Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Absent WithOut Leave (AWOL)

This picture of the extended Bush clan was taken in 2005.

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Please note the ages of the people in this picture.

To date, NONE of the age-eligible people pictured here, have ever served or have volunteered for military service.

I guess it is only your kids or mine that have to do the heavy lifting.

I can't heap enough venom on these people.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

THIS is freezing rain???

The weather report for this past sunday was for periods of freezing rain and or sleet.

When I woke up sunday morning, what I saw was this:

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I wasn't amused.

This was the early part of the storm, it snowed for several hours after this. By the time the it stopped, we had about six inches of snow.

I spent quite a long time shoveling... which I could have done without.

Here is the thing... what is up with people that shovel the snow from their driveway into the street?

Monday, February 26, 2007

How I Spent My Saturday Evening

I haven't made a rosary in a few weeks, and I had the urge to make something, so I decided that while I made a new rosary, I would show you the process, step by step.

First things first. Get a glass of wine (but not communion wine) or other beverage of your choice.

Second have a comfortable chair to sit in.

Third, gather your materials.

You are now ready to begin.

This is an Episcopal/Anglican "rosary" and as such, it will contain a total of 33 beads (not counting the accents), instead of the 60 beads in the Roman Catholic rosary.

To make this rosary I need eye pins which I use to chain the beads together, a cross... in this case I am using a Jerusalem Cross that I bought at the National Cathedral a few months ago, 28 8mm hematite beads, and 5 larger beads known as "cruciform beads" which, when stretched and spread out, make the sign of the cross. I also use additional small "seed beads" as aesthetic accents.

This is what my supplies looked like when I started:

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The Jerusalem Cross:
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We start assembly by sandwiching a bead (I am using 8mm Hematite) between two black seed beads...
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...then snipping the eye pin until there is about 1/4 inch left, then bending it at a right angle... like this:
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I keep doing this until I have gotten all 28 finished.
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Next, I decide what my accent beads are going to look like for my "separators"... these are going to be a string of accent beads that separate the 8mm beads from the larger cruciform beads. Once I get this done, I make ten "separators":
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Then I move on to the cruciform beads... I usually will put some accent beads on them, too:
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Now I can begin the assembly. For this, I'll need round nose pliers, and angled pliers. Using the round-nosed pliers, I make an eyelet with the straight portion of the eye-pin, and use that to chain that pin to the next. I will do this until I have four strings of seven beads. After that, I will attach the "separators" to the cruciform beads in the same manner:
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Next, I attach the cross to the first of the large beads (known as the "invitatory" bead), and then the second large bead, which is the first cruciform bead.
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Then I attach the first separators to the cross/invitatory/first cruciform string, and then to each seven bead string (each string of seven is known as a "week"). Note that the cruciform beads separate each "week".
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Continue until you are finished:
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I will confess right now, that I had more than one glass of wine while I did this... it takes a while, as it is detailed work.



Oscar Recap!

Welcome to Award Show hell.

You all know that I love award shows... I don't even mind if you find it odd. It's just one of my things.

What I love about award shows is essentially the same thing that I love about "reading" tabloid magazines. I am always waiting for the supreme moment when some celebrity says the most awful thing, or trips and falls flat on their face on the red carpet. I can't wait to talk about the awful clothes that they sometimes where (remember Bjork a few years ago?), or when the host is trying to be funny and all of his jokes tank (Letterman a few years ago). Anyway, award shows are big fun for me, and the Oscars are usually the best of them all... until last night.

My recap was done in real time as I watched this interminable show. The edits are mostly for style and typo-correction. Try to enjoy this... it will take a LOT less time to read than it did to watch.


It's Oscar Night, my friends! Oscar night, the night of the most important award show of the season. So you KNOW that your pal Gunfighter has to bring you all of the news, comments and smartass repartee to which you have become accustomed.

Let's not waste any time… let's get right to it.

The show opens with an oh-so-cute montage of honorees talking about being nominated… it is mildly amusing, but mostly irritating.

Host Ellen DeGeneres makes her entrance, and being true to herself, wears pants (actually a maroon velvet tuxedo), and eschews high heeled shoes. She looks comfortable, and relaxed.

Her first joke: "there are A lot of British nominees tonight… would I say "too many?", not here, not tonight" HAHAHA.

Hey! Jack Nicholson is in the crowd! I love that guy!

Ellen does a funny joke about Al Gore which was sort of funny and then talks about the diversity of the nominees and then says: "If there were no blacks jews or gays, there would be no Oscars… or anyone named Oscar, for that matter" Huh?

OK, I think Ellen is starting to tank already... and then we get this brief I-think-it-was-supposed-to-be-funny gospel choir musical number, which WASN'T funny and was mercifully brief.

Great, it is time for the first presenters! Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are presenting the award for best Art direction or something like that... does anyone really care about awards like this? Quick, without Google or a search engine, someone tell me the name of the art director of "Titanic"... see what I mean? Anyway, Nicole looks great in that red dress, even though I think she is too skinny, and her accent sounds more British than Australian, whats up with that? By the way, I haven't seen "Casino Royale" yet, but Daniel Craig looks and sounds like a James Bons should... if that James Bond isn't Sean Connery, that is. Oh... the art director for "Pan's Labyrinth" won the award.

Maggie Gyllenhall is next. I like her. She announced the awards for some high-tech visual effects. Great. Moving on.

Commercial break time, and we cut to the announcers, sitting at a table: "I'm Don LaFontaine", the man says "and I'm Tina Tuttle" says the lady, "and these are the Oscars!", they say together (no shit... like we'd be looking at you otherwise?!) Hey, Don LaFontaine... he is the guy from the movies! (and the GEICO commercials). If you are reading this from outside of the United States, ask me what I mean, if you don't understand.

NOTE: My analytical program tells me that quite a few people from the United Kingdon, France, Ukraine, Japan, Singapore, China, Iran (of all placecs), Australia and New Zealand, are reading my blog. So, I'd like to ask that those who are reading this from foreign lands (except for those that are hackers from China, Iran, and Ukraine, you guys can pound sand) Do me a favor, would you?: de-lurk and say hello!

Next, we have Will Ferrel and Jack Black with a musical number about funny men and the Oscars. Funny!

OK, achievenemt in makeup… again, do we really care? The guys that did the makeup for "Pan's Labyrinth" win. Huzzah.

Next are two kids… Will Smith's Kid and some girl who was in little miss sunshine or something, I think. They present the award for best animated short… some film that none of us have probably heard of called the "Danish poet". They also present the award for best live action short for a film called "West Bank Story". I haven't heard of it, but it looks like fun!!!!! Apparently it is a musical short a la "West Side Story", about Israelis and Palestinians. Director Ari Sandel waxes eloquent about the hope of peace and hope. Well done.

Greg Kinnear and Steve Carrel present the award for sound editing. Bub Asman, and Alan Robert Murray, for "Letters From Iwo Jima".

James McEvoy, and Jessica Biels present the sound mixing award to the staff for "Dreamgirls".

Hello? Ellen? Can we please have at leat ONE acting award in the first hour??? Jesus!

Next, Pretty Rachel Weiss presents the Best Supporting Actor award (D'you think Ellen heard me?) to.... Alan Arkin, for Little Miss Sunshine. No kidding. I really didn't see that coming. I didn't see any of these movies, but I have to tell you, that I really thought that Jackie Earl Hailey would win... but that just might be because we were about the same age when he was in "The Bad News Bears". Many people thought that Eddie Murphy would win this award... and as many thought that the release of the apparently horrible "Norbit" torpedoed his chances. Hey, the Oscars aren't always about talent, folks. As an aside, Mrs Gunfighter really hated Little Miss Sunshine... I don't do cute kid movies.

Randy Newman and James Taylor sing "Our Town", nominated as best song in "CARS". Randy Newman looks so OLD! When did that happen?

Next, Melissa Ethereidge sings "I Need To Wake UP" From "An inconvenienet Truth"

I have to say that both of these songs were enough to euthanize a Rhino!

Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore are on next, and talk about the fact that the Oscars has gone "green". See for ways you can go green. DiCaprio tries to get Gore to announce Presidential bid.

Best Animated Feature is presented by Cameron Diaz. Is it just me? I don't think that she is all that good looking. As a matter of ofact, I think that Ms. Diaz looks kinda like a frog. Anyway, Geroge Miller wins for Happy Feet.

Helen Mirren and Tom Hanks present the award for for besat adapted screen play to William Monahan for "The Departed". Now say what you want, 61 years old or no, Helen Mirren is hot. Deal with it.

Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway present the costume design award to Milina Canonero, for "Marie Antoinette". Note to Anne Hathaway: Never stand on stage next to Emily Blunt again. Emily makes you look sickly.

Tom Cruise (remember him?) gives a special award to Sherri Lansing.

Gwyneth Paltrow gives the cinematography award to Guillermo Navarro for "Pan's Labyrtinth". (this movie must be visually stunning... it is nominated in all sorts of artsy-fartsy categories)

These people really need to move along… I'm getting tired and it is getting late.

Cate Blancehett and Clive Owen are next. Germany wins best foreing language film for "The Lives of Others". Cate Blanchett is smokin'! I don't know what it is about her... but I like it.

George Clooney gets to present for best supporting actress. Jennifer Hudson wins for "Dreamgirls". Ms. Hudson has the best figure that I have seen all night.

...and in the commercial… we learn that "Dancing With The Stars" will be back on March 19th.

Jerry Seinfeld presents for best documentary feature to Al Gore for "An Inconvenient truth". Al Gore was very gracious, and very brief. I love that guy... he would have been President if he hadn't been so wimpy... which is a story for antoher time, I reckon.

Clint Eastwood gives an award to a chap named Marconi for musical scoring or something like that. Marconi accepts the award and gives his speech in Italian, which Eastwood translates. If you watched this, did it look to you like Eastwood was somewhat impaired?

O Lord… Can we get on with it please? I'm missing The L Word for this! (good thing I have TiVo!)

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, present for original screenplay. They come on stage to the theme song from the 1967 Spiderman Cartoon. Don't you love that song? What do you mean you don't know it? Go HERE. Little Miss Sunshine wins.

Jennifer Lopez comes on to introduce Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson & company, to do songs from "Dreamgirls". Jennifer Hudson blows out Beyonce'! That girl can sing.

John Travolta and Queen Latifah present the award for best song in a Motion Picture. Melissa Etheridge wins for the song from an "Inconvenient truth".

Finally, while I am really struggling to stay awake and coherent, Helen Mirren wins best actress wins for "The Queen" Cool!

Reese Witherspoon is on now... why? I don't know, I am trying to stay awake. I'll tell you this, though: I am not a Witherspoon fan. I think that she looks like "The
from the Batman comic books. Am I the only one that thinks she has an oddly pointed chin?

Best Actor goes to Forest Whitaker, for "The Last King of Scotland" Hoorayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I'm looking forward to seeing this movie... I have heard that it is really great.

Martin Scorsese wins best director for "The Departed".

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton (oddball) present the best picture award to "The Departed".

Thank God! I can go to bed now.

What a waste of time, friends... No real Faux Pas' (other than Ellen suggesting that Penelope Cruz is Mexican... not Spanish). The awards were boring. The presenters were boring. No real surprises. NOTHING. Talk about pissed off!

I was robbed.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Life In The Bubble

Are you one of the millions and millions of people that live their lives in a bubble? You know the kind of folks I'm talking about, don't you? The kind of people that live in a world that usually ends about 36 inches from the tip of their nose?

Bubble people are strange.

Bubble people are the kind of folks that stand in the middle of the aisle in your busy local store or shop, not once thinking that their cart and sizable ass backside* are blocking the progress of everyone around them. They are the people to whom you say: "excuse me", in hopes that they will take the polite hint and shift just a bit so you can get by. Unfortunately, since bubble lady (or bubble man, since bubble-world isn't sexist) is indeed living in a bubble, she doesn't hear you, because you aren't inside the bubble with her. So you say "Excuse Me!" again, a bit more forcefully, at which time bubble person comes back to earth, smiles and apologizes for being in the way.

I have spent more time than is probably prudent thinking about bubble people, but I'm strange like that, I guess. I have come to the conclusion, just a few hours ago, as a matter of fact, that these people are not being rude intentionally. Generally speaking, they aren't particularly uncouth, ill-mannered clods. Indeed these people just pay no notice to the world going by around them. They exist in an extremely finite space. They are the people that walk right past you on the street, and even though you see this person nearly everyday, unless you bump into them or call their name, they will walk past you, close enough to touch, and never notice that you were there.

Leave the bubble people! It isn't healthy in there.



*I'm not hatin' on people with big backsides, mind you, it is a simple problem of spatial geometry.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

You know what today is, don't you? Of course you do... it's Friday! That blessed day that all of us Monday through Friday-type people truly love!

Friday! We go through the week longing for this day and the promise that it holds: Happy Hour, fun with friends, the knowledge that you can sleep-in tomorrow morning, and a weekend full of televised Rugby!

Well, here it is, friends, Friday! In all it's glory, which can only mean that while most of you were still abed, I was shooting things!

Today, we are leaving the spectacular behind in order to talk a little bit more about what I do. You see, when I told you that I train people to fight with guns and shoot effectively I spoke about psychological issues, but didn't delve to deeply into practical applications. Let's see if I can bring a little more clarity into the discussion.

"Effective shooting" means causing a person, no matter their age, gender, size, or level of intoxication, enough trauma to make them stop doing whatever it is that caused you to have to shoot them. To do this, you need to perforate vital organs... most importantly the heart and lungs.

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One of the disconnects in police training for many years, has been that departments failed to teach their officers to effectively shoot a person. Instead they spent all of their time teaching officers to shoot bulls eye-type targets, like this popular type...

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...which might be fine for marksmanship, but has nothing to do with fighting with a gun. All this sort of target will do is help a new shooter learn how to properly manipulate the sights on a particular weapon.

In recent years, there has been a movement in combat firearms training circles to "train like you plan to fight". In other words, to train to "shoot people, not paper"

This has translated, in practical terms, into using better paper targets. Targets like these...

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...that have faces. Targets that remind the shooter, on some level, that he or she may have to use their firearm on a breathing subject. These targets also emphasize the importance of shot placement.

Another training tool that I employ is to put shirts, jackets or sweaters on the targets... because bad guys seldom wear a bulls eye on their clothing. A shooter has to get used to the idea of seeing different things through his or her sights in a combat engagement, because a gunfight isn't like just showing up for a day at the range.

Here are some targets that I shot this morning:

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On the first two targets you will see upper chest shots, which, in a perfect world, would perforate the breastbone and enter the lungs and heart. The head shots should be enough to cause near-instant cessation of motor function (but who knows... people can be hard to kill).

The last target, wearing a sweater, was shot while I was moving diagonally to the target at a fast walk. Please note that shooting on the move (at speed) may slightly change the strike of your rounds. Also note that in this instance, more is better, meaning that in order to win your fight as quickly as possible, it may be necessary to shoot someone many times in order to get the desired effect. This particular fact is most important when you consider that most police-involved shootings take place at a distance of less than 20 feet.

Have a nice day!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Equal Marriage Should Be A Right!

Friends, I found my way to the following post via a fellow blogger's site. The gentleman that wrote this speaks with force and, what I consider to be, perfect clarity on this issue. He is a far better writer than me, as are most people, so please read this.



As a married, heterosexual man, I am not usually viewed as the stereotypical advocate for gay marriage. However, to my mind this is one of the most basic civil liberties issues of our time. All consenting adults should be able to exercise free and equal rights to marry the partner of their choice, regardless of sexual orientation. Any limitation on this right is an unjust infringement on the moral and religious liberty of a significant portion of the population, and it would continue to impose enormous emotional and financial harm on many citizens of this country. I consider opposition to legal and equal gay marriage to be antithetical to my values and to the values on which the United States was built.

At a fundamental level, the Bill of Rights is based on the proposition that Americans should be free from government restriction until and unless their freedom imposes on the freedom of another. While gay marriage may offend the sensibilities of some individuals, it does nothing to limit anyone else’s freedom. In a world with gay marriage, homophobes retain the right to criticize homosexuality and to speak out against gay marriages. No individual religious institution is under any obligation to perform gay marriages. However, just as those who believe that marriage must be sanctified by Jesus Christ lack the ability to prohibit civil, Jewish, Buddhist, or interfaith marriages from having full legal standing, those who believe that marriage must be between a man and a woman should lack the ability to prohibit gay marriages. No mainstream legislator would ever put the right of Hindus to practice their religion up to a referendum. Gay people’s rights ought to be equally sacrosanct. As a Unitarian Universalist (UU), my faith believes in equal marriage, and I do not believe adherents to any other religion possess the legal or moral right to restrict the freedom of religious practice of UUs. Allowing gay marriage restricts no one's freedom of religion. Prohibiting it is an infringement on freedom of religion.

I believe that restricting gay marriage is an example of discrimination based on someone's gender. It prohibits adults from marrying other adults solely based on the other's sex, which appears to me to be a clear violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.

I have heard the argument that there is a public policy interest in ensuring that marriages can create offspring. Even if we were to ignore adoption and surrogacy, there is no prohibition against marriage by the infertile, and there is no government imposed divorce for those who have vasectomies or go through menopause. In fact, senior citizens justifiably have the same marriage rights as those who are younger. Many straight people go into a marriage with no intention of ever procreating. They are just as deserving of the right to be married as those who intentionally raise large families. Gays are no less deserving of marriage than anyone else who is unable or unwilling to have children. Oh, and I am not willing to ignore adoption or surrogacy; gays are as capable of having children inside or outside of matrimony as any other adult human being.

Gay marriage is legal in several other countries, including Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Society has not collapsed as a result. If anything, the licentious behavior for which The Netherlands is famous is heterosexual, not homosexual. In the United States, where divorce rates, STDs, domestic violence, and adultery run rampant, it seems ridiculous to draw a line in the sand at stopping gay marriage in order to preserve the moral order. The institution of marriage appears not to be treated as sacred now; I don't understand why gays would (or could) be poorer custodians of the institution that we straights have been. While I know that many people believe that Massachusetts, which is the one state in which (due to judicial not electoral action) gay marriage is legal, is politically and socially extreme, the facts don't suggest a widespread problem with unstable family situations. In 2004, which was the latest year for which I was able to find data, Massachusetts possessed the lowest divorce rate of any state (with the locality of the District of Columbia being the only place to do better). This chart is easy to load and read, but you can also get the source data from the last page of this Census report. Massachusetts's politics have not noticeably shifted since gay marriage became legal, and I have yet to see any social degradation as a result.

Some opponents of gay marriage like to claim that legalizing gay marriage will encourage more people to become gay. Even assuming there were a shred of evidence to prove it, and ignoring the fact that there are a substantial number of people who managed to figure out that they are gay without government support, the government has no right to attempt to dictate the sexual orientation of its citizens. I could believe that people might be more open about being gay in a community where gays were treated equally, although I don't have evidence to support that either, but I do not think the government has a legitimate public policy interest in causing people to suppress their sexual orientation or in arguing that an entire group of citizens are less deserving of legal rights or legal protection. In addition, creating a world in which more people pretend to be straight appears to me to be a poor recipe for maximizing the stability and healthiness of any straight relationship, much less a marriage.

Many people disapprove of gay marriage, but many people also disapprove of interracial marriage, interfaith marriage, and inter-socio-economic class marriage, and frankly many people make judgments that individual people they know show bad taste in whom they choose to marry. My next door neighbor's opinion on Alex (if he had one) was fundamentally irrelevant to our decision to marry. Had Alex and I been of the same gender, I see no reason why his opinion would have carried more weight. Had we been from the same faith tradition, I see no reason why his opinion would (much less could) have carried less weight.

I have heard some argue that the "moderate" position is to advocate for civil unions. They claim that advocates of gay marriage are unwilling to "compromise." While they are technically correct, I find it absurd that civil unions are perceived as an acceptable compromise. Civil unions are not the same as marriage by definition. There are complex federal and state-by-state distinctions around the legal and financial rights guaranteed to married couples. In a world in which neither the federal government nor any state government is required to recognize civil unions from other locations, there is no way to claim that granting someone a civil union in one state is the same as allowing them the nationally protected rights provided by marriage. Even if civil unions were recognized and respected across the nation, it would still be an arbitrary barrier imposed for no reason. “Separate but equal” has never worked in this country, and anything less than full equality is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The more the distinction is eroded between marriage and civil commitment, the more obvious it becomes that a prohibition against gay marriage is arbitrary.

Many thanks to Super Des for the link, to Alex Elliot for allowing me to re-post this cogent and well-written piece, and to her husband for writing it.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Give Us, This Day...

...Our Daily Red".

No, that isn't a typo. It is the name of a particular brand of red table wine that I saw in the supermarket yesterday.

As a man of faith that takes the sacrament of the Eucharist quite seriously, I had no choice but to buy it.

I will sample it later in the day and let you all know what I think.

Even if it didn't put you in mind of the Eucharist, how could you resist a label like this?:

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Do this, as often as you do it, in memory of me.

Addendum: Our Daily Red

Monday, February 19, 2007

Meeting Your Blogging Friends

By now, the blogging world has existed long enough that some of you may have actually spent in-the-flesh time with your blogosphere friends. For me, yesterday was the first such time.

I had the lovely experience of having met two of my many favorite bloggers, Janet, of On DC Rush Hour, and Suzanne of Zanne ado. Friends far and wide, I am here to tell you that nicer lunch companions can scarcely exist.

Janet lives here in Washington, DC and Suzanne was making a visit to the Virginia Theological Seminary, which isn't terribly far from where I live and work.

Here a picture of the three of us taken at the Capitol City Brewing Company, where I got to watch Janet and Suzanne eat what looked like fantastic fish and chips (I had already eaten lunch).

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Pictured left to right are: Suzanne, Gunfighter, and Janet.

I tried my best to live up to my name, and arrive at our meeting place looking menacing, intimidating, and mean... by the time our lunch was over, it was clear that I had failed... all I had managed to pull off was "adorable" (yes, that was the word. I was SO embarrassed!).

I have every intention of meeting these lovely ladies again some day, and I look forward to meeting so many of the rest of you... as long as you don't show up with a chain saw, or a knife, pepper spray, and steel hammer.



Friday, February 16, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

Today, we will be looking at the effect of two different types of projectiles and what they will to a large volume of the Georgetown Law Journal.

If you stick around all the way to the end of this little lesson, you might even get a little extra somethin' somethin' for your time.

This is a copy of a Georgetown Law Journal volume from 2005:

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As you can see, it is rather lengthy tome, coming in at 1783 pages. The purpose of today's shoot is to compare the penetration capacity of a .357 pistol bullet and a 12 gauge, 2&3/4 inch, shotgun slug.

Here, we see the hole that is made by the entry of the pistol bullet, which is travelling at 1325 feet per second:

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and here,

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we see the Law Journal opened somewhere toward the middle. You can clearly see that the bullet has penetrated that deeply.

This is where the bullet exited the journal:

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The bullet exited intact, and is now sitting on my desk. Please note that when the bullet exited the Journal it had slowed to the point of being nearly completely spent.

Got it? OK, let's move on. Shown below is the Journal with three holes in it:

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The hole that is to the upper left was made by the pistol bullet. The next hole to the right was made by the entry of the shotgun slug. The third hole was made by the "wad", upon which the slug rests inside the cartridge. The wad is discharged along with the slug, with enough force to penetrate the journal to a depth of nearly 100 pages.

This is what the Journal looked like after being shot with the slug:

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Considering the penetration power of a rifled shotgun slug, it should be apparent to all that you should never bring a pistol to a shotgun fight.

Learn it, know it, live it.


Still here?

OK, keep scrolling.

Our office has had the VHS camera that you see here

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for a looong time. We replaced it with a mini-dv camera a long time ago, but we are just getting around to throwing it away. Rather than miss a training opportunity... and the chance for a bit of fun, I decided to see what the same shotgun slug would do to a piece of equipment like this.

Here is the answer... this is the slug/wad entry:

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...and here is the exit:

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... and a close-up:

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I hope you all learned something today... but, if you didn't... I hope that you, at least, had a good time looking at the pictures.

Have a nice day, and remember to do something nice for someone.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Television: The L Word

Is anything in your daily life driven by blogging? Do you find yourself paying more attention to a particular musical artist because one of your blogging pals is a fan? Do you go through your day thinking "Hm, I should blog about that"? Does blogging ever effect how you watch television?

Did you all know that I watch a fair amount of television? I do. There. You know my secret cultural shame. Don't tell anyone else, alright? Let's just keep this between friends.

I don't watch TV just for the heck of it, mind you, often it will be on as background while I am making a rosary or writing some long, deep, socially relevant post for my blog (ahem, they are all still in draft form), or sleeping in my chair. I really only have a few things that I love to watch, and make it a point not to miss them and those things are: Boston Legal, American Idol, Dancing with the stars, and almost any rugby match played by a national team or any of the domestic competitions in the southern hemisphere. Since my TV time is limited, I am glad that I have a digital video recorder, which allows me to record my favorite shows, and watch them when it is convenient.

About two months ago, I got sucked into watching another television show… and it is all the fault of some of you that read my blog. You see, I was channel surfing one evening, and I cam across "The L Word", on Showtime. I had never seen the show before, but I knew from reading some of your blogs, that many of you watch and enjoy the show. I watched and enjoyed the episode that was on, and when it was over, I discovered that Showtime was showing the previous seasons, preparatory to beginning the new/current season. So I watched them… all of them, and before you know it, I had added a new show to my watch list.

Here is the thing: Television is a very, very powerful medium. Ok, no big revelation there, but I have to say that plainly, because we all know that getting any sort of cultural information strictly from television… particularly dramas and sitcoms, can be extremely dangerous.

Case in point, The L Word. If I were just some random person that didn't know any women that were lesbians, or didn't have colleagues that are lesbians, or have a family member that is a lesbian, I could find my self thinking that this show is some sort of primer to lesbian lifestyle and that all I ever needed to know about women that are lesbians could be gleaned from that show. I'm glad that I don't buy easily into what I see on the screen, because the outlook that the show might create in an "outsider" like me, might be less than favorable.

You see, if I thought that watching this show made me some sort of expert, I would quickly conclude that all lesbians are VERY promiscuous; all lesbians use the word f*** incessantly; all lesbians are quasi-psychotic; all lesbians regularly engage in self-destructive behavior; and that all lesbians are as mean to each other regarding sexual choices/preferences as the rest of society is to them.

Good thing this is just an hour's worth of entertainment for me.

I enjoy this show because it can be very funny, because of the interplay between the characters, the dialogue is well-written, and it covers subject matter that I can only understand from a double arms length…. but not really. To tell you the truth, I understand all of it, because at the end of the day, the life-issues that the characters face, are no different from the issues that pretty much everyone faces. Love, heartbreak, betrayal, sexual politics, identity, friendship, racism, adoption, employment, family, the dearth of affordable health insurance, interracial relationships, fidelity, life in academic circles, etc…..

If I had never started blogging, I would probably have never seen this show and never would have sat in my chair (my new rocking chair from Ikea!) and thought "hm, maybe I should blog about this".

If you haven't seen it, I think you should give it a try. If you have seen it, tell me what you think.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A cd Review: Katherine McPhee

Kat McPhee has finally released her first post American Idol cd. The following are my thoughts about it.

Katherine McPHee is a pretty girl with a sweet, strong voice but…

There is already a Christina Aguilera in the world.

There is already a Mariah Carey in the world.

Kat McPhee is neither one of them, and she shouldn’t try to be… but she tries on this cd. In fact, she tries too hard!

Bloody awful is what it is. It’s musical torture.

Don’t buy it.

Don’t download it.

Don’t put it on your iPod.


Gunfighter's Grammy Recap

You already know that I love award shows, so it is time for Gunfighter's Grammy Recap. Sorry I'm late… but I've been sick. OK, that’s a lame excuse, but I've been busy, deal with it.

Before I start, I'd like to thank TiVo, for giving me the opportunity to start watching the show an hour and a half after it started, so that I could fast forward through the boring stuff, and repeat other things that I didn't catch the first time.

Please note that my comments were made in real time.

If you are the child of the late seventies/early eighties, could you possibly start a Grammy show better than with a reunion of The Police? I have always loved them as a group, starting with their "Zenyatta Mondatta" album. Having been jazzed up for this, I have to say that I was a bit let down. Even though Sting and Messrs. Summers and Copeland are still as musically gifted as ever, I think that they should have played something else instead of "Roxanne"… Sting just can't get those high notes anymore, and what good is Roxanne without the high notes? At the end, though, it was fun, even if only for the novelty.

Jamie Foxx opened the show with jokes about The Police & Snoop Dogg… not funny.

The first award was for best pop collaboration, which was won by Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder. Yes, you read it correctly. These people must be kidding me . You should have called it the "Give-the-two-old-guys-an-award-category". Great God… Tony Bennett actually thanked TARGET! For being such a great sponsor… at which time the music started playing.

Joan Baez was next, introducing the Dixie Chicks. Good for them. They are nominated for song of the year and album of the year. They sang, "I'm Not Ready To Make Nice" I have never heard the song but I like it. You know me… I'm always the guy with my fist in the air.

Um, can I say that the Dixie Chicks all looked rather hot? Well, they did... and I'm not really a fan of theirs.

Prince was next… and not wearing purple… he says: "one word. Beyonce" Ms. Knowles begins warbling some R&B diva song that makes me doubt her talent. I don't know the song and I don't like it. As much as I love curvy women, I have to say that the dress she is wearing makes her hips look wide enough to land a space shuttle on… and it is see through! Whats up with that?

The Black Eyed Peas presented Booker T and The MG's a lifetime achievement award, which they deserve even if they never made any more music after "Green Onions", which, in my humble opinion, is the coolest song ever recorded.

The BEP's then present the best R&B album award to Mary J. Blige. I didn't know any of those albums, but I was pulling for Prince… just because he is so cool. During her remarks, MJ Blige thanked everybody on the friggin' planet!"

Hey, there is a new Geico commercial, with the Gecko!

Weatherman predicts snow for tomorrow night.

After the break, Justin Timberlake sings "What Goes Around Comes Around" Another song that I have never heard of.

Pink and TI (WHO?) then presented the award for the best female R&B vocal to Mary J. Blige. This is starting to shape up into her year. Will she thank Jesus again? She does.

Stevie Wonder is Next. He started out singing "Overjoyed" (badly) and then introduces Corrine Rae Bailey, Jamhn Mayer, and John Legend. I didn't know J. Mayer could play the jazz/bluesguitar like that. (I read just today, in Rolling Stone, that he is being called the successor to Eric Clapton.). I am predicting that Corrine Rae Bailey will be big soon… you heard it from me first.

Nelly Furtado, Natasha Beddingfield, and Nicole something-or-another from the Pussycat Dolls, presented the award for best pop vocal album to John Mayer. Good for him. I like him. Good speech, too.

Shakira and Wyclef are next, singing "Hips Don't Lie"… it wasn't their best performance for that song, but really, who cares? Shakira is lovely to look at.

Next, Seal and some other old dude give an award to Herb Alpert and some other guy named Moss for an industry icon award. Then they gave the award for song of the year to The Dixie Chicks, for "Not Ready To Make Nice Yet". To their great credit, they didn't make a political speech… although I wouldn't have blamed them for if they had.

The next performer was Gnarls Barkely. He sang "Does that make me crazy?" I love this song. I'd never expect those notes form such a big man. To tell you the truth, I always thought Seal sang that song.

Best Rap Album presented by Common and Kanye West. Ludacris wins… and gives special shout-outs to Bill O'Reilly and Oprah. I'm not really a Ludacris fan, but I have to say that I found this to be really funny.

Terence Howard presents Opera singer Maria Callas a lifetime achievement award. He also introduces a performance by Mary J Blige. I have to say that I have never been a fan of Mary's, but she really sings things this song. I'm not even sure of the name.

Mandy Moore, LeAnne Rimes and Luke Wilson. Best Country Album. Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town, Willie Nelson, Josh Turner. Dixie Chicks win!!!!!

Reba McIntyre introduces Carrie Underwood and Rascall Flatts, who are presenting an award to The Roots of Country music and the Eagles. RF does "Hotel California" (Good). Underwood does "Desperado"… she probably shouldn't have. Then Rascall Flatts and Carrie Underwood combined to do "Life in The Fast Lane". I think Carrie should stick to country music, because she blows. I'm sorry but she does.

Natalie Cole presents Ornette Coleman, who is a jazz clarinet player, with a lifetime achievement award. Then they present the award for best new artist, which is won by Carrie Underwood. I guess that means a lot of people more important to the music industry than me, actually like her. Well, my opinion is unchanged.

Then Christina Aguilera (without any introduction) sings the James Brown classic "It's a man's man's man's world". She even does some classic JB moves with the mic stand.. That child has got some pipes!!!!!!!!

James Blunt sings "You're Beautiful", which is a really nice song, but I have to say that I don't care if I never hear it again.

If you were watching… did you see Jennifer Hudson in the red dress? She was SMOKIN'

Quentin Tarantino & Tony Bennett present Record of The Year to The Dixie Chicks, which just goes to show you how times change.

Al Gore and Queen Latifa presented the award for best rock album to the Chili Peppers. Al Gore looked great.

By now, everyone who is paying any attention knows that album of the year went to The Dixie Chicks. Although I never heard anything from the album until tonight, I am glad that they won. I think that the people in this country need to know that they can and should speak out when they think that their government is wrong. More importantly, they shouldn't have to be afraid when they do.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Book Meme

I have been tagged by Janet, of On DC Rush Hour. Here are my results:

Hardback, Trade Paperback, or Mass Market Paperback?

I know it is a cop-out (hey, he said COP out… get it?), but it depends. I will buy hardbacks from the following authors without hesitation: S.M. Stirling; Harry Turtledove; David Weber; and John Varley. There are others whose work I will read in hardback if I don't want to wait for a paperback release, but that will depend on how I feel about the book, or how many pages there are. I won't buy a hardback book if there are fewer than 400 pages of regular sized type.

Amazon or brick and mortar?

Either. Amazon is great, especially if you are looking for something a bit more esoteric, but brick and mortar is a refuge for me. I love being around books and around others who read.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Well, there is a Borders about 2 miles from my house, and three more within 15 Miles, but only one Barnes & Noble… which is also 15 miles away. Having said that, I must add that although we usually go to Borders, B&N makes a nice switch from time to time.

Bookmark or Dog Ear?

Bookmark. I get really… unpleasant about the ill-treatment of books… and don't even think about folding back the cover on that paperback!

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title, or random?

We sort by genre… or wherever there is space on our shelves.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

Keep the special stuff, give the rest to The Salvation Army. Throwing books away is a sin… except for Michael Chrichton's Sphere. It was so bad, that as soon as I finished it, I was compelled to rip it to shreds!

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

Keep, I use the flaps for bookmarks.

Read with dust jacket on, or remove it?

I leave it on… See the previous answer.

Short Story or Novel?


Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Anthologies, usually. Especially anthologies of science fiction short stories all told in a "universe" created by a different author, eg; several different authors writing stories about David Weber's Honor Harrington character.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?

I wouldn't be caught dead reading either of them, they just aren't me.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Wherever I am when my chin bounces off of my chest for the third time.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once Upon a Time"?

I don't really read either of those sort of books, but I would probably have to go with a dark and stormy night. "Once upon a time conjures up images of talking cats, dragons, and elves. Can't stand that stuff.

Buy or borrow?

Unless we are talking about the public library, I am of the estimable Franklin's mind in this matter: "Neither a lender or a borrower be"

New or Used?


Buying choice: Reviews, recommendations, or browse?

Usually by author… we science fiction people are very much devoted to our favorites, although I do browse quite a bit.

Tidy Ending or cliffhanger?

As long as the ending makes sense, it's fine.

Morning, afternoon, or evening reading?


Standalone or series?

Either, but I do read a lot of series'

Favorite Book of which no one else has heard?

Birthright: "The Book of Man", Jerry Pournelle

Favorite books read last year?

Fiction: "At All Costs", by David Weber

Non-Fiction: "Enough", by Juan Williams and "God's Politics", by Jim Wallis

Favorite Books of All time:

Birthright: The Book of Man, Jerry Pournelle
Post Captain, Patrick O'Brian
Jumper, Steven Gould
Alternaties, Michael Kube-McDowell
Replay, Ken Grimwood
Starship Troopers, Robart A. Heinlein
Time Enough For Love, Robart A. Heinlein
Firestar, Michael Flynn
Conquistador, S.M. Stirling
Falkenberg's Legion (series), S.M. Stirling
Marching Through Georgia, S. M. Stirling
Roots, Alex Haley

...and that's just a start.


Super Des, Middle Girl, and Anali

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Blog Exchange Entry

I don't know how many of you got to read this at the beginning of the month, when I was involved with the Blog Exchange Project. The excercise for February was to write a post in the voice of someone famous, without making specific reference to said famous person.

I exchanged with Suzanne. I hope that you went to her site while she was visitiong me here. If not, please go and visit this funny and sometimes frenetic writer at her blog: CUSS and other rants. Please make sure you go and spread the love.

You know, when you get to be my age (65), you start to look back at your life and wonder how things might have different if you had made other choices. In my case, I have to tell you that my life has turned out rather well. I have been married to my high school sweetheart since 1964, and I have not only risen to high political office, I have also made a boatload of money along the way.

As I said, I have led a successful life… but there ARE a few things that I would change if I could: First, I would have done better in my studies at Yale… I was flunking out and almost lost one of my five draft deferments. That was scary, especially withy a war heating up!

As much of a war supporter as I have been throughout my political career, as well as in my private career… it's just that… well… I just had other priorities in the 60's, so I didn’t bother to serve… yeah, getting married before I even finished college was well-timed… they weren’t drafting married guys then, so it was cool.

So, there I was, in college, married, and safe from the draft… at least, until the laws changed and married men were eligible again. Shit! What now? Well, we decided to start a family, right there and then. They were taking married guys… but not married guys with kids! Well, that worked out well enough, and kept me out of uniform until 1967, when I turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft. Whew!

As I said… perhaps I should have done some things differently, I mean, now, military service is popular… especially with all of those useless great working class people. Maybe if I had served, people would quit calling me a “Chickenhawk” Maybe if I had served, people would be less likely to think that I am eager to send their sons and daughters to risk the safety of their asses while I never did anything even remotely risky (except for getting arrested for drunk driving… twice, years ago) . Too late for that now, though, especially since the Iraq insurgency is in its last throes.

Well, I guess I can’t dwell on things for too long. What’s done is done, they always say.

Geez, I am getting old. I am starting to get maudlin over the fact that my days of power are on the wane. In not too long, I’ll have to leave this great house on Massachusetts Avenue, and return to the private sector.

Maybe it’s time to do just that. Maybe then, nobody will get all bent out of shape just because I like to drink while hunting. You’d think I shot somebody in the face or something… oh.

You can find more info about the Blog Exchange and how to participate, as well as the January participants and entries, by clicking here

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

You know... I was never a big fan of Anna Nicole Smith. Indeed, hearing her voice always made me cringe. I always thought of Anna Nicole Smith as some sort of circus performer... you know, the lady in the freak show that you would ooh and ahh over, and then go back to the suburbs and feel good about because you aren't her.

To be honest, I know a lot more about that woman than I really want to, but because I am a consumer of pop culture, it has been hard to avoid. I know of her poor origins, her days as a stripper, her first child and his tragic demise, her tattoos, her marriage, her posing for Playboy (and you men are lying if you didn't think she was way hot... you women, too), etc...

I will say this about Anna Nicole Smith: Whatever her life story is, she doesn't deserve the treatment that her death has caused her to suffer in the media. Various media outlets, including the Washington Post have practically called the woman a whore. The circus-like attitude of both the print and television media has been shameful.

No one would dare criticize Tony Randall or Donald Trump, or even Larry King for marrying women that are literally half their age. Why? because they are men. Not only men, but wealthy men... and therefore worthy of respect. I'm not saying anything about this woman's marriage to that ultra-rich guy... but to call this woman a whore because she might have done something that many people have done since money was invented is just wrong.

This, my friends, is classism at it's worst. None of this would be happening if Anna Nicole Smith had been born in a middle class brick house, and she had gone to college and then discovered acting as a young woman.... blah, blah, blah! Even if she was a crappy actress.

I suppose that leaving yourself open to this kind of treatment in life or death is the price of fame, but it doesn't make it any better.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandmom!

Today is my maternal grandmother's 87th birthday.

I have spoken briefly of my grandmother in my "100 Things" post last year, but since today is her day, I'd like to tell you a bit more about her.

My Grandmother was born in Yardley, Pennsylvania in 1920, but was raised in Trenton, New Jersey. She is one of nine siblings. She was raised in a religious home by her mother, who was a house-cleaner, and a father who worked on the railroads.

She married my Granddad at age 18, while he was teaching at Cheney state college. My grandmother was nearly 20 when my mother was born in December of 1939. With war on the horizon, my grandmother got a job in a defense plant that built fighter aircraft. She worked at the factory throughout the war and was probably the reason that our side won!

After V-E and V-J days, my grandmother, like most American women, was tossed out of work so that the returning soldiers could have jobs... by this time, she was used to making her own money, so she went to night school and got her degree in nursing.

My grandparents divorced when my mother was not quite a teenager, and the family was living in Marshall, Texas, where my granddad taught at one of the colleges. My grandmother took my mother and raised her around her extended family in Newtown, Pennsylvania... in a large house, just down the street from St. Mark's AME Zion Church (where my mom married my dad in 1957).

My mom Married my dad in 1957 and since my dad was a soldier, she went to California with him... my grandmother remarried a minister, and settled in Springfield, New Jersey. When my parents divorced in 1969, my mother, with her three children (the youngest being me, age 5) moved to New Jersey to be with her.

Although we live in the next town over, my grandmother was to be the most important person in my life in my formative years. I have mentioned before that I learned what a man shouldn't be by negative example... and that I had a role model in Captain James Tiberius Kirk. What I learned from my grandmother was dignity and correct, respectful behavior.

My grandmother is a grand woman. She is the most dignified, classy woman I have ever known. She is a woman of great faith, love and kindness. She demanded that I behave correctly at all times. She had a deep love for education, and would brook no nonsense when it came to getting good grades.

When I was about 9, my grandmother gave me, my sister and brother a set of World Book encyclopedias. It was to be one of the most important moments in my life. I mentioned in previous posts that I was nicknamed "Professor" when I was a kid... it was mainly because of the encyclopedias... which I would read, from cover to cover, just for fun.

My grandmother taught me to want more, and that there wasn't much that I couldn't achieve.

My grandmother is a tough woman... nearly ten years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, not hesitating a bit, she immediately got a second opinion, and on confirmation the had a mastectomy. She survived Chemo and radiation and has been cancer-free ever since. She has since survived a few mini-strokes, and is every bit as clear in mind and ability as she has ever been. She bore her surgeries, treatments and rehab with strength and grace.

If it can be said that I am a good man, my grandmother gets the credit for it.

The picture below was taken last spring, outside of our church. Hopefully, I will see her again as soon as the weather breaks.

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My grandmother is the best of people. I thank God for the gift.


NOTE: "Shoot 'Em Up Friday" will return next week.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

What I do

When I started this blog, last year, I said that I was going to talk about firearms, but not exclusively. In the intervening time, I have said relatively little about them. Today will be different.

I had a conversation, recently, with someone that regularly reads my blog, and she asked me: "just what is that you do?" So I told her. Perhaps this is a good time to tell the rest of you.

Most of you know that I am a tactical firearms instructor for a government agency. Some of you know what that means and some don't, so let me explain:

I teach people how to fight with guns.

I also teach new people HOW to shoot, but that is secondary... maybe even tertiary to the main thrust of my job.

There is a world of difference between teaching someone how to safely operate a firearm and teaching a regular, decent person how to kill someone with a handgun... up close and personal.

Initial firearms training involves the following subjects:

Nomenclature (the parts of the gun)
Maintenance (cleaning, servicing)
The cycle of operations
Legitimate use of deadly force

These things are vitally important, don't get me wrong... but I usually get my hands on the people AFTER they already have this training.

What I do is take that basic training and take the operator forward and train them on what that gun is really for.

Unfortunately, many people in law enforcement are under the impression that their pistol is some sort of magic talisman that will ward off vampires or evil spirits. Too many officers and agents believe in their hearts that they will never have to use a gun in combat and are psychologically unprepared to do so. Too many of those people are dead now. I get rid of all such notions right away.

In my combat classes, I start with a lecture in the history of firearms, with an emphasis on fighting with handguns. I let the people know that gunfighting is the original American martial art. It is an art that is on an equal footing with the great Asian martial arts. It is a stylized system of personal combat. One which is easy to learn at the outset, but requires years of discipline to be really good at. I ask my combat shooters to regularly re-dedicate themselves to their own training, which they have to have the self-discipline to continue.

One of the most important aspects of training to fight with a gun starts in your own head, with the decision making process. The first thing that you need to do before you start training is to decide whether or not you can kill someone. This isn't an abstract question. You need to decide... right now, if you can or cannot kill. Never mind the statistics that say you will almost certainly never have to do it. Statistics never ran into an ex-convict that they put in jail five years ago, while they are in a restaurant. You have to know, and be OK with the idea that you might have to use this weapon, and the likely result is the sometimes gruesome death of another human being.

That decision being made, we move into subjects such as reactive shooting, elements of the draw, combat sighting, contact shots, drug and armor drills, shooting on the move, use of cover, shooting while down or disabled (wounded), shooting in reduced light (with & without a flashlight), post-shooting techniques, etc... but most important is how to effectively shoot someone.

It can be difficult to turn your average 24 year old into a meat eating predator, but it is rewarding when you come up with a finished product that has decided to really fight for his/her own life, and is capable and confident in his/her own ability to do so with successful results.

I ask myself every day, if I can kill or not. When that day comes that I answer "I'm not sure" I'll find something else to do.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Haka! (2)

Look what I found!

This is the Black Ferns, of New Zealand, performing their haka at the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup.

The Six Million Dollar Man

After reading Janet's blog this morning, I couldn't resist a quick You Tube search.

Thanks for the inspiration, Janet!

I loved this show... didn't you?

Apparently, there was a movie production in the works up until fairly recently. I'd see that movie, you betcha.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Haka!

The Haka is a traditional Maori challenge before battle, and is performed before every match played by the New Zealand national rugby team, known by the name The All Blacks. The All Blacks are the most feared and respected rugby players in the world.

The Black Ferns are New Zealand's National women's rugby side, and are the current Women's Rugby World Cup Champions (played in Canada, this summer).

I tried to get some video (with sound) of the Black Ferns distinctive Haka, but I couldn't, so here is the video sans sound.

The women's haka isn't an invitation to combat, rather it is a ritual of their togetherness as a team.

In either event, as a rugby player (not that I am, mind you), I would be intimidated by either of these groups.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Gunfighter Dreams

Again, you ask yourself... what does Gunfighter dream about on an early sunday morning? Well, even if you weren't asking... I'll share anyway.

I was standing in a field next to the local Wal-Mart... about 1/2 a mile from our house, talking to two other men about feral housecats keeping down the vermin population.

The scene shifts to the inside of a house, talking to my best friend from childhood, Oliver (note: I have only seen Oliver twice since 1981... the last time being 1990). Oliver and I were talking about the fact that he had just rigged a parachute especially for me... and that we should try it soon. I buckled the 'chute to my body, and the scene shifted again.

Now we are on some sort of platform... or a ramp of an airplane... Oliver said, "Let's go!" and we jumped. We weren't using a static line, so I had to pull the rip-cord myself. I pulled the wrong cord. Uh-oh. Learning which cord to pull while free-falling is bad. Very bad. The good thing is that I kept my cool. Just before impact I had a thought: "I'll slow down if I fly in cirlces!", So I put my arms out to the side and flew in circles (scene shift) around my own living room (no, I wasn't doing drugs last night... I was watching rugby). I stopped flying around my living room, and stood up, and then I woke up.

This was at about 0445 this morning.

NOTE: Oliver looked like he did in high school. I looked old and fat like I do now.

It's Rugby Season!!!

My friends, this is a very special weekend for me. As a matter of fact it is a special weekend for millions of people throughout the sporting world! No, not because of the (yawn) Superbowl, but because this weekend, holds the opening of the Super 14 tournament in the southern hemisphere, and the opening of the Six Nations tournament in Europe.

That's right... it's RUGBY SEASON! Time for your pal Gunfighter to watch and enjoy The Game They Play in Heaven!

For those of you that aren't familiar with Rugby please use the link above and see my explanation of the game from last summer... you'll get some idea of what I am talking about.

Rugby is the hardest hitting and most athletic team sport in the world. Check it out:

Friday, February 2, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

Since I had a wee rant about cel phones the other day, I thought I ought to show you what happens when a cel phone meets a .357 caliber bullet that is moving at 1325 feet per second.

This is your standard, garden variety cellular telephone:

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This is the same phone with a Sig-Sauer P-229 pistol:

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This is the same phone, perched on a traffic cone (maybe I should have given it a blindfold):

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This is the after picture:

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Have a nice weekend!

Black History Month

Yesterday was the start of Black History Month.

Black History Month (BHM) grew out of one woman's desire to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass. The month is marked by discussions about the history of black people in North America (BHM is also celebrated in Canada), and our contributions in all aspects of culture and society.

There is a growing discussion in America about the relevance and need for BHM, considering the broad spectrum of achievement in this country. People, black and non-black alike, are now openly questioning the need for this particular celebration.

Unfortunately, whenever people question the efficacy of BHM, there are knee-jerk charges of racism leveled at the person asking the question... unless that person is black, when the labeling of "Uncle Tom", Self-hater, Oreo, etc... starts. I won't speak to that today, though... I have other fish to fry.

One problem that I find with BHM, is the cookie-cutter, watered down, Martin-Luther-King-Jackie-Robinson-Rosa-Parks crap, that all of the kids learn in school these days. They get a few blocks of instruction on these no-doubt influential black people and then that's it. I'm not blaming the schools here, but many parents, and I am talking about black parents here, don't do any more than that.

By now, you probably won't be shocked about where I come down in this argument:

I believe that every month is Black History Month. Black people have been involved in the building of this country since before there was a United States. Like all of the various peoples that were involved in creating what became this nation, black people have held a stake since the very beginning. From Jamestown, where the first African slaves in North America were imported, to the Boston Massacre, to Lexington & Concord, to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment at the Siege of Yorktown. We have served valiantly in all of America's wars. We have worked hard and prospered. Black men have been some of our top military commanders and Senators, members of the House of Representatives, Diplomats, respected clergy, business leaders, Educators, Academics, and authors.

For my part, I believe that if you talk about American History, you are already talking about black history... singling out a single month to celebrate what should be celebrated the year 'round demeans all of the things that we have accomplished throughout our history.

Get out your history books.