Friday, September 30, 2011

Girl Friday - 9/30/2011 - Esti Ginzburg

Regardless of how I feel about the idea of Women in Combat roles in the Military, I have the highest regard for individuals who see their duty and carry it out. This week's Girl Friday is such a person. She caught some flack for her willingness to serve in the Isreali Defense Force, as a requirement of her citizenship in Israel, and for her comments regarding other folks who choose to dodge that responsibility.

Not only did she serve her country when asked, she did so proudly stating, "Military service is part of the things I personally believe in."

Esti Ginzburg

Esti Ginzburg 02

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How I Roll....

Rollin' with my Crew.....

Rollin with My Crew

Those Hip-Hop Hampsters Ain't Got Nuthin' On US!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This is the Smith Family, circa 1911...

smith family 1911 miss

They lived in Mississippi at the time this photograph was taken, having recently relocated from their farm in Alabama. The photo was one of many thousands taken by a man named Lewis Hine during his career.  Mr. Hine was employed by the National Child Labor Commitee for a decade to document the conditions faced by kids working in mills, glass factories, coal mines, and other urban occupations. His photos from this period are always interesting, and very often emotionally moving.

Often accompanying the photos are short captions identifying the conditions and working hours of the people photographed. Too, there are sometimes quotes from the subjects of the pictures  - as there is with this photo. The three girls in the front row worked in a textile mill. He quotes one of them as saying,

"We all like the mill work better'n the hot sun on farm". 

It's a simple quote, but one that illustrates some things that most people forget in this day and age. Here are some random thoughts that bubbled up when I read that quote....

1. Modern people look at child labor, and harsh industrial working conditions in general, as an anomaly. In truth, our current standards of safety and luxury are the anomaly. Throughout most of recorded history the lives these people lived were the norm - even for children. Kids began work at the age of 6 or 7, and were expected to do an adult's share of labor by the time they were 12 or 13 years old. This was common not only after the industrial revolution but preceding it as well, on farms and ranches all over the world.

If you were a kid back in those days, you were going to work - and work very hard. Usually 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week. The only question was where you would be working and for how much.

2. People today look at the conditions faced by "the poor" in early industrial settings and see it as evil perpetrated on the masses by rich fat cats building their empires on the backs of poor laborers. To some extent, that is true - in that the farther up the chain you went the better the conditions and higher the rewards.

However, it is extremely important to remember that no one forced these families to leave the farming communities they lived in previously and flock by the thousands to urban areas to work in mills and mines. They did so largely because, as harsh as those industrial conditions were by our standards today, they were a damned sight better than life they had led before. The pay was better, the conditions were better, and they benefitted greatly from the shift. That was the whole reason they made the move.

3. Much is made today about the next generation no longer moving forward and "having it better" than the generation before. This may be true from a narrow, static, monetary number based view. However, what is often ignored is the overall quality of life faced by people today compared to just a short time ago. The "poor" today often have cell phones, televisions, multiple automobiles, computers, .... Just a short 50 years ago there were large areas of the country that didn't have indoor plumbing and electricity.

I'm not rich by any modern measure. I would probably fit into the "lower middle class" category if I were to quantify it. However, a short walk around my house will find conveniences that would have amazed my Grandfather - and even my Parents - had they been described to them when they were young. Truth be told, if you walked around the home of a modern "poor" person you would find many aspects of their living conditions that would make a middle class person of the past green with envy.

4. Hunger in America is supposed to be an awful problem. I hear about it on the radio and TV several times a day. Oddly enough, Obesity is also supposed to be an awful problem too....


I hear directors of food banks declaring emergencies over the "growing problem" of hunger in America because no matter how much food they give away it never seems enough to satisfy the demand. No one stops to consider for a moment that when you give stuff away for free..... people will take it. Doesn't matter what it is and it doesn't matter whether the recipients "need" it or not. You give it away, someone will take it. That fact seems to elude people for some reason.

We have a population over 300,000,000 in the US right now. If hunger were such a dire problem, don't you imagine that someone, somewhere, would die of starvation at some point?... Just doesn't happen. Even the tiny number of people who starve due to some sort of psychological condition (anorexia, etc.), or kids dying from abusive restriction of food by their parents is so statistically small as to not even register. People just don't die in America because of lack of affordable food. Even the CDC reports that low income and "poor" kids are more likely to be obsese than their financially better off counterparts.

Food banks do serve an important purpose by helping people out in the short term that are down on their luck. However, the "Hunger in America" agenda is largely a solution in search of a problem.

None of the above should be construed as an indication that I am in favor of child labor, think there's no such thing as a poor person, or don't appreciate the fact that hard times effect people in unpleasant ways. I contribute to several charities, though I don't walk around wearing it on my sleeve or openly promoting that fact.

Life can be hard. It can be even harder at times. That's the nature of life. Utopian dreams of magically, or forcefully, making everything equal and "fair" always fall short in their result when compared to the initial dream. Often tragically so.

I guess what I'm trying to get across here is that with all the class envy being bantered about in public discourse these days its important to have some perspective when trying to sort it all out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Right Place, Wrong Species

Picked up another Cooper's Hawk last week at work. This one had apparently been hit by a car. It managed to fly erratically around the entrance to the ER at a local hospital. He could fly well enough to be difficult to catch, but not well enough to go on about his business without intervention.

coopers hawk

I took the bird to a Licensed wildlife rehabber to see if they could patch him/her up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

GPOMD - Updated

Gratuitous pictures of my dog....

gunny 12 weeks 2 resized

That's not a cigar hanging out of his mouth. He likes to snatch pieces of bark mulch out of the flower beds when outside to munch on.

gunny 12 weeks

Gunny's growing fast. Hard to believe he's just a little over 12 weeks. We're taking him with us to a local Octoberfest shindig today. Good chance to socialize him. Also get to play some more with my new camera. I recently upgraded my digital camera from a Canon Powershot A630 to a Canon SX30IS.

Its still a point-and-shoot, but I'm loving it. WAYYYYY better than my A630.

Gunny was a hit at the Octoberfest. No signs of the shyness now. Our only problem during our visit was having to stop every three or four steps because someone wanted to pet him :)

Octoberfest 003

Octoberfest 004

Friday, September 23, 2011

Girl Friday - 09/23/2011 - Claudia Cardinale

This week's Girl Friday is an iconic sex symbol of the 1960's - both in Europe and America.

Claudia Cardinale


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Gunny's first successful track

Ok.. this is a minor little success, but considering the fact that we weren't even scent training yet I was pretty surprised and happy.

Gunny hasn't had much exposure to people up to this point. Pretty much the only people he's been around before we got him were the breeder, her husband, and a couple of trips to the vet for shots. They lived out in a rural area and there just weren't any other people milling around.

He's very friendly toward people, but initially (especially in large, noisy crowds) he's a little hesitant at first. He'll shy away from people until he's sure they aren't gonna smack him. Once he's over that initial hiccup then he's all lovey-dovey. To help socialize him and get him used to lots of different situations I'm taking him places with me on my days off. Shopping areas, parks, that sort of thing.

Thursday night we visited a local park. This is a huge park with long walking paths and multiple playgrounds and soccer fields. Lots of soccer teams were playing and the parking lot had well over a hundred cars and trucks parked in it. We found a spot to park and proceeded to take a walk to work on our leash training and people meeting skills. He did pretty good, although people pushing baby strollers still freak him out a little.

Our initial route to the sidewalk/walking path led us from the parking spot north across the pavement about 30 yards to a grassy area. Once on the grass we cut east along a line of trees for about 50 yards before arcing across a wider area of grass to the concrete trail. We walked all over the walking paths and when we got back to the area where we first entered the trail on our way back - Gunny quickened his pace and immediately left the pavement and started across the grass at exactly the point we had entered the trail earlier. When I noticed this I gave him lots of slack on the leash and let him find his own way so I wouldn't be subconciously influencing where he chose to go.

If you've ever parked your car at an unfamiliar mall or stadium and had trouble finding your ride home, you'll appreciate how difficult a task that can be even for humans to do. Not so much trouble if you're a bloodhound :)

He retraced our path across the grassy area, along the treeline, and across the pavement of the parking lot right up to the passenger door of the Tacoma where it sat among the other cars in the parking lot. He sat down facing the door and looked back at me waiting for me to open it. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked.

I praised the hell out of him :)

I'm even more anxious to get him started on trailing exercises now. He'll be three months old this week. As soon as we get him a little more socially comfortable around people and strange places, we should be good to go. Don't want any more distractions from the trailing work than necessary.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paved Paradise, and put in a parking lot...

Ok... maybe calling it "Paradise" is a stretch, but it sure was more interesting than it is now.

2215 nichols avenue 1925 resized

This is the F. G. Lindsay grocery store, as it appeared in 1925. The location is 2215 Nichols Avenue, in Washington, DC. Interesting window display that includes a hanging side of meat :)

Today, there is no longer a "Nichols Avenue" in Washington. The name was changed to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd at some point. This is the approximate location of Lindsay's Grocery as it appears today:

2215 mlk washington crop


Let's try to tear ourselves away from that stimulating scene, and go back to 1925 for a moment. You also get the chance to see what it looked like inside the little grocery store.

2215 nichols avenue 1925 interior resized

If you view the picture full sized at Shorpy or the Library of Congress website, you'll see stuff that you can still find in stores today. Lava Soap, Cream of Wheat, Jello, Argo Cornstarch, are among the familiar brand names. Also of interest is a contraption that you might miss in the lower left hand corner of the picture:

2215 nichols avenue 1925 interior crop 1

That's a Cestor Peanut/Popcorn Cart. A Model 1, I believe. Its steam powered and the little steam engines that ran the carts made by Cestor are highly sought after by Steam engine collectors today. Looking closer still, you can see the trademark feature of Cestor carts and wagons:

2215 nichols avenue 1925 interior clown crop

The image is sort of squished due to the perspective of the old lens and glass plate negative, but you can make out the little animatronic clown that turned the crank for the peanut roasting hopper.

Here's an illustration of this type/model of cart from a catalog:


And here's one that is restored showing the beautiful colors of the original carts:


Friday, September 16, 2011

Girl Friday - 09/16/2011 - Crystal Smith - NSFW

This week's Girl Friday comes to us from the pages of Playboy Magazine - September 1971.

Crystal Smith


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making a link through the past

This is a picture I found recently on Shorpy:

bliss Hotel Iroquois, Buffalo 1900

That's a street view of the Iroquois Hotel in Buffalo, NY around 1900. Pretty awesome picture, especially when you view it large and pick out the smaller surrounding details.

bliss bros

Looking at the lower right hand corner of the photo you find another building that housed a shoe store on the first floor, a Dentist office on the second floor, and a Photographer's Studio on the floor above that. "Tonalgia" was a pharmaceutical concoction popular back in the day. It contained Cocaine, and was one of several similar mixtures used to make dental work less of a terrifyingly painful affair.

Bliss Brothers photography studio saw lots of business in those days, I'm sure. Cabinet Card photos were all the rage at the turn of the century. It was common practice in those days for people to go into the photographer's studio and have their pictures made - often with props, pets, and their best clothing on display. A brief search of the internet produced this example:

bliss cdv girl

Finding a picture of someone actually taken inside that studio in the photograph is one of the many things I love about the internet. It ain't all pron, silly videos, and politics out there :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Busting the stereotype....

Sure... I know what you're thinking. Bloodhounds are lazy, unmotivated, and wrinkly.

gunny stereotype 620

Ok... they are wrinkly. I'll concede that point. But they are a lot more active a breed than most people imagine. Especially when the only exposure they've had to them are clips from the Beverly Hillbillies.

Gunny's favorite toy at the moment is a stuffed 'possum, with a squeaker inside.

gunny possum 2

"But Paladin... you could have just posed his head by the stuffed animal while he was sleeping".

I'm ready for you, Doubting Thomas. I have video proof:

Of course, after a bout of possum killing you deserve a rest. True to form, Bloodhounds approach nap time with the same diligence they bring to all their duties.

gunny possum

And yes... he does snore up a storm when he sleeps on his back.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

You want the cute?... You can't handle the cute.

Everyone will be posting their 9/11 remembrances today. We're observing the day as well here at Castle Paladin, but I thought I would provide a little soul Gatorade so you can take a wee break from the somberness. That's important too.

Meet Gunny..

gunny trip home 4 crop 620

Gunny is short for "Gunnery Sergeant XXXX", with the "X's" being the rest of his registered name we haven't settled on yet. He's black and tan bloodhound that we picked up in Mississippi this weekend. It was a loooooong drive there and back. About 10 hours each way.

gunny trip home 2 620

Gunny slept most of the way on the floorboard between Mrs. Paladin's feet. We stopped every couple of hours at roadside parks to stretch all of our legs. He made the trip like a champ.

gunny trip home 4 620

He's only 10 weeks old, if you can believe that! He weighs 23 lbs already and his feet are almost as big as our Rottweiler's feet were at full grown. He's gonna be a big boy.

gunny trip home 5 620

We looked high and low for a closer source for a bloodhound puppy over the past few months. We found some in Texas, but to be honest when you looked at them and the parents they looked more like bloodhound mixes instead of the full blooded animals they were. If I was going to plonk down cash for a bloodhound, by God I wanted one that looked every bit of the part.

I'm hoping to start him on Mantrailing exercises soon - just to see if he and I have an aptitude for it. I include myself in this evaluation, because all the tools and skill are already in the dog. Its more a matter of whether I can synch myself into his doggie brain and interpret what he tells me and communicate with him enough to get him to get "the game".

He's already good at the leaf search and destroy missions...

gunny trip home 3 620

Friday, September 9, 2011

Girl Friday - 9/9/2011 - Josie Maran

This week's Girl Friday is a model/actress who was "discovered" while eating at a BBQ joint:

Josie Maran


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Many years ago we bought a big dog kennel for crate training our Rotty. It did its duty well, until it was no longer needed and sat in the garage unused for several years. The last time we used it was 4 or 5 years ago when we picked up several farm raised mallard ducks as a present for my Dad. He wanted some to keep on his pond at the farm.

Ducks poop a lot.

By the time we got from the bird place to the farm, the kennel was a mess. We were pushed for time and sat the filthy kennel down by the barn with the notion of cleaning it out next time we were out for a visit. Yeah... never happened.

With the coming arrival of our new puppy, we picked up a brand spanking new kennel. I also retrieved the old, duck-poopy one from my folks house and finally cleaned it out. Years of exposure to the elements had taken their toll and it looked really bad even after I cleaned it up. I figured a quick coat of paint might make it presentable enough for use as a transport kennel in the back of the Truck when we go on longer trips like camping weekends.

One thing led to another, and the plan for a simple coat of paint morphed itself into this:


It's Tactical. It's a kennel. It's a Tactikennel!

I tiger striped it in sort of woodland colors, because quite frankly the desert digital camo so in vogue with the kids these days I just don't get. North Texas, while hot and dry beyond the point of reasonableness, is not a desert. To each his own, of course, but I just don't dig digital camo in general.

Woodland digital is OK, and I like multicam (except for the price), but I've always preferred the old school woodland camo or tiger stripe woodland for aesthetic and practical reasons.

Monday, September 5, 2011

5 days and counting...


Can't you just FEEL the excitement building?...
Trust me, inside that calm exterior is a virtual explosion of anticipation.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Everything old is new again....

This is a picture of W.H. Murphy, of the Protective Garment Corporation taking a full on shot in the chest (while wearing a bullet proof vest, of course) from a .38 caliber revolver. The man firing it is a Deputy Sherriff in Washington D.C..

The year is 1923.

point blank 1923

And here is a video of the CEO of Texas Armoring Corporation - Standing behind his product....

I wouldn't do either stunt.... for any amount of money :) I wonder, though, how much it would cost to outfit the Tacoma with some of their glass?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Girl Friday - 09/02/2011 - Jeanne Crain 2

Sorry Girl Friday is late... I'd blame Blogger, but it's plain old operator error :)

I stumbled across some nice pics of a young lady who last appeared as Girl Friday back in May of 2009....

Sheesh... I've been doing this a long time, huh? :)

Jeanne Crain


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