Tuesday, December 28, 2010
or what ever holiday you chose to celebrate.
This was the first Christmas without my mom, so I wasn't much into the holiday spirit. I spent a good amount of time in my workshop hiding from the world, no doubt acting like a low buck Dr. Frankenstein. I did get a few things done, later on in the week I will post some pictures. (Just as soon as I figure out where I put my camera)
I also celibrated a birthday, this past Christmas was the 3rd anniversary of this blog. I hope that anyone who reads this has enjoyed my rantings and ravings. I have used it as a 21st century version of tossing a brick at the T.V. and a chance to vent my spleen. Through this medium I have met a bunch of really fine folks and made a few friends and it's been a fun ride. I think sometimes that I have gained a heck of a lot more that I have contributed. I hope that will change soon.
2010 wasn't a outstanding year for me, so I am looking forward to 2011 to be bigger and better. At least I hope it will be. Thanks to you folks for coming along for the ride...........,
Monday, December 13, 2010
So what have we learned in 2065 years?
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
- Cicero - 55BC
Friday, December 10, 2010
I am starting to climb out of my funk and the writing muse is beginning to assert it's self once more.
A big part of my love of history is the fact that I like to explore historical incidents beyond the big picture that every one knows. History is like a stream in the woods, it takes it's own course and sometimes the eddies and pools that are formed are much more interesting that the bare bones facts that most people know. At least to me
This week was the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I am sure that most are aware of the basic fact of the attack, the loss of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona which still rest on the bottom of the harbor and is the tomb for a large number of her crew.
Not so well known is that there is another ship also still on the bottom of the harbor. The former battleship U.S.S. Utah. The Utah (BB-31) had a very eventful career before December 7th. Commissioned on August 31st 1911, she served at Vera Cruz, Mexico at the time of the American intervention in 1914 and then served in the Atlantic fleet during the First World War. Other than sending Blue Jackets and Marines ashore in Vera Cruz (In the fighting, the landing parties earned 7 Medals of Honor) the Utah did not see any combat.
Due to a naval treaty in 1922 (which the Japanese were also a party to) the Utah was decommissioned as a battleship and reconfigured as a target ship and anti-aircraft training platform. This required a major overhaul as well as being renumbered (AG-16) in 1931
The Utah continued to serve as a training ship allowing Naval Aviators to practice bombing techniques in real time. Her deck was covered with wood to help cushion the impact of practice bombs and may have been a important factor in what happened on December 7th.
The Japanese knew that the Utah was a target ship and had given orders not to attack her. However, with the wood on her decks, she may have confused the younger and less experienced Japanese pilots into thinking she was a aircraft carrier. She took two torpedoes and capsized so quickly that she still had men below decks when she went down. While some of the crew were rescued when they were cut out of the ship after the attack was over, some crew members still remain on her. 6 Officers and 52 men lost their lives in the sinking.
There is also another set of remains on board that few people know about. The remains of a baby girl.
Chief Yeoman Albert T.D. Wagner had been stationed in the Philippines with his wife where they had twin girls. One of the twins, Nancy Lynne died soon after she was born. Yeoman Wager had the remains cremated and was going to have them interred at sea when the ship's chaplain and duty allowed. The baby's ashes was in Yeoman Wagner's locker at the time of the attack and due to damage to the ship in that area the child's remains were not recoverable by navy divers.
Yeoman Wager told several people that he couldn't think of a better place for his daughter's remains to be, being watched over by the sprits of 58 of his old shipmates. The Utah is still visited by baby Nancy's sister Mary.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Mulay Hamid El Raisuli the Magnificent, Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers
The Wind and the Lion
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Ya'll just don't know how much they meant to me. It's been tough these past few months and I figure there will be some hard days ahead but with friends like you guys, it will be easier to deal with.
A friend of mine invited me to visit his church and told me a story about a homecoming that they had just celebrated. They brought in a visiting preacher and just before he was to preach they warned him about a few older members that just couldn't stay awake for the entire sermon. (This included my friend's uncle, a fellow named Jimmy) Well the visiting preacher thought he would stop that, so the night of his sermon, he started out and sure enough Uncle Jimmy dropped off. The preacher kept his normal voice and asked everyone that wanted to go to heaven, please stand up.
The entire congregation with the exception of Uncle Jimmy who slumbered on, stood. The preacher then had the congregation sit and asked the question "And just who here wants to go to hell? STAND UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hearing the stand up, Uncle Jimmy jumped to his feet and looked around and seeing he was the only person standing in the church (other than the preacher) rubbed the back of his neck and said "Preacher, I ain't sure what we just voted on, but it looks like you and me are the only ones that stood up for it"
I think I may try that church this weekend...............
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The thing that made me spray coffee was a reader's comment containing the possible lyrics to a theme song for the movie. Of course, done to the tune of Shaft.......
Who’s the 16th President of the United States
That’s a sex machine to all the chicks in town?
Ya damn right!
Who is the U.S President
that would risk his neck for his brother man?
Can you dig it?
Who’s the cat in the stovepipe hat
When there vampires all about?
They say this cat Lincoln is a Republican…
SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
I’m just talkin’ ’bout Lincoln.
THEN WE CAN DIG IT!
but no one understands him but his woman.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
How many of you have ever heard of a man named Frank Woodruff Buckles? Mr. Buckles lives with his daughter in Charles Town, West Virgina. He was born in 1901 which would make him 109 years old. That in and of it's self would make Mr. Buckles someone of interest but what makes him even more noteworthy is that he is the last surviving American who served in World War I. Mr. Buckles lied about his age and enlisted in the U.S. Army and was shipped overseas in 1917. He served in England, France and in occupied Germany as an Ambulance driver and prison guard.
Mr. Buckles adventures didn't end after World War I and his discharge from the army. He ended up working as a purser for a shipping line and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You see, he was working in Manila Harbor in 1942 when the Japanese Army captured the Philippines and he spent the next three years in a prison camp. After being liberated in 1945, Mr. Buckles led mostly a quiet life as a farmer still driving his own tractor until he turned 102. These days, he has slowed down and his last wish is that the country build a monument to all the servicemen that served in what was optimistically called "The War to End All Wars"
So today, take a moment and remember Mr. Frank Buckles, the lone survivor of America's generation of warriors who fought to make the world safe for democracy in World War I.
Monday, November 8, 2010
There isn't a heck of a lot I can say right now. She was one tough lady and what ever I am or will be is the result of her teachings and example. I was very lucky to have had her as a big part of my life.
The following words have given me a great deal of comfort these days.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is a object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"
Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" There are other eyes watching her approach and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:"Here she comes!"
And that is dying.
Henry Van Dyke
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Admiral Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."
Captain Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."
Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning
Hardy: "Sorry sir?"
Nelson (reading aloud): "England expects every person to do his or her
duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation,
religious persuasion or disability.' - What gobbledygook is this?"
Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal Opportunities
employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England'
past the censors, lest it be considered racist."
Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."
Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free
Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the
mainbrace to steel the men before battle."
Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the
Government's policy on binge drinking."
Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it ...
full speed ahead."
Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this
stretch of water."
Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in
history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the
crow's nest please."
Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."
Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness; and
they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations.
They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."
Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay."
Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck,
Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."
Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free
environment for the differently abled."
Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even
to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of
admiral by playing the disability card."
Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the
areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."
Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."
Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let
the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't
want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"
Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the
men to stand by to engage the enemy."
Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."
Nelson: "What? This is mutiny!"
Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged
with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of
legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."
Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"
Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."
Nelson: "We're not?"
Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now.
According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we
shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim
Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."
Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity coordinator hear you saying
that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."
Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your
Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age.
Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save
Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum,
sodomy and the lash?"
Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on
Nelson: "What about sodomy?"
Hardy: "I believe that is now legal, sir."
Nelson: "In that case... kiss me, Hardy."
Monday, October 25, 2010
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
One of the range officers who has known me for quite a while, came over and put his arm around my shoulder and told me, "Bubba, Today you couldn't hit a bull in the a*s with a bass fiddle."
I just GOTTA get some quality trigger time in and soon.................
Thursday, October 21, 2010
So in honor of this day, all hands shall splice the main brace in memory of Lord Horatio Nelson and the brave British Tars under his command who met and defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets at the battle of Trafalgar on this date in 1805.
King George and old England FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!
"Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
To add something more to this wonderful year;
To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
For who are so free as the sons of the waves?
(Chorus sung once...)
Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,
we always are ready; Steady, boys, steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.
We never see the French but we wish them to stay,
They always see us and they wish us away;
If they run, we will follow, we will drive them ashore,
And if they won't fight, we can do no more.
(Chorus sung once...)
They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.
(Chorus sung once...)
[Verse sometimes omitted]
Britannia triumphant, her ships sweep the sea,
Her standard is Justice—her watchword, 'be free.'
Then cheer up, my lads, with one heart let us sing,
Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen, and king.
(Final Chorus sung twice...)"
Friday, September 24, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Texas Rancher and noted shotist
The Hospice folks told us that there would be good days and bad days as mom enters the final stage of her life, but it seems that she is having a whole lot more better days that anyone expected. I have said it before and will say it again, my mom is tough enough to turn goat pee into gasoline and may just fool us all. I went over to check up on her today and she looked at me over her glasses and asked me why I was there on such a nice day when I could be out shooting something. Never being one to argue with a lady, I made sure that everything was taken care of and took her sage advice and broke out my latest acquisition, the 12 gauge double barrel that I have named Ol' Loudmouth.
In my time, I have worked with, trained with and trained others quite a bit in the use of shotguns. Mostly pump guns, the 870 Remington, the 500 and 590 Mossberg, 1300 Winchester, 37 Ithaca, High Standards and even a 97 Winchester. These weapons ran the gamut from fresh out of the factory box, to rusted, scratched up pieces that haven't been out of the trunk of a patrol car in years. From factory standard to high speed/low drag race guns (Or as Tam calls them flat black people poppers) So on many levels, I understand what an effective tool the shotgun is. I could have chosen a pump gun to keep around the casa to repel boarders if the need ever arises, but I think my new double will fit the bill just fine.
I also don't think that it matters much what load I use for defensive purposes. Any shot load would be effective in the ranges that you would be dealing with in home defense. A friend of mine, a former investigator for the State Medical examiner referred to shotgun wounds that were suffered at short range (Say across the room) as "The bloody rathole" because he stated that it looked like a rat had gnawed into the bodies he worked with.
As I said earlier, my double is chambered for 3" shells so it gives me a bit more flexibility in ammunition selection. I played around with some different types of ammunition today and think I found a shell that I like. It's a 3" loaded with #4 buckshot. That means that each shell holds 41 .25 caliber pellets. Just to see how effective this load was, I put up a silhouette target at about 10 yards and shot it once.
The large hole in the silhouette's left shoulder is from the wad. As you can see, all 41 pellets hit center mass of the target. The silhouette reminded me a great deal of a death picture I saw of noted old west outlaw Bill Doolin. On August 25th 1896 Doolin was ambushed by a posse led by U.S. Deputy Marshall "Heck" Thomas. When called apon to surrender Doolin opened fire with a Winchester rifle. The posse returned fire, a round knocking the Winchester from Doolin's hands. Most would have given up at that point, but Doolin was, as they put it, game to the last. He drew his Colt's revolver and fired two shots. At that point, Thomas shot Doolin once with his Winchester and posse member Bill Dunn opened up with a shotgun. Doolin went down, dead before he hit the ground with 21 holes in his body.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I will post when I can...........
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The Battle of Bladensburg MD was fought. This was an attempt by the American forces to protect the American capital of Washington from a force of 3000 British soldiers and sailors. The leadership of the American forces which was mostly made up of militia was poor. In less than a hour of fighting the British forces managed to flank the Americans and turned a retreat into a panicked route. The American loss was so profound that the battle was called the "Bladensburg Races" and some of the British soldiers chasing the fleeing Americans suffered heat stroke from over exertion. When the Americans fled, this left the way open for the British to take Washington, which they did that night. The British burned most of the public buildings in Washington, to include the White House and the Capital building.
Plus, I don't think that the 1 1/2" makes that much of a difference one way or the other.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Like anything else, I have a short list of guns that I just can't live without, and a very long list of it would be nice to have. These list change grow and shrink depending on time and finance. This past week I knocked one off my nice to have list.
On one of the shooter's boards I belong to, a gentleman advertised that he had a SXS 12 gauge shotgun for sale. Looking at the photos he provided and checking out the price it seemed like it was doable so I got in touch with him.
I have wanted a "double barrel" for a good while but have never been able to find one within the price I was looking for, or one that was a good workhorse grade weapon. It seems to me that Southerners have an attraction for double barrel shotguns. Almost every one I know has one, either heirlooms from Grandpa or great Grandpa, or one they just picked up.
The shotgun the gentleman was selling was a Brazilian made gun imported by Stoger Inc. It had 28 in. barrels and looked to be in very good condition. We haggled a bit on the price and came to an agreement of gentlemen. One think I really liked about this gun was that it has 3" chambers so I can shoot a wider variety of shell types in it. I currently have it on my work bench and plan on bobbing the barrels so that I can use it as a home defence weapon and possibly a Cowboy Action Shooting firearm. I may even reshape the stock a bit to make it a English style (without a pistol grip) Time will tell. But in the meantime, I am doing the new gun "Happy Dance"
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
First, the mosque controversy. While there is a right to freedom of religion in our country and Muslims have a RIGHT to practice their religion as they see fit, I think that common sense should be used. I would no more try to pray in front of a on coming train than I would to build a church on ground zero. Add to this the fact that the building that they want to tear down to build the mosque was damaged by landing gear from one of the aircraft that crashed into the world trade center, I would consider it as being a part of ground zero. This case is no different that the case some years back when a group of (I think) Carmalite Nuns wanted to build a convent on or near the grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Of course there was a great hue and cry about the appropriateness of the convent (By many of thee groups and individuals who are supporting the mosque today) The Catholic church after a bit of debate agreed and moved the convent further away. Let's hope that just a wee touch of common sense (a very rare commodity these days) will come into play.
Second, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that the Stolen Valor law is unconstitutional. They state that to lie about military service and the awarding of honors and medals for valor is protected by the first amendment's freedom of speech clause. I fully expect that this decision will be overturned but what boggles my mind is that this judgment was made in the first place. To lie is protected by the constitution? What does this say about the various laws against perjury? Some will say that since you are taking a oath that it would be different. I disagree. Medals and such honors are earned by the men and women who receive them. (They are never won as many people sometimes say) To earn them, cost the individual blood, sweat, tears and many other things that we (that never have been in such situations) will never be able to understand or appreciate fully. How can this be even compared to an individual taking a oath in the quite serenity of a courtroom? And yet this the court doesn't seem to think that the cost that these heroes pay for this isn't worthy of a law that allows for the punishment of those who would steal the honor and degrade the meaning of these awards by pretending and lying about receiving them.
It is a piss poor country that doesn't honor it's heroes and warriors in anyway that it can even to the point of punishing those who would steal even a small portion of honor from true heroes.
Monday, August 16, 2010
All in all, not the most exciting day I have ever had, but it did give me a sense of accomplishment. So that is more than just a little satisfying to me.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I focused on doing some fancy knot work while talking to the public and got the larger part of a lanyard for a Boatswain's whistle done for a friend. We had pretty good visitation all day Saturday. This is photo of me knotting while talking.
Since we were commemorating the many ships named North Carolina, I was telling the public what life was like for the sailors on the Civil War ship of the line U.S.S. North Carolina. Below is the model of that ship that is in the museum/visitor center.
For all the gun cranks ( This one is for you Jay) we had quite a few weapons to show the public. These included the various U.S. Muskets (1841, 1842, 1855, 1861) British muskets (mostly 1853's) Pistols, cutlass, and other odds and ends. We also had a Spencer and a Sharp's carbine. These are just a few of the weapons we had out to show the public.
As you can tell, when I have to put down my knot tying to make a point with my hands, it's a serious discussion.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The hangman's a Yankee. They say he won't spring the trap on a boy who wore the blue.......
I leave out tomorrow morning for Wilmington NC. This weekend I am joining my friends and messmates in The Carolina Living History Guild http://www.carolinalivinghistoryguild.com/ to set up a presentation at the site of the WW II battleship U.S.S. North Carolina.http://www.battleshipnc.com/page1.php We are commemorating the service of ships named North Carolina. For the very first time, I will be wearing the uniform of a Union sailor from the time period of the Civil War. I never thought that I would ever do either this time period, or wear that color of uniform but I find that times change and so have my attitudes. So I will be telling the tale of the U.S.S. North Carolina a 74 gun ship of the line that was used as a receiving ship for new navy recruits in the Civil War. I will also talk a bit about ropes and knot work and maybe demonstrate the use of my 1842 musket. It should be fun.
So Barrack Obama walks into this bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The bartender looks up and says " That's interesting, where did you get that from?"
The Parrot replied "Kenya, they got thousands of them"
I have been doing a good bit of horn work these days. There is something very satisfying about working with horn. It is relatively easy to work and it looks good if you spend either a great deal of time finishing it or not so much. You can make almost anything out of horn. In the 18th and 19th centuries, horn was their equivalent of our plastic. With the proper amount of heat, horn becomes flexible and can even be molded into various shapes that when cool it stays in the shape that it is molded into.
I have almost finished three new powder horns. This first one is made of a buffalo horn. I have a rough horn with it just to show you a "before and
The second horn is a generic powder horn made of a good size cow horn. The rough horn is again a before and after.
The third horn is a small hunting horn, with a applied turned bone tip. This style is a typical North Carolina pattern from the late 18th century early to mid 19th century. I even did a bit of scrimshaw on it. Also notice the beehive style woo
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
On various occasions I have posted about my doing knotwork. I thought that with your most kind permission that I would show some examples of what I do. This is the handle of a common seaman's knife. The center is French hitched and it has Turk's heads as a guard and pommel.
In this photo, from top to bottom:
Cat o' nine tails
Another seaman's knife w/ lanyard. (Handle made of Alligator leg bone, with cox combing.
Walking stick, cox combing, French hitching, needlepoint and Turk's heads
Another view of the Cat O' Nine Tails. Strands are tarred as the originals were.
Cutlass grips that have been French Hitched for better grip when wet.
Remember boys and girls, as Granny W. would tell me, "Idle hands are tools of the devil"
Monday, August 9, 2010
In the above photo, from left to right British Navy Boarding axe, Bayonet, two hand Grenades, British Navy Boarding Axe, Belaying Pin, American 1797 Boarding Axe, Seaman's knife, Officer's dirk, Sugar Cane knife, British Hanger, Naval Cutlass, Naval Cutlass, 1690's Hanger, 18th Century Naval Cutlass.
In this photo, are the long arms. (Sorry for the quality of the shot) from top to bottom, 1710 doglock musket, 1730 Sea Service musket, Cut-Down "Brown Bess" musket, Brass barrel Blunderbuss.
These are Naval boarding pistols with a gentleman's R.W. Wilson pistol in the middle.
Lastly your humble correspondent wearing the clothing of a common seaman of the 1812 period.
It seems to me that people are looking at this without looking at the context of the time and place that the decision was made to drop the bombs. Japan as late as 1945 was NOT a defeated nation. Granted, the Allied forces had pushed the majority of Japanese forces back to the home islands and American submarine forces had a stranglehold on the abilities of the Japanese nation to bring in raw materials and food via shipping channels. What few Japanese garrisons and occupied islands which still existed in the Pacific had been cut off to "wither on the vine" However, the Japanese military and people were still ready, willing and able to fight, even to their death.
Japanese tactics had changed by the last year of the war. The Japanese view was to cause as many casualties to the Allies as they could. Their thinking was that if they made the Allies pay a high enough cost in blood, that they could win a negotiated settlement to end the war. The Japanese use of Kamikaze aircraft and the Japanese defense of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were prime examples of these new tactics. The American plan for the invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall gave estimates of over 1,000,000 Allied casualties before the landings were secured.
The American forces had also changed their tactics. High level strategic bombing had been ineffective due to poor weather conditions over the targets and to the fact that the Japanese has dispersed their factories and had developed a piece meal method of manufacturing that placed smaller factories in residential neighborhoods. Army Airforce General Curtis LeMay leader of the newly formed XXIst Air Force developed the concept of the incendiary raid. Since most Japanese buildings were made of wood and paper, they were very vulnerable to fire. LeMay ordered his B-29's to be stripped of defensive armaments loaded with incendiary bombs and flown at low altitudes. The results were shattering. Tokyo was hit by 325 bombers on March 9-10 1945. They dropped 1,665 tons of bombs and burned out 16 square miles of the city in three hours. Casualties were estimated to be over 100,000 dead. The crews of bombers in the end of the bomber strings reported the smell of burning flesh being noticeable in their aircraft at 8,000 feet. This bombing mission produced a firestorm which had been observed first in German cities bombed by the British and American forces. A firestorm acts very much like a hurricane of fire destroying everything in it's path. In this three hour raid, more civilians were killed than in either the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
By the end of the war, LeMay's tactics had destroyed 40% of 66 major cities in Japan. It was getting to the point that it was hard to find a suitable target for bombing missions by August of 1945.
So based on this information I don't think that using the bomb to stop the war was a bad thing, in a twisted way it may have saved lives American, Allies and Japanese.
Oh and a couple of other things. Because of the mountains surrounding Nagasaki, and the general layout of the city, even though the Fat Man bomb was more powerful, the amount of damage was on a par with Hiroshima. Also the aiming point was somewhat off. You see, Nagasaki was not the original target. The primary target was the city of Kokura. When Bock's Car arrived over Kokura, it was clouded over so they had to divert to their secondary target Nagasaki. When they arrived over Nagasaki, it too, was clouded over. With barely enough fuel to get them back to their base, the clouds cleared just long enough to site their aim point and release their weapon.
So once again fate and luck changes history.............
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Since most all gun cranks are also into sharp pointy things. (Yep Breda and Mike, saw your post)
I thought I would share with you what I picked up at a yard sale yesterday. I haggled them down to $8.00.
I think I have this photo thing figured out. Now at least, you will have pictures to look at when I get boring.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
But then, I like gin and margarita mix and named the cocktail I made up a Maggie Thatcher. So what do I know?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Dom Perignon invented champagne.
In New York, John Peter Zenger was acquitted of libel in a court case that established the tradition of freedom of of the press in America. It's a shame what the modern press has done with this freedom.
George Washington was raised to Master Mason. No black helicopters were reported in the vicinity of the ceremony.
The U.S. Coast Guard had it's beginnings in the development and birth of the Revenue Cutter Service. I have a great deal of admiration for the Coast Guard, it and it's other predecessor the Live Saving Service has a long history on the coast of North Carolina and it's "Graveyard of the Atlantic" The unofficial motto has long been, "You gotta go out, but you aren't guaranteed that you are coming back" Brave bunch o' folks.
The first Federal Income Tax was collected. And I thought gambling in Vegas was bad for pissing money away.
Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered with an axe in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. A daughter, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Borden was charged with the crime, but was acquitted in a trial. Based on the reading I have done on the case, I don't have any doubts that she did the crime.
In Amsterdam, Holland Anne Frank and seven other people were arrested by police acting under orders of the Nazi occupation government. Anne's diary, found after World War II ended, was a testament to both the horror of the "final solution" as well as to the resilience of the human heart and soul.
Anne Frank who was 15 at the time of her arrest, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
I shall get better, with time.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
At 00:14 hrs. on this date two Japanese torpedoes struck the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis. The ship went down in 12 minutes. Out of a crew of 1196, 300 died in the sinking and of the 880 remaining only 317 were rescued 4 and 1/2 days later. The rest died of dehydration, exposure and shark attack.
The Indianapolis had just delivered the components of the Atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima to the island of Tinian when she was sunk so was noted for that reason.
I first learned of the story of the Indianapolis while watching the movie Jaws. One of the protagonist, Quint told of being on the Indianapolis.
The skipper of the Indianapolis, Captain Charles Butler McVey III was the only ship's captain in WW II who was court martialed by the U.S. Navy for losing a ship in combat. He was found guilty of hazarding his ship by not zig-zagging. The trial was also unusual in that the commanding officer of the Japanese sub that sank the Indianapolis testified for the prosecution. He stated that whether or not the Indianapolis was zig-zagging would have made no difference, that he would have been able to sink her in any case.
While most of the surviving crew of the Indianapolis held McVey blameless for the sinking, family members of the lost seamen were not as forgiving. McVey was harassed for years until he committed suicide in 1968.
They covered all the points quite well and I can't add anything of interest to the discussion. I personally don't see anything wrong with the act myself. After all the people we are fighting are the same folks that behead LIVING prisoners and post the videos on the web as well as bragging that they will behead anyone who does not agree with them. The Gurkha soldier on the other hand, removed the head after the target was dead so the "victim" was beyond caring.
The Gurkha is one of the most feared and professional soldiers around. They have served with the British Army since the early 1800's and continue to serve to this day. One of my favorite Gurkha stories (And there are hundreds) happened in North Africa in WW II. After the battle at Atessa, the British occupied a house with eight German corpses in the cellar. A British regimental sargent major ordered a squad of Gurkhas to bury them. A large pit was dug and the Gurkhas duly placed the eight bodies into it and were beginning to shovel earth on top of them when one of the bodies moved. One of the Gurkhas unlimbered his rifle and was about to shoot the offending German when a British officer saw what was happening and said "What are you doing?"
The Gurkha replied "The major sahib said we were to bury eight bodies. You wouldn't expect us to bury him alive, would you?
The German was duly rescued from the pit and survived the ordeal.
It's as someone from Cumberland who served with the Gurkhas in Burma once said,
"That Johnny Gurkha, he's a hard lad, he is......."
Friday, July 23, 2010
When I left you, we were getting ready to head out from Tombstone to head up to Williams Az. and to the Grand Canyon. We stopped in Tucson and visited the Old Tucson movie set. Very much geared to the tourist trade but it was sorta cool to see the sets that I had seen in various western movies and T.V. programs. (Here is a useless piece of trivia for you that one of the tour guides shared with me. The movie " Rio Bravo" was one of four films John Wayne filmed at Old Tucson. Rio Bravo was set in Texas, but when you watch the movie you will see countless Saguaro Cactus in the film. Saguaro Cactus are only native to northern Mexico and Arizona and do not grow in Texas. Now you can see why my wife HATES to go to movies with me. (grin) )
We arrived in Williams late in the afternoon and took a quick trip down the main drag which is also historic Route 66. Williams (Damn I just LOVE that name) has preserved a number of older buildings as well as the old neon signs. It really looked good.
The Grand Canyon left me speechless. I had been told that photos just don't do it justice, and I found that to be true. As much as I dislike big government and all it consist of, I have to say that the government got it right for the most part with the National Park Service. I am very happy that someone had the foresight to save places like the Grand Canyon and other sites both historic and cultural for future generations.
We spent most of the morning at the Grand Canyon then headed back to Las Vegas. We put 1300 miles on the rental car and got a good look at the various landscapes in Arizona. Other than spending quality time with the good wife, what did I pick up from this trip? I got it. I got a better understanding of a historic time and place that I had only until now read about. One of my pet peeves is that I have read many books particularly about battles and military tactics and it is quite obvious that the writers have never set foot on the land they are describing. Until you walk the land, you can't fully understand the full context of what occurred there. I now have a much better understanding of the settlement of the southwest and the men and women that inhabited it. Not only that, I gained an appreciation for the varied and beautiful terrain of Arizona, so different from my own beloved North Carolina. I also fed my book habit by bringing home several new volumes to add to my groaning bookshelves.
All in all a wonderful trip with only one bit of trouble. I will NEVER ever fly Delta airlines again. We were delayed flying out from North Carolina at the begining of our trip due to bad weather (which I can accept) but you would have thought that it had never happened before the way the Delta folks were acting. But what drove me nuts was that on the way back, the flight out of Las Vegas was delayed and required us to rebook because they didn't have enough flight attendants to crew the aircraft. Piss poor management if you ask me.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I heard that he made his personal chef the healthy food czar and that he decided that after showing his love and support for the folks of the gulf coast by suggesting that Americans go down to vacation at the gulf, that "he" would go to the coast of MAINE for a little R & R.
All I can say is, "Enjoy the Lobster, Mr. President"
As I blogged earlier, we spent one day and night at the Golden Nugget on Fremont St. in down town Las Vegas. Granted, it didn't have all the bells and whistles as the first place we stayed at, but I liked it better. More retro if you will. Lot's of dark wood, glass, brass and marble. The staff seemed to be less geared to separating the rube from his money. Don't get me wrong, I understand totally that's what they are there for, but you can be just a little less obvious about it. All the staff at the Golden Nugget were great and very customer oriented.
At the Golden Nugget, I had my own personal retro moment. I put on my most obnoxious Hawaiian shirt, a straw snap brim hat and strolled down to the pool. While there, I found a very comfortable chair and acting under the suggestion of the lovely Miss Nancy, ordered a Vodka Gimlet. (Sorry Paw-Paw, it was too hot for a bourbon.) So there I sat, in 115 degree heat sipping my drink, checking out the scenery. It wasn't too bad, way too many body piercings and more body ink than you would see in San Diego on a Saturday night for my taste, but hey, that's the way of the world these days.
The drive from Las Vegas to Tombstone took about 8 hours, and we took a combination route of scenic and urban which was nice because when you got tired of looking at one type of scenery, it would change. We got down to Tombstone about dark and I noticed a whole lot of Border Patrol vehicles in the area. The had set up at least two check points on roads leading out of Tombstone which is under 50 miles from the border. Having been here and talked to some of the locals, there is a very strong siege mentality down here. They are being overrun by illegals and feel like the federal government just isn't doing anything to solve the problem. As one old timer told me " Our Governor, well she has a bigger set of balls than the President." He also told me with that " We get screwed twice, The Feds spend our tax money, fighting the new law, the state spends our other taxes on defending the law."
I have enjoyed what I have seen of Tombstone. For those who saw the movie, I saw the shoot- out site, Fly's Photography Studio, the Bird Cage Theater, The Oriental Saloon, Boot Hill Cemetery and a few other spots. Since this is a tourist site, there is a bunch of crap you need to sift through. Fudge stores old timey photo stands, pizza stands and so on, but there is enough good stuff to make it worth your while. The one thing that just leaped out at me was that everything is so much smaller than you would think from watching the movies. The inside of the Bird Cage doesn't seem big enough to swing a cat in. But it was lively enough since they have counted about 140 bullet holes in the ceilings and walls that were put there in it's 9 year history of 24 hour operation.
Another thing that I noticed is that almost every business had a "No Firearms Allowed" sign on it's door. I don't know if it is because they don't want the Cowboy action shooter types to get carried away, or if it's because they have a problem with average folks C.C.W. I didn't ask. There were a few gun stores in town, but they didn't have a lot that tripped my trigger (pun intended) Most of the prices were a bit high and it would have been a bit of a hassle getting anything back to North Carolina.
Tomorrow, we head out back to up to Northern Arizona, one of the locals told us about Old Tucson Movie studios where they film western movies and television shows. It isn't too far out of the way, so we might stop for a little bit.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I must admit that I am just a wee bit disappointed to find out that there is NO large statute of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel anywhere in the city of Las Vegas. There is a monument to his memory in the garden of the new Flamingo hotel, but it just doesn't seem to be big enough. After all he was the "founder of the feast" so to speak. Bugsy had a certain style and vision and would have gone far if he didn't develop sticky fingers. He started skimming off the top and got paid off with multiple rounds of M-1 carbine ammunition fired through a window of his girlfriend's living room. Play with fire, you can get burned. Particularly if you are messing with the mob.
I make no bones about it, I am country as a chicken coop. I haven't had a great deal of money and never got out much, so I am not very sophisticated. (Not as bad as a relative of mine who drank from a finger bowl at a dinner party.) So this trip is quite a adventure for a fellow who thought staying at the Motel 6 and eating at a all you care to eat Chinese buffet was the ultimate in good living.
The place we are staying is a very high end place, mint on the pillow, room service, the whole 9 yards. The bathroom is almost as big as my living room at home. But what got me was the fact that the suite has THREE televisions, one in the living area, one in front of the bed, and bless Moses there is one in the bathroom. O.K. the first two, I can see. But one in the BATHROOM? That, I don't understand. The same thing for the telephone in the bathroom. I don't know about you, but I think there are some things that should be left alone. Time in the bathroom is one of them. I don't see talking on the phone while taking care of other business nor watching the idiot box. Bathroom trips should be times of quiet contemplation or at worst, reading. I have been in public restrooms in the past when someone received a cell phone call and all I could think was " Dang, I am glad that I don't feel so important that I have to take a call while sitting on the throne." Not to mention I am not very sure that I want to put a telephone that is kept in a bathroom up to my face. I am sure that it is clean, but...........
And in weather news, I spoke to some of the locals and they felt the need to apologize for the humidity yesterday. I told them that I didn't notice it. I mean humidity to me is walking out the door and feeling like someone just slapped a hot wet towel in your face. Anyway, the humidity is dropping and the temp is going up. It should hit 107 today and there are predictions of 114 before the weekend is over. As normal, nothing but Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.
More to follow........
Oh yeah, need some sage advice. We are moving down to the Golden Nugget in a day or so to get a taste of Old School Las Vegas. I thought it might be fun to toss down a period appropriate cocktail circa 1960's. Any suggestions?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
It's been a rather slow day, trying to my body clock adapted to the time change and getting my knees working again. The good wife on the other hand has been a ball of fire, entering a slot tournament and placing second today, hopefully she will do better in the next round. I did discover a interesting bit of information. I now better understand heat without humidity. It hit 103 today and I was able to tolerate it better than I thought.
One of the questions I always ask preachers when I meet them is that I fully realize it will be hot in hell, but will it be humid? Normaly a test of their sense of humor, that question came to the forefront of my brain today. Dry heat is MUCH better.
So far, the most interesting part of this adventure has been the trip out. As soon as we got to the airport we found that there had been a line of storms that had gone through Atlanta and had both canceled and delayed flights. Of course, that had a domino effect and delays started cascading throughout the entire system. It didn't bother me one wit since I had a couple of books with me, but it was fun to watch other people panic, freak out and generally lose their cool.
When we got airborne, we had to go through a bit of turbulence and got to see some rather impressive lightning. While looking at the light show outside my window, watching the airplane lights being reflected as we flew through clouds, I couldn't help but think back to one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". The original T.V. program stared William Shatner, the remake Twilight Zone movie stared John Lithgow. Both in their own way were excellent. I will not spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet, but find it on youtube or hulu. It is well worth the time involved.
Monday, July 12, 2010
This will be my first trip in that area so I am looking forward to seeing some new territory. As far as Las Vegas goes, other than checking out a Elvis tribute artist or two,(They get all tight when you call them Elvis impersonators) and the fact that The Lightbringer doesn't think it's a good idea to go there, it doesn't have a great deal of attraction to me. You see, I don't gamble, and I figure that it would be much faster to roll down the car window and toss money out while passing through town. The good wife however, loves to gamble. (She DID marry me, which shows that) So being the dutiful husband, I figured I would tag along. To give me something to look forward to, we figured that we could rent a car and go south to Arizona and support the economy with all the boycotts people are calling. The surest way to make me do something is to tell me not to do it. (grin) I thought we could check out Old Tucson and Tombstone or anything else that might strike our fancy. Should be a interesting trip.
And in other news, I saw that the creator of the Everybody Draw Mohammad Day, Molly Norris has been put on a execution hit list by Anwar al-Awlaki. This is the same screwball that "inspired" the swine that shot up Ft. Hood. Somebody should give this guy a big cup of S. T. H. U. and a ham sandwich. I am available to help after I get back from my trip.
I have been promising you folks pictures on the blog, but haven't been able to figure out how to do it. I plan on taking my camera, instructions and every thing else with me and an going to lock myself away on this trip until I figure out how to do it, so be prepared. And wish me luck.
The Battle of The Boyne is commemorated on this date (July 1st, old style Julian calender) In this battle, William of Orange defeated James II and pretty much assured that James and his Jacobite followers would not gain the British throne through military means. It also guaranteed that the Protestant faith would be the dominant faith in England and Northern Ireland.
Congress authorizes creation of the Medal Of Honor.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
"Many artifacts from the personal estate of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are scheduled to be auctioned at Christies in New York on July 14-15. The most sensational aspect of the sale is that it includes Roy's legendary horse Trigger, who was famously stuffed and preserved upon his death. In a related story, we hear that Mr. Ed has just been arrested for planning the murder of his owner Wilbur, out of concern that he might meet a similar fate."
Trigger for sale, who would have thunk it?
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
- Every now and then, Obama opens his eyes and the world springs into existence.
- When a tree falls in the forest, Obama hears it.
- Obama can clap with one hand.
- Prometheus was punished for plagiarizing Obama.
- Obama can make a journey of a thousand miles without a single step.
- Socks worn by Obama are used for climbing walls in Spiderman movies.
- Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race when she learned Obama's true name.
- "Obama" is the very first word in the English language to be a verb, adjective, noun, pronoun, adverb, interjection, superlative and pronad. (Pronad is a new category made specifically for the word "Obama" so its power can be fully realized).
- When Obama squints dreamily into the distance, he can see next week's lottery winning numbers. But he never plays because that would mean poverty of ambition.
- Obama can calculate your guilt just by looking at the numbers in your checkbook.
- A microphone into which Obama has spoken, heals asbestos-related disorders and colorectal cancer by direct application.
- Every time Obama talks about change, a baby diaper becomes clean and a homeless person's cup fills up with nickels.
- Every time Obama talks about "hope," coma patients regain consciousness and chant "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
- Obama's famous stare once converted 15 Islamic fundamentalists into secular progressives, all of whom are currently employed by Countrywide Home Loans.
- Obama is 50% typical White person.
Obama's real mother was young John Kerry who reproduces asexually when coming into contact with foreign Marxists.
- Obama often says "uh" in his speeches in order to irritate Bill O'Rilley who hangs onto his every word.
Obama always overpays his taxes because he believes that the government will find a better use for his money than he ever could.
When Obama rids the world of nuclear weapons, the red button in his office will control the thermostats in American homes.
Obama brings change to the world every time he closes his eyes and imagines that Twin Towers never existed.
- After a hearty meal Obama has been known to send off a tiny ripple of hope. This tiny ripple of hope in Chicago can cause change throughout the world.
When Obama relaxes at home with his family he switches to a British accent.
Obama's wife is a Klingon.
- Obama's children are named Child 1 and Child 2 respectively.
- Our universe is held together by the force of Michelle Obama's benevolent willpower, but her patience is running thin.
- Michelle Obama has saved humanity from destruction many times and is slightly annoyed that we haven't returned the favor.
- Monica Lewinsky owns "I Barack for Obama" bumper sticker.
- Everything Obama touches begins to vote Democrat.
- More dead people voted for Obama than for any other Democrat candidate in the history of Chicago politics.
- The tingle that crawled up Chris Matthews' leg has taken control of his brain and is reporting a full preparedness to take over the world.
- Obama can make things disappear just like David Copperfield can, but he hates taking things away from the community.
- US Mail Service published Obama's resume on a new first class stamp.
- In the movies, Obama's part is played by Robert Redford.
- Obama can inflate a hot air balloon in one blow. He does it for the children.
- Obama used to spell his name as Ubama but changed it to avoid confusion with Usama bin Laden.
- When Obama fixes his gaze on the clouds, he is reading his next great line from the big teleprompter in the sky, which is unseen to ordinary humans.
- One time the Republicans paid a voodoo priest to reprogram the teleprompter, and then Obama delivered the speech by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick instead of his own. But courageous journalist Bob Woodward uncovered the plot, forcing the Republicans to resign. As a result, Obama became even more popular with the downtrodden who didn't know that it was Gov. Patrick's speech.
- Obama wrote "Stairway to Heaven" and many other songs popular among the downtrodden.
- Obama's love for the downtrodden heats up the planet's atmosphere by 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while his loathing of George W. Bush cools it down by the same amount. That's why the scientists have been unable to detect any significant variations in average global temperatures.
- The main point of Al Gore's book "Earth in the Balance" is that a disastrous climate change can be averted if we all help keep Obama emotionally balanced.
- Obama visited Benjamin Franklin in a dream and told him how to live his life serving the community, but all that Franklin could remember was, how to fly a kite.
- Scientists discovered that a constant repetition of the words "hope" and "change" increases the size of penis in male patients by up to three inches.
- Any sentence containing the name "Obama" and ending in a question mark has been determined to be racist. The only exceptions are rhetorical sentences such as "Is there any way that Obama could be more perfect?"
- Obama smokes so you don't have to.
- Obama's cigarettes have been registered at the EPA as a renewable power source contributing 5,000 Megawatts of electricity to the national power grid every time he takes a draw.
- The "smoke" that comes out of Obama's mouth contains rare gases that help replenish the ozone layer and neutralize the industrial pollution.
- Obama once downed a Fox News satellite simply by clicking on a universal TV remote in his living room. Obama then reprogrammed the remaining satellites to broadcast reruns of Keith Olbermann's show, thus expanding the consciousness of the average American TV viewer and raising awareness by 19%.
- When Obama speaks about universal healthcare, the risk of cardiovascular diseases decreases by 58 percent, and the risk of cancer decreases by 60 percent.
- Obama knows that his healthcare plan is going to work because he personally tested it in a leper colony, where he healed everyone by shaking hands and kissing babies.
- In Portland, Oregon, Obama fed a multitude of 75 thousand with five government subsidy forms and two rolls of red tape.
- An unkind word about Obama's family serves as a passkey to the hottest rings of Hell.
- When Obama smiles, somewhere in America a door opens to an abortion clinic.
- When Obama claps his hands, a child is born in a Third World country.
- When Obama stomps his foot, a sweatshop closes in Asia, with thousands of children in the streets demanding that the United States send them financial aid, food, and medicine.
- Deep down, everyone's an Obama.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
NASA which put a man on the moon has decided to reach out to a religion which in the past hasn't shown a great deal of enthusiasm for science (other than building the bomb) If we had done this years ago, I could see the fact finding commission after the Columbia disaster marking it up as "Insha'Allah" (God's Will)
Perhaps we should change the music in the back round from the theme of 2001 A Space Odyssey to Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I have the greatest admiration and respect for a man who is first and foremost a gentleman. A person who places the good of others above his own. A man who keeps his word and means what he says. Such a man was born in 1946.
Happy Birthday President George W. Bush!!!!!!!!!!!
I didn't agree with all of his policies and think that he lost his way when he tried to out liberal the liberals. But even with my differences with him I have a great deal of respect for President Bush. What you saw, was what you got and there are damned few politicians you can say that about. He also kept the nation safe after 9/11 when there were so many out there who wanted to harm us.
In his retirement, Mr. Bush has continued to demonstrate what a class act he is by following a old tradition of former presidents of not criticizing the current president (As much as he needs it) or his policies.
So, Happy Birthday Mr. President, may you have many, many, more and enjoy your retirement, you have earned it through your years of service to your country and we thank you.
The locals are starting to open fresh produce stands around here. Even though I still can't eat like I want to, I find I just can't resist stopping and eyeballing all the veggies at these stands. I just love fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and every thing else that is fresh this time of year. In the past I would even grow my own small garden but I found that I just didn't have the time to invest in it properly.
Here is a recipe that I picked up for a tomato, cucumber and onion marinade that is pretty darn good.
4 ripe tomatoes
3 fresh cucumbers, peeled
1 sweet Vidalia onion, peeled
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1. Cut the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion into 1/4 inch slices and combine in a large bowl. Put aside in the refrigerator while you make your vinaigrette.
2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and remove from the heat. Let cool to room temp.
3. Pour the marinade on the vegetables, toss to combine, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until well chilled.
My late grandmother made something very much like this when I was a young pup but I never learned how she made it. I think I have come close to what she did. At least the taste is similar, and that's close enough.
The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Arizona to overturn a state law that is modeled after a federal law (which the libs think is racially motivated) but drops charges in a slam dunk case of voter intimidation (That there is NO doubt WAS racially motivated) that was even caught on video.
Then the head of NASA goes on Al-Jazerra television to tell the world that his number one mission is to reach out to Islamic countries because of their past history in science and mathematics.
If I didn't already, I would start drinking.
Louis Pasteur noted French bacteriologist inoculated a young boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. The patient did not develop rabies.
Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov's masterpiece the Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947 was first issued to select units of the Red Army. The AK-47 is without a doubt one of the most successful military weapons in history with an estimated 170 million AKs and derivatives having been made to this date. The AK's primary benefits are it's ease of manufacture, cost, simplicity and reliability. Being the primary weapon of the old Com-block, it was exported all over the world and either sold or given to every piss-ant third world liberation outfit around. With a service life of 20 to 40 years, we will be seeing this weapon on the world stage for a very long time.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
This is the first Independence Day that I haven't spent dressed in clothing that went out of style 250 years ago. Feels a little strange, but I will be spending time with my mom and dad, sister and various other kin folk. I am sorta reminded of what Erma Bombeck had to say about the holiday:
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
But since it is one of the most important holidays that we celebrate, I thought I would see what John Adams had to say about it. He said:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
They agreed to the declaration on the 2nd, but signed it on the 4th so ol' Johnny got the date wrong. But he sure did every thing else right.
So folks, I hope you all have a very happy and safe 4th of July and keep a eye on that tater salad.
I make a special effort to read it every 4th of July just to remind myself what the holiday is all about. One year, I even had the honor of reading it aloud while wearing period clothing in front of about 500 people at Guilford Courthouse National Battlefield Park. (That, my friends was a stone cold trip)
If you can, take a few minutes and read this masterpiece of writer's skill. The words ring with a truth and brilliance that resound through the ages. With the current state of affairs, a great deal of what it addresses still troubles our great country to this very day.
Happy 4th of July folks, and remember our founding fathers (and mothers) AND BE MORE LIKE THEM !!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
At Gettysburg, PA after having hit the Union line on each flank, General R. E. Lee made the decision to attack the Federals in the center. His thinking was that the center would be weakened after the union forces re-enforced the flanks. General James Longstreet was ordered to make the assault. He objected to the attack, wanting to resort to a flanking attack, but Lee could not be dissuaded. Longstreet voiced his objection in this way:
General, I have been a soldier all my life. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, divisions, and armies, and should know, as well as any one, what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arrayed for battle can take that position
Longstreet picked three divisions to make the attack commanded by Major General George Pickett, Brigadier General Johnson Pettigrew, and Major General Issac Tremble.
At the time that the assault began, Longstreet who still objected to the plan could not give his verbal command for Pickett to advance but merely nodded his head when asked by Pickett if he should attack.
The Confederate attack against the Federal positions on Cemetery Ridge was a failure, the Confederates suffering an estimated 50% casualties out of the assaulting forces. This was the "high water" mark of the war. Psychologically the failure of Pickett's assault (as well as the loss of Vicksburg on July 4th) was the death knell of the Confederacy. Only the most insanely optimistic thought the south could win the war after these two losses.
To this day, Pickett's charge still has a mystical hold on the typical southerner. It is best summed up by William Falkner in his book, Intruder in the Dust:
For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.