Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Burning Love............

A tip of the hat to fellow blogger Tam for this article.............


Monday, March 30, 2009

Today's Birthdays of Note......

In 1746....

Fransisco Goya, Spanish Artist

In 1853....

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Artist

In 1945....

Mr. Eric "Slowhand" Clapton, Guitar virtuoso and perennial member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

All in all, not a bad bunch......

Today In History.................

In 1842.....

Dr. Crawford Long of Georgia performed the first operation where the patient was under general anesthesia. He used ether on a patient before removing a tumor from the patient's neck.

In 1858.....

The first patten was issued for a pencil with an eraser. (Thank goodness for that, since I have always wore out more erasers than pencils)

In 1867.....

The U.S. bought Alaska from Russia for the sum of $7,200,000 in gold.

In 1870.....

The 15th Amendment was passed guaranteeing the right to vote to all men, regardless of their race. (Women however, had to wait a bit longer)

In 1932.....

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Me And My Car............

O.K. I am not the smartest person in the world, or the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I am somewhat confused about something. Maybe ya'll can help me figure this out.

While listening to the Light Bringer speak today I had two questions.

1. He said that the government wasn't interested in running a car company, yet the government fired the CEO of one company and have basically said that one company HAS to give a large percentage of it's stock to a foreign company for receiving some "advice" Sounds like they are "running" a company to me. Or did I miss something?

2. The Light Bringer said that the power and majesty of the U.S. government would be behind the warranties of GM and Chrysler vehicles. This will be a LONG term commitment of tax payers dollars and what about the unfair advantage it gives to those two as compared to Ford, which didn't take any federal money and seems to be holding it's own?

I swear that the inmates are in charge of the asylum, I'm just saying..........

To Make Your Monday Better or Worse............

From another blog. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read this.Clip and paste please...........


Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Thought For The Day......

Never hesitate to try something new. After all, the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic was built by professionals.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts For The Day.......

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects".
Robert Heinlein


"Sometimes you need to spit in your hands, raise a black flag and cut some throats."
H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

South Of The Border, Down Mexico Way.......

I have been watching with some interest the news coming out of Mexico. While I do not in the slightest way wish to demean the law enforcement officers who are putting their lives on the line in fighting the drug cartels (on both sides of the border) nor the importance of their efforts, I think that it is time that the media and politicians just need to step back and take a very deep breath before reporting anymore or even commenting on the subject.

I have no doubts that things are bad down there. Any time that weapons, poverty, corruption, and crime get together it is a volatile mix and it seems that narcotic dealers are particularly violent and ruthless in taking care of business. But to hear the talking heads on the tube, you would think that it is the end of the world down there.

Folks, we have been through this before. Mexico has always been a tough place, a place of violence and crime. In the early 1900's it was racked by civil war, military dictatorships and U.S. intervention. The U.S. captured and occupied the port of Veracruz in 1914 to cut off supplies to and destabilize the government of Victoriano Huerta. Then in 1916 units of the U.S. Army went into Mexico on a "punitive" expedition, after "Pancho" Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico killing 18 American citizens. Another factor in the decision to cross the border was the state government of Texas complaining about the lawlessness on the border. This intervention lasted for close to a year.

About this time, there also another ingredient that added to the troubles on the border. In 1919 America went dry as the results of national prohibition. This led to opportunities for people to make large amounts of illegal money by smuggling in alcohol for a very thirsty American population. Many a Contrabandista, with a tow sack full of bottles on his back and a pistol in his pocket crossed the border to tangle with the border patrol and local law enforcement officers on the American side. These were desperate men who would not hesitate to shoot if they were challenged. There were countless numbers of shoot outs between the Border Patrol and the Contrabandistas in the 1920's and early 1930's

So you see, history once more repeats it's self. Perhaps the weapons might be a bit better, the people a bit more ruthless, but again, we HAVE seen this kind of situation before. The world survived, the border wasn't converted into a mass grave yard or a D.M.Z. But here's a thought for you. Without the constant Greek chorus of the media, the situation might not be as bad as it is, or perhaps not as bad as WE think it is.

It does makes you think and wonder however.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today In History..........

In 1944........

On this date, 76 allied prisoners of war escaped from the German prison camp Stalag Luft III. This was commemorated by first the book, then the movie, "The Great Escape" The movie was time condensed and had some factual errors (there were no American prisoners involved) but all in all based in truth.

Of the 76 prisoners, three made it home, the rest were recaptured. Of that number, 50 were executed by the Nazis, as a warning to the other prisoners to stop their escape attempts. The rest were returned to prison.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Officer down..........

On 03-21-09 three Oakland California police officers were killed in the line of duty. A forth, died of wounds he received in the same incident one day later. The suspect in the shooting was a parole violator who had a extensive criminal history. As a matter of fact he was on parole from a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon. Of course, there will be much said about the weapon or weapons used, and little about the scumbag that did the crime.

When a police office dies in the line of duty, we are all diminished as a free people. Please take a moment to remember these brave men who gave their lives for their fellow man.

Police Officer John Hege

Sergeant Daniel Sakai

Sergeant Ervin Romans

Sergeant Mark Dunakin

UPDATE: The latest news reports are that the murdering scum that shot these officers had been tentatively linked to a violent rape that had occurred the day before the shooting through a DNA link. These animals need to be in prison, and once there, LEFT there until they ROT.

A newly discovered jewel......

This weekend, I acquired a new item that I have wanted for YEARS. She is a Mark IV British Webley revolver in 455 caliber. It is dated 1916 and is in in wonderful shape for being 96 years old. Most of it's original finish is still on it, the bore is good, strong and shinny and I can't find any trace of pitting from corrosion. The grips are hard plastic and there are no chips or cracks. A good number of these weapons were converted to fire 45 ACP cartridges with the use of half-moon clips, in the golden days of the military surplus sales of the 50's and 60's to make them more desirable to the American shooting public. But this one looks to be untouched.

Oh if only this old girl could talk, the stories she might be able to tell. Perhaps fresh from the factory, with traces of packing grease still on her, she was held by the sweaty hand of a young British Army Lieutenant who was to lead his men "over the top" into the hell of no man's land of the Somme. Or perhaps it was in the holster of a Spitfire pilot who wore it, "just in case" while fighting in the Battle of Britain or making fighter sweeps over occupied France. Or carried by a officer who was driven into the sea at Dunkirk by the Germans and then returned from the sea at Normandy to drive the Germans out of occupied France and other countries and to liberate millions of enslaved people.

Maybe it was carried by a British officer during the Easter Rising or even a "Black and Tan" in during the later Irish troubles or by some colonial police officer in any of the British colonies in Africa, Asia or the world over. Again, if this old gal could only whisper her tales in my ear. No matter what her story, it's obvious that she was well cared for, by a person who had depended on her. I shall continue this tradition by doing the same. As a lover of history, I could do no less for this wonderful relic of the past.

Update: One more thing about this old girl. In the words of fellow bloggers Tam and Ambulance Driver: Does she look hawt to you? Does she make you happy in your pants?"

The answer is: You Damn Right!!!!!!! -grin-

Back home again, part two......

I spent the weekend at Military Through The Ages event at Jamestowne Settlement in VA. This was a timeline event that allowed the public to look at military units from all of history, there were Vikings, Renaissance warriors, Teutonic knights, soldiers from the thirty years wars, and many other groups and time periods. These folks do museum quality impressions, to include camp set up, clothing, weapons, and camp life. This was the first time that we had ever attended this event and I didn't think we had much of a chance to win any of the contest, since we were the new kids on the block. However, I didn't take into account our own Ms. Nancy who organized and directed the unit for the various judging. We won second place in the camp display contest. I have no doubt that we would have won the camp cooking contest also, if we would have had written documentation on the food that was prepared. (Which we didn't know was required)

James, our new cook, with the assistance of Miss Nancy had prepared two meals, one for the officers consisting of Lobscouse and Spotted dog as well as a simple Ration stew for the enlisted men. We hoped that would show the distinction between the two classes We also had a few squirrels on the spit for the adventurous. The judges LOVED the food and said it was historically accurate, but due to the lack of documentation, we lost points. James and Miss Nancy allowed we would get them next year.

I think that this was one of the better events I have ever attended. It gave us a chance to see what other folks were doing in other time periods as well as to network a bit. I met other medical types from the Revolution, Civil War, WWI & II and a medieval herbalist who wanted to share resources with us. It's a good chance to see what others are doing and pick up ideas on how to improve your presentation. I am sure that some folks got some ideas from us too. Speaking of ideas, I saw some Union Sailors who had a set up that looked pretty good, I didn't have time to talk to them, but will the next time.

If you get a chance, a time line event is well worth your time if you want to go.

Back home again...........

I got home today about mid day, off loaded about half of my truck and caught up on the goings on at casa W. the good wife reported all quiet so I sat a spell and composed in my head my joint AAR on the past weekends road trips.Here is what I came up with......

On the weekend of March 7-8 I took a quick trip to the Northern Neck of VA to spends some time with my good friends the Randalls. Miss Nancy who is a best buddy o' mine and a all around good egg, (She ain't too hard on the eyes either) has obtained her CCW permit and was still working out the best pistol/ holster combo to use. I tossed a bunch of my handguns and holsters in the car and headed north.

On that Saturday we went to the home of a mutual friends (who are also members of our reenacting unit) and did some shooting. First of all, I had worked out a plan in my head for a target frame of a size that would allow full sized silhouette targets to be used. I thought that it might be cheap and easy to turn out if I made it out of P.V.C. pipe. Well it worked out great and was very cost effective, considering that each stick of pipe cost about ninety-six cents each.

I didn't shoot as much as I wanted to, my knees just weren't up to it, but I had a ball with what little I did and mostly watching others and offering the occasional coaching. I broke out my Taurus "Gaucho" a Colt Single action knock off. She has a 5 1/2 inch barrel and is chambered in 45 Colt. I replaced the standard grips with some "faux antique ivory" grips from Ajax. I must admit that I was a bit of a snob when it came to "foreign" made weapons, but this Taurus has changed my mind. It handles well, has a gorgeous blued finish and shoots a lot better than I can hold it. Out of my first 5 shots I put three in the head of a standard police silhouette target at 25 yards. That my friends, is a good shooting gun.

I also shot my CZ-52 with the new ghost-ring rear site I put on it. I like the ghost ring, it allows these old eyes to pick up a sight picture much quicker than with the standard sights. My CZ is a old Czech military pistol made back in 1952. It is chambered for the 7.62X25 cartridge. This is a very hot cartridge moving out at close to 1300 feet per second but it is a small bullet, a 30 caliber that only weighs around 93 grains. So it may be in a hurry when it gets there, but it doesn't have much when it arrives.

Of course we shot my Glocks and wheelguns, and even unlimbered a old High Standard police shotgun for a few rounds of the Centurion ammunition that I wrote about in a earlier post. I can't say that I was very impressed with the load. The round consist of one 650 ball with 6 #1 buck pellets. At 25 yards there wasn't that much dispersal of the pellets. There was two large holes from the 650 ball and the wad and three pellet sized holes in the target. I guess that the other pellets went in with the larger ball. At closer ranges, I didn't see any sign of the buckshot striking the target, so I surmise that it went through the same hole that the 650 ball went through. I want to do a little more work on this but so far, again, I am not impressed.

I think all this shooting helped Miss Nancy figure out what would work best for her as a weapon to carry concealed. Miss Nancy while surrounded by gun cranks and "experts" has been very careful not to be stampeded by all their sage advice. She has done her own research and is taking this responsibility very seriously. I like the fact that she has decided to find what works for her, rather than to take what she has and try to make it work like so many other folks do.

The very best thing was the kids that we had with us while shooting. Of course, we had them wear the proper protective gear, and kept a close eye on them, but they seemed to enjoy being with the big folks. We ever took a break and let them shoot some air rifles at the targets. Ms. Susan, every bit of 3 and a half years old, (with a little help) managed to hit a target with a air rifle. She was so tickled that she announced that for her 4th birthday she wanted a handgun, like mommy's. Looks like we have started another one out right. -grin-

After shooting our fill, we then retired to the grill where we cooked out burgers, brats and dogs. A perfect end to a perfect day.

The next day, we drove up to Maryland and visited a living history market fair. It wasn't very big but there were a few odds and ends that were worth looking at and I did find a few books I couldn't like without. You know me and books. -grin-

All in all a good weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time in a bottle..........

Nope, not dead nor disappeared into the twilight zone yet. There isn't enough time in the day to do all that needs to be done.

Just been doing my one leg duck imitation. Just swimming around and around in a big circle. I returned from my weekend with the Randalls of Northern Virginia (which I might add was a stone cold blast, much shooting and fellowship) came back to the Casa W. where it proceeded to rain for about 4 days. Of course this fried my knees once more, so I sat around sulked, hurt and tied knots. I didn't even want to cut on the computer which shows you the kind of funk I was in.

Tonight I am working up another head of steam to attend a event called Military through the ages at the Jamestowne Settlement outside Williamsburg VA this weekend. This event is a timeline event that host groups that span historical periods from I guess, cavemen up to the gulf war. We are taking our hospital unit there for our first time. They have various compititions between the groups such as authentic period food, clothing and camp set up. I hope that we will do well in these contest.

When I return, I will report on this event as well as the roadtrip to Northern VA. I promise! -grin-

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Long And Winding Road..........

Once again I am hunting and gathering, getting my gear together to head north to spend some time with my adopted family the Randalls in Northern Virginia. I can spoil the budding genius Miss Susan, flirt with her mother and torment her father.....-grin-

Not only do I need a little decompression time, I also desperately need some quality trigger time. I will be taking up a few firearms to knock the cobwebs out of as well as one or two I haven't even had a chance to shoot yet since I bought them. The plan is to shoot on Saturday, then grill out that evening. I will be taking some silhouettes up and I will make up one or two target holders out of PVC pipe. It's fun shooting at cans and bottles, but you can lean so much more with bigger targets.

Then on Sunday we head up to Maryland where they are hosting a Winter living history market. Not that I have a heck of a lot of spare change to toss around, but it will be nice to get some ideas of what new stuff is out there and one never knows what you might find.

It should be fun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hard Times Come Again No More..................

I just took a look at my 401-K totals today. It has lost about half of it's value since the current monkey show started. It looks like once I get my knees squared away I will need to find a part time job to try to recover at least some of my losses.

Either that, or start trying to figure out which brand of dog food will taste best when I hit 62.

Sometimes, I can't BUY a break.......

Monday, March 2, 2009

Food For The Soul..............

One of the things that you can count on here in North Carolina is that just as soon as the leaves start to turn in the fall until the buds appear in the trees you will see homemade signs on the roadside advertising Brunswick stew for sale. It's been a tradition for as long as I can remember. Local churches, Volunteer Fire Departments, Boy and Girl Scout troops and school bands all sell stew as a method of fund raising.

Both Brunswick VA and Brunswick GA claim to be the birthplace of Brunswick stew, I don't believe it. I think much like it's cousins Burgoo of Kentucky and Jambalaya of Louisiana it was developed as a way to feed large numbers of people with limited amounts of meat. In the early days of politics about the only way they could get people out to hear the speeches was to either get them drinks or food. Brunswick stew fits that bill to a T.

Some will tell you that Brunswick stew should had multiple types of meat in it. Beef, pork, chicken and various types of game have all been added but it just depends on what you feel like eating. The recipe that has been passed down in my family only has chicken in it. I like it just fine, but what ever floats your boat. A friend of mine told me that it wasn't Brunswick stew unless it had squirrel meat in it. He made up a mess of it one time with squirrel in it. I kid you not, it tasted like a wet dog smells. I didn't go back for seconds.

Anyhow, here is the recipe that has been in my family for a good while, at least as far back as my great grandmother. Try it out, I think you will like it.

Brunswick Stew

1 whole Chicken, cut up
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, diced
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
16 ½ ounces white shoe peg corn
10 ounces frozen small butterbeans
1 Lb. can tomatoes
2 Small potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup ketchup
2-3 Tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire
½ tsp. hot sauce
¼ tsp. Marjoram
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2-3 Tbs. Butter

Place chicken in Dutch oven and add enough water to cover well. Add onion, celery, salt and pepper. Boil until chicken comes off bones easily. Remove chicken to cool and add corn, butter beans, tomatoes, potatoes, ketchup and vinegar; cook for two hours or until tender. Remove chicken from bones and add to vegetables along with Worcestershire, hot sauce, marjoram, brown sugar and butter. Heat thoroughly.

Serves 6-8

Note: Vary amount of water for thick or soupy stew. Add a cup of chicken broth or bouillon after the first or second serving. Also be careful that when it starts thickening, it will stick unless you stir it frequently. I.M.H.O. it's much better if cooked outside over a wood fire, but if you can't do that, a wee touch of liquid smoke will add to the taste.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Well, The Weather Outside Is Frightful...........

It would seem that we are in for a wee bit of snow tonight. You folks up north and out west would laugh at the amount of snow that has been predicted for us, 4-6 inches, but to those of us in Carolina it seems like an apocalyptic event. No one here knows how to drive in the stuff, and we don't have equipment to get it off the road. So for my own piece of mind, I went to the store to pick up a few odds and ends before the weather set in. Of course there was the traditional run on bread and milk, I went for the beer. I did get the ingredients for a huge batch of Brunswick stew that I shall cook up tomorrow.