Saturday, July 31, 2010

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

In 1970............

Black Tot Day.

The Royal Navy issued it's last rum ration on this day, doing away with a tradition that had held sway for hundreds of years.

I can't say I think it improved things, but I am a bit biased...........

Friday, July 30, 2010

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

In 1945............

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.

AYO GURKHALI !!!!!!!!!!

A number of my fellow bloggers have posted about the Gurkha soldier who got himself in a bit of a jam in Afghanistan after being told to bring back proof that a high value target had been terminated so rather than bringing back the whole body, he only brought back the target's head.

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

To Ride The High Country And Back Home Again.......

Nope, didn't get lost, just got caught up in day to day living.

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

Oh Man.........

The Lightbringer strikes again.

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"

Life In The Fast Lane.............

Greetings from Tombstone, Arizona.

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.

More later.........

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taking A Dip In The Cement Pond.............

Still in Las Vegas.

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

Las Vegas..........

Greetings from Las Vegas.

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.

More later...........

Monday, July 12, 2010

Random Thoughts............

Taking a few moments to clear my head while doing the final last minute packing for a road trip to Las Vegas and a side trip to southern Arizona.

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.

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

In 1690............

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.

In 1862..............

Congress authorizes creation of the Medal Of Honor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Life Gets Stranger And Stranger, But Hey, Christmas IS Coming..........

I saw this over at Cinema Retro,-NEW-YORK-JULY-14-15-ITEMS-INCLUDE-HIS-BELOVED-HORSE-TRIGGER!.html

"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

Any Advice?

Does anyone know how to cancel a bid on eBay? I put in a bid for a “Mickey Mouse Outfit” and now it seems I'm only thirty-six minutes away from owning Obama and his entire Cabinet.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Best Obama Facts.............

Borrowed from:

  1. Every now and then, Obama opens his eyes and the world springs into existence.
  2. When a tree falls in the forest, Obama hears it.
  3. Obama can clap with one hand.
  4. Prometheus was punished for plagiarizing Obama.
  5. Obama can make a journey of a thousand miles without a single step.
  6. Socks worn by Obama are used for climbing walls in Spiderman movies.
  7. Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race when she learned Obama's true name.
  8. "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).
  9. 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.
  10. Obama can calculate your guilt just by looking at the numbers in your checkbook.
  11. A microphone into which Obama has spoken, heals asbestos-related disorders and colorectal cancer by direct application.
  12. Every time Obama talks about change, a baby diaper becomes clean and a homeless person's cup fills up with nickels.
  13. Every time Obama talks about "hope," coma patients regain consciousness and chant "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
  14. Obama's famous stare once converted 15 Islamic fundamentalists into secular progressives, all of whom are currently employed by Countrywide Home Loans.
  15. Obama is 50% typical White person.
  16. Obama's real mother was young John Kerry who reproduces asexually when coming into contact with foreign Marxists.

  17. Obama often says "uh" in his speeches in order to irritate Bill O'Rilley who hangs onto his every word.
  18. Obama always overpays his taxes because he believes that the government will find a better use for his money than he ever could.

  19. When Obama rids the world of nuclear weapons, the red button in his office will control the thermostats in American homes.

  20. Obama brings change to the world every time he closes his eyes and imagines that Twin Towers never existed.

  21. 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.

  22. When Obama relaxes at home with his family he switches to a British accent.

  23. Obama's wife is a Klingon.

  24. Obama's children are named Child 1 and Child 2 respectively.
  25. Our universe is held together by the force of Michelle Obama's benevolent willpower, but her patience is running thin.
  26. Michelle Obama has saved humanity from destruction many times and is slightly annoyed that we haven't returned the favor.
  27. Monica Lewinsky owns "I Barack for Obama" bumper sticker.
  28. Everything Obama touches begins to vote Democrat.
  29. More dead people voted for Obama than for any other Democrat candidate in the history of Chicago politics.
  30. 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.
  31. Obama can make things disappear just like David Copperfield can, but he hates taking things away from the community.
  32. US Mail Service published Obama's resume on a new first class stamp.
  33. In the movies, Obama's part is played by Robert Redford.
  34. Obama can inflate a hot air balloon in one blow. He does it for the children.
  35. Obama used to spell his name as Ubama but changed it to avoid confusion with Usama bin Laden.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Obama wrote "Stairway to Heaven" and many other songs popular among the downtrodden.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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?"
  44. Obama smokes so you don't have to.
  45. 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.
  46. The "smoke" that comes out of Obama's mouth contains rare gases that help replenish the ozone layer and neutralize the industrial pollution.
  47. 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%.
  48. When Obama speaks about universal healthcare, the risk of cardiovascular diseases decreases by 58 percent, and the risk of cancer decreases by 60 percent.
  49. 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.
  50. In Portland, Oregon, Obama fed a multitude of 75 thousand with five government subsidy forms and two rolls of red tape.
  51. An unkind word about Obama's family serves as a passkey to the hottest rings of Hell.
  52. When Obama smiles, somewhere in America a door opens to an abortion clinic.
  53. When Obama claps his hands, a child is born in a Third World country.
  54. 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.
  55. Deep down, everyone's an Obama.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Space, The Final Frontier..............

O.K. I still can't get the reach out to the Muslims thing out of my head.

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.

Just sayin...........

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Almost Missed This One...............

I almost missed this birthday and would have regretted it if I had.

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.

Garden Bounty...........

Been a while since I have posted a food entry, I think I need to just to take my mind off current events.

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.

I Could NOT Make This Stuff UP..........

O.K. let me see if I got this right.

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.

Today's Birthdays.........

In 1747............

John Paul Jones, father of the U.S. Navy was born near Kirkbean, Scotland. Warrior and fine ship's captain.

In 1925............

Bill Haley, Rock and Roll legend.

Today In History.......

In 1885................

Louis Pasteur
noted French bacteriologist inoculated a young boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. The patient did not develop rabies.

In 1947................

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

Independence Day..............

I guess I look at July 4th just a little differently than most folks. It's a holiday for me not of jingoism, nor rabid patriotism, but rather of a great deal of satisfaction. It's as if I look at the country and say, "Well old girl, 234 years old and still doing fine." I couldn't be prouder. We have seen some tough times but we have landed on our feet and kept on going to create one of the greatest countries in the world.

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.

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident...........

My friend Jay G. beat me to it by posting the text of the Declaration of Independence over at his blog, so go over and check it out.

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

Today In History........

In 1863...........

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.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Idiocy Knows No Bounds..........

Just in case there was any question in my mind before, I am now convinced that Michael Steel is a idiot. His comments about the war in Afghanistan are uniformed, idiotic and out of left field. As much as I despise the Lightbringer, the war in Afghanistan is no more his than Bush's. This war was brought to us by those same folks that brought us 9/11. Since we are engaged in this war, we need to win it, not use it for political grandstanding.

If Steel isn't smart enough to figure that out he needs to get the hell out of politics.

The Things You Hear.............

My last post on Ms. Crow brought a private email from a friend who told me that her nickname on tour is "stinky fingers" and her roadies wear rubber gloves when handling her guitars. I guess that one sheet of T.P. is working for her about as well as the hope and change thing is working for the Lightbringer.

I am torn between shaking my head ruefully and laughing out loud........

Today In History part II

In 1863...............

On Little Round Top at the battle of Gettysburg, PA, Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain commander of the 20th Maine Regiment, his men running out of ammunition after an long and extended fight, personally led a bayonet charge against attacking Confederate forces. This ballsy move broke the momentum of the Confederate attack and saved the Federal Army from being flanked. For his valor and leadership, Chamberlain was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Today In History........

Coincidence? I think not.........

In 1937................

Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan go missing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in an attempt at Circumnavigation of the globe at the equator.

In 1947................

In Roswell, New Mexico an alleged U.F.O. crashes. Government officials issue denials it was a U.F.O. but rather a weather balloon.

In 1962...............

The first Walmart opens in Rogers, Arkansas.

Friday Random Thoughts.............

I caught most of the Lightbringer's speech on immigration reform yesterday. All I heard was a bunch of talking points that were designed to placate the masses. No firm solutions to any of the problems that we have. He did say that with so many illegals (I refuse to call them immigrants) in the country that we couldn't get them all, so the feeling I get is that enforcement will fall by the wayside. O.K. working along that track, since so many people speed on the highway (and we can't stop them all) let's not enforce traffic laws. Same to same on any law that is either unpopular or difficult to enforce. Matt G. over at (A law enforcement officer down Texas way) has a good overview of the Lightbringer's speech. Check it out.

I also saw that Sheryl Crow (She of the use only one sheet of toilet paper per visit) has held forth about her discomfort with the tea party types. She whips out the ignorant and uneducated label as well as holding forth about how she knew all about the movement from the videos she checked out on You Tube. I will not make any statement about about my thoughts on celebrities who think their fame gives them wisdom beyond that of us "common folk" nor will I say anything about the education level of the tea party goers. I will say that I have to wonder about someone who gets their world view from You Tube videos. I get the overwhelming idea that Ms. Crow needs to get out more and see how us "little people" live.

Just sayin.............

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Today's Birthdays...........

And a musical one it is too.

In 1945..........

Deborah Harry of the group Blondie

In 1951..........

Fred Schneider of the group B-52s

In 1952..........

Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) of the group The Blues Brothers

Today In History......

In 1863...............

Two brigades from Henry Heth's division marching into Gettysburg Pa, to look for shoes and other supplies were engaged by Federal cavalry under the command of John Buford. This was the beginnings of the battle of Gettysburg which lasted three days and would end up costing Federal forces 23,055 men Killed, Wounded and missing. The Confederate forces lost 23,251. In that number were members of the 26th North Carolina regiment who went into the fight with 839 men, but by the time the battle was over, only 152 were left standing. This was the highest casualty rate suffered by any regiment North or South in the entire Civil War.

In 1898................

American Army troops (Including the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, "The Rough Riders") captured the San Juan Heights outside the city of Santiago, Cuba. Killed in this engagement was a personal hero of mine Captain William "Bucky" O'Neil.

William Owen "Buckey" O'Neill. Born 2 February 1860

Sheriff, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory
Mayor, Prescott, Arizona Territory
Captain, Troop A First U.S. Vol. Cav. " The Rough Riders"

K.I.A. 1 July 1898 in the assault on Kettle Hill, San Juan Hts. Cuba

"The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered
befell just before we charged. Buckey O'Neill was strolling up and
down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was
inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer
ought never to take cover-a theory which was wrong, though in a
volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose
themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our
regimental toast on the transport running "the officers; may the war
last until each is killed, wounded or promoted." As O'Neill moved to
and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of his sergeants
said "Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you." O'Neill took his
cigarette out of his mouth and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed
and said "Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me."
A little later, he discussed for a moment with one of the regular
officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he
turned on his heel a bullet stuck him in the mouth and came out the
back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant
soul had gone out into the darkness"

Theodore Roosevelt
The Rough Riders pp 123-124

"Who would not die for a new star in the flag"
On the tombstone of "Buckey" O' Neill at Arlington

"We may have great men.......but we'll never have better!"
Down by the Glenside

In 1916..............

The beginning of the Battle of the Somme. Before the sun set on this first day of battle, over 20,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers would be killed, and over 40,000 would be wounded. The battle continued until November 18th 1916. At the end of the battle, it was estimated that over one and a half million men Allied and German had been casualties.

In remembrance of the men of the 36th (Ulster) division. Requiescat in pace.