition. I also noticed that dealers had good quantities of ammo in stock to include the long missing .380 auto.
Having spent the money I had taken, I returned to the casa where I had a big pot of homemade soup waiting for me. You couldn't ask for any better.......
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Patrol Officer Tina Griswold
Patrol Officer Ronald Owens
Patrol Officer Greg Richards
Lakewood WA. Police Department
End of Watch 11-29-09
Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms
Brothers in Arms
Dire Straits c 1984
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I know that by this action that the officers will never be brought back, they are still gone and their families are left to face the future without their loved ones. But I can say this with a great deal of certainty, NO law enforcement officer will have to fear that this sub-human will threaten anyone, anymore.
Reports are that this "thing" suffered a gun shot wound from at least one of the officers that he murdered. At least the officers didn't go down without a fight.
Now if it was me, I would focus on how this sub-human was able to move around and get to Seattle. I would hunt down like dogs ANYONE who helped or assisted him in anyway whatsoever. Then prosecute them to the absolute fullest extent of the law. People need to understand that to assault or murder law enforcement officers is nothing more than a assault on the thread and fabric of society. There should be the severest penalties for this as well as against those who would support such animallistic behaviors.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I lost 3 brothers and a sister, while the thin blue line became a little thinner.
May the good Lord take the fallen and their families into his loving care.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I had to hunt a bit, but I found a link to the program (as long as it last) I hope it places the holiday in context for you all..........-grin-
Ah Thanksgiving, or as one of my kinfolk calls it, the season of the casserole.
Having feasted on the required odds and ends from the groaning table to include several of the dreaded casseroles as well as turkey and ham, I thought I would take keyboard in hand and type some thoughts about Thanksgiving. As I sit here, a hot mug of tea (Earl Grey) at my side and my favorite cat Maggie (Named after Margaret Thatcher) sharing my lap with the keyboard, I started counting my blessings and figured out that I have one heck of a lot to be thankful about. If you will, please allow me to share them with you my readers.
My health. I came damned close to taking a permanent dirt bath in June, and am quite happy to still be here. Am I at 100 percent yet? Nope. As a matter of fact, I need to go back in for more surgery in January. But ya know, it could be a heck of a lot worse. I am getting stronger each day and know that I will be my old self sooner, rather than later. I just gotta hang in there and with the help of the Almighty, I will be back.
My wife. It just seems that the old adage applies here, you never really appreciate what you have until it's gone. Thank goodness, I didn't lose her, but she came close to losing me. My wife, whom I call the Memsahib was a absolute rock while I was in the hospital. She has always been there for me, supporting everything I every wanted to do. I like to think I have been as supportive to her and everything that she has wanted to do, but I sometimes wonder. I do know that I have taken her for granted every once in a while and regret it a great deal. You can be sure that I will be on my guard against that in the future.
My friends and family. I lump all these folks together because I can't quite tell them apart. I have been lucky in having some of the finest folks on earth as my friends and I quickly adopt them as kinfolk. My blood family came out of the woodwork to support my good wife and myself when I was sick, and still support me today.
Blogger Folks. ALL you folks out in blogger land, fellow writers and readers. Thank you for allowing me to come into the fold. I hesitated to start blogging, because I thought at the time that blogging was nothing more that a chance for someone to stroke their own egos, sorta like "Hey look at me I am SO important that I need to tell you all about me" I discovered that out there in blog land that there IS a bit of that kind of thing, but mostly it's just folks who feel strongly enough about various topics to post about them and let the chips fall where they may. My kind o' folks. -grin- I think that in the time I have been writing, I have made friends with a few fellow bloggers, vented my spleen once or twice, pissed off a few readers and made some folks laugh. I have also had a lot of fun. So thank you ALL for that.
So all in all, I have a great deal to be thankful about in the past and even more in the future to continue to be grateful about. I have had one heck of a run and am looking forward keeping on keeping on. To steal a line from a song, "My future's so bright I need to wear shades" -grin-
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Now here is a President who had less reason to be thankful than most. The country was split by a Civil War, casualties were mounting and he didn't know if the war could be won. He however pushed that all to the side and offered up thanks for the blessings that had been and continue to be given to the country.
Carefully read Lincoln's proclamation and imagine if you will the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. being able to write, speak or even think words such as these. I don't think it's possible and I've got a very active imagination.
It was a year ago today, that 10 well dressed young men carrying explosives, Chinese type 86 hand grenades and AK-47 rifles, like wolves attacking a flock of sheep, attacked the city of Mumbai, India. Their mission was simple, to kill as many people as possible before they in turn were killed. These young men were Muslim, gathered up from small villages in Pakistan, trained and sent out to kill in the name of Allah. These young men racked up a horrifying body count, they killed 173 and wounded 308.
The reason for this post is that I just watched a HBO special I had recorded earlier. The special, "Terror in Mumbai" is only a hour long, but stunning in what it shows and details. What makes this so stunning was that Indian Intelligence was able to record and monitor cell phone calls from the terrorist and their controllers in Pakistan. These recordings were used in the documentary. One of the most chilling was when the controllers ordered one of the terrorist to shoot some hostages before the security forces could retake them. You can hear the shots as the terrorist shoots the hostages in the back of the head.
Other scenes in this documentary that will get your attention are how poorly the Indian Security services dealt with this situation. Police officers armed with high powered, bolt action rifles (WWII Enfields) threw them down and ran away. Some few who attempted to engage were limited to the 5 rounds they had in their weapons and sometimes their rifles didn't work, causing one police officer on a surveillance video they show to throw a plastic chair at one of the bad guys.
It was also interesting seeing the reaction of the terrorist to their surroundings. They were amazed at the opulence and richness of the hotels they attacked. I think that this allowed them to kill easier. You take a young man out of some mud hut village or other hell hole in Pakistan and tell him to kill all these rich, pig eating infidels and in return, you will get your reward in paradise. You can understand how easy it is to program such people. These kids had nothing and all these infidels have all this stuff that they don't and never will have. The infidels don't deserve it, while you, as a good Muslim do. Make them pay for their effrontery and defend your religion at the same time. Taking a kid with a mindset like that and molding him into a weapon is easy.
This was a kind of attack that all countries are VERY vulnerable to. They are low tech, and as long as you have someone who is willing to die to carry it out, almost unstoppable. Look at Ft. Hood as an example. I think that we will see many more of these kinds of attack in the future. We as a country should be prepared for it. Just think if these terrorist had come to America and attacked a mall on "Black Friday"
If you can, get your hands on a copy of the HBO special "Terror in Mumbai" It will open your eyes and show you the true face of the sworn enemy of the western world.
I have a link here to allow you to see the documentary (as long as it last)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
So last Thursday I went back to my surgeon and he told me that they were going to put me back in and do some more surgery to try to fix what they screwed up as well as take out my gall bladder, since it got fried in my hospitalization. Sorta one stop shopping. The wanted to get me in right away, but I told them that they had cost me the summer, they were not going to cost me the holidays. So January is when the fun starts.
I can hardly wait..........
I hope you noticed earlier that I mentioned torpedoes. For you folks not history cranks, the term torpedo in the 1860's doesn't mean the "Tin Fish" of Run Silent, Run Deep fame, but rather describe what we would call mines today. My buddy Chris of the Guild is a expert in such "infernal machines" and has quite a few reproductions of these weapons. It is surprising to the public that there was that kind of technology available in the 1860. There was both impact detonated and electrically command detonated torpedoes, which became famous with Admiral David Farragut's command of "Damn the Torpedoes, Full speed ahead!" at Mobile Bay. (Luckily, most of the torpedoes in Mobile Bay had been in the water a while so the main charges were waterlogged and failed to explode. It is said that the union sailors in Farragut's ships could hear the "pops" as the detonators went off when their ships struck the mines)
Chris also talks about tools of sabotage to include various time bombs and a hollow piece of cast iron that when painted looks like a piece of coal. The faux coal could be filled with gun powder and tossed in a coal pile used to refuel the boiler of a navy ship. When fed into a ship's firebox, the faux coal would heat up and explode, causing the ship's boiler to then explode. There is some suspicion that the steamboat Sultana fell victim to something of this nature. Up to 1800 died in that sinking, that was the worst nautical disaster in American history. Chris also tells about a box of candles that almost killed a General. This was a time bomb that was placed on a ammunition barge at the Federal Supply Depot at City Point VA. On August 9th, 1864 the bomb detonated, setting off the ammunition on the barge. The subsequent explosions killed 43 people and wounded 126. The yard of the house that the Union Commander, U.S. Grant was using as his headquarters was filled, in his own words, "Every part of the yard used as my headquarters is filled with splinters and fragments of shell" and a staff officer said "Such a rain of shot, shell, bullets, pieces of wood, iron bars and bolts, chains and missiles of every kind was never before witnessed." Just think of how history MIGHT have changed had Grant been killed in the explosion.
Chris does a remarkably good job of sharing this information with the public and does it out of his overwhelming love of the history of our country.
As I said, I couldn't pick a better bunch of folks to spend time with, such as Andrew and John my other messmates and would have loved to spend the weekend with them. However the spirit was willing, but the flesh is still pretty weak. So as the sun slowly sank in the west, I headed on home. It was well worth the trip and I was somewhat rejuvenated for the coming season. Now to just get my body healthy enough for it.
With the Light Bringer and Eric "Greasy Thumb" Holder telling everyone and his brother that the 9/11 and Ft. Hood defendants are guilty, they are going to get solid convictions on everyone that they are going to bring to trial, they have almost guaranteed that there will be countless appeals of ANY convictions that are won against the scum that did these horrific acts. You could make a case that they might not even be able to have a trial since the comments the Ritz brothers made could make it impossible to find a fair and impartial jury to hear the case. I could just see the lawyers for the defendants looking up in the sky screaming "Thank you God!" just like a bunch of dust bowl farmers getting pelted by the first rain they have seen in years.
Now many will say that they were just trying to make the public feel better by assuring them that we would punish the bad guys no matter what. I think that is nothing more than a pile of horse crap. Both these "gentlemen" went to the finest law schools in the country. They should have known better. I mean, I am FAR from being the sharpest knife in the drawer and "I" knew they couldn't say something like that. ( I got MY law degree in the school of hard knocks as well as watching old Perry Mason and Matlock reruns when I couldn't sleep at night) So if they graduated from these fine law schools and passed the bar, I have to wonder. Have they suddenly become dumb as a bag o' hammers or was this a deliberate and calculated move on the part of the Light Bringer and his mob? I honestly don't know but I have my suspicions for what they are worth.............
Monday, November 23, 2009
As I told you, I have always hesitated reenacting the American Civil War due to the fact that there are a bunch of yahoos out there that think the war is STILL going on. Mostly these folks are on the Confederate side and to put it bluntly, they live up to the stereotype of the ignorant redneck. I can't figure out why they are out there other than to wear the uniform that more than likely would have never been able to wear in real life, or perhaps to live out some fantasy rather than to deal with their day to day reality.
I met one of those kinds of fellows this weekend, and one of my friends told me a interesting story about him. It seems that he had been popped for D.W.I. and had lost his driver's license. After applying for a provisional license, the court allowed him to have one to drive to and from work AS WELL as to reenactments. He also had to place a alcosenser in his vehicle which will not allow him to start his vehicle if he has alcohol on his breath.
His nickname is, (Wait for it) Captain Blow and Go................
I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.............
Monday, November 16, 2009
Mr. Woodward wasn't a "A" list actor, no major blockbusters to his credit, but he was quietly competent at what he did. The role that stood out for me and brought him to my attention was in the movie Breaker Morant. This movie, (one of my favorites, B.T.W.) is set in the Boer War. The plot of the movie deals with the courts martial of three Australian officers who while serving under British Army command were accused of executing Boer Prisoners of War. Woodward brings a sense of world weariness to his portrayal of Morant, but intersperses it with a charm that keeps the portrayal from being maudlin. Woodward's courtroom scenes in particular are well done.
Rest in Peace Mr. Woodward, and thank you for the entertainment that you gave us.
Friday, November 13, 2009
In the bigger scheme of things I don't have a problem with it. But my ingrained cynicism kicked in when I remembered who has the final say as to whether or not the convicted is executed. Yep, you guessed it, the commander-in-chief has the final call.
Add to that, since he does have that responsibility, he can't make ANY comments about the case, nor about Islamic terrorism because it might damage the Ft. Hood shooter's chance at getting a fair and impartial trial or even give the shooter a reason for appeal.
Now I ain't saying that this is a fact, I don't have a smoking gun to prove it. But based on the Light Bringer's more than obvious reluctance to speak in a positive light about anything relating to our war on terror and knowing how "The Chicago Mob" plays the game, I just gotta wonder if the White House has their sticky little fingers all over this case.........
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
But I do also believe that the death penalty is justified and the right punishment for murder and other heinous crimes as long as there is no doubt whatsoever as to the guilt of the accused. There are some people who are so evil that they should not EVER be a part of humanity again. The problem with life imprisonment is that sometime it isn't for life. Here in N.C. we have about 20 people who are just about to get out of prison after receiving life sentences because they have received "good time" for behaving in prison.
I also think that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to criminals. I can guarantee you that John Allen Muhammad is about as deterred as he can get.
I just got back from attending a firearms instructor's conference at the North Carolina Justice Academy at Salemburg, I had a pretty good time, spent most of it attending armorer's classes. We worked on the Springfield Armory XD and it's 1911 clones and I am now a "certified armorer" whatever that means. Springfield puts out some fine weapons and if you are looking for a handgun, you could do a lot worse. However, they did do something that just "yanked my chain" Now most of you have no doubt figured out that I am old school to the max. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So imagine my disgust when they handed me a 1911 and the first thing I saw was a safety lock inserted in the main spring housing. Yep, someone took the masterpiece of 'ol J.M. Browning and put a safety lock on it. You need a key to make it go "bang" Now you don't have to use the safety lock, but the very idea that someone felt the need to add one to one of the finest weapon`systems around just blows my mind. I guess it's a liability sop for the lawyers. (Damn 'em)
I also attended a seminar on Combat Mindset. It was a eye opening talk. The instructor challenged us to do a better job of preparing our trainees for combat, to train them to win, which we haven't been doing. Some of our terminology we use in training adds to this mindset such as the term, "To survive a gunfight" As the instruction said "Hell, you can be sitting in a wheelchair and eating your food through a straw and have survived, teach your people to WIN" We also talked about turning the "Me" generation into cops and the difficulties involved in doing that. The kids coming up into police work don't look at it as a avocation, but only a job. Most have NEVER even been in a school yard fight, so they do not have ANY concept of what it's like in the real world. So they don't react when they should and as a result get themselves or someone else killed. About 50 percent of the law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty never had the chance or took the opportunity to defend themselves. Unfortunately this trend may contiue or even get worse. I hope with all my heart not, but it doesn't look good.
The guns fell silent worldwide in what until that time was the greatest bloodletting that ever been endured by mankind. The great nations of Europe were almost bled white by the losses of men and treasure. Great Britain, Germany, France and Russia lost almost an entire generation in the mud of the trenches. America came out fairly lightly, since we only entered the war in 1917, but our losses were significant if it was one of your loved ones who fell. America suffered 116,516 K.I.A.s and 204,002 W.I.A.
Armistice Day as it was called was changed by the Federal Government in 1954 to Veteran's Day to honor the service of all of America's Veterans. I think it is fitting and proper that this was done, since we already commemorate Memorial Day on which we honor those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. Even though we do it on a day that commemorates the end of a war, in a way, it's a celebration of those who made it and survived. So go out of your way to thank a vet today. They earned it.
An in memory of those warriors who died in the period 1914-1918 I enclose the following epithet written on the tombstone of a British Soldier in Normandy,
"The King called, he answered. The King of Kings called, he answered."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"A Marine should be sworn to the patient endurance of hardships, like the ancient knights; and it is not the least of these necessary hardships to have to serve with sailors."
- Field Marshal Montgomery
"Teufelhunden! (Devil Dogs)" -GERMAN SOLDIER'S nickname for the Marines they fought at BELLEAU WOOD in World War I
"The American Marines are terribly reckless fellows...they would make very good storm troopers."
- Unidentified captured German officer at Belleau Wood
"Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?" -GySgt. DANIEL DALY, USMC winner of two Congressional Medals of Honor (One of the Marines facing the above Germans)
"I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold."
- 1stLt Clifton B. Cates, USMC, 96th Co., Another Marine the above Germans were facing at Belleau Wood.
"Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it was some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts to ungentlemanly lengths, worshiping their Commandant almost as if he was a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages. They'll fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat just for the sake of a little action, and are the cockiest SOB's I have ever known. Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond man's normal limits, but their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and , generally speaking, of the United States Marines I've come in contact with, are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet."
- An Anonymous Canadian Citizen
Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over.
Colonel Commandant Archibald Henderson, USMC
in a note pinned to his office door, 1836
You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are.
Father Kevin Keaney
1st Marine Division Chaplain
The wonderful love of a beautiful maid,
The love of a staunch true man,
The love of a baby, unafraid,
Have existed since time began.
But the greatest of loves, The quintessence of loves.
even greater than that of a mother,
Is the tender, passionate, infinite love,
of one drunken Marine for another.
General Louis H. Wilson
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Toast given at 203rd Marine Corps Birthday Ball
Camp Lejueune, N.C. 1978
I would like to close this post with a transcription of a letter written in 1800 by the Second Commandant of the Marine Corps W.W. Burrows to a young Marine Lt. who had been insulted by a naval officer.
Camp at Washing., Sept. 22, 1800
Lt. Henry Caldwell
When I answer'd your letter, I did not Know what Injuries you had recieved on board the Trumbull....Yesterday the Secretary told me, that he understood one of the Lieutenants of the Navy had struck you. I lament that the Capt. of yr ship cannot Keep Order of her.......As to yourself I can only say, that a Blow ought never be forgiven, and without you wipe this Insult offer'd to the Marine Corps, you cannot expect to join our Officers.
I have permitted you to leave the ship.........That you may be on a equal Footing with the Captain, or any one who dare insult you or the Corps. I have wrote to Capt. Carmick, who is at Boston to call on you & be your friend. He is a Man of Spirit and will take care of you, but don't let me see you 'till you have wip'd away this Disgrace. It is my Duty to support my Officers and I will do it with my Life, but they must deserve it.
On board the Ganges, about 12 months ago, Lt. Gale was struck by an Officer of the Navy, the Capt. took no notice of the Business and Gale got no satisfaction on the Cruise; The moment he arrived he call'd the Lieut. out, and shot him; afterwards Politeness was restor'd.....
Yr obdt Svt,
W. W. Burrows
Lt. Col. Comdt, MC
Saturday, November 7, 2009
"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones
Friday, November 6, 2009
First, were the powers that be asleep at the wheel? With all the statements he made, all his well documented actions, the shooter should have been under close surveillance at a bare minimum. Or was the military so scared of allegations racial profiling or giving the perception of being unfair that they ignored a bunch of red flags? Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and it's real easy to second guess the folks on the scene, but damn, something went horribly wrong and we need to do some serious damage control here.
Second, I just can't get my head around what this treasonous dog did. I am not talking about his violating his oath before God, nor his oath to his country. Even worse, he violated a compact with his fellow soldiers. As a officer it was his duty to take care of the soldiers under his command, in return his soldiers take care of him. This has always been a understanding between soldiers since time immortal. To coldly murder your fellow soldiers because of religious or political beliefs is beyond the pale in my mind.
This sorry excuse for a human being should receive a exceedingly fair trial and the absolute finest legal representation available. Cost should be no object. Then when he is convicted, he should be sentenced to death. Once the sentence is carried out, his body should be wrapped in a pig skin, covered in quick lime and buried in a unmarked grave. Then all record of his name and history should be expunged never to be remembered again.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
A early morning search of the cellars of the English Parliament building led to the discovery of 36 barrels of gunpowder and a man with slow match, and fuses. The man identified as Guido (Guy) Fawkes freely admitted that it was his intention to set off the fuse so that the powder when it exploded would destroy the House of Lords, all it's members, as well as King James the 1st who would be present. Fawkes was the "triggerman" of a plot by a group of Catholics who decided that the restrictions placed on their faith by the Parliament was too much to bear so they plotted the assassinations. Fawkes co-conspirators were quickly rounded up and "put to the question" (A term for torture) The net that the English government tossed out brought in quite a few priest, catholic laymen and others that might have been trouble to the King. Unfortunately there were innocent as well as guilty taken in. It did however crush for the time any attempts to restore the Catholic faith as the primary religion in England.
Today in England they still commemorate this event by searching the cellars of Parliament before it's opening as well as with the burning of the Guy. Children make life size dummies, place them on street corners and beg pennies from passers-by to buy fireworks. When darkness fell, the dummies were paraded in the neighborhoods then burned in bonfires to the accompaniment of fireworks, songs and chants. Up until recently, there was a VERY strong Anti-Catholic bias to the celebration which has been somewhat toned downed. I will close this post with a poem that was chanted during the burning of the Guy.
Remember, remember, the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason, and plot!
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Threescore barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow.
By God's mercy, he was catch'd,
With dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa, boys, holloa, boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa, boys, holloa, boys, God save the King!
Hip, hip, huzzah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah hoorah!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
North Carolina's own, Richard Gatling received a patent for the multiple barreled repeating firearm which bears his name. The basic design of the Gatling lives on in the main weapon of the A-10 aircraft as well as the various chain guns floating around out there.
British archeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the Egyptian boy King Tutankhamen. The tomb which had been missed by looters, unlike most tombs was for the most part undisturbed. When Carter peered into the tomb through a small hole he had punched through the door, he was asked what he saw. He could only reply "Wonderful Things!!!" The artifacts that he recovered still delight and amaze the public to this day.
And for you old timers out there, the discovery also helped with the popularity of a young comedian named Steve Martin.....
Overwhelming numbers of Russian armored vehicles and troops rolled into Hungary to begin crushing the anti-communist uprising that had began on October 23. Fighting continued until November 10 at which time resistance stopped. Over 200,000 Hungarians became refugees before the Soviets sealed the borders leaving their homes, friends and families to live in freedom.
The American Embassy in Tehran, Iran was take over by radical students who were by most accounts, controlled and directed by the Islamic government of Iran. 52 of the staff and diplomats that worked in the embassy were taken hostage and held for 444 days. The Iranians released the hostages almost to the minute that Ronald Reagan assumed the office of President of the United States.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Michelangelo Buonarroti's masterpiece, the fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was first presented to the public. It received rave reviews at the time and still does today.
Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenburg Palace church marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, and eventually some of the bloodiest wars in Europe to that point. As it was said, with so many thinking God was on their side, the question was who was on God's side?
800 Troopers of the 4th Australian Light Horse (mounted infantry) took part in what many historians consider the last cavalry charge in history. They assaulted and captured the Turkish fortress town of Beersheba, Palestine. After a 4 mile gallop, under constant artillery, machine gun and rifle fire, the Australians got through the barbed-wire barricades and crossed two trench lines before entering the town. In the assault the Australians lost 31 men K.I.A. and 36 wounded. In return, they captured 750 Turks, 9 artillery pieces, 3 machine guns and large quantities of munitions and supplies. This action also served to turn the flank of Turkish defenses in Palestine, leading to the fall of Jerusalem two months later. The rest of Palestine fell soon after.
Just goes to show you what a highly motivated individual with a rifle, bayonet and horse can accomplish.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Now I get the commander-in-chief thing, and he has the authority to render the salute, but damn, I don't think that he has truly earned that right. As far as I know he has never even been a Boy Scout or even worn a uniform before, nor has he supported the military. (at least like I think he should have) I think that perhaps it might be appropriate if he placed his hand over his heart rather than salute.
Of course, I could be wrong. What do you guys out there in blog land think?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The declaration of eradication came on May 8th 1980.
Monday, October 26, 2009
In Tombstone, Arizona Territory one of the West's most notorious gunfights took place. Wyatt Earp, his brothers Morgan and Virgil and John "Doc" Holliday met the Clanton "Gang". The fight ended with three of Clanton partisans dead.
Chevrolet introduces the V-8 engine to the public.
The World Health Organization declared Smallpox to be extinct world wide. The last case recorded in the world occurring naturally was in the country of Somalia that same year. Smallpox which had been the scourge of mankind since the beginning of time had killed and maimed countless millions up until that time. This was a international effort that succeeded beyond the organizers wildest dreams.
However, Smallpox is not totally gone. The U.S. holds samples of Smallpox at the labs of the C.D.C. in Atlanta, GA. and other samples are held in a lab in Moscow. There is also very strong evidence that some countries also hold Smallpox to be used as a Bio weapons.
We can only hope that this "spotted demon" is never introduced to humanity again.
Friday, October 23, 2009
In Beirut, Lebanon a truck bomb exploded in a building that was being used by U.S. Marines as a barracks. 241 Marines and Sailors died in the explosion.
The Marines involved were based out of Camp Lejeune here in North Carolina, so this loss was strongly felt here in the Old North State.
May the Lord keep watch over their souls.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union came very close to becoming very hot indeed when President John Kennedy announced to the American people that Soviet offensive ballistic missiles had been placed in Cuba. In the speech he made on that night on national television, he clearly and calmly stated the facts of the case and announced a naval "quarantine" of Cuba. Here is a copy of the speech he made that fateful night. Please take a moment and read it.
Good evening, my fellow citizens:
This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.
Upon receiving the first preliminary hard information of this nature last Tuesday morning at 9 A.M., I directed that our surveillance be stepped up. And having now confirmed and completed our evaluation of the evidence and our decision on a course of action, this Government feels obliged to report this new crisis to you in fullest detail.
The characteristics of these new missile sites indicate two distinct types of installations. Several of them include medium range ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead for a distance of more than 1,000 nautical miles. Each of these missiles, in short, is capable of striking Washington, D. C., the Panama Canal, Cape Canaveral, Mexico City, or any other city in the southeastern part of the United States, in Central America, or in the Caribbean area.
Additional sites not yet completed appear to be designed for intermediate range ballistic missiles -- capable of traveling more than twice as far -- and thus capable of striking most of the major cities in the Western Hemisphere, ranging as far north as Hudson Bay, Canada, and as far south as Lima, Peru. In addition, jet bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are now being uncrated and assembled in Cuba, while the necessary air bases are being prepared.
This urgent transformation of Cuba into an important strategic base -- by the presence of these large, long-range, and clearly offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction -- constitutes an explicit threat to the peace and security of all the Americas, in flagrant and deliberate defiance of the Rio Pact of 1947, the traditions of this nation and hemisphere, the joint resolution of the 87th Congress, the Charter of the United Nations, and my own public warnings to the Soviets on September 4 and 13. This action also contradicts the repeated assurances of Soviet spokesmen, both publicly and privately delivered, that the arms buildup in Cuba would retain its original defensive character, and that the Soviet Union had no need or desire to station strategic missiles. on the territory of any other nation.
The size of this undertaking makes clear that it has been planned for some months. Yet, only last month, after I had made clear the distinction between any introduction of ground-to-ground missiles and the existence of defensive antiaircraft missiles, the Soviet Government publicly stated on September 11 that, and I quote, "the armaments and military equipment sent to Cuba are designed exclusively for defensive purposes," that there is, and I quote the Soviet Government, "there is no need for the Soviet Government to shift its weapons for a retaliatory blow to any other country, for instance Cuba," and that, and I quote their government, "the Soviet Union has so powerful rockets to carry these nuclear warheads that there is no need to search for sites for them beyond the boundaries of the Soviet Union."
That statement was false.
Only last Thursday, as evidence of this rapid offensive buildup was already in my hand, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko told me in my office that he was instructed to make it clear once again, as he said his government had already done, that Soviet assistance to Cuba, and I quote, "pursued solely the purpose of contributing to the defense capabilities of Cuba," that, and I quote him, "training by Soviet specialists of Cuban nationals in handling defensive armaments was by no means offensive, and if it were otherwise," Mr. Gromyko went on, "the Soviet Government would never become involved in rendering such assistance."
That statement also was false.
Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation's security to constitute maximum peril. Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift, that any substantially increased possibility of their use or any sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace.
For many years, both the Soviet Union and the United States, recognizing this fact, have deployed strategic nuclear weapons with great care, never upsetting the precarious status quo which insured that these weapons would not be used in the absence of some vital challenge. Our own strategic missiles have never been transferred to the territory of any other nation under a cloak of secrecy and deception; and our history -- unlike that of the Soviets since the end of World War II -- demonstrates that we have no desire to dominate or conquer any other nation or impose our system upon its people. Nevertheless, American citizens have become adjusted to living daily on the bull's-eye of Soviet missiles located inside the U.S.S.R. or in submarines.
In that sense, missiles in Cuba add to an already clear and present danger -- although it should be noted the nations of Latin America have never previously been subjected to a potential nuclear threat. But this secret, swift, extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles -- in an area well known to have a special and historical relationship to the United States and the nations of the Western Hemisphere, in violation of Soviet assurances, and in defiance of American and hemispheric policy -- this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons for the first time outside of Soviet soil -- is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country, if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted again by either friend or foe.
The 1930's taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. This nation is opposed to war. We are also true to our word. Our unswerving objective, therefore, must be to prevent the use of these missiles against this or any other country, and to secure their withdrawal or elimination from the Western Hemisphere.
Our policy has been one of patience and restraint, as befits a peaceful and powerful nation which leads a worldwide alliance. We have been determined not to be diverted from our central concerns by mere irritants and fanatics. But now further action is required, and it is under way; and these actions may only be the beginning. We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth; but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.
Acting, therefore, in the defense of our own security and of the entire Western Hemisphere, and under the authority entrusted to me by the Constitution as endorsed by the Resolution of the Congress, I have directed that the following initial steps be taken immediately:
First: To halt this offensive buildup a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.
Second: I have directed the continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup. The foreign ministers of the OAS [Organization of American States], in their communiqué' of October 6, rejected secrecy on such matters in this hemisphere. Should these offensive military preparations continue, thus increasing the threat to the hemisphere, further action will be justified. I have directed the Armed Forces to prepare for any eventualities; and I trust that in the interest of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at the sites, the hazards to all concerned of continuing this threat will be recognized.
Third: It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
Fourth: As a necessary military precaution, I have reinforced our base at Guantanamo, evacuated today the dependents of our personnel there, and ordered additional military units to be on a standby alert basis.
Fifth: We are calling tonight for an immediate meeting of the Organ[ization] of Consultation under the Organization of American States, to consider this threat to hemispheric security and to invoke articles 6 and 8 of the Rio Treaty in support of all necessary action. The United Nations Charter allows for regional security arrangements, and the nations of this hemisphere decided long ago against the military presence of outside powers. Our other allies around the world have also been alerted.
Sixth: Under the Charter of the United Nations, we are asking tonight that an emergency meeting of the Security Council be convoked without delay to take action against this latest Soviet threat to world peace. Our resolution will call for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba, under the supervision of U.N. observers, before the quarantine can be lifted.
Seventh and finally: I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. I call upon him further to abandon this course of world domination, and to join in an historic effort to end the perilous arms race and to transform the history of man. He has an opportunity now to move the world back from the abyss of destruction by returning to his government's own words that it had no need to station missiles outside its own territory, and withdrawing these weapons from Cuba by refraining from any action which will widen or deepen the present crisis, and then by participating in a search for peaceful and permanent solutions.
This nation is prepared to present its case against the Soviet threat to peace, and our own proposals for a peaceful world, at any time and in any forum -- in the OAS, in the United Nations, or in any other meeting that could be useful -- without limiting our freedom of action. We have in the past made strenuous efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. We have proposed the elimination of all arms and military bases in a fair and effective disarmament treaty. We are prepared to discuss new proposals for the removal of tensions on both sides, including the possibilities of a genuinely independent Cuba, free to determine its own destiny. We have no wish to war with the Soviet Union -- for we are a peaceful people who desire to live in peace with all other peoples.
But it is difficult to settle or even discuss these problems in an atmosphere of intimidation. That is why this latest Soviet threat -- or any other threat which is made either independently or in response to our actions this week-- must and will be met with determination. Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedom of peoples to whom we are committed, including in particular the brave people of West Berlin, will be met by whatever action is needed.
Finally, I want to say a few words to the captive people of Cuba, to whom this speech is being directly carried by special radio facilities. I speak to you as a friend, as one who knows of your deep attachment to your fatherland, as one who shares your aspirations for liberty and justice for all. And I have watched and the American people have watched with deep sorrow how your nationalist revolution was betrayed -- and how your fatherland fell under foreign domination. Now your leaders are no longer Cuban leaders inspired by Cuban ideals. They are puppets and agents of an international conspiracy which has turned Cuba against your friends and neighbors in the Americas, and turned it into the first Latin American country to become a target for nuclear war -- the first Latin American country to have these weapons on its soil.
These new weapons are not in your interest. They contribute nothing to your peace and well-being. They can only undermine it. But this country has no wish to cause you to suffer or to impose any system upon you. We know that your lives and land are being used as pawns by those who deny your freedom. Many times in the past, the Cuban people have risen to throw out tyrants who destroyed their liberty. And I have no doubt that most Cubans today look forward to the time when they will be truly free -- free from foreign domination, free to choose their own leaders, free to select their own system, free to own their own land, free to speak and write and worship without fear or degradation. And then shall Cuba be welcomed back to the society of free nations and to the associations of this hemisphere.
My fellow citizens, let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead -- months in which both our patience and our will be tested, months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.
The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.
Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right; not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.
Thank you and good night.
I can't help but wonder what would have happened if this had occurred with the current administration in office......
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
All hands shall splice the mainbrace today in memory of the Immortal Nelson and the Gallant British Tars who fought and won against the combined French and Spanish fleets at the battle of Trafalgar.
If you know it, a chorus or two of "Heart of Oak" wouldn't hurt either...........
Monday, October 19, 2009
Great Britain declared war on Spain in what was called "The War of Jenkin's Ear". This war was so named after English ship's Captain Richard Jenkins who having his ship boarded by Spanish coastal guardians was assaulted and had his ear cut off. The Spaniard who did this, told Jenkins "Take this to your King and tell him I would do him likewise" Jenkins took the ear to show to the English Parliament and it served to fan the flames of hatred for Spain. This war was little more than a continuation of the multiple wars for empire going on in the world at the time. It was notable since it did serve to finalise the boarder between Spanish Florida and the English colony of Georgia as well as allowing American colonist to serve in the British forces. One notable Virginian, thinking so highly of the British naval commander at the battle of Cartagena resolved to name his home after him. The British commander, was Edward Vernon. The Virginian, was Lawrence Washington, brother of George. George later inherited from his brother the home and plantation named Mount Vernon.
General Charles Lord Cornwallis surrendered his command on the Yorktown peninsula in Virginia to his excellency George Washington commander of the Continental Army and Count de Rochambeau commander of the French expeditionary forces. The British surrendered 7152 army personnel as well as 840 seamen and while it was a significant lost, it did not end the war, which dragged on for two more years. The final treaty was signed in 1783.
Napoleon Bonaparte leading the Army of France began the long cold nightmarish retreat from Moscow. The Russians had followed a scorched earth policy which prevented the French from living off the land as they had done in other countries. Combined with the distance back to France as well as the cold of the Russian winter this served to destroy the cream of the French Army.
It was a lesson that the German Army would learn only too well in 1941. General Winter controls the battles on the steppes.
On reflection however, I think I learned a great deal in the almost two years that I worked there. Mostly about myself, as well as about my fellow man. I was lucky enough to be able to bring that knowledge with me as I continued my career and I firmly believe that it made me both a better cop as well as a better man.
In small towns, you have contact with what you could consider a "cast of characters", locals that you had dealings with day-in, day-out. Most of these interactions were harmless, and happened so frequently that you learned the names of the people and they learned yours. Let me tell you a story of one of these folks, a fellow named "Big Boy" Mason.
Big Boy was a African-American street person, who as you have no doubt figured was a fairly good sized individual. He stood about 6'2" and seemed to be as wide as he was tall. I never learned his first name. Every one, including his only living kin, a aunt he stayed with when it got cold called him Big Boy. As I said, he was big but he was a gentle giant. In a cruel twist of fate that nature sometimes plays on us, Big Boy was mildly retarded. Not enough to stop him from being able to get along, but it did give him a child like quality. I guess these days he could have been put into a program or have a social worker to keep a eye on him. But in those days, we didn't have any thing like that.
Big Boy would spend his days on main street looking for work to do. He would either work for cash or food and did a good job on whatever he took on. He washed dishes, swept, picked up trash, whatever anyone would let him do. When he swapped his labor for food, he always had one of two meals, either three fried fish sandwiches or four hotdogs "all the way" (mustard, slaw, chilli and chopped onions) washed down with a quart of chocolate milk. Big Boy also liked his wine. He was just as happy as a clam when he had a bottle of Richard's Wild Irish Rose wine. But he never let it get the better of him, nor did he ever drink in public. He always went into the bushes or behind buildings. So I never had any problems with him, he was fairly harmless and as I said, just a part of main street.
Big Boy did have one habit that made him stand out. Every one or two weeks he would take whatever money he had earned and saved and go down to a small mom and pop hardware store we had in town on Friday afternoon and buy himself a "Let's go fishing!" kit. I seem to remember it had a Zebco 303 fishing rod with various other odds and ends in it. The idea was that you could buy the kit and have everything you needed to fish but the bait. With that kit and a tub or two of nightcrawlers Big Boy would announce to all that he was "goin' fishing" and would disappear for the entire weekend, only to return to his routine on Monday morning, sans rod. I have no idea what happened to all those rods, but he would always have to pick up another one when the urge to go fishing struck him.
I was patrolling the town about 2 AM on a Saturday morning and it was very quiet, nothing going on but rain. I ain't talking about mist or sprinkles, I am talking good ol' Baptist gullywasher. I cut through a strip mall parking lot and saw a hulking figure standing in the middle of the lot. Now this parking lot was know for it's settling so every time it rained real hard, a big puddle would form. Of course, the hulking figure was Big Boy out in the driving rain, fishing in the puddle. I rolled down my car window and yelled at him inquiring as to" just what the ever loving hell he thought he was doing?" Big Boy very calmly replied "Fishing, Boss"
Now I knew that if a taxpayer saw Big Boy and called it in, that I would be forced to take formal action so I thought real fast and told Big Boy that hole had been fished out for a while, but that if he would come with me, I would take him to a place where I thought that he would have better luck. That seemed to make him happy so he piled into my patrol car and I drove him to a small creek about 1/2 a mile from main street. I put him out and told him to be careful, he thanked me multiple times and that was that. Or so I thought.
Fast forward about a month or so. There was a fellow named Shorty who ran a boarding house in town. Well, I call it a boarding house, he just emptied out two rooms and put in a bunch of army cots and rented them out to drunks, street people, people on the run from the law or anything or anyone else that had the cash for a place to crash. Shorty was a real piece of work. He took out insurance policies on the street folks, (Naming himself as the beneficiary) just in case anything MIGHT happen to them while they were his guest. He also had a refrigerator on his back porch full of beer, wine or anything else a person might want. Of course he also had a log chain padlocked around the fridge, because Shorty was strictly a cash and carry kind of guy. He was also one of the biggest fences around which led to our interest in him. One of our investigators had real good information that Shorty had several handguns that had been stolen from a local gun store and obtained a search warrant for the premises.
This was my first raid/search warrant so the powers that be, posted me watching the back yard. Again I was a young pup and fell into the same trap that new fighter pilots sometimes fall into. I focused on the threat to my front, not my surroundings. I forgot to check my six, as they say.
This fact was brought to my attention when I heard a loud "thump" behind me. I spun around and saw a man laying on the ground with a busted beer bottle in his hand and standing over him was Big Boy with a big piece of wood in his hand. Big Boy was looking down at the individual on the ground and said "Mutha F***a, don't you try to hurt that white boy, he's my fishin' buddy."
Believe you me, from that point on, Big Boy didn't have to worry about getting rides to the fishin' hole or working too hard for hotdogs. Strangely enough he never ever mentioned saving my ass, he seemed to have forgotten all about it. But I never did.
I left that agency about a year later. Bigger and better things I figured. The little town continued on, since it was real close to where my new job was and where I lived, I sorta kept up with what was going on. Then one night I ran into one of my old co-workers and was catching me up with the latest news and he told me that Big Boy was dead. His aunt had gone out of town to visit some relatives and it had turned cold. Big Boy went to the local junk yard where he sometimes slept in the wrecked cars, took a hubcap and filled it with charcoal, lit it and took it into a car with him. Carbon Monoxide got him.
To this day, when I go to Walmart or any other place where they sell fishing gear and I spot one of those "Let's go fishing" sets, I think about Big Boy and how someone on we consider the fringes kept a still wet behind the ears kid in a uniform from getting seriously hurt or worse. Maybe I will see him again in the beyond.
If so, I owe him a fishing trip.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it the sound barrier."
From the movie "The Right Stuff"
On this date Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager confronted the demon and bested it by becoming the first man to break the sound barrier in the X-1 rocket.
Prisoners in the Sobibor death camp in Poland rose up in revolt killing 11 members of German S.S. who ran the camp as well as a number of Ukrainian guards. There were 600 prisoners held in the camp of which over half escaped. Only 50 of the escapees survived the war. Once again, history shows us that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees as a slave.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
"All MY heroes have always been killed by Cowboys"
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Corporal Alvin C. York, ( later promoted to Sgt.) in battle near Chatel-Chehery, France performed acts of heroism that were later to result in the award of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The citation states:
"After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machinegun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns."
Friday, September 25, 2009
Imagine No Obama, it's easy if you try,
No teleprompters, no more healthcare lies,
Imagine all the people,
Going back to work.
Imagine no more bailouts, it isn't hard to do.
Lower unemployment, and lower taxes too
Imagine all the people,
Keeping what they've earned
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one
Pursuing happiness and freedom,
It's called Capitalism.
Imagine No Obama, I wonder if you can
No need for Reed or Pelosi, get rid of Lindsay Graham
Imagine all the people
With their wallets full.
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one
Pursuing happiness and freedom
And liberty for everyone.