Saturday, December 31, 2005

Some of my best friends are blond

The Finger

Something was bugging me about King Kong. Just a minor thing - the gun handling. There is a part where Bruce Baxter is handling a Thompson sub-machine gun and he has his trigger finger straight along frame of the gun. The straight finger is a recent (well fairly recent) addition to gun handling. In the 1930's the finger was on the trigger all the time.

This reminds me of Eric Bana's character in Black Hawk Down. Hoot believed his index finger was his weapons safety. My kind of guy.

One of my relatives is old-school when it comes to guns. No matter what I hand him his trigger finger goes right to the trigger. Scary when it's a Glock...

Special Place

I've been watching Firefly on DVD. I think I've found my favorite line ever on TV.

Shepard speaks to Mal in "Our Mrs Reynolds": are going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.

Friday, December 30, 2005


I've been catching up on my reading. Well actually checking out the new book rack at the library and grabbing a few at a time. A couple that others might like:

In Life, First You Kick Ass: Reflections on the 1985 Bears and Wisdom from Da Coach. An interesting look back at "Da Coach's" reign as head of the Chicago Bears. As a life long Bears fan this was an enlightening read.

Warrior Soul by Chuck Pfarrer. This was actually recommended in a thread on LGF. First person account of what it takes to become a SEAL, and what being a SEAL takes out of you. The author was able to share a bit of what life is like as a SEAL. No doubt the best stories are the one's he can't tell.

My FBI by Louis Freeh. I wasn't expecting much from this as I hadn't thought much of Freeh's reign as FBI director. However - the look inside the disfunction of the Clinton Presidency made the book worthwhile. The comparison between the Clinton and Bush (43) administrations made by Freeh were interesting as well. One point that Freeh made a number of times is that the FBI in underfunded. If you look at the information he presents the FBI is in need of a major infusion. Hopefully it'll happen before the next 9/11 style attack occurrs.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Day at the Range

Thing1 likes to go shooting whenever he is home from college on break. We didn't make it at Thanksgiving due to family obligations but made it this week :-)

Took along my old Ruger Mark II pistol, my last years Christmas present - Glock 17, my Ruger 10/22 with it's new sight,

and this years Christmas present my KelTec Sub2000 9mm carbine.

One interesting feature of the Keltec is that it folds for storage and transportation.

Thing1 spent most of his time with the .22s. He sighted in the 10/22 and went through about 425 rounds. The dot sight made for accurate rapid fire.

He also put a couple of magazines through the Keltec. I tried out the 10/22 as well after he had sighted it in. The dot sight almost makes it too easy.

I spent most of my time and ammo (~300 rounds) with the Glock and the KelTec. Working on close (7-15 yards), rapid fire, with the standard pattern of 2 to the torso and 1 to the head. The Keltec is easy to control in this manner.

I also put a couple of magazines into the chest area of the target with the occasional head shot.

I'm not quite as good with the Glock but it's getting there.

All guns performed well. I had one stovepipe with the Keltec. That was the only problem I've had with it so far. I think it's still in it's break in period. It also needs a good cleaning. The Glock has yet to have a non-operator induced error. Both the 10/22 and Mark II had a failure to extract. Just one each. Time for a real scrubing of both of these. It was a wonderful morning together. The smile on his face as he sighted in the 10/22 and as his group sizes got smaller and smaller - it was great to see. As for me - shooting is a stress reliever. My job gets to me at times and this is my escape.

And what would a trip to the range be without at least one dinosaur target...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

High School Hoops

My nephew plays basketball for Hoffman Estates High School. Even though he's only a sophmore he's been playing varsity this year. His team was playing in the annual Elgin High Christmas Tournament so we went and watched his team play a couple of times. They made it to the tournament championship game against the Batavia Bulldogs. From the begining I knew it was going to be a long game. Hoffman was down 16 points at the end of the first quarter. They kept getting trapped in the back court and never got much of a inside game going. They made a game of it a few times but never got the lead under 6. Ended up losing the game and taking second place in the tournament.

Elgin High School, where I graduated from over 25 years ago, is the host of the tourney. I hadn't been there in over 8 years. I hadn't been in the gym since graduation. It seemed so much bigger then...

We sat, unplanned, in the middle of a lot of Batavia fans with my sister. It was a blast being the lone voice cheering for Hoffman. I kept getting dirty looks from the Batavia fans. Even got a few of them complaining about me as I yelled at the lack of calls by the refs or when I congratulated a Batavia player for missing a shot or a pass. All in good fun of course. No foul language or anything like that. I can't say the same for some of the Batavia fans... I guess some people just don't understand it's only a game.


The wife was very generous to me this year. I'm not sure why but I've stopped trying to figure that out. Aside from the new rifle she gave me:

  • Craftsman air compressor
  • Netgear Gigabit switch
  • Books
  • OCC shirt
  • Chicago Bears sweatshirt

King Kong

Much has been said and written about Peter Jackson's remake of the classic King Kong. Sadly alot of it was from people that hadn't even seen the movie.

Thing1 and went and saw the movie on Monday. An excellent movie. Peter Jackson paid attention to detail kept you engrossed in the film.

Highly recommended!

Christmas 2005

What a day! We started with the annual ritual of opening presents. Thing1 and 2 have always been a little on the 'spoiled' side when it came to Christmas. The wife and I put aside a bit of money each month so that no debt is incurred at this time of the year when the 'spoilage' occurrs. This year we had a bit of fun with the kids.

We had been teasing the kids that, just like Jesus, they were going to get three gifts and we would pick three off their lists for them to get. On Christmas morning they each had three presents to open. The look of shock on their faces was priceless. Once they opened the first one and found the smaller packages inside the shock wore off. It was such fun!

Family started showing up around noon. Soon we had 19 people in our little house. A bit crowded but a good time was had by all. Good food, excellent company, and a Bears win, made for a wonderful day. A day to remember a birth that changed the world.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Thing2 had a friend come over to bake cookies. My new mixer got a nice workout mixing up spritz and Toll House cookies. They made lots of cookies - 12 dozen or so. Kinda lost count. What a great day!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Thing1 and I watched this movie last night. I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were two of my favorite shows on tv. Serenity, while enjoyable, wasn't what I was expecting. It seemed like a sci-fi spaghetti western. I kept waiting for Clint to walk out and blow something up.

Thing1 thinks I should watch Firefly and then watch Serenity again and I'll enjoy it more. Since he had the DVDs for both I'll have to give it a try.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Just like Microsoft Support

Same place it appears...

Silent Night - Chewie style

Remember the Star Wars Holiday Special? I didn't think so. Most people don't. There is, however, a recording of Chewbacca singing Silent Night available.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

CIA Santa?

Alternative to PowerPoint

I'm not a huge fan of PowerPoint presentations. Usually too much fluff and not enough stuff. Most of the presentations I get to see are lots of bullets and the occasional picture or graph. Stuff that can easily be done in HTML. But web pages don't really make a good presentation. Till now.

Take a look at HTML Slidy. I think I'll do my next presentation this way :-)

American Chopper

I really like this show. The arguing between Sr. and Jr. gets to me at times but the work that these guys put out is amazing.

Thing1 and I watched together last night. The theme was 'Make A Wish' and started out with the Tuttles in California getting an award from the Make A Wish foundation for their support. My eyes got a bit watery. Not just for the award but because Make a Wish has a special place in my heart.

Thing1 was granted a wish when he was in high school. We had always thought that wishes were for terminally ill kids so we were a bit surprised when a Wish coordinator called one night. After we talked for a bit she explained that wishes were granted to kids with life threatening diseases. Since Thing1 lives with Cystic Fibrosis the care coordinator at the clinic he goes to submitted his name. His initial wish couldn't be granted so he submitted a second request and that was granted when he was 16.

Back to American Chopper. Paul Sr. decided to build a bike for the Make a Wish foundation as well as host a Christmas (yes they said Christmas and not Happy Holidays) for kids from the local Make a Wish chapter. The bike is beautiful and the kids got presents from FAO Schwarz. These guys put a lot of smiles on the faces of these kids. Kids who have so much going on in their lives that can take the happiness right out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Merry Christmas from Iraq

Be sure to go and wish Matt a Merry Christmas!

Day by Day rocks!

Chris Muir does it again. It may take you a minute to understand his latest but it is a minute well spent.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Garage Door Fun

The wife had one of the garage door spring cables snap on her last week. She came in looking a little whiter than usual. Went out in the garage and there was the spring laying on the floor. Nothing else was broken or damaged. She instantly started thinking about a new garage door. I thought about fixing it. After looking at it for a minute I realized it was just the cable. Everything else looked ok. Picked up a new cable this morning and put it in. Once it was adjusted the door worked just as it should. Added the safety cables and called it a day.

I wonder if I get the money we would have spent on a new door for a new toy?

Shopping Fun

I don't like to shop. Well I don't like to wander around aimlessly looking for things to buy. I prefer to do with a list and a plan. That was today...

First stop was CompUSA for a 250GB SATA drive. $60.00 after rebate. In stock and in the car in 10 minutes. Next stop was Circuit City. There was a couple of movies for 9.44 each that I wanted. In and out in under 10 minutes. Over to Dicks Sporting Goods for ammo and a Weaver scope mount. 10 minutes later I had 250 rounds of 9mm and the mount in my car. Only a couple more stops.

Valli's Market. Yummy stuff. Picked up some stuff for Christmas dinner and lunch this week. One more store.

Menards was to be my last scheduled stop. Needed a new lift cable for the garage door. None in stock! :-( Off to the Home Depot. In stock! Picked up a spring safety cable set too. Used the self check out and I was on my way in under 5 minutes. Time to go home and play.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Worship on Mountain Dew

Thats how Peder Eide describes his appearances at youth ministry events 11 months a year. Having seen a few of those performances as well as a couple of concerts I'd have to agree. The man has a way of reaching youth and the young at heart.

December is different. It's his Christmas tour. He was in our neck of the woods last night so the wife, Thing2, and myself went for dinner and his show. Show might not be the right word as it's music and ministry. Most of the music was Christmas related. A few were 'Dew' related. He had everyone up dancing and praising God. Just as we should.

I've had a real rough time getting into Christmas this year. I don't know why as it's generally one of my favorite times of the year. Too much shopping? Well not for me as I only shop for my wife and a couple of close friends. I don't know what it is. The Christmas pagent last weekend helped and Peder always gets the spirit moving. But I'm just not there. And it really bothers me.

Back to Peder - if you ever get the chance to see him perform please go with a open mind and heart. He will get into both. And I'm don't mean Peder...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thing1 is home!

Just called. Home for 3 weeks. I wonder if he's moved off his bed yet?

Giving Terror the finger

Once again the people of Iraq go and vote for their own future.

Is capitalism creeping in? Note the Nike hat on the man at the left of the photo?

Hello Moto

Really it's motomail. Ran across this site while looking at the Wounded Warriors site.

    "Family and friends of deployed Marines in Iraq can NOW send a letter to be downloaded, printed, and ready for delivery, usually within 24 hours. THE SERVICE IS FREE, PRIVATE and SECURE."

If you know someone with a Marine in Iraq please let them know about this. For the rest of us they have a "Support the Troops" link so that anyone can post a message to a publicly accessible bulletin board.

Soldiers Angels

As a 'thank you' for my last donation Soldiers Angels was nice enough to send me one of their coins.

I guess I'll have to make another donation after payday.

Beautiful Voices

Last night the school choir that Thing2 is a member of had their first performance. What beautiful voices these kids have. Even though the choir only meets twice a week for 1.5 hours at a time the choir director has done an amazing job with this group. Three part harmony, foreign language, acapella, etc, these kids handled it all. And it's on tape (soon to be DVD) for all to see.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I prefer "Merry Christmas" myself. Happy Holidays is ok. Seasons Greetings - grrr. I don't take offense when Jewish people wish me "Happy Hannakuh" nor do they take offense at my greeting. Something about being taught to respect others...

Anyways GM has some employee memos that you should read.

Politically Incorrect people will enjoy them!

Salute America's Heroes

Via Blackfive:

    But that's not why I'm writing you today. I am begging you to please post about an organization called Salute America's Heroes. They are donating $500 to every wounded Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Marine who registers with them in the next few days. I don't know when the end date is on this, but they did extend it beyond the date listed on their web site. This has been approved by and coordinated through the Department of Defense office of General Counsel Standards of Conduct office.

See TCOverride for more.

Spread the word.

A Pair of Beautiful Women

At Winds Of Change.

One has to wonder what Iraqi women think when they see female soldiers.

Is Barney Possessed

Microsoft thinks so!

There might be problems in the kitchen as well!

Digital Camera Carnival

Instapundit is hosting. Should be lots of hits for everyone.

Digicams are fun. I've had one for a couple of years. Thing1 has had one for a couple of years as well and the wife gets one for Christmas. I think I'll get Thing2 one before vacation. Film still has its place but for most of the photos I shoot digital rocks!

Anybody Who Doesn’t Appreciate America

Can Go To Hell

My kind of woman!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Picture of the year

Do you remember the picture Michael Yon took of the soldier with the woulded Iraqi child in his arms? I do. It's one of those images that I'll never forget.

The picture is up for Time Magazines Picture of the Year. Please go check out the photos and vote for the one you think is best. My vote went to Michael.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Normally I like Heath Ledger movies (Ten Things I Hate About You is great) but this is one that I'll be passing on as some of the content just isn't for me. But whats funny is the advertising (Ann Althouse is talking about it). Everyone knows that one of the plot lines is the relationship between the two cowboys but if one looks at the Oscar ads there is no mention of it.

Another thing - is this just a rehash of Making Love? I did see that movie way back when but it was not what we thought it was going to be.

Is there a "W" in Christmas?

Might just be...

What a weekend

Started off on Thursday. 7 inches of snow and people forgot how to drive. Took 1.5 hours for a normally 30 minute trip.

I managed to twist wrong getting the snowblower out and tweaked my back. I think I just aggravated a bulging disc that I have. Spent a lot of time laying down and stretching to try and get to where I could sit in a chair for more than 15 minutes.

The wife took me Christmas shopping on Friday. For the second year in a row she decided to buy me a new gun. It was a toss between a SKS and a Kel-Tec Sub2000. Since both are part of my plan and there isn't a convienent rifle range I decided to go with the Kel-Tec in 9mm and Glock magazines (to match last years present). We had a nice talk with the salesman while he wrote it up. I pick it up tomorrow and intend on putting a couple of hundred rounds through it to make sure it's ok :-).

We stopped at one of those antique malls to wander for a bit. Found a Tickle-Me Elmo and a singing Eyore for Thing1. (yes at 20 he still likes Elmo and Eyore). What a find for $10.00.

Saturday was my shopping for the wife. She wants a digicam so thats what it'll be. Ended up with a Canon SD550. It should be perfect for her. She wanted the large LCD and has a thing for megapixels. I had planned on getting the SD450 but they were no where to be found.

Sunday was the Christmas pagent at church. While Thing1 and Thing2 are too old for Sunday school the wife teaches second grade so we went to watch. As always it was a very enjoyable and invigorating event. I've not really had much in the way of Christmas spirit this year but the pagent got me going.

Give Blood

It's easy. Some even say it's good for you. Only took me about 45 minutes this morning. And I got a brownie after :-)

If you can - please do.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #41

The end of the year edition is up!

One of my favorite links - impact photos.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Madonna. Or is it Marilu?

You can decide for yourself!

For the XBox 360 owner

Who has money to burn.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The weekend is over

Thing1 came home on Wednesday. Time sure flew by. We got to watch the Bears win and then he was off. He seems to have grown up a bit more every time I see him.

What a great kid.

Chris Muir on Black Friday

Day by Day nails it!

Fun at 1

Yesterday was the Wife's nephew's son first birthday. We went to the party as most of us hadn't met Jack just yet. For a 1 year old Jack was a very friendly kid. Never met me before but as soon as I took his picture with my digicam and showed him how he looked he was my buddy. Jack also has a big dog named Sox to watch over him. Sox is a Dalmatian-Lab mix. Overely friendly (he liked to chew on my hand) he got sent downstairs and his tail was clearing things off tables and chairs.

As Jack started opening his presents he started with one from Mom and Dad. It was a shirt that read "Big Brother in Training". Next fall Jack will have a little brother or sister and his parents surprised everyone with the news. It was a great way to let everyone know.

Harry Potter

Thing1 and Thing2 are both fans of the Harry Potter Books. So much that both have their own copes as they won't share. I've never read the books but I have enjoyed the movies. So on Black Friday, rather than shopping, we went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the local "ultrascreen". It's a 75 foot screen and makes for a fun movie experience. Thing1 and I saw Episode III at this theater and it was a lot of fun.

Back to Mr. Potter - this is a very good movie. Probably my favorite and it earns the PG-13 rating. Kids under 10 should NOT see this movie. 11 and 12 year olds - it depends on the kid. If they have nightmare problems or scare easily then don't take them. On the other hand if they know fantasy from reality they will probably enjoy this movie.

Friday, November 25, 2005


There was a couple of things in the ad I wanted so I decided to head up there around 7:00 am. Buffy had been nice enough to wake me at 5:00 so I was awake. Lots of cars in the parking lot but the store was easy to navigate. Picked up the two items, looked at the 3.44 DVDs (lots of interesting movies but Full Frame - yuck), and checked out. The cashier said that when they opened at 5:00am they were very busy. at 7:30 I walked up to a empty register.

There were also some items I wanted at Best Buy. Hah! Thing1 and I went there on the day after Thanksgiving a couple years back. Way too many people and not enough registers. Left without buying anything. This year I checked and the items I wanted were there for the same price and one had free shipping! So for $1.35 more than I would have spend at the store I get my stuff delivered. Way worth it.

Shop safely. Use your computer.

Giving Thanks

Yes a day late but with good reason. I wanted to survive the trek on the TriState Tollway to my sister-in-laws on Thanksgiving. For those who don't live in Northern Illinois the TriState is one of the those roads that is always under construction. This year the toll booths are being converted to 'Open Road Tolling' so that people with I-Pass transponders get through quickly and ease congestion. I've always thought the best way to ease conjestion would be to get rid of the toll booths but that will never happen.

An interesting thing about toll booths. Exiting the booth is like going into turn 1 at Daytona except you're 10 wide going into 3 lanes. Quite possibly the scariest part of the journey. Well till we got to Indiana. 80/294 is torn up (again) so it makes for 'interesting' driving. Not much traffic (for 80/294) so we slid right through and got to our destination safe and sound.

After we settled it we watched some football on their HD big screen. It just make the empty seats in Detroit look so much worse. A great picture - just not a great game.

My sister-in-law is a pretty good cook so there was plenty to go around. Turkey, dressing, potatoes, noodles, etc. Lots of pie, cookies, and other treats for after. A little too much wine for a few people and comedy ensued. Lots of fun to watch.

Soon it was time to head home. I was a bit worried as northbound 294 has been a parking lot when we went south. Much better at night. Cruised right home. Home sweet home.

So what am I thankful for? Family, safe travel, love, and happiness are enough for me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Amazing Beliefs

At IMAO. Orginally by Michael Z. Williamson, it's a interesting read. Michael also makes knives.

Amazing Beliefs is worth a few minutes of time to read.!

Jack is Back!

While watching House at lunch today there was an ad for the next season of 24. I only have to wait till January 15th, 2006. At almost the same time I ran across Blogs for Bauer. One entry was most disturbing. If this one ever gets written I just hope the bad guys don't shoot like this or Jack is in for a bad day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

PT Barnum would be so happy

A XBox 360 Premium for $3000.00? So much for the economy being bad!

A different perspective

Are we out of touch with the rest of the world? Some cable news personalities go so far as to say that " The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective." Note that the incredibly clueless and gutless Mr. Matthews went to Canada to give that speech.

I understand our enemies. They crashed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They bombed the USS Cole. They hide behind women and children. They use women and children to attach civilians. Why? They want the United States and the rest of the free world to submit to their brand of Islam or die. Not gonna happen without a fight. Unless the Democrats and the Main Stream Media convince America that we've already lost.

If that happens - we have.

    Update: Mr Matthews is now saying that he didn't say that. Hmmm - where's the transcript of the speech?

A different side of Iraq

One that is never seen on the Main Stream Media. Why is that? Do they want America to fail? Is there hatred of President Bush so intense that they will stop at nothing to attack and discredit him while keeping the good news hidden? A couple of years ago I would have said no. Now I'd have to say yes. Whether it's your local paper, network news, or the vast majority of the cable news outlets there is only bad news.
But if you want to see a view of Iraq that you will not see on your local TV station go and visit Michael Yon's blog. Be prepared to spend some time there. It's worth it.

Why is there no timetable for leaving Iraq?

Chris Muir nails it!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Don't forget to shop today

I made my purchases for National Ammo Day around 8:25 this morning. 600 rounds should last an hour or so at the range :-)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Reminder for Saturday

It's National Ammo Day on 11/19/2005

It'll be an early trip to the Wal-Mart for me!

Carnival of Cordite #39

Available for reading

Withdrawl from Iraq?

Since the House Republicans have decided to start growing a spine and force the House Democrats to choose between their bashing of the President and the support of the Global War on Terror there have been a few, um, interesting comments made.

While watching Hannity and Colmes on FNC they played a tape of Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio reading a message from a Marine colonel.

"He asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said.

It made me smile. Gotta love those Jarheads.

Anyways the House errupted in boos. It's amazing that Pelosi and company can attack anyone on the right side of aisle by name and a generic reference to cowards brings a reaction like this. One has to wonder if the comment hit close to home...

Found the following on Powerline

LGF has the picture as well with lots of comments.

First Peace. Then Withdrawal

No End But Victory

Some interesting reads. Thanks to BlackFive for the link

Heroes and Movie Stars

At The Punishers' Ball

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Busy Week

For a Thursday it sure feels like Friday. It's been one of those weeks with something going on every night. The wife has something on Monday night, Thing2 and I were at her school for a 'intro to high school' meeting (I'm not ready for this) while the wife got some peace and quiet for her birthday. Wednesday brought confirmation class after dinner and tonight there is a concert at Church that I'm taking Thing2 to. Of course her small group is having a dinner for the singer prior to the concert so we have to get there right after school. Well after Ceramics Club. Tomorrow night is Karate class but we actually get to have a real dinner together. Real food - nothing out of a can or a package. And we won't have to rush off. Can't wait!

One of the things that makes America great!

Where else could we get to do this?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Mistake?

According to former President Bill Clinton "It was a big mistake..."

But in 1998 he said "Saddam (Hussein) must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons..."

Were mistakes made in planning the Iraq war? Yes. Was it a big mistake? In my opinion no. Freedom has always exacted a high price and it has been paid in Coalition and Iraqi blood.

I suppose that one could go into the whole WMD issue. Small amounts have been found. And if the report is true there were plans to hide existing stocks. I think history will come down on the side of President Bush.

Now if we want to start talking about former President Clinton's mistakes - that might be interesting...

The beginning of the end

For the Main Stream Media? I certainly hope so. Go get em OSM!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Iraq: Weapons and Tactics

The Jawa Report has an interesting post up.

What kids say

Kids always interpret things a little differently. I can imagine Thing2 saying this when she was younger:

    "Dear Lord," the preacher began with arms extended and a rapturous look
    on his upturned face, "without you we are but dust..."

    He would have continued, but at that moment one very obedient little
    girl (who was listening carefully) leaned over to her mother and asked
    quite audibly in her little girl voice, "Mommy, WHAT is butt dust?"

Almost an American

Micheal Yon has a story about a (soon to be) American Hero.

Note - Walt's already a hero. Soon he'll be an American.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Project Valour-IT Competition

Looks like the Navy pulled out a victory at the end. The total raised was $88,333.44 from 967 people for an average of $91.35 each. Pretty impressive.

I know that Soldiers Angels will put this money to good use.

Whats even more interesting is this

    Somebody with a strong history of "supporting the troops," and the capacity to fund Valour-IT's every goal, is asking very pointed questions about Valour-IT's ultimate goals and needs.

I hope this happens. I have a feeling I know who it is but I don't want to jinx it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

American Soldier

Not the Toby Keith song but a new series on CMT. Starts Sat, Nov. 26 at 9:30 PM ET/PT

    CMT chronicles a small-town National Guard battalion as they are called to serve a tour of duty in Iraq, following a group of four weekend warriors who are unexpectedly called to make the ultimate sacrifice for God and country. It's a band of brothers for our times -- an intimate, revealing, real-time look at a group of tightly knit soldiers preparing, deploying and finally fighting through the triumph and torment of war-torn Iraq.

More here. Looks interesting. The wife may be a bit scared when I tell her there is something I want to watch on CMT.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's almost time

It's easy. Just buy 100 rounds (or more) of ammo on November 19th, 2005. .22, 9mm, ,223 or .50. It doesn't matter. Just buy some ammo!

Carnival of Cordite #38

A special Veterans Day edition.

Democrats Deny Having Intelligence

Was there ever a doubt about this?

Project Valour-IT

The contest ends at midnight today. If you haven't make a donation yet - please consider doing so. As a member of Team Army I'd appreciate your support (See the Donate button Top Right). The Marines, Air Force, and Navy have their own teams as well.

To credit the Air Force
For the Army, go here. Here, here, here
For the Navy, go here.
And for the Marines, go here.

Right now the Army holds a slight lead.

Veterans Day

My dad was a Marine. He entered the Corp in 1944. He never would talk about what he saw or did. As I approached 18 he made it clear that he didn't want me to go into the Marines. For some reason I listened to him - something that was unusual at that time in my life. Instead I made plans to join the Air Force after high school. I had 2 brothers and a sister who were already in so it seemed like a good idea. For various reasons I ended up not joining. I've regretted that decision alot over the last 25+ years.

At the time the wife and I got married I worked for a hospital doing electronic maintenance. The department I worked in was run by a retired Air Force Colonel. Like most hospitals we were open on Veterans day and it wasn't a paid holiday. Except for the veterans in our department. They got the day off with pay courtesy of the Colonel. The rest of us just had to work a little harder that day. Mike Royko has it right. Veterans Day should be a day off for veterans. No one else. We didn't earn it.

So - to all the veterans out there.

Thank you

Without you, your sacrifice, your courage, and your bravery, the world would not be the same.

Gus has a few words as well

More Sony DRM inspired goodies

F-Secure has news of two more 'bots' trying to hide under the Sony DRM software.

Imagine if a worm writer figures out a way to use the cloaking technology properly and gets inside a corporate network...

Just say NO to Sony. All products.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Math

I was sent this at work today. Must be the same majority that believe Gore and Kerry won...

It's War

Mike Wallster does a pretty good job of defining the Democratic party with regard to the Global War on Terror.
Ipso Facto Cartoon Blog: It's War

Well done Mike!

Sony DRM a vector for a bot

F-Secure has more

Just say NO to Sony!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

He's on a roll now

From Mark Russinovich's latest entry

    For those readers that are coming up to speed with the story, here’s a summary of important developments so far:

    The DRM software Sony has been shipping on many CDs since April is cloaked with rootkit technology:

      * Sony denies that the rootkit poses a security or reliability threat despite the obvious risks of both
      * Sony claims that users don’t care about rootkits because they don’t know what a rootkit is
      * The installation provides no way to safely uninstall the software
      * Without obtaining consent from the user Sony’s player informs Sony every time it plays a “protected” CD

    Sony has told the press that they’ve made a decloaking patch and uninstaller available to customers, however this still leaves the following problems:

      * There is no way for customers to find the patch from Sony BMG’s main web page
      * The patch decloaks in an unsafe manner that can crash Windows, despite my warning to the First 4 Internet developers
      * Access to the uninstaller is gated by two forms and an ActiveX control
      * The uninstaller is locked to a single computer, preventing deployment in a corporation

    Consumers and antivirus companies are responding:

      * F-Secure independently identified the rootkit and provides information on its site
      * Computer Associates has labeled the Sony software “spyware”
      * A lawfirm has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of California consumers against Sony
      * ALCEI-EFI, an Italian digital-rights advocacy group, has formally asked the Italian government to investigate Sony for possible Italian law violations

Go get 'em Mark!

Still more on Sony's rootkit

Another post by Mark Russinovich. Sony still won't admit doing anything wrong.

It's spreading

Syndicated columnist Hugh Hewitt is talking about Sony's CD DRM aka 'rootkit'.

Sony - Just say No!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The truth in Iraq

Is making it to the Senate floor - courtesy of Michael Yon.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Carnival of Computing v1.0.4

Available to read.

OCC and Microsoft?

Not only did OCC build a bike for Microsoft they are part of a promotional video!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Uncle Jimbo

He's filling in for Blackfive while he does some other work. Some interesting stuff to read. With any luck he'll find the God he is looking for. He's a lot closer than Jimbo thinks...

Project Valour-IT

Cox and Forkum, in my opinon, define the project.

If you haven't make a donation yet - please consider doing so. As a member of Team Army I'd appreciate your support (See the Donate button Top Right). The Marines, Air Force, and Navy have their own teams as well.

To credit the Air Force
For the Army, go here. Here, here, here
For the Navy, go here.
And for the Marines, go here.

And then he was gone

Thing1 headed back to school today. 48 hours home and then gone. The house seems strangely quiet. Buffy, our attack cocker spaniel, was scolding Thing1 as he put his gear in his car. After he left she hopped up in the rocking chair and put her back to all of us. The wife took her for a walk to cheer her up. That lasted till the walk was over. Back up in the chair with her back to us.

He'll be back at Thanksgiving. Back to 'normal' for now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Thing1 is home!

First time since the semester started in August. The dog was dancing in circles when he got home. It's nice to have all 4 of us together.

Why'd he come home? He turns 20 on the 5th and wants his presents :-)

Carnival of Cordite #37

Is up for your reading pleasure

More on Sony DRM

Mark Russinovich has another post up. As always - great reading - if you're a geek.

I think the best way to deal with companies like Sony who do things like this to consumers is to stop supporting them. Just say NO to Sony products. CD's, DVD's, TV's, etc. Just don't buy their products. Let them know why. Contact information is in their FAQ.

For those that like writing letters:

The Sony Corporation of America
550 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Ultimate Plinker

Now this would be fun. Might be a little loud at the indoor range but the with "pinpoint accuracy at up to 150 meters" it would be so cool outdoors.

Project Valour-IT

Mike Wallster is a great cartoonist.

To credit the Air Force
For the Army, go here. Here, here, here
For the Navy, go here.
And for the Marines, go here.

As a member of Team Army I would appreciate it if you support my team. In the end I'd just be happy if you can help out.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Halloween was a just a few days ago. Thanksgiving is still 3 weeks away. There was just a commercial for Christmas shopping on tv.


While I don't shop at Nordstroms I love their policy of not having anything related to Christmas visible in the store until after Thanksgiving. I wish all stores were like that.

Boresighting the 10/22

Since Thing1 has stated that he wants to try out the 10/22 with the dot sight on Thanksgiving break I decided that I needed to see if the sight was anywhere near sighted in.

After fitting a new screw (size M4 if anyone cares) to the mount I decided to try and bore sight the rifle. I've done this before with my bolt action rifles so it should be easy. Except for the fact that you can't see down the barrel from the receiver...

I didn't have a light source that would work with the bolt locked back so I broke the rifle down. After removing 2 screws and 3 pins the barrel and receiver are free. My little Surefire didn't fit so I tried a AA Maglite.

Not perfect but in a dark garage I was able to see the light on the wall and the dot wasn't that far off. It should be easy to get sighted in at the range.

It's a Quagmire!

IMAO has the details

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Want to help an Angel?

Soldiers Angels is sponsoring a inter-service fund raising event. Pitting the Army vs. the Navy vs the Marines vs the Air Force, SA is asking bloggers to help them raise money for the awesome Project Valour-IT. Anyone who has been nice enough to visit knows that I support Valour-IT - not only with a link but with my wallet.

I've decided to Go Army in this event. While my Dad was a jarhead and other family members are zoomies it was BlackFive who introduced me to SA and inspired me to make my first donation to SA.

What can you do? If you can - donate. I know for some money is tight. Been there and back. Help spread the word. This is a worthy project helping America's wounded heros.

Blackfive has more.

    Update: The button is up at the page above. I've made my donation. How about you?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Time to boycott Sony?

The DRM used on CD's installs hidden code on your computer? Bad Sony. Their latest DVD releases use a new 'anti-piracy' scheme which may be hazardous to your computer. On mine just watching Lords of Dogtown gave my LiteOn drive a nice clicking noise when ever a disc is inserted.

Sony is now completely off my buy list. I don't care what the product is. It's easy - just three little words:

No More Sony!

    Update: F-Secure has a detection tool!

Ipso Facto on Alito

He nailed it!

Monday, October 31, 2005

New toy

A real one this time. Picked it up last week at Gander Mountain. It's a Tasco 1X dot scope. Future plans are for it on a KelTec 9mm carbine but I decided to put it on my 10/22 instead.

I picked up a standard Weaver base today and had to do a little surgury to get the sight to fit. Managed to strip one of the screws on the sight so I'll replace that tomorrow.

Sight picture is fast. No real weight added.

No sure what the camera focused on.

Must go shooting...


Like a lot of people, Harriet Miers didn't motivate me one way or the other. If I were President (that would be so cool!) and I had the chance to nominate someone to the Supreme Court I would want someone who had a verifiable track record of abiding by the Constitution and NOT legislating from the bench. I would have preferred a female appointment like Janice Rodgers Brown or Priscilla Owen but Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. looks to be even more qualified than Judge John Roberts.

GOP Bloggers has the specifics on Judge Alito. Harry Reid has already come out against him. That is usually enough for me :-) Time for Senator Frist to get his act together and get Alito confirmed.

The 25 Scariest Movies

Thing1 sent me this list from IGN. Some are actually very scary movies. Some, like Gremblins, don't belong on this list. I would have not had The Shining as #1. It was kind of scary but not that scary. I preferred the TV version with Stephen Weber myself.

My #1 would have been The Exorcist. That movie scared the, you know, out of me. Still does.

IMDB has a poll going on. Jaws is on it? Great thriller but not a horror movie.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Birthday

To me!

44 years on this earth. The wife was nice enough to get me a new toy tool. Makes me want to cut something up!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fall is here!

It's really been here for awhile but my maple tree is showing it's colors.

Carnival of Cordite #36

For your reading pleasure.

Time to get the new dot sight mounted and try it out!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mr. Speaker

He's also my representative! And now he's blogging!

A new cartoonist

To me at least. Found him in a post on LGF.

Take a look.

Lawyers = Sharks?

Dilbert knows :-)
A strip that will never be in the paper

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Principal curbs kids' Internet activity

at home.

Thing1 sent me this link today. From the article-

    ...Effective immediately, and over student complaints, the teens were told to dismantle their accounts or similar sites with personal profiles and blogs. Defy the order and face suspension, students were told.

    While public and private schools routinely block access to noneducational Web sites on school computers, Pope John's order reaches into students' homes....

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I like the fact the the school is paying attention to the fact that there are predators online. On the other hand - our kids should have the same first ammendment rights as we do. Unless there is some agreement signed when enrolling at this school that the principal can regulate legal activities outside of school then I think the principal is overstepping his bounds and authority.

The EFF looks to be somewhat involved. I wonder if the ACLU will step in? With Christmas coming they may not have time with all the nativity scenes that will soon be up. I'm sure someone will be offended and the ACLU will sue someone. Or maybe a terrorist detainee will complain that his Koran was mishandled.


I'm a big Lego fan. Thousands of pieces inhabit the house. All kinds of strange things get built.

Ran across this in a thread on LGF. I think I have the pieces to do this...

USA Today - Racist?

Or maybe they don't like Condi?

Check this out!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Women and Guns

Not what you think. This is really cool!

Good Thought

From LGF

    For home defense; "a handgun is something you use until you can get to your long gun".

Time to find a good long gun. The single shot 20ga. doesn't really count.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My first coyote

I saw my first coyote inside the village limits today. My town is about 35,000 people, some small 'forests', and pushes up against some large forest preserves in places. The coyote was no where near any forest. One of my neighbors told me awhile back that she had seen one strolling down the street. I figured she saw someones dog. Maybe not...

It might be easier to get that short range weasel gun I was thinking about for Christmas now...

Knives and Distractions

Some interesting rules for knives in the kitchen.

I keep my knives away from the wife. She has a habit of trying to remove the tips of her fingers. With her knives she'll start to hurt and stop before she gets all the way through. A band-aid will usually solve the problem.

With mine - she'd be needing stitches.

Best Ranger

If you've never seen this competition set your VCR/TiVO/PVR for tonight. Starting at 7:00 Central on the Discovery Channel and going on for 3 hours it shows America's best competing to see who is really the best.

I watched this a year or two ago on ESPN and it was amazing what these men went through. The online description for tonights episode doesn't say what year they are showing. Hopefully it's the 2005 competition that Blackfive wrote about.

Update: According to it's the 2005 competition. The PVR is set!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Be careful what you print

And what printer you use. It's easier than you think to track it down.

How many knives

Are you carrying right now?

I got asked this as I was walking out of the computer room at work today. I thought for a second and replied two[1]. The questioner figured 3 or 4 or 5. I guess my reputation precedes me. It's always better to have a knife and not need one than to need a knife and not have one.

Here is what I have on my today. Well most days.

A Leatherman Squirt and a SOG Blink. Both are socially acceptable in the workplace. The Blink, since it's an assisted opener, sometimes startles people till you show them it's not an automatic.

Les Voorhies makes my 'Sunday go to Church knife'.

      [1]This count does not include the three in my daypack :-)

Free Microsoft Support

Lots of links here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

Eat Fresh

I will be on Sunday, October 23rd.

    On Sunday, October 23, nearly 19,000 SUBWAY® franchises across the United States will donate five percent of the day’s sales (a minimum donation of $1 million) to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

I've seen this

Visiting Thing1

We took a ride to visit Thing1 at school on Saturday as we had some things to drop off. He was having problems with his wireless access point (old Linksys BEFR model) so he wanted me to look at that as well.

The WAP was toast so we were off to Best Buy to do some shopping. On the way there the kids decided they were hungry so we stopped at Uno's for pizza. Their deep dish pie has a great crust. I wish I could get mine to turn out like that. This is probably my favorite 'chain' pizza.

Best Buy was nice enough to have a D-Link 802.11g WAP on sale. $20.00 after rebate. Thing1 looked longingly at the 802.11g PCMCIA card for his Dell. I smiled and said that he could buy it himself if he wanted it. He then came up with the novel idea of me buying it and him giving me the after rebate price in cash. I gave in and added it to the pile.

As we walked to the front I managed to acquire a CD that my wife wanted. Amazingly nothing else. $120.00 later ($70.00 in rebates to send for) we were on the way to Target (one of my least favorite stores) to get some stuff for his room. I looked at CDs and found the Barlow Girl's latest Another Journal Entry. It included a 'Target Exclusive' second CD so I bought it there.

Back at his room we set up the WAP. The DHCP server isn't quite as nice as the Linksys or the NetGear I have at home where you can map MAC addresses to the server. We had to assign a fixed DHCP address to each of his devices that were going to be attached and then set the range to cover those 4 addresses. Otherwise it was easy for others to mooch off his WAP.

And then it was time to go. Had to get home to feed the dog. As we walked out I noticed the way he was carrying himself and talking to others that we passed - he's grown up a lot. He's turning into a fine young man.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #34

Go and read

My new favorite color

From Reuters

Smash has more

All I want for Christmas is ...

As we have gotten older the wife and I find that we are getting harder and harder to shop for with regards to birthdays and Christmas. We really don't have the need (or space) for stuff that we don't want or would never use. So last year we decided to buy each other something that we really wanted based on our pre-determined spending limit. My present was a Glock 17. Her's was a rocking chair. Both happy campers!

This year we've decided to do the same thing. The only question is what to buy? Something for my computers? Don't really need anything there as I just built a new one. Unless I build another? Hmm - maybe a dedicated PVR?

Of course there is the Surefire line. Not sure which one. Or one of these with magazines to match my Glock? Or this?

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

He's a brave man

Michael Yon's latest has been posted.

It's kind of amazing to read about the people he meets...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #33

Gun Safety is the topic number 1. Anyone who shoots or just keeps guns in the home needs to go and read.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Carnival of Computing 1.0.2

For your inner geek


Aren't Chris Muir and Michael Yon available in print form? I realize that Chris' cartoons are a little far to the right for most of the MSM but Michael Yon's writing is riveting and apolitical. It's a must read. Even Chris thinks so.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A New Door - Day 2

Back when I worked at K-Mart (late seventies, early eighties) one of the departments I worked in was Building Materials. Sold a lot of drywall, paneling, and concrete. And when storm doors were on sale (white crossbuck) we must have sold 30 or 40 a day. Back them they were pretty simple as they were prehung. All you had to too was set the door on the brickmold, square it up and screw it in. Usually took an hour or so.

My new door was like putting together a kids toy on Christmas eve. It's a full length glass door (no picture as a storm blew up just after I got done) that needs to the hinge attached and the frame built. It took ~4 hours to get it right but it looks pretty good. Buffy the Cockatiel Slayer (our Cocker Spaniel) won't go anywhere near it even though she can look right out.

It's real strange - I keep seeing the door out of the corner of my eye and I think its open as there is so much glass. Glass to keep clean... Well - thats the wife's job. :-)

Update: The weather cooperated (it's hot enough for the A/C).

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Long day

We have been talking about a new door for the front of the house, well since we bought the house. Sixteen years later we finally got around to it. The orginal door.

An hour later it was all gone.

Old houses are interesting. Even better when they are on slabs. There is no real sill like you have in a house with joists and plywood. Just a little lip made of concrete. Set the door on that and set it square. Couldn't quite make in plumb as the walls aren't really plumb. Got the door to match the wall and screwed it in place. Lots of screws. We decided to replace the locks so the wife went off to Home Depot and brought home a nice Schlage set. Put them in and it looks pretty good.

Tomorrow - paint and a new storm door.

Carnival of Cordite #32

Gullyborg has it. Go and read.

I have to join in his idea of a gun turn in plan.
    If you have a firearm that you no longer want, I will happily accept it. You have my word that I will never use it for any illegal activity. Leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

Don't give them to the goverment just to be destroyed. I'll put them to good use.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Carnival of Computing #1

Being a geek for a living I really enjoy working with computers. They have been part of my life, in one way or another, for almost 30 years. If you're like me (or just like playing with computers) take some time and read the first ever Carnival of Computing!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

From LGF

    10,000 dead in New Orleans..................check
    50,000 body bags coming out of Iraq......check
    500,000 anti-freedom protesters in DC...check

    /being able to laugh hysterically at Moonbats...priceless

See this for the rest of the thread

Four Paragraphs

Thats how much of a news story the average person reads unless it really grabs your attention. GM Roper has more. I guess our short attention span is being used against us...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Automated Home Defense

Found a link to this on Blackfive.

A school project based on the Phalanx mini-gun.

Add facial recognition to the software, replace the Airsoft gun with a paintball gun and one would have a great way to keep certain relatives away...

Great Line

Every morning when I wake up, I read the Bible and the Newspaper... Because I want to know what both sides are up to.

From Jason Smith

He has a great comparison on how the buses are being used in Texas vs. how they weren't used in New Orleans

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jet Blue

Thing2 is at Confirmation and the wife is at Bible study. A quiet night to get caught up on Monster Garage and American Chopper. While setting the computer to record something for Thing1 I saw a plane having a problem circling LAX on Fox News. The front gear is locked 90 degrees off center. Just watched the plane land ala the space shuttle. Nose up till the last minute. Lots of sparks flying and the plane is down safe and sound. No rubber left on the front rims. Well - no rims left either.

Great job by the flight crew!

    The wheels are part of a recurring problem with AirBus planes?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I've always liked a good scary movie. Even the cheap thrills like 'Friday the 13th' were fun way back when we (the wife and I) were young and just dating. The wife has lost her taste for such things and I don't like watching them alone. So when the previews were on for WB's Supernatural I was intrigued. Good scary fun.

So far I havn't been disappointed. The premier episode was good clean fun. The second episode, while not as good, was a good start at doing more than ghost stories. This could be fun.

The best part - Thing2 likes it as well!

Military Bumper Sticker

If you can read this thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English thank a soldier.

HELP! MOM! There are LIBERALS Under My Bed!

I used to worry about all kinds of Monsters. Todays kids have it so much worse. I wish we would have had this book when the kids were younger to help explain it all.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Through Military Eyes

Rated PG-13. My dad (USMC 1944-1947) would have loved this. My brothers and sisters that were Air Force (over 40 years between 3 of them) might not like it. They'll probably agree but not like it.


Shit: Through the Eyes of the Military

An Army grunt stands in the rain with a 35-pound pack on his back, 15-lb. weapon in his hand, having marched 12 miles, and says, "This is shit."

An Army Airborne Ranger stands in the rain with a 45-pound pack on his back, weapon in hand, after having jumped from a plane and jogged 18 miles, says with a smile, "This is good shit."

A Navy Seal lies in the mud, 55-pound pack on his back, weapon in hand, after swimming 10 miles to shore, crawling through a swamp, and running 25 miles at night past enemy positions, says with a grin, "This is really great shit."

A Marine, up to his nose in the stinking, bug-infested mud of a swamp with a 65-pound pack on his back and weapons in both hands after jumping from an aircraft at high altitude into the ocean, swimming 12 miles to shore, killing several alligators to enter the swamp, then crawling 30 miles through the brush to assault an enemy camp, says, "I love this shit."

An Air Force NCO sits in an easy chair in an air-conditioned, carpeted office in front of his computer and says, "My e-mail is out? What kind of shit is this?"

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Go Get 'em Marines

I'm sure the Iraqi Army had a lead role in this one.

From Sky News

    "On Thursday, Major General Rick Lynch said security forces had killed 226 militants and captured 757 in recent operations in Mosul and the surrounding area."

PowerLine News had the headline. Hopefully Michael Yon will have more soon.

Philosophical Musings

Chris Byrne has a few you should read

Friday, September 16, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #30

That was a quick week. Too much work not enough play.

Go and read

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Deuces Wild

A year or so back the wife decided she wanted email. And use the interweb. Being a geek I supported her as it made buying a faster laptop and wireless gear so much easier. I also wanted her to get over her fear of technology. Soon she learned to use Google (as a verb no less) and life hasn't been quite the same since.

Readers will recall that the wife is a country music fan (and I love her anyways) so she's always looking for concert tickets for her favorite bands when they are in the area. Usually this means the Allstate Arena or the United Center as they are fairly close. She has always been a big Brooks and Dunn fan so when they came to town she was disapointed as they were playing the Tweeter Center - which is almost two hours away. She had resigned herself to not seeing them.

Then one night I'm watching American Chopper and she's surfing the web in the other room and I hear a scream. Figuring it's a spider I walk out there and she asks how bad would it be to get to the Tweeter Center. I say (like all good husbands) not too bad. She's been crusing the Ticketmaster web site and found 2 seats for Brooks and Dunn in the 20th row dead center. I logged in and bought them. I think I made her day.

Thing2 went and stayed at her Grandpa's house for the evening. We went down a little early and had lunch with Thing1 as his school is kinda on the way there. After lunch we headed over to theatre. Pretty nice place. The "security patdown" was a joke. Anything in the small of the back would get right in. My wife didn't even get touched. We wandered around for a while signing up for various give-a-ways: CD collections, autographed Big and Rich Guitar, and a Chevy Cobalt. The USO of Illinois was also there doing a raffle for a Custom Harley Davidson Fat Boy. For ten bucks you get a shot at winning the bike. Plus the money stays in Illinois to help Americas best when they need a litle lift. The US Army had a booth there attracting a fair amout of traffic. The recruiters were also in the crowd talking to young men and women. And no one was being disrespectful to them.

After we sat down and the opening band The Warren Brothers were done (Good band, wrong market. They really don't seem very country to me) the guy sitting next to my wife asked if it were just the two of us. She said yes and he explained that he had a friend that had seats in the tenth row and his wife couldn't make it so he wanted to sit with his buddy. After a inspection of the tickets we swapped. The wife was real happy now!

Big and Rich are a real good band. Great show. What I could see of it. The lady in front of use brought her young daughter who stood on the chair. That put her at about 6 foot 5. She had a great view. I saw the back of her head. After the set my wife tried to get the lady's attention to ask her to not have her daughter block my view as I headed off to get some liquid refreshment. When I got back the wife and the lady were in a huge argument. Names and insults flying (mainly at the wife). Eventually security got involved. My wife was accused of shoving the little girl and the woman. She was even threatened with physical violence by the woman. Finally security told the woman that if her daughter blocked anyones view again she would be removed from the theatre. All this because the women wouldn't politely talk to my wife. The woman and her kids went off to get something to drink and a lady sitting a couple of seats down came over (she looked to be about 7.5 months pregnant) and asked since she could see over anyones head if she could stand on the chair in front of us - smiling the whole time. The whole section was laughing. The people around us, who had witnessed everything, were amazed the woman had acted the way she did. After the woman left (about 5 songs into Brooks and Dunn) the guy who was sitting next to her moved over to step up on the chair, smiling the whole time.

Brooks and Dunn put on a great show. They end with "Only in America". It's an incredibly patriotic song. During the song 3 Marines, all dressed up, came out in formation, saluted the crowd, and went back in. The crowd went absolutly nuts. Nice thing about country fans - they love the U.S. of A.

One sad note - Ronnie Dunn has a habit of throwing drumsticks into the crowd when he's playing the cowbell. One went a few rows behind us and hit someone in the head. I think she ended up being taken out for medical attention. Hopefully she's ok.

I'm not a country fan but this was a fun show.

Chicago Custom Knife Show

I had planned to go on Saturday but the wife decided that a concert in Tinley Park was a better was to spend Saturday so I took some time off from work and went on Friday.

The room was the same size as last year . To be honest I think that a larger space is necessary. 50% larger with some more makers would be great. I'd also like to see makers and purveyors in different aisles with related vendors (materials, sharpeners, etc) around the outer perimiter as it is now. I think it would make the show easier to navigate.

I kind of had an idea of what I wanted before I went. As usual the plan went out the window fairly soon. I was looking for a small 'tactical' folder - like the small Strider but it was just a tad out of my price range. So I decided to look for a 'gents' folder. Something I could take to church or out to dinner and not get stares at my ugly knife. I looked at a lot of them but most were out of my price range (I guess I'm not that much of a gentleman) or were a little on the large size. In the last aisle of the show I found my knife.

ATS34 Blade, Titanium bolsters and liner, Micarta scales. Smooth, locks up tight, looks great and very affordable. The maker, Les Voorhies, was nice to talk with and explaned his knives quite well. He's probably underpriced by 25 to 50% so I'm glad I got one now.

I also decided to pick up a kitchen knife. Since I don't hunt or fish the kitchen is where I do most of my cutting. I have one of Thomas Haslinger's excellent kitchen knives for heavier work so I looked for something for veggies, chicken, and fish. I found one (again in the last aisle)

Made in Japan - this is a sharp knife! The maker tunes the knife up for you as you purchase it.

I picked some micarta and Ivory for a kit knife that I have. It should look nice when it's done.

In wandering around the show it seems to have moved up a bit since last year. Lots of damacus and upscale scales. It seemed like even more knives were out of my price range than last year. On the other hand knives were selling. At one purveyors table I was looking at a small Sebenza and a $4,000.00 deal went down in under a minute next to me. Ernie Emerson has his usual crowd. He has some hand made knives and was holding drawings for the chance to buy one. The production knives are out my price range so I didn't put my name in.

I got a number of comments on the shirt I was wearing. It was my Arizona Cardinal's #40 jersey. This was Pat Tillman's number before he entered the Army after 9/11. Duane Dyer from Strider Knives came up to me, shook my hand, and complimented me on the jersey. I tried to get a discount out of him for the small folder but it didn't work. :-(

Bobby Branton have a short knife throwing exhibition and discussed throwing. Most interesting conversation. He's bringing out a lower cost throwing knife. May have to get some of those.

Overall it was a good show. It needs to be a bit larger. Hopefully the purveyors won't outnumber the makers in the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Carnival of Cordite special double edition!

This week, we feature a special disaster preparedness section and breaking news on gun confiscations in New Orleans.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Have a Plan

This has always been in my mind. Have a plan. No matter what - when there is something to be done - have a plan. This doesn't keep me from spending the day doing nothing (great plan!) every once in a while but otherwise - gotta have a plan.

What kind of a plan am I talking about? A plan to survive. After seeing that Katrina did to the gulf states and how unprepared the local authorities were in Lousiana I decided to review my plan.

Where I live I don't have to worry about hurricanes. We just get tornadoes. And blizzards. Ice storms. Except for tornados we generally have warning and can prepare. Tornados can take a house and then you have to survive. And execute your plan.

Ours was relativly simple. When storms are severe we grab our go bags and double check that we have sufficent cash, clothes, and medication (Medication is critical) and place the bags in our storm shelter. If things get bad we join the bags in the shelter and ride out the storm. If we lose the house and manage to survive we have family and friends that are close by who homes would more than likely not be affected and we'd crash there for a couple of days till insurance kicked in and we got into a hotel. Life would suck for a while but we'd move on.

Ice and snow are a little different. They can strike with little notice so the winter plan involves plenty of bottled water, fire wood, and canned goods. We can easily got 5-7 days without leaving the house.

What does this have to do with Katrina? Plenty if one allows the mind to wander. We're not far from Chicago or O'Hare airport. Either one would be a likely target for a terror attack involving a WMD (dirty bomb, poison gas, etc). This is what my plan needs to address.

While we are upwind are far as prevailing winds go in relation to O'Hare and Chicago every once in a while we get wind from the East - which would be the perfect time to attack for maximum effect. What would we do? Even if we weren't directly affected we'd have to move. Quickly.

The storm go bags would be tossed in the van. The back seat would come out. Still room for the 4 of us and lots of room for storage. Two tents, sleeping bags, a cookstove, pots and pans, and fuel could be in the van in 5 minutes. My daypack and it's attached cutlery go in. The wifes pack with her special things come along as well. The kids each have a pack they can put a few special things in to take along. Bottled water, canned and boxed food go as well. Dog food and a leash for Buffy. All of this is ok if things stay stable where ever we would end up.

What if they don't? Well my Glock 17, Ruger Mark II, Ruger 10/22, and H&R 865 are part of the pack. Sufficent ammo for both calibers is usually in the house. This is fine for close protection and small game. What about larger game? Or human problems at a distance?

I've always wanted a AR15 but the price tag is just too much for me right now. The .223 is in the lite side for de-animation. The M1 or M14 in .308 are awesome (love the SOCOM rifle) but the price is jut too painful right now. AK-47 clones are interesting but scream bad guy. This leads to, it seems to me, the SKS. Available for under $200.00 and a good caliber. Designed as a battle rifle and it doesn't scream 'terrorist'. Thing1 is handy with a rifle so this would be good for him as well. A carbine in 9mm to match the Glock seems like a possibility as well. The Kel-Tec is around $300.00 and would make it easy for the wife to put up a defense if necessary and not have to worry about recoil.

Thing1 and I have talked about tactics a bit. Not enough. Never practiced them either. Gotta find time for that. And bring the wife into this way of thinking. She's not quite there yet.

What am I missing? Outside of the SKS and Kel-Tec. Flashlights. Radio. Batteries. Those would be handy. Sure-Fire or Mag-Lite. Maybe both? Should I take the laptop and digital camera? Water purification? How much ammo? Is three calibers too much? Too little?

What I really need is ideas. I'm sure my fellow CofC writers will put forth their own plans for me to read. I can't wait.

A different view of the events in Lousiana

Drumwaster looks to have it down. And in my opinion he's got it just about right.

Instapundit Speaks

"If you are not willing to take care of yourself you deserve to die." - Glenn Reynolds on the radio - 9/7/2005

Well said Professor!

In the case of natural disasters - I have to agree. You have to prepare and have a plan. The wife and I are updating our preparations and plan. Maybe even a plan to backup your first plan. Here is Northern Illinois we really only have Tornados to worry about. We'll take into account a terror attack on Chicago or O'Hare but I think we'll focus on surviving nature.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Much has been written about the lack of transportation out of New Orleans for those unable to provide their own. According to the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Evacuation & Sheltering Plan (p13 of EOPSupplement1a.pdf )
    "The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating."

So the plan calls for the use of school and municpal buses. So why do we see this?

after Mayor Nagin was screaming for buses? Why weren't the used before Katrina made landfall and then again afterwards?

I know. It's Bush's fault!

Maybe not.

Image credits - Sacred Cow Burgers

Two Tribes

Bill Whittle is an awesome writer. I'd like to have stuff that is as good as what he edits out. Go read Two Tribes.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


The wife listens to country music. By assocation I get to listen to it as well. On her way home from Church on Saturday with Thing2 she heard an announcement on the radio for an event to load up a semi-trailer with non-perishables for those affected by Katrina. She stopped on the way home and picked up some blankets, shampoo, etc. After she got home we went through our closets looking for clothes that other might need. Filled up a couple of bags and put them in the van.

After Church today we headed to the location. The event was from 10 - 2. When we arrived at 9:45 there was already enough to fill one truck. A second was already on the way. We put our stuff on the stack and I walked around taking pictures. When I got back the wife had started helping sort and pack boxes. I took that as a hint and started too.

We pack backpacks with clothes, boxes with food, stacked bottled water on pallets, whatever was needed. After a couple of hours we were tired. Fresh volunteers had arrived so we took off. Two trucks were full. 2 or 3 more were on the way. Not only had the deli whose parking lot the event was using contributed time and space but so did Menards (pallets, people, fork lift) and Steak and Shake (people) help out but one guy, who's company was doing construction in the area, brought over this forklift that could put pallets into the back of the trucks. Huge timesaver.

One package got to me. It was full of stuffed animals. Each one had a little message.

Puts one's faith back.

There were people bringing a box of clothes, a box of food, whatever they could afford. One person brought a truckload (and trailer) of bottled water. Probably 3 pallets worth. Another went shopping at Sam's Club and came with over $3000.00 worth of merchandise. Amazing people - responding for a request for assistance.

    Update 9/6/2005
    From the stations website -

    "Big John and Ray teamed up with Catom Trucking to fill SIX semi trucks with goods that are now heading south to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Listener response was so massive that local authorities and nearby merchants stepped in to help direct traffic and keep the loading and unloading of donations running smoothly. THANK YOU from everyone at US99.5 for your continued generosity!"

    Six trailers full? Awesome!