28 December 2010
When I got back I cleared the snow off of the poor little Scoobytruck and started him up for the first time in a week. He came right to life and warmed up without any issues, so I guess he survived the storm OK.
Tomorrow we will take the Scoobytruck up to Roanoke to see Eldest Sister, and then back here for the New Year where we will open up the remaining presents under the tree.
That will conclude the holiday season at the Refuge. I hope you and yours had a good one as well.
26 December 2010
Today I took a side trip to my old stomping grounds on the former NAS Cecil Field (now Cecil Commerce Center) just to see what had changed and what had remained the same. NAS Cecil Field fell to disbelief and the BRAC axe back in 1999, no one in Florida could believe the Navy would do something so foolish as to close a base with such beautiful runways situated where the jet noise was not bothersome to the locals in favor of a base that was completely surrounded by a hostile city. They were wrong.
The barracks are all gone, of course, as are the old commisary and the enlisted and Chief's clubs. Most of the remaining structures are in use as offices now, the gym is still a gym, and the on-base housing that remains has been taken over by a private management facility, as has the golf course.
The change that surprised me the most is the draining of Lake Fretwell. The playground and ball diamonds are still there, but the man-made lake has been drained and grass now grows where alligators once swam. Apparently the cost of keeping the lake up was too great for the Cecil Pines management company to want to cover.
Once upon a time the Navy made some noise about re-opening Cecil Field. The city of Jacksonville said they would be glad to share the base, but the Navy wanted it back the way they had it. Since the city is making money from Cecil Commerce Center of course it went nowhere.
I'm certain there is a lesson to be learned there somewhere.
25 December 2010
Eldest Daughter has to work today so when she got home from work last night the kids opened their gifts. Everyone was pleased with the haul, and Youngest Son elected to stay with the rest of the kids while I went back to the motel to catch up on a couple of days worth of sleep.
Today's festivities will be basic, consisting of Christmas dinner and that's about it. Youngest Son and I will head back north on Tuesday and have a second Christmas at home with Eldest Son and Youngest Daughter.
We at the Refuge wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a most happy and prosperous New Year.
Image from Mustang Parts.org
22 December 2010
Eldest Daughter has not been to Father In Law's house to help him with the sorting, so there is no reason for me to take the trailer.
No reason to take the trailer means no reason to take the Subaru.
No reason to take the Subaru means I'll be driving the Mustang.
It should be a good trip.
21 December 2010
The first of these was the winter solstice. Last night was the shortest night of the year, and from this day forward the nights will be getting shorter and the days will be getting longer. Today is the first day of winter.
The second of these significant events, one that very likely passed right by without notice unless you made a special effort to see it, was the eclipse of the moon. It was the first time the winter solstice has had a total moon eclipse in almost four hundred years, but the next one will occur in 2094, only eighty four more years from now. So, if you missed it you won't have as long to wait.
I like to joke that here at the Refuge we don't grow grass in the yard, we grow rocks. Every year we get a fresh crop. That's not as much of a joke as you might think.
The ground water close to the surface freezes and creates patches where the ground pokes up in hundreds of tiny fingers, as if it was caught in the act of exploding. When there are rocks under the surface, this ground water freezes underneath them and forces them to the surface. This is how we get a fresh crop of rocks every year.
As you can see in the photo, the new crop is coming in nicely.
18 December 2010
Youngest Daughter and Son-In-Law got me a new monitor for Christmas. I had been wanting a flat screen, so they went out and ordered a widescreen Compaq S2021.
The only problem is, my computer is an ancient (3 or 4 years old) Compaq Presario SR1303WM, and the integrated video card wouldn't support the widescreen. So I could either set the monitor to aspect and have dark bars on both sides of my screen (and a compressed display because it wasn't quite wide enough on aspect) or I could have a stretched out display.
Or I could go get a new video card.
Off to Comp USA I go!
The new graphics card is installed, the software is set up and running, and the resolution is set properly for the display. It's really looking good!
Now I'm all set for a night of surfing as the snow falls.
Next is a trip to the big box store to get some clips to hang my outside Christmas lights. I must have my lights hung by 3 PM today.
Sometime after 3 PM we are expecting the next round of snow and freezing rain to begin.
When does Spring start?
16 December 2010
He begged the judges not to release his address on his bail request.
The judges said "Information wants to be free!"
Spare me the drivel about how this might put his life in danger. He leaked information for the sole purpose of embarrassing the United States, and in doing so very likely put the lives of countless others in jeopardy.
This is what we call "poetic justice" in these parts.
The good news: The Subaru is an adept and sure-footed winter traveler.
The better news: I have no reason to be out in it today.
I hope you can all stay warm and dry today.
14 December 2010
I pick him up from school on Thursday, he has Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, and I take him back Sunday on my way to work.
I will also pick up any needful things for Sis's house while he is there. He will occasionally want something different, and Sis will ask him how he proposes to pay for it.
"That's easy" he replies, "First Bank of Dad!"
Sigh. I think I need a bail-out.
Unfortunately I'm not "too big to fail" so I most likely wouldn't qualify.
13 December 2010
Rudyard Kipling wrote "If you don't work you die." Put that down under the category of hard facts and reality.
Utes in Britain should study more Kipling and rather less Marx.
On a related note, Professor Jacobson remembers the Iron Lady. Perhaps Britain will one day do the same.
Until then they will only be the "formerly Great" Britain.
12 December 2010
07 December 2010
He has been having small heart issues for a while now, and while not serious in and of themselves, given his age they are a matter of concern.
I have told him he is not allowed to leave us this year, but much like his daughter and his wife before him he does pretty much as he pleases, regardless of what I would like.
Pop is old and tired, and his world has been rocked with the loss of his wife a year ago last May and his only child last June. Lesser men may have given up already, but I have never known Pop to give in to anything.
Prayers would be appropriate, and appreciated.
UPDATED: Upon further investigation the docs determined he didn't need stents, the irregular heartbeat he's been having can be taken care of by non-invasive procedures. So that's good.
UPDATE II: The procedure went well and Pop is back home and doing fine.
Two strikes were launched and a third contemplated before the attacks were over. In the aftermath four battleships were sunk and four more were damaged, along with three cruisers, three destroyers, one minelayer and one training ship. 188 aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded.
The un-launched third wave would have taken out the submarine base and the support facilities, including fuel depots and shipyards. The three American carriers, not in port at the time of the attack, were also spared. One of those carriers, USS Enterprise (CV-6), would not only survive but would become the most heavily decorated ship of the war.
In time all but two of the battleships (Arizona and Utah) were raised and, except for the heavily damaged Oklahoma, returned to service. The Iowa class battleships were built to replace them, but ultimately it was the carriers that turned the tide of the war.
Although it was a tactical success for the Japanese, the attacks were fortuitous for the Americans in several ways. Had the warnings from the radar station been heeded, the ships would have been underway or in the channel. This would have blocked the harbor for the returning carriers, and instead of being raised and returned to service the ships would have been lost in deep water.
Additionally, fears that the American carriers and land-based bombers would find them played a part in the Japanese decision not to press a third attack. This spared the shipyards that were vital in the restoration efforts as well as the fuel and ammunition needed to immediately send the subs, also spared by the decision, to sea.
It was the submarines that crippled the Imperial Japanese Navy by attacking it's logistics trail, and it was the carriers that put their ships on the bottom. Although a clash between the titans, USS Iowa and IJN Yamato, would have been epic, it was not to be so; Yamato was repulsed by escort carriers at Leyte Gulf while Iowa chased ghostly foes, and ultimately it was carrier aircraft, some of them from Enterprise, that laid Yamato low.
Sixty nine years later we are losing the veterans from that time in our history. As they fade from the scene it falls to us to ensure that the lessons we have learned do not fade with them.
05 December 2010
Yesterday morning Youngest Son and I took the Mustang out for a car event, and when we got back I didn't bother to put the cover back on it. I had not looked at the weather for the day, and the forecast from the day before said nothing about snow. The weatherman can't always predict what is going to occur within days, but the "climatologists" would have you believe they can predict what the weather is going to be like decades from now. But I digress.
It sits under a covering of snow right now, but in a moment I will go out and start it up. I'll let it warm as I clear the windows, the heat from the motor will loosen the snow on it's hood enough to slide it off without damaging paint (this car has the most fragile paint that I have ever had on a car) and then I'll take it out to blow most of the snow off of it's top and trunk. After that it will sit in the sun, and by the time I have to go to work this afternoon it will be dry so that I can put the cover on it again.
Boots and I went out to walk the perimeter this morning and the wind was already knocking big chunks of snow out of the trees. When it would pick up the snow would fall and swirl almost as if it were falling from the sky for the first time. I love the morning right after a snow, the world is quiet as if it is spending another hour or so in bed nestled under it's glistening blanket.
I like this type of snow best of all (or perhaps more to the point, I dislike it the least) because the roads don't get covered and by the time I have to go to work the pavement should be mostly dry. Within a few days it will be gone as if it had never come.
04 December 2010
03 December 2010
The nurse that day wore no cap, nor did she wear a smock. It was chilly in the cardio unit, even during the dead heat of a North Carolina summer, so she wore a sweater over her surgical scrubs as she efficiently went about her business.
She patted my arm as she walked out, her face full of sympathy. "She doesn't need me now" she whispered, and then she was out the door.
I sat and held her hand, an eternity, an instant; the eternity between her breaths, the instant between life and death. Fifteen minutes later it was over; the eternity and the instant both.
Six months later we prepare for what was her favorite holiday. I will remember how much she loved the season, how much she loved me, and how much I loved her. I pray that somehow this little comfort will be enough.
02 December 2010
5 lb potatoes, any kind you like.
1 med sweet onion
1 bunch celery hearts
1 lb bacon
16 oz heavy cream
1/2 gal milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb shredded Cheddar cheese
Peel and dice the potatoes and put them on to boil. You want to cook these until they are done clear through but still firm, about 10 minutes or so.
While the potatoes are cooking, chop the celery and onions. In a cast-iron frying pan, fry the bacon crisp over medium high heat. Go ahead and have some, you can make do with 12-14 oz. Go ahead and give some to the dog too, you know you can't resist those puppy dog eyes. Let the rest drain and cool on paper towels.
Cook the celery and onions in the bacon fat over medium high heat until the onions are slightly transparent and the celery is soft, about 5 minutes. Drain the celery and onions and pour the bacon grease into a container, it is useful in almost any recipe that calls for shortening.
By now the potatoes should be done. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add celery and onions, add cream and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until warm. Crumble and add bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with shredded cheddar on top.
30 November 2010
Do me a favor? Give Laura a big bear hug for me.
29 November 2010
Those of us fortunate enough to have been born in this country and who have lived our entire lives here have never seen anything like this except on the evening news.
The religious freedom part of the First Amendment was written to prevent the Federal government from establishing a national religion. This is why.
Since the season is now upon us where the usual suspects will start to protest Christmas decorations, I think it's time to reflect on what "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" really means.
Somehow nativity scenes on the town square doesn't seem so bad now, does it?
28 November 2010
Speaking of my dog, he's a mess. He doesn't like to be home alone, he doesn't like to travel, and he doesn't like to be anywhere that is not home. He spent most of the time traveling curled up on the armrest between the seats where he was enough in the way to be present but not enough to be completely irritating. It's a good thing he's such a small dog.
At any rate, everything is back as it should be in the world of Boots; his trees are right where he left them, the perimeter is secure and I am allowed to roam about without being in his direct line of sight. I guess he figures I'm safe enough at home that he doesn't have to constantly keep an eye on me. These humans take a lot of keeping after, you know.
He's going to hate it when I have to go back to work though. Come to think of it, so will I.
25 November 2010
Last post notwithstanding, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a good job and a wonderful family, my bills are paid and if you could see me you could definitely tell I am not starving.
I am at Eldest Daughter's for Thanksgiving this year, so I'm enjoying the warm Florida weather. Youngest Daughter and hubby were not able to get the time off, so they couldn't come down with me. They are taking Eldest Son out for Thanksgiving dinner.
Son In Law is busy in the kitchen. Eldest daughter can cook but SIL always does the big holiday meals. He insists on it. From the smell I can tell he's doing an excellent job, as usual.
My dog and constant companion is in my lap, I have fresh coffee in my cup, and I have the cell card in the computer for Internet. There are things I wish were different, but all told things are pretty good for the Scoundrel.
I have just been reminded that others don't have things as good. Hugs to you and yours A, I hope that everything works out for you. I'll keep you in my prayers.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Photo: Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving
By now she would have everything done except for the big-ticket items. That is what Black Friday was for.
I have green bulbs in my porch lights. Other than that I have nothing.
I am not ready for Christmas this year.
21 November 2010
It is an Arisaka type 30 hook safety, of which there were an estimated 500,000 rifles and 40,000 carbines made between 1897 and 1902.
The main difference between a rifle and a carbine is the length. Carbines were first issued to cavalry where the shorter barrels were of better use from horseback than the longer, and thus more unwieldy, rifles would have been. Later on, after the cavalry went from horses to mechanical conveyances, the shorter rifles were issued to engineering and non-combat troops that were not primarily designated as infantry. All carbines are rifles, but not all rifles are carbines.
The type 30 had a rather complicated bolt, and it's tight tolerances made it somewhat intolerant to dirt and dust. For these reasons they had a relatively short service life. The Japanese started replacing their type 30 rifles and carbines with type 38's starting about 1905 or so, rendering the type 30's surplus after less than 10 years in Imperial service.
It is interesting to note that although all Japanese rifles from the Type 30 to the Type 99 are called Arisakas, only the Type 30 was designed by Colonel Nariaki Arisaka. All subsequent types were designed by Lieutenant General Kijiro Nambu using COL Arisaka's design as a starting point. LGEN Nambu's first task was to simplify the Type 30's bolt, which he did admirably. The Type 30's bolt has ten pieces while the Type 38's has four.
A large number of type 30 rifles and carbines found their way into British and Russian hands in WW1, around 1914 or so. Britain issued them to training, Navy and Flying Corps units while the Russians issued them to mainly non-frontline troops, including the ones stationed in Finland. Most of the British weapons were also transferred to the Russians around 1916. The Finns used the rifles to good effect during their bid for independence, but not so many of the carbines. All told, at least six countries used the Type 30 at one time or another.
This one would have over 100 years of stories to tell, as evidenced by it's non-numbers matching bolt and obvious weathering of both metal and wood parts. The man I bought it from got it from his father, but he didn't say where or when his father had gotten it and I didn't think to ask at the time. I'll have to do so next time I see him.
I would like to know it's history. It still appears to be in good shape, but with cartridges at $40 per box of 20 it won't see much use while I have it. It's an interesting piece and I will certainly put a few rounds through it just to see how it does.
But first it will get a visit to the gunsmith so that it can be thoroughly checked out.
UPDATE: Thanks to Mr Bingley I have been able to track down ammo at a more reasonable price. Here are a couple of more links if anyone is looking for the 6.5x50 Japanese ammunition.
20 November 2010
In Alaska it looks like Murkowski is the winner, but Joe Miller isn't going to be as graceful. Looks like commenter SINVILLE nailed that one.
Enough is enough Joe. Let it go.
BTW Alaska, if you wanted her why didn't you nominate her during the primary?
HT: The Ewok.
19 November 2010
We at the Refuge would like to thank him for his continuing service, and wish him a safe return.
Even though I am The Blogger Whom ToM Hateth.
18 November 2010
Congratulations to Senator Lisa Murkowski, who has won her re-election bid as a write in candidate.
This is the first time since 1954 that a write-in has won an election.
I have to admit though that it leaves me a bit confused. If this is who Alaska wanted as their Senator, why didn't they just give her the nod during the primary?
I guess this is why truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
17 November 2010
On October 25, 2007 then Specialist Giunta's patrol was ambushed near the village of Landigal in the Koringal Valley, Afghanistan. Lobbing grenades and firing their weapons, the soldiers of his unit fought back against the ambush.
SPC Giunta saw that his squad leader was down, and fearing for that Soldier's life dragged him back out of the line of fire to receive medical aid. Seeing that the squad leader was being cared for, he then ran forward to join with a buddy who had been on point and saw his wounded squadmate being dragged off by two enemy insurgents. Without hesitation he charged, firing the rest of his rounds, killing one and wounding the other. He then provided first aid to the fallen man until the rest of his squad could catch up.
From the citation: "Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta's extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army."
He downplays the significance of that action, remarking that the soldier that he rescued (who later died of his injuries) was a better Soldier than he is himself. His hope is that all America will remember those who are now serving. "This is for all of us," he said. "This is for everyone who sacrifices for their country, who sacrifices for America."
Well done SSGT. We at the Refuge will remember.
12 November 2010
Thanks 52, you bunch of goat bothering slobbering imbeciles. Damn you and all your kind to the deepest pits of hell where you and that failed ideology you worship rightfully belong.
09 November 2010
Twenty one years ago today a wall was toppled in Berlin, Germany. Along with that wall crumbled a regime and an ideology that our brightest analytical minds thought would last forever.
I was onboard USS Forrestal (CV-59) in the Med the day that it happened, a member of one of the organizations responsible for that wall coming down. A few weeks later President George H. W. Bush brought us a chunk of that wall.
Twenty one years later kids starting college have never lived in a world where there was a Soviet Union and two Germanys. You could say it is a better world because of it.
Twenty one years later our "brightest analytical minds" still think the ideology should last forever. Unfortunately for us they are in charge of our government now instead of the USSR's.
06 November 2010
04 November 2010
Of course the person that started the ball rolling, Lisa Murkowski, has declared herself the winner. She fails to realize that the "write in" candidate is a total and is not necessarily indicative of support for one candidate in particular.
There were around 150 write-in candidates for the Senate seat in question. If each of the 150 writes in their own name, and if their friends and family do the same, some of that 13,439 vote lead of the "write-in" over the Republican candidate Joe Miller is accounted for. Other votes will likely be accounted for in small parties.
I think it would be hilarious for Murkowski to actually garner about half of the write in votes, with the rest of them going for one of the other 150 write-ins or for purely imaginative candidates (Mickey Mouse is a perennial favorite). If that happens, look for Murkowski to become an internet verb.
03 November 2010
Straight ticket voters were more likely to vote Democrat than Republican (57% to 42%), but Richard Burr (edit, thanks James) won re-election to his Senate seat by a 52% to 46% margin (2.1% was split between write-ins and Libertarian candidate Mike Beitler) and Renee Ellers beat Bob Etheridge for the NC-2 House seat 52% to 46% (with Libertarian Tom Rose picking up the last 2%), although the Wake County voters put this margin at 50%-49% for the combined District 2 total (Rose got less than 1% of the vote in the entire District). The results are being contested by incumbent Etheridge since the spread is less than 1%.
Elsewhere in Franklin County, incumbent Doug Berger lost to Republican challenger Micheal Shriver for State Senate District 7 by a wide margin (43% to 57%) but the voters in the other counties in his district took him to victory, and Democrat John May lost to Republican Glen Bradley by a narrower margin (49% to 51%) for State House District 49. In the last contested race, Republican Harry Foy handily defeated Democrat Rosemary Champion (55% to 45%) for Board of Commissioners At Large.
Let's put that in perspective: in every contested race in Franklin County the Republican candidate won, and the only races that were won by Democrats were those that were not contested by the Republicans, even though the straight party ticket went Democrat by a large margin.
That makes for a pretty good night for the Republicans.
02 November 2010
01 November 2010
Without the divisions that is 110110, or 42 in digitally-coded base 13.
Douglas Adams later joked that "I may be a sorry case, but I don't write jokes in base 13."
31 October 2010
24 October 2010
The personal property tax on vehicles is levied by each individual county and is a completely separate thing from the sales tax that you pay on newly-bought vehicles when you put the tags on them. The State collects the sales tax.
I got the tax hit for the Mustang today. Four bills, amounting to about 1% or $100 per $10,000 assessed value. I also got the trailer bill, which was a little over $5.00 (I paid a little over $500 for the trailer).
It's a little concerning to me that I didn't get the tax bill for the Baja since I bought it before the Mustang or the trailer either one. I'll have to call the Franklin County tax assessor's office tomorrow to see if it got sent out. That will be another C note if the 1% rate holds true.
Last year I paid less than a hundred dollars for all my vehicles, but then again last year all my vehicles were crap anyway.
When she announced her candidacy I checked out her website and emailed a question about her stand on the Fair Tax. I got no reply, but found the information elsewhere (she's all for it, for what it's worth).
After Boxing Bob showed his street cred to a couple of aspiring journalists, I decided to send in a donation to the Ellers campaign. At the same time I sent another Email message asking for a yard sign. Once again, nothing.
I did get a nice email letter from the candidate thanking me for my donation and then asking for more. This was, to say the least, irritating since I had made what I thought was a pretty substantial donation from someone who makes less than 250K a year and so by definition isn't one of the evil hated rich. I round-filed the nice little note and made up my mind to McCain her (hold my nose and pull the lever for her because she isn't as bad as the other guy).
A couple of weeks later I got yet another email bleg, which I responded to (it came from the email address listed on the website as belonging to the candidate) by saying that I had not gotten a reply from earlier emails and if I wanted a Congresscritter to take my money and otherwise ignore me I already had that.
Once again, no reply.
Looks like I'll be voting for the Libertarian. Predictably the Republican party and their "candidate" (who hasn't show that she really wants the job all that badly) will not understand why.
Never underestimate the ability of Republicans (both the Party and the individual candidates) to shoot themselves in the groin.
20 October 2010
"What could help would be a return to the American Way, the approach which made the US so historically powerful. The success of this model is illustrated by history. In 1820, twice as many people lived in the United Kingdom as the US, and its economic performance (measured by gross domestic product) was three times as strong and the average standard of living (measured by GDP per person) was a quarter higher. Today, there are about five times more people living in the US than the UK, America's economic performance is about seven times better than Britain's and the average American is about 50 percent better off than the average Briton."
Remember in November. Vote accordingly.
17 October 2010
I'm sure by now everyone knows about the kerfuffle over the VFW-PAC endorsements.
I had a chance to join the VFW but didn't because they have their meetings on Tuesday nights when I work.
I'm glad that I didn't because I would just have to un-join now.
UPDATE: Looks like the rank-and-file made their objections clear. HT to Patrick.
12 October 2010
"Robert J. Miller distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism while serving as the Weapons Sergeant in Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3312, Special Operations Task Force-33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan during combat operations against an armed enemy in Konar Province, Afghanistan on January 25, 2008.
While conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol through the Gowardesh Valley, Staff Sergeant Miller and his small element of U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers engaged a force of 15 to 20 insurgents occupying prepared fighting positions. Staff Sergeant Miller initiated the assault by engaging the enemy positions with his vehicle's turret-mounted Mark-19 40 millimeter automatic grenade launcher while simultaneously providing detailed descriptions of the enemy positions to his command, enabling effective, accurate close air support.
Following the engagement, Staff Sergeant Miller led a small squad forward to conduct a battle damage assessment. As the group neared the small, steep, narrow valley that the enemy had inhabited, a large, well-coordinated insurgent force initiated a near ambush, assaulting from elevated positions with ample cover. Exposed and with little available cover, the patrol was totally vulnerable to enemy rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapon fire.
As point man, Staff Sergeant Miller was at the front of the patrol, cut off from supporting elements, and less than 20 meters from enemy forces. Nonetheless, with total disregard for his own safety, he called for his men to quickly move back to covered positions as he charged the enemy over exposed ground and under overwhelming enemy fire in order to provide protective fire for his team.
While maneuvering to engage the enemy, Staff Sergeant Miller was shot in his upper torso. Ignoring the wound, he continued to push the fight, moving to draw fire from over one hundred enemy fighters upon himself. He then again charged forward through an open area in order to allow his teammates to safely reach cover. After killing at least 10 insurgents, wounding dozens more, and repeatedly exposing himself to withering enemy fire while moving from position to position, Staff Sergeant Miller was mortally wounded by enemy fire.
His extraordinary valor ultimately saved the lives of seven members of his own team and 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers. Staff Sergeant Miller's heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty, and at the cost of his own life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army."
Staff Sergeant Miller was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on October 6, 2010. He becomes the seventh recipient from the campaigns of the Global War on Terror. We at the Refuge mourn his loss, celebrate his life, and welcome him into the Last Refuge Hall of Heroes.
Interestingly enough, the only anticipated living recipient from the GWoT campaigns has not yet received his medal. We at the Refuge cannot help but wonder why.
Photo: Stars and Stripes
"The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker."
That brings to mind another Russian who wrote "In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us." "
We will see what happens in November.
10 October 2010
04 October 2010
03 October 2010
02 October 2010
The new arrival should be here in June, two months past their first anniversary.
30 September 2010
The head for TDP.
The transmission parts for TDP.
The lawn mower parts.
Monster Hunter: Vendetta.
If you don't see anything new posted for a while, you now know why.
27 September 2010
All that came to an end yesterday for two reasons; first because I had to go to work and second because the rains finally came. We have been needing rain, and this will put our daytime highs in the 70's and nighttime lows in the 60's. That's too cool for convertible cruising at night, but we will be able to open the doors and windows and not run the air conditioner.
That's a good thing, because at about 7PM last night our air conditioner gave up the ghost. We have been nursing it along for the past couple of years, and this time there is some pretty extensive obvious electrical damage with an unknown degree of hidden electrical damage in the control circuitry. The entire system is dead; it tripped the breaker but not before the power transformer that feeds the 240VAC heating coils and 24VAC control circuits got fried.
Add to that the fact that the unit is leaking freon and has had to run for extended periods during the heat of summer just to keep the house 5 to 10 degrees hotter than the thermostat setting and during the cold of winter to keep the house 5 to 10 degrees cooler than the thermostat setting (it's a heat pump). The old unit is 11 years old, and being in a modular home wasn't the highest quality when new. It's time for a replacement.
The replacement will run about $7400 installed including the duct work and electrical. With the rebates and incentives from the power company and the manufacturer plus a $1500 write-off on my taxes, the whole thing will cost me around $5600 when everything pans out, plus my electric bills should be lower. I will have to pay it up front and collect the rebates later.
That's a $7400 hit that I wasn't planning on taking, so the budget just got a lot tighter. The credit card that I had previously been able to pay off is going to get a big charge on it, but I'm going to pay it off over the next seven or eight months since I don't have any other payments that I'm making. That should hopefully keep the interest charges from hurting too badly.
I'm sure that I'll be satisfied with the results in the long run, but the skinflint in me is now cowering in the corner whimpering.
1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?
I don't believe criminals should be allowed to buy guns at all, but that doesn't stop them. Background checks are irrelevant. But, since you mentioned them, does that mean that you are OK with criminals buying guns as long as they have a background check?
On the subject of domestic abusers; number one, the goalposts keep moving as far as what constitutes domestic abuse, and number two, domestic abusers would by definition be criminals. However, I believe the biggest deterrent to violent domestic abuse (the only kind that would warrant the restriction of RKBA) is for the would-be abusee to be armed and trained.
2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?
We have four different classes of people here, so here are four different answers:
Criminals: either lock them up or reduce their number. You figure out how. Hint: it's hard to rob, rape or maim someone who is armed and trained.
Domestic abusers: we pretty well covered that in question 1.
Terrorists: kill them all, let God sort them out.
Dangerously mentally ill people: if they are a danger to themselves or others they are institutionalized and therefore not a problem, right?
3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to "keep and bear arms"?
Of course it does.
4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?
Isn't that the reason you advocate the banning of guns? Note, if you want to ban even one you are by definition advocating the banning of guns. From there it's just a matter of how far you intend to carry out the act. Or as the UCMJ puts it; penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.
(completely off topic, but it's interesting to note that as per the UCMJ Article 120, rape is punishable by death.)
5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?
Since a ban is a legislative action and not a physical one, the answer is "by the passing of unconstitutional laws." However, when it gets down to the physical action of actually rounding the guns up, the answer becomes "by prying them out of my cold, dead hands."
6. What do you think are the "second amendment remedies" that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?
Love the "scare quotes" there, and nice job getting the tea party reference in as well, but shouldn't you be asking this question of Sharron Angle?
UPDATE: Here's the quote from Sharron Angle, from an interview by Lars Larson in Portland, OR:
You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.
I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.
7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don't like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?
Have we defined "second amendment remedies" yet?
As long as that person is not attempting to deprive me, or those around me, of life, liberty or property through force or fraud they are free to do pretty much whatever the hell they want. If, on the other hand, they are attempting to deprive me or those around me of life, liberty or property through force or fraud I believe in the notion that I may use any means necessary to convince them not to.
As far as what they are saying, there's a completely different amendment that covers that.
8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?
If they are lying I believe it is OK to call them on it. If I call you a wannabe gun banner, and you in fact want to ban guns, wouldn't the name be descriptive even if you feel it is demeaning? Oh, and by the by, that little amendment I mentioned above that covers the whole "what they are saying" thing? Yeah, you might want to study up on it.
9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person's face?
Damn straight I would. And then I would give them a chance to explain why they are not what I said they were, at which time I would either apologize if I was wrong or reiterate if I was right.
10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?
That's a pretty open-ended question. If the law was "no state or entity may, for any reason, deprive a citizen of his right to keep and bear arms without due process" then the answer would be "no." However, in the context of all the gun laws so far being restrictive, the answer would have to be "hell yes."
11. Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.
What does that mean, do I believe in them? Do I believe they exist? It's pretty obvious that they do. Do I believe they are lawful? No. Do I think they are being enforced? Absolutely, but remember only the law abiding are abiding by the laws.
I noticed that you didn't ask if I believed if they are effective. The answer, of course, would be that they are very effective - in creating unarmed victims out of law abiding citizens. Otherwise, not so much.
12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?
I believe that all law abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never intentionally shoot anybody without cause.
13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?
There are lies, there are damn lies and there are statistics. If you want to keep track of the number of people who commit suicide and the tools that they use to accomplish that purpose (guns, knives, ropes, cops, etc.) then by all means do so. Just be honest enough to publish the raw data.
14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should "count" in the total numbers?
Total number of what? Accidental deaths? Once again, do as you like, but be honest enough to publish the raw data.
15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?
No. So-called accidental discharge of modern firearms can always be attributed to malfunction of the weapon or violation of one of the Four Rules. There are no accidents. Careless use violates at least one of the Four Rules.
Case in point: when the Saiga was being demonstrated to me it refused to fire. The operator turned the weapon on it's side to examine it and it fired without anyone pulling it's trigger. Examination of the weapon revealed an unfired cartridge that had gotten jammed into the mechanism. That is an example of a malfunction. Strict adherence to the Four Rules kept the malfunction from becoming a tragedy. That is the reason for the Four Rules.
16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?
There is not enough information in that question to make a qualified answer. If it is 30,000 deaths of would-be rapists by way of their armed intended victims, then no. If, on the other hand, it is 30,000 deaths of unarmed victims due to asinine gun control laws, then yes. Remember what I said about statistics?
17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?
Leaving alone the point that all shootings are not necessarily the same, I'm going to answer as if you meant to say unintentional shootings: By donating to organizations such as the NRA that teach new shooters about safe gun handling practices and by insisting on strict adherence to the Four Rules by myself and by anyone who is handling firearms in my presence.
18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?
I have no reason not to believe that everything you write is factually correct and you have the right to blog about anything that you so desire (there's that "what they are saying" thing again). But one can make the truth dance a pretty jig without uttering (or writing) a single word that is not absolutely true. It's all in the context, isn't it?
19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).
I believe the ATF, as with all government entities, is a bureaucracy that is not interested in you in the slightest as a person. You are a data point, a statistic if you will, nothing more. They are cold, faceless, and above all, impersonal.
That is not to say that you will not become their special project if they as an entity believe you merit their undivided attention, and individual bureaucrats can indeed make an example of you for any reason he or she wishes to. That is the nature of bureaucracies.
20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?
Assuming that by leading somewhere you don't mean the abolishment of all gun control laws as a starting point, this is an exercise in futility. Consider these simple words:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
There is no reasonable restriction to a Constitutional right. There is, therefore, no reasonable discussion regarding the same. All "reasonable" discussions up to this point have resulted in the un-reasonable restriction of Constitutional rights, therefore I am not interested in any future discussions unless it involves the abolishment of every single gun law on the books at the present time. Only at that point will there be room for compromise.
Lawdog has a pretty good analogy regarding this last point, and you should really go and read it.
UPDATE: This is probably the most important question that was asked. The answer remains the same, but upon further reflection I would like to add that no compromise can be reached because we're not even talking in the same terms.
We both would like to see fewer deaths due to @$$holes with guns. Your solution is to eliminate the guns, my solution is to eliminate the @$$holes. Until we can agree on which factor to eliminate we will never agree on how to reach the goal of fewer deaths.
26 September 2010
I don't remember where I heard that first, it was on some radio show or another, so I can't properly attribute it. That doesn't make it any less so.
At any rate, RTWT, pay particular attention to the comments, and if you live in Cleveland JUST SAY NO!
HT: American Digest, story on the sidebar.
25 September 2010
BIL has dumped a piece of junk on me as well, he brought his Toyota down for Eldest Son to repair. We are now waiting on parts, but I promise that I won't wait very long.
There will be a new shed arriving soon, I ordered a 12x20 footer that should serve nicely for motorcycle storage and repair. This one has high enough walls for lofts, which will supply some much-needed storage space for the seasonal supplies. The smaller shed will then become the home of the lawn mowers.
The riding lawn mower has worn out another of it's spindles, the same spindle that has already been replaced in fact. The lawn mower parts guy says it's common, he thinks it's because it is on the discharge end and should have been made heavier. I think it's all in the pulley, they are stamped metal and should have a milled hub (my opinion). A new spindle and three new blades are on the way and soon it should be mowing as it should.
The state of Iowa has decided I can keep my license. While I was back on vacation I got a little exuberant passing a truck and netted myself a nice little ticket. Since the speed was in excess of 25 MPH over the limit it was considered a severe violation. A little begging and pleading and I'm on probation until this time next year. Cruise control is your friend!
Last but not least, my checking account has been charged for Monster Hunter: Vendetta so it will soon be on it's way! I'm rather proud of myself, I've had a copy of the E-arc and have not even looked at it (although I did not delete it either, so the temptation was always there).
UPDATE: Shipped, ETA 4 October 2010. Soon, very soon...
23 September 2010
Hopefully he can work my new shooty stick into the action somewhere as well.
If you have not already done so, please take a moment to investigate your opportunity to die for a good cause as well.
UPDATE: Yes!!!! I have a good chance of being eaten by werewolves!
22 September 2010
1) I have never been a liberal. Even when I was in grade school I was pretty sure that Jimmy Carter was an idiot and that if you punish those who do good things pretty soon no one would do anything good. "Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more" always seemed to me to be a warning that we would be wise to heed.
2) I am the son of a son of a Sailor. My grandfather was a Seabee heavy equipment mechanic in WW2 who told my father that he didn't want his kids to be Sailors or mechanics. I'm sure I would have either been a source of great disappointment or great pride to him, having been both Sailor and mechanic (on Navy aircraft).
3) I am an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church (and you can be one, too, if you follow that link). The only reason I did it was because one of the people in a chatroom I used to frequent was one and used it as his "moral superiority" for any arguments he would make. I got ordained so that I could follow his "As an ordained minister, I think..." with an "As an ordained minister, I think you are a jackass" of my own.
4) I am a Darwinist at heart. I believe that stupidity should be painful, and occasionally fatal, and that the only thing that safety equipment has done is make it harder for the truly stupid to kill themselves off, and humanity is dumber as a result. For reasons that should be obvious, I hate ambulance chasing lawyers.
5) Both of my parents have been ordained ministers (Oral Roberts University instead of Universal Life Church, with divinity degrees and everything). My father still is one. My parents became ordained ministers after all of their children had left the house, so although I am technically a "preacher's kid" I wasn't one while I was a kid.
6) I have five children, but I only helped to create one of them. One of them is a red-headed step-child and another is actually my great-grandson if the family lines are all drawn out, so I am my own grandpa. The only one I helped to create was raised by her mother in Wyoming so she was spared all of this insanity.
7) I will occasionally mangle the English language on purpose to see if anyone notices. One of my former shipmates used to get crazy about it because I was "obviously intelligent so why do you DO that?!?!?!?" I didn't tell him that it was because I thought it was funny that he got so nuts over it because I figured if he knew he would stop letting it bother him and rob me of my amusement.
8) I have always had a fondness for unusual vehicles. One of my current vehicles is a Subaru Baja, and the one before that was a Dodge Rampage.
9) The first motor vehicle I ever owned was a motorcycle. I have owned at least one motorcycle ever since. I currently have two (a Harley and a Suzuki), neither of them run, and I don't have a current motorcycle license so neither of them are registered.
10) I have never broken a bone or had major surgery. Other than being short for my weight I am unreasonably healthy.
21 September 2010
"In every case there was a chorus that forecast, more or less the end of the world. Well, here we are and if the world is ending it would appear to be for other reasons. People, you and me, are not trusted. The right doesn't like us because we don't do what we're told by our betters, and the left doesn't like us because it secretly thinks we would be on the right given half a chance and a lottery win. And both think we should not make our own decisions, because we might make the wrong ones."
"We are presented with a version G.K.Chesterton's game 'Fool the Prophet'. Governments and religions make rules that the compliant populous puts up with right up until they decide not to."
It is probably fortunate for him that he is not an American citizen, otherwise I would write his name in for President. I might still.
20 September 2010
Also welcome Laura from Fetch My Flying Monkeys. She's a "stream of consciousness" blogger, so you never know what you're going to find.
Lastly but certainly not leastly, welcome Mr Bingley from The Coalition Of The Swilling.
18 September 2010
17 September 2010
I just wanted you all to know that I am paying attention.
15 September 2010
14 September 2010
12 September 2010
And the only thing that Gen. Petraeus said was this will make it harder for the troops to do their jobs and put them in more danger. To all of you who were bothered by that statement, what's the big deal? Does he not have the right to voice an opinion as well?
And to all of you who opine that the lives of US troops are made to be sacrificed, I have as much contempt for you as I did for the leftists that espoused the same beliefs not long ago, and the same vitriolic level of hatred for you. How dare you presume to spend such precious coin so carelessly?
Once again, the bottom line is just because you can doesn't necessarily follow that you should.
11 September 2010
Along for the ride was the .223 Saiga, the .22 Marlin and the new semiauto shotgun.
Also along for the ride was middle daughter and youngest son, the first time for both of them.
Last night in preparation for today's events I went over the Four Rules with youngest son, with the admonition that he would not be allowed to touch firearms without being able to tell me what they were. This morning he passed the test admirably.
The Marlin is still a tack driver, it consistently hits in the center at any range. It's a great little gun to teach new shooters with, but it is a bit large yet for youngest son. I'll have to get him a junior size one for his own until he grows a bit.
The Saiga shoots a bit high at longer ranges, so it will have to be slightly adjusted. Youngest son fell in love with the Evil Black Rifle, but he is a bit slight of stature yet to fire it well. Middle daughter shot a few rounds out of it and she was done.
The semiauto 12 gauge Franchi shot well, but it's plugged for 3 shots. I'll have to dig through the owner's manual and find out how to take that out.
When I shot the Saiga I was shooting at a 3" swinging target and doing pretty well with it until it disappeared. Turns out instead of hitting the center point of the target, which is what I was aiming at, I was hitting the bar that it hung from instead and two shots took the bar right off. The two shots that actually hit the target itself nearly penetrated the 3/8" steel that the target was made of.
With the swinging target neatly disposed of, the last victim of the day was a 2 liter soda bottle filled with water. I took my turn and couldn't hit it at all, Middle Daughter took one shot and missed it as well, but Eldest Son, aiming for the bottom of the bottle, put a round neatly through the center of the top about 2" below the cap. We never found the cap.
As to the title of the post, I pulled the guns and ammo out from the closet where they are stored and put them on the bed prior to loading up the Baja. As we carried everything out to the truck, Eldest Son found a golden band on the bed with the words "First Best 10 Years" inscribed inside. It was my wedding band, lost these past 6 months. Laura had it inscribed for me on our 10th anniversary.
07 September 2010
06 September 2010
Or as the fighter pilots used to tell me, some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you.
Maybe more appropriately in this case, some days the deer hits your Kia and some days you eat that deer with Heinz 57. Sometimes it's even the same day.
At any rate, see if you can go help out a fellow American who's down on his luck. Even if they haven't acknowledged my presence.
Photo from The Other McCain