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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fried Rice, A Recipe With Pictures

After picking up Olivia from school (and going to Wal-Mart and the supermarket, and helping with homework, and installing a smoke detector, and assembling a bookshelf, and making Olivia's dinner) it was time to make dinner for Susan and me.

I decided to make fried rice, so I started pulling things out of the cabinet to make it happen. As is my custom, I got out a CD to cook to, and here are the things I started with:

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I poured myself a drink and got right down to it. The recipe is as follows:

1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 cup uncooked Jasmine or Basmati rice (or whatever rice you like... this is a democratic kitchen, friends)
1 Tbsp Thai Chili sauce
1 Tbsp Biryani paste
1/4 lb baby carrots (or more if you like)
3 trimmed chicken breast halves, diced or shredded
1 jar of of roasted red peppers
Garlic Pepper
1/4 cup Sherry

Steam the carrots until done, and set aside.

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While the carrots are steaming, cook the rice according to your own liking. I sue chicken broth and a tablespoon of fish sauce instead of water.

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Trim and dice the chicken.

Sprinkle chicken with garlic pepper.

Sprinkle chicken with 1 Tsp of cornstarch, combine.

Combine chili sauce and biryani paste.

Mix chicken with chili sauce & Biryani paste

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Combine the sherry and the cornstarch and set aside.

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Slice the red peppers and set aside.

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The next step is important, so pay attention:

Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them completely (careful about this folks, you are working with raw chicken!).

Pour yourself another drink and listen to some very cool music. Tonight's selection was "Dublin To Dakar - A Celtic Odyssey" from Putumayo Music. This CD is a fusion of Irish/Celtic music, with music from Senegal.

Susan came home about this time and we chatted for 30 seconds before Olivia wanted/needed mommy time.

During this interval, the phone rang, and it was Jeff, Olivia's Godfather, calling to wish me a happy (belated) Marine Corps birthday (he had been on travel).

By this time, Olivia had been settled, I had poured Susan a glass of wine, and it was time to resume.

I put the wok on the stove and heated it until it was nearly smoking.

I added the wok oil and then the chicken, and stir fried.

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I set aside the chicken, and stir fried the peppers and carrots together for about 3 minutes, to heat through.

I deglazed the wok with sherry, and then fried the rice.

Once the rice was fried, I added the chicken, carrots, and peppers.

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A few minutes to combine, and a sprinkling of the sherry cornstarch mixture (use if you like your fried rice a wee bit sticky), and onto the plate!

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(Please note that at the top of the picture, you can see where I was writing down what I was doing)

Change the CD, serve and eat! (and it was sooo good!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Funny (In-House) Police Stereotypes


Narcotics units

Immediately grow facial hair, tell everybody you were ordered to.
Start watching every episode of Monster Garage.
Buy a biker wallet with a big chain.
Make every case involve overtime $$$.
Buy bunches of boats, RV's, and motorcycles with that overtime.
Learn to play golf drunk.

SWAT units

Wear team T-shirts, Oakley sunglasses and boots everyday.
Try to fit the word breach in to every conversation.
Have a mirror handy to check hair, if you have hair.
Never say hello to anyone who is not an operator, just practice your
SWAT head nod.
Subscribe to Soldier of Fortune and Muscle and Fitness.
Learn to play golf wearing a gun.

Community Service units:

Hate SWAT.
Work to make everybody love you.
Paint your office in pastel colors.
Think Feng Shui.
Subscribe to Psychology Today.
Learn to play miniature golf.

Traffic units:

Write tickets to EVERYBODY.
Spend every weekend cleaning your bike and polishing boots.
Annoy everyone on the radio calling out your stops.
Talk about nothing but how many tickets you wrote in one day.
Ride by a building with big windows to see your reflection.
Golf is lame, motor rodeos are cool.

Administrative Units:

Three-hour lunches everyday, tell everybody it's a "meeting".
Upgrade department cell phone every month.
Tell everybody you are published in a national law enforcement magazine.
Update your revenge list on a weekly basis.
Golf Rules! Play lots of golf.

Patrol Units:

Has nerves of steel.
In a terminal state of nausea from department politics.
Inability to keep mouth shut.
Has defining tastes in alcohol.
Is respected by peers.
Beats the crap out of his caddy on any bogeyed shot


Come in at 0800
"Breakfast" from 0815 to 1030
Work from 1030 to Noon
Noon to 1400 Work out and Lunch
1400-1700 Talk about how many girlfriends you have and how the wife doesn't know.
Plan your next RV, fishing, motorcycle trip.

Patrol Sergeant:

Remembers very well "how we used to do do it."
Always willing to tell his officers the above.
Tries to fit the word "liability" in to every sentence.
Talks about "what he's hearing from upstairs."


Unable to grow facial hair.
Watches every episode of Cops.
Worships the ground the SWAT guys walk on.
Arrives for work three hours early.
Thinks the sergeant is thrilled to see him.
Won't drink on the golf course because it violates the open container ordinance.


Shave head

Grow goatee (unless you want to be a management
weenie, then make sure you are clean shaven, with short almost
military style haircut).

Wear 5.11 pants, and polo with agency logo (unless you want to be
a management weenie, then make sure you always have a shirt and pants to which a jacket and tie can be quickly added for when the boss might be around).

Arrive at work at 8AM, spend one hour answering useless emails, and 30
minutes checking your retirement investments. Then go with another
agent to Starbucks "to discuss your a new case."

After participating in your first warrant service (as outside cover)
make plans to join the agency SRT,SWAT, etc, to "properly utilize your superior tactical skills."

After doing your first buy bust, immediately begin asking the boss
about "long term undercover" jobs.

Refuse to play golf with "the locals."

New Corrections Officers:

Show up for work 15 minutes early
Buy only the best ink pens (Pilot G-2)
Wear T-Shirts of your "dream department" under your uniform

Wear a full duty belt of gear even though you have to remove: gun,
baton, spare magazines, knife, cell phone, and BUG when you arrive at the facility

Become friends with every local police officer

Continue eating too much and not exercising

International Rugby (and children's Soccer)

Saturday, the national Rugby team of New Zealand, The All Blacks, gave an old-fashioned ass-whooping to the French national team, in Lyon, France.

The score was a dismal 47 to 3.

2007 Rugby World Cup, here we come!

In other news, Olivia's soccer team (The Butterflies) had her final soccer game of the season on saturday. Her team won 4 to 1, and Olivia scored a goal. She worked really hard throughout the season and I am really proud of her and all of the girls.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day and...

Today is Veteran's Day, so here is a big thank you from your ol' comrade Gunfighter... I salute all of our veterans for their service.

Today is also the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. Martin is the patron Saint of Soldiers (appropriate, no?), tailors, and the poor.

A good day to all of you.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Marines!

Friends of mine from other on-line communities know that every year, on this date, I tend to post an entry about the anniversary, or “birthday” of the United States Marine Corps.

I usually start with a discussion of the birth of my Corps, in the early days of the American Revolution and go on to discuss our combat history and the connectedness that Marines feel with all of our old comrades and our younger brother and sister Marines that are now serving.

This year will be an exception.

While my pride at being a Marine in my youth is undiminished, and while the combat record of the Marine Corps is as splendid today as it has ever been, I am going to talk about something a little different.

This year, on the 231st anniversary of our Corps, I want to talk about the following young Marines:

Sergeant Julian Arechaga, 23
Lance Corporal Jon Bowman, 21
Lance Corporal Clifford Collinsworth, 20
Lance Corporal Nathan Elrod, 20
Lance Corporal Nicholas Manoukian, 22
Private First Class Shelby Feniello, 25

These six men belonged to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is the last unit I served in while I was in the Corps.

All six of them were killed in Anbar province, Iraq, last month.

Although these men have now joined the ranks of our fallen, and their memories will be honored forever, I can’t help but feel, on this special day that is so important to Marines, that these people who had so much of their lives ahead of them, gave the ultimate sacrifice in an unjust and immoral war.

On this day before Veteran’s Day, the day that Marines old and young greet each other with a hearty handshake and a jaunty “Happy Birthday Marine!”, please remember these young Marines and other Marines who have given their lives in Operation Iraqi “Freedom”.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Election Recap

And so it goes... Virginians have done what appears to have been the right thing in electing (very narrowly) Jim Webb to the United States Senate, not only ousting Senator George "Macaca" Allen from his Senate seat, but also completely destroying Allen's hopes for ever being elected President of The United States.

It seems that the Democrats have achieved near-total victory, capturing 33 seats in the House of Representatives and picking up the six Senate seats necessary to control that body as well.

Nationally, the Republican Party has taken a huge kick in the teeth, and in the humble opinion of your correspondent, it is no less than they deserve.

The Republican Party spent so long in the political wilderness being the loyal opposition, they failed to realize that with their assumption of Congressional leadership in 1994, that the people who voted for change back then, were not giving them Carte Blanche to lead the entire nation in the interests of their own party's most extreme elements. Tuesday's election reminded them of this fact in no uncertain terms.

Locally, here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have something of a mixed bag in terms of election results. I live in the First Congressional District (at least until the redistricting) which runs from the southeastern tip of Prince William County, all the way to Norfolk (can you believe that?), and the voters in the District returned the odious, do-nothing, rubber-stamp-for-George-Bush, Jo Ann Davis for another term.

Also here in Virginia, the ballot question regarding a Constitutional amendment regard the definition of marriage passed without difficulty. I am saddened by the fact that while Virginians were able to see the rightness of electing at least one progressive to the Senate, homophobes wrapped in a Holy Bible were able to make this ballot question pass. For shame.

Apparently the first bit of fallout from the election was the "resignation" of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, which, oddly enough, happened less than two weeks after President Bush said that Rumsfeld would be his Secretary of Defense for his entire administration. Bye Rummy... you'll not be missed.

My friends, I am pleased by most of the results of this election. I don't mind telling you that I am as happy as can be for the ouster of Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), and equally happy about the election of Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts.

As for the what this election will bring for the future... Well, I just don't know. What I do know, is that soon-to-be-Speaker-of-The-House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), has her work cut out for her. I hope that she and her fellows, hit the ground running in preparation for the 2008 elections, and more importantly, that they get to work fixing some of the problems caused by GWB and his clique of political thugs.



Tuesday, November 7, 2006

An Election Day Prayer

O Lord, our God, on this day that we hold so dear in our nation, bless us with the resolve to support candidates to represent us in government that will seek justice.

Bless the efforts of those who seek to lead in good conscience, with the goal of serving all citizens, regardless of their background, political leanings, sexual orientation, race, economic status, or personal faith traditions.

We ask that you bless us with the wisdom and strength to elect men and women of character and goodwill, who will not forget that those who are poor, homeless, unemployed, or are mentally ill, are also citizens worthy of the protections of a nation that you have blessed with untold wealth.

We ask that you bless us with the wisdom to elect peacemakers; those who would make peace in our society as well as in war. Bless us with representatives that will serve their "blue" and "red" constituents equally, with fairness and justice.

We ask these things in the name of the Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit.


Monday, November 6, 2006

Tomorrow Is Election Day

Don't forget.

Get out and vote... and don't forget to vote Democratic.

Wherever you are reading this from, remember what is at stake.

Remember what party led us to where our country is today.

Remember which party best represents not only your own personal interest, but also that of all of our countrymen.

Do the right thing and strip the megalomaniac GW Bush and his triumvirate of evil minions (Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice) of some of their power to work evil in our land and across the world.

Elect Democratic Representatives, Senators, and Governors!

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This could be the definitive election of the first half of the 21st century... don't miss the boat.


My name is Gunfighter, and I approved this message.

Olivia Goes Camping

This weekend, we had the pleasure of sending Olivia off to her first camping trip with her Brownie Troop!

Not only was this her first camping trip, but it was the first time Susan and I have spent an entire 24 hour period together without her.

We spent the week prior to her trip purchasing and organizing all of the things that were on the camping list (we spent a lot of money on all of that crap!), the best of which was her sleeping bag.

She loves the sleeping bag. No, really loves the sleeping bag. Since we bought it a couple of weeks ago, she has slept in it on the floor of her bedroom every night. The sleeping bag is plenty large, and should suit her for several years of growth, but in the meantime, she uses that extra space for her stuffed animal "friends".

So after all of the preparation, we arrived at the appointed place at 7:30 Saturday morning. Olivia was so jazzed up that she dashed of to join the other squealing and giggling 7 & 8 year olds, promptly forgetting about mom and dad.

They loaded into the cars, and with one final wave, she was gone.

Susan and I decided that we needed to do something for ourselves, and despite the fact that we had a ton of stuff to do around the house, we bailed and went to Colonial Williamsburg! Woo hoo! It is one of our favorite places (ok, I told you all before that I am a history geek), and we haven't been there in nearly a year (which is strange for us).

Williamsburg is about 125 miles south and east from Prince William County, and takes about 90 minutes, plus or minus to drive.

The weather was perfect for us, while we browsed the bookstores and had lunch outside at the splendid (splendid is another word that should be used more often) Williamsburg Cheese Shop.

We also visited Bruton Parish Church, which is the oldest, continually used church/congregation in the United States.

We didn't stay in Williamsburg long... just long enough to spend a nice afternoon together, before heading home for the second part of our long date.

While driving home, we decided to go to the movies. We hadn't been to a movie together, just the two of us, in something like 9 years! So what did we go see? Borat.

Borat was, quite possibly, the funniest movie that I have ever seen! I will spare you the details, as I am certain that my meager descriptive skills are inadequate to the task. All I will say in negative criticism about this film is that I could really have done without the wrestling scene.

If you like funny, you'll love this movie. Not for the easily offended, though.

By the time the movie was over, it was nearly 9 P.M. We had planned to go to a local Italian restaurant, but we were both flagging by then... we settled for frozen pizza and red wine while listening to some quiet jazz to end our evening.

I haven't had that much fun in years.

Congratulations Episcopalian Brethren!

(Special Shoutout to Zanne)

The Episcopalian Church has recently taken a bold move, by electing and installing Katharine Jefferts-Schori as it's new presiding Bishop.

Bishop Jefferts-Schori is the first female Presiding Bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

I wish her peace, wisdom, and strength as she deals with all of the issues facing the their denomination and the wider Church.

Gunfighter's Rules, Explained (Part III)

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

In other words, the important thing is winning the fight... all the rest is extraneous BS.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.

Movement is important, because a stationary target is one hell of a lot easier to hit.

Even if you are alone in the fight... you should be communicating with somebody... anybody, that can help you or help you call for back up. Failing that, communicate with your opponent with a storm of copper-jacketed lead.

The reloading aspect speaks for itself... and running? Oh, yeah! Trust me, running is a good thing to do if you can. A gunfight is a bad place!

My Layers

Thank you, Betty


Birth date: December, 1963
Current status: Heavily armed
Eye colour: Brown
Hair colour: Black
Righty or Lefty: Lefty
Zodiac Sign: Saggitarius

Layer Two: On The Inside

your fears: heights and dying alone
Your weaknesses: good beer and good books
Your perfect pizza: A “Joe’s Special”, from Joe’s pizzeria, in Vauxhall, New Jersey… Oh the humanity!


Your thoughts first waking up: Whats on the schedule today?
Your bedtime: Around 11
Your most missed memory: Walking my dogs


Pepsi or Coke: Coke
McDonald's or Burger King: McDonald’s
Single or group dates: Single
Adidas or Nike: Nike (prefer New Balance, though)
Lipton tea or Nestea: Lipton tea
Chocolate or vanilla: Vanilla
Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee


Smoke: No
Curse: More than I should
Take a shower: Yes, but what an odd question
Have a crush: Nope
Think you've been in love: Oh yeah!
Want to get married: Done
Believe in yourself: Yes
Think you're a health-freak: Not at all


Drank alcohol: Yes.
Gone to the mall: Yes.
Been on stage: No
Eaten sushi: No
Dyed your hair: No


Played a stripping game: No
Changed who you were to fit in: No… to hell with trying to fit in.


Get married: Been married for nearly 13 years
When Do You Hope To Retire: 58


Best eye colour: Susan's Eyes
Best hair colour: Susan's Hair Colour
Short or long hair: However long Susan's hair is after a visit to the Salon


1 minute ago: Beefing about the leadership of my agency
1 hour ago: Driving to work
4.5 hours ago: It was 0215... I was asleep.
1 month ago: Pretty much what I am doing now, but in warmer weather
1 year ago: Pretty much what I am doing now, but without a blog.


I love: My girls
I feel: Great
I hate: George W. Bush (no... REALLY)
I miss: my dogs
I need: some time off

Friday, November 3, 2006

It's Friday. Tag!

I got this from my pal Anali's blog. She told me to consider myself tagged, and since I have to teach a class shortly, and have little time for weighty thoughts, I thought I would give this a go.

Please list 8-10 things about your childhood (from 1 to 12 years of age) that you miss, then the same number of things that you don't miss.

Have fun, kids.

Things I liked about childhood that I miss

1. The excitement of Saturday morning cartoons.

2. Learning to swim at the Union (NJ) Boys Club.

3. Playing water polo.

4. Watching Star Trek reruns after swimming and playing water polo.

5. Watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos on PBS every Saturday afternoon before dinner.

6. Being a Boy Scout (I would have been an Eagle Scout, but...).

7. Riding our sleds at a local country club golf course in the winter.

8. My first real crush (a girl named Cheryl whose mother thought I was really cute).

9. Michael & Brian's hot mom! (she wore tube tops and short-shorts... it was the 70's, ok?)

10. Beating the crap out of other people at Scrabble!

Things I disliked about childhood

1. Living with a single parent with addictions.

2. My 4th grade teacher (Rhoda Kaplan) for torturing me through math. She refused to believe that I just didn't understand some of the things she was talking about... the old bitch! I have scars, can you tell?

3. Being picked on for being fat.

4. Being picked on because I read a lot (they called me "Professor").

5. Being picked on because I didn't talk "black".

6. Being picked on for being a social misfit.

7. My disturbed brother.

8. Being poor.

9. Going to choir rehearsal.

10. Sharing a room with the aforementioned disturbed brother.

These are my lists. Anyone who would like to do the lists too, consider yourself tagged!


Hallowe'en was fun... and I don't even like Hallowe'en.

Olivia, Who was very cute,

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scored a ton of candy, some of which, I am obliged as a good father, to eat myself.

You might be asking yourself, "hey GF, whats up with the kabuki makeup?" Well, it goes like this: My daughter sees the "Asian Princess" costume at Target, and swoons. She said she had to be the Asian Princess ("but NOT Mulan, daddy!").

So we get her the costume, but somehwere in between the costume and Hallowe'en, the makeup became part of the deal. So we have Princess Wen Ching (NOT wenching, mind you), complete with Geisha makeup. Since she is only 7, we didn't have to worry too much about the reality of the Geisha.

We started at nearly 6 P.M. at the home of her babysitter, Robin, who was sitting on her front steps (The weather was perfect... middle to low 60's) when we arrived. Robin gave Olivia some candy and some glow-stick bracelets, and told us to return later for pizza and beer, which we would do about 40 minutes later.

We made the circuit on Robin's street, and up and down another two and a half not-very-long streets. By this time, my little princess Wen Ching was getting tired, so we finshed up (with me holding the bag, literally, of candy)and headed back to Robin's house for pizza.

As we were leaving Robin's house (around 8 P.M.) we saw parents that were Trick-Or-Treating with their children while driving behind as their kids walked the sidewalks.

What is that all about? Driving? How about getting out of the car and walking you lazy sods!

Olivia had a great time, and still, three days later, hasn't even looked at her candy.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Trying A New Recipe

I have a rather new blog pal. Her name is Vasilisa. She lives in or near Toronto, Ontario... thats Canada for the geographically challenged folks.

Vasilisa likes to share with her readers the things that she cooks. Recently, she posted a recipe for fishcakes. I like fishcakes, so I decided to give her recipe a go. Here are the results:

I decided to modify her recipe just a bit, as I love my spice rack too much not to include lots of things when I cook. Please note that I can be... experimental at times.

To her recipe, I added the following:

1 Tsp of Biriyani paste
5 baby carrots (raw, finely chopped)
1/2 Tsp. Dill paste
1/2 Tsp. Garlic paste
3 slices (pizza size) pepperoni
1 Tsp. Sweet & Spicy mustard
1 Tsp. Ranch dressing (substituted for the mayo... I detest mayo)
1/2 Tsp of Kosher salt

All of which went into the food processor with her other ingredients (I used Tilapia, by the way... 5 fillets).

After appropriate processing, I added a bit more flour and a wee bit of sherry (while I had a glass, myself. Please note that I don't use cooking sherry. If I did, I couldn't have a drink of my own while I cooked.)

The processed reults looked a bit like this:

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I formed little balls out of the mixture and then made patties out of them, before placing them in the hot oil (seasoned wok oil with a dash of olive oil). They smelled geat while they cooked and looked even better:

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I decided to serve some sort of pasta with the fish cakes, so in the interest of time, I threw together one of those Lipton pasta (in a bag) dishes.

Here are my results!:

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And oh, were they good! I may have to tweak a bit, but they were great!

Take that, Rachael Ray.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Emasculating American Boys

We have a growing problem in America. A problem that I believe will become a potential catastrophe unless current trends are reversed.

The problem that I am referring to is the emasculating of American boys. You might be asking what I mean by that, and my answer is simply this: American dads are too disengaged in the raising of their children, in this particular instance, their sons, leaving their wives to teach boys how to become men.

It is my humble opinion, that women can't really teach their sons to be men, especially if they spend a lot of time, as many women do, attempting to neuter their sons, or worse, make girls out of them.

Don't get me wrong. Boys have lots to learn from women, but only dad can teach them how to treat a woman properly. Only a dad (a good dad) can teach a boy (mostly by example) how to treat a lady. A woman can't really teach a boy how to be a gentleman... he will have to be taught these things by a man (or a book and lots of episodes of Star Trek, in my case).

Maybe this isn't happening everywhere, but I see what I see. When I go to pick up my 7 year old daughter from school, I see swarms of moms (I'm joined by a scattering of dads) chasing after their boys and re-zipping their jackets, and putting their hats on their heads, telling them not to run, telling them to be quiet, not to push, not to shove, admonishing them about fighting, etc... On the surface, most of you reading this will say: "So? whats wrong with those things?" Well, usually, nothing is wrong with those things. The problem is that when taken to extremes in "minivan-mom America", we wind up with grown men that depend too much on their mothers (and later, wives), men that don't know how to be fathers to their sons, men that are passive, men that don't know how to head a family, men that won't/can't fight. In short, we raise our boys to become Alan Alda. Don't get me wrong here, I think Alan Alda is a brilliant actor... I particularly enjoyed him in "Same Time, Next Year" which remains one of my favorite movies.

Let me ask you something: How many of you know any men that have NEVER been in a fistfight? I know several, and it makes me ill.

Now, I know what you are thinking: "Did he fire five rounds or six?" (No, you probably aren't really thinking that, but big points for getting the movie reference). What you might be thinking is: "Do you have to have fights to be a man?" The answer is no... but only a qualified no. You needn't be a brawler to be a man. You needn't be a loud, pushy, or swaggering oaf to be a man. However, a man SHOULD be able to fight... how else will he protect his family when forced to? A man should be assertive. Not pushy, but assertive. A man should be strong.

When I train new agents these days, I always ask: "Who here has never been punched in the face... hard?" You'd be surprised at the number. When we finally get around to giving them a good whack to the head/face, you'd be amazed at how many curl up and quit.

If current trends keep up, one of these days, these girly-men will be the only ones left.

We'll be in big trouble then.

So, what is the answer? There are two, and here they are:

Men: Raise your sons. Teach them to be strong, teach them to tell the truth, teach them that courage and bravado aren't the same thing. Teach them to stand up for those that are weaker than they are. Teach them that fighting isn't wrong when you are fighting for the right reasons, teach them that women must be treated with respect and that they must treat other men with respect or you will get none in return. Teach them to be committed. Show them these things, by your own example, and we won't have to worry about having Marvin Milktoast in the White House... or running the Army. Most importantly dads... YOU HAVE TO BE PRESENT IN YOUR SON'S LIFE!

Ladies: Here is what you can do: I know that so many women are the primary caregivers for our children, but you MUST make an effort to make sure that your boys are allowed to be boys. We aren't as far from our hunter/gatherer forebears as we'd like to believe, and boys still need to be rough in order to be tough and strong later in life. Don't coddle it out of them... it will serve them poorly later in life.