Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Well it seems that D.C. comics has either "evolved" or decided to jump on the "Me Too" boat. They have decided that one of their characters is going to come out of the closet and announce to the world that they are gay. Don't know who or when, but while reading the original article on this over on Breitbart, I saw this comment and thought it too good not to share..........

"I can see it now, Wonder Woman will become a lesbian... they will also make her look like Chaz Bono and rename her to ...
Wonder if that's a Woman?"

I'm telling you, I just couldn't make this stuff up....... 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Funny................

If you are not aware of it, The Light Bringer appeared on a day time talk show call The View earlier this week. Most of the women that are on the program are liberals X 20 so it was a real love in with questions like, "What's your favorite snack?" It was the Light Bringer doing what he does best, campaigning and shilling for votes.  Your tax dollars at work.

I did laugh however when I read what a comedian said to Barbara Walters, host of The View. The comedian congratulated Ms. Walters for having the Light Bringer on the show, "or as Fox News  would have reported it: "Muslim Terrorist Invades Lesbian Orgy!"

Isn't it amazing how the funniest jokes are based on kernels of truth?


Thursday, May 10, 2012


My favorite quote regarding the Light Bringer's "evolving" view on gay marriage,

"Yes, and to quote the words Obama used the most when discussing this issue, "Um, er, uh, uh, uh, um, er, uh" He makes Bush sound like Olivier."

Made ME laugh..............

Sunday, May 6, 2012

History Serves As A Valuable Instructor Again................

I firmly believe that we can pick up very valuable lessons from history. From both past actions as well as the wisdom  of people who went before us. As my Granny once told me, "If they were all fools, we wouldn't be here would we?" This is a fine example of that wisdom, written by a personal hero of mine, Sir Winston Churchill. Mr. Churchill in his early days served as a officer in the British Army and took part in some of the small colonial wars that were fought in Africa in the glory days of the British Empire. Churchill also served as a newspaper correspondent as well as a author. His second book, The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan was written in 1899 and contains this observation on the religion of Islam. I believe I have blogged this before, but it is WELL worth repeating,

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

Isn't it amazing how something written in 1899 rings so true in 2012? But again, it is a foolish person who doesn't learn from the past.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Perhaps A New Campaign Theme Song ?

I've been keeping up with the Senate race in my friend's Jay G. home state of Massachusetts. It is between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Granted, I don't have a dog in this fight, but still I do try to help out the ladies as much as I can. So with all the talk of Ms. Warren's heritage and high cheek-bones, I thought this might be an appropriate campaign theme song.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6E98ZRaU1s

Just sayin'..................

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Guilty Pleasure............

When ever I have some down time, and need to kick back I will be the first to admit I flop in front of the "One Eyed Monster" I am not one of those folks that have to almost shout at the top of their lungs "I only watch EDUCATIONAL programs" I watch what strikes my fancy at the moment. I watch American Guns and Sons of Guns, (Although I gotta admit I do curse at the tube when the drama llama rears it's ugly head or they come up with something firearms related that is totally out to lunch. I mean I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer but some of the comments and statements these so called firearms experts come up with make me feel like a rocket scientist in comparison.) or just about anything else.

There is one program that I have discovered that isn't too bad at all. It's on the National Geographic channel and is called The Decrypters. It's a fascinating program that deals with a great deal of forensic pathology and archeology. The most recent episode I saw was called Gold Rush Murder and it dealt with a skeleton that was discovered in California that dated back to the 1840's that showed signs of a violent death. If you like history or detective stories I think you will like this program. Check it out and see for yourself.

Good Stuff Comes In Small Packages.............

A while back, I picked up a muzzle loading 12 bore double-barrel percussion shotgun. I don't have the time for hunting so I figured that I could use it for any of my many living history persona's. Of course, as with any firearm, I had to put my own personal touches on it. The first thing was to cut the 28" barrels down to something a little more manageable. Muzzleloaders and other types of weapons made before 1898 are not subject to most firearms laws, so I cut the barrels down to a handy 14".

Then I stripped the stock and refinished it with a light walnut stain. While I had it down, I got this overwhelming urge to respond to my inner crow and mounted a silver star in the cheek piece. Shinny is GOOD.

Maybe a bit gaudy, but I just couldn't help myself. Then I slapped a sling on her to make it easier to tote. I took her with me this past week-end to the commemoration of the battle of Plymouth, NC. I was part of the Union Naval contingent and used the shotgun as a member of a landing party. There is historical documentation for the use of shotguns on ships, even though they were never government  issued weapons, but privately owned by mostly ship's officers. I found out that my little shotgun would have given a sailor a better edge than almost any other weapon for boarding or repelling boarders. Not to mention it stands out in a crowd.

Remember boys and girls, he who dies with the most toys, WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (grin)

The Saga Of Jumping Billy..............

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a collector of almost anything and everything. Someone once told me that my taste are somewhat mercurial. I get hot and heavy into various things, then cool off only to branch off into other areas with the same enthusiasm. But having said that, I have one heck of a good time going from interest to interest, then sharing with my friends.

Back when I started doing Revolutionary War reenactments, one of the things that fired me up were the reproduction artillery pieces that I saw in the field. Sometimes I even served on several gun crews that were short of members. Nothing is as much fun or gets as much attention as a field piece, either a 3 pounder or even a 6 pounder going "bang" at the proper time.

Now for a short history lesson. Artillery in the time of the Revolutionary War, was a bit different than what we have today. Most field artillery was used like we today would use a heavy machine gun, as close infantry support weapon. Most of the cannons used in this time period were smaller so that they could stay up with the quickly advancing troops. Swivel guns, 3 and 6 pounders were the norm. (so named after the weight of shot fired) Any larger, and the combined weight of the gun tube and carriage would make it impossible to move it any great distance or with any speed in the field. Larger guns were used on ship or in fortresses or fixed defensive positions. They were also used in assaults or sieges on fixed defenses such as Yorktown.

I had always wanted a big gun, but it was sorta like it was on the bottom of my wish and want list. There were other items I could afford easier or wanted much worse. Then, a few years back, that changed. A good friend of mine told me he was looking for a shotgun to give his son to keep around the house as a self defense gun. I had a couple of old police riot guns that I was willing to let go, so I asked him what he had to trade. He suggested a few odds and ends which didn't throw any sparks but then he said "I've got a swivel gun" I developed "lock on" and told my buddy, "let's talk. " After a haggling session that would have made two Armenian rug merchants proud, we came to an agreement of gentlemen and my friend ended up with a police marked Remington 870 and a reasonably priced Tex-Mex dinner, and I ended up with a Swivel gun w/ carriage, as well as a Sergent's Halberd. The halberd was tossed in to "sweeten" the deal, plus I am the only kid on my block that has one. I am a fool for sharp pointed things and this is the ultimate in that field.   *grin* The only minor problem is that with it's 8 foot length, that I can't move it around in the house very easily nor lean it up into the corner or store it very easy.  

The swivel has a 11/4 " bore and the tube is about three feet long. It came on a weird sort of carriage, but my buddy told me that it was a French design and historically accurate. (famous last words) I accepted it at face value, and planned on taking it to my next Royal Navy reenactment. That happened about three weeks later. We went to an event hosted by a Scottish Highland unit doing a Highland Games/Jacobite Rising event. We were invited to provide the highlanders with something to shoot at. We of course, went to uphold the dignity of his majesties lawful government as well as to show the royal standard. Pretty soon, we (The Navy contingent) were calling the event "The Great Jacobite Turkey Shoot."

On the first day of the event, we took our post on the battlefield. I set up my new swivel gun, bursting with pride and trying to think of a proper name for this fearsome weapon. Many names ran through my head, Retribution, Sudden Death, Thunderer, and so on. This lasted until the swivel's first shot. At that point, I discovered that as cool as the gun looked, with it's elevating carriage. It just didn't work. We fired the gun and because of it carriage it flipped over on it's back. This was with a simple blank charge, no projectile. I looked at my brand new gun, picked it up and set it back up. We reloaded it, and touched her off again. Once more, the gun did a back flip and landed upside down. But this time, people were watching and one of my shipmates yelled out, "Damn, did you see that thing jump?" So, at that point, two things were decided. First, I didn't think it would be too wise to fire it any more until it was a little bit more stable. And second, this weapon would be forever more known as Jumping Billy.

I took Jumping Billy home and set it in  my workshop until I could do some figuring on the carriage. A few months later, I thought it might be fun (and of course educational) to fire a live shot out of her. I took her down to the creek loaded a modest powder charge and about one pound of buckshot down the bore. Mindful of how the gun acted with a blank charge, I weighed the wheels down with sandbags and cinder blocks. I then touched her off. There was a big boom, a lot of smoke, the sound of branches, twigs, and other odds and ends crashing in the woods where the buckshot went. Also Jumping Billy lived up to it's name, it was as if I hadn't put any extra weight on the gun. When it fired, it ended up doing doing a triple somersault with a half twist backwards, ending up on it's back. The Bulgarian judge gave it a hard 9.7. So once again back to my shop it went.

Some time later, my messmate, Mr. Grimes told me that he was doing some cannon work and would be willing to work up a new stand for the swivel. I told him I would be willing to swap some leather work for it. We came to a agreement of gentlemen and Mr. Grimes took custody of the gun tube this past week-end and hopefully I will have a shooting swivel gun to play with soon.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Semi-Old Warhorse Casts It's Spell On Me............

Back in the dawn of recorded history when I was a young pup, I spent most of my time running around, keeping the world safe for women, children and little animals by enforcing laws and and keeping order. I even had a off-duty gun that I was particularly proud of. It was "gasp" a 9mm. I had put a great deal of thought into it's selection. It was a Smith & Wesson model 39. The same weapon that the Indiana State Police carried. Eight shots in the magazine, one up the spout, that beautiful Smith blue job on the slide, the hard black on the aluminum frame, the slight reddish tint on the highly varnished grip panels, man it was gorgeous. It was easy to carry, it fit my Bianchi X-15 shoulder holster, it shot any type of bullet without a bobble, it was everything a person could want. I am talking stone cold sexy.

Only one problem, I couldn't hit a barn with it even if I was standing inside the barn. No matter what I did, no matter what ammunition I used, no matter how I shot, I just couldn't hit a bull in the tit with a tin cup with that pistol. I eventually traded that weapon off because as someone once said, "Only accurate weapons are interesting" Seeing the need to keep a 9mm in my stable, I picked up a Chinese Tokarev with a 9mm conversion barrel. However I could not shoot it any better than the Smith & Wesson. Again, it was traded off.

So that's where the collection stood (well other than a beat up Broomhandle Mauser which is worthy of a post all it's own) until a few weeks ago. I was struck by a itch to do some trading and was talking to a buddy of mine and we came up with a trade for a Browning High Power in 9mm. Now it wasn't a "true" Browning High Power. It was a Argentinian pistol made on F.N. Machinery but it was well put together and it seemed to be solid. My friend told me that he was having some failure to extract issues with the weapon. Now they had Browning H.P.s in my day (Frank Serpico carried one) but they were what you might call, your higher priced spread. Brownings traditionally were the most expensive weapons out there, even beating Colts. They just didn't fit into the average cop's budget. I figured that I would never be able to afford one but here was my chance to come damned close. We made the trade and I took the old girl home.

The first chance I had, I ran a box of Winchester WB through the weapon. As my buddy said, there were a few failure to extracts, so I sat down with my punch set and took out the extractor to look it over. The operating spring for the extractor was very compressed and a big wad of cosmoline also came out of the slot. I cleaned the slot and spring and gently used the blade of a screwdriver to open up the loops of the spring. I then reassembled the weapon and bless Moses, that pistol shot like a house afire. (For my non-southern readers, that means GOOD) Even better, I found that I hit just about everything that I set the sights on. Man I was impressed!!!!!! I have ordered a new spring that I will put in and test before trusting it to carry, but once that is done, I wouldn't have any concern about packing it.  This is a 9mm that I am going to keep for a very long time and you can take that to the bank (Unless I get the overwhelming urge to do some swapping again. )  

Defender's Day and 10 years after 9/11.......

Since I have been so focused on making things down in my shop, I have been shamelessly ignoring this blog but then I found this post I lost for a while.  I figured that I might as well post it, if for no other reason to fill up space. I wrote it way back in September. 

I spent the weekend of September 10/11 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore MD. We are quickly approaching the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 and I have sorta "drifted" into portraying a common seaman of that period. I had a great time talking to the public, showing off the weapons of the age of fighting sail, sewing on a period hammock and doing my knot work, as well as visiting with my fellow "living historians".

Since Sunday was the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I couldn't help but think of the reaction of myself and everyone I knew on that date, and compared it in my mind with what others had experienced and felt at other times of crisis in the history of our country. An event which no doubt had the same effect on people 195 years ago was the British attack on Baltimore. To properly put yourself in that time and place remember that England was the primary world power in the early 1800's. She had forced Napoleon to abdicate the French throne and had forced him into exile. Britain had also fought a war with America since 1812 that had not gone well for the Americans. The coast of America had been blockaded by the Royal Navy and for all intents and practical purposes the Chesapeake Bay was a English pond with the Royal Navy landing parties and raiding at will all along the coast. On August 20th 1814 a large British force was landed at Benedict MD, it's target, Washington. The Americans attacked the advancing British at Bladensburg on August 24th. The battle was a unmitigated disaster. The majority of the American forces broke and retreated from the British with such enthusiasm, that one observer stated "They ran like sheep chased by dogs" This battle was nicknamed by the British "The Bladensburg Races" The British then marched into Washington unopposed. The burned the White House, The Capitol and several other public buildings. The also burned the Washington Navy Yard. Then having nothing else much to accomplish, they marched back out and went back on their ships.

So now, this same Royal Navy has just appeared in Baltimore Harbor. The population had time to build defenses and seemed to have built up a bit of a fighting spirit. The British had landed troops and there had been a battle at North Point, which had been a British victory, but had cost the British forces a very bloody nose. (The British commander Major General Robert Ross was K.I.A. By American marksmen) The trenches and fortifications the Americans had built around Baltimore had given the British Army a bit of a pause. It was decided to give the Royal Navy the chance to take the city. The main point of defense for the harbor was Ft. McHenry commanded by Major George Armistead. Major Armistead was a well trained professional, who had fighting spirit enough for two men. Sometime before the appearance of the British he had ordered a new flag for the garrison. He stated that he wanted an American flag so large, that there would be no difficulty for the British to see it any time of day or night. The flag he ordered was 42 feet long by 30 feet high. It had 15 stars as well as 15 stripes and was made of wool bunting. It cost the government $405.90. Remember this was in 1814 dollars. Major Armistead while he had the will to fight and defend the city, there was a secret that only he knew. The fort's bomb proofs in which he stored the garrison's gun powder were not as bombproof as they should have been.

On September 13th, 1814 the British Bomb Vessel Volcano weighted anchor at 05:00 and started to ease in the direction of the American fort. In consort with the Volcano was the bomb vessel Meteor as well as the Rocket ship Erebus and the schooner Cockchafer The largest cannons that the fort mounted were the 24lbs. which had an effective range of 1,800 yards and the larger 36 lbs. which had a range of 2,800 yards. The British Bomb Vessels with their 10 in. and 13 in. Mortars could fire a 200 lb. explosive shell up to 4,200 yards. The rate of fire for these weapons was 45 to 50 rounds per hour so the British could stand safely out of range of the American guns and given enough time and luck could pound the American defenses to dust. These huge weapons did however a weak point. A fuse was lit in the projectile when the weapon was fired. The gunners attempted to cut the fuse length so as to time it to set off the shell's explosive charge just before it impacted into the target, spraying metal fragments around. This method was VERY unreliable and a good number of the shells exploded anywhere from mid air to minutes after landing. (One shell fell into the fort's magazine and sat there with it's fuse burning until a defender dumped a bucket of water on it, putting it out and preventing an explosion.) Soon the first 4 ships were joined by 3 other bomb vessels, the Terror, Devastation and Aetna With this much firepower, it was thought that Ft. McHenry would fall fairly soon after the attack commenced.

At 06:30 the Volcano fired a few ranging shot to discover that she was still out of range so she advanced further, less that two miles from the fort. At 07:00 the Meteor commenced firing, then the other bombships joined in. Along with the bombships, was a fairly new development, the rocket ship Eribus. The Congreve Rocket was a new addition to the armament of the British forces. It consisted of a large iron tube with a wooden stick attached to the side. Different warheads were attached depending on the target, the warheads were explosive, incendiary and anti-personnel. Unlike the bombships which had to be braced, reenforced and modified to stand the enormous recoil of the mortar's firing, a ship to launch rockets only needed at most a few holes cut in the upper decks to allow the rockets to protrude. The rocket could be launched with fairly large warheads, 24, 32, 36 and 42 pounders were used.

The rocket however did have several things that prevented it's whole hearted acceptance. The Congreve was very much like a modern bottle rocket that has been fed a LOT of steroids. It was insanely inaccurate, we are talking minute-of-town accuracy. It had a nasty habit when being used by ground forces to come back on the troops that were firing it. It's fusing was very similar to that of the mortar shell, so there was no telling when the explosive charge would go off. They were also dangerous to any ships that launched them. The rocket when fired, emitted a shower of hot gas and sparks, not something that a wooden ship, loaded with canvas sails, hemp rope, tar and other combustibles would do well with. But since the rocket was approved, it was used.

Major Armisted and the garrison of the fort hunkered down for a long day. They attempted to boost the range of their guns to reach the British ships by elevation and boosting the powder charge, but all that accomplished was to dismount three of his big guns due to excessive recoil. (The guns were not permanently damaged and were remounted.) Knowing that he was wasting his shots, he ordered his gun crews to stand down, take cover where ever they could find it and only fire their guns once in a while to let the town know that the fort was still holding out.

All day and the following night, the British shelled the fort. It was estimated that over 2000 shells were fired at the fort with an estimated 700 to 800 rockets. The men in the fort's garrison just sat there and took it, one compared his feelings to that of a pigeon who's leg has been tied to allow someone to shoot at it. Another bird served to boost the morale of the garrison. In the midst of the shelling, a rooster mounted the fort's parapet and began to crow as if in defiance of the British. One of the defenders yelled out that if he and the rooster survived the fight, that he would treat that bird the finest pound cake in Baltimore.

On a few occasions, the British ships thinking that they had silenced Ft. McHenry's guns advanced within the range of the American guns. This was taken advantage of by the Americans at around 3:00 that afternoon. Three of the bomb vessels and the rocketship weighed anchor and eased toward the Fort. Closer and closer they came until they were within a mile and a half of the fort, at that point, the Americans opened up with everything they had. The Devastation took a hit in the port bow which sprung timbers and started a serious leak. She took another that went through her main topsail. The Volcano took five straight hits, none of which caused serious damage. After meeting this rebuff, the British ships withdrew to outside the American's range once again. With that, the British command structure began to think that the effort that they were expending wasn't worth the possible cost. Baltimore was the first vigorous defense that the British had met and it wasn't something that they were used to dealing with. The British also had their eye on another prize much more valuable than Baltimore. The city of New Orleans was the next target of the British. They would need every man and ship to both take that city as well as pack out all the loot that they expected to gather there.

On the morning of September 14th after a diversionary attack which was not followed through on, the British fleet ceased fire on the Fort at 04:00.

In the British fleet were some Americans who had been caught up in the attack while negotiating the release of an American civilian arrested by the British. One of these Americans was Francis Scott Key a lawyer from the area. Key was against the war, on many occasions spoke of how Baltimore deserved what it got, due to it's pro war jingoism. But during that long night he had had a change of mind and heart. He decided that he was an American and he and his fellow Americans prayed that the fort would hold out. The cease fire caught Key by surprise and he didn't know what it meant, He with the help of a spyglass saw Armisted's flag flying all the proceeding day. During the night, the British cannon fire indicated that the fort still held. As dawn broke, Key and the others strained to see if they could see the flag, through the overcast and mist of the morning. Then an easterly breeze came up and Key could see once the mist was blown away Armisted's flag flying over the battered fort. Key was overcome with emotion and being an amateur poet, pulled out a old envelope and started writing down his thoughts. Of course, you know where THAT ended up.

Back to my original thought. I suspect that the British capture of Washington and burning of White House and Capitol had the same effect on the American people that 9/11 had on us. Fear, uncertainty, confusion, finally turning into anger, fury, a sense of digging in and getting the job done, and eventually victory over great odds. It always seems that that's the way the American character is. After taking a good slug in the chin, we pick ourselves up, dust off, wipe away the blood, grin, spit on our palms and proceed to wax the a*s of anyone that monkeys with us. That's why I believe that no matter what happens, America and it's never stoppable spirit will continue, no matter what.

Oh yeah, two other things. First of all, the brave Anti- British rooster DID get his pound cake. Nothing like a man who keeps his word.

Also, Major Armisted who worked himself so hard preparing for the fort's defense that he fell ill after the battle. Due to contiuing poor health brought on by this overwork, he only lived more four years, dieing in 1818. Armisted had four brothers who also served in the war. One of these brothers moved down to North Carolina. This brother, had a son who followed his uncle into military service to build a life long army career. He was a student at West Point who was asked to leave the school after breaking a mess plate over fellow cadet Jubal Early's head. This son, was appointed to the army even after his incident, had a very steady career, regular promotion and was well thought of by his fellow officers and superiors. In 1861, when his home state of Virgina left the Union, he could not and would not serve in a Army that would be fighting against his family and friends and invading his home state. He took command of Virginia troops and again was known for his competency and professionalism. He was made a Brigadier General under George Pickett and led his troops in the Pettigrew-Pickett assault on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg PA. on July 3rd 1863. He was badly wounded and died on July 5th in a Federal field hospital. This officer's name was Lewis A. Armisted. So in one of those twist of history that I find so fascinating, the nephew of the defender of the Star Spangled Banner died fighting against that same flag almost 49 years later............