Thursday, May 31, 2007

Food (You Pick The Topic)

Jenn In Holland asked me to do a recipe for her... one with ingredients she could get in Holland.

Jenn, this is for you, friend.

Chicken Breasts with Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions.

2 Boneless/skinless chicken breasts (sliced flat or sideways)
1 pound of mini Yukon gold potates
2 cups of baby carrots
2 medium onions
Olive oil
curry powder
chipotle flakes
minced garlic

OK, pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some music, and shoo the children away.

Drink some wine.

Dance a little... go on, no one is looking.

On a cutting board, pound out the thinly sliced chicken breasts, just a little.

Dust (lightly) one side of the chicken breasts with curry powder and a dash of salt

Dust (lightly) the other side of the breasts with chipotle flakes (if you can't get chipotle flakes, use red pepper flakes). Also dust with A LITTLE paprika.

Coat both sides of the breasts with cornmeal. Set them aside.

Slice the potatoes into medallions

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Have some more wine, if you are getting low... this is supposed to be fun!

Turn up your music, and dance some more. If you significant other is around have a smooch, and maybe even a quick feel while the kids aren't looking

Cut the onions in half and slice thinly.

Heat saute (or frying) pan... add olive oil, add onions.

Saute onions until slightly soft...

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Add carrots, sautee together... (add garlic to taste) until done.

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Set onions and carrots aside, and de-glaze pan.

Heat saute pan, add olive oil, sautee potatoes until done (if you would rather, you can par boil the spuds first, but since they are relatively thin, I don't bother).

Set potatoes aside.

Lightly fry the chicken breasts for about three minutes per side or until nice and golden.

Combine the potatoes, onions, and carrots and re-reheat.

Top up your glass


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gunfighter - Live @ Motherhood Uncensored!

If any of you are interested, I will be participating as a guest on Kristen Chase's Motherhood Uncensored web-radio talkshow, tonight, at 9 P.M. EDT.

The topic will be Father's Day and "What Real Dads Want"

Follow the button here or in the sidebar.

Listen Live



A-B-C Meme

I've been meme'ed by PT-Law Mom!

A - Attached or Single?: Married

B - Best Friend?: I married her.

C - Cake or Pie?: Pie

D - Drink of Choice?: Stone Imperial Stout

E - Essential Items?: Books, music, a high quality knife w/sharpening steel, and a Leatherman tool

F - Favorite Color?: Blue

G - Gummie Bears or Worms?: Ewww.

H - Hometown?: Union, New Jersey

I - Indulgence?: Good single malt whiskey and a fine Arturo Fuente, 47 ring maduro Presidente cigar.

J - January or February?: February... spring is that much closer!

K - Kids?: Two beautiful, smart, athletic daughters

L - Life is incomplete without?: Books

M - Marriage Date?: July 4, 1994

N - Number of Siblings?: 5... 4 living.

O - Oranges or Apples?: Oranges

P - Phobias/Fears?: Me afraid? HA!, I say!

Q - Favorite Quote?: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

Bonus: "You Klingon bastards! You killed my son!" James Tiberius Kirk

R - Reason to smile?: A great workout with headbanger music on my ipod.

S - Seasons?: "We had joy, we had fun we had seasons in the sun, but the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time"

T - Tags?: I can't. People will start hating me if I keep doing that to them... but if you want me to tag you, raise your electronic paw in the air. Higher, so I can see you.

U - Unknown Fact About Me?: I know all of the words to all of the songs in West Side Story.

V - Vegetarian or oppressor of animals?: Meat eating predator.

W - Worst Habit?: Copiously swearing.

X - X-rays or ultrasounds?: Never had the latter... but they are bound to be less risky than the former.

Y - Your favorite food?: Is beer food?

Z - Zodiac?: Sagittarius

Tagging (You Pick he Subject)

Comrade Ambassador Ken is dealing with the problem of graffiti in his community.

These vandals, many of whom fancy themselves as artists, regularly deface and destroy public and private property using spray paint, markers, and sometimes even carving tools. Very often, their vandalism comes in the form of tagging, which is a stylized way of writing their names or of symbolically identifying themselves.

Graffiti has been around as long as humans have had the idea of communicating with symbols, and later, with letters.... graffiti has probably been a pain in the ass since that time, too.

When I first came to Washington, DC in May of 1986 (21 years ago, last week!), there was a tagger, known as Cool "Disco" Dan who was not only prolific, but he achieved a degree of fame... or notoriety throughout the 80's and 90's.

There are many who believe that graffiti is a victimless crime, but they are dead wrong. Graffiti is vandalism... the willful destruction/defacement of property that is not owned by the perpetrator. Graffiti costs millions of dollars per year in cities across the nation to clean up.

Great. Now I've given you a lecture about what it is. Now, what can be done about it?

When it comes to cities and municipalities, painting over graffiti or using solvents to get rid of it are used as measures to keep graffiti "artists" from hanging around in a particular area... in local communities the problem gets a little more difficult. What do you do to get rid of a vandal, or crew of vandals that goes about tagging your cars, mailboxes, fences, et cetera?

The first thing you do is call the cops.

The second thing you do is call the cops again.

Next, call the cops, until they start patrolling your neighborhood more frequently.

After that, get on the hook to your local politicians, and tell them (this really works when you and your neighbors go as a group) that you will all diligently work, and financially support his/her opponent in the next election if they don't get a handle the situation.

You might also want to start a neighborhood watch during the peak hours when your local vandals operate.

Of course there is also another way. That way is to catch one of those bas@#&*s in the act, and beat him without mercy.

You'll only have to do that once... but in the spirit of being a law abiding citizen, you'll probably want to stick to the other methods.

What I'm Reading Now (You Pick The Subject)

I got quite a response from readers concerning today's "You Pick The Topic Day"

I am going to post more than once today, in hopes of talking about some of the things that were bought up, but first, we have a description of what I am reading now.

I am sure that many of you know that I am a big science fiction geek. Those that didn't, well.... I am.

Sue me.

The book I am reading now is the third in a trilogy by prolific Canadian author
Robert J. Sawyer, who is a new discovery for me, and I am so glad that I found him.

The book is called "Hybrids", which followed "Hominids", and "Humans".

The name of the trilogy is: "The Neanderthal Parallax", and although it isn't what anyone would call "hard" science fiction, it is certainly enjoyable.

The thrust of the trilogy is that about 40,000 years ago modern humans and neanderthals were coexisting in parts of the world, when there was a "great awakening" of awareness in modern humans. Naturally, in our way, modern humans wiped out the competing neanderthals, and we became top dogs on earth (HEY! WAKE UP! YOU ASKED FOR THIS, REMEMBER??).

Fast forward to today, and in a Canadian research laboratory located in a nickel mine in Ontario, Physicists are conducting and experiment using heavy water. The experiment seems to go awry and a man appears in the tank. Not just any man, but a living, breathing, Neanderthal man, named Ponter Boddit.

As it turns out, Ponter Boddit is a Physicist from a parallel universe, who was doing a quantum computing experiment in a mine in the exact same place, at the exact same time.

Many adventures ensue, and eventually, Ponter meets and falls in love with Canadian Geneticist Mary Vaughn.

I am halfway through the last book, and am thoroughly enjoying it. Sawyers writing is clean and not the least bit ponderous.

If you are a science fiction reader, give it a try. It won't take terribly long, and you'll probably enjoy it.



PS: Mad props to Paige for giving me the topic.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Wreck of The Edmund FitzGerald

Sure, most of us know the song... but did you all know that the song was about a real ship? Did you know that the song was about a ship that sank in 1975?

I didn't know until a year or so ago.

I fancy myself as something of a history geek, and I was dashed to bits, not having known that fact.

All those years (nearly 30) thinking that Gordon Lightfoot was singing about some fictional wind-driven schooner, and it turns out that the Edmund FitzGerald was a nearly thousand foot-long ore freighter, that was the largest boat (they call them "boats" on the lakes, go figure) on the great lakes from 1959 until four years before she went down.


You Pick The Subject (2)

Hey kids... I am really beat, and I have several things to do tonight, so instead of thinking up something to write about.... I'm letting you pick the subject.


Please submit, via comment or email, the subject that you would like me to blog about tomorrow, May 30th. I will give my opinions and wax philosophical on a topic (or topics) of one (or more) of you fine folks.


Black Culture Beyond Hip-Hop

An article in yesterday's Washington Post, very succinctly said what I have been trying to say for some time, and that is, simply, that hip-hop is NOT black culture.

Oh sure, it is one part of our wide and varied culture, but it certainly isn't, or at least SHOULDN'T be the centerpiece. Indeed, hip hop is a sub-culture... and not just a black one, either.

Black culture is a constantly growing component of the wider American cultural garden. A garden in which many things grow... soul-satisfying foods, our churches, our entertainers, scholars, soldiers, jurists, statesmen (and women) and professionals of all sorts. The soil in this garden was prepared, seeded and tended by those who came before us, who intended that we should all be fed, economically, culturally, and spiritually, by the fruits of their labor. We should be fed from that garden and prosper.

Hip hop is is a weed in that garden. Like Poison Ivy, growing in your Azaleas, hip hop has attached itself to black culture and won't let go. Like Poison Ivy can choke and kill your Azalea, Hip Hop has the potential to destroy not only black culture, but our community as well.

Hip hop is a danger because it is a celebration of immorality, poor (or non-existent) values, crime, bad ideals, and low expectations. Worse yet, too many middle-class blacks are clinging to it on some sick grasp at authenticity, also known as "keepin' it real"

Hip hop is overgrowing in our cultural garden and we had better eradicate it now, or we'll never get anything good out of that soil again.

In his article, I think that the most important statement that Chatterton-Williams makes is that "...the glorification of lower-class reality in the Hip hop era has quietly taken the place of white racism as the most formidable obstacle to success and equality in the black middle classes".

I think he is right.

Monday, May 28, 2007


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New Providence, The Bahamas

Bladensburg, Maryland

Tripoli, Libya

Chapultepec, Mexico

Belleau Wood, France

Iwo Jima, Japan


The Chosin Resevoir, Korea

Khe Sanh, Vietnam

Koh Tang Island, Cambodia

Beirut, Lebanon


Khafji, Saudi Arabia

Tal Afar, Iraq

Fallujah, Iraq

Bagdhad, Iraq

Anbar, Iraq

Since the beginning of our nation's history, our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen have fought and died for their country.

Let's make sure that when we ask this sacrifice from them, that we have a good reason.

The price that THEY pay, is too costly to bear to ask them to pay it for no purpose.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Because Memes Are fun, That's Why!

8 Random Things

The Rules:

Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.

Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.

Players should tag eight other people and notify them that they have been tagged.

The Eight:

1. I'm an ambidextrous shooter.

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2. I memorize television commercial jingles and dialogue.

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3. I loved West Berlin...

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...but didn't care for Paris.

4. I haven't been in my old hometown in at least ten years.

5. I love yeasty, malty, hoppy beers.

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6. I have little time for dopes...

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...and don't spend much time humoring them.

7. I thought the police academy was ridiculously easy.

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8. I love nautical fiction (think Aubrey/Maturin or Hornblower).

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There you are. I am not going to tag anyone specifically, but, if you'd like to do the meme, leave me a comment so I can check it out!


BONUS FACT: I love the sound of bagpipes.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

What a Day!

It was a day of change.

It was a day of new beginnings.

It was a day of reunion.

It was a day of new found sisterhood.

It was a day where past ill's were washed away.

It was a day of welcome.

It was a day of scenic beauty.

It was a day of tears.

It was a day free of accusation.

It was a day free of crushing guilt.

It was a day of joy.

We arrived in Jennifer's tiny West Virginia hamlet shortly after two p.m., yesterday, even though the graduation wasn't scheduled until seven. This gave all of us plenty of time to spend together before everything got started.

Crystal was radiant. Olivia was thrilled, my dad was proud (but not as proud as his son), and there was a joyous reunion.

Jennifer and I were civil for a few minutes... after which both of us dropped our guards and focused on the happiness of the day, especially when we could see how incredibly important this day was to Olivia and Crystal.

The grownups sat out on the porch on that warm, quiet, perfect afternoon, and chatted about mostly nothing while the girls got to spend time together.

Crystal showed Olivia her room, read to her, played games with her, and the never were never more than two feet away from each other until the graduation ceremony started. My daughters were immediately as thick as thieves, and I could hear them giggling and laughing together through the window. Apparently, something was happening because it got quiet all of a sudden... then they came out of Crystal's room looking guilty! While playing with Crystal's dog, the strap on Olivia's cute little pink dress had gotten broken! No worries, Crystal took a needle and thread to if and sewed it right up.

They went right back to playing together. My daughters had become sisters in more than biology.

After a while, Crystal got around to showing me her room, and I noticed that on her wall, there was an old polaroid picture, (I had a One-Step in those days) that Susan had taken of us, in my tiny Capitol Hill apartment, when Crystal was about 4. She said that she looked at that picture every day. She also showed me a set of my old Marine dog tags. Her mother had given them to her when she found them in an old box. When I was in the corps, we had dog tags in sets of three. two hung around your neck, and one was laced into your bootlaces, lest you get blow to smithreeens and literally lose your head. Well, I have had the third tag on my key chain since I got out of the service in 1989... I never knew where the others were, until now.
Crystal took them apart and gave one to Olivia and said that now, we all had the full set, "three tags, three of us, all together".

What a moment.

The hour was getting late, and everyone changed for graduation. I noticed that Olivia was wearing earrings (clip-on's) as we left the house... Crystal had given them to her (her ears are pierced). Olivia was overjoyed.

We got a quick bite to eat at the local Dairy Queen (the local social center, in the next town), and headed to the High School.

The ceremony was only an hour, mercifully, as it was hot in the un-air conditioned gymnasium.

I got to watch my daughter, my oldest daughter, get her diploma, with her mother, father, paternal grandfather, maternal grandmother, adoptive father, two aunts, an uncle, and a host of friends to cheer her on!

What a night.

Immediately after the ceremony, and pictures, and introductions to friends, we had to get on the road, as it was along drive back home. Although we were invited to spend the night and come to the celebratory barbecue that will be held this afternoon, we couldn't stay.

The girls had thoroughly bonded in that short time, and there were promises of them spending a weekend together in June, and visits from Crystal in July, before she goes off to college in August.

Before we departed, there were hugs and kisses all around.

We had a fast drive home... possibly aided by the fact that I was so happy, I probably could have levitated the car through the high mountains, just on my giddiness alone.

We got home shortly before 1 a.m., with Olivia fast asleep, still wearing her earrings (which she is wearing right now, at 11 a.m., while she watches Shrek in the next room).



PS: Allow me a moment to thank all of you that commented with words of support on my post yesterday. Your words meant a lot to me.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Something You Don't Know About Gunfighter

My friends, today I am going to share something with you that you don't know about me.

I think that I may have mentioned, sometime in the slightly more than a year since I started this blog, that my marriage to Mrs. Gunfighter isn't my first marriage. Your pal Gunfighter went down the marital aisle once before.

My first marriage was a dreadful mistake, a mistake borne of youthful exuberance, stupidity, and a quixotic desire to "rescue" someone from a life that I thought wasn't good enough.

I wasn't quite twenty three, in May of 1986. I was a Marine, newly stationed in Washington, DC, and had seen a lot of the world. By this time in my life I had been in quite a few countries (most of western Europe, East Germany, parts of Africa and the Middle east and other places) and reckoned myself ready to settle down.

I was naive, and thought that the country girl (OK, hillbilly girl) that I had met in a Georgetown bar in the summer of 1987 was just right for me. She was pleasant, nice, and blah blah blah.... and six or so months later, we were living together and speaking of marriage.

We were married in June of 1988, and started our life together. Naturally, the first six months were fine and full of fun... which is when I got orders to go back to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. I was going back to the Fleet Marine Force, 2nd Marine Division... and I had just found out that I was going to be a father. Yup, that's right.

I reported to Camp LeJeune, and was assigned to Weapons Company, first battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and spent the next several months getting back into the groove of being a squad leader in a heavy machine gun infantry platoon. At home in Maryland (where she stayed because of her job, and because I was due to get out of the Corps in Dec of 1989), Jennifer awaited the birth of our child.

I was just coming in from the field, having spent the previous few nights sleeping on the ground in the coastal Carolina sand and scrub, when I got the call from the battalion staff duty NCO, who informed me of the birth of my daughter, Crystal, that morning... August 5th, 1989!

I was instantly placed on leave, and loaded my car and drove away from the base at an unhealthy speed. I made great time to Andrews Air Force Base, which was less than ten miles from our apartment. I saw my baby and was done in. She was perfect.

Once I finished a lengthy leave, I went back to Camp LeJeuene, and returned to Maryland every weekend to play happy family, although things were starting to come unglued already.

I left the Marine Corps in December of 1989 and started my first government job in February of 1990.

I'll spare you the ugly details, but my marriage fell apart by Christmas of 1990.

In the intervening couple of years, I met, courted, and married Mrs Gunfighter. After a time of trying (and failing) to have at least an amicable-because-we-have-a-child relationship with Jennifer, she found a man that she wanted to be with. They were married, and by the time Crystal is that age that soccer girl is now, Jennifer asked me to allow her new husband to adopt my daughter.

Since every bit of contact between Jennifer and myself erupted into combat of the worst sort (non-physical, mind you), I agreed.

Not because I was trying to shirk my responsibilities. No, I always did my share and more... but because I wanted my daughter to have something that I didn't: A stable, two-parent home.

My family went nuts.

They accused me of abandoning my child for convenience sake.

The women in my family all accused me of not wanting to pay support.

The men in my family all suggested that I was some sort of villain.

The only person that supported me was Susan.

Eventually, my dad came around. He facilitated meetings between me and Crystal whenever she came to visit him. He kept us in contact. He sent me pictures of her, and copies of her report cards.

It was a long time ago, and I knew that I had done the right thing... that eventually, Crystal would be old enough to understand why I did what I did.

Almost two years ago, I started corresponding with Crystal via email. At first clandestinely, where she would email me from school. Later on, with her mother's knowledge. Then came telephone calls. We talked of many things, and we grew closer. The intervening years, while not disappearing, certainly faded into the background.

Today, my oldest child will graduate from high school, and I'll be in West Virginia to see it!

I haven't seen her in three years... and Olivia was an infant the one and only time she met her sister.

I can hardly wait.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Armed Campus is NOT a Safe Campus

Gentle (and not-so-gentle) readers, please welcome guest-poster Brian. He and his wife make their blog home @ Afrogeek Mom & Dad.

I read the following post at their blog recently, and asked if I could re-post it for the benefit of all, and Brian gracefully gave his consent.

Have a look a this:

Immediately in the aftermath of the shooting incident at Virginia Tech the usual swarm of loudmouths scuttled out from under the cultural baseboard and began to scream long and loud to anyone within earshot that if the students and faculty at VT had been armed that they'd have been able to deal with the shooter. (I wonder why no one mentioned arming the staff.) In truth, yes, on a college campus with a large percent of its population armed, eventually a shooter would be wounded or killed, but would an armed campus be safer than a campus where only the university police are allowed to be armed?

Lets face facts, federal, state, county, and local law enforcement personnel are screened to weed out the unstable and the unreliable. They receive training in firearms safety, marksmanship, and the use of deadly force, still, law enforcement personnel manage to mistake innocent persons for perpetrators, they miss their targets and hit bystanders, and the occasionally use excessive force.

Last night, after going through a red light, I was stopped by a cop. I made a conscious effort to keep my hands on the steering wheel where he could see them because I didn't want a nervous, pissed off, or frightened cop to make my kids orphans. If I can't trust a trained police officer not to shoot me, what makes anyone think that I should feel safe on a campus full of people who haven't been screened and who haven't had weeks of special training?

In not one of the letters to the editor, blogs, casual conversations, or radio call-in shows that I've been privy to has anyone explained how anyone's supposed to identify the shooter. If you're making your way across campus, and a friend runs up to you and yells, "Hey! Somebody's shooting people in Maybank Hall!" After you draw your weapon on a campus with a large percentage of armed people, how are you supposed to know which armed person is the shooter, and which one is responding to the shooting? How do the other armed people on campus know that you're not the shooter?

When talking to people about deadly force, I gave them this scenario: You've walked into a room in which there is one person on the floor suffering from an obvious gunshot wound, and two people facing each other with guns drawn. What do you do? Every time I posed that scenario, I'd get this response, "I'd shoot both of them." I know that these people were trying to be witty, but it was their very wittiness that exposes one of the flaws of the armed campus. I can think of many more.

If your Spidey sense (or whatever) does manage to clue you in on the shooter, are you sure that you're accurate enough to hit him and no one else? What about the other vigilantes, are you confidant in their marksmanship? What about the background of your target? Are there no innocent bystanders on the other side of the shooter? What about on the other side of that sheetrock wall beyond the shooter? Maybe you'd better add x-ray vision to your Spidey sense. Are you sure that there's only one shooter? Maybe while you're stalking the guy you think is the shooter, his buddy's stalking you.

Also, when the campus police, the local police, or the mob of students and faculty (and staff) respond to the crime, how do you identify yourself as not the shooter? Why shouldn't they shoot you?

Back when I was in the Army, soldiers who had privately owned weapons had to keep them either off-post, or locked downstairs in the arms room. If you wanted your weapon you had to give the armorer twenty-four hours notice before he'd release it to you. I guess that the idea was to keep young hotheads from running downstairs, demanding their weapons, then running back upstairs to settle scores. If the Army, after having invested a LOT of time and money training soldiers in the benefits of firearms safety, felt that it wasn't a good idea to allow soldiers to sleep with pistols under their pillows, why would it be a good idea to allow college students to do so?

I remember when the Knights of the White Camelia (an even more bedraggled version of the Klu Klux Klan, formerly based in Louisiana) was recruiting on campus at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. They came in and set up their table alongside the campus groups who were likewise recruiting. Unlike the campus organizations, they quickly drew a hostile crowd. Harsh words were thrown back and forth, but there was no violence. The university police kept the peace and the worst thing that happened was that the KWK got free publicity out of the deal. Had guns been allowed on campus, the situation could have turned into something much worse. Some of the students would surely have been armed, and without a doubt, some of the KWK would have been carrying as well.

I'm sure that there are some readers who believe that had the students been armed that the KWK would have stayed off campus. Don't be fooled. Terrorist aren't cowards, if they were, they wouldn't be effective. A misunderstanding on either the part of the students or the KWK probably would have resulted in a bloodbath, and the university police would have been out manned, outgunned, and probably helpless to intervene. Think of all the emotionally charged incidents that take place on college campuses -- Sporting events that turn violent, political protests, rivalries between fraternal organizations that often turn violent, and all of these incidents can be exasperated by youthful hormones and sometimes alcohol and controlled substances. Who believes that adding guns to the mix would improve the situation?

Wise words, indeed, Brian.

During our correspondence, Brian asked me the following:

"I have a question for you. I was wondering how it would affect how law enforcement personnel carried out their duties if they didn't suspect, but they KNEW that everyone they approached was armed. I could be wrong, but I'm willing to bet that there would be more dead and wounded cops and civilians due to the number of nervous and itchy trigger fingers on the streets."

Without a doubt, Brian. There is always the potential for violence in any police/suspect/citizen encounter. The potential for violence varies depending on many factors, even when there are no other weapons involved. Factor-in the knowledge that everyone you encounter is armed and you will see shooting deaths... particularly police-involved shootings increase by several orders of magnitude.

I don't have all of the answers, but I will say that everyone having a gun, with little or no training about how, or when to use one, is NOT the way to have a safer college campus (or society).

Thanks again, to Brian for allowing me to share this with you. Please make sure that you vist Conseula and Brian at their blog, I think you'll like them.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Excerpt From My Life

"...And, just as he felt he was getting nowhere,
And almost about to give up in despair,
He suddenly burst through a door and that Mayor
Discovered one shirker! Quite hidden away
In the Fairfax Apartments (Apartment 12-J)
A very small, very small shirker named Jo-Jo
was standing, just standing, and bouncing a Yo-Yo!
Not making a sound! Not a yipp! Not a chirp!
And the Mayor rushed inside and he grabbed the young twerp!

And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower.
“This,” cried the Mayor, “is your towns darkest hour!
The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
To come to the aid of their country!” he said.
“We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”

Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,
The lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, “YOPP!”

And that Yopp…
That one small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover
Their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean.
And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?…
They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.
And their whole world was saved by the smallest of All!”

It's ok to think it's funny, but "Horton Hears A Who" is one of my favorite pieces of lyrical poetry.


In The Spotlight (Meme)

OK, things have been rather serious for the last few days, so it is timely that I have been tagged for another meme.

Madame M., from A Daily Dose of Zen has tagged me for a very unusual meme, called "In The Spotlight". This meme is a bit different, and was started by Christy, of Christy's Coffee Break

Away we go!

When did you start blogging?

In March of 2006. This was my first post.

Do your moral values effect the way you blog? If yes, how so?

I would have to say an emphatic yes. I live my life by personal code that says: Be kind to others, be friendly to all, be courteous to all, never intentionally cause hurt unless it is defensive in nature; never beat up on someone that has no chance to fight back... either verbally or physically, because, even for a warrior, there is no Honor in vanquishing someone that can't fight back.

I try to be as welcoming to people in the blogosphere as I am in my day to day life. I hope that shows in the way that I write, and how I treat people... even those that disagree with me..

What is the weirdest thing that ever happened to you?

About ten years ago, we adopted a retired racing Greyhound... his name was Duncan. He was a wonderful, happy, and devoted dog., who became our first child. Not terribly long after that, we decided that the only thing better than having a Greyhound, was having another Greyhound, so we adopted another retired hound named Zoom... we called her Zoomie.

We loved those dogs, and they brought us much joy. One day, Zoom started to walk funny... almost like she was drunk. The next day, her hind legs were paralyzed. The day after that, her front legs were paralyzed. I took her to the vet, who said that he thought she had had a stroke, and wasn't going to recover. We had to have her put down, which was, up to that point, the absolute worst day of my entire life.

Nearly a week after she was euthanized, I woke up in the middle of the night, and could swear that Zoomie was standing next to my side of the bed (she was more my dog than Susan's) with her face near mine. I reached out and petted her head, and then she was gone. I know it sounds like it was just a very realistic dream... and I realize that it was grief-driven... but it seemed incredibly real to me.

What is your best quality?

I'm friendly. I'm the guy that people always ask for directions!

What is unique about your blog?

I would have to say that a blog written by a kilt-wearing black man who makes rosaries for fun, will be unique just because of the author, but content-wise, I guess it would have to be the subject matter that I post about from time to time.

What do you want to accomplish with your blog?

Nothing earth-shattering, I'm afraid. Basically, this is a large social oulet for me. I'm a chatty person, and I like to talk to people. This is my place to be heard. My own little electronic speaker's corner. This is where I can climb to the top of the metaphorical Fairfax Apartments (from apartment 12-J) and shout out: "YOP!"* to the world, and know that there are people... maybe not many people, but some people in other places that can hear me.

I want to be heard.

How do you feel about the "Blog Popularity" issue?

Indifferent. Oh, sure, it is fun when someone reads your blog and reckons that you have said something thought provoking, or funny, or poignant (it isn't often you get to use the word "poignant", you know... unless you are watching "It's a Wonderful Life").

The various blogging awards the fly about are great fun... especially, I suspect, for the people that come up with them, because these little doohickeys generate lots of buzz for their own blogs.

I don't have a huge readership... but I like the people who have been taking the time to visit and share their thoughts with me. I'm no more concerned with being the popular guy in cyberspace than I am in my day to day life.

So... perhaps you have learned something about me, today. Perhaps this is all stuff that you either knew or had already figured out. In an event, I hope reading this didn't make you bleed from the eyes.

Now, I am going to tag people for this meme...

OK, how about: Kate, Jessabean, Allison, Tashsa, Ambassador Ken, and Jenn In Holland

Go here to find the rules... enjoy.

If anyone else reads the rule and would like to play along, please do so... but don't forget to tell me so I can read your answers!

* Big points to those that get the reference.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cooking The Intelligence?

As reported in the Sunday Washington Post, it appears that two separate assessments from the National Intelligence Council, in January, 2003, predicted that the invasion and occupation of Iraq could lead to internal violence and provide a boost to Islamic extremists and terrorists in the region.

Apparently, the reports, which were delivered to White house officials, went on to discuss the fact that in post-Saddam Iraq, domestic groups would fight each other and former Iraqi military could merge with terrorist groups.

One of the assessments suggested that an invasion of Iraq would give a boost to political Islam.

The article says that when these assessments were given to senior officials of the Department of Defense, the DOD said that the assessments were "too negative" and ignored.

Even George Tenet, the disgraceful ex-Director of Central Intelligence (and Medal of Freedom recipient) said, in his recent book, that the NIC papers on Iraq said that "Iraqi political culture is so imbued with norms alien to the democratic experience... that it may resist the most vigorous and prolonged democratic treatments."

Great. This was said before the war.

Let me get this straight:

The NIC tells the national leadership (President Pinhead) that the Iraqis will resist democratic reforms; that the Iraqis will start fighting each other; that former Iraqi soldiers will join with terrorists and foreign fighters; that occupation by western nations will be widely unacceptable in Iraq; and that an invasion/occupation will cause a boost for political Islam, and exacerbate terrorism... and the leadership goes ahead with the invasion and occupation anyway?

As Shakespeare's Hamlet would have said: "That would be scanned"

Our government, no... the President, said that the invasion of Iraq was about "weapons of mass destruction" democratizing Iraq, but had already been told, months prior, that the invasion would not likely produce said democracy, and indeed, would lead to sectarian violence, and increase political Islam and terrorism?

Does that sum it up?

The President, is the same guy that gave us his Top Gun moment on an aircraft carrier, and told us that our mission was accomplished, even though it wasn't. This is the same guy that was told, before the fact, that the war would have the precise results that we have been seeing since 2003... This is the same guy that, despite what he was told by the leaders of the National Intelligence Council, launched a war that has caused the deaths of over three thousand Americans, and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians. This is the same guy that created the failed-state of Iraq. This is the same guy that has caused a number of my colleagues and a few of my good friends to be separated from their families, sent to war, and in the case of two of them, to be wounded in combat.

He knew all along, what was likely to happen... and he did it anyway.


Mr. Bush, I am a firm believer that someday, everyone will have to account for themselves before their maker.

You have a lot of explaining to do... and somehow, I don't think that your excuses are going to fly.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Paranoia and The FBI

Most Americans know how our national security apparatus went berserk after 9/11. We can see the results of this in all of our airports as well as on television every night when we watch the news of our current debacle in Iraq.

Those of you in the Washington, DC-area, got to see our city turned into a fortress.

Ghastly concrete barriers were erected all over the place... the U.S. Capitol building had it's beautiful tree lined entrance dug up and destroyed (which still breaks my heart) in order to build a monstrous underground boondoggle visitors center... many of our beloved monuments were encircled in concrete, protected by Police officers... armed with rifles!

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The Headquarters building of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the J. Edgar Hoover building) was no different. It was already fortress-like (and damned ugly) to begin with... it only got worse.

Nearly a year after 9/11, a journalist of my brief acquaintance was about to interview a senior FBI official, and while he was about to enter the building from the E street side, he noticed that the huge American flag that had been draped across the building, looked odd.

He began counting the stars in the blue field, and concluded that the flag only had 48 stars. That's right, the FBI had trotted out a flag that was made before Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the union as states.

What a bunch of boneheads.

But, wait... it gets worse!

While he counted and re-counted the stars, trying to make sure he was right, some people in the Hoover building noticed his intent observation and notified the FBI's uniformed police (didn't know they had them, did you?), and as he was about to enter the building, he was "detained" for quite a while, and had his journalist credentials for the building revoked (albeit temporarily).

All for counting the stars on a flag.

Paranoia is a bad thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Perfidy of Paul Wolfowitz(2.0)

Once again, gentle readers, a special guest blogger with words of wisdom about disgraced (and disgraceful) World Ban President Paul Wolfowitz. Please welcome my comrade, fellow blogger, and all-around mensch, DJ Black Adam.

I’d like to thank my future Secretary of defense /Security for the Republic of Liberia, Gunfighter, for allowing me the honor of filling in for him today as guest blogger. He picked a topic that I had been following, so I know about Mr. Wolfowitz, but, even with the wisdom of SHAZAM, I didn’t know what “perfidy” meant, so I looked it up on ;-)

perfidy \PUR-fuh-dee\, noun:

“The act of violating faith or allegiance; violation of a promise or vow; faithlessness; treachery”

Well, lets see how Paul got to the “violating a vow” and “treachery” ....

Paul Dundes Wolfowitz was United States Deputy Secretary of Defense during the administration of President George W. Bush and he was one of the principal "architects" of the Iraq War (which you’d think would disqualify him for being in charge of future things he could mess up). He was appointed president of the World Bank Group 01 June 05 and officially resigned on 17 May 07 though his resignation is effective 30 June 07. He resigned after an investigation by the World Bank Group's board of executive directors, which accepted his resignation, "ending a protracted and tumultuous battle over his stewardship, sparked by a promotion he arranged for his companion."

Mr. Wolfowitz’s appointment was very controversial, though by tradition the US appoints the World Bank president as the US is the largest donor, the current administration (in typical Bush/Cheney fashion) didn’t really give a rat’s tail on considering what other governments thought of their choice.

Surprisingly, even with the controversy, Mr. Wolfowitz accomplished a few good things in his short tenure, such as: the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, the Clean Energy Investment Framework, the Africa Action Plan, and the Avian Flu Initiative. In 2006, there was record lending to Africa (unfortunately he didn’t lend me anything to hire mercenaries or rebuild the infrastructure when I take over Liberia, but I won’t hold that against him).

What I do have to hold against him, is what we like to call in Cook County - Chicago Illinois, good ole fashioned “look out for your peoples” politics, as they say elsewhere “patronage” hiring. Now of course, they get away with it a lot here in Illinois (not as much thanks to Patrick Fitzgerald). But ole Paul was already skating on thin ice. What he did specifically was arrange for his “girlfriend’s” separation package from the World Bank and arrange for her a position in the State Department under Dick Cheney’s daughter, with a salary increase of roughly $70,000.00.

Supposedly, the reason he did this was to deal with a conflict of interest pointed out by the Ethic’s committee for the World Bank, as it had come to light that Mr. Wolfowitz had a relationship with Shaha. This relationship caused a problem with Mr. Wolfowitz as World Bank employees are subject to an ethics rule that does not allow personal relationships between bank employees and their supervisors, including indirect supervision through a chain of command. He felt that if he recused himself from all personnel actions or decisions that involved her Shaha, that should be sufficient, unfortunately the ethics committee disagreed with Paul.

Soooooo, Paul decided to dictate the terms of how this lady would leave the world bank and compensation she should receive (in essence, he determined what his girlfriend would get in her good bye package). Bad move # 1, followed by Bad move #2 getting her the hook up with the US State Department.

Don’t get me wrong, the lady is an Oxford graduate, clearly very capable of the positions she has been given, it is the circumstances that cause the questions. Ultimately, Paul did like he learned fro Bush, ignore the rules and do what you want to do to hook up your people, however, unlike G.W., Paul’s card has been pulled and he will just end up getting some 7 figure job in the private sector (Poor Paul).

Do you think he should have gotten the boot, or should the WBG done like the Cook County Board of directors does, look the other way?

Many thanks, DJBA!

Friends, some of you already read DJBA's blog... but those of you the haven't, ought to go give him a few minutes of your time. If you do, I'll bet you go back.


Perfidious or Privileged?

Gentle readers, please welcome today's guest poster, Mamma Loves!

Paul Wolfowitz will be leaving his post as the head of the World Bank next month. After weeks of questions about improper pressure to provide a job and large salary for his girlfriend (maybe he didn’t have anything else “large” to offer her?), continued backing by the Bush administration and finally a vote by board of the Bank, he decided to step down this week.

When GF initially called for a guest blogger this week to write about the “perfidy of Paul Wolfowitz”, Mr. Wolfowitz still held the position as head of the Bank. I believe he announced his resignation within hours of my agreeing to write this post. Initially I thought I’d write a piece outlining the reasons he should be replaced, but was then faced with an “oh crap” moment when I realized that ship had sailed. Not wanting to disappoint GF, I remain committed to the topic but had to figure out what to say instead.

I must admit I did have to look up perfidy when I first read it. I looked it up again today as I considered what to write. To save you the trip to, it means treachery. Now I think there is a difference between treachery (Dick Cheney) and an unexplained sense of privilege (George Bush). And as glad as I am that Wolfowitz is suffering for his actions, I’m not sure that I’d accuse him of perfidy.

Paul Wolfowitz studied chemistry and mathmatics as an undergrad at Cornell. Apparently influenced by John Hersey’s Hiroshima, he decided to go to graduate school for Political Science because…are you ready for this? He wanted to figure out a way to prevent a nuclear holocaust! Yes, the architect of the US war in Iraq has a life goal to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.

Have you gotten up off the floor from LYAO? Just wait. It gets better.

While at the World Bank, Wolfowitz advocated cutting loans and debt relief in developing countries until they fixed the corruption in their governments (that is he cut funds to the countries that didn’t help the US in the war on terrorism—New York Times, April 13, 2007). So the man who thought third-world countries should go without funding to develop infrastructure and advance the health of their citizens because they were too corrupt just basically lost his job because of questionable use of influence. Anyone see the irony of this?

Despite these facts, I don’t know if I see all of Wolfowitz’s actions as that treacherous as much as I see them as the actions of a man who believes that rules don’t apply to him.

In my opinion, this attitude is fairly pervasive within the Bush administration (those who have given Wolfowitz his last few jobs). It’s this condescending approach to the public that I believe has turned off most of the country. The Administration seems to think they can pick and choose which laws apply to our citizens and to themselves. They seem to know which part of the world we should send our children to fight—even if their reasons are based on false information—but none of their children will go. I don’t mean to suggest that their behavior is any less appalling if it isn’t out and out treachery. Frankly, it’s more insulting, and it is unforgivable.

Interestingly, Tony Blair is being talked about as Wolfowitz’s successor. The pundits are saying that in the plus column he has his international connections. In the negative column, they say he admits that he’s a little shaky at maths. I don’t know why they’re so concerned. Obviously Wolfowitz math major wasn’t what got him the job, and it’s not like they owe Blair or anything.

Many thanks, once again, to Mamma Loves. Some of you already know her... those that don't should go give her a read!


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Coaching (Pt. 2)

We tied this morning.

A tie.

If not for some heads-up play, we would have lost.

The girls milled about in a confused manner, trying to figure out what D wanted them to do. They were letting the other team have their way because they were convinced that the other girls were a better team than them.

I am seriously pissed off... it's a good thing that we only have two more games.

Addendum: Team pictures went well. No ambualances were needed.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Interesting headlines in the papers today.

It probably won't surprise you to hear that I am particularly happy about the resignation of the villainous horndog Paul Wolfowitz from the Presidency of The World Bank. Having said that, Wolfowitz isn't the subject of today's post, as a Special Guest Blogger will be talking about him on Sunday.

Today, I want to talk about my soccer team, rather, soccer girl's soccer team. After last night's practice, I have decided that I am going to coach a team of my own, next season, rather than continue to serve as an assistant coach. Read on to learn why.

As I have mentioned, I have been running our team's conditioning program. Which means that I make the girls run. I also do the substitutions on the field, during the games, as I can be rather loud, at need, whereas coach D doesn't quite have the same amplitude.

Anyway, although we are parishioners at the same church, we are coming into conflict over strategy, and the conflict is such that I don't really want to work with her next season. Here's why: I like winning.

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I'm not a win-at-all-costs sort of coach, but I think that if my team works harder, plays better, and shows strength and skill, they deserve to win (if they outscore the other team, that is). My fellow coach, however, is all about playing girly-games instead of practicing like a group of young athletes.

Last night, she attempted to cut short the running that we do in the early part of the practice session, so she could talk to the girls about strategy. She proceeded to talk for twenty minutes! Twenty minutes, to a bunch of 8 year olds who stopped paying closed attention after about three minutes!

I was more than a little annoyed. I made sure that the girls did lots of running while coach D set up various drills (which weren’t terribly successful).

Throughout the practice, she kept yammering on about how good the team is that we are playing Saturday! Worse yet, she kept intorducing new things to them one after the other... I can't help but think that she actually wants them to lose. I countered by telling our team that they were they strongest, toughest, fastest team in the league, and that all they needed to do was to play as hard as they could for the whole game, and they would get the results they deserved.

Anyway… I don’t think our coaching styles work well together. A coach should be that. A coach. Not a den mother.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

So Long, Jerry Falwell...

...and good riddance.

Perhaps you think that is a bit harsh. Perhaps you think I shouldn't speak ill of the dead... well maybe you are right... then again, I'm not speaking ill of the man since what follows is the unvarnished truth.

If you are a "big C" Conservative, hold on, because you might find this somewhat distressing.

Jerry Falwell was an icon to many. He started the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia in an old bottling plant in 1956, and built the church to where it is today: a megachurch with 22,000 members*. He also founded Liberty University, a fundamentalist, right-wing, Baptist college.

Falwell spent his entire career as a man determined to preach the gospel. Which he did, apparently compellingly, considering the fast growth of his church.

In 1973, Falwell co-founded the Moral Majority, a right-wing political organization made up of conservative political action committees, which had, as it's primary goal, to lobby and campaign on behalf of Republican candidates and issues.

Falwell frequently described himself as not being "...a republican or a Democrat. I'm a noisy Baptist", which is a load of crap, since Falwell and his organizations spent all of their political effort on the most conservative Republican issues and candidates that it could dredge up from the sewers.

Jerry Falwell was probably a nice man. Indeed I would bet on his being mannerly, friendly, giving, generous and a host of other warm and fuzzy adjectives. I am sure that his family and friends loved him a great deal.

Here are a few other words that could accurately describe Mr. Falwell:


In 1958, Mr Falwell, discussing the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. The Board of Education, said: If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [Brown v. Board of Education] would never have been made…. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.” (Good thing Jerry never came to my house for dinner, eh?)

Falwell frequently hosted staunch segregationists like Lester "Axe Handle" Maddox, and George Wallace on his "Old Time Gospel Hour" evangelism show. I guess Reverend Falwell believed that God is a segregationist. I wish I could laugh at that, but, it isn't really funny.

Let's see... what other words could be used to describe Jerry Falwell? Oh!, Here's one:


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'Nuff said?

Hmm. Other good words might be...

Homophobe, Lunatic, and Misogynist

Check this out. On September 13th, 2001, while a guest on Pat Robertson's televangelist program, Falwell said the following:

"The enemies of America give us probably what we deserve... When we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'you helped this happen.'"

So you see? The 9/11 terrorists actually attacked our country because of you damned, and I mean damned, gay people... and you feminists... and you liberals! Wow, to think of it... nearly all of the regular readers of my blog are at fault for the 9/11 attacks... and you aren't locked up at Gitmo yet! Well, be patient, I know people, and we're comin' to get you!

Poor deluded, irrational, historically ignorant, Jerry... he even hates the notion that our society is improved by universal public education. In his book, titled "America Can Be Saved", Falwell, speaking about our educational system, said: "I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."

Um... Jerry? You have a daughter who is a Surgeon... in the early days of our country, the schools, almost none of which, by the way, were run by churches, wouldn't have let your daughter learn to read!

So, you see, my friends, I shall not mourn the passing of Mr Falwell. While I wish the best for his family, I have to be clearly on record here, by saying that I believe that my country is much better off, every time someone of Mr Falwell's particular bent, dies.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Casting Call For Special Guest Blogger

I mentioned this yesterday, friends... Sunday, I have to work some overtime, so I won't be able to spend a lot of time writing, so I am entertaining volunteers to be special guest bloggers for the day.

Any takers?

I will give you a topic: The Perfidy of Paul Wolfowitz.


Once again, please respond via comment or email.



The American Revolution, Y'all!

Most of my readers are Americans, and so have probably heard about a little dust-up that the Colonial Americans got into with Great Britain in 1776. Here in the States, we tend to refer to that little disagreement as the American Revolution.

As American children, we all learned about the Revolutionary War in school. We learned about the Boston Massacre, we learned about the Battles at Lexington & Concord, we learned about the Battle of Bunker Hill, and Washington Crossing the Delaware, many of us even learned that the Battle of Saratoga (in 1777) was the pivotal moment in the war.

Most of what we were taught about the American Revolution is absolute garbage.

Let me tell you where the American was decided: In the southern states. Yes, most Americans don't realize that the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution... the ones that militarily decided the outcome of the war, were fought in The Carolinas and Virginia.

During the early years of the war, the British figured that the way to get those obstreperous Yankees back in line would be to control the principal American cities of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. The strategy was effective, but since the British weren't able to completely wreck Washington's Army in the field, stronger measures were needed.

The British sent an entire army under General John "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne, from Canada, to find and rout the rebel Americans in New York state, but after the defeat and surrender of Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, in 1777, the British abandoned that strategy and decided to fight in the south because there was much less revolutionary fervor there, especially in South Carolina.

The war in the south was a particularly bloody affair, with many pitched battles between not only the American and British armies, but between patriot and loyalist militia's that spent a great deal of time marauding and destroying the homes, crops, and livestock of their neighbors who supported the "wrong" side. The battle of King's Mountain was such an affair. This bloody battle was fought entirely between patriot and loyalist militias.

The British captured Charleston in May of 1780 (two of my was a direct ancestor) were captured with the 1st South Carolina Cavalry), then began operating in earnest. Here is where it gets interesting!

The British would have had their way in South Carolina had it not been for the particular effectiveness of hit and run (insurgent) warfare conducted by Francis Marion, who later became known as the "Swamp Fox" for his ability to hit the British forces, and disappear into the murk swamps, before British firepower could be decisively brought to bear.

In August of 1780, General Horatio Gates (a retired British officer) was in command of the American forces during the disastrous Battle of Camden, after which he was replaced by General Nathaniel Greene, who was smart enough to know that he didn't have to beat the British to win, all he had to do as keep fighting from time to time without destroying his army as he did.

In January of 1781, the British were decisively beaten at the battle of The Cow Pens. Continental troops and local militia practically destroyed the Cavalry/Dragoon Brigade of Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. The effect of the battle was that the people of the Carolina back-country saw that the British could be beaten in the field, causing them to much more fully support patriot efforts. The tide was turning.

In March of 1781, the British won what history calls a "victory" over the Continentals and militia at the battle of Guilford Courthouse (Greensboro, North Carolina). The victory was so costly for the British, that their combat power in the southern states was broken. They abandoned the Carolina's and went into defensive positions around Yorktown, Virginia.

General George Washington, whose northern armies were girding themselves to dislodge the British from their strong defense in New York city, was informed of the retreat of Lord Cornwallis' troops to Yorktown. He was also aware of the fact that the French Admiral, Le Comte De Grasse was sailing with a strong squadron to the Virginia capes to support an attack by the Americans. Washington, along with the French commander, Le Comte De Rochambeau, marched their combined armies south to Yorktown, and laid siege to Cornwallis' army.

The French navy, having beaten the British at the battle of the capes, prevented Cornwallis' army from being evacuated from Yorktown, sealed the fate of the British forces. Withstanding constant artillery barrages, Cornwallis knew that his position was untenable. He also knew that no relief was coming. He was beaten.

Cornwallis' proud army was forced to capitulate, and march out of Yorktown to the place now known as "the surrender field" and lay down their arms, artillery*, drums, and colors.

With the surrender of British forces in the south, the British, although still strong in New York, knew that the time for negotiating had come. Major combat operations in the American War for Independence came to a halt.

Mission accomplished... This time, it's for real.

So, there you have it. The next time some windbag starts banging on about some northern revolutionary battle, look them in the eye and say: "Oh, sure... that battle was important, but everyone knows the the Revolution was won in the south!"

* Some of the British (and American) artillery are still sitting at the Yorktown battlefield, shamefully exposed to the weather!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Book Review: Ghetto Nation

I found this book at the College of William & Mary bookstore (Barnes & Noble), while we were on our Spring Break trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, last month.

I was very excited about it, in fact, I was so excited about it, Mrs. Gunfighter bought it for me as a gift* I couldn't wait to read it, and I started it the next night.

The premise of the book was a discussion and critique on the use of the term "ghetto" in contemporary American parlance, the proliferation of "ghetto culture" which devalues education, is demeaning to women and promulgates the worst of Black American stereotypes as black culture. The author, Cora Daniels also discusses who benefits from "ghetto culture" and whom it destroys.

I enjoyed the book, and although I didn't agree with every conclusion that Ms. Daniels arrived at, we certainly agree about the incredible damage that "ghetto culture" is having in the United States today.

One of the main points that Daniels makes in her book is that, unlike in days past, the word ghetto rarely equates to a geographic location. Today, ghetto is a set of values, a behavior, in short; a mindset.

The following are my opinons:

Once upon a time, ignorant, uncouth behavior is something that we used to see and shake our collective heads about, silently tsk-tsking at people doing stupid and self-destructive things... many people would say or think to themselves: "Well, what do you expect form those people, especially peole who live there?"

Today, that same behavior (obnoxious swearing in public; baggy jeans hanging off of your ass; rude, unwelcome, attention towards women) isn't only tolerated... it's celebrated (in the suburbs no less!). Some of you are no doubt shaking your head and saying: "not by me it isn't!", that's great, but it sure as hell IS celebrated by enough people to make several industries hugely profitable.

Instead of screaming about it, people today shrug their shoulders and say (cue the Paris Hilton voice) "God, that's SO ghetto!"

Make no mistake my friends, the multicultural society that so many of us have advocated has arrived... and it isn't what you thought it would be. Multiculturalism today, isn't about the blending and uplifting the various cultures that make America. Today, multiculturalism means that white kids buy most of the gangsta rap that is produced. Multiculturalism has come to mean the glorification of ghetto dress and behavior, it is the mainstreaming of destructive pathological behavior.

The clothes, the music, the language of "ghetto" has become welcome in America... and we should all be ashamed. The tabloids celebrate scum, yes... I said scum, like 50 cent, Jay-Z, Eminem, K-Fed, Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, and any number of the fountains of filth that pollute our homes, and our children's schools. Worse yet, the mainstream media have been so completely cowed that they say nothing about ghetto behavior for fear of being labeled racist.

Multiculturalism today, has given us the phenomenon of the so-called "Wiggers"

In this manner we have indeed become "GhettoNation"

We should be collectively ashamed.

A few months ago, I blogged about the following: Several years ago, famed comedian, actor, and educator, Bill Cosby had the nerve to speak out about the pathology of ghetto culture, and he was reviled by many, from black activists to white liberals, for having the guts to speak the truth. Unfortunately, Cora Daniels, in her otherwise excellent book, agrees with many of those that lashed out at Cosby..., but in the opinion of this humble blogger, Cosby was, and still is, absolutely right.



* Your pal, Gunfighter, loves to read. Gifts of books or bookstore giftcards never get wasted on me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dear Susan,

I wanted to take a moment and tell you, (and everyone else that ever reads this) on this Mother's Day, what you mean to me. It is a daunting task, and no matter what I say, I'll probably fail miserably.

It is 0940, and you and soccer girl are still sleeping, after a very long, but fun Saturday. I decided not to wake you to go to church, because I think some extra sleep is something that you could really use... I am certain that the folks at Good Shepherd will get along just fine without us today.

You know, in July, it will be out thirteenth anniversary, and despite all of the things that we have done together, I am still having the time of my life. I'm not bored when I talk to you... I still love our conversations about anything... from politics, to books, to history, to theology, to whats going to happen to Paris Hilton when she lands her bony ass in jail.

I love vacationing with you. I love holding hands while we walk through the mall together. I think you are cute. I love that fact that you are so bloody smart. I love the fact that you like the food that I cook for you. I love the fact that you are so good at packing. I love that you are passionate. I love the fact that you understand what makes me tick... which is no mean feat.

I love all of those things about you... but there is more: I love your interaction with soccer girl. I love the way you shower her with love, attention, and guidance. I love the fact that most of your thoughts are about what is best for her. I love the fact that you don't stifle her. I love the fact that soccer girl loves you so much.

You are a hell of a mother, Susan... and I don't mean that in a saccharine, sugar-plum fairy sort of way. You are preparing soccer girl to face the world as a strong, independent, smart, nurturing, compassionate, and aware young woman, and I think that you are doing a great job.

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Happy Mother's Day, babe!


Friday, May 11, 2007

Food on Friday

"Shoot 'Em Up Friday" will be on hiatus, until I get something new and fun educational to blast apart shoot. Instead, I am starting a new Friday feature about food.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked a couple of the moms of my soccer players if they had any good recipe ideas, because I sometimes get in a rut when it comes to cooking. One of the moms (I asked moms, because usually it is moms who bring the girls to practice) gave me this one, and we tried it this week.

Popeye's Delight

1 Roasted Chicken - de-boned and chopped (or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed)
4 1/2 cups of cooked rice (use your favorite)
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup (I used 2 cans of Cream of Broccoli)
8 oz. Cream Cheese
Chicken Bullion
1 10 oz. box of frozen spinach (THAWED AND DRAINED THOROUGHLY)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped Scallions
6 slices of bacon (I used a jar of bacon bits)
8 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (use a sharper cheese if you wish)

Heat oven to 350.

Chop or dice chicken, set aside

Cook bacon until crisp, crumble & set aside

Cook rice until done (use bullion to flavor your rice if so inclined), set aside

In a pan, combine cream cheese and soup. Heat gently, until cream cheese melts.

Combine soup mixture, rice, scallions, chicken, and (defrosted and DRAINED) spinach, and half of the Monterrey Jack.

Salt & pepper to taste (I added a teaspoon of chili pepper paste, and a teaspoon of garlic paste).

Use bacon grease to coat casserole (I used Olive Oil Pam).

Turn into casserole and bake, covered, for 90 minutes or until heated through.

Remove cover, sprinkle with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

Bake, uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until cheese topping is melted.

As I said, I tried this recipe and it was REALLY good. Now, as you can see, this isn't really a recipe for those that are counting calories or cutting carbs... this is straight comfort food folks.

A few notes:

Many of these items can be prepared early, and for the sake of convenience, I used a pre-roasted chicken from the local supermarket.

I used two cans of soup, because I thought the casserole might be too dry... it worked well without making it soupy.

The chili pepper paste was a winner, but didn't make the casserole hot or spicy (or else soccer girl wouldn't have eaten it!)

Be sure to fully drain (I squeezed the water out) the spinach.

I am here to tell you that the folks at Casa Gunfighter enjoyed this dish on Wednesday, and had it again last night. It's a keeper. Soccer girl actually asked me to promise to make it again next week. That's high praise.

If you try it, please tell me your results.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hillary Clinton? I Don't Think So

The 2008 Presidential campaigns are underway!

Let's talk, shall we?

A few months ago, I posted about my opposition to the candidacy of Senator John McCain. My opposition won't have surprised anyone who reads my blog. As a Democrat that has no leanings towards the Republicans, it is a given that I won't be supporting ANY Republican candidates. With that said, let us now turn to the Democratic field of candidates.

Your pal Gunfighter is as political as can be, indeed, I am the former chair of my local Democratic district, but I have to say that there are some Democrats that I cannot and will not support, no matter who gets the nomination from my party.

Today, I will be talking about Hillary Clinton, the junior Senator from New York.

I won't be supporting Senator Clinton in her bid for the Presidency, nor will I vote for her should she be nominated.

Before anyone gets wound up about my opposition to Senator Clinton, let me say first, that said opposition has nothing to do with her gender. I am not intimidated or particularly bothered by smart women (I married a smart woman, God bless her). It has nothing to do with her marriage to the former President, it has nothing to do with the period of 1992 to 2000.

My opposition to Senator Clinton is based solely on this: She voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

"Big deal", you say? It is to me.

When called on it, she didn't have the honesty to say that it was an act of political survival. No, she got all weak and spouted the tired crap about "If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have done it... blah, blah, blah"

I'm Sorry, Senator, but that just isn't good enough.

You would ask us to believe that you, an exceptionally intelligent and astute woman, couldn't see through The Two George's (Bush and Tenet) veil of bullshit? You actually bought that weapons of mass destruction crap? You actually believed the Iraq/Al-Qaeda alliance crap?

My God, Senator! If you really DID believe that, you are too stupid to lead this nation.

You lack spine, Senator. You lack courage.

Since I cannot believe that you are that stupid, I can only conclude that your support of the war was calculated to keep you in office.

Intellectually, I understand that the first issue for a would-be politician is to get elected, and for an office-holder to get re-elected, but there has to be some modicum of principal. Your lack of principal, or at the very least your complicity in this shameful venture, has resulted in over 3,000 American military deaths, and some half a million Iraqi civilian deaths.

Shame on you.

I know that there are some women who are excited about the Clinton campaign. Excited to be able to vote for "one of their own"... I understand that feeling, and will discuss that later in the campaign, but what I won't do is vote for someone, anyone, simply because they fit a demographic.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Chinese Troops in Darfur

According to today's Washington Post, the Chinese government is about to deploy approximately 300 troops to the Darfur region of Sudan. According to the article, these troops will be from a military engineering unit, and will be in support of the beleaguered African Union Peacekeeping force already in place.

Would someone please give me a rational explanation as to why the bloody Chinese can get off of their asses and at least do SOMETHING to help in Darfur, when the United States won't???

Don't misunderstand me here... if the Chinese are acting out of altruism, I'm the King of Spain... but, motives be damned, how can the United States, a country whose government claims to have invaded Iraq in the name of "freedom" sit by and watch as thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians are murdered, and raped, by militia's tacitly supported by the Sudanese government? Our government has invaded sovereign nations for much less than this. Our government has even declared what is happening in Darfur as "genocide". So why won't we do something about it?

Oh. Wait.

I forgot.

The United States won't do anything about Darfur for the same reason we did nothing about the genocide in Rwanda in 1994... because the victims are black.

Worse, they are black and don't have any oil.

Some of you are probably squirming a bit as you read this. Well, you should squirm.

If you care at all about the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocents, please go here, and sign the petition... if that is the least you can do, it will have been better than doing nothing.

Bless you,


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

You People Are Slacking!

How am I supposed to win (and officially be better than someone else... because I really need that kind of validation) if you folks don't go vote???

I have a wretched 13 votes!

My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!

My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

Show a Gunfighter some love. If you do, I'll write a nice post about you. You, specifically, and that goes to you, too, my lurker from Lawrenceville, Kansas!


Conversations with Soccer Girl (IV)

Yesterday, while walking into the supermarket:

Me: I love you, sweetie.

SG: I love you, too, daddy.

Me: But you have to stop growing now. I have told you to stop before.

SG: Daddy, I have to keep growing! How will I be a grown-up if I stop growing?

Me: I don't want you to grow-up. I want you to be my little baby forever.

SG: I'm sorry, daddy, but I have to grow up now.

Me: (silent)

SG: I'll still be your baby when I'm all grown up, daddy.

Me: (unable to speak)

She doesn't have much little-girl time left. It's killing me.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Kick Ass Soccer!!!

Forgive me for a moment of parental bragging.

I have refrained these past weeks from talking about soccer girl's team record... but I can't hold back any further.

Yesterday, in a steady rain, our team (The Sparks) delivered a gunfighter-style beat-down on their opponents (The Dragons). The score was 7 to 3, and while I am proud of what the girls accomplished (I'm the assistant coach), I am most proud of how they accomplished it.

As I mentioned before, I don't know much about soccer, truth being told, I still don't know much about soccer, but what I know about sports in general is this: Hustle Beats Skills, Every Time!

The coach of the team does all of the soccer coaching stuff, while Coach Gunfighter am in charger of fitness and subbing. I have instituted a very important training program that has given our team a, so-far, undefeated record this season.

Would you like to know the secret to sports success? Shall I share with you, some of my wisdom that you usually can only get after climbing tall mountains and asking an ancient sage with a long flowing beard?

Well, here it is... don't tell anybody, but... I make them run. After I make them run, I make them run some more. Next, I make them run... and run... and run.

"That's no secret!", you say?, well apparently it is! The girls are in the U-8 division, which means that they are still very developmental. They are still learning how to play soccer, and the league only allows one practice per week. Since practice time is limited, there is only so much you can beat into them teach in 90 minutes. So after getting a bit of a warm-up. I make the little SOB's angels run.

Here is my theory: If the other team has more experienced players, and/or coaches that know more about soccer, if my girls can out-run them through the whole game, their marginal superior ball handling skills mean nothing. Because sure as hell, with my girl's ability to run, the other team gets tired faster. When they get tired they can't play as well, when that happens, there is no way the other team can win.

I want the girls to play aggressive, all-go, no-quit soccer, because that is how you win. I got the evil-eye from some opposing parents last week when I told the girls (in the 4th quarter): "Let's finish 'em, girls! No letup! No Mercy!, NO PRISONERS!" Which is precisely what they did... and beat the other team 10 to 5.

I was so proud.

Oh, don't look at me like that. You have to know, by now, that I am a fighter. The only way to deal with your opponent while he is down is to go in with the bayonet and finish him.



It's all the same.

Our league is recreational. It's about fun... but you know something? You have more fun when you win.

Lest you think I am one of those maniacal "win-at-all-costs" coaches, I assure you that I am not. While the other team spent most of the game, yesterday, physically pushing and shoving our girls around, we never resorted to the same. I loathe cheaters. What we did, instead, was to run the other girls into the ground and outscore them.

I want soccer girl to have a good time when she plays, and she does. She is a hard worker, and gives it her all for the whole game. She makes me explode with pride while she plays and helps her team-mates. She is a good sport and she is tough. I love the look on her face when she scores goals (which she did twice yesterday, and three times last week! WOO HOO!).

I'm a soccer dad.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Random Photos From Gunfighterland

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A recent drawing that soccer girl did on our front walk. Note the fact that daddy is so much bigger than mommy.

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The first flower of spring.

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Where I buy my kilts.

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Player positions for Rugby Union, the Game They Play in Heaven.

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A favorite beverage for watching Boston Legal.

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Monkey boy says: "Mission Accomplished... oh. Wait."

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Where we'll be in August.

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Two book covers that started it all.

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Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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My name is Gunfighter, and I approved this message.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Little Friday Fun

A favorite song coupled with my favorite Christmas cartoon.

How cool is that?

All credit goes to my new blog pals at Afrogeek Mom & Dad. Thanks B&C!

Condi Gets Syria-ous

So... let me get this straight: Speaker of The House, Nancy Pelosi...

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...goes to Syria and meets with the Syrian President and other officials, and she is lambasted by the administration and it's adherents. She is even called "traitor" by some of the worst of the wingnuts.

Fast forward to today, and we learn in the Washington Post that during the regional conference on Iraq that is taking place in Egypt, Secretary Rice...

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...has had a meeting with the Syrian Foreign minister.

Here is where I need help: Will Secretary Rice now be branded a traitor? or will Speaker Pelosi be credited for making an important diplomatic breakthrough?

This ought to be interesting.


**NOTE** Secretary of State Rice and I aren't friendly enough for me to call her Condi. I usually call her... something else, but "Condi" fit better in the title for this post.