Sunday, December 31, 2006

A List For The New Year

The New Year will be upon us soon!

While people are preparing themselves for the party of the year (I’m not so much for New Year’s partying… never was), I’ve been thinking about the past year and what lies ahead of me for the year to come.

At this point, I suppose I am supposed to launch in to some sentimental theme about the blessings that have come my way, and maybe talk about my (blessedly few) disappointments, as well.

Guess what, sports fans? Not doin’ it.

2006 was a great year for me and my family. 2007 looks even better. I hope all of you that read this feel the same. For those of you that cannot, I hope that the coming year will be better than the last.

Instead of tugging at your heart strings in these final few hours of the year, I will talk about books.

Listed below are some of the books I read this year. If you have any questions, or would like any commentary about any of them, let me know and I will be pleased to bore you to no end about them.


1824: he Arkansas War: An alternate history of an America that wasn’t.

Coyote Rising: A science fiction novel of planetary colonization and imperialist oppression, by an author (Allen Steele) whose work I really enjoy (if you ant to look this guy up, start with a novel called Chronospace. It’s a good ‘un!)

The Protector’s War: S.M. Stirling is not only a gifted storyteller, but an amateur historian that never fails to use good, solid historical research in all of his novels.

At All Costs: The 14th (I think) novel in the Honor Harrington series of space operas. David Weber really delivers in this retelling of Napoleon’s “One Hundred Days” campaign. If you have ever read Forrester’s Horatio Hornblower novels… this series runs, more or less, parallel to them… except they are set in the far future, using interstellar, faster-than-light warships, instead of wooden ships powered by sails and the wind.

Act of Treason

Settling Accounts: The Grapple!


Why Men Hate Going To Church: A discussion of why fewer and fewer men are active in their churches.

Violence, Society, and the Church

101 Reasons To Be Episcopalian: A little book of humor that speaks for itself. Lots of laughs… and I’m not even an Episcopalian.

Nelson’s Trafalgar:

Faith and Politics

God’s Politics

The Wounded Warrior

The Tender Warrior

Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America

Washington: The Indispensable Man

Theology for Liberal Presbyterians

No More Christian Nice Guy


A Sailor of King George

A Voice from the Main Deck

Letters from the Battle of Waterloo
(Thank you, Janet, for this & the two, listed above)

On Being Lutheran

Left Behind in a Megachurch World: How God Works Through Ordinary Churches

The History of Christian Thought

Death by Suburb

The Gospel According To The World’s Greatest Superhero: A discussion of the messianic story of Jesus Christ, as told in the origin mythology of Superman.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity, A Western Perspective: I think that the title speaks for itself… an enjoyable read if you have any interest at all in the history of organized Christendom.

Are you still awake?

Good… hopefully, I haven’t bored you to the point of not being able to see Dick Clark wheeled out, like Brezhnev, to do 10 minutes of on-camera work for “New Years Rockin’ Eve!”
I have enjoyed my time spent blogging with all of you for the past eight months.

Thanks for taking the time.

God be with you.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Dreams

So... you are probably asking yourself, right this minute, "Gee, what DOES a gunfighter dream about on Christmas?" Well, I'll tell you.

Last night/this morning, I dreamt about being named to the SWAT team in a local jurisdiction, here in northern Virginia. In this dream, I was also named as an alternate for the FBI's Hostage Recue Team (HRT).

Now, I kknow you might be thinking that this is some sort of understandable thing to dream about for someone that is in law enforcement. You might be right... except for the fact that I have no real desire to do SWAT-type work. To be quite frank, I am too old, too fat, and have too many old injuries, to do that kind of high-speed, low-drag crap (although I really DO look cool in a pair of Oakleys).

So, where did this come from? I mean, yesterday was Christmas... did I dream about Olivia's candle-lighting in church on Christmas eve (so CUTE), or the great gifts that I received from Mrs Gunfighter? Did I dream about the great meal that I prepared? (photos and comments about that later in the week), did I dream about our peaceful day at home? No. I dreamt about body armor and shooting.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Just Because I like It

Thats why... since you were probably wondering

"I've been walkin' these streets so long
Singin' the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway
Where hustle's the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
There's been a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone

Well, I really don't mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you're down when you're ridin' the train that's takin' the long way
And I dream of the things I'll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There'll be a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowboy
Gettin' cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo"

Hey, it's one of my favorite songs... what can I tell you?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some of My Favorite Hymns

For your listening pleasure... if you are so inclined:

O come, O come, Emmanuel

Onward Christian Soldiers Which suits my belligerent nature.

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

One Bread, One Body, which is my favorite communion hymn.

Here I am, Lord

Were You There

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

And last, but not least, none of you who are anywhere near my age range can forget this one: A Mighty Fortress is Our God". most of you know this one, even if you think you don't know any hymns. This is what I always referred to as "The Davey and Goliath" music (until I joined a Lutheran church, that is).

So, there you are. A selection of some of my favorite hymns. I love these songs. They make me feel good... which I suppose is the point, eh?

A Christmas Meme

I found this while surfing into a blog that is listed on the blog of someone who reads my blog (Oy!, my head hurts already!). This meme is original to the person who tagged me (she tagged everyone who read it), so hats off and Merry Christmas to you, Holly, out in Iowa!

Christmas Meme

What greeting of the season do you use?

Merry Christmas!

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning, although we let Olivia open one gift after we come home from church (and our Christmas light ride).

Did you leave out milk and cookies for Santa?

I did when I was a kid... sometimes. We do it now with Olivia. She and I make cookies before we go to church, and leave them out with milk (or egg nog) when she goes to bed. After she goes to sleep, Susan and I will eat some of them, making sure to leave at least one with a bite taken out of it.

What's one Christmas Eve tradition your family had?

We didn't really have any when I was growing up... except to stay up late and watch "A Christmas Carol" (the one with Alastair Sim).

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Well, I really love "O Come, O come Emmanuel", and "Good King Wenceslaus" is another favorite. I also love "Hark The hearld Angels Sing" (which always brings a tear to my eye (Quit laughing, or I'll hunt you down... and you know I can do it, too!). To tell the truth, there are so many it is difficult to list. Hmm... "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas" also comes to mind, as does "Santa Claus is Coming To Town"

Addendum: I truly love "Sleigh Ride"... in all it's myriad forms and arrangements (thanks, Janet!)

What's your least favorite Christmas song?

"Jingle Bell Rock". I really hate that song. No, really hate it. Everyone who has ever recorded that song should be executed in a grisly manner. (Dis)Honorable mentions go to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "The Little Drummer Boy"

What's your favorite Christmas movie?

I have three: A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim), It's A Wonderful Life, and
White Christmas

What's your favorite Christmas tv special?

Well, for me, it is How The Grinch Stole Christmas... which I think Olivia and I are going to watch tonight.

What's the best present you ever got?

I'm not sure... I get excited when I get anything from anyone. Having low expectations means rarely being disappointed.

What's the worst present you ever got?

Several years ago, my mother decided to buy gifts for S and I that were just mind boggling: A Jerry McGuire vhs tape, a really ghastly, blue sequined blouse for S, a gaudy, ugly watch for me, as well as some freakin' horrible maroon shirt... like I would wear anything maroon! Everything in the box was awful. It all went right back into the box, and stayed in the basement for two years, after which it all went to the Salvation Army.

What's the best present you ever gave?

I'll tell you next week. I think S is going to like it, though.

What's the worst present you ever gave?

I usually give good presents... but when I was away from home for my first Christmas (I was 19, stationed in Germany), I was friends with this married guy in my unit, who invited me to his apartment to spend Christmas with him and his wife & small child. I brought a gift for the family, a bottle of wine, and a small toy mouse. As soon as I gave the kid the mouse... I mean literally within 15 seconds, the mouse's tail ccame off... causing the kid to howl! I was mortified.

What do you want for Christmas this year?

When S originally asked me this, I said what I usually say: I dunno, nothing in particular. I have since recanted. I told her the other day, that I want one of those big illustrated books about the Saints... the saints of the church, kids... not the New Orleans Saints (I know someone was thinkin' about it!).

Is Christmas still a religiously significant holiday for you--in other words, do you celebrate it as the birth of the savior of humanity?

Yup. It is for me. Even though it is a time of year for family, friends, good cheer, parties, and general fun, it is still the time of year wherein we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Real or artificial Christmas tree?

Artificial. Mrs Gunfighter has allergies, and I think O has them as well. Personally, when I was growing up, we never had a live tree, so I don't see not haveing one as a problem.

I tag anyone who ever celebrated Christmas.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Resign, Mr. President

Dear Mr President,

I write to you as a concerned American. Not as a member of a political party, not as a partisan, and not as a voter.

I am a veteran of eight years of service in our armed forces and am a career law enforcement officer. I am a husband and a father, and I care about my country.

I think it is important that I tell you that I didn't vote for you, although I did work as a volunteer for your Father's campaign, at national headquarters, in 1992.

I think, Mr President, that it is time for our country to face a few stark facts about our involvement in Iraq. It should be clear to all, by now, that the military situation in Iraq is getting worse. Indeed, it was reported in the Washington Post today that you, yourself, said that "we aren't winning, we aren't losing" in Iraq. I, and countless thousands, maybe millions, of others appreciate your candor.

I happen to be among those that agree with you in your current assessment, sir. Militarily, the militias and fighters engaging our valiant men-at-arms haven't got a prayer of defeating us on the field of battle, indeed I don't believe that any nation or conceivable group of nations could do that. Our people are brave and well-led, and our forces are strong.

What is glaringly obvious to me, and I hope to you and your advisers, is that our forces cannot create a condition wherein a stable, viable, democratic, multi-ethnic, self-defensible, Iraqi government can emerge, or having emerged, survive.

Iran and Syria are key figures in this arena. It is as plain as the nose on my face that they are aiding and abetting the insurgents, militias, and foreign fighters. I'm sure you know this as well, but, the question is: What can we do to get them to stop? The simple answer is: Nothing.

We are stuck in Iraq, sir. Stuck, with no way to victory as you have described it.

I realize that it is the policy of your administration not to "cut and run". I know that you believe that to leave Iraq, we would be showing weakness. I must disagree. The only real option we have, sir, is to declare victory and go home.

Saddam Hussein is deposed. Iraq has a functioning court system. Iraq must be left to find it's own way, because at this point, our forces only serve as magnets for foreign instigators. Our soldiers and Marines are now fighting over the corpse of the old Iraq which will, with a certainty, eventually become the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

Mr President, our men & women were sent to invade that country at your command. Those men and women believed, as good American soldiers should, that they were sent to war for the safety and security of OUR nation. They were misled. They were misled by you, sir. Misled by your sketchy (and untrue) message about weapons of mass destruction. They were misled by your statements (and by the statements of your senior staff) about fighting terrorism in Baghdad instead of the streets of America. They were misled about AL Qaeda-Iraqi cooperation in the 9/11 attacks. They were misled about the Iraqi military threat. They were misled about Iraq being the central front of the war on terror. Surely, sir, your advisers must have told you what any FBI agent worth his/her salt must know: You can't defeat terrorism with conventional armed forces.

By now, Mr President, nearly three thousand Americans have been killed in Iraq... and it is your fault. As Commander-In-Chief, that responsibility lies on your head. I believe that you owe it to the people of this country, to do the honorable thing: Resign.

Resign, Mr President. Accept your moral obligation to the memory of our dead soldiers. Accept your moral obligation to the families who have lost loved ones. Accept your moral obligation to the countless thousands of dead Iraqi civilians that your invasion has killed. Accept your moral obligation as a world leader.

I have heard that you are a Christian, sir, and I am glad to know it, and as such I have to ask you: Would Christ himself ever have ordained all of this, just to depose a bad man? Would Christ have ordained any of this, noble intentions or not, when it is all based on a tissue of lies and deception? Somehow, I don't think so.

For Shame, sir.

Resign, Mr President. You owe it to our dead. You owe it to our country.

I have been, and will continue, praying for you.



(Note: This is the text of a letter I sent to the White House, this morning)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Gunfighter Meets Newt Gingrich

Some months ago, I promised to tell Zanne the story of when I met Newt Gingrich.

So here it is, Zanne, just for you (and anybody else that wants to read what I write... all four of you):

Gunfighter Meets Newt Gingrich:

Arrr... Call me Ishmael. Er, wrong story, sorry.

T'was in the cold, wet, dark days of January, two thousand ought five. I was advised to cancel the evening class that Iwas going to be teaching in close quarters pistol combat, because former Speaker-of-The-House Newt Gingrich would be in the building, to tape part of a documentary that he was making for.... FOX NEWS (real surprise there, eh?). The documentary was titled: American Gangs - Ties To Terror?

Of course, the bosses weren't terribly happy about the expletives that immediately left my mouth when I heard that we were actually going to suspend our own training just to kiss up to some pain-in-the-ass, has-been politician.

Being the fine fellow that I am, and knowing that swimming against some tides is futile, I, and my partner, the estimable Harold, made ready to host Newt and company.

As it turns out, everyone arrived on time, and all were about as pleasant as can be. Newt had some questions about the type of training we conduct (all off-camera, of course) and then they were going to start filming. Here is the kicker: As it turned out, all they wanted to film was Newt in a poorly lit alley, next to a concrete wall. Being in the icy throes of January, the weather wasn't all that cooperative... meaning, it was too cold for Newt to film the 15 seconds of dialogue, that he needed to do. Since Newt didn't want to be cold, his people called some people, who called some people where I work and said: "Hey! don't you guys have an indoor range with variable lighting?" and a plan was formed.

OK, bad enough that Newt is a pansy for wanting to do this, but he wanted to do it on my range! To make matters worse, the bosses decided to get one of our agents, who knows a bit about gang graffiti, to spray paint my walls with all sorts of gang tags from the infamous MS-13.

OK, now I'm irritated... we are going to voluntarily deface government property so Newt Gingrich can film a self-aggrandizing TV spot? I was pretty pissed off about this, and I told the bosses about my thoughts on the subject.... they didn't listen, but did tell me that they would get all of it painted over right away, which made me feel better.

Until the next morning.

I asked the bosses when I could call the maintenance people to schedule that wall for painting... and do you know what the answer was?

Do you?

"Sorry, GF, we don't have anymore budget for stuff like that this year!"

You Moth*******rs!

Well, a few weeks later, I got a nice note on Gingrich's official stationary, thanking me for my efforts, it reads:

"Inspector Gunfighter,

Thank you for all of your help with "American Gangs - Ties to Terror". It was a great pleasure taping this project, and I could not have done it without your support and assistance.

Again, thank you for all of your hard work on this worthwhile project."

It was signed: Sincerely, Newt Gingrich

Well, just kiss my ass!

That letter now hangs on my office wall in a place of honor... right under the photo of a beaming Gunfighter, meeting Bill Clinton for the first time!

Addendum: After several months of waiting to get my wall painted, I went to Wal-Mart, bought the paint, and did it myself.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A CD Review

Nothing pithy today.

Not even anything particularly silly... unless you think that it is silly that I bought American Idol winner Taylor Hicks' new CD on the day it was released.

Here is the story: If you have been reading my blog, particularly my birthday post on December 6th, you will know that I am a fan of American Idol, my addiction to which will be the subject of a different post, after that start of the new year.

I enjoy the show, and I enjoyed last season much more than I did the season before, in which the odious Carrie Underwood was selected as the winner. This season we had the very enjoyable and entertaining Taylor Hicks to watch and listen to week after week.

Taylor Hicks was probably not the best singer in the bunch... clearly the show ISN'T about the best singer, or Mandisa would have been crowned winner after week number 2, but I digress. Taylor Hicks was, however, the most entertaining of them all. His soulful voice and ability to laugh at himself made him popular enough for the top slot.

So, what is a fan of old-school soul music supposed to do when this new son of "blue-eyed soul" releases his long-anticipated CD? Well, you go out and buy it.. that's what you do.

So... off to Target I went. I found the CD quite handily on an end cap, and took it home for a listen while I did stuff around the house.

Folks, it ain't half bad. I think that there are songs that could be successful on both pop/Top 40 radio, as well as more, ahem, "urban" radio stations. Naturally there is some small degree of useless treacle, but show me an album that doesn't have at least ONE song you don't like.

The bottom line for me is that as first efforts go, this was solid work. If Hicks can make the second CD at least this strong, he'll do just fine.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Pimps Are Cool Now?

The December 14th issue of Rolling Stone magazine has a picture of Snoop Dog on the cover. He is wearing red, with a Santa Hat, and holding a candy cane.

The blurb next to the photo says: "At Home With America's Most Lovable Pimp" Yeah, they actually connected the words "lovable" and "Pimp" in the same sentence.

So... since when are pimps lovable? I suppose when said pimp can sell millions of dollars worth of CD's and fill concert halls. After all, this is America where family values money is the name of the game.

In this article, Snoop Dog... I'm sorry, Snoop Dogg (oh, how I hate creative spelling!) begins by telling us how connected he is with his children because of his deep involvement with youth football. He goes on to tell us that his involvement has brought many less-connected fathers into deeper relationships with their children, all of which are wonderful things. Unfortunately, Mr Snoop, or should it be Mr. Dogg, spends the rest of the article talking about gang activity, drugs, and his love for pimping.


This is something to be proud of? Something to brag about????

Wikipedia defines pimping thus:

"A pimp finds and manages clients for a prostitute and engages them in prostitution (in brothels in most cases and some cases street prostitution) in order to profit from their earnings. Typically, a pimp does not force prostitutes to stay with him, but they have been known to be abusive in order to keep their prostitutes in line or maximize profits. A pimp may also offer to protect them from other pimps, prostitutes or abusive clients. He can also enable a prostitute to work in a particular area under his control. Pimping is a sex crime in most jurisdictions."

This scumbag (yes, he IS a scumbag, no matter how much money he makes) says of pimping: "I had it like that. See, that shit was my natural calling and once I got involved with it, it became fun. It was like shooting layups for me. I was makin' 'em every time. 'Cause pimpin' ain't a job, it's a sport. I had a bitch on every exit from the 10 freeway to the 101 freeway."

This disgusting parasite spends the bulk of the article talking about dope, gang violence, and on his "infatuation" with the pimp life, and even discusses the fact that his wife, from whom he split and later reconciled, knew about it but looked the other way.

I suppose that by the end we are supposed to go back to the beginning where we are to feel warm and fuzzy about this dope-addled, criminal pimp just because he coaches youth football.

Sorry Snoop, or Dogg, or Calvin, or whatever you call yourself at the moment. You may be famous. You may be loaded to the gills with cash. You, sir, are a vile, steaming, stinking pile of dog****! you are doubly vile because you are the parent of a girl child.

I can't say enough bad things about you... and for all of the pimps of the world that prey on young girls and women.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do you Have a Hobby?

I've mentioned this in passing before, so I thought I 'd show you what I do with my hands before I fall asleep watching while I watch my evening TV.

I make rosaries. Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopalian... whatever.


I made these over the past week. They are the first rosaries I have ever been commissioned to do. I'm so proud. I made them for the husband and son of a colleague.

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I made these for Mrs. Gunfighter... I liked them so much, I made a copy for myself.

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These were made for my Pastor's wife... I haven't given them to her yet, but I am planning on making sure that she gets them before Christmas (I made a set for the Pastor, too, but haven't photographed them yet).

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I have made so many of these things, ranging from the very nice (and expensive) to the very tough and utilitarian, depending on the level of use and the receiver. Generally speaking, I give them away to people I feel might get something out of their use, or who might be in need.

I know that one or two of you were raised as Roman Catholics, so rosaries won't need much explanation to you. However, the use of beads in prayer is a tradition that as is as old as organized prayer. Many faith traditions have fallen away from their use, but they have had something of a resurgence in recent years, particularly in the Anglican/Episcopalian communion.

See the following:

Major religions have for centuries advocated the use of prayer beads as an aid to prayer. A modern twist on this ancient tradition is the development of the Anglican Rosary, also known as "Episcopal Prayer Beads" or "Christian Rosary". Known and used as "Rosary beads" by Roman Catholics, "Mala beads" in the Hindu religion and "Chotki" in the Greek Orthodox tradition, the earliest prayer beads were most probably loose stones carried in the pocket, used to number one's prayers at set times of day. Eventually they were strung together so as not to be so easily lost.

While the Catholic Rosary has 59 beads and the Hindu mala 108, the number of beads in the Anglican rosary has been set at 33, the number of years in Christ's life. A set of Anglican beads is comprised of four sets of 7 beads called "weeks". The number 7 represents wholeness and completion, and reminds us of the 7 days of creation, the 7 days of the temporal week, the 7 seasons of the church year, and the 7 sacraments. Four "cruciform" beads separate the "weeks". They represent the 4 points of the cross and its centrality in our lives and faith, the 4 seasons of the temporal year, and the 4 points on a compass. Anglican prayer beads use a cross rather than a crucifix. Near the cross is the "invitatory bead". The beads may be of wood, glass or stone and the cross of wood or metal.

Mrs Gunfighter loves that I make these, but every time I come up with some new design, she snags the first one for herself (I can't even tell you how many of these things that she has!).

Anyway, there you are.


Please email me if you would like me to make one of these for you. I'd be happy to do it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another Tag!

OK, Grimm... this is for you, dude.

6 Weird things about Gunfighter:

1. I would rather wear a kilt than wear trousers. Men, if you ever wore a kilt you'd know why practically instantly.

2. I know almost all of the lyrics to every song in "Damn Yankees", as well as the movie's dialogue. My sister was in the play when she was in high school, and she used me to coach her on her lines, so I had to read ALL of the other parts except for hers.

3. I don't like butter... or margarine, or any other butter-like spread. I'll cook with it, but I don't like eating it on things.

4. See number 3, but insert Mayonnaise (including miracle whip) in the appropriate places.

5. When I was a kid, I hated cheese burgers. Don't ask why, I'm not really sure, myself.

6. When I as in 7th grade, I memorized "The Charge of The Light Brigade, and "The Raven". Ok, so I have the odd Rainman-like moment, get off of my back, willya?

Grimm says that I have to tag six other people, but guess what, dude? you're only gettin' five, and one of them is your Missus! Take that! Hmm, one of the people I have in mind is a southern girl with guns, who would probably tell me to f*** off if I tagged her, so I'll have to think of some others.

OK, here we go, Tahsa, TTBM, Leslie, Janet K., Zanne

Alla y'all (I have to work really hard on the southernese... it doesn't come natural to me) can consider yourselves tagged.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Mount Vernon, A National Resource

A few months ago, I posted about going to a Jazz Festival at Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. In that post, I think I mentioned the fact that we go there every year as part of my birthday celebration. Well, you know that my birthday was last wednesday, so last friday, we went to Mount Vernon for our annual Candlelight Tour.

We had a scheduled arrival time of 5 P.M., so we didn't have a lot of time to fool around when I got home from work. Mrs Gunfighter had the day off, so she was pretty much ready right away. While Mrs G. went to pick up O from school, I climbed out of all my gear. I ditched my uniform and took off my patented Batman utility belt, and changed into jeans and a more comfortable belt, so that my holster wasn't digging into my side.

As soon as O got home and changed, we were out the door.

We live about 15 miles from Mount Vernon, which isn't far, but those of you who know about friday traffic in the DC area, understand that one little problem can wreck traffic patterns for hours! Luckily, our drive was uneventful, except for hearing a new version of "Holly Jolly Christmas" (I love that song! Susan... not so much).

Once we got to Mount V, we entered through the new museum that is onsite. We didn't have time to go through all of it, but I am really looking forward to doing so very soon.

We enterd the grounds of the estate, where staff members in period clothing (think 1797) served hot apple cider and these really great, thin ginger wafers, which Olivia loved (well, all three of us did).

We were in the second group called and began our tour with a docent, Stephanie, whom we were certain was rather new. Stephanie led us up the path to the mansion, pointing out items of interest and answering questions until we got to the front of the house, where we were met by Captain Posey, a neighbor of the General, whose home is 5 miles downriver (that was a near neighbor in those days!). Captain Posey explained that in 1797, a person needed a letter of introduction to be admitted into the presence of the great man, himself, and asked the group if we had such a thing. Well, luckly for us, a certain 8 year old girl that I know did, in fact, have such a thing, which had been given to her by the aforementioned Stephanie. Olivia presented the letter to Captain Posey, who bowed as he accepted it, and we were led into the mansion.

As we entered the mansion via the dining room, we were met by Lady Washington (played by quite the famous re-enactor) who talked to us for about 3 minutes (all in character, before we progressed throught the rest of the house. The house itself is remarkable in it's size, mainly because in today's era of McMansions, the Mount Vernon house isn't terribly large... but for 1797, it was quite the thing, I am certain.

After seeing the rooms, which included the room in which General Washington died, we went out through the study, where we were met by The General's secretary, Mr Tobias Lear (also played by a great, and familiar reenactor).

We ended the tour with a stroll around the grounds, on this windy, cold night, absolutely loving the stillness and the smell of the various wood fires that were burning in the fireplaces in the house, and elsewhere. We strolled past the greenhouse, the estate laundry, the slave quarters, and gardens before heading to the Mount Vernon gift shop/bookstore.

While in the bookstore, I showed some discipline and only bought one book (well, one for me and one for Olivia) while Susan bought three books (and one for Olivia).

If you've never been in that gift/book shop, you must go. You'll love it.

It was 7 P.M. when we finished and we were ready for dinner, so away we went, serene and happy.

Let me tell you something, friends. If any of you ever get to the Washington, DC area, you must take advantage of this place. Mount Vernon is a historical resource that is not to be missed. Truust me (and you know that your pal Gunfighter is trustworthy) when I tell you that if you have any sense of the historical, you will love Mount Vernon.

Don't miss it.

Those of you that live in this area... what are you waiting for? Close your browser and go to Mount Vernon. Now!



National Loyalty

I had to go to Wal-Mart last night, to get a new flapper ball for a toilet tank. The local Wal-Mart is only about a mile and a half from our house, so it takes less than 5 minutes to get there.

While I was driving last night, I saw a pick-up truck with personalized tags that read: CSA-USA.

This is the subject of today's post.

I am of the opinion that you can't have divided loyalties.

Someone that pines for the days of the Confederacy is decidedly anti-American. You can't profess your love for the United States while professing love for, or loyalty to, a rebellious entity that attempted to fracture that United States and it's duly constituted government by force of arms.

In my opinion, people that express their desire for the south to rise again, and other rebel crap like that, are disloyal. They should never be granted security clearances as they are risks to national security. They should never be allowed to rise past the rank of Major in the armed forces, they should never be allowed command responsibilities in any major police force. They should never be allowed Judgeship's, or be allowed to serve in any elected office, whether it be state, local or federal.

Due to A. Lincoln's untimely murder (at the hands of a secessionist dead-ender) and the ascension of Andrew Johnson (of North Carolina), the secessionist rebels were let off the hook too easily after wars end. I believe that All rebel politicians and officers, including the overrated Robert E. Lee, should have been hanged for treason and sedition, instead of being allowed to return home.

As most of you know, I live in Virginia, a decidedly southern, "red", state (well, Commonwealth really, but I digress. The part of the state that I reside in is commonly referred to as "Northern Virginia".

If you were looking at a map, you would figure that "Northern Virginia" would consist of the the following counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William, and the City of Alexandria.

It is eastern Prince William County in which I reside. If you consult a map, find Washington, DC, then find Interstate 95 and follow it south for about 25 miles. That is Prince William County, which is what I like to refer to as the border between the north and south, the Mason-Dixon line notwithstanding.

Here in Prince William, You will find no small number of people that have license plates or stickers on their cars that recall their fondness for the old days, with some fanciful belief that their lives would be better if their ancestors hadn't done such a poor job during the war.

People often think that southerners are more patriotic than other groups of Americans. From where I sit, nothing could be further from the truth.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be construed to to indicate that I dislike southerners. That is certainly not the case.

Friday, December 8, 2006

What Now, Dubya?

By now, mostly everyone in the world with access to a newspaper, computer, television, or radio has heard the the Iraq Study Group (ISG) has submitted the report of it's finding to President Bush and to The Congress.

Have you seen or heard the President's response? President Bush (I am doing my level best to remain respectful, here... it isn't easy for me) has said that he "will take the recommendations seriously... but I am sure that Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton don't think that we are going to do EVERYthing that is suggested in the report" He went on to talk about "victory as a way forward"

Victory? Did he say "victory"?

Excuse me for being a pessimist, Mr. Bush, but what I am now hearing as your standard for victory in Iraq (economically viable, politically stable, self-defensible) are unachievable. They were unrealistic from the beginning, which should have given you pause before you launched this war of aggression, but we will set that aside for a moment.

Iraq, sir, has been plunged into chaos. Chaos exacerbated, in the main, by the insurgency/civil war/terror campaign that would never have started if you hadn't made this invasion happen.

Did no one in your administration ever learn anything about history in the middle east?

Did no one ever notice that, historically speaking, as soon as the only barrier between volatile groups and sub-groups (in any polarized country) disappears, those groups attempt to instate some sort of primacy over the others? Did no one learn anything from Armenia?, from Yugoslavia, from Rwanda?, from Israel/Palestine?

There is no road to victory, Mr. Bush. Not in the terms you have set out. Our armed forces achieved the only victory that there was to be had in this whole sad, sorry mess: The defeat of the Iraqi armed forces, and the capture of Saddam Hussein... and see what good that has done us.

The ISG has made many recommendations, I believe that there are 79 of them. One of the suggestions we hear of most is to engage Syria and Iran in some sort of "dialogue". I suppose you could try that, but I am certain that neither one of those countries would be even slightly interested in helping us extract ourselves from the buzz-saw that we have walked into.

Iraq is broken, and will be generations in repairing. You broke it, sir, and no amount of soldiers is going to fix it. The deaths of uncounted thousands are directly on your head. When you meet your maker, you've got a lot of 'splaining to do.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

My Happy Birthday

My birthday is usually a good day for me. This year I had what might have been the best birthday I can remember.

I started my day all punchy and sleep-deprived, and made my way to work. I had some time on my hands before things got busy, so I made my rambling birthday post, which so many of you read and commented on (for which I thank you).

Next, I did some effective logistical management, meaning I inventoried my ammo storage vault (dude, I have enough ammo to supply an Infantry battalion!).

I fielded several telephone calls from well-wishers with birthday greetings, and was even the subject of a blog post from the wonderful Zanne who was nice enough to send some of her readers here to wish me well. Thank you, Zanne, you are a treasure.

I had lunch with my dad (he drove from Baltimore), who took me to Phillips Flagship seafood restaurant, which is his favorite place to eat in DC. We had a great lunch and a great conversation. How great is it to have an adult conversation with one of your parents?! A conversation between two adults with mutual respect for each other. I haven't always had the best relationship with either of my parents, but I have repaired my rift with my dad in the past 8 or 10 years, and it has been one of the best things I could ever have done for myself.

I got a few more things done at work and went home. When I got to the house, I discovered that the parts for a rosary I am going to make had arrived, as had the new Evangelical Lutheran Worship book/hymnal that I had ordered! How cool is that?

Shortly after I got home, Susan and Olivia arrived, and it was time for presents!

I confess, I LOVE getting presents. I really do. I am one of those people that, when asked, what do you want for your birthday? I'll shrug and say: "I dunno", but not this year. This year I wanted (and received) the second season DVD set of Boston Legal! I was so pleased. In addition, I was gifted with a copy of the second "Pirates of The Caribbean" movie, which just added to my excitement. You all know of My Disney Addiction, but did you know that Pirates of The Caribbean is one of my favorite Disney attractions? Well, it is... so getting this DVD was a real treat for me.

Oivia gave me a very sweet card, but, the card Susan gave me really made my day. I'll spare you the details, but it was a wonderful card (Thanks, baby!)

Olivia made sure to sing Happy Birthday, to me again, but you know something? The lyrics have changed since I was eight. Apparently the song goes like this, now:

Happy Birthday to you, CHA CHA CHA!,

Happy Birthday to you, CHA CHA CHA!,

Happy Birthday, dear daddy!,

Happy Birthday to you!

CHA CHA CHA!, Kumbaya!, Pepperoni Pizza!, Pikachu! I love You! Yaaaaaaay!

Terribly cute.

Olivia had choir practice and Susan was teaching Confirmation, so I was on my own for an hour or so... so I went to Border's and bought myself a CD, and a new book. While I was at Border's, I got a birthday call from my mother (with whom I share a birthday).

I got home shortly after S & O, and we had some time together before Olivia went to bed. S & I talked until 10, at which time S went to bed and I went to work on the rosary that I am making for a co-worker's son.

Sound uneventful? Perhaps for some, but it was my kind of day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Today is My Birthday

In honor of which, I am going to ramble about things that have been on my mind. Some of these things may be of interest to you.... some of these things are likely to bore you out of your skulls:

* Today's first birthday wish came in the form of a telephone call from Olivia and Susan. Olivia sang "Happy Birthday To You (cha-cha-cha!)"

* I made a Roman Catholic Rosary last night, while I watched Boston Legal.

* I stayed up entirely too late, and as a result, I am quite punchy this morning.

* My new tattoo has healed nicely. Awesome work done by Paul Roe

* My aches ache even more these days.

* Some of my younger staff members are almost able to out shoot me. I like to think this is because I have trained them well. I believe that I have, but I cannot escape the feeling that good ol' Bill is slowing down. None of which should be construed to make you believe that I won't open an oil tanker-sized can of whoop ass on someone half my age. HAHAHAHAHA!

* I'm listening to a great CD I burned. I call it "Sleigh Rides". It is a compilation of different artists that have recorded one of my favorite Christmas songs. The artists are: Mel Torme, Jane Monheit, Lou Rawls, Ramsey Lewis, The Barenaked Ladies, Diana Krall, Ella FitzGerald, The Hampton String Quartet and, Jaymz Bee & The Royal Jelly Orchestra. One time offer... if any of you would like a recording (none of it downloaded... I own all of the original CD's), please send me your address via email, and I'll ship it in time for Christmas, Hannukah, or Kwanzaa.

* As I look over the top of my monitor, I see the Three Stooges print that Susan gave me last year. When I look at it, I laugh aloud, as I always do whenever I see or hear any references to The Stooges. I know that it is a gender specific thing, as I have never met a woman that thought the Stooges were as funny as any man I have ever met. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

* I like frozen pizza better than I like that shite from Domino's.

* My Dad called me on monday. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Range, Bill Gunfighter speaking.

Dad: Hey boy!

Me: Hi dad!

Dad: What are you doing at the office?

Me: Working... what else would I be doing?

Dad: Oh. Well, I just wanted to call and make sure that I didn't miss your birthday!

NOTE: My dad gets my birthday wrong every year. Either that or he forgets how old I am. It has been this way for years, but it is getting worse.

Me: Um... dad?, my birthday is wednesday.

Dad: The sixth, right?

Me: Yeah.

Dad: That's today!

Me: Dad? Today is the fourth.

Dad: Oh. Well, How 'bout I call you Wednesday... maybe we can have lunch?

Me: That'd be great, dad... see you Wednesday!

* I just got a call from colleague and good pal Lisa who wished me a happy birthday.

* The last year has been an interesting time in my life. I have begun thinking about aging.

* I'm in a good place in my life.

* I love the following shows: Boston Legal, Dancing With The Stars, and American Idol.

* Rugby is still the king of world sports.

* I still look good in a kilt.

Well, I guess that's it. See? Nothing deep, nothing heavy.

Are you still awake?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


The Christmas tree lights didn't get finished saturday... but they are going up tonight... most of them, anyway.

What can I tell you... I'm a busy man.

Mrs Gunfighter has a lot of labor in front of her, too, so it just isn't me... I thought I would mention that, lest it sound like she wasn't doing anything.

Some of My Favorite Hymns

For your listening pleasure... if you are so inclined:

O come, O come, Emmanuel

Onward Christian Soldiers Which suits my belligerent nature.

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

One Bread, One Body, which is my favorite communion hymn.

Here I am, Lord

And of course, none of you who are anywhere near my age range can forget this one: A Mighty Fortress is Our God". most of you know this one, even if you think you don't know any hymns. This is what I always referred to as "The Davey and Goliath" music (until I joined a Lutheran church, that is).

Were You There

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

So, there you are. A selection of some of my favorite hymns. I love these songs. They make me feel good... which I suppose is the point, eh?

The Billboard Music Awards

I watched the Billboard Music awards last night, did you?

I have some comments to make... mostly of the snarky variety, if you don't mind.

Janet Jackson started the show with a song and dance number, and this time, she didn't have any wardrobe malfuntions... which is a shame, because her act really sucked. Why can't singers just sing? The answer, I believe, is that because if you are a really mediocre singer (like Janet) you had better have something else going for you. Not only is she a heavily engineered singer, she has such crappy pipes that her song came out as nearly a whisper, even when she was lip synching!

Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous Girl" won the award for best pop performance-female. I suppose it was an ok song, but I would have preferred that Shakira had won for "Hips Don't Lie"

Howie Mandel and Flava Flav introduced an act... which I don't remember... I might have Tivo'd past that. How weird was it to see them on stage together?

Wynonna and Dave (The ex Mr Carmen Electra) Navarro presented the award for male country artist of the year, which was won by Kenny (The Fraud) Chesney. I have never heard a Kenny Chesney song, and I probably never will. Lord, that guy is tiny... I read somewhere that he is a size zero... whats that all about? I know women in Hollywood aspire to look like concentration camp victims... but guys too? Freakin' disgusting.

Next, 3-6 mafia and Young Jeezy (hey, I'm not making these names up) presented the award for best R&B/hip hop artist. These guys are all drunk!... and the grillz!... and the unintelligible speech! Nooooooooooo! Mary J. Blige won the award and dutifully gave a shout out to the Lord ("Praise God, Thank You, Jesus"). Who knew that Christ bought records?

Then came Bow Wow & Akon (pronounced ICON?), to introduce Fergie, who sang “Fergillicious” I realy couldn't understand much of what she was saying, but, at least she didn’t try to dance and sing... and she clearly wasn't lip synching.

Kat McPhee (smokin' hot)& Chris Daughtry (still bald) presented the award for best rock album: The nominees were James Blunt, Nickleback, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I thought that it was a lock for the Peppers, but Nickleback won, instead! Whats that all about? I don't even know any Nickleback songs. I'm so old. The Peppers were robbed, dude!

NOTE: There was a commercial on for the new season of 24>. I have never seen the show... have any of you? It looked really cool. Maybe I should tune in.

Pharrell, Young Jeezy, and Ludacris were up next to perform some song whose lyrics I couldn't undertstand... Ziiiiip! The beauty of Tivo!

While Jesse McCartney and Kathy Griffin were presenting the award for Soundtrack of the year, Jesse actually smakced Kathy on the ass! Oh, and the award went to High School Musical (a Disney Channel movie, if you can believe it).

Chris Angel, and some group of Pussycat Doll-like women presented for Rap artist of the year, which was won by some guy named T.I.

Is it just me, or does Denise Richards really seem stupid? She has a voice like Minnie Mouse, and her hair looked like someone had put a hairspray grenade on her head!

Oh God! Now Gwen Stefani is yodeling! No, really! This song (Wind It Up) really blows!!!!

Carmen Electra and Crhis Katan (filling in for Paris Hilton present for best female artist... and Chris keeps saying "That's Hot!", which I found funny in a sophmoric way. Oh, Rianna won the award. I have heard that she is very good, but I don't really know her music.

Kristin Bell and some dudes from Def Leopard (I couldn't have ID'ed any of them without a prompt, I'm telling you.) presented for best rock single... the Chili Peppers were robbed again!

After the Big Award for Tony Bennett, Nas introduced Mary J. Blige, who sang a song that I Tivo'd past.

Carrie Underwood won for Best Album of the year! Ok, to be fair, I am not much of an aficionado of R&B, Rap, or Country, but I have a bit of a problem when the album of the year goes to a woman that sings songs about vandalizing her ex-boyfriend's truck. I heard that song on the radio the other day and was horrified. I think it is called "Next time he cheats".

Courtney Love and The Killers were next. Confession: I think Courtney Love is kinda hot… in a dirty sort of way. They presented Chris Brown with the artist of the year award. I never heard of this kid either... jeez.

Kid Rock performed "Tush" with one of the guys from ZZ Top... Is it just me or is Kid seriously bereft of talent?

That closed up the award show... how pathetic that I was taking notes while I watched, huh?

Good thing I has a wee nip of single malt to go with it, else I wouldn't have been able to get through it all!

Um, have I ever told you all that I really enjoy award shows?

I should probably keep that to myself... don't tell anyone.

Just For You, Baby!

My Dear Susan,

Have a holly jolly Christmas!

It's the best time of the year!

I don't know if there'll be snow, but, have a cup of cheer!

Have a holly Jolly christmas, and when you walk down the street, say hello to friends you know, and ev'ryone you meet!

Oh ho! the mistletoe, hung where you can't see. Somebody waits for you, kiss 'er once for me!

Have a holly Jolly Christmas, and in case you didn't hear: Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas, this year!

I love you, baby.

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Stuff I get in my email...

I get this same, stupid list in my email on a fairly frequent basis.

When I get it, I usually respond to all recipients in the same manner, my responses are italicized.

Here is what some people in gunworld send to supposedly like-minded people:


1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

An Unarmed man is an unarmed citizen. See the U. S. Constitution

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

Only if whatever you are calling the cops for requires the use of deadly force.

3 Colt: The original point and click interface.

Uh... ok.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

Gun control IS about guns... and the many morons who use them.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

Yes, but most people are too chicken-shit to fight close up and personal. Guns allow physical cowards to feel strong. One thing is certain, if most people get the same amount of training as they get with guns, then most sword users will be terribly ineffective.

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

The logic of a retard.

7. "Free" men do not ask permission to bear arms.

If having a gun defines your freedom, you are missing something about our laws.

8. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.

Hmm. Is there a clause in the Constitution that will support that claim? I'm certain that there isn't. Someone point me to the relevant section, please.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

No shit. See The Patriot act.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights reserved.

Somebody better remind the current occupantof the White House about this.

11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

Read the whole amendment. We have a well-regulated militia. We call it The National Guard in this country. Unfortunately, too many of them are having their lives throuwn away for nothing in Iraq.

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

The second amendment is in place to make sure that we have enough soldiers to defend our country from invaders... See the American Revolution, circa 1776-1781. Didn't you read that part about "A well-regulated militia..."?

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

How many have?

14. Guns only have two enemies: rust and politicians.

... and poorly trained idiots tht don't know what they are doing with them.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

Guns won't bring you safety or peace... they might help, but there are no guarantees.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

That is true of most responsible people... but if I shoot at you, you are going to the friggin' morgue.

17. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

Or perhaps a mechanism to call for help when you need it.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

Yeah... assault is a verb, not a noun.

19. Criminals love gun control -- it makes their jobs safer.


20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson

See the answer to number 6.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

What do you think governments are for?

22. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

You only have the rights that you are guaranteed by our constitution. If I can kick your ass, do you lose your rights?.

23. Enforce the "gun control laws" we ALREADY have, don't make more.

Why not?, afraid that someone will prevent you from buying an additional phallic symbol?

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

Good thing our government isn't trying to do that... or have I missed something?

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

The weapons that most of the American Militias were fighting with at the beginning of the war, were issued to them by the British army for service in local and Provincial militias. Additionally, the American Revolution would never have been successful had it not been for the fact that by the middle of the war, most Americans in the Continental Army were fighting with weapons provided by France. Lastly, please don't make the historically ignorant leap that a bunch of simple farmers tossed the British out... it didn't happen that way.

26. "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

Which is why we hold elections, right???


I disagree with most of this... but I'll be passing it on anyway.



Saturday, December 2, 2006


Well, after a leisurely breakfast, Olivia and I are going to put up the Christmas tree, while Mrs Gunfighter attends a conference in DC.

I will be posting pictures of our efforts later...

I'll be putting up the tree and stringing the lights, as I'm not allowed to touch, look at or remove the goddamned lovely ornaments from their boxes... that is Mrs Gunfighter's province.

I get the labor. She and Olivia have the fun.

Friday, December 1, 2006

I've Been Tagged

I got this from blog pal Pundit Mom, and was tagged by Lawyer Mama.

Here goes!

1. Explain what ended your last relationship?

I couldn't/wouldn't give her the validation that she needed to be getting from her dad (she had some family issues) and I wasn't ready to be with someone so needy.

2. When was the last time you shaved?

Tuesday... sue me, I have a baby face.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?

Braiding Olivia's hair.

4.What were you doing 15 minutes ago?

Driving up I-95 on my way to the office.

5. Are you any good at math?

No, I never have to count anything higher than the number of bullets that are on my person at a given time. Anything else... thats what calculators are for.

6. Your prom night?

What about it? I went with a really nice girl who didn't go to my school. I knew her from the youth choir at my church. We had a good time, had a brief kiss, and then I went home and watched Saturday Night Live.

7. Do you have any famous ancestors?

Not really. I did, however, have two relatives that were taken prisoner by the British after the siege of Charleston (S.C.) during the American Revolution.

8. Have you had to take a loan out for school?

I went to a public high school. I didn't go to college.

9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?

I'm too old.... or just not cool enough for MySpace.

10. Last thing received in the mail?

The last thing I got was a wad of bills! The last interesting thing I got was this month's issue of The Lutheran magazine

11. How many different beverages have you had today?

So far, just a bottle of water.

12. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine?

Of course.

13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?

Larry Graham, Two Tons of Fun, and Sylvester (a disco concert at Madison Square Garden in 1980)

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?


15. What is out your back door?

Our deck, strewn with leaves, and a covered grill.

16. Any plans for Friday night?

Doing laundry, making a rosary, and watching England play South Africa at Rugby.

17. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?

The longest hair on my head is probably less than quarter of an inch long... draw your own conclusions.

18. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?


19. Have you ever been to a planetarium?


20. Do you re-use towels after you shower?


21. Some things you are excited about?

Going to see The Polar Express at the Smithsonian Imax theater. Every time I visit Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Planning our next Disney vacation (August, baby!)

22. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?


23. Describe your keychain(s)?

I have two key rings, linked together. One ring contains my work keys (my office, storage areas, classrooms, etc...). The other ring has my "life keys" (mailbox, cars, house). I also have one of my old dog tags from when I was in the Marines on it.

24. Where do you keep your change?

In one of my numerous pockets, until I get home and it goes into a dish on the kitchen counter.

25. What kind of winter coat do you own?

I have a blue parka-like coat that I bought at JC Penney's several years ago... I should probably get rid of it, as I never wear it.

26. What was the weather like on your graduation day?

A hot and sunny day in north-cenrtral New Jersey... this was 1981.

27. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The "*N* Word" (and other stupidity)

Clearly, I'm not the only person in the world that thinks using the term "N Word" to refer to the use of the word nigger in this country is particularly stupid.

Fellow blogger and pal, eb, has a lot to say on the subject in "Let's Not Say Nigger".

It seems that there are a lot of people upset at comic Michael Richards these days, because of his wild, racial epithet-spewing rant aimed at two black hecklers a week or so ago. Well, good and decent people should be angered and disgusted at the things he said. What gets me is the response from some people.

Various so-called black leaders have been condemning the man, as they should, but where is the outrage at all of the black comedians and hip-hop artists that scream and shout "nigger" left, right, and center in their act?

Where is the outrage at Jay Z?, where is the outrage at Busta Rhymes?, Where is the outrage at Public Enemy, and so many other so-called "artists" that spew racist hatred and garbage at their own people?

I am sick of it, friends. Sick unto death at the outrage poured out on some people but ignored when it comes from our own!

Bill Cosby has spoken at length on this and other similar subjects over the last few years, only to be attacked from all sides for having the courage to say something, publicly, that should have been said for the last 40 years.

Fortunately, Bill Cosby isn't alone. There have been other writers and speakers, most notably; Debra Dickerson; John McWhorter; and Juan Williams that have had the courage to speak out when so many people would rather they keep silent.

Michael Richards' screed was disgraceful, and I hope he pays a price for it. However, somewhere down the line, black people have to stop giving white people the idea that it is alright to say nigger by calling each other nigger all the time.

Words are powerful things... but our national conversation on race can't, or at least shouldn't, start and end on the use of a single word.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Many Bullets?

By now, most of you have heard about the recent tragedy in New York City in which a man was fatally shot by members of the NYCPD.

While neither the public or the NYCPD have all of the facts about the incident yet, the howling rush to judgement has begun.

I'll wait awhile before discussing why the shooting was or wasn't justified until the facts are in, but I would like to talk a few minutes to talk about what we are hearing in the news regarding this particular incident.

We are being bombarded with television images of grieving loved ones and a parade of "community leaders" (not to mention that media whore, Al Sharpton) saying that the number of shots fired was excessive. Even New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has said it seems excessive (thanks for politicizing the case, Mike, you ass!).

From what I can gather, the officers involved in the shooting fired approximately 50 rounds. The two suspects that survived the shooting were hit a total of 14 times. The first was hit 11 times and the other, three times.

While 50 shots seems like an awful lot, please understand that although that number may seem excessive, the number itself doesn't determine whether or not excessive force was used.

In terms of the Use of Deadly Force, and use of Excessive Force, by police officers, there are two pieces of Supreme Court case law that determine when the use of deadly force is justified and how much force is justified in any given circumstance. The relevant case for this situation is Graham v. Connor (1989).

In this case, the Supreme Court held that the use of force by an officer upon a “seized, free citizen” will be based on the standards of what is “objectively reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The court stated that “based on a totality of circumstances the reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of the reasonable officer on the scene, rather than the 20/20 vision of hindsight and the calculus of reasonableness must embody allowances for the facts that police officers are often forced to make split second decisions in circumstances which are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving.”

Since the facts of the case are not in yet, we cannot determine what is or isn't excessive. What we are hearing now are the cries of grief, sadness, anger, and other emotions that, while justified or not, don't make any difference about whether or not these officers were justified in shooting or whether or not the number of shots was excessive.

Please note that the fact that these men turned out not to be armed doesn't enter in to the reasonableness of the use of force at all.

This puts me in mind of the Amadou Diallo case from about 10 years ago. Diallo was an African immigrant that was killed by four NYCPD officers, who had fired 42 shots at the man that they believed was reaching for a gun. Diallo was hit 19 times. The officers were indicted under similar circumstances of community outrage. They were tried and acquitted, based mostly on case law from Graham v. Connor.

Diallo's death, much like this one, was a terrible tragedy, and one that could have benn avoided, but it doesn't mean that the cops were guilty of a crime.

My gut tells me these officers acted appropriately... time will tell as facts are revealed.


All In The Name of Education (part II)

A while back, I posted a series of pictures showing what a computer CPU looked like before and after I shot it with my pistol, and then with a shotgun. Today, I want to show you something a little different.

The administrative staff at my church was about to trash an old computer monitor that had to be replaced, but when I heard about it, I thought that another training opportunity had been placed in front of me.

I told the program director that I wanted to take it to work and shoot it up... er, use it for training purposes, she was glad to let me take it.

This is a plain ol' Dell computer monitor, the subject of today's exercise.

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This is a 5.56mm, M-4 Carbine (this one has a suppressor, so it is VERY quiet when you fire it). It is a law enforcement variant of the standard military M-16A2 service rifle.

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This is a 5.7x28mm, FN P-90 sub-machine gun. It was designed for the Belgian armed forces, for use by tank and ambulance crews. In American law enforcement, it is used for SWAT operations and close protection agents.

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This is a standard Sig Sauer (.357 caliber), model P-229, service pistol. This one is the one I carry on duty.

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The monitor with one .357 caliber bullet through it.

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The monitor with one 5.56mm bullet through it.

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This is the monitor (or whats left of it) with 50 rounds of 5.7x28mm armor piercing ammunition through it (all fired on automatic).

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As Borat would say, "very niiice"


Monday, November 27, 2006


When I want a special dessert, I make applesauce.

That's right... applesauce. You remember applesauce, don't you? You probably fed/feed it to your kids. You probably remember eating it yourself, in your youth.

Well, I not talking about generic, off-the-shelf applesauce, I am talking about the most sublime dessert treat there is (even better than whipped cream right out of the can).

So here is Gunfighter's recipe for applesauce... feel free to use it or change it as you wish:


8-10 Granny Smith apples
Apple Cider
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lime

Cut the apples into quarters

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Core the apples (use an apple core remover, if you have one... I don't)

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Place the apples in a pot (the more sauce you make, the large pot you are going to need, of course)

Add lime juice.

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Cover apples with cider (apples float, so just guesstimate!)

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Simmer for about 30 minutes (check frequently, your mileage may vary)

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When the apples are soft enough, use a potato masher to remove the pulpy fruit from the skin.

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Using a spoon, remove the apple skins from the pot.

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Your proto-sauce will look a bit like this (please note the color)

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Add vanilla extract.

Add cinnamon sugar.

Simmer on low, stirring frequently, for about 2 hours.
(your house will smell sooo good by now!)

You are done when your applesauce is of the right color and consistency for your taste!

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Now... the good part!

Take out your ice cream of choice (vanilla bean for us), spoon it into a bowl...

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Spoon warm applesauce over your ice cream and enjoy!

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I am telling you right here, right now, that if you serve this to friends/family/sig. other, you will be exceptionally popular.

Trust me.

This is the nearest thing to seeing God as you are likely to get when eating.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I will resist the desire to post about rampant consumerism today, especially since it would be just a bit too easy.

Instead, I am going to talk just a bit about how insane people are when it comes to the way they drive when out to enjoy(?) the aforementioned rampant consumerism.

I took the day off today, like so many other people, but instead of shopping, I went to the laundromat to give Olivia's sleeping bag a washing (no way that is going to fit in our washer!), which was overdue from her recent Brownie camping trip.

I drove towards the nearest laundromat, which is about 5 miles away, and during the drive I noticed that the traffic was rather heavy. It didn't hit me right away that I was out adventuring on the busiest shopping day of the year.

We live in Prince William County, Virginia, which happens to be the home of one of Virginia's biggest tourist attraction, Potomac Mills mall. Potomac Mills draws people from all over Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and The Carolinas, and on any given weekend can cause major traffic issues throughout the entire eastern end of the county. Today being such a special shopping day, it was only worse.

I made it to the laundromat a bit slower than I expected, and after the process of washing and drying the sleeping bag (only $5.25 all told!) I headed back home. While driving home, I encountered an SUV full of 50-something year old women... who were clearly looking for the mall (and clearly lost) nearly cause several wrecks while drifting from lane to lane in heavy traffic. I tried my best to avoid them, but I was stuck with them until they figured out that they were headed in the wrong direction (guess they missed the signs).

I then encountered no small number of drives that were having such scintillating conversations on their cellular phones, that they caused near-wrecks... one by blowing through an intersection on U.S. Route 1.

Brothers and sisters, allow me, please, to offer the following advice:



Thank you, that will be all.

P.S. The weather is just great here today.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The (next) New Dollar Coin

Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States.

I hope that you are all enjoying time spent with family and friends... but just in case you are addicted to blogs.... I wrote this yesterday.

I am posting it now, while I am in-between making my famous applesauce (pictures to follow tomorrow) and peeling potatoes.


The (next) New Dollar Coin

The United States is going to take another stab at Dollar coins.

Haven't we already been through this?

In the late 1970's we produced the nearly-quarter sized Susan B. Anthony dollar:

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This coin was barely used and scarcely circulated.

We tried again just a few years ago with the Sacajawea Dollar:

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Which for some reason, people thought they were made of gold, just because the color, with the same poor results.

I actually knew people that were hoarding them just in case we ever went back to the gold standard!!!!! "Just you wait Bill... this is going to be worth some money soon" Yeah... a dollar, you moron!

Now, we are about to try again, but, this time, we aren't going to put a woman on the coin. This time, we are taking a new tack and we are going to do a series of dollar coins, each new coin depicting the face of a former President (as long as he has been dead for at least two years.

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... oh, I'm sorry, I fell asleep. Couldn't we have done something a bit bolder? Perhaps Lady Liberty or The Bald Eagle should have graced the new dollar coin.

It seems that our government still can't figure some of the simpler things out.

The United States Government, which sent people to the moon, which is responsible for the creation of the medium in which I am communicating with you now, which can produce amazing weapons, which has enough money to do nearly everything it wants (except guarantee access to decent health care, 'scuse me for being a smart ass), can't figure out that the kiss-of-death for any dollar coin initiative is the government's failure to end production of the one dollar bill:

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Continuing to produce and circulate the one dollar bill is at the heart of dollar coin failure. Inertia suggests that given the opportunity, most people won't change simply for the sake of change. If we are serious about using dollar coins, perhaps the best and most effective way to do it will be to give a suspense date for the acceptance of the dollar bill six months after the date of introduction for the new coin.

It all seems so simple that you can scarcely credit that it hasn't been done before.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks

Last night, our church held it's Thanksgiving service. It was done on Tuesday as Wednesday will be a day of travel and preparation for so many people.

It was a brief service made nicer by the fact that Olivia was serving as Acolyte. She was just so cute it would break your heart.

Pastor Ken gave a brief sermon about thankfulness and reminded all of us to consider the important people in your our lives, especially those people that had touched our lives in some way. Ken suggested that now might be a good time to get in touch with those people... especially if you haven't been in touch with them of late.

So, when I leave the office today, I'm going to buy a few packs of Thank You cards, and start letting people know that I appreciate their influence in my life. Before I do that, allow me to start here.

I am thankful for my chums in the blogosphere. Contact with often-faceless people that you have never met, and may never meet, face to face, may seem superficial to many people, but it isn't to me.

I am thankful for the transfer of information and the moral and spiritual support that I have received from so many of you. I am thankful for the laughter that we have shared. I am thankful for the nice email that you have sent to me. I am thankful for your teaching me how to code. I am thankful for your inspiration. My friends, I have enjoyed, and hope to continue enjoying, our association.

Happy Thanksgiving!


P.S. Food pictures on monday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Friend, Darla

I told you, a few months ago, about my friend Darla... my neighbor's pit bull.

Well, my neighbor is off to New Orleans to visit her kin folk for the Thanksgiving holiday, so rather than see Darla in a kennel, I told Danielle that I would take care of her.

I took the following photo of Darla this morning, at about 0515, after our morning walk. Darla posed patiently while she waited for me to take finish... so I could feed her. She is the gentlest of dogs, and I am glad to know her.

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Isn't she cute? Please note her stylish pink harness... I am sure she would want you to notice it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

I'm not a huge fan of most modern rap or hip-hop music. I may be too old or maybe I have mellowed with age. These days, rap and hip-hop seem to be more about being hard than they are about having a little fun.

Whatever the reason, most of it doesn't do a thing for me. However... I have been reading a new blog of late, written by a young woman in Washington, DC. She is a smart girl (I don't mean to belittle her by saying "girl', it's just that I am probably nearly twice her age), and I enjoy her writing. This young woman usually highlights an old-school rap or hip-hop song/video via you-tube, from the 80's every Friday.

I have been thinking about some of the songs that she has highlighted recently and decided that some of those songs (and) videos are as much fun now as they were back in the day.

For example: Who didn't love Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice, baby"? I know it was cheesy. You know it was cheesy, but we loved it none the less, even if it is just because the song is a vehicle to complain about pathetic, stupid songs. The same can be said for Hammer, and "U Can't Touch This" (recently revived for Emmit Smith and Cheryl Burke to dance to on "Dancing With The Stars" (another guilty pleasure of mine).

One song that this young blogger highlighted was OPP, by Naughty by Nature. Although the subject matter is awful, I have to tell you that I loved that song and still do! ("The other P, well, that's not so simple!)

These songs have had me thinking for a while, and just the other day, I heard the song that put Jay Z on the map, and that song is called H.O.V.A. I don't know what the initials stand for, and I'm not sure what the song is about, outside the illicit drug activity-related lyrics, but I'll tell you, the hook is addictive.

So... Sing with me:

H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
Fo' shizzle my nizzle used to dribble down in VA
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
That's the anthem get'cha damn hands up
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
Not guilty ya'll got-ta feel me
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A


One of my colleagues has been wondering what I have been laughing about all day. When I told him, he just looked at me, laughed and shook his head.

Friday, November 17, 2006

New Tat, Completed!

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I'm quite pleased!

Career Day Recap (Out of The Mouths of Babes)

Well, that was interesting.

Career Day was a blast! I love kids, and had a fun time talking to them all day. I was presenting to groups of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and they really had some interesting things to say.

A few quotes from the kids:

"My mom says cops like to shoot people. Is that true?"

"Can we see your gun?" (I gave seven presentations... I got a variant of this question at least 10 times)

"Do you get to beat people up?"

"Did you ever get shot?"

"Is your bullet-proof vest really bullet-proof?"

"How many people have you killed?"

"Do cops really eat a lot of doughnuts?"

"Can you try your pepper spray on me?"

"Do you use a bazooka at work?"

"I'm left handed, are you left handed?"

"Whats your favorite restaraunt?"

"Is your police car faster than my dad's police car?"

Although I had a good time talking to the kid's, the highlight of the day was eating lunch with Olivia's class. She was in 2nd grade heaven having her dad sit with her at the table, making sure to tell everyone she knew that "my daddy is having lunch with me." It was an "awwwwwww" moment, to be sure.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New Tat Design

This is me, tomorrow.

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Career Day @ School

Today is Career Day at my daughter's school, and I am going to be one of the presenters for the day.

I will start at 0930 and go until 3:30, telling the third, fourth, and fifth grade classes what I do for the government. I did it last year for the first and second grades and found it to be very rewarding. The little faces were so intent, and they seemed really excited... especially when I showed them my police car.

The important thing about my presentation is that I keep the details to a minimum. I'm not going to spend the day telling the little cherubs (or demons, as you prefer) about close quarters combat and the legal justifications thereof. Instead, I am going to tell them that I am a teacher (which is true), sort of like their teachers, just a little different.

It should be a fun day... I'll report back later and tell you the details.



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How Did You End Up Where You Are?

In today's mobile society, many of us (most of us?) are are from places other than those we now call home.

Tell me where you are from, how you came to be where you are, and why you stay.

For me, it goes a little like this:

I was born in December of 1963, in Ignacio, California, at a place called Hamilton Air Force Base, where my dad was stationed at the time.

My parents divorced in 1969, and my mother took us to New Jersey, where her mother lived (and still lives, God Bless Her).

We lived in New Jersey until I was 17 and left home to join the Marine Corps, in 1981.

Between 1981 and 1986, The Marine Corps sent me to all sorts of interesting places where I trained to to be particularly good at killing people in all sorts of environments.

In 1986, I was assigned to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC.

I served at the barracks until 1988 and while I was there, I met and married the woman who would end up being the bane of my existence for quite a few years.

In November of 1988, I returned to the Fleet Marine Force and the Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. By the time I got to North Carolina, I knew I was done with the Corps. I still loved it (and still do), but having been to DC I knew that there were other things for me to do, and that I could have a life here.

When my second enlistment was up in Dec 1989, I left the Marine Corps and went to work for the government in D.C.

Very soon after that, She-Devil and I separated and were later divorced.

I stayed here in DC because I really love the place. It is a beautiful city and it appeals to me on many levels... and to tell the truth, it is a place that is tailor made for someone with my skill set.

So, here I am.