Friday, June 29, 2007


Over the next few days, The View From Here will be participating in the following events:

On July 1st, I will be participating in the monthly Blog Exchange, that dear reader Teri hates so much (but don't worry, Teri, I still heart you)

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On July 2nd, I will be participating in the Blog Against Theocracy blog-swarm. The theme of this blog-swarm will be: "the separation of church and state is patriotic"

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On July 3rd, I'll post about... something, I'm not sure what... It might be a about Davey & Goliath...

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...or I might post about what my County Board of Supervisors are saying about illegal immigration enforcement.

On the Fourth of July, I will resist a post about what makes America great... instead, I will post about my marriage, because the fourth of July is my wedding anniversary. Thirteen years of having the company of this lady...

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...who has made me a happy man.

So, that is what will be happening, here at "The View From Here". I think you'll enjoy it.



Gunfighter Needs Surgery

You might remember that I spent some time serving our country in the Marine Corps. You might further remember that I mentioned that I was in the Infantry in those days. I am certain that you know that my service is a point of great pride for me.

Well, being a member of an elite band of unstoppable killers has a price, ladies and gentlemen. That price, when not the ultimate price, is often the early decrepitude, if not destruction of the major joints.

Old infantrymen like myself frequently have back, shoulder, ankle, neck, and knee injuries because of the things that we used to do with great frequency.

From Fast-Roping out of helicopters...

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(Like this... but wearing combat boots)

Of course, back in those days, I was quite studly and fit...

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But it has been quite some time since my Marine Corps days... and I don't really look like that any more.

As a matter of fact yours truly is just to darned old to do these things now... not that I would if I could, that crap is for the young 'uns.

I have been enduring problematic knees (and back) since I got out of the service those many years ago. On good days my knees hurt. On bad days my knees REALLY hurt. Last weekend, it got even worse.

There I was, in church, I was serving as worship assistant for the day (which means I help with communion, read some of the prayers, etc...) and was sitting at the front of the church. During one part of the service, I had to stand and read and boy oh boy, did I get that stabbing ice-pick-under-the-kneecap sort of pain that has never hurt that badly before.


I bit down on the expletive that almost came out of my mouth and manfully did my part. When the service ended, we went out to lunch as we normally do. When I got up from the table, it happened again. It was getting rapidly worse... it even hurt to drive.

I went to the doctor on Monday, who proceeded to manipulate my knee to the point where I was about to punch him in his Canadian head! Naturally, he sent me to the orthopaedist... That's where I went today.

The Ortho Doc was pretty good... this guy treats a lot of local college athletes, as well as competitive ice-skaters. He did a series of x-rays, which revealed.... knees that are in pretty good shape... for a guy my size... and my age. The problem was that there is a major bone spur on my kneecap.

I need surgery.

OK. Fine. I'm not a chicken. "How soon can we make this happen?" I asked directly. "Tuesday" he shot back, equally directly. I like this guy. He doesn't bullshit around (look Heather, no ass-ter-isk).

I then asked him how long I would limp about after surgery before I began some semblance of normalcy. He said six weeks. In my head, I was counting the weeks to our vacation... arriving at.... six weeks. I told him as much, and he said... "well, if you are going to Disney world (his wife and seven year old adopted-from-China daughter just returned last week), we had better wait until you get back, and do this in September" See why I like this guy?

In order to address my pain, I got a Cortisone shot in the knee. I'll get another one a few days before vacation, to keep the edge off, and that is when I'll schedule the surgery.

In the waiting room, I spent some time talking to a fellow old warrior, this guy was an old Navy Seal and was in his mid fifties. We laughed, while we tried to refrain from wincing in pain from time to time, about our military exploits... and how they were likely to be responsible for our current condition. We talked of where we had been , and what ships we had served on. It was pleasant. I was finished first, and we parted with a handshake and a "see you in the fleet, shipmate!" And that was that.

I thought the Cortisone shot would have hurt more... but I think that I am impervious to most low-grade pain now.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Power of Advertising

I have told you before that I was practically raised by a television... I think it is time to tell you what I meant by that.

My parents were divorced when I was 5... we moved from California to New Jersey in the summer of 1969, which is the same year that I entered kindergarten.

When I was a kid, when we got home from school (I had to walk home with my older brother) it was TV time! I had a few hours of TV time, mostly to myself, since mom was working and wouldn't be home until after 5.

We were, what later became known as, latch-key kids... but this post isn't about working moms, stay-at-home-moms, or the perils of single parenting. It's about advertising.


If you lived in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Tri-State area in the late 1970's to the mid 1980's you will immediately recognize this commercial.

If you didn't live in this area, or aren't old enough to remember, please believe me when I tell you that this is the pinnacle of a brilliant ad campaign.

"Crazy Eddie" was a retail electronics chain that had stores throughout the tri-state area, and was know for it's low prices. It was even better known for it's frenetic radio and television advertising, mostly done by this man:

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His name is Jerry Carroll, the radio DJ who became the voice and face of "Crazy Eddie"

From around 1979 until 1985, you couldn't avoid seeing the wild "Crazy Eddie" commercials on television, and the Ad Campaign alone has reached cult status.

Mrs. G can support my claim to how deeply this advertising touched yours truly, as I have been singing this commercial jingle, and waxing poetic about all of these commercials since we met in 1992.

The "Crazy Eddie" chain went down the tubes in the middle or late 80's because of large scale fraud. Sam and Eddie Antar, were eventually convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison.

As of this writing, Sam Antar is considering reviving the chain of stores.

I, for one, can't wait.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


They are evil, and they must be destroyed.


No, I'm not talking about those interesting (and dangerous animals that the sadly departed Steve Irwin fancied so much. Not at all. I am talking about those ghastly plastic shoes.

You know the ones I mean..., these little monsters!

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You've seen these shoes, haven't you? I seriously doubt if anyone has failed to notice that these horrid plastic things, like cockroaches and politicians in Washington, are everywhere.

No, I mean it... look around, especially in the summer, Crocs are eating away at the fringes of our national obsession with flip-flops.

Kids wear them...

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Moms in suburbia wear them...

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Some guys even wear them...

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... and although I suspect that the guys in this crew don't get a lot of dates, it just goes to show you that there are some people who really love these shoes.

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Mrs G? If you had shown up at our wedding wearing those.... well, it would have been bad.... but I digress.

Crocs really are everywhere these days. As a matter of fact, pictures of these awful shoes appeared in the Washington Post newspaper twice this week.

The American Librarians Association met in Washington over the weekend, and while that may not mean much to many of you, it was certainly a great thing for me, because it brought my dear friend Janet back to town for a few days (and being busy kept us from getting together until we had coffee Monday morning, a few hours before her flight back to Michigan!). The convention has another unintended consequence, it brought THIS picture to my front doorstep, on Saturday morning!

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This lady, a librarian, was doing the red-carpet stroll for the opening of a film that she was able to produce. A film about librarians!

Now, you all know that Gunfighter loves books. I love chicks who read (I married one). I love the fact that my daughters are readers. I love librarians... especially Mrs Jefferson, the children's librarian at the library on the street that I lived on when I was a kid.... but this goes too far! Crocs with an evening gown?

Now look, I'm all about comfort, but isn't this a little much?

And it gets worse, my friends... much, much, much worse.

This photograph was also in the Post in the last few days.

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The President of The United States... such as he is... wears Crocs. He wears crocs with black socks, no less.

I weep for the future.

Crocs come in all sorts of shapes and colors...

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Some people have gone as far as getting creative and personalizing their crocs...

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There has even been attempts to make crocs more manly (as if) by doing a knock-off of the LL Bean Maine Duck Hunting Boot... seen here:

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and here:

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Is there no end to his insanity? In the truest American tradition of imitation, especially where it will make some extra bucks, there are Crocs knock-off every where these days... even Skechers is getting into the act with these:

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Don't get sucked in, my friends! Rid yourselves of evil crocs.

If you have some already, send them to me, and I'll take a shotgun too them. It's for your own good!

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"Real" Crocodiles are much more fun!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Greedy Republican Asshole!

So, I picked up Soccergirl from day-camp today, and head over to the local AutoZone store. I needed to replace my left turn signal, get some power steering fluid and stuff like that, before we headed home.

It ook about 5 minutes to make our purchases, and when we left, there was an SUV parked opposite to us, and it bore this bumper sticker:

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...and this one:

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...and this one:

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You know, it's one thing to disagree with someone... it's even ok to vigorously disagree, but today's conservatives are a really sick bunch.

Conservatives spend so much of their time pissing, moaning, and girlishly childishly whining about paying taxes while vigorously defending an illegal and immoral war that Soccergirl's children will be paying for for decades.

Did you know that the amount of money this country spends on "welfare" adds up to about one cent per tax dollar?




The Department of Defense gets about 35 cents, Medicaid/medicare/social security gets about 45 cents, The judiciary and education about 4 cents each, between one and three cents for foreign affairs and/or foreign aid, the rest goes to farm subsidies, energy, the sciences, etc...

I don't understand those who promote our grotesque defense expenditures (especially when that money is being spent trying to fight the cold war... that's over, remember?) and cry about spending a penny per tax dollar to help the poor.

If that isn't shameful and greedy, I don't know what is.

Remember, these are the same people that think this country should be run by a bunch of whacked out pseudo-Christian hate-mongers. A wise man once said: "True religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. Love thy neighbor is not a piece of advice, it's a command"

Another wise man once said that: "whatever you do to the least among you, you also do to me"

That wise man's name was Yeshua... in our language, we call him Jesus.

Roast Chicken

I may have mentioned, at one time or another, that one of my most favorite comfort food dishes is roasted chicken and vegetables. I bought a chicken last week, and decided that this Saturday would be a good day for it.

Here we go:

It is a simple dish, and can be amended to suit virtually any taste (unless, of course, you are a vegetarian).

I started with Fennel, baby Yukon gold potatoes, baby carrots (those two items figure heavily in Gunfighter cuisine... have you noticed?), two large red onions, garlic, red pepper paste, dill, salt, and Italian dressing.

I also used some Jamaican Jerk seasoning for the chicken's skin. I'm not much of a chicken skin fan, but Mrs. G loves a crispy chicken skin... so there you are. I try to be accommodating.

As always, before I get started, I have to find my music of the day. Today's cd's are wildly different, but they suit the audience at particular times. I am starting with this: "We Sold Our Soul For Rock and Roll", the classic Black Sabbath compilation... from back in the days when Ozzy Osbourne still fronted the band... and before he became a television star.

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When I said that music varies for the audience, I wasn't kidding. You see, the best time for me to crank my Ozzy tunes is when Mrs G isn't home yet... and she wasn't!

Rock on, loudly!

As with most of the things that I cook, this dish starts out with the obligatory slicing and dicing of potatoes:

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...and fennel (just the white part).

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Add the carrots, some dill, garlic, and red pepper flakes (to taste). Add a table spoon (or two) of Italian dressing and toss:

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Thoroughly rinse your chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

On a cutting board, rub a bit of salt (I use the coarse Kosher salt)...

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In the chicken's cavity, then rub the chicken's skin with a tiny bit of olive oil (or other flavored oil if you prefer). Don't forget to oil the wing tips, or they'll burn almost instantly. Next, rub the chicken with whatever seasonings you like... today, I'll be using Jamaican Jerk seasoning.

Take your lemon, cut it in half, and push it into the cavity.

***Pause here to bang your head while "Iron Man" blasts from the stereo***

I usually use a stand-up roaster when I cook a chicken. If you have never used one, I suggest giving it a try. They aren't expensive, and if you are careful of your fat intake, this will help a bit. With one of these little doohickeys, the juices from the roasting chicken run into your pan, and you chicken doesn't wallow in them.

Place the roaster in the roasting pan... I usually use a foil pan... saves lots of cleanup work, and spread the tossed vegetables in a single layer (if you can) in the pan.

take a sheet of aluminum foil and make a tent over the chicken. The foil will keep the direct heat off the skin. Remember, You will be cooking at high heat, so you don't want the skin to cook too quickly.

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Put the chicken in the oven, and roast 25 minutes at 500 degrees.

After 25 minutes, remove the foil, reduce the temperature to 425, baste, stir the veggies and continue to roast. If there isn't enough pan juice to paste the chicken, try adding a splash of sherry. If you don't have/won't have any sherry, use a splash of chicken broth.

I have to change the cd now, Mrs G is home, and isn't really into Sabbath. I convinced her to listen to the metal perfect that is "Fairies Wear Boots"...

...and then put on the new Jane Monheit cd...

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...called "Surrender". Go out and buy it today!

Anyway, listening to Jane Monheit is ALMOST as good as listening to Ozzy. She has a beautiful voice. We saw her perform live at The Birchmere two years ago, and she was great!

Hold the presses! When I went to the Birchmere's website so I could link it for you, I saw that two of our favorite acts are going to be appearing later in the year. Jane Monheit will be BACK at the Birchmere on August 10th and Tuck & Patti will be there October 20th.

Woo Hoo!

Oy... have you put your chicken back in the oven? Good!, go have a glass of wine, with someone you love.... and spend another 30 minutes listening to music and/or reading.

OK, baste, stir, etc... as needed from time to time until your chicken looks done. If it looks done, insert a meat thermometer into the chicken's thigh, and make sure that the internal temperature reaches at least 180 degrees. Your total cooking time will take about ninety minutes (depending on the size of the chicken).

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I prefer using smaller chickens... I think that they are more flavorful.

After you remove the chicken from the pan, let it rest for about 10 minutes before you carve it. During that 10 minutes, return the oven to 450 degrees, and put the vegetables back in... if you like , grate some cheese over them and let that melt (I used gorganzola).

Here is your end result.

Carve, serve, enjoy.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

"I Have Always Relied...

...On the kindness of strangers"

The classic line from "A Streetcar Named Desire" is particularly apt in the blogosphere. People that you have never met face to face are often willing to do a kindness for you. I have had many such experiences as a blogger, but I have another example of this to share with you today.

Comrade Lawyer Mama (No, she isn't a Communist, but comrade is a great way to refer to friends... it is a very descriptive term), responding to my appeal for assistance, has created this cool button:

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If any of you would like to link my blog to your own blog with one of these, please let me know, and I will send you the code.

Many thanks, to you, LM, for taking the time to help me, when I know that you have plenty of other things to do.



Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday Night At The Mall

Mrs G's car is in the shop... we are having a new evaporator installed for the Air Conditioner, because summer in Virginia is no place to be with AC that doesn't work. The chap in the shop told me that the car would be finished right around closing time... they were almost done with it.

Because we were going to have to be on the other side of I-95 towards the end of rush-hour, and those of you in Northern Virginia know exactly what I am talking about, we figured that we would make an afternoon of it. After picking up soccergirl from the baby-sitter's house, we went to the public library, where sg was able to check out several books and enroll in the summer reading program. After leaving the library, we went to the mall (Potomac Mills) just to kill some more time, while the car was finished (the shop was across the street from the mall)... which brings us to the title of this post.

I can't speak for the malls where many of you might live, but I wouldn't be shocked to find that your malls, like ours, have become the new town centers. The place where people go to just walk around or shop, eat, browse, watch people, and if you are a teenager, to date, see, and be seen. It is the latter group that I want to talk about.

Mrs G and I often call Friday/Saturday nights "Date Night At The Mall" because of all of the teenagers, in knots of four and five that stroll around the mall, all hugged-up like no tomorrow. You see them in the various groups. From the popular ones in their carefully selected, too-provocative-for-their-age, clothing, to the pasty looking Goths in their black clothes and dyed-black hair.

These groups hang together, swirling around the mall having the time of their young lives. One of the things that you can't help but note in these groups is that they tend to be, with the exception of the Goths) almost completely racially and ethnically mixed. Amazing.

Again, I can't speak for where you live, but what I see here, in my little world, is that these kids tend to mix quite well together. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, or even surprised, considering the demographics of where we live. I am pleased to see it, because you sure as hell didn't see it where/when I was in high school.

When I was in high school, the black kids and the white kids got along just fine, but at 3 o'clock, when the last bell rang, everyone went home to "their own" neighborhoods. There was very little social interaction.

I digress... anyway, while we are in the mall on a Friday or Saturday evening, we see/hear some of the funniest or most interesting things: Like the kid at the bookstore telling his friends that eh is enlisting in the Marines, while his friends and teary-eyed girlfriend try to convince him not to; or the really er... voluptuous girl who looks like she is just about to explode out of her clothes; the Goth kid talking to a non-Goth girl, while her friends snicker; the boys doing their gangly best to look strong and manly, the girls teetering about in ridiculously high heels just to traipse through the mall (some of them just look like strippers!)

All of this activity starts around 6:30... and makes for some really fun entertainment. Our Mall adventure ended right around seven last night, and we went to the shop to get the car... which wasn't finished... but that is another story, my friends. I have to end now, because I have to cut the grass and do all of the other stuff I need to get done before I run out of time today (my first no-soccer Saturday in months!).



Friday, June 22, 2007

Dinner With Your Blog Friends

This past saturday night, Clan Gunfighter were invited to the home of Janet K., whom many of you know, frequently comments at my blog.

Janet lives in Washington, DC, and she and I have met twice before, most recently over lunch a several weeks ago, when Janet said that we should come over for dinner some time. We eventually worked out a date, and after a flurry of emails concerning allergies and menus, we arrived at the day of days.

We were very much looking forward to the event, but we almost had a monkey wrench thrown into the works, when soccergirl was selected for one out League's All-Star teams, and was scheduled to play in a two-day tournament for Father's Day weekend.
We had initially planned for a 5 PM arrival time, but I was fairly certain that we wouldn't make that, so Janet graciously allowed us to amend the schedule.

So, tournament painfully over with, we scooted home and showered/changed and headed north towards Washington... and immediately ran into some ugly traffic heading northbound on I-95. Fortunately it didn't last long, and we were able to make it to Janet's home right on time! Whew! It was Taco night, and I didn't want to be late!

We were warmly greeted, by Janet, her housemate Brenda, and two friends who had arrived before us. Almost as soon as we arrived, I was gifted with a submission for Shoot 'Em Up Friday (I now have two reader-donated items... one more and we can begin).

The talk flowed, and much fun was had. Janet set an abundant table and all nine of us tucked in to a wonderful meal of build-it-yourself-tacos!

**NOTE** Have you ever noticed that it is nearly impossible to have a bad time when you are with a convivial group people, having a fine meal?

We listened to some new music, and talked about soccer, kilts, guns, moles, threadbare shirts, and all sorts of things... by this time, everyone had eaten their fill of tacos (and some splendid, truly splendid, home-made Guacamole).

We were done eating and.... no, wait, we weren't quite done eating, because it was now time for cupcakes! Chocolate, Marble, and Red Velvet cupcakes! So good. Made even better by the assortment of icings and sprinkles that we could use to decorate our own!

Alas, the clock on the wall was creeping towrds soccergirl's bedtime and she had a game to play the next day, everyone started heading towards home, in a fine state of epicurial satisfaction.

We headed home in the gathering twilight, and while soccergirl was asleep before we got out of the city, Mrs G and I listened to some really great 1970's music on the radio.

What a great evening.

If any of you are ever fortunate enough to get an invite from Janet, run, don't walk, to accept it!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shocking... Just Shocking

This story is from the late edition of the June 20th Washington Post

"An armed security guard at Walter Reed Army Medical Center unholstered his gun and began firing at another guard during an argument this morning, D.C. police said, shocking employees who were driving through the busy main entrance on Georgia Avenue NW.

No one appeared to have been injured during the dispute, which happened shortly after 8:30 a.m. The guard who did the shooting was taken into custody, said Cmdr. Hilton Burton of the Metropolitan Police Department's 4th District police station.

Burton said the guard fired between six and 10 shots from his service weapon, but the other guard -- who ran onto Georgia Avenue -- was not hit..."

My friends, this story is shocking.


I am shocked and appalled!

Not because the guard was shooting at his colleague, that happens more than you'd really want to believe. No, I'm talking about the appalling marksmanship demonstrated by the shooter.

If yours truly had trained that guy... the outcome would have been different, I can assure you.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Techno Question

Once again, I call on the techno-savvy gurus of html that lurk here at my page.

Can someone explaing how to make a "button", to link to another blog?

Please respond by comment or email. Many thanks in advance.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Sopranos Finale

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Play the music!

Have I mentioned that I have never seen this show?

Well, until last week, I hadn't. Having seen only part of one episode, the final episode, I feel well-qualified to give you my thoughts on how the show ended.

My new blog pal Biker Chick Janet (by the way, that's your new nick name, my friend, you are one of three Janet's here), mentioned the Soprano's finale with a well-written post that you can find at her blog. Janet posits that the ending of the show shouldn't have surprised anyone who has been watching the show all along.

Longtime philosophical brother-from-another-mother, and fellow blogger, The Thinking Black man had THIS to say about how the show ended... and I have to tell you that I almost fell out of my chair until I got nearly to the middle of his post! **NOTE TO TTBM: Don't do that again, dude, you nearly killed me**

Well, let's get right to it, shall we?

Having watched the ending of the show, I felt that justice was done. No, not the kind of justice that would land Tony Soprano and his entire crew behind bars for the rest of their lives, although that would have been a great ending for me (oh, don't scowl... I'm a cop, the bad guys SHOULD go to jail), but I digress. No, I don't mean legal justice. Nor do I mean street justice, wherein Mr Soprano would be murdered, or "whacked" in the vernacular of the state of my youth (hey, Tony and family lived in the next county over from me!). What I mean is that I believe that justice was done in the way the show ended.

Alright, I can practically hear some of you swearing as you read this. Some of you may be saying things like: "Well, what can you expect from an unbeliever" (BIG bonus for the person that can cite THAT movie reference!), or "GF wasn't a fan, what does he know?" Patience one and all, and I will share my thoughts with you.

You see, Tony Soprano was a brutal man. A barbarian that tended to settle things with threats, intimidation, and brute force. He would prevaricate when it suited him, he would even have other men, in his employ, conduct his violent business for him. Tony Soprano was a murderer, and nothing good ever comes from that.

For the last several years, faithful fans clung to this highly rated and much ballyhooed show, just wondering what Tony and company would do next, and for many years they were rewarded for their patience. I suppose, in their hearts, they just felt that they were owed a little closure in return for years of loyalty. The fans just wanted to know how Tony was going to end up. The blogosphere was abuzz, as were no small number of bulletin boards, talk shows, happy hour groups, and chat-rooms. What's going to happen next?, they all wanted to know.

Well, as all of you (who care) already know, by now, is that the final scene of the series took place in a Diner (shot on location in Bloomfield, New Jersey). Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" was blaring from the juke box, and a sort of nervous-looking chap was sitting at the counter... frequently looking over his shoulder at Tony's table or at the door. While this was happening, daughter Meadow Soprano was outside, trying to park her car... all of this was happening as the song rose to it's crescendo... The nervous guy at the counter goes into the men's room... is he going to pee?, or is he going to come out of there, guns blazing? (we'll find out in seconds), Meadow finally parks the friggin' car, and walks towards the Diner... Nervous guy zips his fly and is exiting the men's room, just as Meadow gets to the door... We hear the bell on the door of the diner ring, and Tony looks up and...




And now most of the people in the TV watching world are seriously pissed off.

What happened?, they wanted to know... did nervous guy whack the whole family? Did Meadow whack the whole family? Did nothing happen, and Tony and AJ got their onion rings ("best in the state" says Tony)?

I'll tell you what I think happened in the ephemeral mists of speculation (did you see that big word I just used?, and I didn't even go to college!). I think Tony and company continued to live their lives in the ways they always had. Doing evil things to make a buck... or lots of bucks. I think that Tony never gets out of the life. I think the final scene shows that nothing changes for people like that. There is no change of heart, no redemption, no "turning from a life of crime", no fairy tale ending, and no closure.

Tony Soprano was an evil barbarian warlord... people like that never have a happy ending. They just have an ending.

I'm Such A Child

Some of you may have listened, a week or so ago, when I was a guest on Kristen Chase's Motherhood Uncensored radio show (and if you didn't listen, click that button over there, to your right).

That particular show was a discussion about "What Dad's Want". Kristen asked me about Father's Day, and whether dad's got excited about receiving gifts. I told her that although most dad's will say that "it isn't about presents" and things like that... we are usually lying through our collective teeth.

I love getting presents.

No. Really.

I love getting presents, and for this Father's Day, Mrs Gunfighter and Olivia gave me two great books:

The first was this book: True To Our Native Land, An African American New Testament Commentary.

Mrs G always knows which books to get for me, as I am always trying to discern new things about national culture, ethnic culture, and their interactions with various faith cultures and traditions, particularly in the United States.

The next is titled: "The Peoples Work, A Social History of The Liturgy"

A recent interest, as part of my faith journey, has been an exploration of the history of the church, and one of the most interesting things for me, is the development of the various liturgies used in today's mainline denominations.

I am excited about both of these, and they have joined my rather long list of "to read" books. I suspect they might be on my vacation reading list... along with the new Harry Turtledove novel that we are expecting in late July.

Mrs G. is a good egg.

Thanks, babe.

Gunfighter's Dreams (IV)

Ciao bella!

Perhaps I need to see a professional.

This morning, the alarm clock went off at 0415, like it normally does, but today, things were just a little different.

Today, the clock not only woke me from a restful slumber, it also ended an odd dream.

Have you ever dreamt about dreaming? It has happened to me more than a few times, but today's dream was special. Today, I was dreaming that I was dreaming about blogging... in Italian.

In case you are wondering... I don't really speak Italian. Oh sure, I know a few words here and there, like most people. I can say hello, goodbye, thank you, and things like that... but that doesn't mean that I can converse, much less, write. I do, however, own a few Andrea Boccelli cd's... but I don't think that counts.

No, in my dream, I was pondering about dreaming about blogging in Italian, which is just plain ol' weird!

Analysis anyone?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Real Dads of Genius

Cue the music.

In Honor of Father's Day, Bud Light Salutes Real Dads of Genius!

(Real Dads of Genius!)

Today we salute: YOU! Mr. I'd-do-anything-to-support-and-protect-my-children.

(Mr. I'd-do-anything-to-support-and-protect-my-chiiildren!)

How could you improve on a guy who would work a second (or even third) job to make sure his kids are provided for, loved, and nurtured? You'd have to be Superman.

(He ain't stinkin' lazy!)

Gone, now, is the race to see who can chug more beers than the other guys in your frat-house, leaving the carpet strewn with "Silver Bullet" cans.

(No more pukin' with the boys!!)

He works, coaches sports, goes to dancing recitals, does homework with his kids, and still finds time to put together his daughter's pepto-bismol-pink Barbie castle!

(He IS a freakin' hero!)

So here's to you, Mr. I'd-do-anything-to-support-and-protect-my-children... Because YOU are the example for our nation's future!

(Mr. I'd-do-anything-to-support-and-protect-my-chiiildren!)

Disclaimer: Real dads don't drink light beer, from Anheuser Busch, or any other brewer. Please parent responsibly.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

...and to all the other dads.

I won't be arounsd until later today, as we are going to day two of soccergirl's "Father's Day" soccer tournament.

Wish us luck, and more later!


Friday, June 15, 2007

The Ten Most Influential People

Who do you think were the ten most important people who had major influences on the whole world?

I was thinking about that last night and came up with the following:

Napoleon Bonaparte:

Napoleon was an important figure across the world in that late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Napoleon was an innovative Military leader who is largely responsible for several innovations:

The "innovation" of destroying the enemy's army in battle (the earlier custom being outmaneuvering your enemy to the point that they retire from the field). Napoleon believed, correctly, that once you destroyed the enemy's ABILITY to fight effectively, they would have no choice but capitulate politically. Of course, this only applies when your enemy has the central political existence as a nation-state.

Napoleon was also the first modern General to promote officers from the ranks. Some of most successful "Marshals of France", such as Ney, MacDonald (a distant kinsman of mine), and Bernadotte were not born to wealth or even the most minor nobility... indeed, in the case of the three aforementioned Marshals, all of them began their military careers as enlisted men.

Napoleon was also an innovator in that he believed in mobility... and army that could march hard and fast, usually arrived at the battlefield with the pick of terrain, which was, and still is, very important.

Lastly, Napoleon began the concept of the professional conscript army. Regiments were raised locally, served for a time, and sent home... but were subject to recall... much like today's national guard.

Napoleon also had his hands deeply involved in the early histories of the United States and Canada. War of 1812, anyone? The United States, being involved in a war with Britain could only be a benefit to Napoleon's ambitions on the Continent of Europe.... but not enough to keep Napoleon from ultimate defeat.

Jesus of Nazareth:

What is there to say? Whether you are a Christian or not, Jesus of Nazareth is largely responsible for the world today. Of course, I believe that in a spiritual context, but even if you don't, Jesus, the Christ, has influenced almost every nation on earth, even those that are predominantly non-christian. Wars of conquest have been fought in his name. Unspeakable acts of violence and cruelty have been perpetrated in his name. On the other hand, incredible acts of goodness, decency and mercy have also done in his name.

Nations have been born, and destroyed based on his legacy.

There are some who would argue that the Apostle Paul was more important than Jesus, because of Paul's zeal and spreading the gospels. Well, I beg to differ. No Jesus, no story for Paul to tell, right?

I was going to avoid making a statement about about my faith here, but you know what? This is MY blog!

When I think of my salvation, it always brings me back to an old fovorite hymn whose lyrics sum up so nicely for me: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus' name"

Benjamin Franklin:

People frequently suggest the George Washington had more influence on the world than Franklin did, but I beg to differ. While Washington led the Continental armies against the British during the American revolution, the Continental armies wouldn't have been able to stay in the field of it weren't for military and naval aid from France. Credit for securing said assistance from France belongs to the diplomatic artistry of Franklin.

No Franklin, no French support, no French support, no ability to say in the fight against the British.

Do the math.

Mahatma Ghandi:

Born Mohandas Ghandi, was a British educated lawyer, but will, of course be remembered as the leader of the Indian independence movement. Ghandi's resistance to British rule in India is legendary, not only for it's success, but also for it's goal of action through non-violence.

Because of Ghandi, India is the largest (population-wise) democracy on earth.

Around the world, Ghandi's example of non-violent protest has had major effects in not only the United States, but also in South Africa.

Ghandi will remain a hero until the end of time.


Although Johannes Gutenberg wasn't responsible for the invention of the movable type (many believe this occurred in China, about 400 years earlier), it was certainly Gutenberg who made the movable, metal type, a fast, functional process that allowed people to (relatively) rapidly reproduce books/newspapers, etc...

Gutenberg was responsible for the beginning of the first information age.

Pope Urban II:

Upon receiving a request for aid from the Byzantine Empire, to come to their defense against the Seljuk Turks, Urban called for the first Crusade... not only to defend their eastern Christian brothers and sisters, but also to liberate the Holy Lands from the Muslim infidels.

The crusades lasted for over two hundred years... the legacy of which is the continued slaughter we see in the middle east today.

The crusades had other effects, such as the liberation of Spain from Moorish occupiers, and the recent wars in the Balkans.

Martin Luther:

Wow. Martin Luther. There is so much to say about this guy... and not just because I am a Lutheran. Hm.

Martin Luther, that really smart, German Augustinian Monk, was destined to be a fearless leader since he was born on what later became the Marine Corps Birthday, and was baptized the following day, on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours... which later became Veteran's Day, here in the United States.

As a Monk, Martin didn't quite like the way The Church (the Roman Catholic church... that was the only church there was in Europe) was doing things. Luther didn't like the idea that for a sum of money, people could buy, actually purchase pardon from sin. Worse, at the time of Martin's life, indulgences were being sold in order to build the Basilica of St. Peter, in Rome.

Martin was also of the the belief that the salvation of the soul was justified by faith alone, not works.

Martin, a distinguished scholar and theologian, wrote down his thoughts and on October 31st, nailed them to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, sparking The Reformation.

The Reformation, which continues to this day, has shaped a large, perhaps the largest, part of all of Christendom.

Martin Luther was a scholar, a theologian, a preacher, a Priest, and a writer of Hymns

Although, today, many churches reject Catholicism and the authority of the Pope in Rome, Martin Luther went to his grave never intending to separate himself or his movement from the Catholic (which means universal) church. This is clearly apparent in the use, by the mainline protestant denominations, of the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed.

Martin Luther was one hell of a guy, I am proud to call him (Like Jesus and Chuck Norris) one of my homeboys.

Douglas MacArthur:

Douglas MacArthur, was the architect of allied victory over the Empire of Japan during the second world war. MacArthur was primarily responsible for the American "Island Hopping" campaign that captured strategically important Japanese-held islands, and bypassing (and cutting off) less important ones. MacArthur's victory in the Pacific did much to shape the nations of the region that we see today.

MacArthur is also largely responsible for the shaping of modern Japan, turning that nation away from the militarists and into a nation of industry. During the occupation of Japan, MacArthur helped to shape the stable democracy that governs Japan to this day.

MacArthur's influence didn't end there... When the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea), MacArthur commanded United States troops (later United Nations troops) engaged in combat to preserve South Korea's sovereignty. In September of 1950, troops under MacArthur's command executed the amphibious landings at the Battle of Inchon.

Without MacArthur's influence, it is very likely that the far east of today would be a very, very different place.


Saladin (or Sala Ha Din) was the ruler of Egypt and Syria at the height of the second and third crusades. He was responsible for the not only the defense of the Islamic lands anoud what Christians call "The Holy Land", but also responsible for the conquering of most of the Crusader kingdoms.

Islam is as strong as it is today, because of Saladin's victory in battle against the Crusader forces, particularly during the Third Crusade, led by King Richard I (The Lionheart), of England.

Sun Tzu:

Sun Tzu was a 6th century (BCE) Chinese General who was born to the landless aristocracy. He made his living as a military advisor to the King of Wu. During his employment by the King, he led the military forces of Wu, considered to be something of a barbaric backwater, to become the most powerful Chinese state in that period.

More importantly, Sun Tzu was the first known chronicler of the operational military art. Recording on scrolls, precepts such as making use of weather and terrain, and the importance of combat logistics, that are still used in modern warfare.
Sun Tzu can be considered the father of formal military strategy and scholarship.

So there you have it.

Who do YOU think were the ten most influential people in the world?