Life is Hard. Wear a Helmet.

Life is Hard. Wear a Helmet

Virginia State Constitution: Article 1; Section 13
That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Alabama State Constitution: Article 1: Section 26
That every Citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the State.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

War Story #2

This time I'm going back to Germany again, to the site of the infamous Tic incident.

Way back in the first Gulf War, I ended up on a "Desert Star" rotation. We were on C-141 Starlifters out of McGuire AFB, and forward based in Frankfurt am Main, and would fly a "milk run" down to Saudi and back twice a week. Usually with a stop-off somewhere on the way back for crew rest. Out on TDY's (Temporary Duty) we would spend time hanging around with the aircrews drinking beer and telling tales. (There I was..) When we could wrangle some time off, the crews would sign us onto a manifest as "mission essential ground personnel" (MEGP) so we couldn't get bumped by some overly officious supply clerk, and we would ride along on the milk runs. It was a win-win for everyone. The aircrews could relax and skip having to do their own pre- and post-flight inspections, they wouldn't have to refuel their own jet and the loadmasters were more than happy to have a few extra pallet-pushers around. We wrench benders got a little excitement out of the deal, and got to drink in exotic places all over Europe. (Priorities are a funny thing when you're in your early twenties.)

One particular run turned into a smashing success, and a tribute to the Joint Forces concept. Started out with a straight run down to Saudi, stopping just long enough to kick the pallets out the back, grab some gas and get back on the road. Next stop Aviano AB, Italy. We spent our time enroute planning a historic evening of drinking and debauching. In those days, (before the trouble in the Balkans) Aviano was a sleepy little town tucked in to the foothills of the Alps, where half the women looked like Swiss milkmaids. There was a small Navy detachment there, and one or two Air Force trash-haulers would come through every month. That was it.

The Nav was napping (What else are Navigators good for?) so I jumped in his seat and got a great view over the pilot's shoulder for approach and landing. Man, that place looked like a ghost town. Once on the ground, we followed some Italian guy in a beat-up little pickup truck because he waved his arm out the window for us to do so. Hey, whatever works...right? Once we had her parked, we scrambled into action. Seventeen hours ground time, and every minute spent prepping for the next day's takeoff was a minute without Swiss milkmaids (or Italian) There was cargo to be loaded, fuel to be pumped and inspections to be inspected.

We were already hard at work by the time the pilot climbed down out of the cockpit and stepped into the latrine off the cargo bay. Everyone was shocked into reverent silence as he slammed his way out of there cursing to beat the band.

Did I mention that there were fourteen guys on the plane?
Fourteen guys who had been flying all day.
Fourteen guys who had spent about the last month drinking good German Hefeweizen. That's wheat beer, kinda like a beer with an entire day's supply of fiber...in every single beer. Yeah, this is where the story gets ugly.

The pilot gathered up all his MEGP's (six of us) "YOU are a bunch of sick bastards!" "You will have that latrine emptied before you leave this jet!" "YOU will have that entire latrine hosed out!" (Apparently, his approach and landing were a little rougher than expected, and some interesting wave motion theories had played themselves out in there.) "If I get back on this jet, and that latrine doesn't smell like roses, YOU will be finding your own ride home!" At this point, the flight engineer's giggling fit was too much for him to control, and the pilot rounded on him next. "And YOU are in charge! You've been complaining about having the trots for three days now!" He stomped off the plane and was gone, taking the co-pilot with him. (Presumably to find a latrine at Base Ops.)

No sweat, MSgt B had everything under control. (Actually, I was just SrA B in those days.) I hopped up into the cockpit and tuned in Ground control.

SrA B - Aviano Ground, XYZ Heavy

AG - Go ahead, XYZ Heavy

SrA B - Ground, we need a fleet service vehicle. Thanks.
(Fleet service vehicle is code for a 'turd-herder' truck. Just hook the hose up to the 4" poppet valve, yank the T-handle to open it up, and suck everything out of the latrine tank in about one minute. Easy peasy.)

AG - Uh..say again XYZ Heavy?

SrA B - A fleet service vehicle, you know...we need to get the latrine serviced

AG - (pregnant pause) Stand-by, XYZ Heavy
(Crap, they're going to have to call someone in and it's going to take hours...)

AG - XYZ Heavy, Ground

SrA B - Go ahead, Ground

AG - We don't have one of those
(Did he just say they didn't have one? WTF?) The flight engineer was up there with me, listening in. "Man, no way I'm telling the Maj they don't have a turd-herder. You're telling him."

I thought about that for a moment...

SrA B - Ground, this is XYZ Heavy again, we are really going to need to get this taken care of tonight...now.

AG - Sorry XYZ Heavy, wish I could help.

I thought about it some more...

SrA B - Aviano Ground. Could you just send out a fire truck? I can dump the contents on the ramp, and they can hose it off into the grass.

AG - (Pregnant pause...again) Standby XYZ Heavy, I'll check with Navy across the field and see what they have.

SrA B - Standing by. Thanks for your help.
Now we're making some progress! Navy planes have latrines right? We'll be sitting pretty in just a moment.

AG - XYZ Heavy, Navy will be sending someone over shortly

SrA B saves the day! (Crowd cheering noise) Everyone got back to work, and we finished up in no time. Within a couple hours, we were all standing around the nose of the jet, smoking and joking, and waiting for the Navy turd-herder truck to show up.

It didn't show up. The Navy apparently doesn't have turd-herder trucks. (I guess their aircrews are specially trained to hold it for up to 12 hours or something.) What did show up was the beginning of a nightmare. We saw it coming for some time. A small tug trundling down the taxiway. None of us paid it any real attention until it pulled up to us at the nose of the jet.

Sitting in the driver's seat of the tug was a young female (Actually quite pretty, despite the fact she was wearing those gahdawful bell-bottom dungarees) and sitting on the back deck of the tug was a large 55-gallon rubber trash can, complete with garbage bag turned neatly over the rim, for effect. "They sent me over to help you guys get rid of some trash..." 

Monday, January 30, 2012

In the Electric Mist

With Confederate Dead

I've always been a big fan of Tommy Lee Jones. When I heard he did a movie from James Lee Burke's series about deputy Dave Robicheaux, I had to check it out.
I saw this a long time ago. I'm just posting about it now because I caught it on one of the networks just the other night. Still as good as the first time I saw it.
Awesome sauce.




I highly recommend the Dave Robicheaux series to anyone who enjoys reading.
Here's the whole list, in order:
The Neon Rain (1987)
Heaven's Prisoners
Black Cherry Blues
A Morning for Flamingos
A Stained White Radiance
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead
Dixie City Jam
Burning Angel
Cadillac Jukebox
Sunset Limited
Purple Cane Road
Jolie Blon's Bounce
Last Car to Elysian Fields
Crusader's Cross
Pegasus Descending
The Tin Roof Blowdown
Swan Peak
The Glass Rainbow (2010)
Creole Belle (Coming July 2012)

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I've got a war story ready to post, I just wanted to get this off my plate first. I've been on a movie kick this weekend.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dr. Strangelove

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
...premiered on this date in 1964.

That movie had some of the funniest scenes I've ever seen. Not much comedy has been able to touch it since.

True to the Air Force way:


Side note: The fruit of my loins, young A1C B., works on the venerable old BUFF today. She still stands ready to bring the Finger of God down upon our enemies.

Stanley Kubrick directed a list of some of the biggest hit movies out there.
A Clockwork Orange
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Shining

and last but not least:



This is the part where some douchenozzle* with verbal diarrhea outspoken free-thinker jumps into the comments and tells me how much of a commie/gun-hater/hippie asshole/pedophile Stanley Kubrick was, and how I should never ever watch any of his movies. Dude, let me get it out of the way early: I don't really know dick about Stanley Kubrick. I just like movies, and I happen to notice that several on my list of all-time favorites were directed by him.

* - Thanks to Tam, douchenozzle is the Word of the Month

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Morning Coffee #3

Helluva week. I'm limping around on bum knees and bent over like I'm 90 years old. Nothing my old friend Motrin and some ice packs won't fix.
Spent all day Friday in fall protection gear. Remember that old Swiss Seat harness from rappelling? Yeah, no one's really been able to improve that design much over the years.
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On a Wing and a Whim
I actually was following this lady's blog last year, and then "lost" it with a computer crash.
An honest-to-god Alaskan bush pilot, who blogged her flight in a 1941 Taylorcraft from Alaska down here to the lower 48. I believe it was around June-July last year.
Guys, you can talk tough all you want, but if you're standing next to this lady, you're standing next to a certified "Bad Motherf*cker".

The Miller is looking to sign people on for the 2nd NRA HQ Blogshoot.
I bet he'll even let people from Maryland and D.C. attend. I'm already on the list. Come on out Feb 18 and we'll do some shooting.
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I'll be putting some words to paper (figuratively speaking) this weekend. I'll get some war stories posted some time this week. Promise. I enjoy writing stories a lot more than just posting a quick blurb about how damn busy I am.
That being said, I'll leave you with a dose of inappropriate humor and get to work....
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Feeling my age

Motrin is your friend.
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My bright spot this week:

It appears I've won a giveaway from Endo Mike at Every Day, No Days Off - Gun Blog.
I've got a copy of Proclaiming Liberty, by Philip Mulivor coming my way.

Mike's been on my blogroll from the beginning. He's got great videos up every day. (Hence the title, Duh)
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Here's to hoping I can swing a day off this weekend.



I think I first saw this video over at Dave's

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thunder in my hand

Yesterday I used a 4 1/2 foot pipe wrench that weighed about 50-60 pounds.
Broke loose a four inch fitting we had been fighting for an hour.
I felt like Thor.


Aside from that, my suck meter was pegged out all day.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Grilled Cheese Musing

Throw a can of condensed tomato soup on the burner on medium. (If you like it creamy, mix the can half-and-half with milk and water, instead of just water)

Butter your bread up real good like. Both sides.

Drop two slices in the frying pan. Medium high heat.

When they're browned on one side, flip them over and drop two slices of cheese on one of them.
I'm not talking about some Gruyere or Muenster. I'm talking about good old Kraft pasteurized, processed, individually wrapped cheese slices. Don't be a pussy, you're heart's not going to last forever, no matter what you do.

Here's the kicker. Throw a thin slice of red onion on there too. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Put the other fried slice of bread on top and fry up the outside of the sandwich for a few minutes, getting it nice and brown and letting that cheese melt. Turn it a few times. Think about how good it's going to taste.

When it's done, toss it onto a plate and let it cool for a minute before you cut it in half. Diagonally.

Sit down at the table and start eating that bad boy. Make sure you dip it in the tomato soup. Swirl that baby around in there for a few seconds, make sure you get it soaked into the bread before you chomp it down.

Unh...huh..hmmm...oh, oh, Oh, Ooooohhhh....Yeah!
I just had a foodgasm. Picture it.


P.S. - Life can be hard sometimes. No matter how bad your day was, if you get to go home at night and have grilled cheese and tomato soup with a beautiful woman, you've got it made brother.

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I was having some Home on the Range with my morning coffee, and I just had to share this tidbit.

I remember the sound of taps played at a funeral of someone I knew, the wreckage of duty crashing on the ears of those who are left. But it was a sound that fell without lasting damage for we were raised to be fighters, stronger than wreckage, taller than fear. Honor the fallen and continue the fight. ~ Brigid

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Congrats Larry

Congratulations to the Corrieas, on the birth of Corriea 2.4.
(10 pounds, 9 ounces...good gawd)


I'm getting the writing itch, but I'm putting in some serious hours right now. If I tried to spend my evenings writing, Mrs B would be kicking my ass. At least she still enjoys my company. (Pay attention Wirecutter)

Monday, January 23, 2012

I might actually miss a day

Going to be a rough week. I'll be putting in a lot of 12-14 hour days.

Y'all have fun, I'll keep trying to post something every day. No promises.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Coffee (on Sunday)

Up early for work. We'll see if I'm going to have a good week or not.

A new addition to the "List of Awesomeness"
I ran across Tin & Phoenix at the suggestion of America's 1st Sgt.
Damn, that lady can write. No joke.

My "Post of the Week" has NOTHING TO DO WITH SOPA or PIPA
The Feral Irishman teaches us how to communicate.
He overloads the graphics, so the page takes a moment. It's worth the wait.
(Maybe it's just this craptastic old laptop.)

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Sorry folks. This foray into fiction is going nowhere fast. My Muse sent me wandering into the desolate landscape of the gritty crime novel. It's really not my thing.
So,
Free to a Good Home:

The Drive

Chicago

Marie's Apartment

Feel free to help yourself, and good luck. (and good riddance)
If you manage to extend it past the opening I wrote, please feel free to drop me a line and let me know how it turns out.
I'm going back to the fiction I do best, telling war stories.
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From The Moscow Puzzles:

A man has to take a wolf, a goat, and some cabbage across a river. His rowboat has enough room for the man plus either the wolf or the goat or the cabbage. If he takes the cabbage with him, the wolf will eat the goat. If he takes the wolf, the goat will eat the cabbage. Only when the man is present are the goat and the cabbage safe from their enemies. All the same, the man carries wolf, goat, and cabbage across the river.
How?
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Saturday Sunday funny.


From Wirecutter  <-- If you're easily offended...whatever you do, don't click on that link.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Still don't know when to shut up

When my daughter (Miss B) and I went off to visit the lawyer yesterday, I realized that I had a load of garbage for the dump still in the back of the truck. Mrs B and I had loaded it Thursday and I promptly forgot about it completely.

No problem, we hauled our trash all the way up into town with us, planning to stop at the dump on the way home.

I was fashionably attired in jeans and a sweatshirt, with my Ruger SP101 in a classic black leather pancake. That way I was able to tastefully conceal my hand-cannon while in town at the lawyer's office (lawyers can be touchy about that sort of thing, you know) and I could easily let it hang outside the sweatshirt once we got back down into the parts of Virginia that are normal.

The lawyer visit went very well, and Miss B and I headed for the dump with smiles on our faces (at least until we got onto Rt 95 southbound....at 2:30pm...on a Friday)

The Stateys were out there fucking with people constantly. I'm sure they were having a blast. Here's how it works:

Statey #1 gets on the highway and promptly positions himself in the far left lane at 55 mph, watching the traffic jam up in his rear-view mirror and chuckling softly to himself. After a couple miles of this, he slides on over to the right and hops off at the next ramp. As soon as he's fully committed to the exit, a few dozen feet come crashing down onto accelerator pedals. I swear, it's like fucking NASCAR, you can feel it in your chest when all that horsepower lights off at once. Even that young, up-and-coming advertising executive in his Prius is hunched anxiously over the steering wheel, urging his little tin shitbox forward and fighting for a pole position.

About 200 yards down the road, Statey #2 comes rolling down on the next entrance ramp onto the highway, and 100+ brake lights come on all at once. It's the funniest thing you ever saw, and I'm sure the Stateys get a big laugh out of it. Statey #2 promptly takes over the position of riding-the-left-lane-at-55-and-chuckling for another few miles. You gotta hand it to those boys, they sure love their job.

Eventually, after our pleasant (tooth-grinding, adrenaline-rushing, Tourette's-inducing) drive, we made it to the county dump. That's where I had my second pleasant surprise of the day.

When we pulled into position to unload, I noticed a guy a couple spaces down was carrying a nice semi-auto in a paddle holster. This is not so uncommon here in the normal parts of Virginia, so I didn't really give it much thought. We tossed all our garbage into the bins and got ready to climb back in the truck; that was when I saw Mr paddle holster was right next to us, dumping some used oil. We did the nod-and-smile thing, and he asked me what I was carrying. We exchanged gun info and chatted for a moment. Turns out the guy was Bruce Jackson, board member of VirginiaCitizens Defense League.

That's way cool. You can see their clickable logo on the right side of my page. I've been a member on and off for several years now. They're a great group of RKBA activists, and they have done a world of good for gun owners here in Virginia. Meeting the guy at the dump felt a little awkward, kinda like bumping into Bruce Willis in a men's room somewhere. You're not really sure you want to shake hands, but you don't want to be impolite.

Anyway, if you're a Virginia gun owner, you should drop them some dues and get yourself a VCDL membership. I guarantee you, your money will be put to good use.

(Upon closer inspection, I realized he was carrying in a Serpa. That's right, a Tex Grubner special. Hee Hee).

(Don't tell him I said that...)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lawyers

I have to meet with a lawyer today. Not sure how I feel about that.
I'll just quote LawDog on the subject:

My friend, you see that person with the big white grin in the thousand-dollar suit sitting next to the defendant? You know why that suit costs a thousand dollars? Because it has to be specially tailored around the dorsal fin.

I am sure that I didn't want to be away from the plant today. I'm one of those strange people who loves their work.
(No. It's not about crime, it's about money. If it was just about a crime, I wouldn't be so upset.)

I don't really have anything else to say.
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This one's for you, LawDog:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Marie's Apartment

The old brownstone had some miles on it, but it was well tended and the front steps were clean and free of sleeping bums. A step up from the old neighborhood. The mailboxes just inside the door show  M. Sauvry as the resident in apartment D, top floor. Harry takes his time climbing the stairs, staying close to the wall to avoid the squeaking treads as much as possible. Stopping a few feet down the hall from the door, he pulls out his cell phone and calls one more time. Listening to the faint ring coming from inside Marie's apartment, he easily hears someone walk out from the back to the front room and stop. He pictures Chuckie standing by the phone looking down at the caller I.D.. He may not recognize the new cell number, but he's sure to recognize the 804 area code.

He steps forward and knocks on the door; three hard and quick raps. He calls it the "professional" knock. He always hears "I thought you were the UPS guy...the Super...the mailman" when he uses that knock. Sure enough, footsteps approach the door, and he can hear Chuckie mumbling some choice words as he snatches the door open.

Chuckie's mouth drops into a classic "O" of surprise and his eyes pop wide open as the face he sees finally registers. He doesn't stand a chance. Harry is already coming up and forward from his flexed knees as Chuckie tries to slam the door shut. There is a satisfying thud as the edge of the heavy oak door catches Chuckie in the face and knocks him back into the room. Harry is inside and on top of him as the blood starts pouring from his nose. Too stunned to resist, Chuckie merely moans and spits blood from his mouth as he is deftly rolled over and the flexcuffs are zipped onto his wrists.

"Oo fuggen digg! Oo broge mah doze!"

"You got what you had comin', Chuckie" says Harry. Actually, he feels a little bad about the nose. He didn't mean to catch him like that with the door, but the adrenaline spike was a little more than he expected. He can feel it fading now, a slight tremor starts in his hands as he consciously slows his breathing. Must be the lack of sleep.

He hauls Chuckie none too gently to his feet. "Anyone else home Chuckie?" Chuckie hangs his head, dripping blood on the throw rug just inside the door. "Fuggen digg." a little softer now, is all Chuckie manages. His upper lip is split a little as well, and more blood sprays when he speaks, peppering Harry's shoes.

Shutting the front door, Harry pulls Chuckie along toward the back of the apartment, looking for the bathroom and making sure Chuckie doesn't have any new friends lurking in a back bedroom. Marie has done well for herself. It's a small place, done up with real taste. A couple persian rugs here and there, potted plants, nice furniture. Harry remembers Marie at fourteen; a skinny tomboy in jeans and T-shirt who had a reputation for fighting dirty. This place doesn't fit the image and he's mildly curious how she turned out after all these years.

He sits Chuckie down on the toilet and mops up some of the blood with toilet paper. He shoves a couple twists into Chuckie's nostrils as Chuckie screeches and curses, spraying more blood from his split lip onto the front of Harry's shirt. "Dammit Chuckie, hold still! You're just making this worse." Harry says. Chuckie complies, seeming to deflate a bit as his shoulders droop.

"Harry, I'm in drubble." Chuckie almost whispers, after he's downed a couple pain killers with Harry's help. He looks up at Harry with a hangdog expression. Harry finds this more annoying than he expected.  "No shit. Really?" says Harry, not wanting to listen to the whining and pleading he has become so inured to in this job. "You got pulled over for a traffic violation...while you were smoking weed in the car...with guns in the trunk....and you're a convicted felon. Did I miss anything?" He jerks Chuckie up from the toilet seat and shoves him roughly out toward the front door, letting his shoulders catch a couple door frames along the way.

"You're more trouble than you're worth, Chuckie." Harry continues to berate him as they cross the living room. The detritus of Chuckie's seclusion is a stark contrast to the neatness of the rest of the apartment. An empty pizza box, beer cans, and an Easy Rider magazine clutter the coffee table. The couch is still made up with blankets and a pillow. "And you're a fucking slob. I can't see why your cousin puts up with you running here every time you get in trouble. Seems like she's got a good thing going, and here you come to fuck it all up."

Chuckie remains silent as they walk down the stairs to the front of the building. Man, I've got to get hold of that temper. Harry is thinking. Fuck that. Chuckie needs someone to tell him the truth now and then. But he still feels awkward now that he's captured and cuffed an old friend. They walk without talking, Harry's grip firm on his elbow as they cross the street. A young Hispanic man walking his pit bull stops and stares at the two men, one in cuffs and a bloody shirt, as they cross in front of him and enter the alley.

He sits Chuckie in the back seat, leaving the door open. "Hold on, I'll get those flexcuffs." Harry says as he walks behind the car and pops the trunk. He drops the extra flexcuffs, the mace and the baton into the trunk and grabs the standard cuffs to chain Chuckie to the ring in the back seat. His lack of sleep must have affected him more than he thought. He never heard or sensed anything until he felt the impact on the back of his head and neck. He fell forward into the trunk and tried to push himself back upright, but his arms would not obey his commands.

Harry woke up face down in the trunk of his car. He stood up straight and the dizziness struck instantly. His stomach lurched and threatened to revolt. He bit back the bile that rose in the back of his throat and made his way slowly around the side of the car, holding onto it for support as the ground continued to shift under his feet.

Aw shit.

Chuckie's feet hung out the still open rear door of the sedan, the left one jerking spasmodically.

Aw shit.

Harry finally made it to the door.  Chuckie lay across the back seat. His blood had sprayed liberally around the interior of the car. Harry made out the two neat holes in his forehead and one more in the left cheek. The eye above it protruding halfway from the socket, completely red from burst blood vessels.

"Sir?" came a voice from the opening of the alley. Harry turned to see who was there. Too fast. The ground lurched beneath him again, throwing him staggering a few feet to one side. He grabbed at the brick wall for support, but fell to his knees as his stomach finally gave up the greasy pancake-house breakfast he'd stopped for a few hours ago. While he stayed there on his hands and knees retching up the last few bits, he heard "Are you alright sir?" from somewhere above him as a shiny pair of clorofam boots and some dark blue trouser cuffs moved into his field of view.

 Aw shit.

"What the...?" was mumbled as the shoes moved out of his view and around to his left.

Aw shit.

"Get on the ground!" came next, as he suspected it would. The volume of the voice raised, as well as the pitch. He could hear the stress and fear in the young patrolman's voice. Relax, tough guy. I'm not shooting anybody, and you shouldn't either. He can't quite get the words out of his head through his mouth, managing only to groan softly. Harry did not so much comply with the command as he just gave in to the waves of dizziness, which seemed somehow to be getting worse. Here comes the knee. Go easy kid... He could feel the warm wetness of his own vomit through his shirt as he fell forward onto the asphalt. The knee came down a little high, almost on the back of his head. The sting of tiny pebbles ground into his cheek was the last thing he felt before the darkness closed in again.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Strike! (or not)

Seems a lot of my favorite blogs are on strike today.

I really need to pay more attention. I thought our boy Cantor had shanked this lamb already.
(God Bless Virginia Republicans)
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While you relax and wait for my brain to spew forth some drivel, please enjoy the music.



Hee Hee. The Obama campaign is looking for a theme song. I think I found it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Warrior Poet

Picked this up over at DaddyBear's den.



Sorry. Got a little dust in my eye for a second there.

I had known that Kris Kristofferson was a veteran, but I didn't know to what extent. In his speech he mentioned his jump wings and Ranger tab. Those two bits alone are pretty impressive.
With my interest piqued, I decided to go on a Wikiwander of sorts.

Holy crap!
Daddy was an Air Force General. You get free cool points for that, Kris.
Recognized by Sports Illustrated during his years at Pomona College for his achievements in rugby, football, and track and field. These achievements made more impressive for the fact that he accomplished them while also managing to graduate summa cum laude with a BA in Literature. A renaissance man, no doubt.
Why stop there Kris? Why not go on to be a Rhodes scholar? Which he did, of course.

After graduating from Oxford University, you'd think he'd settle down to a life of a cultured professor. Publishing his way toward tenure at some prestigious university in America.
Yeah right....He joined the Army.
He was trained as a helicopter pilot, and also managed to earn the jump wings and Ranger tab he mentioned in his speech. Who is this guy? The fucking Energizer Bunny?

The Army offered him a plum assignment teaching English at West Point. Of course he would accept that. He had already made Captain. A tour or two at West Point would lock him in for a General's star one day.
Guess again, folks.

He walked away from it all to pursue his dreams. He travelled to Nashville to make it big. Anyone want to guess what his first job in Nashville was?    Janitor at Columbia Studios.

This one's for you, Kris.



"To wish him strength and length of days"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicago

He glances at the time on the radio. Two in the A.M.. Should be hitting Chicago around eight, just in time for rush hour traffic...wonderful. A straight-through drive from Richmond to Chicago hadn't sounded all that bad when he'd first thought about it. This thirty-some hours on the road in two days was for youngsters, and it had been a long time since anyone had called Harry "young".

He wonders again why it was he took this skip. Oh yeah, the money. Not to mention the fact that the skip was an old friend. Charlie "Chuckie" Sauvry and he had grown up together in Manchester, south side of Richmond. The place had undergone an "urban renewal" now, the joints where the longshoremen and railroad workers once drank and fought had become trendy coffee houses with ferns and blonde wood furniture. Harry had gone on to become a police officer, and Chuckie had followed a distinctly less savory career path. Neither of them had much success.

Now Harry, recently "let go" from the Richmond P.D., was trying to make ends meet chasing down bail skips and other associated dirtbags for one William Brown, of Billy Brown's Bail Bonds, and Chuckie was hitting the road trying to avoid another stint in the Red Onion state pen.

 "You guys are two sides of the same coin" Billy had said. "The only reason I bonded that sorry little fuckstick is 'cause I know he's an old friend of yours."

 Harry thought 'friend' was a bit of a stretch, but Billy was in a shouting mood. With the hangover he'd had that morning he'd decided, uncharacteristically, to keep his mouth shut. "He has to be in court Monday morning. You always seem to know where to find that prick. I haven't heard from him in ten days." With that, Harry had simply nodded, mumbled a quick "See you Monday", and grabbed the paperwork off the desk as he headed for the door. 

Within a day, Harry did indeed know where Chuckie had gone. As the only relative of Chuckie's to leave the Commowealth of Virginia, Marie Sauvry had moved up to Chicago to open a beauty parlor after her father had passed away. Last time Chuckie ran up there, Harry had simply called her apartment. Chuckie, who was never going to be a brain surgeon, answered the phone. It had taken some time, but Harry convinced him to simply return to Virginia, telling him that he would probably end up with time served and some probation and community service. Chuckie served three years of a five year sentence on that one. Now no one answered the phone at Marie's. When Harry contacted her at work, her stuttered and vehement denials convinced him he was on the mark. Now he had to move fast, before that idiot got scared enough to run further.

It was indeed rush hour by the time he hit the outskirts of Chicago. He inches forward through the stop-and-go traffic as the light rain turns to light snow.

He doesn't reach Marie's neighborhood until almost ten in the morning, after many wrong turns and stopping several times to peer at the too-small maps he had printed from the internet. He had hoped to catch Chuckie just before dawn, when he would be at his slowest.  Just as well, this would go easier with Marie away at work.

He pulls his police auction sedan deep into the alley across the street, no point in leaving it where  Chuckie might see it and recognize it. Opening the trunk, he takes out flexcuffs and pepper spray and hangs them on his belt. He leaves the Kevlar vest with BAIL ENFORCEMENT stenciled across the front and back. Chuckie isn't going to shoot him. Thinking twice, he drops the retracting baton into the pocket of his jacket. Just because Chuckie wouldn't shoot him didn't mean he wouldn't want to put up a fight.

The wind bites hard as he hurries across the street. He stuffs his hands into the pockets of his jacket and pulls his chin down and his shoulders up against the painful cold. Hate the cold...damn wind...hate this job...hate Illinois and their stupid gun laws. Old friend or not, he would have felt better with his Sig on his hip. It just didn't feel right doing this job with pepper spray and a rape whistle.  The familiar weight missing from his hip annoys him. His hand constantly rubbing his belt there, like a tongue probing a gap where a tooth had once been. Let's get this done and get back to the real world. Once I get over to Indiana, I can fish it out from under the seat and put it back where it belongs.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 15th, 1972

40 years ago today. Don McLean's classic "American Pie" hits #1 on the charts.



Remember anything else he did? Me neither, but this one's apparently more well-known than our national anthem.
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I missed an awesome entry for "Ladies Night" yesterday.

Leigh at humanpoptart has apparently found her blogging voice.
Go stop by and check out the cool shit she makes.
(Hint for Leigh: Make shit that looks like guns and I'll buy it. That pretty much goes for most of the people that read my blog.)
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Did I mention I met America's 1st Sergeant once?
The conversation went like this:


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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Morning Coffee

and Blog maintenance.

Udating my blog roll "List of Awesomeness"

Apparently it's "Ladies Night" at the Shanking Muse pub.

A Girl and Her Gun has been added. You've probably seen her already famous letter. If you haven't, it's a must-read.

Lynne, over at Female and Armed is running a great blog as well. Hoping to meet her at the 2nd Annual NRA HQ blog shoot next month.

And, of course, whenever you have a "Ladies Night" a Marine is bound to show up. "Highest morale, and lowest morals...etc etc..

America's 1st Sgt has really got his head together. He even uses words of, like, three syllables or more. (I'm betting he was originally joining the Air Force, but ended up in the wrong line somewhere. Shit happens.)

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Thanks to everyone for all the compliments on my creative writing. I'll try to pound out some more drivel as soon as possible.
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From The Moscow Puzzles:

Whither the Sergeant?
A sergeant left point M along azimuth 330o. On reaching a small hill, he walked along azimuth 30o until he came to a tree. Here he made a 60o turn to the right. He reached a bridge, then walked beside a river along azimuth 150o . Half an hour later he was at a mill. He changed his direction again, walking along azimuth 210o, his goal being the miller's house. At the house he again turned right, and walking along azimuth 270o, finished his tour.

Draft the sergeant's route neatly and where he got to. He walked 2 1/2 miles along each azimuth.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Drive

It wasn't a driving rain, just enough mist to be annoying. The dirty road water sprayed up by other cars and smeared across the windshield by wiper blades grown too old. The heater fan grinding, wheezing out just enough warmth to keep his toes from hurting. Can't turn the fan up above the second notch, or the grinding becomes an annoying screech, drowning out the late-night country music station, the bittersweet melancholy lyrics he finds soothing.

The car smells of stale cigarette smoke. Years of a pack-a-day habit, maybe a quarter of them smoked in this car. No cheesy pine tree on the rearview mirror is going to get rid of that funk, it's as much a part of the car now as the coffee stains on the seats and the cigarette burns on the carpet.

He grabs the pack and lighter off the dash and gets a fresh one going. "Won't be running a marathon today." he thinks to himself. A wry grin twitches across his lips, gone in a moment. His face settles back to bored as his mind wanders. It's been a long time since he did any real running.

 "Research has found:  You're more likely to be shot by a fat cop than a skinny one." The memory of that one-liner draws a chuckle forth. The gravelly sound coming suddenly from his own mouth is startling in the quiet of the car, and he cuts it short.

He reaches down and cranks the window open an inch to allow the smoke to flow out. The wintery night air quickly cools the interior of the car. Reflexively, he reaches to the dash with his other hand and turns the heater up a notch. The whistle of the wind through the window is joined by the screeching protest of the crappy old fan. He turns the radio up as well. The inside of the car turns into a whistling, screeching, twanging symphony.

 It's then he remembers how annoying it was the last time he had lit up, maybe thirty minutes ago. He had disgustedly tossed the half-finished cigarette out the window. He does the same again, closes the window and turns the fan and radio back down. "If only it wasn't so damn cold." He thinks.

Or you could just quit smoking, dumbass,  also crosses his mind, but he has become adept at ignoring such reasonable thoughts.

He glances at the time on the radio.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Those Winter Sundays

We went up to my Dad's house for Christmas dinner. Ever since then, something's been nagging at me about the visit. I just couldn't pin down what it was.

Yesterday, it finally came to me.

He got old...I mean really old. When did that happen?

Where did all this grey in my beard come from?

Will my son come to visit me one day with greys in his beard?
 

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze, No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Those Winter Sundays; Robert Hayden; [1913-1980]


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What the F*ck did he say?

Alternative Title: More links and videos because I'm too lazy to come up with a real post.

Have you ever been reading Tanker's blog or Roberta X's blog when they start talking about their jobs and drawing on napkins?

If you haven't, just watch the video, and you'll get the idea.

video

Larry, at the Last refuge of a Scoundrel lets us know how he really feels about lawyers. Go Larry!

DaddyBear breaks the most important news story of 2012. A portent of Doom if I've ever seen one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Not feeling it...

Too many great posts up today from other bloggers.

A Girl and her Gun wins the Post-of-the-Week.

PISSED gets me laughing every time.

Stop by and give your condolences to PawPaw. The Crimson Tide rolled again.

I'll just put up some music. Dedicated to Mrs. B., my "Little Bessie"

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Sound of Freedom

Out with the dog this morning at 0445. I heard a train passing. The tracks are just about 1/2 mile away. I could tell it was a passenger train. It moves faster and the engine has a higher pitched rumble than the cargo and coal trains that come by. I'm even getting to the point that I could tell you if it's a full coal train headed east, or an empty one headed back west again. (The wheels make a different sound on the tracks.)

It reminded me of all the times while I was in the Air Force that we would hear an engine and quickly rattle off the aircraft, and whether or not it was on final or taking off.

I got especially good at it during the years I was stationed in Okinawa, working enroute maintenance for AMC. We would be sitting around the ready room. Different teams would be waiting for the different jets they had been assigned to that day. It could be anything from a 747 rotator coming down from Yokota to a C-5 inbound from Guam, even an old Herky on a hop from Korea or the P.I..

Lord help you if you got it wrong. Your squadron mates would look upon you with shame, and everyone would have a comment about how they couldn't believe anyone could have missed the telltale sound of that high-bypass turbofan/four-bladed prop/eight-bladed prop, etc etc etc...

In my recent reminisces I have come across a really cool website dedicated to the C-141 Starlifter, (The aircraft I was 'weaned' on) run by Mike Novak. Go by and check it out. Right on the home page there is a sound recording you can play of a C-141 taking off.

 It's a 'C-141B' Model, powered by four Pratt & Whitney TF-33's with the newer P102 modification. I can tell because it's missing the telltale 'crackle' of water injection used on the older models. Bet on it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

War stories

My children learned very quickly not to ask Dad to relate war stories from his time in the service.

Just smile and nod.

The boys and I were on TDY in Frankfurt for "Operation Desert Star" missions. Running C-141 Starlifters on milk runs down to Saudi every two or three days.

We had a few days off coming to us, and we had pretty much worn out the local entertainment (or at least worn out our welcome) over the last month, so we decided to rent a car and do some traveling. We got a sweet ragged-out  little Peugot 405 and headed out onto the world-famous Autobahn, the wet-dream of every speed junky in the known universe. Man, the Autobahn is cool. That little Peugot could get up to 210 kph (130 mph)...downhill...with the wind behind us. Hell, everyone else was passing us like we were parked. When the lady in the Volvo station wagon shoots you a dirty look while rocketing past, the Autobahn loses some of its flavor.

We decided to get down to some serious sightseeing, so we got out our maps and exceptional navigating skills, and started to work. We wandered our way down through the Rhine river valley, hitting every vineyard we could find, tasting wine every hour or so, and stopping to clear the palate at coffee shops in small towns along the way. As every vintner along our route extolled the virtue of their wines, we smiled and nodded, (What else do you do when you don't know the language?) buying a couple bottles on our way out and tossing them in the trunk.

Somewhere along the way, we came across a castle. Not just any castle. We're talking about some serious Disney shit here. This thing was massive, covered in spires and craggy stone walls. It sat picturesquely atop a hill, surrounded by beautiful fall colors. It just begged to have its picture taken.

Our maps became a little vague at this point, but this was not an issue for experienced world travelers like us. We quickly turned off the main road and began working our way up that mountain to find the gates. It seemed like forever we spent wandering those winding little one-lane roads trying to reach our goal. The castle just sat there, mocking us, always just out of reach. We could catch a glimpse through the trees every few minutes, but it seemed we just couldn't get any closer.

Finally, we got as close as we thought we could, and decided we should just get out on the side of the road and get our pictures so we could get back to those vineyards. (We had been working up quite a thirst on our epic journey.) Once out on the side of the road, one of the genius' present announced, "Hey, we can just go straight up this hill through the woods, and we'll be right there!" We all agreed that this was a great idea, and we started up that hill like the Big Red One. (Not a bunch of slightly drunk Air Force guys wandering around the newly unified Germany)

Success! We came to the top of the hill, and found that it afforded us a beautiful view. We snapped away, savoring the amazing architecture, offset by the riot of gorgeous color provided by the fall forest around us. We finished up quickly, (plenty more vineyards out there) and headed back down the hill to the car, charging gleefully down the steep hill, kicking up the fall leaves in great brown clouds.

We piled back into the car (five of us) with me grabbing the coveted "shotgun" seat. (Win!) We wasted no time getting back on the road and arguing about where the hell we were, and where we needed to be going next. I was doing a great job as navigator, (a privilege granted me automatically by my amazing physical prowess in snatching  the coveted "shotgun" seat) until those three ruffians in the back seat snatched the map away from me to argue meaninglessly like young Airmen will do on occasion.

In the middle of this epic argument in the backseat, one of those fine Airmen said, "Is that a Tic?"

It grew ominously quiet back there for a moment, until another voice said, "Yeah, that's a Tic, it's just a baby."

Just a few seconds later, Airman #3 chimed in. "Hey, there's another one..."

Just after that, Airman #1 came back with a classic witty rejoinder. "HOLY SHIT! Dude, we're covered in fucking tics! Check yourself!" "TICS TICS TICS" (Like Gas! Gas! Gas!...only not the same.)

I quickly looked down at my lap, dreading what I might find....Sure enough, I, like everyone else, was covered in at least a dozen (that I could see) of those vicious parasitic little bastards. They were scrambling over my clothes, seeking out my tender bits so they could plunge their blood-sucking proboscis into me and drain me to a horrible dried husk.

"STOP THE CAR. STOPTHECAR. OHMYGOD OHMYGOD. PULLOVER. PULL OOOOVVVVEEEEERRRR!"

Luckily, we were travelling along the main road overlooking the Rhine, and it had a liberal sprinkling of scenic overlooks along our side. We quickly banked hard into one of the overlooks and came to a screeching halt. We piled out of that car in a classic Chinese fire drill and rapidly began to rid ourselves of our outer layers, shaking them furiously and inspecting them for evil blood-sucking critters. (Cultural note: In Germany, five guys shouting in a foreign language and stripping to their skivvies is apparently a sign that they want the scenic overlook to themselves.) We all had the creepy-crawly heebie-jeebies and could easily imagine the pitter patter of little parasitic feet all over our bodies. (Dude, I'm not checking there for you. I love you like a brother, man, but if you've got one back there, it stays until we get back to the base. You're on your own.)

Once we were down to our skivvies, (or less) we quickly checked out the interior of the car. Sure enough, we found at least another dozen or so crawling around on the upholstery and carpet. All in all, we must have thrown at least 50 tics over the side of that road. Somewhere in those woods, we had run into a serious nest. This was when we noticed how alone we were in that overlook, we also noticed the attention we were getting from passerby on the main road. Most of them would honk their horns, and some would even shout what sounded to me like friendly encouragement as they drove past. One carload of especially friendly young frauleins turned into the overlook and coasted past. They shouted and waved, all of them smiling and friendly. We all smiled and nodded, and waved back. (What else do you do when you don't know the language?) Unfortunately, they did not stop to visit, but kept right on going back onto the main road. (Was that a camera?) "Dan, at least put your drawers back on. C'mon man."

We got back into our clothes, all of us absent-mindedly scratching here and there as the heebie-jeebies wore off. Once back in the car and on the road, we decided that some schnitzel and beer were in order, so we drove into the next small town and slowly cruised down the main drag until we saw an appropriate dining establishment. It was a nice little Bar & Grill sort of place, and we quickly snagged a table on the sidewalk and got in our order for the first round and some good greasy schnitzel.

We were lustily tucking into our food when, lo and behold, our young lady friends came strolling out of the interior of the place. I almost didn't recognize them, my mind already building a mental block against the horrible memories of the swarm, but they all smiled and waved at us again. Even stopping to say a few words. None of which we understood, of course, but we gave a valiant effort, smiling and nodding like a bunch of idiot bobble-head dolls. The young ladies would not stay and sit with us, they apparently had pressing matters they had to take care of elsewhere, or I'm sure they would have. We seemed to be very popular.

Soon enough, the time came for us to pay up and be on our way. We motioned to the barman inside and began digging out our various Marks. He came out to our table, and after much struggling through our crappy German and his crappy English, along with some help from people at neighboring tables (and even some passerby on the street) he got the point across to us that our money was no good there. Our meal and beers were free, gratis. Saweet! We apparently had achieved some sort of celebrity status in that little village. This kicked off another round of enthusiastic smiling and nodding as he furiously motioned us to follow him inside his establishment, and proudly pointed out a fresh 5X7 photo taped to the corner of the mirror behind the bar. (Apparently they have 1-hour photo in Germany too. Who knew?)

We responded gallantly to the applause and laughter of the numerous other patrons. When a couple dudes in the back started shouting "Encore! Encore!" we decided it would be prudent to be on our way. As we walked out the door and through the tables to the street, what could we do?

We smiled and nodded. (What else do you do when you don't know the language?)

(Note to Self:  When you're checking the interior of the car for tics, put your pants back on first.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is it just me?

or is this shit getting predictable?

Those mean old Iranians get rescued by our Naval (not navel) heroes, even though they've been so mean to everyone, yadda yadda, etc etc etc... Then we sit back and wait for Mr. Dinnerjacket to go out in public and act like an asshole again, which is pretty much a given.

Then we get to respond with "Those guys are so mean. Even after we've done all that nice stuff for them. Now we're just going to have to go bomb the ever-loving-shit out of their nuclear facilities, because we can't have assclowns like that running around with nuclear weapons." (What sanctions? Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

Don't get me wrong. I've no particular love for anyone in that neighborhood. I just wish we could be a little more original, or maybe even one day just come right out and say "Yeah, we're fighting for oil. Oil is what we need to keep our country strong. If you threaten our oil supplies, we're going to come kill your people and break your shit. Bitches."



(Love the Fruedian slip at 0:46. I've often called our sailors "pirates", but it has nothing to do with their actions at sea.)

CNN's puff piece is Here

FARS News was (of course) completely silent on the subject, although in my search I found several stories over the past year of Iranian fishermen and sailors fending off or escaping from pirates themselves. Perhaps the story will come out with a different spin in a few months, once the Iranian government tells everyone what really happened. (yuck yuck)

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's 2 AM, the gun's still warm....

You're not going to believe this. Another damn panic call from the plant. New problem.
If this goes south on me, my weekend is shot.
Such is life.
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Aside from that mess, I gotta tell you, I'm pretty ecstatic here.

Get ready....


Brigid commented on my blog.

She seems like a pretty cool lady. I've never actually met her, so YMMV. (Keep in mind this is the internet, she could be a 45 year-old dude with a pot-belly bigger than mine.)

I've been reading her blog for years. She knows a helluva lot more about guns than I do, which is cool.
A lot of the stuff she writes is kinda flowery and sensitive and such. Even with that, it's always been one of my favorites.
If you're not already following her blog, you definitely have to stop by and check it out. You'll be hooked, I guarantee it.
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I was finally getting caught up on my sleep.
Man, I can't handle those all-nighters and 2 AM emergency calls like I could ten years ago.
Middle age sucks. I wanna be 25 again.
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Update 0600: Obviously, since I'm screwing around on my blog, things aren't as bad as they first appeared to be. I may yet be able to salvage my weekend.
Just jumped back on to share a cool video I picked up over at Ed Rasimus' place. Seals are cool. (Not talking about the ones you club)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What day is it?

Not used to holidays.
Woke up this morning not knowing what day it actually was. It FELT like Wednesday.
Turns out it's really Thursday.

I hate it when that happens.

Blah. Guess I'm still catching up on sleep. The snooze button is my friend. Now I'm staggering off to work like a zombie. So here's another non-blog post for everyone.
What's that revolver that keeps showing up in the video?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mornings

I'm generally not much of a "morning" person. I need to get out of bed and started on my cigarettes and coffee [breakfast of (former) champions] about three hours before leaving the house. This is where I get my quality blogging time.

Managed to save the day yesterday, but it cost me quite a bit. Lack of sleep and food over the last 36-48 hours has got me running ragged a bit. This didn't seem to be much of a problem ten years ago. Where did the time go?

I was out cold on the couch by 7 pm yesterday, and still managed to convince myself to stay in bed an extra hour this morning. I will need to get a decent breakfast and lunch in today, which leads us to the ultimate question:

Who has better "gas-station food"? Sheetz or WaWa?
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More music filler. Presented in honor of the start of the Republican primary election process:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Never a dull moment

Yes, that's right. It's 2 am and I've gotten the panic call from the plant.

No blog today.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Roll Call

I promise, you won't have to stand at attention and listen to me butcher people's names. I gave that up some time ago.

With all this time off work, I've been catching up on things around the blog. Getting the corners swept out, taking out the trash and finding a few new baubles to hang on the walls.

Stephen is Standing Outside Looking In. Like most southern boys, he's unfailingly polite.

Suz has Shining Pearls of Something. She's a "wicked smaht" lady.

Stop by Daddy Bear's Den and say Hi.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Santa dropped off a 42cc Poulan Pro with 18" bar that I haven't had the chance to try out yet.
I've got a date with a pile of wood.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Hangover Day

MSgt B's patented hangover cure:

Two aspirin
1/2 Liter cool water
Four cups strong coffee
Two eggs over-easy
One splatter of Tabasco sauce
Three slices bacon
One pile of corned beef hash fried in bacon grease
Two slices of toast with butter and jam

When I was overseas, keeping the skies safe for democracy, the Brits added a boiled tomato on the side.

I'm not shitting you, a big fat runny boiled tomato sitting right there on the side of my plate.
What the hell is that about? I didn't know what to do with it. The first time it happened, I thought maybe it's a garnish that got out of control, so I carefully ate my way around it.

When Mrs. Jones came back to take my plate, a look of consternation immediately crossed her brow.
"You don't like your tomato, Luv?"

My tomato? How the hell is it my tomato now? I didn't put it there. As a matter of fact, I can't think of any reason to stick a boiled tomato on my plate at any meal. Now I've got one on my plate at breakfast? Oh crap...she's waiting for an answer....
"Well, I....um....kinda full.....and....um..."

That look consternation quickly turned into stern disapproval. I cast a few furtive glances around, checking to see if there was a ruler within reach for her to rap me on the knuckles with.
"You need your VITamins, young man." (VIT pronounced with an i as in 'Pit' not 'Bite')

I need my what? What the fuck did she just say?
Holy shit. I'm not 'Luv' anymore, I've just been downgraded to 'young man'
This is going downhill fast. Say something nice. Say something nice.
"I um...next time...I promise...um...gotta run...that was delicious" Big smile...BIG smile.....

Mrs. Jones gave me a little pat on the shoulder like I was the neighbor's mildly retarded son and turned away with a sniff.

Whew. Ducked that one. She's not insulted, she just thinks I'm a fucking idiot...I can live with that.
Note to self: Slip that fucking tomato in your pocket or something next time, just don't let her see it on your plate again.

The next morning Mrs. Jones comes breezing out of the kitchen with a big smile. "Sausages this morning, Luv."

Awesome!
We're talking British sausage here, folks. Not some weenie little Bob Evans breakfast link, but a delicious monster stuffed with all manner of greasy pork entrails and spices. Win!

She set that plate down in front of me and I quickly grabbed up my knife and fork, ready to swoop down upon my prey and devour...

What the fuck is that? What the fuck is that peeking a big fat runny red eye at me from behind the sausage? For the luvva Pete! It's that damn tomato!....I'll slip that bad boy in my pocket as soon as she leaves the room....

Then I realized, she's still standing right there behind me. One hand on the back of the chair, her thumb resting gently on the center of my back, as if to say "This is where the knife will go, you ungrateful little wanker. You've insulted my tomato."

I'm frozen. Like a deer in the headlights. My knife and fork hovering over my plate.

You're busted, Boyo. She's onto you like white on rice.

My hands start shaking a little. My breathing shallows, and my heart races. I can feel the sweat burst out all over my face.

Cowboy-up motherfucker. You've eaten raw squid. What's one little vegetable? Or is it a fruit? Aw hell...here it comes. Go to your Happy Place...Go to your Happy Place

I charged into that tomato like I was going up San Juan hill with Teddy. I got a sausage chunk in there with it to help it along.

That's it, chew. Now swallow....swallow...SWALLOW IT.

Gulp.

I looked up over my shoulder with a pleasant smile. "It's delicious Mrs. Jones!" I quickly shoveled another bite of tomato-laced sausage into my mouth, to prove how much I really loved that slimy mass of fruit/vegetable mixed in with all my real food.

I got another little pat on the shoulder and she strolled off towards the kitchen, her back turned to me so I couldn't see the smug grin of victory I knew was on her face. "Not too fast Luv. You've got to watch your digestion."

"Yes, Mrs. Jones. Thank you."

Good thing she wasn't around back in 1776. We'd still be a fucking colony...


Go check out the Insomniac Medic's New Year's post. That guy has real skill. One day I hope to be able to write like that. Time-sink Warning: You'll be reading for quite some time, get a cup of coffee first.