Quote of the Day
"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."
Colonel Jeff Cooper
Friday, August 29, 2014
I was out walking yesterday, with no real destination in mind. Got down to the gate, and there was a package for me. Fedex and UPS can't get up here anyway, so they just leave my stuff in a bag tied to the gate. The UPS guy will call me but it's never the same Fedex driver so I just find things down there.
Before SciFi chick passed away, she had a little give away thing on her blog. I always enter those when someone has one, because I feel like you should be supportive of other bloggers and their efforts.
Once I won at The Other Ryan's Total Survival Libertarian Rantfest. I think it was the only time I ever won anything other than the "you get audited this year" lottery or the "pull over so I can search your car" game the State Troopers play.
But I won the little game at SciFi chicks. It was a set of four books. People had recommended them to me but I never got around to buying them.
When she passed away, I figured the books would not come and it didn't worry me. It seemed pretty trivial compared to the enormity of someone you "knew" on the net not being there anymore. I'm getting long in the tooth, and there are not many of my old friends from high school or college around anymore. I quit taking the UNM alumni magazine because I couldn't help going to the "In Memorium" section for the early 1970's, and I found too many names I knew.
Most of my extended family other than my siblings are gone now. Aunts, Uncles, my father, and so on, not around anymore. So I'm not exactly unaccustomed to this kind of thing. It may just be , in this case, that the title of the book made me feel strange. "Going Home" is a Southern euphemism for death. Nobody here EVER says the D word. Even if you are not religious, they say "he passed" or "he went home." When Ragnar was so sick, I couldn't bring myself to say that word. Nobody at the vet would use it either. I think it's because it seems so permanent and so lonely.
Anyway. She was a nice lady. We weren't close friends, I read her blog and sometimes people would talk about her on other blogs I read. When I communicated directly with her about another matter, she was very gracious and pleasant. Her blog is still there, too. The other day I ran "Ragnar Ferret" on the google search, because I was thinking about him and feeling a bit low. He came up in all sorts of places. People had copied his picture and used it in their blogs. That's good, because as long as there's an internet then it won't ever be like he never existed. The same thing is true for the rest of us, and for SciFi chick. That's a good thing.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Part of that is just plain antisemitism. Or , racism if you prefer. I get a kick out of hearing blacks constantly complaining about racism, when in fact most people bend over backwards to avoid giving that impression. They let minorities literally get away with murder rather than run the risk of being construed as being "racist." But there doesn't seem to be any problem with people saying anything they want to about Israel, and the more outrageous and untrue, the better. If you think I'm exaggerating, look at some Israeli blogs and check out some of the comments from "Ahmed" and "Memhet." Personally, I delete stuff like that from my blog and ignore the ignoramuses that write it.
If you are curious about the history of the Israelis, here are three good books on it.
This is a novel. It was made into a movie starring Paul Neuman. Uris was known for his research into his novels, so though this is fictionalized the basic facts are accurate. It's not hard to read, and if you do go through it you'll learn about how the Jews came to be in the Middle East, and how hard the British among others tried to keep them out.
With very few arms and no army to speak of, the Israelis withstood the attacks and held out until a truce could be arranged. Just how they did that is really fascinating reading, and Kurzman does a good job of avoiding dry history by telling a lot of the story from the perspective of people who were at the actual events.
There's a lot to it , and there were a lot of twists and turns in that particular plot. There were different factions in Israel, including some frankly terrorist groups, and there was fighting between them and the Israeli government. It's not a boring book.
This is a military history book. It's one of mine that I kept when I started giving away my professional library from my Marine Corps career. It can get a little detailed if you are not interested in military history, but on the other hand it gives a good general synopsis of what happened in the region between the declaration of the State of Israel in 1947 and the Yom Kippur War in 1974.
It will explain how Gaza came to be the enclave of Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, and why there has never been any real attempt on the part of any Arab country to make peace with Israel except Egypt. Anwar Sadat, who pioneered that peace, was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood as a reward for his achievements.
I knew some Israeli Officers at Quantico, and I liked them. They were all Sabras, or native born Israelis, and I liked their straightforward approach to things, and their values. They were professionals. Their army may not be as spic and span as ours, but they know how to fight and they do it well. If they didn't , there wouldn't be any Israelis now because there wouldn't be an Israel.
In 1982 and 1983 I got to see the Israelis in action, in very tough circumstances. Because of the stupidity of the U.S. State Department, and the asinine personal ambitions of the toads it sent to Lebanon during that period, we didn't get to work directly with the IDF. Our political masters didn't want to offend Yassir Arafat or the other Arabs. But I did get to see them work and we liked them. Friction between the IDF and the USMC existed, solely because the State Department forbid us to exchange liason officers, but it was marginal and not deeply rooted. You don't put foreign military forces next to each other without liason officers and expect they won't bump into each other sometimes.
Well, if you've been following events there on the news, any of these books will help make sense out of what is really a fairly complex situation.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
In order to have internet service, I have to have a land line. There is only one provider of internet services here, so I have to get my land line through them. They can charge what they want as a result, and the service can be as terrible and unreliable as they feel like letting it be. It's below marginal but it's all I can get.
LAND LINE AND INTERNET SERVICE 59.99
TOTAL SERVICES 59.99
SURCHARGES AND OTHER FEES
ACCESS CHARGE PER FCC ORDER 6.50
ACCESS RECOVERY CHARGE 1.50
911 SERVICE 1.50
FEDERAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE 1.26
GA UNIVERSAL ACCESS FUND .44
DEREGULATED ADMINISTRATION FEE 2.79
TOTAL SURCHARGES AND OTHER FEES 13.99
FEDERAL TAX .28
STATE TAX .71
COUNTY TAX .53
TOTAL TAXES 1.52
TOTAL CHARGES 75.50
Approximately 20% of my total bill each month is federal, state or county tax. They can call it surcharges or fees all they want. It's taxes.
Don't I remember something about this planet having a moon? It's been so long since I've seen the moon that I'm not sure it's up there anymore. Tonight's clear, but there isn't much star shine coming down. I had the Night Owl out a few minutes ago, looking for a kitten that should have been on the porch, and wasn't.
Even with the infrared projector on, no kitten. So I got dressed, got a shotgun, and my huge Ryobi flood light. Went out around the edge of the tree line. Even with a good flood, that's not a place I care to linger in the dark. The cat was under a wooden bench and I eventually located her. Took her back to her mom, and told momma cat to keep the kit away from the edge of the porch. But of course, now I'm awake and that's that until dawn. For whatever reason I usually can sleep at dawn if I want to. Maybe I am a vampire?
I worked on the porch today and got quite a bit done, without incident. Of course, I am picking the low hanging fruit, working on the easy parts. I've had enough excitement for a few weeks though, so that's ok.
I think every house in rural America has a shotgun. It's "everyman's" weapon of choice. I have several different shotguns. One of my favorites is the Mossberg 590 A1. This is a stout weapon, puts some serious firepower out, is reliable and guaranteed to get the attention of evil doers, two legged or four legged. I have two of these fine weapons. The heat shield may come in handy someday, and though I doubt I will have much need of the bayonet lug, it's a nice feature, like chrome rims on your tires. This is the shotgun that went out to look for the missing cat with me. Loaded with buckshot, it will discourage about anything or anyone I'm liable to meet up here in the dead of night.
Of course, I do have other weapons. This is a picture I mailed a certain Senator from California years back, during a particularly tense time in the 2nd Amendment battle. The extended middle finger is not, of course, anything vulgar but instead is the famous "Hawaiian good luck sign" employed by the crew of the U.S.S. Pueblo during their captivity in North Korea. If you don't remember that, you are probably too young to be reading this blog anyway!
The sun will be coming up in about three hours. I could go out to the lake to catch it if I were motivated, but I think I'll watch it from the knoll here. I haven't been off the mountain since Sunday morning, and won't be going out again until Friday morning if things go as I plan. No sense going off the mountain if I don't have to.
Once the sun's up, I will walk the dogs down to the water so they can swim. I'll pack my thermos with some good hot coffee, and sit down there on the rocks. We have to go early because if we get there later in the morning we may run into hikers. I don't like to be around other people , I just want to enjoy the woods.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
It's handy being able to download books on the Kindle. It's difficult in some instances to know what you are getting. If it's a case of an author you have read previously, then at least you have some idea what to expect. However, since the advent of self publishing , you really have no idea what you are buying until you buy it, then it's too late if it's a bust.
With print books, you can assume a certain level of professionalism and competency was involved in publishing. The expectation that a good editor has corrected most of the glaring errors in the original manuscript, from a grammatical standpoint, is usually valid.
There are no guarantee's with E books. I've purchased a few that I just quit reading, because the construction was just too jarring.
Then too, some of the books are appallingly bad. No plot construction, no character development, no continuity in the flow of the story. But, you bought it and you are just stuck. There's no one sitting at the top to screen the manuscripts and take the one out of a hundred that merits publishing.
Another tendency I see in post apocalyptic fiction is the " E book" that is only a few chapters long. It's really a short story. Then the last page tells you to look for the next book coming out soon. I once bought six books by the same author, each of which just continued on with the story told in the proceeding books. She wasn't a bad writer, but it was like trying to read Shogun or Centennial one chapter at a time, weeks apart.
The lastest example of a frustrating purchase on the download side is the book below.
I bought it based on the reviews. The author is not a bad writer, and the editing is "good enough."
However, there are so many different characters, in three distinct time periods, that it is almost impossible to keep all of it in the proper relationship. I don't want to spoil anything in case someone else reads it. Let me just say that in this book, at least, two of the different time periods and their characters contributed nothing to the main story. In and of itself, if the author had been content to stick with his story line in the present time, he'd have been much better off.
And then, of course, the book ends after you've been reading for an hour, with the customary exhortation to buy the next volume. I won't be. This is one that just has too many problematic aspects for me to recommend it. Most of them are inherent to the "E Book" world as far as I can tell.
I may just have to start going back to my old practice of thumbing through a book in a bookstore before I buy it.
Monday, August 25, 2014
|What, they revoked my British citizenship! Those racist bastards!|
We do live in interesting times, just like the old Chinese curse .
"May you live in interesting times, and may you come to the attention of powerful persons."
Sunday, August 24, 2014
A cool front is moving through the mountains. Not cold, but cooler air. It has been brutally hot here for four days. Up into the nineties even at the higher elevations. Now it's about to start raining, but I don't mind that.
Two new magazines on the stands this week:
There's a very good article on a company that converts surplus military vehicles into your own custom specifications BOV. Very affordable, too. Less than you would pay for a new 4 door Wrangler, stripped down.
There's a very well written story on land navigation, using a map and compass. This is rapidly becoming a lost art, but everyone should know how to land navigate without a GPS. GPS is nice, and easy, but it's seductive and if you abandon map reading skills as a result , you may be up the creek without a paddle if GPS fails for any reason.
They have some good articles on field cooking, on preserving food, and on security for rural retreats. As always, the adds and gear reviews are worth the price of the magazine. When American Survival Guide came out, it was a little rough around the edges, and people compared it unfavorably with the "old" American Survival Guide" edited by Jim Benson before Y2K. That was an outstanding magazine, but I think the new one is starting to approach those standards.
The third issue of Be Ready is out. This is the Shotgun News entry into the world of self sufficiency publishing.
This quarter, there's a very good article on the NSA, and it's invasion of privacy and flagrant disregard for the rights of American citizens.
The NSA spies on your phone calls, emails, social media messages and harvests huge amounts of personal information about you in the process. Although anyone who reads the news knows this, the article in this magazine puts all the information in one place. If you use the internet, or cell phones, you should give it a read. There are some surprises in here for most of us.
They put stories about caching , ham radio, and using an axe in this edition. The adds and gear reviews are pretty good. Although Be Ready is still developing, it's a worthwhile magazine to read.
While working on my porch this week I had a minor accident when a scaffolding I built collapsed. I didn't get very beat up but it has slowed me down a little, hence fewer posts this week and probably for a bit in the future. Work has to get done, and sometimes things go wrong.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
It's dark out there. I went to bed at 9:00, got up at midnight, went to bed again at 1:00, and here I am about 2:30 back up again. It's clearly going to be one of those nights.
Here's a strange thing. Outside right now, there are no cicadas singing. No animal or insect noises at all. That's normal for winter, but for August? There should be a perfect cacophony of noise coming from the forest. All of the barn cats are on the porch, that's unusual too. The dogs are subdued as well. Maybe there's a thunderstorm coming.
Today I walked down the mountain to the mail box. I took some pictures along the way, so I could show people how thick the forest is along the trail. Once you leave the meadow, the trees lock branches over the trail down the mountain, and you're walking through a green tunnel. I did get some pictures, but it was so dark in there the flash came on every time I took one. Some of the pictures didn't come out well as a consequence. There was not a breath of air in those woods, and the humidity was very high. When people say they could "cut the air with a knife" that's the kind of environment they are talking about.
Although the sun was shining, no direct sunlight was reaching the forest floor here. There's a kind of perpetual gloom under the forest canopy along the trail in the spring and summer, when the trees are all leafed out.
There's a bit of an opening in the canopy at this particular place on the way down the mountain. It's pretty steep here, if you try to get off the trail and walk up. I used to do that, years ago. I'd just head up the mountain at different spots to see what I could find. It's in the "too hard" category now.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I was stationed in Japan in the late 1970's. I got the opportunity to work with the Japanese Self Defense Forces and was always impressed with their professionalism. This at a time when there was still deep antipathy towards military service in the Japanese population at large. When my daughter was growing up, she heard a lot about Japan and the Japanese from me. So, she decided one day she would live there.
While she was finishing her education in Vancouver, B.C. she had a lot of Japanese friends. Japanese women, like women everywhere, love dainty things, and my daughter liked to go to Japanese gatherings, common among the expat students there. This is her back then, ready for a little get together with "the girls." I met some of her Japanese friends and liked them. They were nice young people, didn't do drugs, and the young men treated the young women with respect. My daughter has learned fluent Japanese and one day I will help her go there and live for a year or two. That's one of her dreams and I think it's a good one.
My father and my Uncle fought in World War II, in the Pacific. My Uncle was a Marine infantry Sergeant. My dad was a navy Corpsman. My father in law fought in the Pacific as well, as a Marine NCO in the infantry. Between them they were involved in the landings at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa among other less well known places.
My father died some years back. He hated the Japanese with a passion. You couldn't talk to him about it. Even the slightest mention of the fact that the war was over, a long time ago, and maybe it was time to put that behind him would send him off in a tizzy. He was furious with my daughter when she made Japanese friends and learned the language.
I know now that sometimes, when you fight other people, you never stop remembering it and you never stop feeling the emotions of that time. For a long while, I thought my dad was just being hateful but I later learned it's much more complicated than that. It's the old saw "you had to be there." Nobody who wasn't there, will ever understand it.
A year after I was in Japan, my little brother was stationed there. Somewhere here I have pictures of him and his platoon climbing Mount Fuji, with the obligatory head bands and walking staffs. I guess it seems strange, for U.S. Marines to be wearing hachimaki (head bands emblazoned with the Rising Sun) but none of the people in that unit had even been born during World War II.
Now, the Japanese have amended their constitution to permit their troops to fight alongside their allies in certain circumstances. Since World War II ended, the Japanese have participated in humanitarian actions but have been proscribed by law from engaging in combat other than in defense of the home islands.
As you would expect from a maritime nation, Japan has an outstanding Navy. Unlike most of the countries in that part of the world, it's well balanced. They have warships, and a fleet train. That means they can project power a long way from Japan itself. Their Navy is highly professional and modern to the nth degree.
The Japanese Air Force is primarily comprised of transports, maritime patrol aircraft, air superiority fighters, and utility aircraft. No long range bombers. Limited tactical air assets. I think that may soon change, as the Red Chinese have been pushing Japan over the Sakhalin Island chain, and Japan is pushing back.
The Japanese Army is not huge, but it is well equipped, motivated, and ready to rock. As later generations get over the effects of World War II, military service has become an acceptable profession again. Droves of young Japanese are not beating down the gates to get in, but there is not the same stigma attached to military service that there was even when I was over there some 34 years ago.
All this comes at a good time. We are stretched very thin on the ground right now. And, we are short of fighting allies. We have plenty of meal delivery allies, but we need people who will kick ass and take names. Japan can be one of those allies if things work out right.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Must have been quite a storm last night, but I essentially slept through it. I knew it was storming because I heard the wind and thunder, as well as the rain pounding down. This morning I got up, and it was still raining. Some of the breakers had tripped, so I had to reset those. That generally means there were lightning strikes in the area that put a pulse on the power line. No harm done, my sensitive equipment is all on good battery back up systems with high clamp speed surge suppressors.
The dogs and I took a walk down the old forest service road. I wore my hobo clothes and went wading with them. The water was up some but not enough to matter.
Later I went up to the study, smoked my pipe and listened to Rush Limbaugh on the only FM radio station I can get up here. It's part local news , including a lot of really boring high school sports stuff. However, they have some good radio shows like Rush and Glenn Beck, and Hannity. I smoke my pipe, sit in my over stuffed Lazy Boy, and look out the big plate glass windows into the mountains. My wife went up there the other day looking for something or other. She said she hadn't been up in the room for a couple of years and didn't remember how big it was. She has some problems with her legs so she generally lives on the main level of the house.
This is the part of the big lake in our county where it's wide enough to sail. I'm watching the newspaper for a small boat, either a sailboat or just a skiff with a kicker. There are islands in the lake where I could go out and camp, or just hang out for a day, and nobody would bother me and the dogs out there. A boat is on my list of " I wants" but I am not really sure what priority it has.
My table under the trees. Even on hot days, I can sit out here and the sun doesn't get on me. That whole area is well shaded by poplars. I can see out through the meadow, and to the start of the Jeep trail. Great place for coffee in the morning, or a coke in the evening. I like to smoke my pipe out there after dark, with the Tiki torches going. At this time of year, the meadow is ablaze with lightning bugs, and it's very restful.
So, life goes on. Sometimes the pace is hectic, and other times it's sedate. Today looks like one of the latter, which is ok with me.
Fox News - Youtube Video surfaces in which narrative appears to substantiate Officer's account of Brown shooting in Ferguson. Discredits "he was walking away" witnesses.
The For Collectors Only series of books on military rifles is a bit hard to find, and a trifle expensive. If you're interested in one particular type of rifle, it's the way to go.
I'm a big Mosin- Nagant fan. They are sturdy rifles, robust and reliable. They require little maintenance. Mine have had a lot of rounds through them over the years, and I can count the number of parts I've had to order in 30 years on one hand. That's a big contrast with some of my other old bolt guns.
Ammo is still easy to find, either commercial or surplus, although I'm sure the Golfer in Chief will figure out a way to tie Russian ammo in with his inane "sanctions" before long. If you don't have all you might need for the foreseeable future, this would be a good time to get some. I know AIM surplus and Southern Ohio Guns have cases in stock, and I believe I saw it advertised in The Sportsman's Guide as well recently.
You can still get Mosin Nagant model 1891/30 rifles at a reasonable price, though again it's hard to say how long that will be true.
However, if you want a good shooting, well built, well balanced rifle, try to find a Finnish Model M39.