Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

End of the World Primer


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Any Alumni Out There?

I've run into high school classmates and alumni at certain odd spots around the world, but I wonder how many other classmates I may have passed in the night because I no longer recognized them. Any classmates out there?

Smyrna Primary School, Smyrna TN, 1st and 2d Grade ('67-68)
Jim Bowie Elementary, Abilene TX, 3d and 4th Grade ('69-70)
First Ward Elementary, Lehighton PA, 4th and 5th Grade ('70-71)
Chapin Elementary, Chicopee MA, 6th Grade ('72)
Fairview Junior High, Chicopee MA, 7th Grade ('73)
T.O. Rusheon Junior High, Bossier City LA, 7th and 8th Grade ('74-75)
Lehighton Area High School, Lehighton PA, 9th through 12th Grade ('76-79)

There was a lot of overlap between my first two schools, since many of the USAF families assigned to Seward AFB TN ended up at Dyess AFB TX after Seward closed. I remember Vickie Green, a brunette with beautiful eyes, Vickie Dempsey with curly blonde hair, and Elsie Velasquez who also attended my same Sunday School. There was also Barbara Dougherty in the 2d Grade who I figured out had a crush on me. I still don't know what to do about things like that.

I lost my collection of school class pictures during one of my adult military moves. If any of my readers recognizes any of these classes and can scan me a picture, I'd appreciate it. I'll even tell you which one is me.

Lost Treasure

Of all the great Americans we've lost this year, one I miss greatly is Shelby Foote, who passed away this Sunday. I haven't even read any of his books, but, thanks to Ken Burns' The Civil War series on PBS and later on DVD, I learned to appreciate the poetic perspective he brought to US history. As I seem to have started accumulating books again, maybe I'll pick up a few of his this year.

Don't Remember Who I Got This From....

Tuesday, June 28, 2005's what's for breakfast!

Now that I'm trying to get into the habit of eating breakfast, I took one look at the box of frozen waffles and thought, "Not today!" This and a few cups of green tea were good fuel for my project this morning. All the water and electricity I saved during Blog Nekkid Week are put to use this "Get off your Lazy Ass" Week. Yesterday, I combined my BX/Commissary/Class Six run with a trip to...wait for it...the gym! I did 30 minutes on the recumbent bike and 10 minutes on the cross-trainer to get the "bike kinks" out of my legs. I'll try to stay on longer on Friday morning (History Channel was showing reruns Monday)...I think I'll drag the real bike out on Wednesday, once I air-up the tires and tighten the loose seat. Tuesday and Thursday are reserved for yard work. Now that my sleep schedule is so screwed up by Bendryl, I can venture into the desert waste that is my yard before the sun gets too oppressive. This morning I pruned my front mesquite tree and raked dirt and leaves. I canned some of my backyard tumbleweeds...filled two cans (how I got the extra can is another story) with yard stuff and a week's worth of household trash (and litterbox stuff). Tuesday (later today) is Garbage pick-up, so they'll be empty for Thursday.

I used to have a fairly liveable backyard, even before I had it landscaped. I even hosted a picnic or two back there. Fortunately, the Neighborhood Yard Nazis didn't have anything to say about it.

The netting, in combination with the mister system, tamed the otherwise brutal summertime western exposure. Unfortunately, a few years of monsoons pretty much shredded the netting, and I haven't bought replacements yet. I've gotten a lot less social since I retired and a lot less energetic about yardwork. Hopefully a few "Get off your Lazy Ass" Weeks will straighten things out enough that I wouldn't be ashamed to invite friends over for a cook-out.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back Into the Water

All these shark attacks in Florida got nothing on my back bedroom. I've learned that there are certain parts of the day when I just should just avoid setting foot past the plexiglas ferret barrier. I know these times are imminent by the constant thumping and crashing going on, usually in the late morning. I checked up on them only to catch Squiggy in mid-leap; my sudden appearance around the corner seemed to freeze them both. Lenny, the skittery one, struggled with his fight-or-flight reflex and decided to fight, for once. When Squiggy rolled over for a belly rub, Lenny crashed into my arm, teeth and front claws bared. Of course, that riled up Squiggy, who took it out on his buddy. I guess my draping the old T-shirt over them and swirling it around wasn't helpful toward calming them down. The way I see it, it's aerobic exercise for them...usually, they're not so wild. Sure, they might try to climb my leg, but usually the only leaping and biting occur as I lift my second leg over the barrier upon leaving the room.

This last week, they took over the bedroom closet, which until now, was blocked by two ferret cages. They've learned to muscle the cages out of the way, access the sliding door, and frolick about in all the fun stuff stored therein. Boxes of reloading equipment, several Plano tackle boxes filled with lead D&D figurines (and foam rubber cushioning...with lots of teeth marks!!!)...and new places to poop! The first day I discovered this, I policed up the potentially dangerous foam rubber, buttoned down the tackle boxes, and actually wedged one of the cages into the closet to discourage pooping there. Though I prevented life-threatening foam-rubber ingestion, when I returned home Sunday, there were several reloading accessories strewn about the room. Oh, well, they're getting more use out of them than I do.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Yahoo! Fun in the sun! I finally unleashed BoG on the unsuspecting villagers. No jams, but it invariably failed to lock open on empty. That caused me to do a fast slide rack during which I tore open my thumb on the rear sights at least once. The SOCOM-16 did great when I remembered to raised the sights. I really should clean it soon. I've put 300-400 rounds through it since I bought it. I'm going to bring it to all the 4th Sunday 3-Guns and use the Bushie on the 1st Sunday counts-for-points USPSA matches. Jon brought his high-speed stuff today and he really wailed on the course. He came in third right behind two Master gunners; I came in 7th out of the 10 three-gunners. Had this been a real 3-Gun match, those Master gunners would have competed in Open class, Jon would have won Tactical-Scope class, and I would have been the only one in Heavy Metal class. Even without HM, I think I would have been the only one in Tactical-Iron Sight class.

For some reason, they didn't post the straight carbine or riotgun scores, but I'm not going to get bent out of shape about it. It's a practice match, after all.

Did I mention I had a lot of fun? There won't be a 1st Sunday July USPSA match because some people want to go on vacation . Hopefully, they'll have a make-up match later in the month.

Suki and Keiko

Sure, all ferrets are cute, but albinos just freak me out. It's those red eyes, I guess. Suki was a noisy little jill. Her male buddy Keiko was white but had normal eyes.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

6.25 Incident

Fifty-five years ago today, the North Korean Peoples Army invaded across the 38th Parallel separating North and South Korea. They would drive the retreating Republic of Korea and US Armies into a pocket around the southern port of Pusan until Douglas McArthur's daring amphibious landings at Inchon threatened their rear areas and supply lines. It would take a coalition of United Nations, led by the United States, to fight the North Koreans and Chinese and Soviet volunteers to a cease-fire that stands yet unresolved today.

This Just In...

Someone patented the Combover!

Image courtesy of

h/t bd

Friday, June 24, 2005

Guns Guns Guns!!!

The new Carnival of Cordite is up!

Robert Douglas at Backroad Blog has completed another project gun, this time a Polish Underfolder.

Buy Jeff a gun!

Rummy gave Teddy the guns, and Froggy has a great post about it.

Coed Nekkid Blogging

It's that time of the year when the a/c is chugging away and you just can't get comfortable in front of the computer. Matthew of Lone Tree on the Prairie tipped me off that today is Blog Nekkid Day, thanks to blogger Miriam. When he asked me to join up and propagate the idea, I was amused, since I've been blogging clothing-optional all week! Since I had no need to go anywhere this week except the mailbox, I kept a pair of shorts and a T-shirt on hand for that (and for interacting with the don't want anything dangling to distract them); otherwise, I just put a towel on top of my Korean floor pillow and blogged away. My computer is on a low coffee table in the living room a short distance in front of the TV.

Anyway, Matthew thought we should link to a webcam. Here's his.

I've decided to link to one still and three webcams to maximize your nekkid blogging experience:



Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another New Look Blog

Fun Turns to Tragedy!

Looking good, Kirk!

La Guerre De Jerque Boeuf

This intrepid blogger has discovered that the Jerky Nazi has scrapped his Golden Rules for Care Packages and announced the Canonical Rules for Care Packages. I only got a glance at the top of the list:

1. Canned snails
2. Rabbit in mustard sauce
3. Jerry Lewis DVDs (All areas)
4. Pate de fois gras
5. Euros
6. iPods preloaded with Claudine Longet's Greatest Hits
7. Vaccuum-packed crepes
8. Fisher-Price Viewmasters with Deluxe Paris
9. Gaston Lagaffe comic books
10. More Euros

I was shocked.

This graphic was recycled from our Spirit of America drive last year. I'm sure Jean-Paul would be proud to get the same treatment as James Lilecques.

Mudville Gazette Open Link Thingee

It's Hot!

Thanks to the Crazy Cat Lady Jen_Jen at my old office downtown.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pilot, Dragonlady Lost in SW Asia

The US Air Force lost a U-2 Dragonlady (I refuse to call it a "spy plane") returning from a mission supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The pilot was killed and interim investigation begun, but we can't expect many more details because of the classified mission involved.

Besides EC-130 drivers, I've had the most professional contact with U-2 pilots over my military career. These guys are a different breed from the average fighter jock; they fly long, extremely high-altitude missions under difficult physiological conditions, most often along the periphery of hostile airspace. Their working conditions are closer to that of an astronaut (save the G-Forces) than an airplane pilot. That proximity to hostile airspace means they're often the focus of air defense assets who'd only be too happy to shoot him down for overflying their territory.

Direct your thoughts and prayers to the family of this as-yet-unnamed lost American hero. My retirement flag flew aboard a U-2 during an operational mission; I'm also going to pray for the pilot named on the certificate that at least he may have been spared. There's not much else I can do.

Anti-Jerky Hippies Spread Diseases

The Jerky Nazi (pictured above) is a self-avowed Mortar Maggot; maggots are fly larvae, which you all know are disgusting and spread disease. So are tofu-munching, patchouli-wearing, crystal-carrying hippies, who have lousy hygiene, engage in unsafe sex with hippies of indeterminate gender, and would rather release beef cattle into the wild to fall prey to predators than allow them to be made into wholesome beef jerky for beef-lovers everywhere.

Say "No" to hippies and maggots alike! Enjoy Beef Jerky and send some to our troops!

Disclosure: This graphic was recycled from our Spirit of America Challenge last year. I hope Jean-Paul doesn't mind being compared to Hugh Hewitt.

Mudville Gazette Open Link Thingee

Don't Microwave Metamucil

Sounds common sense to me. I've been trying to stay on a thrice-per-day Metamucil regimen since my doc took me off my cholestorol meds (pending my next blood test). After mixing and downing a quick dose in my coffee cup, I microwaved some water in it for tea, knowing there was a small lump of undissolved orange stuff at the bottom (good for flavor, I thought). Well, that lump turned into a slick so slimy I couldn't fish the stringless teabag out with my fingers. It did add some orange flavor to the tea, but ooh, surface slime!

Communities at TTLB

If you haven't noticed already, The Truth Laid Bear, Grand Organizer of the Blogging Ecosystem, has added communities of blogs, including GunBloggers (thanks to Say Uncle), of which I'm proud to be a member. I've noticed some blogs that I haven't added to the pro-RKBA Blog post, which I'll continue to maintain; it will give me something to do in my copious spare time.

I don't know if membership to Blackfive's list of MilBlogs is prerequisite to being a MilBlogger...I'll have to ask Mrs. Greyhawk, the Milblog community coordinator. I guess over 22 years of service and my body of posts doesn't meet Matt's high standards. Maybe he just doesn't like ferrets.

MilBlogger Down!

But Not Out!

Chuck of From my Position...On the Way! has been injured by an IED. His wife Carren states:

Just so everyone knows, Chuck did not lose his humor in all of this mess... I was told the first thing he asked when he was pulled from the canal (the blast blew him into a canal) was: "Be honest with me, guys. Do I still have my face and my 'package'?" That is sooooo Chuck. Always worried about his "manliness."

That's all I have for now. Please keep him and all of our deployed men and women in your prayers. I never thought my husband was immune to injury, but this was definitely a shock to the whole family.

Go there to read the rest and leave a comment of support for this great American and his family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Binker Blogging

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cowboy to the Rescue: 2 Miracles 2 Much 2 Ask

From the Propwash Gang

For those of us in the Intel Business from the 60s to the 90s, the SR-71 had a
special place in our hearts--not just for the the intel she collected, but for the
intel she generated by her presence near the airspace of our enemies. Where did she
fly? I don't think I'll be revealing any national secrets by revealing the orbit
named "AOTFP." Here's a story from one of the brave pilots of the Blackbird.

Bill Weaver : SR-71 BREAKUP

Among professional aviators, there's a well-worn saying: Flying is
simply hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. And yet, I
don't recall too many periods of boredom during my 30-year career with Lockheed,
most of which was spent as a test pilot. By far, the most memorable
flight occurred on Jan. 25, 1966. Jim Zwayer, a Lockheed flight test reconnaissance
and navigation systems specialist, and I were evaluating those systems
on an SR-71 Blackbird test from Edwards AFB, Calif. We also were investigating
procedures designed to reduce trim drag and improve high-Mach cruise
performance. The latter involved flying with the center-of-gravity (CG) located
further aft than normal, which reduced the Blackbird's longitudinal stability.
We took off from Edwards at 11:20 a.m. and completed the mission's first leg without
incident. After refueling from a KC-135 tanker, we turned eastbound, accelerated to
a Mach 3.2-cruise speed and climbed to 78,000 ft., our initial cruise-climb altitude.
Several minutes into cruise, the right engine inlet's automatic control system
malfunctioned, requiring a switch to manual control. The SR-71's inlet configuration
was automatically adjusted during supersonic flight to decelerate air flow in the
duct, slowing it to subsonic speed before reaching the engine's face. This was
accomplished by the inlet's center-body spike translating aft, and by modulating the
inlet's forward bypass doors. Normally, these actions were scheduled
automatically as a function of Mach number, positioning the normal shock wave
(where air flow becomes subsonic) inside the inlet to ensure optimum engine

Without proper scheduling, disturbances inside the inlet could result
in the shock wave being expelled forward--a phenomenon known as an "inlet
unstart." That causes an instantaneous loss of engine thrust, explosive banging
noises and violent yawing of the aircraft--like being in a train wreck.
Unstarts were not uncommon at that time in the SR-71's development, but a
properly functioning system would recapture the shock wave and restore normal

On the planned test profile, we entered a programmed 35-deg. bank turn
to the right. An immediate unstart occurred on the right engine, forcing the
aircraft to roll further right and start to pitch up. I jammed the
control stick as far left and forward as it would go. No response. I instantly
knew we were in for a wild ride. I attempted to tell Jim what was happening
and to stay with the airplane until we reached a lower speed and altitude. I
didn't think the chances of surviving an ejection at Mach 3.18 and 78,800 ft.
were very good. However, g-forces built up so rapidly that my words came out
garbled and unintelligible, as confirmed later by the cockpit voice recorder.
The cumulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitudinal
stability, increased angle-of-attack in the turn, supersonic speed,
high altitude and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded
flight control authority and the Stability Augmentation System's
ability to restore control. Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned
later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled
flight was only 2-3 sec. Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out,
succumbing to extremely high g-forces. The SR-71 then literally disintegrated
around us. From that point, I was just along for the ride. My next
recollection was a hazy thought that I was having a bad dream. Maybe
I'll wake up and get out of this mess, I mused. Gradually regaining
consciousness, I realized this was no dream; it had really happened. That also was
disturbing, because I could not have survived what had just happened.
Therefore, I must be dead. Since I didn't feel bad--just a detached
sense of euphoria--I decided being dead wasn't so bad after all. AS FULL
AWARENESS took hold, I realized I was not dead, but had somehow separated from
the airplane. I had no idea how this could have happened; I hadn't
initiated an ejection. The sound of rushing air and what sounded like straps
flapping in the wind confirmed I was falling, but I couldn't see anything. My
pressure suit's face plate had frozen over and I was staring at a layer of ice.
The pressure suit was inflated, so I knew an emergency oxygen cylinder in
the seat kit attached to my parachute harness was functioning. It not only
supplied breathing oxygen, but also pressurized the suit, preventing my
blood from boiling at extremely high altitudes. I didn't appreciate it at the
time, but the suit's pressurization had also provided physical protection
from intense buffeting and g-forces. That inflated suit had become my own
escape capsule. My next concern was about stability and tumbling. Air density
at high altitude is insufficient to resist a body's tumbling motions, and
centrifugal forces high enough to cause physical injury could develop quickly.
For that reason, the SR-71's parachute system was designed to
automatically deploy a small-diameter stabilizing chute shortly after ejection and
seat separation. Since I had not intentionally activated
the ejection system--and assuming all automatic functions depended on a
proper ejection sequence--it occurred to me the stabilizing chute may not have
deployed. However, I quickly determined I was falling vertically and
not tumbling. The little chute must have deployed and was doing its job.
Next concern: the main parachute, which was designed to open automatically
at 15,000 ft. Again I had no assurance the automatic-opening function
would work. I couldn't ascertain my altitude because I still couldn't see
through the iced-up face plate. There was no way to know how long I had been
blacked-out or how far I had fallen. I felt for the manual-activation
D-ring on my chute harness, but with the suit inflated and my hands numbed by
cold, I couldn't locate it. I decided I'd better open the face plate, try to
estimate my height above the ground, then locate that "D" ring. Just as
I reached for the face plate, I felt the reassuring sudden deceleration
of main-chute deployment. I raised the frozen face plate and discovered its
uplatch was broken. Using one hand to hold that plate up, I saw I was
descending through a clear, winter sky with unlimited visibility. I was
greatly relieved to see Jim's parachute coming down about a quarter of
a mile away. I didn't think either of us could have survived the aircraft's
breakup, so seeing Jim had also escaped lifted my spirits incredibly. I could
also see burning wreckage on the ground a few miles from where we would land.
The terrain didn't look at all inviting--a desolate, high plateau dotted
with patches of snow and no signs of habitation. I tried to rotate the
parachute and look in other directions. But with one hand devoted to keeping the
face plate up and both hands numb from high -altitude, subfreezing
temperatures, I couldn't manipulate the risers enough to turn. Before the breakup, we'd
started a turn in the New Mexico-Colorado-Oklahoma-Texas border region.
The SR-71 had a turning radius of about 100 mi. at that speed and altitude,
so I wasn't even sure what state we were going to land in. But, because it
was about 3:00 p.m., I was certain we would be spending the night out here.
At about 300 ft. above the ground, I yanked the seat kit's release handle
and made sure it was still tied to me by a long lanyard. Releasing the
heavy kit ensured I wouldn't land with it attached to my derriere, which could
break a leg or cause other injuries. I then tried to recall what survival items
were in that kit, as well as techniques I had been taught in survival
training. Looking down, I was startled to see a fairly large animal--perhaps an
antelope--directly under me. Evidently, it was just as startled as I
was because it literally took off in a cloud of dust. My first-ever
parachute landing was pretty smooth. I landed on fairly soft ground, managing to
avoid rocks, cacti and antelopes. My chute was still billowing in the wind,
though. I struggled to collapse it with one hand, holding the still-frozen face
plate up with the other.

"Can I help you?" a voice said. Was I hearing things? I must be hallucinating.
Then I looked up and saw a guy walking toward me, wearing a cowboy hat. A helicopter
was idling a short distance behind him.
If I had been at Edwards and told the search-and-rescue unit that I was
going to bail out over the Rogers Dry Lake at a particular time of day, a crew
couldn't have gotten to me as fast as that cowboy-pilot had. The gentleman
was Albert Mitchell, Jr., owner of a huge cattle ranch in northeastern New
Mexico. I had landed about 1.5 mi. from his ranch house--and from a hangar
for his two-place Hughes helicopter. Amazed to see him, I replied I was
having a little trouble with my chute. He walked over and collapsed the
canopy, anchoring it with several rocks. He had seen Jim and me floating
down and had radioed the New Mexico Highway Patrol, the Air Force and the
nearest hospital.

Extracting myself from the parachute harness, I discovered the source of those
flapping-strap noises heard on the way down. My seat belt and shoulder
harness were still draped around me, attached and latched. The lap belt had
been shredded on each side of my hips, where the straps had fed through
knurled adjustment rollers. The shoulder harness had shredded in a
similar manner across my back. The ejection seat had never left the airplane; I
had been ripped out of it by the extreme forces, seat belt and shoulder
harness still fastened. I also noted that one of the two lines that supplied
oxygen to my pressure suit had come loose, and the other was barely hanging
on. If that second line had become detached at high altitude, the deflated
pressure suit wouldn't have provided any protection. I knew an oxygen supply was
critical for breathing and suit-pressurization, but didn't appreciate
how much physical protection an inflated pressure suit could provide. That
the suit could withstand forces sufficient to disintegrate an airplane and
shred heavy nylon seat belts, yet leave me with only a few bruises and minor
whiplash was impressive. I truly appreciated having my own little escape
capsule. After helping me with the chute, Mitchell said he'd check on Jim.
He climbed into his helicopter, flew a short distance away and returned
about 10 min. later with devastating news: Jim was dead. Apparently, he had
suffered a broken neck during the aircraft's disintegration and was killed
Mitchell said his ranch foreman would soon arrive to watch over Jim's
body until the authorities arrived. I asked to see Jim and, after verifying
there was nothing more that could be done, agreed to let Mitchell fly me to
the Tucumcari hospital, about 60 mi. to the south I have vivid memories of
that helicopter flight, as well. I didn't know much about rotorcraft, but I
knew a lot about "red lines," and Mitchell kept the airspeed at or above red
line all the way. The little helicopter vibrated and shook a lot more than I
thought it should have. I tried to reassure the cowboy-pilot I was feeling
OK; there was no need to rush. But since he'd notified the hospital staff
that we were inbound, he insisted we get there as soon as possible. I couldn't
help but think how ironic it would be to have survived one disaster
only to be done in by the helicopter that had come to my rescue.
However, we made it to the hospital safely--and quickly. Soon, I was able to
contact Lockheed's flight test office at Edwards. The test team there had been
notified initially about the loss of radio and radar contact, then told
the aircraft had been lost. They also knew what our flight conditions had
been at the time, and assumed no one could have survived. I briefly explained
what had happened, describing in fairly accurate detail the flight
conditions prior to breakup. The next day, our flight profile was duplicated on
the SR-71 flight simulator at Beale AFB, Calif. The outcome was identical.
Steps were immediately taken to prevent a recurrence of our accident. Testing
at a CG aft of normal limits was discontinued, and trim-drag issues were
subsequently resolved via aerodynamic means. The inlet control system was
continuously improved and, with subsequent development of the Digital
Automatic Flight and Inlet Control System, inlet unstarts became rare.
Investigation of our accident revealed that the nose section of the aircraft
had broken off aft of the rear cockpit and crashed about 10 mi. from the main
wreckage. Parts were scattered over an area approximately 15 mi. long
and 10 mi. wide. Extremely high air loads and g-forces, both positive and
negative, had literally ripped Jim and me from the airplane. Unbelievably good
luck is the only explanation for my escaping relatively unscathed from that
disintegrating aircraft. Two weeks after the accident, I was back in an
SR-71, flying the first sortie on a brand-new bird at Lockheed's Palmdale,
Calif., assembly and test facility. It was my first flight since the
accident, so a flight test engineer in the back seat was probably a little
apprehensive about my state of mind and confidence. As we roared down the
runway and lifted off, I heard an anxious voice over the intercom.
Bill! Are you there?"

"Yeah, George. What's the matter?" "Thank God! I thought you might have
The rear cockpit of the SR-71 has no forward visibility--only a small
window on each side--and George couldn't see me. A big red light on the
master-warning panel in the rear cockpit had illuminated just as we
rotated, stating, "Pilot Ejected." Fortunately, the cause was a misadjusted
microswitch, not my departure.

Bill Weaver flight tested all models of the Mach-2 F-104 Starfighter
and the entire family of Mach 3+ Blackbirds--the A-12, YF-12 and SR-71. He
subsequently was assigned to Lockheed's L-1011 project as an engineering
test pilot, became the company's chief pilot and retired as Division Manager
of Commercial Flying Operations. He still flies Orbital Sciences Corp.'s
L-1011, which has been modified to carry a Pegasus satellite-launch vehicle
(AW&ST Aug. 25, 2003, p. 56). An FAA Designated Engineering Representative
Flight Test Pilot, he's also involved in various aircraft-modification
projects, conducting certification flight tests.

"For those who fly....or long to." Contrails is an Aviation Week &
Space Technology initiative to capture the untold stories that collectively
make up the rich lore of aviation and space Copyright © 2005, Aviation Week, a
division of The McGraw-Hill Companies All rights reserved.

Oops! Copyrighted! Quick, buy a copy of the magazine for more good stuff like this!

Dodging the Tag and a Book Review

James Rummel at Hell in a Handbasket almost tagged me with the Book Meme, until he discovered my immunity. He linked me anyway, so at least I should post a book review. I just finished An American Soldier, by General Tommy Franks. From the very first page, I kept in mind my impression of his DESERT STORM CENTCOM predecessor's autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero. It's a very interesting read, especially since he uses transcripts and notes from the CENTCOM classified archives to put the reader front seat at his meetings with the National Command Authority and his subordinate commanders. He illuminates the points missed or glossed over by the mainstream media like why the 4th ID remained off the coast of Turkey for so long (to freeze northern Iraqi divisions in place...there wasn't room for the 4th in Kuwait for nine days anyway!). He still rues asking President Bush to make a statement thanking the troops for achieving the end of "major combat operations."

General Franks had a very exciting and heroic tour in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer, and was a lean-forward innnovator at every assignment following. Both books trace insightful roadmaps to the constellations of four stars; it's a rare and wonderful mortal who can make the journey. As a young NCO, I was once a "shadow" to my wing commander and got an eyeful and earful at the fast-paced schedule and decision-making demands on staff and flag officers. Never again did I begrudge their reserved parking places or other perks; these high-speed, low-drag movers need most sources of friction removed from their trajectory to ensure they're earning their great big paychecks. Though both were exceptional warrior-diplomats, Gen. Franks illustrated how his war was markedly different from Gen. Schwartzkopf's. They are now neighbors in Tampa, not far from CENTCOM HQ, who, I'm sure, values their consultation.

General Franks' accounts of his meetings with the NCA reinforce my faith in President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and Secretary Rice and make me glad we have folks like that leading our country.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Attack of the Killer Sunbeam

Losing strength....

I'm Jealous

Stickwick at Carnaby Fudge just picked up a new tool/toy "to have."

Friday, June 17, 2005

New Look at Flight Pundit

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Stupid Fun Power

When I brought my first AR home one year to have some range fun with my brother, my Dad asked, "What do you need a gun like that for?" Yes, Dad was a democrat. Dad had a cabinet full of shotguns, a deer rifle, a .22 rifle, and an M-1 Carbine I bought him. I've known him to dispatch some snakes, groundhogs, etc. with them, but to him, guns were just a tool.

"To have," was my answer. To me, guns are a tool and a toy in one! These's little on my dysfunctional social calendar that gives me as much fun as a day on the range...even when I don't do particularly well. My shooting buddy feels similarly, though his social schedule isn't as stunted as mine. He shoots to decompress from college classes. Jon once had a Thompson-Center Contender .45-70 Government!! A buffalo gun cartridge in a hand cannon, this was not a very practical gun. Jon said he might try elk hunting with it, but I saw it for what is was: Stupid Fun Power. Exploding the water jug with one shot was a gas! My hand was hurting, but my brain was racing...Bragging Rights...Stupid Fun Power! That's all any of the super-powerful BFRs really are. Sure, if you're hiking the Alaskan wilderness, you're entitled to prevent your body's conversion to bear feces, but what purpose these wrist-wrenching revolvers for those who'll never set foot in the Yukon?

"To have."

Visit the Carnival of Cordite, por favor.

Tagged by the Book Meme

Mustang23 says I'm "it."

1. Total number of books I own. Hundreds, some I've even had since I was a teenager. My Grandmother was a librarian and she used to "rescue" books for me when they were slated to be destroyed.

2. Last book I bought: The Price of Vigilance: Attacks on American Surveillance Flights, by Larry Tart and Robert Keefe.

3. Last book I read: I can't remember the title! It was about an aging retired doctor suffering from cancer who'd planned to commit suicide during one last hunting trip alone in the hills of Washington state. Disturbing that throughout the time I was reading it, the part of the lead character was played in my head by the father of the lady who lent me the book. Who happens to be from Seattle. Strange. I started Great Presidential Wit, by Bob Dole, but haven't finished it yet.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me: The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the greatest work of literature crafted by man. Tolkien was a linguist, man! A Elbereth Gilthoniel! The Brotherhood of War and The Corps series by W.E.B. Griffin are absolute jello, meaning I can slurp them all down quickly and still be hungry for more. Just saw a new one in the BX...must wait for paperback. Raiders of the Deep, by Lowell Thomas, is one of my library "rescues." Written in a romantic style about WWI German submariners before there were such things as Nazis, it still calls me to reread it. Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising is the perfect techno-thriller for war-geeks, even including an NSA linguist as a protagonist. Adding an Eagle-driver named "Buns" Nakamura was icing. The North Korean Air Force Technical Handbook...I could tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya.

5. Tag five people: Oh, my...who hasn't done this already?

Billy Budd at American Dinosaur
Bullseye at American Drumslinger
H2SO4 at Sulfuric Attitude (just discovered today)
Chaos at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (another Tucson gunblogger)
Benjamin at Reasonablenut

Can't Gitmo Satisfaction

I'm one of the few people in my slice of the political spectrum who is all in favor of closing down the Guantanamo Bay Country Club for Terrorists. My method of closure? Military tribunals and firing squads. If the tribunal finds an AQ detainee guilty of being an unlawful combatant, march Achmed to the wall, offer him a cigarette and a blindfold, and let a squad of Marines perforate his mortal remains in front of the gathered detainees. Get the trial and execution on film and distribute to the terrorist's home country. Offer clemency only if the the detainee coughs up the names and locations of the big fish in their organization, resulting in a kill or capture.

But some don't have the stomach for this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Russian Pr0n

Check out Natalya! Quite a plum, eh?

If that didn't get you sportin' wood, check out this Canadian Beauty, eh?

Happy Birthday, Grunts!

Today is Flag Day and the birthday of the US Army. Salute the flag and hug a soldier today! Or hug the flag and salute a soldier!

Nice Bones

I used to pass by the Boneyard on the way to work every morning, but I've never lost my sense of wonder at the wealth of power it represents. We should invite the leaders of Iran, North Korea, and Syria to tour the place; "We've got more killer shit in our attic than you've got in your active forces combined."

Then we can take them to the nearby Pima Air and Space Museum and buy them each some model planes at the gift shop.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Beds are not for sleeping

Friday, June 10, 2005

Twenty K

Today I went over 20,000 visits! My practice for landmarks like this is to make a Blog Ad for the referring blog and post it on my sidebar for a while. Seeing as how visitor 20,001 came from Bloggers for Beef Jerky, I've been saved some work since I posted my emblem for them yesterday! Visitor 20,002 came from American Drumslinger (I suspect it was Bullseye, himself), and I still have his Ad up from an old blog contest, so I'll leave it up longer.

Thanks for visiting, everybody!

I'm Glad She's On My Side

Here come the pre-schoolers! (Just kidding)

See Rodger for the story of the first female USAF aerial gunner.

Team Infidel

Check out Anarchangel and his Team Infidel as they exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed Freedom of Expression and Right to Bear Arms. I downloaded their video yesterday and think they could have used some of my help. After a look at their impressive Rogues' Gallery of talent and firepower, I think they were missing something.

Something Israeli.

Carnival of Cordite #17

Is up at Eric's. I was too lazy to submit anything.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Oh, yeah...the Plug

I got an e-mail asking me to check out a new conservative blog.


Suitably Flip.

H/t to Gullyborg

Bloggers for Beef Jerky

I had just started paying closer attention to the Jerky Wars documented by Milblogger Mustang23 at Assume Command, when MKL of Southern by Blog!!, a fellow Fusileer of the Spirit of America campaign, asked for my help to stifle the Beef Jerky Nazi's efforts to reduce the flow of tasty dried beef to our boys and girls deployed to the Sharp End.

There was no doubt what side of this squabble I would take. What self-respecting ersatz cowboy could be against beef jerky? As I've mentioned in my roadtrip posts, jerky is a great travel food and delivers protein and flavor in a portable, stashable form. The principals in this conflict have declared a cease-fire, but that doesn't mean recruiting should stop. Check out Bloggers for Beef Jerky and the enemy at Beef Jerky for Dummies. Then decide whether the next CARE package you send overseas should contain either nutritious American beef jerky or prunes and banana chips.

Apologies to Frank Cho whose Liberty Meadows artwork I hoarked without permission. Same for Oberto, but I'm sure they don't mind the advertising.

Wanna Hear Some Good Sea Stories?

Surf on over to a Marine Mustang's blog named Stacking Swivel. One story is timely with the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, coming from the oral history of George Gay.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mea Culpa

Looking through my archives last night, I discovered I had committed bandwidth theft by using other blogs' image codes instead of hosting the pictures myself. I justified this to myself at the time because I'd included a link to the blog; as I've grown more experienced blogging, I've learned that that is not cricket. I still have some commercial and government site code to replace, but I think I've fixed all the blog references. My apologies to the fine blogs like mASSBACKWARDS and Incoherant Ramblings, whose images I hoarked for my humble and now repentent blog.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

They Must Have Seen My Shooting Scores

You scored as Clone Trooper.

Clone Trooper


Darth Vader


Mace Windu


General Grievous


Obi Wan Kenobi


Anakin Skywalker


Emperor Palpatine










Padme Amidala


Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with

I haven't seen the movie this a bad thing?

H/t to Random Nuclear Strikes

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Tale of Three Riflemen

I started first. Fortunately I had the utmost faith in my Trijicon Reflex II optics, especially since all the non-platform targets required headshots. The shooting ports provided a nice rest with which to stabilize my gun. Lots of shooters didn't use them...their loss. I finished within a second of the winning shooter, but a single miss would drop me into third place. Do I sound disappointed? Woohoo!

Jon continued his love affair with The Boomer and his scores suffered for it. Of course, the stage had a silly premise...three shots to each target, including the headshot targets, even if you're shooting major caliber like Jon. The extra mag change and the recoil ate into Jon's time such that he fell to 9th out of 11 shooters. Methinks he'll be bringing forth his slick AR with 100-round C-mag next match.

Wayne, Jon's older brother, is Jon's equal (and sometimes superior) with a rifle, and he'd brought the optimum equipment (Mmmmm...Holosight) to speed through this course. He finished a second ahead of me, but had no misses and even beat out the Master class spacegunner who came in seond.

I was at the bottom of the stack in pistol, but I was again the only Revolver shooter. This might be my last revo match because of my catastrophic first stage. A cylinder full of Wolf ammo refused to eject while I had a second array left to engage. I fixed it by jarring the clip out with a cleaning rod and using only brass ammo later, but the only stuff I have left at home is Wolf, which my BoG seems to consume with no problem. Limited 10 here I come!

I sucked supremely in riotgun as well, but Jon acquitted himself well, considering he was shooting a Remington 870 pump. Methinks the automatics will return soon.

Let Me Out Two!

I had a bad feeling driving back to Tucson. What if Lenny somehow managed to get over the plexiglas again, only without me being at home? Sure, there's lots of fun stuff to play with, but also lots of things to kill a curious ferret. Plus, no source of food or water...and there'd be no way of recrossing the plexiglas (if it wasn't knocked out of battery) even if a ferret could think of trying it.

As is my routine when I return home, I quickly count furry noses before I leave the door open to unload the truck. This time, there was only one shiny pink nose to be counted and it belonged to Squiggy. I was starting to feel a little psychic and a lot worried. The plexiglas was in place and there was nothing nearby from which to leap to the top. I checked the PVC tubes to ensure he wasn't dozing in one of them. I stepped outside the room and checked the hall closet, their former hangout. Voila, fresh ferret poop! I alerted the guard towers and actuated the sirens and searchlights. The Weasel was over the wall.

My first reconnaissance was quick; nose to all corners of the house, no smell of electrocuted ferret. No drowned ferret in the toilet bowls. Nobody in the bathtubs (neither of my jills ever had that skill), I knew at least Lenny could do it. I returned to question Lenny's cellmate, but all he did was lick my feet. He knew what side of the bread was Ferretvited. After drifting into the living room again, I spied the escapee coming out from behind the TV. He made a quick dash behind the bookcase but was soon coaxed out by my offer of leniency. After repatriating him to the ferret reserve, Squiggy almost immediately sat on him and started vigorously licking Lenny's ears. Hey, Guy, I only said *I* wouldn't punish you!

As much as they might protest, I think they both stay in the Cellblock on my next weekend trip, instead of having the run of the Yard. Think I'm being too mean, guys? Meet someone who gets let out of the cage once or twice a day...and he LIKES it.

Attiiiiiicaaaaa! Attiiiicaaaa!

Let Me Out!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

CB's Cut-and-Paste on a Lazy Saturday

Received this by Email:
The Wall Street Journal Best of the Web Today

One Marine vs. 20 Idiots--Guess Who Wins?

On Friday, we noted that a score of Ohio University students and others had staged a "die-in" to protest the liberation of Iraq. The Post, the student newspaper, carried a letter from Marc Fencil, a senior who is also a Marine currently stationed in Iraq, that is so excellent we reprint it in full:

"It's a shame that I'm here in Iraq with the Marines right now and not back at Ohio University completing my senior year and joining in blissful ignorance with the enlightened, war-seasoned protesters who participated in the recent "die-in" at College Gate. It would appear that all the action is back home, but why don't we make sure? That's right, this is an open invitation for you to cut your hair, take a shower, get in shape and come on over! If Michael Moore can shave and lose enough weight to fit into a pair of camouflage utilities, then he can come too!

Make sure you all say your good-byes to your loved ones though, because you won't be seeing them for at least the next nine months. You need to get here quick because I don't want you to miss a thing. You missed last month's discovery of a basement full of suicide vests from the former regime (I'm sure Saddam's henchmen just wore them because they were trendy though). You weren't here for the opening of a brand new school we built either. You might also notice women exercising their new freedom of walking to the market unaccompanied by their husbands.

There is a man here, we just call him al-Zarqawi, but we think he'd be delighted to sit down and give you some advice on how you can further disrespect the victims of Sept. 11 and the 1,600 of America's bravest who have laid down their lives for a safer world. Of course he'll still call you "infidel" but since you already agree that there is no real evil in the world, I see no reason for you to be afraid. Besides, didn't you say that radical Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance?

I'm warning you though -it's not going to be all fun and games over here. You might have bad dreams for the next several nights after you zip up the body bag over a friend's disfigured face. I know you think that nothing, even a world free of terror for one's children, is worth dying for, but bear with me here. We're going to live in conditions you've never dreamt about. You should get here soon though, because the temperatures are going to be over 130 degrees very soon and we will be carrying full combat loads (we're still going to work though). When it's all over, I promise you can go back to your coffee houses and preach about social justice and peace while you continue to live outside of reality.

If you decide to decline my offer, then at least you should sleep well tonight knowing that men wearing black face masks and carrying AK-47s yelling "Allahu Akbar" over here are proud of you and are forever indebted to you for advancing their cause of terror. While you ponder this, I'll get back to the real "die-in" over here. I don't mind.
What can we say but "Semper fi"?

God Bless America
Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas
Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever.
United States Marines

Friday, June 03, 2005

Speaking of Google

Reader Mark was looking for some Defense Language Institute challenge coins. I wasn't any help locating a source from which to buy any, but at least I can show some examples of coins bestowed on the field of competition.

The first coin on the left I received in addition to one gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the Millenium Games (Non-Resident). We also brought home the Best Unit in Language (Korean) Trophy (below). Yeah, this was back in the day when I was a "zipper-suited Sun God" on the Electric Herk.

The red coin in the middle was awarded to me for managing the video training studio for the 1999 Non-Resident Games.

The coin on the right was given to me for participating in the Resident Games in (I think) 1994. We brought home no medals, but my partner (a native Korean lady actually trained as an Air Force Arabic linguist) and I scored points that led to our bringing home the Best Unit trophy.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Just Call Me Google Boy

I can usually count on a couple hits a day coming from Google, usually looking for something cowboy-related. Today, fully a tenth of my blog visits have come from search engines! What are they looking for?

Pederson device
Bossy girlfriend
History hagar horrible scottish landing
Boot parlor
Cabelas (get lots of those)
Saloon whore
Sanitarium investigation
Colt Series 80
Plant jokes
Hawaii Five-0 mp3
Remington 1858
Cowboy noseart
Sam Clam's Disco (my favorite groaner!)
Peeing (!!! Darn, those ferrets!)
Gun grips with Madonna (!!)
Ruger vaquero cowboy

My most popular Google Images hits are:
my S&W Model 625
Princess Clara from Drawn Together
the 10,000 Maniacs Unplugged album cover
Macchi 202
Admiral Akbar/Madeline Albright

I hope people are finding what they're looking for.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In Jam Mode, No One Can Hear You Scream

John at Castle Argghhh! posted some AC-130 aircraft pr0n, but he's partial to things with big guns. My baby, the EC-130H, kills radios with Trons, leaving the enemy deaf, dumb, and easy meat for Allied forces. Click the pic for hi-res.
Visits Since September 11, 2004