Friday, July 31, 2009

Helpless America - Baby Snake Edition

It always amazes me what people call us for. I don't mind doing it, but geez....... it sure seems odd to me, personally. I would never DREAM of calling someone with the Government and expecting them to send someone to my home to deal with HALF the stuff we get called out to on a regular basis.

I've been called by people because birds are pooping on their cars at traffic lights, or because squirrels are looking in their windows. My favorite is when someone will call and report that a duck, that migrates every year for thousands of miles, is "lost and confused" in some one's yard. Apparently, flying cross country is one thing... but a suburban neighborhood is just too damned confusing to navigate through!

We get LOTS of snake calls in the town where I work. Fortunately, venomous snakes are really rare in populated areas where I live. About the only poisonous snakes here are Water Moccasins and the occasional Copperhead. In fifteen years of Animal Control, I've only come across 2 actual poisonous snakes. The rest are largely rat snakes, bull snakes, and water snakes.

Here's a vid I shot last week:


Posting will continue to be light, since I can't type and clutch a heating pad to my chest at the same time. I was carrying a dog down a driveway last week and got my feet tangled up. I fell, and twisted my body to avoid squishing the mutt between myself and the concrete.

No good deed goes unpunished, though, because apparently I pulled my left pectoral muscle, and all the muscles that wrap around my left ribcage, something fierce. It was slowly getting better (very slowly), but like a typical "guy" I got impatient and did more than I should too soon. The grandbaby was here yesterday and learning to crawl has made her a handful :)

I did a little too much obligatory Grandpa shenanigans... and I've screwed it up again. I've been wrapping that side of my chest in a heating pad all morning. I'm almost back to where I was before yesterday - which means it only feels like I'm getting stabbed if I move..

Or Breathe.

Anywho - I'll go back to mindless posting when I get time and my "old man body" back in line. I'm uploading a video that I'll embed here momentarily. That will probably be it for today.

Girl Friday will skip this week and resume next week - but I'll try to make it a good one to make up for the float.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All work and no play...

Work and life are taking up my time, so posting will continue to be light - or nonexistant - until later in the week.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dillinger Gun

That's a Remington .41 caliber "Double Derringer" pistol that just so happened to belong to John Dillinger back in the 1930's.
I read this morning that the little pocket gun sold at auction here in Dallas for $95,600.00 - which is twice the pre auction estimate.
Wheww....... and I'm having a hard enough time saving up for an FNP9 :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Almost makes me want one...

I saw this in a magazine today, at Barnes & Noble. It's so ridiculous that has crossed over to bad-ass in my mind :) I had to look it up on the web when we got home.

This is the PSE Tac-15 crossbow. It runs around $1300, and attaches to your AR-15 lower reciever. It has a 170lb draw weight, and would come in handy for any Vampire and Werewolf hunting adventures - assuming you could also afford some silver tipped arrows.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Touching the Past - Or, how I came to have a headstone in my backyard..

Borepatch recently posted pictures of some old family heirlooms that now grace the wall of his home. Namely, he has a muzzle loader and powder horn that have been passed down through generations in his family. Cool stuff, without a doubt.

It reminded me of my own quest to touch the past. Back in the early 1990's, I became interested in genealogy. My Father's side of the family would be the easier to research, so I decided to start there. I wrote to cousins, gathered photographs, and spent some time in the Library. I was living in Bryan, Texas at the time and had access to Texas A&M University's Library - which helped alot.

I managed to gather some interesting stuff. I tracked my family back to the 1790's before things got too muddled to follow the trail further. I'll spare you all the boring details that would only be interesting if you were related to me :) Suffice to say, I found it fascinating and I learned alot about my family that I never knew.

One thing I did know, before starting the project, was that my Great Great Grandfather had been in a Home Guard unit in Louisiana during the Civil War when he was a young man. I have a Cavalry Saber that he "liberated" during the conflict. My people managed to hold onto it for all those years... for the most part.

I come from a family of farmers and craftsmen. They are extremely practical. So much so, that one of them decided that a saber blade was wasted just laying around in a scabbard all day when there was work to do. He cut the last 18" or so of blade off to make a cane knife out of it.


My Great Great Grandfather lived to a ripe old age and was buried, as many farmers in the day were, in a little family plot on the farm. He was laid to rest beside one of his son's who died as an infant, and was later joined by his Wife when she passed away several years after he did. Their surviving children had all grown up and begun lives/farms of their own. The old family place was sold, with the stipulation that the family cemetary would remain untouched. Apparently, the new owner was not someone to be bothered by sentimentality.

At some point, the headstones were uprooted and the gravesites were plowed over and put in cultivation. The headstones were hauled off into the woods and dumped. The story of the misplaced headstones drifted around our family for many years and had almost died out by the time I learned of it. Nobody seemed to know exactly where the headstones had ended up. At that time my Grandmother was still living in Louisiana, not far from the area where all this took place so many years ago. We went for a visit around the holidays every year, and I decided to take the opportunity to do a little snooping around.

I hooked up with a distant cousin who seemed to know everyone in the general area and we started talking to folks. Before long, we happened upon an elderly farmer who knew where some headstones "used to be" off in the woods near one of his soybean fields.

Off we went, following in my truck behind the old farmer on his tractor as we bounced down the turn row of the huge field. At some point, we stopped and the old gentleman pointed into the woods declaring, "I think thar back that-a-way a spell...."

A short walk into the woods and there it was. The top of a headstone poking out of the brambles and leaf litter. After a little excavating, we were able to free my GG Grandfather's ornate headstone, and the partial remains of my GG Grandmother's marker and that of the infant son. The later two stones had been broken in two - with the portion having their names no where to be found. I new the dates of death from my research, though, so I knew who they were.

I assume that the actual burial site was somewhere out in the soybean field. Their remains have long ago gone to dust, at any rate. I couldn't stand the thought of having the stones all forlorn and forgotten in the woods, so we hauled them out and loaded them in my truck. My GG Grandfather's stone consisted of several parts on a massive base, so we had to use the tractor to lift that part and load it up.

Eventual destinations for the headstones will be a wrought iron fenced enclosure on my parent's farm. Here's a picture of the top-most piece of the big headstone. My GG Grandfather was a Free Mason, as you can see from the Masonic Symbolism. The other side of the stone has his name and birth/death dates.

And yep... that's the saber, leaning across the stone for the picture.

confederate tombstone sepia

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Girl Friday 07/24/2009 - Betty Brosmer

Recent "fashion" trends have favored a skinny, sallow look that does absolutely nothing for me. Seeing someone trying to replicate the unhealthy look of a heroin addict isn't appealing at all to me. Thank God, the pendulum has started to swing back toward a more "normal", healthy body type - but there's still a ways to go.

My preferences are for more curvy, substantial body types. I like to be able to tell boys from girls without looking for an Adam's Apple or doing a chromosome count.

In light of that, I bring you Betty Brosmer - Queen of the Commericial pinups of the 1950s.

betty brosmer 2

betty brosmer

Betty appeared on magazine covers and print ads hundreds of times throughout her career. She never went on to become an "actress", to my knowledge, and did not bend to the temptation to go totally nude - althought there were offers from Playboy.

betty brosmer photoplay

betty brosmer 4

Betty eventually married Fitness Icon Ben Weider - and she continued to work with him as a fitness and health model/writer right up to current day.

betty brosmer 5

betty brosmer 3

That's a whole lotta woman ;)

Fun With Voicemail - Zombie Rabbit Edition

We have an interesting feature with our voicemail at work. We can save voicemail messages as wav files, for attachment to case files. Comes in handy when we have issues that require us to criminally prosecute someone.

Given the general lack of common sense and utter helplessness of people these days, it also provides an endless supply of chuckle material that we can play back over, and over....

This is an actual voicemail from my office. I couldn't help messing around with this one a little bit, though. Identifying information has been bleeped out, of course.

Every Day Carry - at a minimum

As a follow up to my post expressing astonishment that a little boy almost burned to death because in a relatively large group of people, nobody had a pocket knife: I give you my version of a minimum every day carry setup - or EDC.

edc lite


I've already posted pics of my carry guns, so I won't repeat them here. Suffice to say that if it's legal for me to carry a gun someplace - then I'm packing in one form or another. If I can't legally carry on my person and my destination is someplace that I really want or need to go to, its a pretty safe bet that I have a gun locked up but accessible to me in my vehicle.

The pic above shows what I carry every day at a minimum. The details may change over time as to specifics, but I'll have the basics of what you see above - if not more.

In the pic is my cellphone, in a 5.11 tactical cell phone holster. Who the F- needs a "tactical cell phone holster"? Anyone who has occasion to work in tight spaces and doesn't want their phone to pop off a belt clip and land in a storm sewer - that's who.

I can't just carry a cell phone in my pocket. I work for a living, and it would last about a day before it got jacked up. I need the protection that a dedicated case gives it. I used to carry my phone in a case with a rigid belt clip/hook - but after almost losing the phone down a storm drain - TWICE - I knew I had to do something better. My current 5.11 model has molle compatible straps on the back and an adjustable quick release buckle that holds the phone in. This means the phone stays securely on my belt. It's easy on/off by way of the molle strap snaps on the back, without having to unfasten my belt.

Next is my Gerber Suspension multitool. Next time I order molle stuff from somewhere, I'm picking up some Quickclips or Maliceclips so I can take the case on/off without removing my belt like I can my cell phone. Its either that, or just get a molle pouch that it will fit in. Besides that, the Gerber Suspension is the PERFECT multitool for me. Large and rugged enough to be useful, and small enough to avoid bulkiness. The tools, other than the pliers/cutters, can all be accessed without having to unfold the unit, and they all LOCK securely in the open position. Leatherman makes some great tools too - but for my money you can't beat the value of Gerber's stuff.

The knife is a CRKT M16-10kz. It has a "Carson Flipper" which allows me to open it extremely fast with one hand- without skirting the legal edges of being an "illegal switchblade". It also has the AUTOLAWKS feature that is pretty cool once you get the hang of disengaging the liner lock one handed for closure. I like the tanto blade profile and it's a pretty rugged knife considering it's size. I'm not going to chop wood with it - but it's crazy sharp and in a pinch it will be better in a defensive situation than pointing my finger at a bad guy and saying "PEW! PEW!"

That brings us to my Keychain which has... keys.

I have my Truck key on an Sbiner for quick release if I have to give my vehicle key to someone (garage, valet, etc.). That way my house keys stay with me, and no one else. Also present is a pico pen, which is a really cool little ball point pen. Uses standard refills that you can get at office stores. I'm always making notes to myself and it drives me nuts to not have a pen handy when I need one.

The flashlight is a Streamlight Led light. It's much brighter than the cheapo drugstore keychain lights you see, and didn't cost that much more. I think I paid about $10 plus shipping from a seller on Amazon.

Tucked in with the keys is a Swisstech "Utilikey" . Looks pretty much like a regular key to the casual observer, but it opens up into a standard knife blade, serrated knife blade, philips screwdriver, small flat screwdriver, and tiny eyeglass screwdriver. Oh.. it also has a bottle opener.

What can I say.. I'm a gadget dork :)

Not shown in the picture is my wallet, and the handkerchief/bandana that I always have tucked in a back pocket.

Grandpas are expected to carry handkerchiefs, you know ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I don't normally do these things, but Xmichra tagged me .. so here goes nothing.

Here's ten things you may or may not know about me:

1. I have virtually no sense of smell.

I had a motorcycle wreck when I was 14 or 15 years old that involved me flying over the handle bars and pounding my un-helmeted head into the ground. Ever drop a golf ball on the concrete?... Pretty much the same thing. I don't miss it much. Doesn't seem to affect my ability to taste things, which is a question I get asked a lot when the topic comes up. At least if I had to loose a "sense" due to my own stupidity, it was this one. I don't ride without a helmet now.

Two odd notes in this regard: I have "smell memories". I can see a bottle of pancake syrup and smell the syrup - even if it's just a picture in a magazine. That, and I can taste things in the air that other people can smell.

This is one of my less useful super-powers, especially when I have to deal with a skunk.

2. I'm a Deist. Or at least that's the closest I've been able to come to a standard definition of my religious beliefs. I don't really fit in a box.

3. I didn't want kids. I'm "the baby" of my family, and I got saddled at a young age with entertaining and babysitting my oldest sister's son when I was 11 years old. Kind of soured me on the whole concept. I even told my parents that they weren't getting any grandkids out of me.

Nope.. no way.

Of course, that all changed when I fell in love with the Mrs. :) She was a package deal, with my Daughter being the other part of the package. My Daughter was 2 when her Mom and I got hitched - and I'm the only father she's known. I legally adopted her about a year in, and have never EVER regretted it. Joining this family is the luckiest thing that ever happened to me, hands down.

And now, almost 21 years down the road, I don't have to tell you how I feel about the Grandbaby:

DSCF1167 072

4. I've never had to shoot anyone, nor shoot at anyone, and I hope I never have to - but I have used a gun to defend myself.

5. I have a degree in Accounting, from Texas A&M University.

Yeah... no shit :)

6. I ate an opossum one time. Interesting experience.

7. Unless you work with animals every day for a living, I can virtually guarantee that I have personally killed more individual animals than you have touched with your hands in your lifetime.

And by "more", I mean significantly more. Some were for food, all were necessary, and none were because I hate animals in any way.

This fact has taught me several things about myself, and about life.

8. I have a "thing" for Women in High Heels. Can't help it.

9. I have a tattoo on my shoulder blade that is a drawing that I made and carried in my wallet for about 20 years prior to getting inked.

10. I earned my living as a Horseshoer, back when I was young and frisky.

Politically Correct Lack of Tools

JayG, over at MArooned, posted a link to a wonderful example of everyday citizens stepping up and taking action to save a family in a horrible car wreck. A bunch of Average Joes, and some off-duty firemen, risked their lives to save a little boy from a trashed SUV that was burning up.

There's pretty amazing video at the CNN news story link. Go watch it if you haven't and then come back here for a minute.

I noticed something while watching the video, beyond the fact that those were all some really brave folks.

There's at least 6 adult men that you see trying to save the little boy from the overturned SUV.

I'm astonished that not a single person had so much as a simple fucking pocket knife on them.


They managed to bash out the front window to get to the boy, but apparently he's hung up in his seatbelt. They spent more time trying to get him free than they did bashing out the front window.. all while everyone scrambles around screaming "WE NEED A KNIFE!!!"

Somewhere along the line it became "unfashionable" to carry a pocket knife. Knives have come to be seen as "bad" to some people. I guess it's not enough to bestow malevolent intelligence to guns.... now it has to be knives as well.

When I was a kid, not only did every boy (including me, of course) carry a knife to school, they were actually given away as prizes in fundraising activities for groups like FFA. That's because people recognized their value as a tool, and didn't assume that their mere presence would cause someone to loose their mind and go on a stabbing spree.

I carry, on my person, at least one knife all the time. Usually, I have more than one (right now I have three :)). I have knives in my vehicle, including a Res-Q-Me device that hangs from a lanyard on the driver's side door handle.

It has a razor sharp seatbelt cutter and a window punch on the other end - all in a package small enough to fit in your palm. A quick jerk and its free of the lanyard and ready to go. There's an identical arrangement in every vehicle of everyone that I can convince to get one - and I've bought and "installed" them in the cars of both my Wife and my Daughter.

As brave and selfless as the rescuer's were... I was stunned at how close the little boy came to being burned alive just because nobody had a knife. What a freaking waste that would have been.

And don't get me started about the policeman at the end being the only person around with a fire extinguisher.. :)

But I thought it wasn't about him?....

From the National Journal:

Grassley (Senate Finance Ranking Member) said he spoke with a Democratic House member last week who shared Obama's bleak reaction during a private meeting to reports that some factions of House Democrats were lining up to stall or even take down the overhaul unless leaders made major changes.

"Let's just lay everything on the table," Grassley said. "A Democrat congressman last week told me after a conversation with the president that the president had trouble in the House of Representatives, and it wasn't going to pass if there weren't some changes made ... and the president says,

'You're going to destroy my presidency.' "

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

So that's his big concern?... He's not worried about the "uninsured", or the hard working people of this nation.

But it's not about him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Afghanistan Hostage

I can't imagine what pain the family and friends of the US GI being held by the Taliban are going through. Helplessness isn't a feeling that I do well with, when it comes to those I love.

I saw this today, and thought it was interesting.. It's an image of two leaflets being distributed by the US and Afghan governments in the 'Stan, in an attempt to gather information about Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl's whereabouts.

The first image states: "One of our American guests is missing", while the other reads: "Return the guest to his home".

I see this stretching out a long time. My heart and deepest sympathies are with this guy's family, and with him as well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Music Appreciation...

From 1966... when White Guys with Clark Kent glasses could still be the epitome of cool.....

Other than Vince Guaraldi (Charlie Brown Theme Song) - this was the first jazz song I remember ever hearing. It's still my favorite.

On a more recent note... I dig this too. It really gets to smooth jamming after the initial bass solo, which is pretty sweet all on its own:

So... I guess maybe I'm not just a banjo playing redneck after all :)

The Hurt Locker

We went to see "The Hurt Locker" today. I've tried to write a review of the movie, but I can't seem to do it without giving away plot lines :)

Basically,the movie is a fictional account of Explosive Ordinance Disposal squad as they work in Iraq.

In a word: Awesome.

The movie doesn't really try to take one side or the other, in regards to whether the war was justified or not. Which fits perfectly with its soldier oriented viewpoint. The people there are just trying to do their jobs, survive the day, and take care each other. It's an extremely unique viewpoint of the down and dirty war operations with a group of people that do an insanely dangerous job - while being largely ignored by the public in general.

Its not just bomb disposal. There's combat, sniping, and some explosions that will boggle your mind when you watch them on the screen.

I liked it much. Here's the trailer:

Friday, July 17, 2009

WASR Luvin'

So... I FINALLY made time to go check out an alternate shooting range. This one is a little bit farther away from my home, and it costs twice as much to use, but has potential to fill a niche for me that's been dangerously vacant. First, a little "back story"...

My "regular" range, is pretty much the only outdoor range I've ever used before now. When I was a kid, I did all my shooting in the woods and river bottoms around our home - .22's and shotguns mostly - since there was no one really around. I live in town now, and my neighbors would frown upon that :)
I had been away from shooting, for the most part, for several years. The importance of being able to defend ourselves in an increasingly dangerous world, led me to eventually take the leap and get my Wife and myself into the process for receiving our Concealed Handgun Licenses. I was not comfortable with my handgun shooting skills AT ALL, at that point. I had fired a handgun a couple of times, but sucked at it. Same with the Mrs. We researched what guns we wanted to get, purchased them, and then set about improving on our skills at the Range over weeks and months until we were confident that we could safely, and accurately, use the guns.

Only then, did we take the step of obtaining our CHLs. In Texas, they test basic proficiency and safety in the range portion of the license test. It is NOT a course that you would take to LEARN how to shoot. The basic acceptable skill level to pass was pretty low, in my opinon. Given that your accuracy stands a good chance of going DOWN under the stresss of an actual shooting situation - We weren't comfortable being able to shoot "just good enough" to pass. As a result of our hard work, our scores were the highest in our class on the shooting portion of the exam. I was at the top, followed immediately by my Mrs.

That doesn't make us tactical shooters by anyone's definition, though. It's slow, measured, fire. A couple of seconds between shots - no double taps - no drawing from a holster... bang, 2, 3 ... bang 2, 3 ... bang, 2, 3 ...
Those are the rules of the range where I shoot. Rife is just as restrictive. Bench shooting only, no prone, no standing, slow deliberate fire, no double taps... bang..2, 3 bang... 2, 3
That was great for me, at first. I was almost as bad a rifle shot as I was a pistol shot, originally. It was a cheap, convenient, safe place for me to get used to shooting and learn that I not only think its an important skill - it's also a skill that I enjoy. But from the standpoint of preparing me for use in an actual life or death situation - not so much. I can shoot baskets from anywhere around the free throw line all day long - and make the shot pretty much every time.

Put me in an actual basketball game against people who know how to play, though, and you will rapidly discover why there aren't any short, fat, white guys in the NBA.

Flash forward to Thursday, when I visited my "new" range. It's way out in the boonies. Rifle range that goes out to 300 yards (yes!), a 50 yard pistol range where you can actually use your carbine as well, no restrictions on rate of fire, stance, drawing from holster... just the basic FOUR RULES that I obey RELIGIOUSLY regardless of whether or not they are stated. This facility is actually rented out to local police and tactical units for training, and is used by our local IDPA group.

I was there for a couple of hours this past Thursday.. and the whole time I was there I had a smile on my face so big my cheeks were tired by the end of the day :) It was hot as hell, but I didn't care a bit. One of the things I did, was take the WASR 10 for a proper walk. This was the first time I've been able to shoot her since solving the front site post defect. It was also the first time I was able to shoot her from a standing position, at anything faster than a 1 round every 3 second rate.

I was pretty happy. I put over a hundred rounds down range to get a feel for her, learn how she shoots, and to start to learn what I need to do to make her effective. I had originally just bought her because she was cheap... and EVERYONE has to have an AK variant, don't they?

I didn't expect alot from her, to be honest. I fully intended to fill the tactical short/mid range rifle niche with a ruger mini 14, or mini 30, in the new "tactical" configuration. That, or break down and get an AR. I'm starting to think maybe not, though.

Here's a standing off hand target from 60 feet, fairly slow and methodical rate of fire. Maybe 2 or 3 seconds between each shot. Just like at the old range... only this time standing, unsupported, and more "real".

Not too shabby for the first time off th sandbag teat in many years. That's thirty rounds of 7.62 pain in a kill zone sized area.

I stepped it up a tad, to see the result of a faster rate of fire. As expected, the group got bigger, but not really all that bad (for me).

Bad guy would still be deader than a dog turd....

Again, that's thirty rounds fired at a rate that cleared out the magazine in about 35 to 40 seconds. Not what I would call "rapid fire", but much faster than before. I'll get quicker over time, but I won't do it at the expense of accuracy. I've seen people blaze away like crazy, but miss the paper half the time - that's nuts. I can see the benefit as suppressive fire in certain situations - but is blindly shooting as fast as possible something you really need to speed time and money (ammo) on at the range?.. For me it's not.

Before I left, I put two paper plates at the shooting line and attached them so they were at about chest height and 6 feet apart. I backed off to 60 feet. I put in a magazine and fired two shots at each target, shifting back and forth between the two targets until the mag was empty - for a total of 16 rounds in the left target and 14 rounds in the right one. I tried to do this as quickly as possible while still hitting the target. As soon as I could get my sights back on target after a shot's recoil I would fire.

I was happy with the result. A little more "scatter" than the "fast shoot" target above, but over all the group was just as small or maybe even smaller on both plates. All rounds were in the flat part of the plate - before you get to the fluted outer rim portion. Sorry - I forgot to keep the plates for pictures :(

So.. I'm thinking that I may practice with the WASR a bit and make some changes to her as I go rather than investing in another carbine platform. 7.62 is a hard hitting round out to 300 yards or so. Much beyond that and I'm not going to hit anything with it anyway. I fully intend to get good enough with the K31 to hit a man sized target at 300yds - so I've got the long range niche filled nicely already. I just have to train to the point that I can take advantage of it's accuracy.

And Lord knows I don't need to buy yet another caliber of ammo.

Short term plans:

1. Install side mount rail system, and mount a simple (yet reliable) red dot. I'm not a fan of the "scout" setup with the optic mounted WAAYYYYYY up front. The rail I'm getting mounts to the side of the receiver (not on the cover) and wraps around to the top.

2. Install a heat shield for the upper and lower handguards. This bitch GETS HOT!!!! I mean seriously hot. After firing two mags over the course of about 3 minutes, it was too hot to comfortably hold the wood. I've read up on ways to help reduce this.

Plan B will be looking for a tactical oven mitt ;)

If the red dot works out and I continue to like the AK system, I'm probably going to change out the hardware from the original wood. I don't really like Tapco's AK stocks, although I really like their set up on the SKS. I'm leaning toward an ATI Strikeforce setup. The stock seems less "blocky", and it has a buttstock that not only adjusts length of pull, but it folds to the side as well.

It's basically the same stock that Ruger now offers on it's Tactial Mini 14.

I'll keep you abreast of developments as they.... well, develop.

Girl Friday 07/17/2009 - Jane Wyman

Quick Girl Friday post... before I'm back out in the heat doing yard work:

You may be most familiar with this weeks Girl Friday for her portrayal of a mean old bitch on Falcon Crest, during the 1980's.

Before that, though, Jane Wyman caught the eye of someone near and dear to my heart:

jane_wayman and ronald regan 1940

Wyman was the first wife of Ronald Reagan. The marriage didn't last, but the love and respect endured. She refused to bad mouth him (how many ex-spouses could pass up that temptation), and spoke about his kindness and goodness at his memorial service after his death.

jane wyman 3

Ms Wyman first caught my eye, when I saw her in Larceny Inc, where she appeared as gangster Edward G. Robinson's daughter "Denny", in 1942. Before that point, I had only seen her as the mean old woman she portrayed on primetime TV. It's a great old movie, and I highly recommend you catch it on TCM if you can.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garage Illusions...

I was poking around Geekologie this evening, and saw this:

Its actually a tarp, printed with a picture on it. It is intended to be attached to the outside of your garage door, so that when the garage door is down you get the illusion of seeing this inside. There are other versions as well - but the giant croc is my favorite :)

Seeing this reminded me of one of the classic "dumb ass public" moments of my Animal Control career.

A couple of years ago, I recieved a call from a frightened citizen that wanted to report that their neighbor across the alley from them was keeping a tiger as a pet. I spoke to both the complainant, and his wife. They both swore that they had seen the cat on several occasions in the owner's garage. They said it looked pretty young, and liked to lay on top of the cars in the garage so it could see.

They emailed me a picture, that they had taken from their son's upstairs bedroom window. They were scared to death, they said, because of the tiger being there and the fact that they didn't want the neighbor to catch them snitching on him keeping a dangerous wild animal as a pet. That was the reason given for why the pictures they sent were so blurry. Here's the best one:

tiger blurry

The orange and white blob on the hood of the vette is the tiger.

I was intrigued, to say the least - but a bit suspicious, as well.

It's not unheard of for people to do something as stupid as keep a pet tiger in a residential garage. But I learned LONG ago not to rely on ANY first hand witness accounts - REGARDLESS of how rational and intelligent and sure the source seems to be.

I visited the property and was not able to view any signs of wildlife pens in the backyard or any other telltale signs that anything was amiss. The residents weren't home when I visited, but my partner was able to make contact with them at a later date to continue the investigation.

Here is what he found, when they allowed him to inspect the garage:

tiger hood

And people wonder sometimes why I lack faith in the common sense and survival ability of the majority of modern day Americans....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rachel's Back :)

Just in case you weren't aware, Rachel Lucas is back from vacation and she has a wonderful post of part of her journey through Prague - in classic Rachel style :)

I usually don't think much about traveling over seas. There are times, though, when I REALLY want to take the time to go have a look around. When I read the Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova - I went through a spell of wanting to go because of all the exotic locales and descriptions. And with Rachel's posts about moving to England and touring around Europe, the itch begins again.

On a personal note, I'm starting to feel a little bit more normal. My cough sounds like I've spent time working in a coal mine - but over all I'm on the upswing. Slept alot today, 'prolly due to the antihistamines knocking me on my butt. I'm hopeful that I'll awaken tomorrow with a (relatively) clear head so I can get back to business.

I've got too much to do, to waste anymore time being buzzed and miserable :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

How prepared are you?

Angela, over at Adventures in Self Reliance, posted a good thinking list of questions to ask yourself when evaluating your preparedness.

I like stuff like that, because it lets me take stock of areas where I'm strong and areas where I'm weak. A lot of times, I see something that I had never thought of before. Hopefully, as your preparedness level increases, you'll find fewer and fewer areas that still need to be addressed.

Here's one of my own "thinkers", that I don't recall seeing anywhere else. It's along the lines of having a plan for evacuating your home during a fire - and a meeting place outside so everyone knows what to do and where to go.

These days we are pretty used to being able to "reach out an touch someone" any time we want to. Cell phones are extremely common - so much so that I don't know anyone that doesn't have at least one. Even my parents both have cell phones, and the Mrs.'s folks have the cell phone we got them for emergencies. Its easy in today's communication age to get lax....

But imagine what would happen if suddenly you weren't able to just push a button and talk to someone you love and worry about - and the shit has hit the fan in one way or another?

I live in a suburb on the outskirts of the DFW metroplex, in Texas. I work in an entirely different suburb, and my Wife works in yet another suburb. My daughter works in a fourth suburb, her husband works in several different suburbs depending on the day, and my grandbaby is in daycare at yet another suburb...

What is that, at least 6 different cities, so far?

In the event of an EMP attack, as well as some other types of natural and man-made disaster scenarios, there could very well be no way for us to communicate effectively with each other. There would also potentially be no way for us to just jump in a car and stroll over to check things out in person - with cars potentially not functioning, traffic disrupted on a massive scale, roads blocked, etc.

If I'm at work and things "shut down", my first impression would be to grab my gear out of my vehicle and head toward my Wife's work - assuming that I know she's there. If I were on foot, it's a Loooooooong walk. That several hours trek would all be for nothing if her first impulse was to head out to her parents house (who live on the other side of the town she works in), or worse - she decided to head toward our house directly.

What a cluster-F...

That's why its important to sit down with everyone involved, and lay out EXACTLY what the gameplan is should something drastic happen during the day when we are spread out all over the map. My Wife knows that if TSHTF, she is to stay put at her work if at all possible. Car or no car, I'll come to her. She has enough gear in her vehicle to make it several days if necessary. If it's absolutely not safe for her to stay there, then she is to go to her folks house. If she does this she will leave me a HUGE MESSAGE - and I mean spray painted on the wall - telling me where she went and when she left. I'll catch up to her.

We have similar plans laid out with my Daughter, and my in-laws. My folks will most likely be safely tucked in to their house on the hill at Sunnyhill Farm... which will be our eventual destination as a family if the problems look to be long term.

Or permanent.

The whole planning process takes almost no time to figure out, and even less time to communicate to everyone involved. Most likely, you will never ever have to use the plan - and I sincerely hope we never need it.

But you'll be screwed six ways from Wednesday if you need the plan and don't have it.

Good Bill Whittle Rant

PJTV doesn't let you embed videos, as far as I can tell. It's worth making the trip over there, though, to see Bill Whittle flame broil the idiots in the California Government:

When Politicians Go Bad

Sick Day Blahs...

I don't get sick.

Not very often, anyway. That's part of the reason that I have a 260+ hour stockpile of sick time accumulated at work. The other reason is that if I'm feeling puny, I usually just go in to work anyway and work through it.

Sick days are for skipping work and going to the gun range, or something else fun :)

Not today, they're not.

I have hayfever/allergies that plague me from time to time. Usually its just an annoyance, but once or twice a year I get hit really hard. This is one of those times. My throat feels like I've been gargling with barbed wire, and I must have been up 15 times during the night last night. Head is stopped up, voice is gone, and one side of my nose insists on running....... and this is after taking two different OTC medications that normally work well for me.

Just couldn't drag my ass in to work today. My plan is to self medicate (probably overly so), nap off and on, and browse the intarwebs aimlessly during the brief moments when I feel like sitting relatively upright.

I mentioned earlier that we caught a small town rodeo last Friday night. It was a really good time, and it wasn't too hard to take the high temps. It had dropped out of the 100's by the time the rodeo got going. Maybe upper 90's with a decent breeze around 7:30 or so when we got there.

Hey.... when work outside when it's 104 several days in a row, "upper 90's with a breeze" can be down right heavenly :)

Anyway, the lighting for photography isn't the best in these small arenas - not with my camera set up anyhow. I did shoot some decent video, though. I cut together some good rides and wrecks with some slowed down footage that's cool. Everything happens so fast with rough stock riding in a rodeo. It's hard to get the full impact on just how rough it is unless you slow down the tape.

I've ridden roughstock before - but not on purpose. I've been bucked off horses that I was training, and while I enjoy watching the extreme athleticism of the cowboys in rodeos- I have no desire to intentionally get on a horse and make it buck me off.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Road Trip 7/11/2009

twisted root 1

Regardless of the +100 degree heat this weekend, we took a run out to Bowie, Texas for the flea market. We hadn't been out that way since spring. The heat kept a lot of the sellers away, I think. The Mrs. found a couple of odds and ends, but I didn't find anything I couldn't live without. I'm saving my "milk money" for some gunnie stuff, so I find it easier to resist picking up Flea Market finds unless they are too good to pass up.

Since we were so far west, we swung down to the Cabela's store that is north of Ft. Worth. I love that place.... its kind of like my Disneyland. Sure, a lot of the stuff is over priced compared to what I'd pay for it online, but it's a really cool place to browse around in even if you don't buy. We looked at the fly fishing stuff and then made our way over to the Firearms/Ammunition section.

Pleasantly surprised at what I found. Ever since the buying panic set in, the gun section has been a mad house - with no ammo available in the calibers I most need. This time, however, the gun & ammo section was no more crowded than the rest of the store. They actually had ammo available in some of my calibers . They had tons of Magtech 38spl - a caliber that I sorely needed - for around $17 per box. They limited purchases to 2 boxes per customer - but I didn't mind. I've not been able to find any for quite a while. Lots of 9 mm in stock, which I have plenty of, but still no .380 acp yet.

Hopefully, by fall, things will be back to semi-normal once again. At least in regards to availability, if not price.

We were starving when we left Cabelas, so we hopped over to the small town of Roanoke, Texas, just down the road from the Texas Motor Speedway. Roanoke is home to the original Babe's Chicken Dinner Restaurant - but our destination was across the street at a place called The Twisted Root.

twisted root 2

It looks deserted, but I assure you it is not. There was an almost packed house inside when we were there at about 1:30 pm. The old downtown area is undergoing some major roadwork - so much so, in fact, that several of the roads around Babe's and the Twisted Root are gone completely. There's plenty of parking in lots behind the buildings, though, so don't let that scare you off. Wonderful cheeseburgers and great onion strings for lunch. They advertise venison burgers, buffalo burgers, and fried greenbeans on the menu board as well - but we'll have to try those next trip.

All in all, a productive trip in spite of the heat that continues... and I'm pumped about the re-appearance of ammo on the shelves!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Post - London in 1903

I feel like Crap... Seasonal Allergies are kicking my ass big time. I've almost lost my voice - and my weekend ends today and it's back to work tomorrow....

Had fun this weekend, regardless :) We hit a small town rodeo, braved the heat at a flea market, where pleasantly surprised by the actual return of ammo we could afford at a local source, and discovered a great little independent burger joint. Not bad, considering my head is so clogged up I've been breathing through my mouth for two days!

I'll post little details of the weekend as I can. I didn't want to go post-less today though, so here's something you might find interesting if you enjoy to same odd fascination that I have with turn of the century film.

I found this video posted by BFI Films on Youtube. Its basically street scenes from London in 1903. This stuff was all shot with the old wooden box movie cameras that people had to manually crank..... good stuff! There's lots of traffic scenes, with huge amounts of horse drawn wagons, buses, and carriages. Traffic starts out light, but then it gets crazy. If you watch closely near the end, you actually see a single solitary automobile in the mass of horse conveyances.

What really strikes me, is the utter confusion the traffic flow looks like. Everyone going everywhere at once... people just randomly walking out in front of huge horsedrawn wagons. It's a wonder people didn't get mashed to death on an hourly basis.

Its hard to imagine how quickly things would change for the people in those days. Within a handful of years from when this was shot, there would be almost no horse drawn vehicles - almost all being replaced by the gasoline fueled automobile.

Funny thing, that...

Someone came up with a new technology that actually worked. That technology was desired by the public. The private sector created a market for the product which was filled by private businesses and BANG... suddenly the world changed.

You'll notice the complete and utter lack of any government bailouts of the carriage industry. Also absent is the capping of horse manure levels or trading of crap-credits to tax/punish people into switching from horses to cars. No one in Washington or London decided that it was in the people's best interest to force them into adopting automobiles.... the free market took care of it just fine all on its own.

Ah..... the good old days.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Citizenship A La Carte

I was browsing Hermit's site the other day, and he linked to a video on Angel's - Woman Honor Thyself Blog. It features an altercation in Dearborn, Michigan at the 2009 Arabfest. The video producers attempt to ask questions at an information booth - imagine that - and end up being chased out and physically assaulted by the "security" at the event.

The Video made me really angry.

It brought to mind all the ridiculous backward bending concessions that you read about over in Europe and the UK. They try so hard to placate and "not offend" people who choose to live in their countries - but who obviously hate the original residents. You can say what you want about the pros and cons of "assimilating" into a society that you want to be a part of... but I don't believe you should be able to pick and choose what parts of your new home you are going to adopt.

You can't choose "good schools", "freedom of expression", and "opportunity" from the menu - and then pass on the "obeying the rule of law" and "upholding the consitution" parts that conflict with your chosen faith. This isn't Burger King, for crying out loud.

When I see something similar happening here - I can see the progression.

We can't allow anyone to subvert the rule of law in the US.


I'm not a Christian. I'm not a Jew. I don't have a religious based beef with Muslims or the religion of Islam. But I'll become extremely intolerant should I ever witness my friends, family, or fellow citizens being pushed around and manhandled like the rat bastards did in that video.

Speed Reload techniques for AK - Updated

Ok.. one last quick post, and then I SERIOUSLY have to go do yard work. It's suppose to be 103 degrees today, and it's not getting any cooler outside.

If you search Youtube for speed reload AK, you'll see some people that can change mags on this platform really quickly. I stumbled on this video the other day, which shows an Iraqi soldier demonstrating the method most often seen, as well as a new method. I haven't tried the new method myself, but plan to.

Here's the clip. There's a bit of cursing, so may not be safe for work:


Holy Crap it's HOT OUTSIDE!!!!! It's 11 am here and it's 99 degrees on my back porch. I did happen to think of something while I was sweating my Ass off mowing the yard and planting shrubs, and wanted to add it before it jumped out of my head.

I've not tried the "new" speed reload method yet, but just thinking out loud it seems like in the heat of the moment - when you would most likely need to dump and replace a magazine with the most urgency - you stand a much higher chance of loosing control of the weapon and dropping it accidentally. Your hands are sweaty, you're under stress, maybe you're wearing an LBV or a Tactical Vest.... and the only thing keeping your gun in your hands is your fingers on the bolt you're holding back?

Seems like the "old" method would be a lot more reliable - even if the new method were slightly faster under ideal conditions.

Girl Friday - 07/10/2009 - Angela Lansbury

After last week's choice of Yvonne De Carlo as the Girl Friday, this week's Girl Friday is another Gal you might be surprised to see - Angela Lansbury.


Yeah... that's the little old lady from "Murder She Wrote" - way back when. I always liked Angela Lansbury as an Actress. I thought she carried herself with class and dignity from her early years all the way through her Golden Years.


Plus, when I catch her in an old movie, she sure is easy on the eyes :)



Here's a little clip I found of her appearance in a 1946 movie called the Harvey Girls. The other starlet in the clip is, of course, Judy Garland.

Don't let up on the pressure...

Posting will remain light, as I have way to much to do. Every time I get on line to post a little something, I end up getting hooked into reading something interesting instead :)

I thought it important to post this, though. I'm sure you've heard about Speaker Pelosi continueing to push for a "health care reform bill" to get through Congress in the next couple of weeks. This is going to be another in a series of bad pieces of legislation crammed down our throat without time for discussion, debate, or even examination.

Whether your Congressional Representatives are "good" or not, they want to be re-elected. Make your opinions on Obama-care known to them. Don't let the only voices they hear be the handful of Statist nut-jobs that want this to pass. I emailed my house reps and senators on this this morning, after reading this. Move-on is pressuring my senators to support Obama - who they feel is "doing a fabulous job. But he can't do it all alone."

I want to be sure that my representatives realize they it is much more in their interest to hear OUR VOICES, as opposed to this handful of radicals.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Picking up a new skill

I grew up hunting and fishing. It wasn't anything fancy, but I had a lot of fun at both. My hunting adventures have been strictly low-budget affairs. They consist mostly of some walkup bird hunting (doves & quail), along with lots of rabbits and squirrels, and some predator hunting to boot.

Lots of good eating and I loved it, but we could never afford any place decent to deerhunt.

Our fishing exploits were similarly themed. Mostly stocktank and river fishing, with a few local lake trips thrown in if we knew where they would be biting.


That's me, in all my skinny, fishbelly glory :) Dig that hat, huh? I'm standing in front of our old pop up camper with a stringer of bluegill and sunfish, circa 1970. Happiest kid on the planet.


That's me and my Dad, on a fishing trip we took to northern Utah in 1977. We packed into the mountains on horseback and fished some mountain lakes for trout. No fly fishing, though. We used light tackle and spinning gear.


At some point, I got old :) This is me last summer on my Dad's stocktank catching bass.

I really want to learn to flyfish, though. I picked up a hopefully decent book at Halfprice last weekend and hope to glean enough from it to pick up the basics. My Wife and I went to Yellowstone a couple of years ago, and I remember watching a guy wading out into the rushing water of one of the streams. He was fly fishing and it looked so graceful and beautiful.

Kind of like the scenes from "A River Runs Through It".... That's what I want to learn.

Frog in Cat's Clothing

Boy... taking a week off work almost made me forget how much it sucks to go back. Way to busy to read most blogs that I like to touch on every day - and absolutely no time to do anything on my own homeplace here.

I have been enjoying the "Wit and Wisdom of Discworld", that I picked up at Half Price books this past weekend. I read during my lunch hour at work every day. If you're a Pratchett fan, and haven't seen this particular book yet, its a collection of witticisms and funny, insightful snippets from the entire series. Kind of a "best of" or "greatest hits" collection. Not enough prose so that you can follow the story lines or anything - just some cool excerpts.

Since I had already gotten in the habit of dog-earing and/or copying down passages from his books that I thought were particularly good, I'm loving this book much. I read a snippet today, that automatically made me think of our Emperor and the Empress.

So, in lieu of actual blog posts of substance, I give you snarking at the Prez.:

cool cats

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good Day So Far...

Hope you're all having a great 4th! Ours has been pretty darned good, so far.

Started out the day with a trip to Mckinney, for the Farmer's Market. The offerings were overpriced for my taste, but I accidentally came across a car show - which was a nice surprise.


boyce motometer


guard dog

From there, we caught a matinee movie - Public Enemies. Pretty good flick. Lots of action, and some sweet firearm action. They took some dramatic liberties with the facts of John Dillinger's crime spree - but surprisingly little. I guess with a character like Dillinger you don't have to make stuff up to make it interesting :)

We drove down to Dallas and spent some time browsing the big Half Price Bookstore. Seeing Brigid's haul from her recent visit got me itching for some book hunting. I didn't make out as well as she did, but I did pick up a good book on Knots, an instructional book on fly fishing basics, and a copy of "The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld", which is a collection of funny/insightful bits from Terry Pratchett's masterpieces of fiction.

From there we daudled around NorthHaven Gardens nursery, and then stopped in to Babe's Restaurant for some southern fried chicken...

babes chicken assault vehicle

babes chicken assault vehicle detaiil

Our last stop was in old downtown Wylie, Texas. The Mrs. wanted to check out a Scrapbooking store that was going out of business, to pick up some bargains. I found a beautiful little Catholic Chapel off the old business district that I couldn't pass up snapping a few pics of.

wylie catholic church

wylie catholic church detail

All in all, a great day celebrating our nations birthday.

And we haven't even seen any fireworks yet!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Girl Friday 07/03/2009 - Yvonne De Carlo

Today's Girl Friday is a Woman I grew up watching on TV.... Yvonne De Carlo.

yvonne camera

If you're like me, you probably got your first exposure to Yvonne De Carlo on the campy Munster's TV show, as Lily Munster.

I remember seeing her for the first time in an old pre-Munsters movie that was rerun on TV. I couldn't believe it was the same lady :)

Yvonne_de carlo 2

Yvonne_de carlo

She had a successful career in the movies, before her best known role as Herman Munsters creepy looking Wife. She appeared with Charlton Heston, as his wife, in The Ten Commandments. I remember thinking, while watching that movie every Easter as a child, that there was NO WAY Moses would ever pic any sister other than her.


Girls, Guns, and Explosions.... Ahhhhhh....

Wow... Lots of good posts on the blogs I read today, and lots of things to sidetrack me from the stuff I actually need to do today :)

Visiting Hermit On the Skyline, I found a link to a video embedded on Crusader Rabbit's site. It features a segment from the Attack of the Show (AOTS) on G4 TV. I enjoy watching AOTS, whenever I get a chance to see it. Lots of interesting internet based things to see and check out.

I hadn't caught AOTS in a while, so I browsed around their videos for a bit and found these two videos I thought you might enjoy.

One is a "remix" of the Oklahoma FAST event showcased in the video on Rabbit's site - only without commentary. Just the adorable Alison Haislip shooting machine guns and blowing stuff up to a rocking soundtrack.

I can't believe I live about 30 minutes from the Oklahoma/Texas border and I haven't been to this thing....

The other video is a training day Ms. Haislip spent with a SWAT team trainer where she gets to "gear up" and try to rescue a hostage. Pretty good stuff: