06 June 2008

Check this out!

I wish I could claim credit for this guy, but ran across a link over at Blackfive today. In case any of you didn't catch it, you need to trot over and check out Daniel's Big Trip.

His blog is all on one page, so I recommend you get a cup of coffee and start at the bottom. Here's a "mission statement" type blurb from his first post:

I've decided that since I gave 11.5 years of my life to this country, and even lost body parts fighting for it, I want to SEE it, and the people who live in it. My plan is to drive basically a big circle around the USA from TN to Maine, then Oregon, down Cali and off to Key West. I have a beat up 1984 Suburban I've been preparing for the trip, and my plan is to live in it, along with my mildly retarded Boxer. I hope to see a lot of sites, stay off the interstates, and meet a lot of interesting people along the way…

The coolest thing about this gentleman and his blog is that although he got hurt pretty badly, and the wounds have obviously changed the course of his life, you will find that you are not reading a pity blog. After about two posts, I was so caught up in the Suburban, the trip and the boxer that I was in far more danger of spitting coffee all over my keyboard and shorting it out in a fit of laughter than I was of choking up.

It's very good. And the boxer? The boxer is adorable.


I have to take off tomorrow and do another Army thing. This one will be a location that sounds like...Tort Licks.

I'm trying to pack, but wow - am I ever lacking in enthusiasm for the process. I've been at it a while, and my progress is less than stellar.

Yeah, that's two pairs of underwear and a hat.

I'm actually pretty thrilled to have gotten a seat in the class I'm attending, and it shouldn't be anywhere near as awful as the last one. But wow - I do not want to make piles of stuff, check that stuff off a list, then cram that stuff into bags.

Alright. The time has come to stop whining. I'm off to pack!

05 June 2008

It's not ALL fun and games

when Dad has a prior engagement and Abby is in charge of dinner for the team.

They picked in reverse-seniority order, so we'll see how this goes. If nothing else, it should be educational. Or at least, funny.

Corrupting the youth!

Yep! That's me. Number Two Son and I packed up an armload-o-rifles and headed off to the range.

First, we set him up on my uber-tacticool Plainfield carbine.

The red dot scope seemed to work out pretty well for him.

Two out, three right in there. He was pleased, and thus, so was I.

Being a good adult, I did manage to let him shoot first before breaking out the new (old) carbine.

I know, I know. The sling is in the mail, since the one I had on hand is on the Inland. Obviously, I found the trigger spring.

A little high at 50, but I was pleased with the grouping, and the rifle ran like a clock. I am a very happy camper.

And, finally, one more. Because I am just so darn proud.

That is the young man, adjusting his firing position with my AR. And yes - that is his finger - straight and off the trigger.

04 June 2008

Random news roundup!

First off, in the way of Things That Are Bad But Are Really Good News, we have: Surgeons: Man's 'Tumor' Turned Out to Be 25-Year-Old Towel

Surgeons in Japan thought they were removing a tumor from a 49-year-old man who was suffering from abdominal pain in late May.

Instead, they found a 25-year-old surgical towel that had crumpled into what looked like a softball-shaped tumor, Agence France-Presse reported.

Well, nobody likes to find out they've had a towel in their guts for 25 years, but if you're having a tumor removed, I think the relief would be almost enough to force the thought of a lawsuit out of your mind.

And in Big Brother Is Watching news, we have: Researchers Secretly Tracked 100,000 Cell Users Outside U.S. for Six Months
Researchers used cell-phone towers to track individuals' locations whenever they made or received phone calls and text messages over six months.

In a second set of records, researchers took another 206 cell phones that had tracking devices in them and got records for their locations every two hours over a week's time period.

The study was based on cell phone records from a private company, whose name also was not disclosed.

I guess the moral of the story here is, if you're headed toward the Mexican border with all possible speed and The Man on your tail...pull that little card out of the back of your phone, or, better yet, yank the battery out and chuck the whole thing into a ditch.

And, finally, in Why Paying Attention in Science Class is Important news, we have: Thieves take Jesus statue from church cross
DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- Thieves who stole an 8-foot statue of Jesus Christ off a crucifix in Detroit may have been seeking copper to sell as scrap. Problem is, it's made of plaster.

The Rev. Barry Randolph said Wednesday that the statue at the Church of the Messiah is green and looks like copper...


Let's hear it for Michigan's public schools, hey?

03 June 2008


So Sen. Obama has clinched the nomination.

Which tells us all about our choices in November.

I have to admit, from a strictly chick perspective, I'm annoyed to see Sen. Clinton lose to someone I think might be a lightweight.

(Seriously - I recognize that a lot of my readers are probably older white protestant dudes who dig guns, but for a second, try to put yourself in my shoes)

I only wish that our first viable female candidate had been someone I was more politically aligned with.

And I have to wonder - and there's no way to know until the dust settles in November - if the Democrats overplayed the equality hand and made a bad choice.

I heard the talking heads yap earlier about how Senators McCain and Obama are at odds on nearly every issue, from health care to immigration to Iraq. They remarked that this election will really be between two very different directions for this country. I wonder which of the two we will choose.

We all know where we stand, but I think curiosity about where everyone else stands is very natural. I think this election may allow us to see some of that.

Stepmom of the year

Since we have 14 year old boys here, we have throwing stars. And throwing knives. All the good stuff. Trouble is, they throw these things at the fence. Fences being made of wood, and the boys not quite being ninjas, the knives and throwing stars bounce back.

This, it seemed to me, was a laceration waiting to happen. A laceration that would, without a doubt, be timed so as to interfere with either my obsessive watching of CNN, my beer drinking, or both.

And that cannot be allowed to happen.

So Girl Child and I went to the range and shot up half of the .22lr in north Texas. We also purchased a couple of extra targets. Then we stopped at Home Despot and picked up some foam board, which we proceeded to hack apart in the parking lot so it would fit in El Jeepo.

Brought it home, added some thumbtacks, and...voila!

Number Two Son discovers that these throwing stars work much better when throw them at something they'll stick in.

(A note - the monikers "Number One Son" and "Number Two Son" infer no preference or order of merit. It's a seniority issue. Number One Son is eight minutes older than Number Two.)

Note to self:

That little spring in the back of the trigger housing on my M1 carbine? (consults book - that would be the trigger spring) It does come out. But when it comes out, it comes out with a sense of urgency.


Now I have to crawl around the armory/library looking for one of the few small carbine parts for which there is no "spare" in my toolbox.

[grumble grumble]

This would be easier if my "gun futzing" area didn't look like a junkyard for old military weapons parts. I have the other M1 carbine in larger pieces so I can compare, and I was swapping springs and stuff on 1911s yesterday, so the whole space is littered with springs, nasty q-tips, and befouled pipe cleaners.

02 June 2008

The last full measure of devotion (updates below)

The President just, in a short ceremony, presented the Medal of Honor to the parents of a fallen soldier.

SPC Ross McGinnis laid it all down 4 Dec 06, when he threw himself on a grenade in a Humvee in Baghdad.

He was a Private First Class then, and 19 years old. There are four men alive today because of the choice one young soldier made, in a split second that probably stretched forever.

It seems, from the news article, that McGinnis was not cut out to be a student. He struggled in school, within walls, behind a desk. But in the end, he found a place where he belonged. His father saw it.

“He was more reserved and more confident and seemed to stand a lot taller, although he didn’t grow any while he was in the Army,” his father said. “He was a man. Unfortunately, we never really got to know him as a man. He was a child when he left, he got to visit with us a couple times, then he was gone.”

I cannot imagine the courage, devotion and outright love it took for that young man, in that second that lasts forever, to decide to lay down all the years, days and moments that he had left, so that the other men in the vehicle could have all of their remaining years, days and moments. Trying put oneself into McGinnis' boots at that second makes one feel very small. And very, very thankful.

I know, in a the detached way that we all know these things, that his parents are crushed. I'm certain they are proud, but all the pride in the world can't make up for an empty seat at the table on Thanksgiving. But at the very moments his family looks at the empty table every years and the grief threatens to pull them under, I hope they look at the Medal on the mantel and realize that somewhere, there are four other families who look at a man at their table, and whose gratitude is the only thing in the world equal to the grief of the McGinnis family.

Men do not fight for flag or country, for...glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another.
-William Manchester, Goodbye Darkness

Child to the rescue!

We had a little emergency tonight. Yes - 'twas a toad.

Those of you who've been around for a while might remember last year's toad fiasco. The toads have returned.

I shoved the dogs in the house and relocated one last week. In thanks for my efforts, it peed on me. Toads, if you're not aware, can pee a lot.

So when I found one lurking outside tonight, I shoved the dogs inside and began complaining about the toad. At which point, I realized how useful it can be to have 14 year-old boys around.

Number One Son volunteered to move the toad to the front yard.

How fabulously useful is that?

Happy Dance!

Let's get this out of the way right up front - that whole FedEx delivery guaranteed by 1030 line is bull. The Big White Truck of Happiness showed up around 1130. But...whatever.

I had to put it in a chair and look at it for a moment.

Fortunately, there are kids here who bring a little normalcy to the house - otherwise I'd probably still be gazing at the box. "C'Mon, Abby," they said. "Stop being weird and open it."

The first thing we must do is look past the godawful M2 birch stock. There's a reason I keep spare M1 stocks in the garage, and this is it. So let's look more closely at the rifle itself, shall we?

That's gorgeous. The barrel is an Underwood 11-43, which seems to make it possible it's the original. The bore is bright and clean, the moving parts show almost zero wear. Although the dates make it likely the rifle saw considerable service, it looks like it may have skated through its time in US service, and in Italy's being assigned as the weapon of someone who didn't go outside.

And getting an office-dweller's weapon, if you ask me, is awesome.

I slapped some BLO on my extra M1 stock and put it all together. I will tear the bolt apart and clean it up (it's the only really grungy looking bit), and we should be good to go for some range time this week.

So. Here we are.

The Mister braved the fury that is Cranky Sleeping Abby and prodded me awake around 0640 (with an old fishing rod, from a safe distance, while crouching behind a dresser).

FedEx hasn't yet seemed to screw up my carbine's progress - at least not so that I can tell from the tracking info.

I have coffee, CNN, and I am officially waiting.

I am supported in this effort by Casey, who's sacked out on the floor next to me. Sparky and Jack are nowhere to be found, and I suspect - scratch that - I have confirmed - that they are racked out with children.

To my amusment, Sparky is curled up with Girl Child on the big bed. The boys share a room, in which they each have a little bed. Jack is, of course, stretched out on one of those.

01 June 2008

Nice weekend

With lots of pool time, a little yard work, etc etc.

I tried to go to bed last night, only to discover this on my pillow:

[sigh] The stench isn't the worst part. The worst part is the indignant looks I'm subjected to for snapping a picture and disturbing his sleep.

And, yes. He stayed in the same spot all night long.

"Why are you laying on me," asked Mr. Abby?

Yorkie, I replied.

He nodded, scooted over, and the two of us divided the share of the bed that wasn't occupied by eight pounds of cranky little dog.