Monday, December 31, 2012

One of the things that I detest is people that twink with things

 they know nothing about and leave it for someone else to figure out.

Take a TV hooked up to Dish and a VCR.

Generally the thing that starts the mess is that someone pushes the wrong button and somehow screws up the software. TVs these days are not anywhere near as simple as they used to be and I suppose it is pretty for an unskilled operator to hit the wrong button or misprogram something.

All this is well and good until the person that screws the television up with a push of the wrong button decides that the problem is now in the hardware instead of the software.

The first thing they generally do is start messing around with the wires on the back of the set. Of course they are not going to bother to think for a second that the thing was working like a champ before they pushed the button. They just KNOW that a little man witha brown shoe and a black shoe and green pants and a purple shirt with a funny little hat and a pointy little beard just sneaked up behind the set and rearranged the wires and ran off.

It couldn't POSSIBLY be the results of the button on the remote they just pushed.

Lord help them if they do something intelligent like read the directions when they rehook the set back up. That would be a definite affront to their masculinity and they might have to be forced to wear a dress or something along those lines.

So they reattach the wires and generally do it wrong but it looks pretty good to them so they decide to go with it and leave them hooked up in what looks about right which means that they generally have a wire or six crossed.

Then they generally go to the remote and the keypad and get EVERYTHING all screwed up to a fare-thee-well and give up and leave it for someone else to deal with.

Enter a shipmate that according to some people should be forced to wear a dress and have his pickup painted hot pink. That is because he is an Old School Tough Guy and knows how to get things done. He uses logic, which is an alien concept to many.

The first thing he did when faced with a screwed up TV to deal with is ask who tried to fix it and what they did, which is, of course, a waste of time because he's generally dealing with someone that's going to answer the same thing he did when he was a kid.

"Nothing," is the usual reply, given in the same whiney, nasal tone of voice the culprit has been using since he was six years old.

He, of course, expected that so he does a very feminine thing. He gets out the instruction books that came with the dish box and the TV and sits down and reads a bit and then comes to the diagrams and checks the back of the set to see what is miswired.

It doesn't take him long to find a couple of misplaced cables and he reattaches them according to the directions. WHile there is a marked improvement, it is still unusable so the next thing he does is gets the Dish TV instructions and resets the thing carefully.

The next step is to reset as much on the TV as he can and then tries to set it up according to the instructions. Nine times out of ten this works but not always.

There are always a couple of things that do not reset automatically when you unplug the set so he starts going through the TV and cleans everything out that he can find.

If that doesn't work he picks up the phone and gets on the line with a tech representitive and the rep walks him through it and presto! The unit now works like new.

This process, as sissified as it may sound actually works.

The saying of 'When all else fails, read the directions' is now relagated to history. It is now replaced with 'When something goes wrong, pickup the directions". It will generally save a lot of time and effort.

my other blog is:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Menu item: Chicken of Somesort

I asked the guy cooking what he was planning for the evening meal and he said we were having chicken of somesort.

Now there are several chicken delacacies out there that I can bring to mind. There is Chicken Tetrazzini which to me sounds like some sort of disease requiring antibiotics and bedrest for weeks to cure but in fact is a pretty good meal. There is Chicken Carbone which sounds like chicken that has been burned to a black crisp but is pretty good, also Chicken ala King and there are numerous recipes involving chicken, almost all of them good. That doesn't even begin to enter barbecues, salads, soups and doens of other ethnic recipes, all of which I can cheerfully would down and clamor for seconds and even thirds.

I am here overlooking the galley and my shipmate is busy preparing Chicken of Somesort. He is making some sort of sauce to cook it in and likely making up the recipe as he goes along. The sauce started life as orange juice with spices and interesting little things being added to it as he goes.

It is fascinating to watch him. He stops for a second and looks in the freezer and comes out with a pair bags of of leftover frozen vegetables, carefully looks and puts the vegetables on the counter and opens up a cabinet and starts scanning. Out comes a box of ziti that has only a little in it and he throws it into a small saucepan and starts cooking it.

Back to the refrigerator and he then grabs half a leftover pepper and cuts it up and puts that on the counter next to the vegetables.

Then the juices of the sauce that he has just cooked the chicken in come out, or at least part of them and he adds the peppers and lets them cook a while and then adds the veggies and finally the ziti.

In a couple of minutes it is done and he plates up a portion.

It is a very colorful, tasty, well cooked meal and it hasn't taken him even a half hour.

I did take a cell phone picture of it because I wanted to post it but the picture didn't come out very clear and I really can't post it which makes me feel bad.

Chicken of somesort is a gourmet meal that ought to be seen and tasted to be appreciated.

We have had this before but for the likes of me I swear it looked different the last time, and although it was just as good it wasn't quite the same as it is now. I can't seem to figure it out.

my other blog is:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

a plug for Old Painless

Back when I was a serious service rifle shooter I didn't consider myself to be a true expert even though I was loading my own ammunition and experimenting with external ballistics.

I would have to look at my notes to remember things but I recall that I figured out how to make a load that would both hold accuracy and stay above the speed of sound out to slightly over 1000 yards. I also had a great recipe for an across the course 2-600 yard sub-minute load that would easily hold the X-ring.

It was a labor of love and it meant countless trips to the range, countless hours at the bench and even more time at the desk and snooping through countless books as during the early stages I had no internet access. Looking back on it, while internet access might have been helpful the truth is even with the web it still would have still meant hours at the bench and trips to the range for testing.

Some of the people I shot with in competition were policemen and it was interesting as to how they treated me. Most of them treated me with respect and they were generally pretty curious as to what I had discovered in my experimentation. One or two of them were experimenters like myself and it was interesting to compare notes with them.

Later on in my service rifle shooting career I changed platforms from the .30 cal M1A/M-14 platform to the .223 cal AR-15/M-16 platform I had to start all over again and because of the much lighter weight bullets I was dealing with physics entered the quation again and to be able to shoot successfully across the course I had to develop two different loads, one round for the 2 and 300 yard portion and another round strictly for the 600 yard portion.

It is interesting to note that the 600 yard round wasn't very accurate at the closer ranges because the bullet woudn't stablize until it got out there a bit.

My interest in the ballistics game was what is known as external ballistics which is the study of the characteristics of a bullet from the time it leaves the muzzle intil it hits the target.

A few years later when the local police added patrol rifles I was experimenting with the AR15/M16 platform and a police officer, one of my admirers saw me heading to the range and stopped to ask me a few questions and was surprised that I was headed not to the local range but to one out of town as I was testing a 600 yard load.

He was astonished because the department was training officers with the new patrol rifle to shoot at distances of 100 yards. I made a suggestion that he get the training officer to up the range to 200 yards and opined that 200 yards was likely the longest shot a suburban police officer would ever likely encounter.

Shortly after that I settled down and my interest in running back and forth to the range died off a bit and I settled into using the loads I had developed.

These days I still have an interest in the shooting sports and I have been watching another experimenter. He does some work in another segment of ballistics called terminal ballistics. It is the study of a bullet from the time it hits the target until it stops. This is quite useful in hunting.

It should be noted that the bullets I was experimenting had specifically been designed for target use to the point where the maker stated that they were not to be used for the taking of game animals.

This other experimenter, a retired policeman down in Texas has an internet blog called 'The Box 'O Truth' and he does a number of on it that I have found interesting.

Some of what he does are range reports on various firearms, but sometimes he enters the field of terminal ballistics and more often than not he gets results that are at least pretty damned close to those of the FBI crime lab.

I have kidded him about being a crackpot of sorts over the years but he is far from it. He's just a guy with an interest in the shooting sports. I once suggested that he find a white lab coat somewhere.

Once I asked him about the terminal ballistics of a sling shot and I'll be damned if a few weeks later I got an email back and saw that he and his grandson had tested one. I laughed and came to the conclusion that the Marine Corps isn't too likely to swap their rifles out for a Whammo very soon.

It's fun watching a guy like him fill plastic bottles of water and place them in a box aligned in a row and watch him test such and such a firearm/bullet/load, whatever on it.

It really isn't a highly technological lab he has. Generally he simply peels short money out of his pocket and sets up a fairly crude experiment and gets pretty accurate results.

If you like things like that, just Google the 'Box 'O Truth' and snoop around. It's pretty good.

my other blog is:

Friday, December 28, 2012

We are stupid. We throw money at all our problems instead of using common sense.

One of the things we Americans do is to throw money at things to fix them. A classic example of this is the fact that we're now broke because of the failed social programs of the Johnson administration. The Great society programs simply didn't work.

Things like that don't work and what generally happens is that when they don't work we try to force them to work by throwing more and more money at the problem when most of the time the thing to do is something a whole lot cheaper.

The other way we solve problems is to simply pass a feel-good law and walk away from the problem. It seldom if ever changes anything for the better, but it makes people feel good and gives our elected officials something to brag about.

Right now there is a problem over the recent school shooting. While the truth of the matter is that the schoolroom is still the safest place for a child. The most dangerous part of a child getting an education is still the ride to and from school and after school activities.

It's pretty likely that there will be some kind of a firearms ban coming out of this and it will in reality do nobody any good at all. It will make a lot of people feel good but in reality will not provide a whit of security for schoolchildren.

The next step will be to post an armed guard at every schoolhouse in the country, ranging is quality to well trained and competent to people that are more dangerous than no guard at all.

I suppose the schools are going to want to put up a bunch of signs, too, advertising proudly that they are gun free zones. We can already see how well that is working. It isn't so we'll throw more money at it, perhaps by making bigger, more brightly colored signs to adertise that not only have we not learned but we are going to throw even more money at yet another failed program.

The gun free zone doesn't work. It never did and there have been enough murders in gun free zones that clearly show that. Gun free zones are clearly adertising that the victims within are not too likely to be able to defend themselves. Signs declaring a place to be gun free might just as well be neon to make it 100% clear to any sicko that they can ply their murderous plots there with impunity.

I have posted this before and I will post it again. A few years back a neighbor proudly posted "Gun free home" on his front door and was burglarized.

The truth of the matter is that concealed carry has been on the upswing for the past several years. Quite a few states have loosened restrictions on concealed carry permits and there have not been the shootouts on the streets that the antis have predicted.

Like it or not, personal protection is a personal responsibility. The police are never going to be where you need them and the old saw, "When seconds count the police are only minutes away," is indisputable. Most policemen won't deny it, although a small few will try and skirt the issue by mumbling something about their response time.

The NRA is advocating armed guards in all schools, and while that may or may not sound like a good idea one has to remember that as a country we are simply to the point where we can't afford yet another program costing us money for dubious results.

Armed guards as a concept sounds pretty good but only if they are trained and fit. While some places might pass the duty of supplying these guards off to the police departments of their municipality, others may not or not be able to.

Security companies that supply various guards range from excellent to dismal. Anyone that has ever seen a 75 year old retiree suplementing Social Security as a bank guard can see this. Would you want someone like that as a guard for your kids?

The truth is sometimes hard to handle and nobody really wants to admit the truth. We're willing to go into denial and shuffle things around and try try anything but what common sense says will work.

There are an awful lot of cops out there with pretty good street sense and they are pretty good at getting straight down to the root of the problem. Most of them agree that gun bans will not work. Confiscation will not work. We're back on this to square one because criminals are by definition people that do not obey the law.

The answer that keeps coming back seems to be that it's time to face up to the problem and decide how to deal with this and get it done.

One solution is to look at the statistics and realize that the biggest danger to schoolkids is still getting to and from school and swimming pools.

(When I pointed out that swimming pools were a greater danger to kids, it was scoffed at but the truth is that there are likely one hell of a lot more so-called assault rifles out there than swimming pools. The estimate is well over 2.5 million. Still, pools claim more lives than firearms do so I suppose the argument I put up holds water.)

One solution is to simply do nothing. We simply take comfort in the fact that the schools are safer than the highways and byways that we use to take the kids back and forth. We look at the statistics and realize that schools are safe places after all.

It's one solution except for one thing. It does not do anything to comfort our emotions. Most of the people running around now are simply doing so to feel that they are going to accomplish something that will make things safer.

Of course, it won't because it no matter what they do they are not going to stop a single criminal from committing a single criminal act of any sort. They are simply asking law to change things when it changes nothing but costing us money and freedoms.

We have been on a war on drugs for decades. Thousands of laws have been passed and yet we still have meth labs, smugglers, dealers and users. All of these people are criminals. The laws sure have done nothing but keep a lot of law enforcement in overtime with no end in sight.

Anyone that thinks that gun control in any form is going to make any of these thigs go away simply is living in another world and has no sense of logic.

This holds especially true when you look and see that the places like Vermont and Montana that have the least amount of gun control also enjoy the lowest crime rates.

Part of this is the attitude people in rural areas have toward problems. They generally at least attempt to solve them themselves. When a Vermont farmer finds his sink stopped up he generally heads to his toolbox and grabs a wrench. His big city counterpart calls a plumber.

Generally his big city counterpart doesn't have a clue as to where to start because he is used to having everything handed to him. Likely a lot of city boys doesn't even know how to use a wrench much less have one in their abodes.

Same holds true for farm security. Most farmers generally own something that shoots, AR 15s are fairly common for coyotes and other varmints. Breaking into a farmhouse is a pretty risky endeavor and as a result not too many people try it.

The truth of the matter is that most urban people have grown softer and are less likely to look after themselves. They call AAA for flat tires. Rural folks simply change them and get back on the road. It's simply a part of life.

One time out in a rural road I stopped to help an older woman with a flat tire and she said to me that she had it under control, but asked me if I would crack the lug nuts which I did. Then she sent me on my way. I pulled over a couple of miles ahead to get gas and about the time I was halfway full I saw her pull up to the pump behind me.

It's too bad I didn't ask her what they did to mad dogs in her neck of the woods. Likely she would have looked at me like I was nuts and replied, "We shoot them."

A couple of years later I ran into a similar situation of a much younger woman obviously a city girl on the side of the road with a flat. Thinking back of the older woman I had met a couple years earlier, I stopped and took her lug wrench and cracked her lug nuts, handed it back to her and told her she was on her own. She went straight into shock as I drove off.

It shows how a lot of people outside of rural America are not used to either taking care of themselves or getting their hands dirty. Incidentally, my old woman can change a tire in less than 10 minutes flat.

Our highways and byways have speed limit signs prominently posted at intervals yet there isn't a single person that has driven on a highway for more than a couple of hours that hasn't had someone roar past them well over the speed limit.

What makes anyone think that passing another law is going to make criminal not go out and commit a crime? Why are people so stupid as not to believe what is in front of them?

The truth is that we ought to take those stupid gun free zone signs off of places and simply allow licensed people to carry, including teachers. We'd actually all be a whole lot safer.

All the signs do in reality is say, "These premises protected by this sign", which of course, means an open invite to the forces of evil.

Of course, there are going to be a lot of emotional based arguments out there when a handful of people finally see the obvious. There will be a lot of bellyaching by those that continue to live in denial.

Actually it would be interesting to require all teachers to be licensed to carry firearms and then let them as they deem necessary or as their conscience permits. While it's likely that the majority wouldn't even own a firearm, the fact that all teachers in a school are licensed to do so would send out a powerful message to anyone with ideas of harming our children.

Incidentally, the teachers should be instructed not to permit anyone to know if they actually carry or not. It's best to keep people wondering and parents do gossip. Better to let everyone think that Miss Hathaway is packing a .357 in her bag. Even if she isn't.

Concealed means concealed and the psychological impact that teachers are simply licensed to carry would go quite a way in discouraging anyone with evil intentions.

It would also not likely upset the kids, either as concealed means concealed and the kids would not see anything. Incidentally even if their teacher packed a pistol on her hip out in the open it's likely that after the novelty wore off in a few days it would just become part of the woodwork. Kids are pretty flexible to new things and take more in stride than a lot of their parents do.

As far as licensing goes, if someone can't pass the background check most states require to get a concealed carry permit, then they have something wrong with them in their criminal history and they shouldn't be teaching children in the first place.

As far as training goes, it is fairly inexpensive and it is easily within the budget of just about any school to have a few interested teachers trained to use a handgun. It doesn't take much training to use a revolver at close range.

Concealed carry works. Over the past fifteen or so years a lot of states have loosened the requirements for concealed carry and the results have not been anywhere near the predicted bloodbath the naysayers had predicted. In most areas there have been measurable drops in crime. There have also been an incalculable number of crimes that have been prevented.

It is also interesting to note that the number of deaths in mass shootings that are stopped by the police average about 14.3 while the number of deaths in a spree where a private citizen steps in average about 2.3 deaths. This was figured out by a math enthusiast that doesn't even own a gun. More evidence that when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

What would be interesting to note is how many of the shootings that the police stopped were in gun free zones which meant the concealed carrier couldn't carry there.

Incidentally, nobody has ever seemed to point out that a couple of citizens legally carrying concealed could have either prevented or at least mitigated the events that took place on 9-11, but let's not go there today.

Frankly, this is about the cheapest and most effective cost effective way of making our schools safer. In fact, given my druthers I would chose having my kid protected by a young, angry, scared, resolute 24 year old armed dedicated schoolmarm than a retired old rent-a-cop with no interest in the game save to supplement his Social Security.

A grass roots effort like this is generally more likely to succeed than a govermnent program, anyway because all of the people involved have a genuine interest in the game.

Of course, those that go aghast at this proposal and declare it preposterous are probably a big part of the problem in the first place because they are thinking with their emotions instead of using logic. Most likely they want to put up more gun free zone signs which would only make things worse.

The teacher's union can argue all they want but the truth is that gun free zones do not work at all and that concealed carry does.

my other blog is:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another short post

Sorry guys.

Mission comes first. Tomorrow's is being chipped away at over the course of the day.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am starting to come around

haing surived another holiday season.

With any luck I will get to see my nephew get married this June and that will be a good thing.

I'm jammed up today so this isn't going to be much of a post.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I have decided to take Christmas day off for a change.

my other blog is:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Today is Christmas Eve and I have a few things to do today

I have a couple of things to fix and I have to take care of a few things.

This is the first Christmas I have spent home in several years. I think that out of the past 20 Christmases I have spent about 16 of them at sea.

Truth is I hate sppending Christmas ashore and if I had my way I would be in some hellhole fire base in Afghanistan spending it with the troops. God knows they could use a little company.

Over the years I have intentionally kept Mrs. Pic out of this blog but there is something she has going for that deserves mentioning here. We both dispise the commercialism of what is supposed to be a religious holiday.

Mrs. Pic has been very good to me over the years regarding Christmas and while I suppose she doesn't understand me 100%, (Who does?) she has been pretty good about my moodiness over the holidays.

It was a couple of holiday seasons ago that Neighbor Bob sort of bailed me out with some quick thinking. Bob is a Catholic and a member of the Knights of Colombus. While the pair of us were out on the streets plotting mayhem of some sort, the local priest, Father Mike hove into view and Bob introduced me to him.

Father Mike said that he had seen me before and asked me if I was a mamber of the local Lutheran church.

"No, Father. I'm actually a dogtag Catholic," I replied and instantly realized that I had left him an opening for him to take the conversation somewhere I did't want to go.

"He gets his sermons in the field, Father," interrupted Bob, plugging the hole I had accidentally made.

I think I will end todays post by wishing good things to all.

For those of you with small children, enjoy the holidays.

For those of you that loved ones to spend the holiday with than please do so and enjoy the memories.

This post isn't dedicated to you, though.

This post is dedicated to those few that suffer Christmas depressions and spend the holiday season wanting to suck-start a shotgun.

I have suffered a lifetime of Christmas depressions, I feel for you. I have hated Christmas since I was about 17 years old. You are not alone. Take comfort in the fact that this, too shall pass.

In a week we ring in the New Year and the holidays will be over. A new year means a new beginning and you can go back to normal.

I'll leave you with a smile. Yesterday was Festivus and I am writing this post still wearing a yamulke that has 'Happy Festivus' embroidered on it. It was a gift from a Jew with a pretty good sense of humor.

my other blog is:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yesterday's post is a hard act to follow

because I don't seem to have the time to write a whole lot today.

Still, the visit to the gun stores in the area has left me with a knot in my stomach that goes well beyond gun control. It is only one of many issues we are dealing with.

The two telephone guys I talked to were just a couple of working stiffs but they were not entirely stupid and it looks to me like both of them were interested in other things than bread and circuses which I suppose makes them rare birds. What made them rarer is that neither one of them mentioned the Steelers which seems to make tham as rare as a cherry in a whorehouse.

It surprised me that a couple of working guys mentioned that the average democracy lasts somewhere between two and three hundred years and dies because everyone votes themselves a piece of the treasury.

Generally when a democracy falls it is replaced by a dictatorship of some form.

Although I have known that for quite some time I was surprised to hear it from a couple of working stiffs. Both of them agreed that we are looking at the twilight of the great American experiment with government. We're in the zone and right now there are an awful lot of people out there that have sold their freedom for free government shit and therefore have to vote a certain way lest they lose their government handout. They are chained in slavery by the golden handcuffs of the governmental handout.

I don't see a fast fix coming up anywhere, of for that matter a fix at all.

The phone guys both agreed that they feared for their children who are very unlikely to know the same freedoms we have enjoyed.

my other blog is:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A visit to a gun store

Yesterday, having received a couple of calls, I took it upon myself to wander through the local gun stores and see what was going on and the reports I have heard are 100% true.

I was witness to what very well may be the biggest civilian arms build-up in the history of the United States.

The first place I checked out was mobbed and the wall that generally holds ARs and AKs was bare. They were sold out and I overheard that another place I did business with while I was on the competitive circuit had moved over 200 ARs and about an equal number of AKs in less than two days.

A couple people told me that someone moved a truckload of ammo in a day. That's well over a million rounds and an awful lot of ammo.

The other thing I heard is that another surplus dealer went into his warehouse and got three footlockers of Vietnam era 20 round magazines out and taped them together in lots of ten and moved them in a day. Twenty round magazines normally do not sell to anyone but competitive service rifle shooters as they are shorter than thirty round mags. The extra length of the thirty rounders get in the way in prone shooting.

I have also read that Brownells, a firearm accessory and ammunition seller that the number of P-mags they sell in about 3.5 years have sold in 36 hours and they have moved even greater a number of their own brand of magazines. That's a lot of magazines. A visit to their website seems to confirm this. They have said that orders are running behind because of the volume of orders.

A lot of gunmakers are working a lot of overtime to keep up with orders which are incredible. ARs are flying out of factories like never before, and the prices are going through the roof.

I have been through the panic buys of the Clinton years and the panic buys following the election of President Obama but have never seen a panic like this anywhere.

When you consider that this is in the Pittsburgh area and that generally the area tends to vote for liberal candidates I can only begin to guess what this panic is like in other places.

Because I have never hidden my status as a competitive shooter I have gotten a number of calls over a couple of what looks like an upcoming gun ban of some sort and while the calls of availability didn't surprise me, there is one thing that did. I was asked a couple of times about the availability of burial tubes.

It seems that an awful lot of people are planning on staying in this for the long haul as the subject of burial tubes didn't come up very often during past bans and ban threats.

Another thing I noticed is that when I heard the subject of confiscation come up, the attitude of a lot of people seemed to be "Come and take it!"

While most of that is likely hot air I have been around shooters long enough to know that there are few issues that generate emotions like firearm ownership. If even one in 10,000 people decide to fight there is going to be a large number of casualties out there, likely among law enforcement officers.

Over the years I have asked a few of the many policemen I have shot with at various matches what their worst fears were and many of them have said that it was 'a rifleman that knows what he is doing'.

The AR rifle platform has beeen on the civilian market since the sixties and over the past several years has likely been the best selling rifle over the past fifteen or twenty years and there are a lot of them out there.

Many of them have been snapped up by veterans because the are comfortable with it having been trained on it since it was introduced almost 50 years ago. Millions of GIs have carried them over the past half century. The rifle also holds the distinction of serving as the basic service rifle longer than any other rifle in history and doesn't look like it is going anywhere all too soon.

Incidentally, military training generally stays with a man for life. A couple of years ago I watched with amusement as an octagenerian pulled apart a Garand and put it back together in the matter of a few seconds. I wasn't surprised to find out he had not even seen one since 1945. The same holds true for younger vets, of course, and ARs ar a lot simpler to strip than Garands.

It has also been the basis for many conversions into various forms of varmint and target rifles. Some of these look pretty futuristic and many target shooters refer to these as 'space guns' because they look like something off of Star Trek. To anyone that isn't familiar with the AR platform they will likely not know what they are looking at.

In short, the AR is likely the most commonly used centerfire riifle in history on the American civilian market today. There are plainly and simply just too damned many of them out there for a confiscation scheme to be very successful.

For one thing, who is going to enforce it? The local police?

Fat chance.

The legislation is federal and the state and local authorities in most places are simply going to leave enforcement up to the feds. While I suppose there are a few chiefs that would risk the lives of their officers to send them out and disarm their citizens, most state and local police chiefs would tell the feds to enforce their own laws.

Of course, Congress would likely try to bully them with threats to yank their federal funding and a lot of them would supposidly comply but you can bet that the results would be nothing more than plodding half hearted attempts because there are not a whole lot of local policemen very interested in sticking their necks out enforcing something that came from the ivory towers of Capital Hill.

This is especiallly true when you consider the fact that the average rank and file cop is being ordered to enforce a law he doesn't believe in and a lot of cops simply don't believe a ban will do any good.

The doddering, stumbling attempts on the part of local law enforcement would likely be an insult to even the lowest intelligence if they tried to pass it off as an honest effort. Compliance would likely be bare minimun at best. As a general rule, local police do not like being told what to do by the feds. They have enough problems taking care of local problems.

Of course I, a lowly taxpayer, have just gotten off of the streets looking around and trying to put my fingers on the pulse of this country. Most likely there are not a whole lot of congresscritters that have bothered to get off their dead ass and onto their dying feet to see what is going on.

While my doing so does not necessarily speak highly for me, it certainly speaks poorly for those that are sitting on their asses in some ivory tower in Washington babbling away about something they know absolutely nothing about. They should spend one hell of a lot less time behind a desk and a lot more time snooping around.

Congress is sitting there with their thumb up their ass as usual.

I have written all three of my congresscritters simply to get their take on this issue. Two of them have not replied yet and Senator Pat Toomey of them gave me an answer based on how he voted over a UN resolution several months ago.

An analogy of his reply would be that I asked him how to replace a fan belt on an '87 Toyota pickup and he sent me directions on how to do a brake job on a '57 Chevy. A lot of good the answer was, but what do you expect out of a politician?

It sounds to me like the three of them are waiting until they see who is going to give them the fattest bribe for their vote.

The next question that I'll pose is who is likely to actually obey the law? When I have people asking me for the availability of burial tubes it makes it pretty clear that there are a lot of people out there that have no intention of obeying the law.

While I suppose that some people would run straight up to the police station and hand the nice police officer his rifle, it might be a nice time to recall that the state of New Jersey tried that with a remarkable lack of success. The rumor going around is that one rifle was turned in by a panicky wife that was trying to save her husband from himself.

Although that might not be totally true the fact remains that they didn't get too many rifles turned in.

Actually the real crux of the entire thing seems not so much as to outlaw firearms so much as it is to make our schools safer. I just read on Yahoo! News that one Texas small town has taken a pretty proactive approach.

Texas is pretty much a gun loving state and one small town there looked at the budget and could not afford a security company so they simply have allowed teachers that are licensed to carry concealed handguns to do so in class.

I see a little humor in this because it is funny how a small town school in Texas solves a problem for no money whatsoever, yet I can imagine how a major city will wind up handling it. It will likely include the request for a multimillion dollar federal grant and won't work worth a damn.

It s a simple solution that will cost them no money and in return provide the students with real protection. Concealed means concealed so it's likely that the kids won't even know their geography (or whatever) teacher is carrying.

It should be made clear that most states that permit concealed carry have had a background check run on the applicant before they are issued a permit so there is no issue there about a teacher licensed to carry, unless someone wants to create an emotional one out of thin air.

Of course, it won't be long until the uber-liberal NEA comes rolling in complaining about this. For one thing this solution is simple and free which means the NEA isn't going to buy it. For another thing the NEA the NEA has a pretty good history of fighting to make sure that their members have as few responsibilities as possible.

The NEA is most likely to tell their members that they can't carry on the job because if they allow the teachers that have passed the background check to carry than it is likely to create pressure on other teachers to get licensed and trained. (Remember gum? Did you bring enough gum for everybody?)

The NEA is likely to support a firearms ban that would provide no safety for students whatsoever because as we know criminals do not follow laws. If everyone obeyed the law we would not be dealing with criminal behavior in the first place.

The truth of the matter is the having teachers armed works as was found out a while back in one of the southern states. I believe it was Alabama. (I have been corrected. It was Pearl, MS)Someone entered the school and the principal ran out to his car and retrieved a .45 and ended things instantly. It has happened in other places.

One of the biggest parts of keeping score and getting statistics correct is there really is no way to judge what was going to happen if someone didn't stop a crime in progress. There simply is no way to know how many lives were saved by the quick thinking principal and with no deaths and no gory details the media isn't likely to be interested in that particular story. The truth here is the number of lives saved is incalculable.

Still, allowing licensed and trained teachers to carry concealed firearms makes sense if you view it logically.

It sure makes a lot more sense than enacting a ban that someone bent on creating murder and mayhem isn't going to pay attention to in the first place.

Actually the paradox here is that teachers don't have to carry. Just because a person has a permit doesn't mean that they are armed. I have a permit yet I haven't carried a firearm in months. Several months. I have, however developed a cute little trick for dealing with rude customer service people that need and ID for something.

I hand them my carry permit and it is astonishing how polite they get. They simply assume I'm armed when in reality my pistol is 347 miles away locked in a safe at home.

Perhaps requiring all teachers to get carry permits and permitting them to carry is all that it takes. Perception is a big part of the game and when you have a school and every teacher is licensed to carry the forces of evil will jump to the conclusion that they are all armed when in reality few (if any for that matter) actually are.

Actually this holds some water because several years ago a nosy neighbor picked an argument with me over my being involved in the shooting sports. I suggested that he back his beliefs up by putting up a sign that said 'Gun Free Home'. He did and his has been the only house burglarized in all the time I have lived here.

Almost instantly many of the neighbors asked me for NRA decals which I cheerfully supplied. Many of the people I gave them to do not own firearms.

Any teacher that can't pass the background check shouldn't be teaching, anyway. It would also serve to weed out teachers with dubious backgrounds.

Incidentally, as I was about halfway through what I have written so far, I got a call from my wife telling me that there was a telephone wire sagging across my driveway. She noticed it as she drove past on her way to complete an errand and a few minutes later she called me to tell me she had just flagged down a telephone truck and the guys were on their way.

When they got there there were a pair of them and as usual I went out and offered them the hospitality of my heated garage which they declined. We then started yakking for a few minutes. Both these guys are working stiffs that work out in the elements and neither of them like the direction the country is heading and neither of them think a ban is going to do a damned bit of good except likely to get more people killed.

Writing this piece has left me with a very tight knot in my stomach that I have not had in decades. It's the feeling we're headed into a major civil war and there isn't a damned thing anyone can do about it.


my other blog is:

Friday, December 21, 2012

The end of the world is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Or so says the Mayan calendar.

Some radio club in Texas has decided to hold a special event celebrating the end of the world and they have asked other hams to join in. I have and my FCC callsign will be followed with 'Doomsday 0545' and I will turn my log over to the N0D people if and only if there is a tomorrow.

If there isn't then I guess nobody is going to receive a QSL card from the event, now, will they?

Of course there is also the possibility that tomorrow is likely to be cancelled due to lack of interest but that doesn't seem too likely, either. This is the holiday season and there are generally enough people whacked out of mood elevators that would insist on not cancelling tomorrow for some reason or another.

Then again I suppose thaat if there is no tomorrow after .

Doomsday them I'd save a few bucks on QSL cards and postage because I wouldn't have to send them out which isn't a bad deal.

Anyway, with Doomsday upon us I think I will spend it on the air


my other blog is:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm going to take a break here

 with this post and write about a small incident that took place in high school

Joe Gama, where are you?

I pretty much hated high school and thought that an awful lot I had to deal with as a youngster was a bunch of crap, much of which didn't make sense. Little of it challenged me.

Still there were a few things I remember with little rancor and as I write I remember being brutally assaulted with a random act of kindness by an upperclassman named Joe Gama.

There was somewhat of a caste system abd maybe there still is to some extent. Sophomores hung with sophomores, Juniors with juniors and seniors were king. Eveyone pretty much dumped on freshmen.

While there was flexibility between graduating classes to a certain extent it was generally either dating, meaning a junior guy would sometimes date a spohomore or athletics. A guy that made the team was accepted by his teammates and in extension the rest of the school to be somewhat of a different breed.

Still, there was a certain degree of a caste system. For the most part I didn't speak to a whole lot of upperclassmen unless they spoke to me.

If I recall correctly Joe Gama was a senior and I was a sophomore. I knew him by name and face and that's about it. He was a big, rugged handsome guy with somewhat olive skin and jet black hair that he wore in some kind of a jellyroll. The jellyroll was somewhat of an outdated style at the time, but as I look back on things it looked good on him.

I have thought about Joe several times over the years and pictured his face in my mind and think he was right wearing his hair that way because I think that he would have looked a little odd in the Beatle hair style of the time. Whatever. It was his hair and I wasn't a Beatle, either. Mine was kept pretty short because it was practical. I never was a style chaser or a clothes horse.

I was looking for a ride downtown and there were not many seniors that either would give a lowly freshman a ride, although to tell the entire truth students with cars generally left the schoolyard full of other seniors. Still, there were a few spaces and sometime I would get lucky when I needed a ride downtown so it was worth a try.

As soon as class broke I went past the buses and headed straight to the student parking lot and saw three guys getting into a car. Joe Gama, who I only knew by name and face was getting into the back seat. I looked at him.

"Headed to the center," I said.

He looked at me like I was somebody instead of just another dopey sophomore, stuck his head in the car and said something. Then he turned to me. "Hop in'.

I got in, thanked the guys and asked them where they were heading. I was actually heading to the airport to watch Cessnas and Cubs take off and land and mentioned it. The driver said he was going past it and he'd drop me off there.

Joe looked at me and grinned. There was a sparkle in his eye. It was something special in his look to a lowly sophomore. He wasn't treating me like a peon, he was treating me like an equal. Instead of stepping down to my level it was clear he was lifting me to his. What a nobleman!

We were out of the parking lot heading toward the highway. We would have to turn left to get on the highway. To do so there were two lanes seperated by an island with nice evergreens planted on it. You had to take the right side of the island to make the turn safely becasue if you took the left side you might get hit by someone coming off of the highway. To avoid confusion there was a 'Keep Right' sign on the island.

"You're in a class with my brother, aren't you?" asked Joe.

"Yeah," I answered. "English class."

Then his face lit up. Mischief was in his sparkling eyes. He leaned forward against the back of the driver's seat like he was giving directions to someone from out of town even though the guy driving had driven the route hundreds of times.

He pointed towards the 'Keep right' sign on the island.

"Hey, Tommy," he said. "See that 'Keep Right' sign?"

"Yeah," answered Tommy.

"Turn left." he said and at that point turned to me and the pair of us laughed like fiends. Tears came to my face I was laughing so hard. I suppose the two in the front seat chuckled, but as silly as it was Joe and I laughed and laughed.

I don't know why it was so funny to this day but it still is to me as stupid as it is. Since then I have turned left at hundreds of 'Keep Right' signs over the past 45 years and almost every time I remember Joe Gama sitting next to me in the back seat of an old car heading downtown. It makes me smile.

Thank you, Joe for one of the few truly good memories I have from high school. I hope you have had a good life.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This hasn't been a bad Christmas season so far

and it surprises me to no end. So far I have not had to cuss out the usual gang of idiots loaded up on mood elevators for telling me how I should feel.

That's a pretty good deal. That way I don't have to tell someone to take a bath in gasoline and dry off with a match.

That ain't half bad.

Yesterday was a mild can of worms day as I had an electrical switch fry on me and I had to replace it. Normally this is a simple operation but the switch in question was a three way, the kind you turn on at the bottom of a flight of stairs and turn off when you get to the top. It requires a special switch.

Of course I couldn't just replace the wires the same way they were on the old switch because the old one was different. The screws were arranged differently so I had to get out the meter and figure it out.

In addition to that, this was on a part of the wiring I have not replaced and it is of 1948 vintage and brittle as all hell. I had to treat it like I was on the bomb squad and be gentle to avoid breaking a wire and having to tear up the entire house to replace it.

The box in question was in the basement and is a double sized box. Besides the switch there was an outlet and seeing I was in there already I replaced the outlet also.

Actually the wiring didn't look too bad considering its age.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's started here in the neighborhood.

I gotta love one of the guys here.

Arnold is an idiot that is constantly hiding behind his children. He uses them like a shield. He also runs off at the mouth half cocked all the time and is constantly worked up over everything he sees in the news and constantly forgets to engage the brain before putting the mouth into gear.

While most people around here, including a couple of dyed-in-the-wool liberals can't stand him very much, I have a different tack. I figure God put people like him on the planet for my personal entertainment.

Yesterday late in the afternon a neighbor, Dick got home early from work and saw me out in the yard picking up a small limb that had fallen off of a tree and I offered him a beer that he refused as he was going out later on that night.

"After the kids are in bed tonight I'll swing by for a snort," he said.

As we were yakking Arnold pulled up and took his ten-year old shield out of the car with him and the pair of them approached us. Arnold's kid sometimes plays with Dick's. Dick's kid actually merely tolorates Arnold's but they are in the same class together so I guess it's somewhat natural they see each other outside of the clssroom although when I was growing up there were a couple of classmates I dispised and kept clear of.

Anyway, Arnold knows Dick is a deerhunter because he once gave Dick holy hell for feeding his kid venison stew for lunch once when he was playing with his son. Apparently the kid loved it and went home to his dad and asked him to go deer hunting so he could get more. This happens sometimes.

As I write this I am making a venison stew in the slow cooker. I have a cholesterol problem and venison is on the list of good boy foods for guys like me.

Arnold opened fire on Dick. "Ya know, after this shooting in Connecticut I hope you keep those guns of yurs locked up," he said. "In fact I really don't like my son over there knowing there are guns in the house."

Dick knew where this was going. "I keep them all locked up in a safe, except for the duty carbine."

"What do you mean the duty carbine," asked Arnold in a dubious tone.

"I keep the duty carbine handy so as to be able to protect your son if the need arises. Lois knows how to use it, too. She's better than I am," replied Dick. "Incidentally I'm a little worried about your ability to provide security for my son when he's at your house."

"I call the police," declared Arnold.

"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away," I chimed in cheerfully.

Arnold didn't like that and I was getting tired of this incessant crap. I turned to Dick. "Save your breath," I said. "You can't fix stupid."

Then I turned to Arnold. "Last time I checked, this is my front lawn. I pay the taxes on it so the government can take my money and spend it on dumb stuff people like you think up. Put an egg in your shoe and beat it."

Arnold skulked off.

While I know Dick doesn't generally keep a duty carbine out, I liked his take on the issue. He's aware that thepolice are not responsible for your security.

my other blog is:

Monday, December 17, 2012

This is probably a pretty appropriate time for this to be posted.

Some time ago the hypothetical question was posed to me about a hypothetical situation involving a school shooting. The scenario was that a sniper was picking off children in a school yard and the from my house I had a good shot at the sniper.

He asked me if I would take the shot.

I countered by asking where this hypothetical schoolhouse was located. He asked my why that mattered.

"If we're talking that the schoolhouse in in Texas, Oklahoma or Arizona I would take the shot in a heartbeat," I responded. "The chief of police would most likely give me access to the department counselor to help me wind down and get my emotions back in check. Shooting someone is not to be taken lightly."

"How about where you live?" he asked.

"It would be somewhat iffy, but I suppose I would try and take the shot and chance that the DA would give me a pass," I said. "If we're talking about Jersey, New York or Massachusetts I would not fire unless I had authorization of the authorities which is not too likely to happen there. Those states have hamstrung themselves with laws that would turn me into a instant criminal."

The truth of this scenario is that if one does come charging into the rescue it is pretty likely that he is going to face charges of some sort. In Massachusetts or New Jersey there is almost guarenteed to be SOME kind of charge thrown at the guy that exercised some iniative. It may not be a murder rap, but it certainly may be either manslaughter or some firearm violation of some sort. There will be something and if you take action you are going to wind up in jail for at least some time.

The rule seems to be the bigger the nanny state the more trouble you will get into for showing some iniative.

The likelyhood of going off scot free is pretty damned slim. You have no defense. You can't say that you saved a schoolyard full of children simply because you did. The kids are OK and there is no way to calculate how many of them your action has saved.

The parents of the children you have saved are not going to come to your rescue by writing you four-figure checks, which you are certainly going to need for your legal defense. If you are damned lucky, the parents might hold a bake sale on your behalf and raise a couple hundred bucks but that's about it.

The truth is that I have been on this planet long enough to know how things work and at this late game I am not going to risk what little I have accumulated for someone that isn't going to help you out in return. Sorry about that.

What I would do in that situation is call thepolice and stay on the line and have the police come into my house and take the shot. Of course, it would likely be too late as when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Of course, I would hate myself for quite a while after I sat back and watched such a horrible thing unfold and did nothing but I would simply have no choice. I have a wife that depends on me and I sure as hell wouldn't be doing her any good while sitting in a state prison somewhere.

It would take me some time to get over and I would have to simply tell myself over and over again that it really wasn't my choice. It was the choice of the people.

You get the kind of government you vote for. You voted the people in, live with it.

Texas, Oklahoma or Arizona are different birds. I would take the shot and remove the threat in the blink of an eye knowing that a grateful police department would likely offer me the services of the counselor they keep on retainer. I'd likely need it, as I have said before taking human life is a grave matter.

I have been no stranger to violence, the difference being I have simply dug my feet in and refused to be a victim. Between 1976 and around '82 there were three incidents that took place and while nobody got hurt, I attribute my living to my 61st year on my refusal to be victimized.

The third incident was pretty much a nothing incident until we read the newspaper a couple of days later. I was with a friend in eastern Washington camping in a pickup camper when we heard a scratching on the door. I jacked a round into the chamber of a shotgun and was rewarded by hearing rapid footsteps leaving the area. My partner checked the lock, I emptied the chamber of the shotgun and we simply went back to sleep.

A couple of days later I happened on a newspaper I was trying to salvage the crossword out of and read that the same night we ran someone off that about a mile away someone in a different campground got hacked up by a nocturnal prowler with a knife. That's when we both stood there aghast and shook like leaves for a good half-hour. It very well could have been us.

The second incident took place on an interstate when I was hitching to Alaska back in '78. A pickup tore past me and the passenger threw a beer bottle at me and narrowly missed my head. Impulsively, I shouted, "You missed!"

It should be pointed out that if I had been hit I very well might have been killed or have wound up as a pants-pissing vegetable. A bottle thrown from a vehicle doing 70 is deadly. It isn't a joke.

The pickup pulled over and I threw my pack down, uncased my rifle and hit the ground, resting the rifle on my pack. I didn't say anything because I was afraid to open my mouth and let them hear my teeth chatter.

They got out of the pickup carrying cudgels of some sort and I waited for them to advance. They did until I jacked a round into the chamber and took aim. I was aiming at the leader of the two and just as I had let out half of my breath and had taken the slack out of the trigger the little one caved in and talked sense into the drunker of the two and they decided to leave.

I sat there in the breakdown lane for some time shaking like a leaf until a car came by and picked me up. It was a minister from Lethbridge, Alberta and he took me into Canada, vouching for my good character while we cleared customs.

I didn't sleep very well for some time after that.

At the time a guy in his 20s with a pack and rifle hitching across parts of Canada was a common sight and when I arrived in Dawson Creek I simply fit right into the woodwork.

The first incident took place in either late '76 or early '77 and it was short, sharp and scary. I was living in a tipi in the Rockies at the time after I got out of the army and it was a warm period and the snow had melted.

I was in the tipi doing homework as I was commuting to school on my GI bill a several days a week in a VW bug. I heard a vehicle pull up and ignored it as I was half expecting company. A couple of seconds I heard doors slam and guffaws followed by gunshots and saw holes appear in my tipi.

I hit the floor, grabbed my rifle and slipped out under the liner and skin of the tipi and worked my way around to some concealment and looked. My assailants were a pair of drunken cowboys with pistols. I was pretty much out of the accurate range of a handgun. I could relax some as I knew that while I wasn't exactly safe, the odds were with me.

They had parked along a lane that had served as an impromptu rifle range for years and ther was a steel gong hanging from a tree limb. I got off two fast shots at the gong, hitting it both times. The first one was to get their attention and the second was to let them know that I could shoot.

They left and I reported the incident to the owner of the land I was camped on, a rancher that allowed me to stay there in exchange for keeping an eye on things. An hour later I was telling my story to a deputy sheriff.

Both of them were picked up a couple of days later and charged with unrelated offenses and convicted. If I recall they both got brief jail sentences.

Over the years I have told nobody about these incidents except my father and he listened stone faced and I'd bet made a beeline to St. Christine's where he made about a dozen novenas.

I attribute much of this to having taken the road less traveled and making myself vulnerable to this. Anyone that has looked into the dark side of the hippies of the 60s and 70s knows that there were an awful lot of youngsters on the road that were crime victims.

They were considered easy targets for any number of reasons and I would imagine that if you go through the numbers of hippies that spent any time on the road you would find that many of them were crime victims of one sort or another, ranging from rape to robbery. Most of which likely went unreported because they simply figured they would get no sympathy from the law.

Likely they were right because at the time the system seemed to have little sympathy for those that were on their own roads. The police would have, in many places, taken a report, listened to them, acted sympathetic and thrown the report in the trash after they left the station.

You also have to remember that a person on the road generally didn't stick around town too long. They simply kept going on to where they were headed in the first place.

While during that period of time I was the victim of theft a couple of times, I never became the victim of a crime against my person. I attribute this to two different thing and in this order: Dumb luck and the refusal to be a victim.

No amount of planning can overcome dumb luck but to this day I feel that refusing to be a victim can change someone's luck.

Incidentally, I have had over over 30 years to think about this. It was the incident in Montana that shook me up the worst. To this day I am grateful the two drunken cowboys saw the light and decided to leave. The experience changed me.

There is only one thing I can think of that is worse than looking at the center of a human being through the sights of a loaded rifle and squeezing the trigger and that is waking up in the hospital a pants wetting vegetable.

I also think that if I had gut-shot the pair of them they would have been found in pretty sad shape on the roadside with cudgels laying next to them and the state police would likely have written the pair of them up as a couple of Darwin Award candidates that had taken second place.

Likely I would have headed off on foot and headed south as I was in a northbound lane and after holing up a while would have re-entered the interstate south of the fight and simply blended in with the hippies headed into Canada.

The ammunition I was using at the time simply would have punched a neat hole through them and been irrecoverable. Forensics at the time would have had little to go on and most likely the police would have written the case off as a failed roadside beatinng attempt.

The part that would be the weak link is likely myself. I would have had one hell of a hard time convincing myself that I had done the right thing even if I knew that it had prevented me from a severe beating or maybe even death.


my other blog is:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sorry I'm running late.

I just wasted the time I generally use for writing my daily post by defending the 2nd Amendment on Facebook.

It seems like tha class of 69, most of whom have never left the shelter of New England have decided that after the CT school shooting that the thing to do is outlaw firearms of various types.

Truth is, maybe we ought to teach our educators to shoot.

In other news, yesterday the generator box got stolen out of mhy pickup when I went down the the Northside to get a haircut. I came back to my truck about 30 minites after I aprked it to see the box was gone.

The thieves even had the professionalism to close my tailgate after they horsed the 250 pound box out of the bed. A fine tribute to their trade.

Of course, I hopped into the truck and took off like a striped-ass ape because when they got the box back to wherever they hide their stolen goods and opened it to find cinder blocks, scrap steel and a bag of garbage including over-ripe fish it is a lead pipe cinch they were going to return to vandalize my truck.

This makes my 14th straight year doing this and maybe I'll quit while I am ahead.

my other blog is:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today's post came from a reader

A reader sent me a letter via IM on a website I frequent. It's pretty good so I figured I'd share it.


I am a long time reader of your blog, and I've shared it with my oil field buddies too. I have a question for you, as I like how you think and how you write. If you are interested in responding, I am interested in hearing what you think on the below topic. If you decide to use this publicly on your blog, I would appreciate that it remain anonymous.

I read the gloom and doom that the country has gone down the tubes. Game over man, etc.

I don't hold to that. Yeah it sucks, yeah we've got a lot of disappointment in the way things are going and have been run nationally for quite a while... Possibly dating back to LBJ and the "great society" or even before.

I am joining the U.S. Air Force Reserve and taking a big pay cut from my civilian job to do it. I have signed up for a 10 year minimum commitment as a pilot, flying a weapons system that hangs it out in harms way quite often. I feel I am tying myself and my families future to the United States economically and potentially with my life. There are a lot of folks that are telling me "shame, its not 'Merica anymore, kid" In my opinion, fuck that defeatist attitude. Yeah it sucks, but dammit, I am not giving up like I feel so many doing. I grew up here and I think the country is still the best country in the world. We may decide to go down the road to a total lack of national character along with utter moral and economic destruction... But I am not throwing in the towel yet.

I am going to keep doing what I can to bring it back. We aren't alone. We have freedom still, and things CAN turn around in a generation! It happened in antiquity and hell, it happened in Canada.

God Bless America, the U.S. Air Force, the other branches, AR-15s, 1911s, and M14s. anyway, I digress.

Hardship sharpens man, and I feel that my generation really has a polar contrast of shitheads and good young men and women. I really hope and pray that we can turn things around. I am not giving up. We may turn into the U.K. nanny state eventually, but I don't see the point in the gloom and doom or giving up just yet.

Very Respectfully,


I hope the hell he's right for those I am leaving behind when I pass on.

my other blog is:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Well, I am good to go now. I have the wiring done.

So if we lose power it will be a snap to go on generator power.

I spoke yesterday with one of the guys that works at the place I get a lot of my hardware. I told him what I was doing ans explained that I was only setting up operations to run the regrigerator and the furnace.

He told me that when Sandy was in the offing he sold every generator in the place, many of them to people that didnt have a clue. They just thought that bigger was better. Some bought 10 KW sets which is enough to easily power an entire home if you use a little common sense.

Most of these idiots had no idea of how to use these behemoths they bought and I would imagine that if Sadny had hit there would have likely been a lot of work for electricians and contractors undo  the damage that a lot of idiot Joe Homeowners did to both their wiring.

The larger generaors, properly installed would certainly make life comfortable, but unless they are wired in by someone that knows what they are doing they either can not be used to their capacity or if improperly installled are going to fry a lot of wiring.

I think there is a mentality out there that if they have the equipment that they are good to go.

I have looked at a number of these gensets and it strikes me that many of their owners are like the fools that buy a firearm for home defense and don't even bother to take it to the range and learn to use the damned thing.

The larger generators are a waste of money and effort if one doesn't find someone to install them properly. Still, it is funny to hear about the people that go out and spend a couple grand on something they can't use.

my other blog is:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

 He knows the drill.
I picked up a small generator when I was at sea and it arrived as did a few other parts so I can set up my furnace for emergency use.

My other parts include a male plug set into a plate with a cover that I can simply plug the female end of an ordinary extension cord into and double pole single throw switch to segregate the furnace totally from the panel board entirely.

I don't want any stray voltage running back to the panel board and while the present shut-off switch seems to do the job it only cuts the hot wire and leaves the neutral wire connected.

The DPST switch will cut off both wires and insude NOTHING gets back into the panel.

Anyway, I have things planned out and we'll see what happens today.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

165K per year?? Yeah, right!

We're back to me sitting in front of a keyboard and drawing a blank which is reallynothing new. In order for me to have made many of the 1200+ posts I have done this many times.

I just sit down and start writing. The first paragraph is generally the hardest and then after that things seem to just take right off.

I saw something out there about a possible longshoreman's strike because some clerks want a raise and they are supposidly making 165K per annum.

Yeah, right.

Let's look at what these guys have into their job. Likely they have little more than a high school education (if that), a TWIC card costing them about $125, union dues and that's likely about it.

They have no real skin in the game. They don't hold any stock in the company they work for and really have little to lose.They have little invested in the game yet they seem to think thay are worth 165K per year.

Prior to the sixties, longshoremen worked their asses off unloading ships by hand. It often took days to unload a break-bulk freighter and haul the stuff ashore onto various trucks to be delivered. Then came technology which the longshoremen fought tooth and nail but it overcame and the modern ports we have today evolved.

Today what was done by hand is now done by machine and it is pretty much a snap. Crews have been replaced by machine operators and a ship that arrives in port isn't likely to be there unloading for very long. The time is now measured in hours instead of days.

Still the longshoremen have evolved from being little more than grunt laborers to machine operators, most of which don't really require a whole lot of training. You don't see courses in colleges for longshoremenand I have never seen a trade school for it, either.

In short, being a longshoreman is just another job of labor that doesn't require years of study and for someone to ask something as insane as 165K for a job like that is beyond the rediculous and well into the sublime.

Yet I guess 165K for a basic job of laboring isn't enough and they want even more.

For years the companies have absorbed the increasing rates for these guys simply by raising rates and passing the cost onto the consumer and I suppose that it is likely that they might do it again to avert a strike. Maybe not, though.

Maybe it is time to tell these greedy people that enough is enough and take an agressive sand on this and lock them out and run in a bunch of scabs and not settle with the unions until they decide that they are a whole lot better off than they think they are.

One of the things that Ronald Reagan did back when he was in office was to break the PATCO air traffic controller's union and I think he did the right thing when they threatened to illegally strike and cripple the country.

I was once in a union, the Seafarer's and I always got a hoot out of how they used to and still do brag about how they won WW2 singlehandedly. Of course they don't tell you that maratime unions threatened to strike during the war until FDR told them that if they did they would be replaced by sailors of the United States Navy.

They figured they had the world by the ass when the thought that they could use the lives of US troops as a bargaining chip. Truth is, those guys simply should have been shot out of hand. Had this been ordered, FDR could have gotten away with it by telling the American people that he wasn't bargaining with people that wanted to use the lives of their children to bargain with.

You have to remember that 12,000,000 Americans served during WW2. That's a lot of sons and when you consider that each son has 2 parents you have the immediate support of 36 million people to start with.

While I am not 100% anti-union because it's likely that if management had their way their employees would live in mud huts. A lot of companies don't care. A lot of investors do not care how a company makes money just so long as it pays the dividends and makes money for them.

What is interesting to note is that likely a lot of the union bosses and rank and file members with 401Ks probably have a lot of money invested in nonunion companies and THEY don't care just so long as their 401K grows.

These union members with their money invested in non-union outfits are doing exactly what the people they hate in management are doing. They are investing in companies simply to make money. I can't say as I blame them, but it's pretty two faced to me. Ask any of them to take a consession and it ain't going to happen.

Still, back to $165K/year longshoremen.

What's reasonable? What can a guy expect with a high school diploma and nothing invested in his company reasonable expect?

Several years ago a guy I know on the docks told me what he thought and it make sense to me.

'The guy packin' a lunch pail deserved a halfway decent place to live in a safe neighborhood, a decent vehicle to get around in, to be able to feed his family and the option of just a little extra to either be able to take a nice vacation every few years OR put it aside to help school his kids."

It was an interesting observation from a guy that was doing exactly what he was doing. He also chided that he was doing a lot better than that. He was grateful for that.

On the other hand, a guy that opens a company is risking one hell of a lot more than an hourly employee. He's the guy that has the guts to take the bull by the horns and pony up his venture capital, float a loan or whatever and start a company. He's the guy that has to worry about where his employees paycheck is coming from.

In some cases the risks are a lot more than money. Over the years I have known a number of commercial fishermen that have ponied up the money to have a boat built only to die at sea while trying to make a living.

He's entitled to take what he can get from his investment just so long as he is honest and plays by the rules. He isn't one of the fans in the stands that have just bought a ticket. He's the guy in the arena. He's the guy that has whatever he can gain to gain and everything to lose. If he succeeds, fine. If he loses, so be it.

I have a pretty hard time supporting a longshoreman that may or may not have finished high school has a $130 TWIC card in his pocket, has nothing invested in his field of endeavor and thinks he's worth $165K.

I'll bet a lot of other people feel the same way.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I have enrolled in the London School of Puppetry

 on my GI bill, or so I have announced to a couple of people here at work. I am going to go for a Master's degree in the fine art of puppetry.

Of course, I am not but it is funny to see the look on their faces when I tell them. Actually I only told a couple because that is all I have to do. Seamen are 6.376 times worse than little old ladies in the gossip department.

Now people come up to me with "I heard you're going back to school to learn to do puppets."

"Yeah," I tell them. "It's a career on the upswing and I'm going to try and get into it on the bottom floor."

Most of them that have dealt with me simply say, "Yeah, right." and shake their heads, but a few press me for more details which I make up on the spot. I told one kid that a skilled puppeteer can make $25,000 per Punch and Judy show. The idiot believed me.

I'd give pretty good odds the guy went straight to the nearest computer and headed straight to the London School of Puppetry website and it would not surprise me much to find out that this particular guy signed right up.

This puppetry business has been rolling around in my head since I read that someone got a Master's degree in puppetry and is complaining that he can't enter the work force at some outrageous amount of money and it has stuck in my head.

I no longer use the term 'degree in underwater basket making' anymore because I like the term 'Master's in puppetry'. It has a more worthlesss ring to it than underwater basket weaving. At least to be an underwater basket weaver you have to be able to stay underwater for a while and you can at least take that particular skill and do something else with it.

There is a shortage of pearl divers these days, for example. You can embark on a thrilling career as a pearl diver with little more than the skills you have learned in your course in underwater basket weaving.

If you couple pearl diving with high diving you can likely save the money you make finding pearls because it will keep your dating expenses down. Chicks on tropical vacations think high diver types are hot. When you add the fact that you are also wrestling pearls out of giant man-eating oysters, you will be a shoo-in with the babes.

As far as being a puppeteer goes, forget it. The only chicks you are likely to score with are of the fat, ugly as home made sin, braided armpit hippie set that are little more than whiney headaches. There ain't no money in pupperty, and there ain't no nookie in it to speak of. Get used to having your money hand empty and your other hand full of yourself.

I wonder what the guy with the Master's in puppetry does these days. I suppose if I were him I'd try and organize some sort of career counseling center for people with useless degrees. You could likely make a few bucks there, either counseling people with meaningless degrees or steering people toward degrees that will lead to being able to learn something marketable.

It wouldn't take a whole lot to do, all you have to do is be sincere and slick and you'd have a pretty good little racket there that would likely make you more money than putting faces on latte coffee drink foam. You don't even really have to be sincere, you just have to act it.

I have practice with being sincere from taking my cat for a walk on a leash with my cane and sunglasses. "Yes, Ma'am. The cat really is a guide animal," is something I have told any number of people over the years. I also told someone that blind people are permitted to carry firearms to protect their guide animals.

Hmmm. As I write this, things are now beginning to make sense. Maybe you can do something wwith a meaningless degree. If the guy with the degree in puppetry can't get it together and start a meaningless degree career counseling service he has another alternative.

He can hire a press agent and have himself posted as the best latte foam artist in the world and get suckers to come into his coffeeshop and pay $50 to have him draw in the foam of the coffee they have just ordered. After all, P.T. Barnum was right. There IS a sucker born every minute.

A lot of these suckers Old P.T. was talking about get degrees in underwater basket weaving and puppetry.

my other blog is:

Monday, December 10, 2012

 is occasionally cook for my neices and nephews. One of the things I have always told them when they were little as I dished up was, "Eat it and shut up," followed by a lecture on the starving kids in Asia.
Now that my neice has children that are of eating at the table age, I cook the same way I did for their parents and when I dish up I still tell growl at them to "Eat it and shut up," but now the lecture is different. I lecture them on the starving kids in Africa.

About the only change I have made over the years in my cooking style for the youngsters is I do not serve carrots in any form only because the little one is genuinely allergic to them.

I suppose if I live to be 85 or 90 and wind up cooking for another generation I'll say the same thing as I dish up. Likely it will be for the starving kids down the street if the government doesn't get its act together and create a business friendly country.

One thing, though. I do not know why this is but when I served my niece and nephew as kids they atewhatever I conjured up like they hadn't sseen a decent meal in a week. The same holds true for their kids.

The other thing that is odd is that when I serve something their mother couldn't get them to eat they still ate it. I attribute this to my cooking it a different way or hiding it with some spice or another.

Still, growling 'Eat it and shut up" likely helped.

Eat it and shut up didn't originate from me, I picked it up from my dad that used to tell my brother and sisters the same thing. He didn't have to tell me that because there was not a whole lot of stuff I wouldn't wolf down. I'm not a picky eater.

Come mealtime he would simply put a plate down in front of me and say, "Here," knowing whatever on the plate would vanish like I was a magician.

Still, it was the general attitude I grew up with as far as food goes. My parents didn't cook special meals for any of us, which is no wonder when you consider they raised 5 kids under the same roof.

I wonder if being raised with 4 siblings didn't contribute greatly to things later on in life. I have lived in more barracks type situations than I can shake a stick at and seem to fit right in. I haven't had anyone complain about me simply because I learned to ghost in and out.

Back on topic. My niece's kids seem to be pretty good eaters as far as shoveling down what I put in front of them but they are going through the stage where they are either starving wolves of they are just plain not hungry and stop after three or four bites. I suppose they'll out grow that phase shortly.

It's OK cooking for them and I hope I get to again soon because it is just a plain hoot. Maybe by then they will have outgrown the phase and they will turn into wolves and when they do it will be a true joy to watch them eat.

my other blog is:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

One of the terms that people do not seem to understand is the term 'incalculable'.

A while ago I was chatting with someone over a relative that was killed during the terrible fighting that took place on Iwo Jima back in 1945.

The man had told his buddies that he wanted to be a math teacher when he got out of the Marines and someone commented that it was a shame that we lost out on what might have been a pretty good math teacher.

Lord knows we could have used someone that was able to teach people to count because there are not a whole lot of  people in government these days that do know how to count  because if there were, it is likely that we would not be in as bad fiscal shape as we are these days.

I suppose that maybe he would have wound up somewhere teaching kids math, but maybe not.

He could have changed his mind and decided to teach history or maybe go into business or sell insurance or any of a gazillion things. He might have cured a disease, built a bridge over a river, or simply decided to be a drunk and live under a bridge somewhere.

There is no telling what he may or may not have done if he hadn't been killed on Iwo Jima. He very well may have survived both Saipan and Iwo Jima, come home and fallen off the gangplank of the ship returning him of gotten run over by a truck on the way to the train station on the way home to Massachusetts.

On the other hand, he might have taught school like he said he wanted to.

For a while after my father got from home WW2 he thought he might want to raise chickens. (This is beyond me. I'd go nuts raising chickens) He took a part of his GI bill and spent some time in a school in Stockbridge learning about it. It didn't work out and he went to work for a couple of guys and, incidentally, helped open the original Dunkin' Donuts in I believe was Quincy, Massachusetts in 1950.

He then sold insurance for a while and became an auto mechanic part time and eventually slid into that and for almost as far back as I remember he did that and managed to raise five kids.

I do remember him getting on the commuter train in Scituate, the next town over a few times as a toddler and heading into the Boston area while he was selling insurance. Later he told me he didn't like it.

Anyway, Jack, the relative that was killed at Iwo very well might have not become a school teacher and done something else somewhat like my dad did. There really is no way to say simply because it didn't happen.

Back to the term 'incalculable'.

There are so many things that we can never even be close to being sure of. One of the things I insist on is being good to the people we meet in the course of our duties here at sea because there really is no telling what can happen to us if we get someone upset with us.

The damage in customer relations we can do with a single word is incalculable. We can not find out what the damage can, will or might be.

It could just mean the customer gets over it and forgets about it, it could mean the customer runs to his boss and we lose a contract, or maybe even several contracts.

I'd venture to say that entire companies along the line have been brought to their knees by a simple comment made by an employee, yet one would be pretty hard pressed to prove it because something like that from a practical sense is incalculable. It can not be calculated mainly because there are generally ho hard and fast answers for things like that.

Most people don't think of it too much, but there are an awful lot of questions out there that have no way of truly being answered.

There is an awfully large portion of life that falls under the catagory of the word 'incalculable'.

Come to think of it, I suppose I could have made this entire post in few words by simply saying, "You never know."

Of course, the way I figure it, back in '45 some Japanese machine gunner killed off what was likely to be a pretty good math teacher that would have taught some kids to count. One of the kids that learned to count might have become a senator and because he knew how to count he would have been a thorn in the side of a lot of other senators, apparently few of whom have such skills.

But we'll never know

my other blog is:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I figure I have a couple of things

 to get done as I have a feeling this is going to be a wierd winter.

Last winter was exceptionally mild and I didn't even have to fire up the snow blower once. This generally means we are going to be clobbered the following winter but there really is no telling how.

It's been a few years since we had an ice storm of any magnitude so I figure that maybe this is the year for one because of a number of factors including the fact that I have installed a 43 foot vertical antenna in the back yard.

Anyway, ice storms have a pretty good way of knocking out power and there is no telling how that is going to go over suffice to say that I will likely have to take steps when that happens if it gets exceptionally cold afterwards.

Right now I am trying to figure out how to set up a generator that will run the furnace and be easy for Mrs. Pic or one of the neighbors to set up.

That means that I will likely make some sort of check list and do a little teaching which is OK. It also means I have to make out a check list and carefully explain everything on it because there are a lot of peole that have problems with simple check lists.

There are reasons people have problems with check lists and for some it is because they feel that they have to understand things in order to do them. Others with an argumentative nature have some deep seated need to feel that they know better than the person that made the check list.

Of course, there is a third class of operators out there that have a "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Big deal. it don't matter which order you do things." attitude.

All three of these types have likely cost the public one hell of a lot of money over the years.

Check lists are made for people that don't understand things and they are made for people that DO understand things.

When the 15,000 flying hours under his belt pilot driving a 747 with your precious ass on board is getting ready to take you to where you are going, it's a lead pipe cinch that the co-pilot is up there reading him a check list and he is carefully setting things up in the correct order.

When a trainee somewhere is learning to run a piece of equipment somewhere it is very possible that he is reading what to do and in what order.

Just to make things easy for some and easy for others I think that for this particular project I am going to have to make 2 check lists.

One will just be a simple "1.Turn this upper switch off. 2. Turn that lower switch off. 3. Plug the unit into the generator and the other end of the cord into the furnace. 4. Start the generator. 5. when the generator is running smoothly turn the lower switch on, making sure the upper switch is still off." This will be a simple page of instructions.

The other will likely take several pages and start like this:

1. Turn the upper switch off. This switch segregates the furnace from the house's electrical system so when municipal power returns it will not backfeed into the generator, burn it out and start a fire. While running the furnace on generator power this switch is to be left OFF.

2. Turn the lower switch off. This will prevent a power surge to the furnace as the generator starts. It will be turned back on when the generator smooths out.

And so on.

I have managed to get things done over the years and used numerous simple checklists. Once I have done the whatever it was using the simple checklist I generally figure out what I am doing on my own.

When I was learning the basics of using a computer I ran into a lot of people that would overload my brain all at once with a humngous over-explaination. I would generally stop them and ask them simply to give me the keystrokes to get the job done. "Click this, type that in, double click that" and so on.

I am a Keep It Simple sort of guy.

Still, I suppose not everyone else is so I suppose I'll wind up making 2 checklists out.

One for each type of person. It'll make things easier in the long run.

my other blog is:

Friday, December 7, 2012

I just looked at the calendar

 and saw that it is a little more than two weeks until the days start getting longer.

The last time that happened seems like it was about ten minutes ago because that seems to be the way that time flies. I was out here a year ago and made the same observation about a year ago and I swear it was about ten mintes ago and no, I do not have anything wrong with me.

I am simply observing how fast time flies.

I am looking at a few of the things I want to get done before Father time takes me down for the final count and one of them is that I want to see my nephew get married off.

In the course of my entire career I have not ever taken off so much as a single day for personal reasons but you can bet your ass I am going to take a few days off for that one.

There are a few other things I'd like to see get done before I cash my chips in.

I just had the best Thanksgiving that I have had in as long as I can remember with my niece and nephew. While they made a wonderful dinner and were fun to be around, it was my niece's two children that proved to be the icing on the cake.

As I rapidly reach the end of my life, the two of them are beginning their lives and I get to see things come full circle. It isn't a bad or morbid feeling, simply an observation of the way things are.

Every life has a beginning, a middle and an end and one thing I am sharing with the little ones is that we are both in the middle parts of our lives. While the beginning and the ends do not take a whole lot of time, it is the middle portion of life that takes up almost all of it.

It was only a brief time ago that I was much like those six and eight year old children that I enjoyed being around so much, and it won't be too long until I'm gone. I guess the comfort I took being around them over Thanksgiving is that I got to see and reaffirm that life just goes on.

Thanksgiving is an important day to me and is a special time. Although I have spent a number of them at sea, I have to say I really enjoy it ashore.

Christmas is the holiday that I find most depressing and it looks like I am possibly going to spend the one coming up on the road which really is a good place for it. At sea is an even better place to spend Christmas.

I do not fare well over Christmas for reasons I will not get into here other than to say that the pressures and expectations accompanying it are inhumane.

I am looking ahead to another spring and will likely spend a lot of my off time this spring doing what I do a lot of and that is watch the sun go down while sitting in my garage overlooking the driveway and watching the endless parade of people walking by and exercising thair dogs.

I think that this spring and summer I will get out a little more often in the Miata and enjoy a few more rides through the Pennsylvania countryside than I did last spring and summer.

Anyway, I just happened to realize that it will not be very long before the days start getting longer.

my other blog is: