Sunday, May 28, 2006
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Rare Public Appearance
Update! A good time was had by all. All the good stories about the night are Kirk's, so hopefully he'll post them soon.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Change of Scenery
All throughout my military career, Dad maintained my membership in the Beaver Run Rod and Gun Club so when I'd come home, I'd have a place to shoot where I wouldn't leave empty brass and shot-up tree stumps on his pristine farm property. I kid. The organization is equal parts Rod, Gun, and Club and it used to be the place where Dad would take Mom and us kids out for Seafood Night and even the occasional Sunday morning Block Shoot, the only organized shooting event they hold that I'm aware of.
Block shoots are more like Bingo with Shotguns, but they were a lot a fun, especially when, at 16, I'd brought out my Remington 870 fresh from under the Christmas tree to win a frozen turkey on my first try.
I haven't been to the Clubhouse since long before Dad passed on...the beer's much cheaper at Lil Bro's house, and I'm no social dynamo, as you all know.
Anyway, we had a Range Day, where I saw some old friends and introduced a new friend to Lil Bro. The 9AR behaved very well for him; I had a bad mag full of problems, but we'd both use it later without a hitch.
By the way, I kicked his ass, scoring wise, and I have the pictures to prove it. Maybe if he didn't wait until I was in town once or twice a year to do some shooting, he'd do better. Lord knows he can kick my butt at skeet...and hey, *I* haven't put any venison in the family freezer lately....
Some old friends, and a reasonable facsimile.
The Taurus PT99AF (middle) was my first autoloading centerfire pistol. The Colt (right) was my first .45 ACP. Gave the Taurus to Lil Bro and sold him the Colt cheap...since then, I resolved all gun givings would be either hand-me-downs or outright gifts. It was nice back when someone would actually tell you what they wanted for Christmas! Lately we're both self-actualized in the gun department, though Lil Bro is obviously easier to satisfy/amuse than myself...but then, I have a much bigger gun safe. Oh, yeah, the Dan Wesson (left) is almost the spitting image of my first wheelgun...Lil Bro shares my sense of practicality in that regard. Now, why he doesn't have any Glocks is anybody's guess.
A Bit Disturbing
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
A Mantis Best Friend
Why I'm So Busy
This trip I'm extending the front stretch out to the driveway. And discovering the wonders of Advil for the inevitable muscle aches. At least the lawn tractor works now, so I don't have to cart the dirt away in a wheelbarrow anymore.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Saturday, May 20, 2006
What does he have against jugs?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Cacti Grow Slowly
In Riotgun, Jon took #2 after the Space-gunner while I squeaked in #4 out of 5. I'm tickled with my pistol placing. There was only one D shooter and a few unclassified gunners finishing ahead of me...I was almost in the middle of the pack. I'm disappointed at the light long gun showing and hope to see that improve.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
From a Lady Friend in Florida
"It's mating season. Who *doesn't* want to get eaten?"
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I Am the Rain God
Friday, May 12, 2006
End o' the Rainbow
"Begorrah, ya caught me! Now I have you give you me Golden AR to let me go!"
You know the one...it turned green because it's, like, gold!
"Unless you'd rather have something else," she said with a wink.
I thought Tam was kinda grooving on me, until she flicked her cigarette ash into my beer.
I've already got a 9AR, so I replied "A T-Shirt would be fine." "Why are you so pale, Tam?"
"Oleg Volk makes me like that."
"And the others...does he make Les Jones and Uncle look so blurry and nondescipt?"
"No, Silly Blob, you've just never seen their pictures before. You're asleep at a Virginia Rest Area and you're dreaming."
Oh. Explains why I was stopping in Knoxville and doing something more fun than buying new wiper blades.
A shout-out to the guy at the Asheville Hwy Advanced Auto Parts store! After finally selling me the right size, he installed the oddly designed refill blades so my road-addled brain didn't have to.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Here Be Points
Due To Technical Difficulties
Got a case of bottled water, a half case of Mountain Dew, and a stash of beef jerky and munchies lined up. Picked out some guns and ammo to bring along. Still haven't packed the suitcase.
You readers know what to do...go get a life and come back maybe this weekend. If I haven't wrapped the Ranger and myself around a guardrail on I-81 by then, I'll have some blogpics of the trip up.
Monday, May 08, 2006
How to Beat Jon at the Cactus Match
This pic was done in the dry-fire period permitted prior to loading and making ready. We didn't have the luxury of filming the stage, because we were the only two on it.
#2. Wait for Jon to get experimental. Instead of his similarly configured Bushy, Jon brought out his scoped HBAR. He'd never used the scope in a match nor function-fired the Beta C-Mag on the HBAR. Don't try this at home, kids! After two feeding problems with the C-Mag, he changed to his emergency 30-rounder. I think the scope distracted him, since he'd intended to use the see-through mount sights on everything, but fell for the temptation of using the glass for the distant knock-down steel targets. Even at low power, the limited field of view slowed down his acquisition time.
Even with all those problems, Jon finished only 3 seconds and change behind me. Before you dig on Jon about lack of preparation, remember that he has a job, unlike his slothful visitor from the Old Pueblo.
Jon beat me soundly on the riotgun course. Sixteen rounds and lots of running...his running reloading was a thing of beauty.
On the five pistol stages, I shouldn't have stood a chance of catching Jon...he brought his Glock 21 that he can shoot unnaturally fast. He'd added Arredondo base pads to some of his mags...and one of the mags just didn't like that. I think I beat him two stages due to mag glitches and my shooting very clean...Jon can miss very fast, too! I'm getting faster with the Para P16-40 every month. Overall, it was the tightest match we'd ever fired, but I'd prefer Jon being at his best when I beat him.
Oh, yeah, Lesson #3. Don't get cocky on the last stage. The final pistol stage we shot was the simple array at right. Engage each target with two rounds each freestyle, perform a mandatory reload, then repeat. The smart way to shoot this one is to go for headshots, since that reduces the chance of hitting a no-shoot (I don't think there's much difference between the "A" and "B" zones on the head for a Major caliber shooter). Well, I'd just been chatting with Match Director John about how great the stages were and how I'd managed to shoot cleanly, so far. I even knocked on wood! Wood doesn't have the same power it used to...I had a miss and a shoulder-shot No-shoot. Next time, I'll just say "Great match, John!" and shut-up until I hand in all my score sheets.
Nyuk Making the Rounds
"I came to this country seeking the job I sought when I first left this country," said Anuncio Reyes, 22, an undocumented worker who recrossed the U.S. border into Mexico last month, three years after leaving Mexico for the United States to work as an agricultural day laborer. "I spent everything I had to get back here. Yes, it was dangerous, and I miss my home. But as much as I love America, I have to go where the best American jobs are."
A group of Mexican workers make the dangerous trek home across the Rio Grande for their lunch break.
Reyes now works as a spot-welder on the assembly line of a Maytag large-appliance plant and earns $22 a day, most of which he sends back to his family in the U.S., who in turn send a portion of that back to the original family they left in Mexico. Like many former Mexican-Americans forced by circumstance to become American-Mexicans, Reyes dreams of one day bringing his relatives to Mexico so that they, too, may secure American employment in Mexico.
Despite the considerable risk illegal immigrants face in returning across the border, many find the lure of large U.S. factory salaries hard to resist—at 15 percent of the pay of corresponding jobs in America, these positions pay three times what Mexican jobs do.
Still, the danger is very real. When 31-year-old illegal Arizona resident Ignacio Jimenez sought employment at an American plant in Mexico, he was shot at by Mexican border guards as he attempted to illegally enter the country of his citizenship, pursued by U.S. immigration officials who thought he might be entering the country illegally, and fired upon again by a second group of U.S. Border Patrol agents charged with keeping valuable table-busing and food-delivery personnel inside American borders.
"It was a nightmare," Jimenez said. "Many became disoriented and panicked, and some were mixed in with immigrants going the other way across the Rio Grande and ended up swimming to the wrong country."
He added: "My cousin almost drowned. They fished him out and sent him back to wash dishes at T.G.I. Friday's."
Many say the trip across the border as illegal Mexican-American emigrants offers them a chance to land the American jobs in Mexico they never have been able to get as illegal Mexican-American immigrants in the U.S.
"It has always been my goal to have a good American job," Johnson Controls technician Camilla Torres, 27, said. "Many Mexicans now see Mexico as the land of opportunity. Mexicans will not stop trying to get here, no matter how much the Mexicans wish we would not."
Indeed, the trend of illegal re-emigration is causing great resentment among the local Mexican population, and tension between Mexicans and illegally re-entered Mexicans—dubbed repatriados—continues to build.
"I hate these Mexicans, always coming back here to Mexico from America and taking American jobs from the Mexicans who stayed in Mexico," said 55-year-old former Goodyear factory manager Juan-Miguel Diaz, who lost his job to a better-trained repatriado last March. "Why don't they go back to where they went to?"
Still, Jimenez, Reyes, and hundreds of others say they have no choice.
"The American Dream is alive and well in Mexico," Reyes said. "If I work hard, save my money, and plan well, I will be able to send my children to a good school—and who knows? If they study hard, perhaps they will get jobs someday at the new plant General Motors is building in China."
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Five May Day
Holidays and observances
- International Midwives Day.
- International No Pants Day.
- Ascension Day in Western Christianity (2005).
- Feast day of the following saints in the Roman Catholic Church:
- Denmark: Liberation Day (1945).
- The Netherlands: May 5, Liberation day (1945).
- Ethiopia: Liberation Day (1941).
- Northern Territory, Australia: May Day.
- Japan: Tango no Sekku (Boy's Day) or Kodomo no hi (Children's Day).
- Cinco de Mayo (1862) in Mexico and (informally) the United States.
- Guyana: Indian Immigration Day (1838).
- Council of Europe: Europe Day.
- Albania: Martyrs' Day.
- South Korea: Children's Day.
- Buddha's Birthday in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea (2006).
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Stuff Like This
AN HONOR: Marine First Sergeant Bradley A. Kasel, right, receives the Navy Cross from Maj. Gen. Michael R. Lehnert.
CAMP PENDLETON - He was shot seven times. Then 40 pieces of super-heated shrapnel melted into his flesh.
And at three different moments, in nanoseconds laced with adrenaline, confusion, sweat and blood, Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal took account of his life.
Then he decided it would be OK if he died.
His decision earned him the Navy Cross on Monday.
In November 2004, while serving with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Kasal rushed into a house in Fallujah where Marines were trapped in a small room. They were pinned down by Iraqi insurgents firing into the house from a higher and superior position.
The first time, after being shot and crawling to safety, Kasal went back out into the line of fire to rescue an injured Marine.
"I knew I was gonna get shot (again)," he said.
Now, after having suffered seven gunshots, Kasal decided to again put his life at risk.
He would use all of the available field dressings to help stop the bleeding of a gunshot wound suffered by a fellow Marine. He decided not to use any of the dressings for himself and instead "bleed out." It just made sense that one of them should survive.
Finally, the insurgent, knowing the injured Marines had no way out, lobbed a grenade into the room. Kasal saw the grenade, and using his own body as a shield, leapt onto his fellow Marine as the grenade exploded.
"I thought the chances of surviving were zero," he said.
But survive he did, his right leg and buttock riddled with bullets and his body stung by shrapnel.
If you live through that kind of ordeal, young Marines forever remember your name, major generals salute you in deference and little boys stand in line to meet an American hero.
On Monday afternoon, all of that happened for Kasal during an honor-laden ceremony.
The Navy Cross capped an emotional week. Kasal's father, Gerald, 69, died of cancer on Sunday, just a day before he was supposed to watch the ceremony via video conference from his home in Iowa.
In the same ceremony, Kasal attained his dream as a young man, getting promoted to sergeant major and taking an oath as he re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. He even reached a milestone Saturday, when he ran a mile and a half on his once-mangled leg.
Following the ceremony, the 39-year-old Oceanside resident spent more than an hour patiently shaking the hands of fellow Marines, active and retired, who lined up to greet him.
"You are an inspiration to every Marine," Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert said to Kasal. Lehnert told the audience of more than 100 that the term "hero" is thrown around loosely in popular society.
But make no mistake he said, Kasal was the real thing.
"Marines past, present and future owe you a debt of gratitude."
Kasal said the most challenging aspect of the ordeal wasn't the 22 surgeries he endured or even fighting the opinions of doctors who suggested he should have his leg amputated.
Instead Kasal said the real pain was knowing the battle would go on without him.
"The most difficult part was being away from the Marines," he said. "My goal is to get deployable again."
Never let your outtakes fall into the hands of the enemy.
-- Sun Tsu Goldmann
More funny stuff at the 6MBuffet.