30 September 2008

Scantily clad women serving Coffee

Morality is a tough issue. Cultural morality is a very sticky issue.

The three Abrahamic religions all adopted the belief system that somehow our bodies need to be hidden from the view of others. Jesus laid down the law and said that lust is the same as adultery. At least the Christians didn't go the same route as Islam and put women in poorly fitting tents.

But what we are stuck with here in the West is a tradition of hiding our bodies. Modesty is a virtue and all that. Except for when we are on a bicycle, ice skating, swimming, or any other accepted exception to the rules that allow us to show off our bodies.

The reason that we have these exceptions is because we lie to ourselves and say that there are legitimate reasons for wearing revealing clothes other than to reveal ourselves. So when someone places appropriate attire for the beach inside a coffee hut it gets the puritanical panties in a bunch.

I write this because recently I've purchased coffee from two locations, one outside the Yakima Training Center, and one outside Fort Lewis, that have scantily clad women serving coffee. And I like it. I like how it is a blatant capitalist attempt to cater to the desires of men.

Is it degrading? I'm guessing that enough people will still answer "yes" to make it a legitimate question. Is it the same as forced prostitution? No.

So I did what I do when my interest is piqued, I did research on Cowgirls Espresso and Brewlesque. Both chains were started by women. Both have baristas that are good looking women, not supermodels, but girls who wouldn't get too many second glances if they were dressed like everybody elses baristas. Take a normal girl and put her in something sexy serving coffee and it seems to be a winning business model.

So to all the normal looking girls out there, rest assured that you look sexy in your undies. Even if you aren't serving coffee.

29 September 2008

The Bailout

There are plenty of causes for the current mortgage crisis.

First cause, the lowering of lending standards under the Clinton Administration.

Second, the explosion of liquid wealth at the International Investment Level. (available wealth more than doubled in the last five years)

Third, the creation of bundled mortgages as an investment package.

These three things created an opportunity for banks to lend money in the form of a mortgage, and then sell the debt to investment bankers. The problem was that the investment bankers had more money than the mortgage bankers had solid mortgages. So the FedGov's pressuring to lower lending standards became rewarding as long as the mortgage banker could build more mortgage investment packages to sell to investment bankers.

First all the good mortgages got sold. Then all the not so good mortgages got sold. Then the bad mortgages got sold. Then the incredibly bad mortgages got sold.

What we are seeing is the free market at work. The pundits have been telling us how terrible this is and how all these money/credit markets are interconnected. I don't understand all the nuances of international finance, but I do understand the nuances of interconnected systems.

The idea behind the bailout is that by propping up the mortgage industry it will prop up the economy. This is stupid on a lot of levels. It reminds me of an old tent that has fallen down except for one pole propping up some sad corner.

Let the market correct itself. Sure a little less meddling on the part of the FedGov would have helped under Clinton, and a little more regulation under Bush would have helped, but the truth is that the bailout is just a big shit sandwich.

I find it amazing that a liberal can look at a weak caribou being pulled down by wolves and say it is "Darwinian" and not look at the economy where weak banks are being pulled down and scream "BAILOUT!!".

The truth is that not all investments are good. Sure innocent people are going to lose their shirts because their mutual fund manager bought into these investment packages. Should they lose money because they let a fool manage their money? Yes.

The only difference between the stock market and Vegas is that people expect to lose their shirts in Vegas. I'm still investing in blue chip and international stocks. I put away a bit each month in diversified funds that are high risk. The reason why I do this is that I still have decades to transfer the money to lower risk holding. I'm putting in money now that I don't need to live on for a potential reward in the future, and there is absolutely no zero risk investment. If I lose my shirt then I lose my shirt.

The poor bastards that invested in these mortgage investment packages because of their "AAA" thinking it would be a safe place to put their money are the real losers. Word to the wise, if it the return rate is 9% and it has a "AAA" rating then someone is mistaken.

Bah. We've survived worse, and probably will again.

27 September 2008

Movie Reviews

Fireproof: The dialogue seemed forced and wooden at times. The comedic relief worked well. It's a safe movie preaching the Evangelical message. There are definitely worse ways to live your life than trying to live like Jesus.

Miracle at St. Anna: Spike Lee makes a movie about African-Americans in WWII to prove to Clint Eastwood that brothers served too. Instead of a movie that is historically accurate Lee plays to multiple racial stereotypes and sets it in WWII. The racist white officers, the white officer who was fair, the black man who believed in working within the system, the black man who wanted to abandon the system, the uneducated black man who had a big heart, the Puerto Rican who just got caught up in it all.

Oh yeah, and Nazi's bayonet babies.

As a war story it isn't anything special. As a commentary on race relations and tensions within the black community it has some depth.

Bottom line, if your marriage is in trouble it wouldn't hurt to see "Fireproof" and take the lesson to heart. If you want a good WWII film, rewatch "Band of Brothers", "Merrill's Marauder's" or "Big Red One".

Buck Fever

Hunting is awesome.

Whether you bag your buck or not, hunting is a physical manifestation of a spiritual connection with our ancestors going back before recorded history.

Walking through the woods, slowly, one step at a time. Softly shifting your weight so that you don't rustle the leaves or crack a twig. Ears alert for the slightest sound that could be a buck heading your way. A brightly colored autumn leaf gently falling from the tree makes a tremendous crash to the ears of a quiet hunter.

I don't rush shots, years of training have given me the habits to not pull the trigger before I know the shot will be successful. I've watched a few bucks dart out of my field of vision and into the woods because of this. And I am ok with that too.

The smell of an autumn forest is something that only comes once a year. You can't put a price on the feel of humid wind brushing against your face.

There has to be a difference between being out in the woods and being immersed in the experience. When the rifle is in my hands it becomes something more intense than simply going for a hike. I have loads for four hunting rifles ready to go. One last trip to the range to verify zero and I'll be ready for opening day, whichever rifle does best from the standing position gets to go hunting.

26 September 2008

Hunting Revolver/Shotgun Needed

So I'm reviewing the WA state hunting regs, and evidently in the last four years someone decided to substitute "pistol" with "revolver type pistol" for hunting in Game Management Units. Also allowed in restricted GMU's are shotguns with slugs or 00 buck.

I happen to be lacking in both the shotgun and revolver department. I am firmly a bolt action rifle man at heart, although I do own the obligatory 1911. It is just unAmerican to not own a 1911.

The cheap solution is to get a single shot break action 12 guage and load it up with Brenneke slugs.

The expensive solution is a 44 Mag or 45 Colt Revolver.

Guess which one I can afford and guess which one I want....

I guess the compromise price wise is a pump action shotgun. But I won't rush it, I can borrow a shotgun from at least three friends, a brother, and one parent so it's not like I'm out in the cold here.

Anyone want to trade an 870 Wingmaster or Ruger Bisley Vaquero for a nice sported m24/47?

Professional Development

If the British Royal Navy set the model for the production of top notch Naval officers, then the Prussian/German Army set the model for top notch Army officers.

As part of my professional development I have been instructed to read "Attacks" by Field Marshal Rommel. This rounds out "On War" by Clausewitz and "Battle Leadership" By Captain Von Schell that I've read on my own inititative. The problem with professional development is that you don't always have the time to read everything you want to while reading everything you have to.

On a broad scale the officer corps of WWII was lead by West Pointers, and filled out with ROTC commanders and staff and fought by OCS alumni at the company level. This made for a very effective fighting force. It would be over four decades before OCS produced a General Officer.

Since the general course of instruction has generally remained the same since WWII I feel confident to say that OCS is meant to produce a competent junior officer. ROTC was meant to produce a professional career officer to command and staff Brigades and Below. West Point has always born the burden of producing officers of the highest caliber, and once was the primary source of professional officers in the US.

Funding battles and modern warfare have changed the way things actually happen. OCS and ROTC alumni have since proven themselves at the highest level of command. Some of the traditions that came from having the bulk of officers come from West Point have taken a backseat to operational needs.

But some traditions remain, and in particular the tradition of guided professional development is alive and well in my unit. Both my Company and Battalion commander have assigned reading. The follow up group discussion with the Captain seemed to surprise him because of the things that his subordinates took away from the texts.

This type of education is different from any other school. In kindegarten all the way through college the goal was to get THE right answer. Here it is to get A right answer, and know WHY your answer will work AND be able to articulate the thought process behind it. As my father says, "Sometimes you have to have a 'critical mass' of information before you can connect the dots and have knowledge."

One thing is for sure, with all the advantages of battle space domination that we have has made terrain less of a concern than with previous generations of leaders. Hence the need for historical study to help us visualize a battlefield fought by equally equipped forces without air support. Rest assured that even as we learn in the Big Army schoolhouse how to use the technology of the future to kill the enemies of the present we study the wars of the past to learn how to kill the enemies of the future. Next up is how to learn the lessons of nation building and apply them at my level.

25 September 2008

The List

When I went through Special Forces Assessment and Selection in 2001 I completed the 24 day course and got the booby prize of a certificate of completion. I did not get selected to attend the Q Course.

One thing that helped me get through that particular period of training was the list of people worth everything. The people I love enough to die for, live in pain for, be tortured for, and ultimately live for.

That list has gotten longer over the years, and the most recent name added to the list is my own. Part of growing up in a conservative Christian culture is that you learn to embrace the worldview that the highest form of achievement is found in self sacrifice. I still hold that particular value to be true and right.

It makes it easy to do the right thing when the people you are serving have names, faces, and stories of their own. When the fight isn't about some grand political freedom, but the American way of life, it's good to have focus points.

But what happens when sacrifice is in vain? My biggest fear is that the US will end up a fascist state the way the Weimar republic voted itself into fascism. The most professional Army in the world by most measures in the 1920's to 1940's was the German Army. The men believed, the officers lead and only the mistakes of Adolph Hitler caused the Germany's defeat in WWII.

Perhaps the soldiers of the Whermacht consoled themselves in the same manner, keeping a list in their head to help them stay focused. Perhaps they thought that they were fighting for the German way of life.

I guess when the people on my list can't criticize the govnernment on their blog, or need papers to travel from point a to point b, that I need to rethink my chosen profession. The people on the list will always be worth dieing for, that won't change. But the people on the list need to have a say in whether the fight is just, right, and necessary.

23 September 2008

Yakistan revisited

The more I train, the more I realize that training is what seperates being in a groove from being in a rut. At least for soldiers. Then again a rut is sort of like a groove, only shallower.

Our Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP's) are pretty well known and almost universally used by our allies in the War on Terror. Which makes playing OPFOR quite easy, if you know how the BLUFOR will do their job you can adopt your TTP's to obliterate the good guys. This is why people don't like to agress against a SEAL team, they are masters at canalizing movement and booby trapping avenues of approach. This forces the BLUFOR right into their killzone on more than one occaision.

So it isn't hard to be a badass OPFOR, what is hard is to give realistic training. I think we accomplished that mission very well. I know my boys are much prouder of how they do business after watching another brigade conduct their business. In order to make it realistic I gave them extremely limited resources with which to engage the BLUFOR, and just like the real enemy they figured out how to best use what they had.

I didn't have much fun, even with minimal assets an Infantry Company spread out over a few hundred square miles needs a lot of moving pieces to keep it fed and watered. But I got fewer ass chewings this time out than last time out. One of these days I'll get an ass chewing free exercise and the world will implode because hell froze over.

14 September 2008

Blogger Rendezvous in Seattle

So for the second time in my life I had a conversation with Joe Huffman, and for the first time conversed with his lovely wife Barbara. If I am in the area next year (I don't know my schedule that far out) I am so attending Boomershoot. Even if I don't shoot I'm sure somebody could use a spotter.

Phil from Random Nuclear Strikes showed up in restrained fury at the idiocy that is Mayor Nickels. Phil has a point, JP Patches would run the city of Seattle without trying to trample on the rights of citizens half as much as "Clown shoes Nickels".

And Ray was waiting for us at the door and quite graciously forgave me my Evergreen alumni status. Evergreen is Berkley Light, but still a repository for hippy breeding. I guess higher education for hippies is like growing mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed crap until ready to go forth into the world to be chewed up by reality.

The topics of discussion ranged from the obligatory pistol shooting stance to full auto firearms (I don't like full auto, but that doesn't mean it should be restricted to MIL/LEO only. I don't like poodles but that doesn't mean they should be restricted to France althought that would probably serve them right). Joe's impression of the ParaOrd pistol and crimson grips was enlightening. When an engineer likes or dislikes something there is usually a darn good reason for it. From the way he described the trigger it sounds like it suffers from the same limitations as the S&W Sigma trigger, you have to dang near break contact with the trigger to keep the gun functioning. That means "double tapping" as a technique is out, and increases bad habits such as milking the grip.

Joe liked the crimson trace grips as a training aid, for the same reasons Tamara laid forth in surprisingly unsnarky tones. Tamara is consistently serious about training, and her training is consistently serious.

My wife talked with Barbara quite a bit, I tried to keep an ear open for multiple conversations and sidebars, but I'm not good at that so I usually got sucked into one or the other as interest waxed and waned. I was never bored simply because as the most feeble minded of the group I did my best not to get totally schooled on every subject.

And I'm pretty sure someone else paid the tax on my breakfast, so thank you and next time please let me return the favor.

After that the wife and I went in search of beer, Yuengling Lager to be precise, and turned up empty. The Naval Exchange at Naval Station Everett lacked any of the bottled goodness, and 99 Bottles in Federal Way doesn't stock it. So I'll just have to settle for one of the many excellent local brews to celebrate the end of the Yakima mission in ten days.

I leave tomorrow for Yakistan, and won't be back for a while. But hopefully I'll be able to post happy stories of riding around like a Sheik in an SUV while making sure my boys get their firearms training on.

12 September 2008

A little work of fiction

The world smoldered. It would be more dramatic to say "The world burned" but to Tom it wasn't intense enough to merit such a definite verb as "burned". But the rumble of the Catepillar turbo diesel muffled the rifle reports and machine gun chatter, and what fires lit up the night were far apart but enough to render NODS useless.

Looking through the sighting screen Tom panned left and right, searching for targets from inside the IAV. Smoke from the fires reflected the dirty yellow light in oddly comforting ways. The big machine rumbled on, part of a larger formation of armored vehicles bent on delivering death and destruction (but not in any particular order).

The coolies were quiet, their dark brown faces pale inside the dark hull. The normal chatter of dissonant sing song language usually increased when they got nervous. Right now they were scared shitless.

"1.5 clicks to objective" came out over the radio net. Tom didn't care who said it, nor did he acknowledge the transmission. Tom's two words, "Drop Ramp", brought in a gust of hot dry air that promised a torturous dismounted advance. "Ah hell, follow me" Tom sighed in resigned tones as he made his way from the gunners seat and out the rear ramp. The smoke smelled of wood, dung, and acrid petrochemicals most likely from tires.

The machine gun chatter got louder. In the distance a PKM position ricocheted ball and tracer rounds off the hull. The gunner of the next IAV over engaged with the heavy Browning M2. The electronic earmuffs worked as promised, Tom felt rather than heard the heavy slugs tear out of the barrel on their path to obliteration. Cordite joined the melange of odors wafting through the night air.

It is easy to figure out which way the main body of the enemy is, even if you can't see outside the vehicle as Tom had. The driver always orients the nose to the biggest threat. "You bastards had better follow me." Tom rushed from behind the vehicle to the corner of a building. He raised the barrel of his SAW and waited for a target to appear. None did. Bullets from enemy positions began cutting away at the masonry at his corner.

The gunners in the IAV's launched 40 mm grenades and 50 caliber API at the enemy positions as they found them. And so it remained the same, rush to a position, search for the enemy, shoot if you can. One to five meter rushes for 1,500 meters worth of terrain.

Tom noticed his throat was dry but his bladder was full. He relieved himself on the ground from the prone position, the urine pooling enough to ooze back into his uniform. A few sips from the hydration pack took the edge off the thirst.

Combat roll to the left, push up, rush to the next position. 4 meters this time. Scan for targets. The fires burned closer together now, heaps of trash and cars both chased away the darkness. A huge hand slapped Tom in the chest as he tried to rush forward. He fell down gasping for air that wouldn't come. The coolies crawled to him and pulled him back into the deep entryway of the building.

Up ahead a low concrete building resisted all attempts to break it down by M2 and Mk19 fire. Progress stalled. Tom's breathing returned to normal. 5 minutes later the building blew up from the inside. If you could replay the last second in slow motion you would have seen the artillery rocket impact dead center of the roof.

On and on. Finally the IAV's pulled into a perimeter security circle at the objective, Tom put the coolies, four of them now, into a hasty fighting position and placed two rocks to give left and right firing limits. He made his way back to the IAV and crawled in through the troop door. The environmental cooling unit was working properly, chilling Tom's sweat and urine soaked uniform.

Tom fell asleep.

Winning the hearts and minds

On the back of a GI Joe action figure there was a quote, pardon the paraphrase.

"There are two types of Green Berets, the kind that goes into the jungle and tries to impress the locals with advance technology and American know how, and the kind that bites the head off a snake, chugs down a local brew and says 'FOLLOW ME!'."

There is so much about leadership that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. The official leadership types are directive, delegative, and combination as well as situations where each type is appropriate. But the only way to hammer down your leadership style is to be put in a situation where you have to lead. If you succeed good, if you fail then you need to try something different. That is one of the good things about Ranger school, you will recycle until you get an effective leadership style hammered down.

This generation of soldiers is different from other generations, but really not so much. Captain Adolph Von Schell of the German Army wrote in the early 1930's that "American soldiers are always asking 'Why?'." Which is one of the biggest complaints that Army leaders have with the current crop of Soldiers.

The reason why Soldiers ask "Why?" is because they don't trust you. They want to know the reasoning behind an order. They do not trust us to have their best interest in mind. So you know that you have built an effective team when the "Why?" is only used in the After Action Review.

It is just the same with Iraqi or Afghani soldiers. Building trust is what builds a team. If you don't have a team you won't be effective. And quite a bit of the problem in both of those nations is that team building is very fricking difficult.

I wish that I could share here what I have learned from actual examples but I will not because the bad guys read blogs too. But I will say that the same dedication that we show our fellow warriors will win this thing. One of the reasons that Special Forces are so effective is that they immerse themselves into a culture and learn how to do things within that culture. Now it is the Big Army's time to learn that skillset.

Because we can go anywhere on Earth and try to impress the locals with advance technology and American know-how that win battles, but at the end of the day it is how we act that wins the hearts and minds. The stereotypical "Arrogant American" works against us in a culture that has experience 30 years of war. But when two men who have fought together, bled together, sit down over a wood fire and share a meal, it doesn't matter that one is 400 years behind the other. Trust can break through the language and literacy barrier because it is built on actions.

If a picture is worth a thousand words then actions are worth a thousand pictures. When are actions are right, just, and honorable by the standards of our allies, we will make more gains than building roads, wells, and schools.

Have faith, because part of this post isn't about explaining how to win the hearts and minds of Iraqi's and Afghani's, it is to win the hearts and minds of those who don't believe that we can win. We can win, not only because of our technology and know how, but because there are warriors out there who cannot settle for failure. They may look like young tattooed punks, or slow talking rednecks, but they are warriors who bridge the gap between cultures.

09 September 2008

Iron Sights

Don, the Armed Schoolteacher, wrote a good piece on the difficulties of truly becoming a rifleman.

One of the biggest difficulties is learning to use iron sights. To effectively use iron sights you need to focus on the front sight, leaving the rear sight and the target fuzzy. It is sometimes difficult to keep a tight shot group on a fuzzy target.

But if you can do that consistently you can hit a target out to the limits of your rifle, if you can compensate for wind...

One of the draws of shooting is that it is like golf, practice makes it easier to repeat a performance, but it's kind of impossible. The "zone" that gives us clarity in the moment happens in all great athletes. The "theta" brainwaves change, our concentration changes, being in the zone is awesome.

Of course I've never been in "the zone" playing golf.

08 September 2008

Feminism = Choice?

The phrase "My body, my choice" evokes images in my mind of rampant feminism, the militant kind where if you are man you are expected to have no say in reproductive options.

But it doesn't mean, "I can choose to have this baby" it really means "I can choose to have an abortion".

The Sarah Palin choice to bring a down syndrome baby to term has re-ignited the debate over choice. Everybody wants a healthy baby, in fact we all want super babies that grow up into exceptional people. Part of the American Dream is that the next generation will be smarter, stronger, wiser, and happier than this generation.

The left believes that the there is only so much of the pie to go around, so that in order for someone to get more someone else must get less. This means that in their world a forever dependent, someone disabled from birth, will take away vital resources from someone who could potentially be a taxpayer to support other dependents on the welfare state.

You see leftists believe that they have a right to your resources, and a disabled child is a drain on your resources.

It's an ugly truth, but it is the truth.

07 September 2008

Reloading thoughts

Today was my hunting buddies birthday. I gave him twenty rounds of handloaded 7mm Rem Mag for his hunting rifle. I still have plenty of components left so I'll use those up to make sure he can practice with his hunting load without fear of running out of bullets.

I still haven't narrowed what rifle I'm going to hunt with this year. The short list is a Husqvarna 30-06, Winchester m70 in 270 win, a 91/30 PU sniper, a Finnish m28/30, or one of several 8x57 Mausers.

I love bolt action rifles. A gun store clerk once told me that "customers usually settle in on one style of firearm that they really enjoy, usually they'll have one or two of every type, but a bunch of their favorite." He mentioned one guy who bought a new shotgun every other month, another who owned nothing but semi-auto handguns, and then he said, "You always check the used rack for a gently used Mauser".

A bolt action rifle can be the basis for a formidable fighting force, as could the venerable 30-30 lever rifle. Give me men willing to discipline themselves to train as a concerted team with nothing more than common hunting arms and I (and most any other military leader from the US Army or Marine Corps) can give you a formidable guerrilla force.

Which is why the estimated 80 to 100 million gun owners in the US give me a warm fuzzy feeling. That is the largest untapped militia force in the world. US shooters consume over 9 billion rounds of ammunition annually.

Why would any politician want to disarm the US people? Oh yeah, an armed population can only be subjugated by consent.

A democrats comment...

Reading through this, http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/09/05/obama-im-not-going-to-take-your-guns-away/ , I found this little gem of a comment.

If people stopped believing every piece of garbage that is forwarded via email and actually read Obama’s policies they would see that he’s not taking guns away, he’s not raising taxes unless you make $250k+ (and even then he’s not raising them, he’s repealing the irresponsible Bush cuts), he’s CUTTING TAXES for 95% of the country, and a host of other mistruths and flat out lies being spewed over the internet and at the convention. It might be a shock to hear, but almost all democrats and independents are actually in support of the second amendment, but just want to keep semi automatic and automatic guns off the streets.

Comment by anon - September 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm

If anyone believes that this is reasonable, rational, and logical. Let me put a few things straight.

Raising taxes on the rich is raising taxes. Repealing tax cuts IS raising taxes. Taxing one portion of the population more than another causes ripple effects, or as Rush (PBUH) likes to preach, "trickle down economics".

Democtrats who "support the 2nd amendment" and want to keep "semi automatic and automatic guns off the street" DO NOT SUPPORT THE SECOND AMENDMENT. A gun is a gun is a gun, whether it is my scary 308 win "Target" rifle or a my 1911 semi-automatic 45 ACP pistol. Once the dems got the "semi-automatic guns" off the street they would find that it has no impact on crime, and if you want examples take a look at (formerly) Great Britain, South Africa, Russia, and any other utopian workers paradise.

Sorry anonymous, the internet isn't spreading lies, the internet is spreading truth on this matter. I will not compromise on raising taxes for some, I will not compromise on gun control. Having only my hand cut off as a compomise that you didn't take the whole arm still leaves me helpless. So go suck on your bong and leave the adults to run the country.

Oh yeah, and Sarah Palin is hot.

06 September 2008

Home Improvements: bathroom fan

Step One: Purchase House. This step involves credit applications, home inspection fees, sacrificing a chicken during the full moon, much negotiating, and finally signing your life away in a mortgage.

Step two: Notice that the bathroom exhaust fan makes a "RrRrRrRrrRrRrr" noise when it is put into operation.

Step three: Take your spouse to one of the big "Home Improvement" stores and discuss whether to simply replace the 1970's era piece of crap with a current piece of crap or spend a few extra dollars and get something that not only moves more air but also has a light on it.

Step four: Buy the most expensive one they have.

Step five: Realize exactly how much of a pain it will be to install a new fan box instead of reusing the current fan box. Procrastinate while searching for the receipt, just in case you change your mind.

Step six: End the procrastination, buy a ladder.

Step seven: Use the ladder to get up into the attic crawlspace to uninstall the old fan box and install the new fan box.

Step eight: Crawl up and down the ladder a dozen times.

Step nine: Curse for about five minutes at the top of your lungs. Get in the car. Go back to a large "Home Improvement" store and purchase the stuff that you need to finish the installation of the fan box.

Step ten: With the fan box installed, attempt to connect the wiring.

Step eleven: Curse for five minutes then turn off the electricity at the breaker panel.

Step twelve: Go back down the ladder to find the instructions on how to wire the box. Notice that there are two wiring options. One requires a single switch (which you have) and one requires a double switch (which you also have, but it is wired to a different circuit).

Step thirteen: Converse with the she devil formerly known as your loving wife on which particular wiring solution her highness requires for maximum potty effectiveness.

Step fourteen: Forget what your wife said and do the simplest single switch solution.

Step fifteen: Your DONE in the attic crawlspace, breath a sight of relief and go to the bathroom.

Step sixteen: Break the toilet seat cover while using a multimeter to try to figure out why the fan isn't getting power.

Step seventeen: Curse for five minutes.

Step eighteen: Notice that a wire nut came loose. Ignore the snarky comment from the she devil about "that's not the only nut that came loose".

Step nineteen: Replace wire nut, screw in fan, screw in light baseplate, install lights, place light cover on. Flip the switch to the "On" position and be rewarded with both light and moving air.

Step twenty: Promise the ever patient and loving wife that you will replace the toilet seat and cover tomorrow.

05 September 2008

The purpose for a government database...

Is to restrict the freedom of the individual.

If you can think of any exception to this rule, I would like to hear it.

03 September 2008

Only a deputy for six years...

The vultures of the local news are lamenting the death of an officer who "was only a deputy for six years".

Pictures of Deputy Ann dot the television screen quite frequently.

In related news Concealed Pistol Licenses are up 43%. Because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away, and they are only human.

I had a drill sergeant who impressed the hell out of me. Ranger tab, CIB, airborne wings, combat patch from the 82nd Airborne. His money quote? "You can have millions of dollars worth of training, and any redneck with a shotgun can kill you."

The perp went through a neighborhood and shot people. The reason why this makes such big news is because it is a rare event. Rare events are very very very hard to predict or stop. Earthquakes are a rare event. Lightning strikes are a rare event. Tornadoes are a rare event.

It is stupid to waste time and money on trying to prevent rare events. The TSA gropes grandma with all the humanity of a Nazi doctor not to make us safer, but to make it look like the government is doing something to make you safer.

At the end of the day sober minds will ponder what could have been done to prevent this tragedy. A liberal will come to the conclusion that further restricting access to firearms would be helpful, somehow ignoring the rise in violence that is sure to follow. A conservative will come to the conclusion that more training would be the best way to prevent this from happening again.

But no matter how well you are trained, how rigorous your training, some times bad things happen to good people. Doesn't make it any easier to swallow, when good people die we all are lessened.

02 September 2008

Big, medium, and small.

There are agreed upon standards for what constitutes a "Big Bore" rifle, generally over 40 caliber. Medium bore is between 32 caliber and 40 caliber (or between 8 and 10 millimeter for the metric measurements). Small bore is 8mm and below.

Over the years many men and women have put forth what it would take to have a "one gun" solution. And pretty much they all agree that you can get pretty close, but one gun will simply not do it all.

The most popular candidates are the larger small bores and medium bore rifles. The 308 Win, 30-06, 8x57, 338 anythings, 35's, 36's (9.3 for the metric folks) and 375 calibers. Of all of these options, it is really the medium bores that make the most sense when dangerous game is involved.

But the medium bores are not "stoppers". "Stoppers" are big bore, big bullet, heavy recoil options that are used to stop a charging elephant or buffalo. So if you don't need to stop charging rhinos or bears then you don't need a big bore.

The small bore options offer a lot, especially if you don't ever plan on hunting where dangerous game roam. But if you do, then a medium bore makes a lot of sense. Hand loads can tailor very light pistol bullets for short range varminting, plinking, and practice.

But if you don't hand load, then a small bore rifle in a common caliber will do just as good as it always does. Having one rifle in 270 Win or 30-06 will serve you well all over the world. Having a common caliber means you can procure ammunition easily even in remote locations.

Over the years I've witnessed a few people desire "something more unique" in a rifle. Not because a 270 or 30-06 was inadequate, but because "adequate" just is not "overkill". Unique usually means "expensive" in the gun world. Expensive is ok, and it sure is fun to drool over a gee whiz bang magnum. But an old Chevy truck will get you from point A to point B, maybe just not as fast.