Sunday, July 31, 2005

Trip to Wyoming hiking with Llamas


I recently returned from a hiking trip in Wyoming. It was a lot of fun. They used Llamas to pack our gear and we hiked behind them into the wilderness. This photo shows me by the camp site in the morning with my 100% DEET buy spray - the bugs would literally drive you insane even with this spray. The smart fly fishermen wore those netting masks over their faces. Posted by Picasa

There were 9 Llamas on the trip with us. At the beginning of the trip they loaded them all into a trailer that looked like it was built for a few horses. The llamas are between 250-400 pounds but they don't "spook" like horses and in fact are very easy to lead around. They "spit" if they get angry but these llamas were well trained and everyone handled them carefully so we didn't have any incidents. Posted by Picasa

The trail was very steep at times. Everyone got to lead a llama, if they wanted. The heat was pretty intense and I was suffering in the altitude 10,000 - 11,000 feet. Posted by Picasa

The Wyoming scenery was fantastic. We were in the Popo Agie wilderness area in Wyoming. There were no vehicles allowed, just hiking and pack animals.
Posted by Picasa

Carl with "Beavis" the Llama. This llama was the head of the pack, and he had a chunk of his ear taken off by a rival (his son, actually). He ate the shrubbery continually while he walked.

We went with a guided tour by "Lander Llama" in Lander, Wyoming. We flew into Casper, Wyoming, connecting thru Denver. I highly recommend checking them out if you want a fun and unique wilderness experience. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Foam

Most who follow the news know all about the reason that the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up upon re-entry. The reasons behind it are a sad tale of environmental regulations gone bad.

Columbia was doomed about 30 seconds after it took off several years ago. Chunks of foam from the external fuel tank broke or fell off, hit the wing of the orbiter and sealed the fate of our astronauts. The phenomenon of pieces of foam breaking off and hitting the orbiter is nothing new. After every takeoff there were always issues with tiny pieces of foam and other things breaking off and dinging the orbiter. Sometimes the tiles fell off themselves. The stress of takeoff is immense and those things are natural. Remember that something moving at Mach 1 can cause a whole bunch of bad things to happen to whatever it hits.

The extent of the damage starting in mission STS-87 in 1997 (the missions for the Space Shuttle are numbered, and STS stands for space transportation system - the official name for the Space Shuttle) was like nothing that had ever been seen up to that time.

But why now? Why after STS-87? Why after so many takeoffs and landings did the Space Shuttle all of a sudden have so many problems with the damn foam?

You can thank the government of the USA.

In 1987 many industrialized nations including the USA signed the Montreal Protocol. It was amended many times after that. What it says in simple English is that the nations who signed the document will agree to ramp down production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's), eventually to zero by Jan. 1, 1996. The science supposedly was that the CFC's, after being released into the atmosphere, damage the ozone layer and would let in more UV radiation, contributing to increased intstances of skin cancer, global warming and melting of the polar ice caps. I don't want to get into a discussion about whether the CFC's actually damage the ozone. The signing countries abided by it and that was that.

Instantly life changed for many people in many industries, including the one that I work in, heating and air conditioning. There are many different CFC's and they were used in manufacturing processes for everything from nylon to refrigerators and air conditioners to socks to de-icing planes sitting on tarmacks in winter. Oh yeah, one more thing a certain CFC was used to make. The CFC called R-11 was used to make foam. Space Shuttle external fuel tank foam.

The R-11 was one of five ingredients of the foam. It was actually not one of the ingredients of the foam itself, rather it was used as a blowing agent. What this does is create millions of bubbles so the foam solution can be "blown" (a better word may be sprayed or applied) in a smooth fashion. The foam is only one inch thick on the Space Shuttle's external fuel tanks so this solution must be applied smoothly. The R-11 facilitated this.

In 1997, NASA decided to become more environmantally friendly. They decided to move from a banned CFC blowing agent to an approved HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) blowing agent called R-141b. They could have continued using R-11, as any government agency can get a pass on environmental regulations if they really want it. But they didn't. They decided to do the environmentally correct thing and abide by the Montreal Protocol. The rest, as they say, is history. The new foam was more brittle and more broke off of the external fuel tanks than ever before. It was only a matter of time before an accident like Columbia was going to happen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Something's Gotta Go

I am one busy sonofabitch.

Not complaining, just the way it is. I have work, wife, kids, biking, guns, reading, blog, etc., etc., etc.......

I have very much enjoyed my run of blogging over the past eight months or so. I have experienced everything from a death threat to Carl and I being plagiarized by the Chicago Tribune.

The email from many kind strangers and lost friends I have found (you know who you are) have been the best.

I am not closing this blog, but will not be posting as often in the near future. Carl will probably be posting once in a while, too. So, as always, thanks for reading. Check back every once in a while!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The End of an Era


I remember with fondness the summer weeks I would spend at my grandparents house in northern Wisconsin.

They had an old - and I mean old - record player. It looks like a wardrobe, but you open the top and the controls for a record player and a radio are underneath. I imagine it must be at least 60 years old.

From that record player came my introduction to polka music. My grandparents were born in Munich, Germany and Riga,Latvia. Needless to say, there was plenty of "wurst" around. No muslims need apply.

For some reason, I liked to hear one particular album, and it was full of old polka hits. My grandma still lives in that house and I imagine that record is still up there somewhere, probably where I left it 20 years ago on that record player. I will have to take a look next time I visit. Anyway, the fellow pictured above, Myron Floren, is featured several times on that record. He just died yesterday. Darn.

He was a regular feature on the Lawrence Welk show. For those who may not be familiar with the Welk show, it just simply defies explanation, but I will give it a shot. It was on TV for some 35 years. The show was a mix of big band music, along with goofy skits put on by people who were singing along as they acted. Every show eventually has a polka in it and Myron Floren was "the man". His fingers slinked along that accordion keyboard like nobody elses, with the occasional wrist flick for style points, almost like a basketball player spinning the ball on one finger and saying "not only can I dunk, but look at this!"

The reruns of the Lawrence Welk show still show here in Wisconsin (and other places, I imagine) every Saturday and I have introduced my kids to it. We always sit through the skits and musical numbers to get to the best morsel of the show - the polka. Myron Floren, rest in peace.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 25, 2005

So Which Is Better?

Lance Armstrong won his seventh Tour de France in a row yesterday. It is truly an unbelievable achievement. He survived a battle with cancer and worked his ass off and became a living legend and maybe one of the greatest sports stories ever.

But have you heard why he is retiring?

He hasn't seen his kids grow up. He misses them. And they miss him.

So which is better? A plain, run of the mill dad who works every day then comes home to read to his children every night and play with them or a star athlete who has decided to train and compete in a sporting event rather than have his time taken up with the kids?

I know the answer.

Dane County Fair


We always like going to fairs, and especially the Dane County Fair because it is only 5 minutes from my house. It was raining on and off, and sometimes there were storms. To pass the time, everyone piled into the indoor exhibits. We caught these indian dancers while waiting out the rain. I know, what are they doing at a fair, home of cows, pigs, horses and pie baking contests? Well, this is Madison, baby, and all cultures and peoples must be represented in some fashion. Really, you have to live here a while to understand how very politically correct everything is.
Posted by Picasa

Ferriswheel Accuweather! This is a photo from the top of the ferris wheel at the Dane County Fair from Saturday. Some killer storms went through and afterward it was time for rides rides, rides! This is looking from the Dane County Fairgrounds to the east. On the left you can see Lake Monona holding quite an eerie glow. I rode my bike around that lake Sunday morning. It is about a 40 mile loop from my house.
Posted by Picasa

While we like going to the Dane County Fair, it isn't so fun when it is raining. Here is the sopping wet midway/entertainment area after one of the storms went through. This fair doesn't really give you that "country" feel, either. For some reason, it just feels better to drive your car through gravel and dirt to get to a fair, and then to park in a field rather than the concrete jungle.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Holding Out

Holding out is the latest craze in the NFL. For those not in tune with pro football, I will lay some groundwork.

In the NFL (National Football League) players sign contracts to play for a certain team. I will use a real life example. Terrell Owens last year signed a contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. The term of the contract was for seven years and the amount of the contract was for $49 million. Yes, $49 million. The contract does not pay him $7 million per year, rather is "backloaded". In other words, he earns only (only!) $3.2 million this year and more and more the subsequent years. However, Mr. Owens all of a sudden feels he is worth more NOW. So he has notified the team that he had decided not to attend training camp or play any games until his contract is re-negotiated or re-structured.

Here is another real world example. Javon Walker, star receiver for the Green Bay Packers, is slated to earn $515,000 this year (the last year of his current contract). However, last year he was stellar and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl. Walker and his agent have decided that he is worth more NOW and have taken the same tack as Mr. Owens.

Here is one last example. This year in the draft the Bears selected Cedric Benson as their number one pick. He and his agent have not yet agreed to terms with the Bears and are threatening a holdout. This from a man who has not played one down of professional football in his life.

The practice of holding out is becoming very commonplace in the NFL and I have a few thoughts about it.

Of course, in the real world none of this would be happening. When you sign a contract with a person or business, it is a legally binding document for both parties. If you decide to "holdout" from going to work one day you are fired. If you fail on your end of a contract, like a credit card for instance, you can be forced into bankruptcy or sued by the offended party. But the NFL doesn't seem to be the real world. Contracts are just weird pieces of paper with strange looking numbers on them, meant every year to be discussed, altered or deleted. The owners let themselves get pushed around by the players union and the agents. On the other hand, if the agents and players know that the owners will cave in, more power to them!

So where does this leave the fans? As usual, out in the cold. Not many friends that I have really have a lot of sorrow for crybaby football players who can't seem to get up in the morning for a measly $3.2 million or $515,000 per year. But I have no sympathy for a bunch of spineless team owners who won't just once tell the contract breaking players to pound sand. I mean, how easy would it be for the team to just cut the guy for violating his contract or let him hold out for the whole year and not get paid?

Pro sports in general has become such a mess. But you know what, we keep watching and going to games. What other business could have so much negative publicity and still make so much money?

Friday, July 22, 2005

O'Hare


Not a lot of time for blogging today, so I give you a picture of O'Hare Airport from way up high, courtesy of Google Earth. It is amazing that we can find our way around the place.

O'Hare airport was named after Butch O'Hare, who was an outstanding pilot for the US Navy in the Pacific theater in WW2. Eventually he made the ultimate sacrifice.

If you are interested, there is lots more here.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Buckmaster


Dude! Check it out! You gotta come over. I have a whole bunch of beer and camo color spray paint. I have this van I use for deer hunting - we can paint it ourselves! I have some leftover deer stickers from my "Deers Unlimited" magazine subscriptions - I will put some on the windows.

Hey man, we'll call it the Buckmaster and paint it on the side - sweeeet! Oh yeah, we love fishin' too so let's put Fish On right on the back bumper - oh that is the bomb!

Oh yeah, don't forget a bullseye right on the back, too! And the Packers, don't forget the Pack! Put the Green Bay "G" right over the right rear wheel with cool explosion graphic over the wheel well - that's it. Ohhh YEAH! Wisconsin, baby all the way! Hey - PBR me ASAP! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Social Distortion

Photo credit here.

I heard "Ball and Chain" by Social Distortion on the radio today. It is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite groups. It is one of the few songs that I actually will sing along with - anyone who has heard me sing is very happy that I don't sing very much.

I bought all of Social D's discs when I was in college but lost track of them afterward. Apparently they are still doing their thing.

On that album with "Ball and Chain" (the album is called "Social Distortion") is a pretty cool remake of "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Some will feel that the tune is sacred and not re-doable, but I think they do a pretty good job. You have to have guts if nothing else to remake a Cash song.

They play a sort of "punkabilly" type of music. Hard driving melodies, but not super heavy metal like a Slayer or Motorhead. Just plain good 'ol rock and roll. I also like the tune "Bad Luck" from their awesome album "Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell".

Lyrics from one of the best songs of all time (IMHO) Ball and Chain:
Well it's been ten years and a thousand tears
And look at the mess I'm in
A broken nose and a broken heart,
An empty bottle of gin
Well I sit and I pray
In my broken down Chevrolet
While I'm singin' to myself
There's got to be another way

Chorus:
Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
Well I'm lonely and I'm tired
And I can't take any more pain
Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away Take away this ball and chain

Well I've searched and I've searched
To find the perfect life
A brand new car and a brand new suit
I even got me a little wife
But wherever I have gone
I was sure to find myself there
You can run all your life
But not go anywhere

Chorus

Well I'll pass the bar on the way
To my dingy hotel room
I spent all my money
I've been drinkin' since half past noon
Well I'll wake there in the mornin'
Or maybe in the county jail
Times are hard getting harder
I'm born to lose and destined to fail

Chorus

Posted by Picasa

Things That Make Me Go Hmmm...


Sorry about the photo, but I took it from inside my car.

I have always been afraid of morotcycles. My theory is that if you have an accident on one, you will be dead or maimed in a big way, where in a car or truck, you have a pretty darned good chance of living.

I always cringe when I see motorcycle riders without helmets. Heck, I cringe when I see bikers going 20 mph and not wearing helmets.

The guy in the photo above took this to another level. He is wearing a helmet, but no shirt!??! I seriously question the logic of this. If he gets in a wreck, his head will be fine so he can look at his spilled guts all over the road? If I had to ride a motorcycle I would wear full leather so at least I wouldn't lose all of my skin, just have some broken bones if there were an accident. But what the heck do I know. I guess I just wasn't Born to be Wild.

A Phat What?

Something very interesting has happened in the blogosphere over the past few days. A fatwa has been issued against a blogger. I will summarize here and add a thought or two.

Back a few months ago, Newsweek came out with their bogus story about koran desecration at Club Gitmo. This story did untold amounts of damage to our cause worldwide. Many people died in a riot in Pakistan because of the story.

A blogger who I have read for sometime (mostly for his gun posts) called the Anarchangel did a post where he showed some videos of he and his buddies doing some real koran desecration - rather than try to describe the actions, here are the videos. Warning - may not be suitable for work!

Well, the guy got fired from his job and now some terrorist organization has issued a fatwa - or death sentence - on him.

I think this is a rather goofy situation. In reality we all have a fatwa issued on us. That is right - just by being Americans we are "doomed". The philosophy of militant islamism is clear as Carl noted a few posts ago - convert or die. There are no negotiations, no middle ground, no counseling. Convert or die. So why issue a fatwah against a guy who is condemned to die anyway? The best part about this dust-up is that this guy they issued the fatwa against is the very person that the islamists would avoid the MOST. He is heavily armed and ready for action; his friends are also ready as you can see in his comments if you choose to read them.

An open battle with the American people in Arizona and Texas is the last thing organizations like al-Queda want because Arizonans and Texans are more than happy to begin their hunting seasons early. While I am thinking about it, this "open battle" is probably the last thing the FBI and local police want as well - the "people" will just shoot first and ask questions later. No rules of engagement, no quarter - see terrorist, sight him in and pull the trigger. I say the FBI and police may not like this situation because it may make them look bad.

If some islamists decide to take hostages in a mall in Texas I guarantee you that lots of people will show up with lots of guns and take care of the problem themselves. As it should be. In Chicago or DC, where the law abiding populus has been effectively disarmed this would not happen. As Carl mentioned in his post about first responders, everyone will scurry away and wait for the "elites" to show up and try to make it right.

The terrorists really need to stick to bombing innocent people on trains or in buildings - they will have a much easier time than actually trying to make open warfare on an armed populus.

There has been some great commentary on this situation if you are interested - you can read the funniest here (not suitable for work). More here, here, here and here.

Monday, July 18, 2005

First Responders... and more

Recent terror attacks in Madrid, New York and London have brought home a fact that probably, in hindsight, should have been obvious - citizens, not professionals (like the police, the army, or paramedic) are the first people on sight when a terror event occurs and they are often responsible for the survival of the unfortunate people who receive the brunt of the terror. Check out this article in yahoo, or type "first responder" into the web and you will see many more....

It should be obvious that, in fact, the terrorists can strike anywhere. Police won't get to the scene for a while, and if the scene is big enough, they won't be there in numbers. Regular, ordinary brave people are the ones that pull the injured out of the situation, apply first aid, and bring them to hospitals.

All of our focus so far has been on training "elites" to come down and protect everyone, or to invest in high technology, when really the secret to fighting back lies within everyone. If we treat our own countrymen and women with respect and confidence, they can hold the line against terror, and when something happens, they will respond and minimize the damage.

It is interesting that a country, the United States, which was founded by free people, free to bear arms and to have their own property, has moved to a model where the ordinary folk are assumed to be passive and defenseless until the elite show up to fix everything. This model of people as the "problem" rather than the "solution" is everywhere, although it can be subtle.

The real solution, which we will come to over time if there are enough bad incidents, is to allow the citizens to bear arms and to rely on them to be the real "first defense" against terror. In fact, the most effective policing is always by those that know their community. They know who is local, and who is not, and who could be causing trouble. They also have incentive to avoid harm, since they live there along with their families.

This already occurs, in a large part, in places like Florida. When a hurricane rolls through, looting is sometimes minimized. Why is this? Lots of times you see the "you loot, we shoot" signs, and people mean it. They take their own steps to protect their property.

Not to turn terror into a political issue but it is obvious to me that there is a linking between the liberal mindset that people can't take responsibility for their actions and the state has to do everything and this "elite" approach to terror awareness rather than calling on people to stand up and do it themselves, as the first line of defense, as first responders...

Someone Finally Said It

My new hero Congressman Tom Tancredo said this the other day:
Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons. "Well, what if you said something like -- if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.
"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.
"Yeah,"
Tancredo responded.
The congressman later said he was "just throwing out some ideas" and that an "ultimate threat" might have to be met with an "ultimate response."

Tancredo has led the charge to get someone to do something to close the border in the southern US. I liked him big time for that - and this sends a very good message to those who would dirty nuke us. It is the way it has to be. I think scenarios like this have been talked about a lot in DC but finally, someone has the cahones to actually say it.

This also puts pressure on the Saudis and any other states that are openly supporting these thugs.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm.....


I have seen tires "nailed" and "screwed" but never "keyed"! Luckily, not my tire. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 16, 2005

We Are Not Fighting This War The Right Way

I am currently reading They Just Don't Get It by Col. David Hunt. In the book he goes into great detail in explaining why the islamists hate us, and what they want to do with us. It is a book that will make you very angry - not only at them, but at our politicians who have been making way too many calls in this war on terror based on things like popularity polls rather than common sense. Col. Hunt makes his case very well - the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist. We must kill these people or many more here in the US will die.

Today I was absolutely incensed when I read Michelle Malkin's blurb about our latest hero. You should watch the video. The islamists have a sniper and a video camera set up and shoot one of our guys. He fortunately had body armor on and was able to find cover. In the after action report it is noted that later the sniper was engaged and hunted down after a trail of blood led us to them. Then the very guy that got shot administered first aid to the sniper and his pals. This is exactly what Col. Hunt talks about in his book. The proper action would have been to turn the sniper's video camera back on and execute the bastard on film, then say "this will happen to any and all who engage the US military in any way - God bless America". And then send a copy to Al-Jazeera and any other of the arab propaganda machines.

This asshole will be released someday and do you think he will be a big US supporter? NO! He will try to kill again and again until he is dead. We have to get serious about this war on terror or we will be in deep shit - and soon.

Biking in Southern Wisconsin


One of the advantages of living where I do is the quick access to many bike paths or, if I choose, rural roads. This photo was taken after riding my bike about 5 minutes from my house. This farm road is relatively flat and only goes for about 1.5 miles, making it perfect to practice my sprints. Best part is that there is virtually no traffic on it - only the occassional tractor. Following are a few more photos of the scenery out this way.

One thing I have always wondered is why some farms look great and some look like shit. I guess it is the same as houses - depends on the person. I am the type of person that if I had a structure falling down on the farm where I lived, I would pull it down and start again - or if I had a barn with hardly any paint on it, I would have it painted. But maybe some of the farmers are short on cash or just don't care. Just something I always wondered. I predict that all of these farms you see here will be gone in 5 years or less at the rate my city is growing.
Posted by Picasa

One of the falling down structures previously mentioned.
Posted by Picasa

Corn. We need rain badly. The corn looks good and is very tall but I have heard from reliable sources (I listen to the farm report every day) that the ears are not developing well. This is bad news for me as my family consumes huge quantities of sweet corn when the roadside stands are in full operation in August.
Posted by Picasa

A nice coat of paint would make this barn look great.
Posted by Picasa

This is the house adjacent to the barn in the last photo - note the large cement discs in the center - those were foundations where silos used to stand. Funny I just visited another farm where they left the cement foundation for that long gone silo also. I don't know why they left it other than it may be a huge amount of labor to remove the cement - it probably goes pretty deep into the ground.
Posted by Picasa

Yep, summer - hazy.
Posted by Picasa

I Am Not Cutting Edge

I used to be the one who wanted to "break" news. I got over that very quickly. Why? When I figured out that most breaking news is just plain stupid or simply very wrong. The blogosphere has good and bad. At least with blogs, most of them leave their errors and posts up for all to see - transparency. Try doing that at the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Notice

Blogger, the software and hardware platform for this blog and so many others is having some problems today - it ususally does once every month or so. I will add some new content in a day or two when things calm down.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Wrists!!! My Wrists!!!

Smith and Wesson model 17

I have been shooting my .357 revolver (Smith and Wesson model 13-2) and .45 semi-auto (Heckler Koch USP .45 Compact) at the range. I use the .38 round in my .357 which provides decent accuracy and little kick - but you are still worn out after a box or two of shooting (there are 50 cartridges in each box). Hey, it's a heavy gun!

My .45 is quite another story. It is a mid-size but I have been shooting some heavy duty ammo (230 grain) at the range. It is a load. Anyway, I have decided to start shooting a 180 grain for now through that beauty.

Another thing I have decided to do is get a revolver of smaller caliber - I now own a Smith and Wesson model 17. It has a target hammer, target trigger, 6" barrel and target grips - it comes in .22LR which kicks not at all and is very cheap to shoot. Due to my time restraints, I have reproduced below a post from Kim du Toit who describes it much better than I ever could. Hope you enjoy.

As an interesting aside, I paid exactly the $495 figure mentioned at the end of the post for mine.

S&W Model 17 K-22 (.22 LR)By: Kim du Toit August 14, 2003

Let’s say that you want to shoot a really accurate .22 revolver, but would prefer not to shoot a modern revolver such as the S&W 617 or any of the Brazilian ones. Oh boy, do I have a good one for you to consider. How about the 617’s grandfather? The Smith & Wesson double-action K-22 (a .22 revolver built on the heavier .38 “K” frame) was first produced in 1930 for competition shooters, but became as scarce as hen’s teeth because of the suspension of production during “ze slight disturbances in ze early nineteen-forties” (as my old German economics lecturer used to call them). To this day, low serial-numbered K-22s command premium prices (I’ve seen them for over $3,500). But fortunately, the War Against Nazi / Jap Bastards came to an end, and S&W resumed production of this excellent gun. In the late 1950s, they renamed it the “Model 17”, and later the “Model 18”.

To all keen revolver shooters it has stayed the “K-22” even when the designation changed to the Models 617 (stainless steel) and 317 (titanium alloy)—it’s still the same old K-22. The first “generation” of K-22s was called the “Outdoorsman”, the second the “Masterpiece” (and much later, the “Combat Masterpiece"). If your First Generation K-22 has a serial number between 632132 - 682419, it was issued to either the police or military and may even be stamped “M&P”. The only changes made were things like a “target” trigger, a rib over the top of the barrel and so on, but the fact remains that almost any K-22 in decent condition is going to be more accurate a gun than its shooter is, and will never disgrace itself in the accuracy department against any other .22 revolver. Incidentally, you may find a suffix (like “-1") appended to the model number.

Here’s a quick rundown on what the various suffixes denote for the Model 17 and Model 18 revolvers:-1 (1959)—Change to LH extractor rod thread -2 (1961)— Cylinder stop changed, hole in front of trigger guard eliminated -3 (1967)—Relocation of rear sight leaf screw -4 (1977)—Changed gas ring from yoke to cylinderNot that any of the above matter, except to the collector.

To a shooter, the K-22 revolvers are treasures. And quite frankly, it’s drop-dead beautiful, with a balance and heft that makes it one of the best I’ve ever fired. So… how much can one expect to pay for this little paragon of excellence? Well, GunsAmerica has one for $395, and another (unfired) one with an 8” barrel for $1,295, which should give you an idea of the spread. The K-22 pictured is a later Model 17 from Collectors Firearms, and sells for $495. Woof woof. On balance, I’d prefer a 6” barrel myself, unless of course you want to do some handgun hunting of the varmint variety, in which case the 8” barrel will give you a tad more accuracy—not that I think the difference will be that noticeable.Anyway, this little old gun is a peach. If you get a chance to acquire one in decent shape, jump at it. You’ll thank me for it later.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Whirlwind

Lileks in the Bleat today does a good job explaining something I think about a lot. A few things, actually.

The first is how life sometimes seems like a freakin' whirlwind. Now, I know that whirlwind isn't the best word to use - is it even a noun? Hmmm. I guess it is. Anyway, that describes my life right now. A small rotating windstorm of limited extent.

Work - kids - sleep - bike - guns - blog - relatives - birthday party - wife. Good thing I don't need as much sleep as I used to. I take a lot of it for granted. All of the things are good things and there is a lot of good in my life now. I am trying not to let the whirlwind take my memories with it. These are the good times - loving wife, loving kids, loving family. So much love. And some asshole who thinks Allah has told him that I am not a good person wants to take it all away.

Like I said in a previous post - they make it very easy for me to hate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Outrage of the Year

It is simply beyond my comprehension that the Madison Police have nothing better to do than this.

I have basically decided to give up my rights when it comes to the roads. We go through speed traps, road blocks and now cops pretending to be pedestrians to see if you are stopping properly at an intersection. Bye Bye fourth amendment - as far as your car is concerned.

Monday, July 11, 2005

They Had It Coming

Every morning before I go to work I give my family hugs and kisses - they are sleeping and don't know I do it, but I still do it. Why? Maybe today is my day to check out.

Car crashes, shootings, lightning, seizure, who knows. No one knows. You have to make every day count and leave life with a clear conscience. Will anyone miss you? Will your loved ones be taken care of if you leave?

One more way you might die today - terrorism. There really isn't much you can do about it unless you are in the intelligence community or the armed services. It happened in New York, DC, London. etc. Could happen here today or tomorrow.

Can you imagine that some people said that we had it coming on 911? Is there a more sick thought? Well, to all of those folks, why don't you just extend your thoughts to the logical conclusion.

What you really mean to say is that Mildred Rose Naiman had it coming. Or maybe you were talking about Asia Cottom, who was only 11. She definitely had it coming, right? Oh, I'm sorry - perhaps it was Paul DeCola, Eileen Greenstein or Cora Holland. They definitely had it coming, didn't they?

I don't know anyone who was in the Trade Center or Pentagon but they are ALL my brothers and sisters. I will never forget the pictures of their families frantically searching the downtown New York area with homemade "Have You Seen" pictures and posting them all over the place. I will never forget that day and I will never forgive those who did it. I am afraid that is impossible. Whenever I hear someone trying to bitch about Gitmo, Abu Ghraib or any other military endeavor meant to produce results that will keep THEM safe, I simply turn my computer on and pull up Google and enter "911 victims". After reading about a few of the innocent people who "had it coming" that day it is very easy for me to hate. I don't only hate those who did the crimes, but those who think we should take it easy on these villians.

I sometimes think it is too easy for me to hate. But, then again, if you think my brothers and sisters, my fellow Americans who were just going to work "had it coming", you deserve to be hated and can burn in hell.

Fun on the Lakes


Here is a photo of Carl having some water fun. Well, not really. It is from this story about new water toys on the market in today's Wisconsin State Journal.

What the article fails to mention is the dismal state of the lakes around Madison. I took a bike ride around Lake Monona Sunday morning and there is green algae and weeds from one side to the other in Monona Bay - and it stunk. My ride also took me along Wingra Creek which feeds into Lake Wingra - the creek is totally choked with lily pads and other water vegetation.

Last year the Dane county board passed a "no phosphorous" bill that stated anyone's lawn fertilizer had to be certified phosphorous free - this to protect the lakes. A lot of good that did.

This year some solar powered paddling machines were put in Monona Bay to stir the water to impede the growth of algae and weeds - they were totally socked in with weeds.

On a daily basis you have to check here to see if certain beaches are open or not because of bacteria - even e-coli have been detected in the lakes!

So, what to do. I don't have the answer to that, but I can guarantee that the fertilizer ban won't get rescinded - even though it failed in the worst way.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Running of the Bulls


When I was younger and stupid I wanted to do the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain at least once before I died. I have since gained some sanity and have decided that it may not be for me.

Having kids decreases your risk/reward threshold exponentially.

I still like to follow it every year (you can watch each running live on cable) and this year some more people got trampled and gored as usual. They run the bulls each day at 8am local time, once a day for seven straight days. The bulls run about a half mile from the pen to the bullfighting ring and to their ultimate death at the hands of a matador. As you can see from the photo collage, you can get some serious hurt put upon you if you are running.

I still want to at least see the running in person someday, and I have heard that the festival itself is quite a good time as well.
Posted by Picasa

So, Just Exactly How Are Those Cameras Working Out?

I listened to a discussion between two people today and had to bite my tongue. The thrust of it was that all of those cameras in London that are set up to monitor the city are a good thing because they will help catch the murderers that planted those bombs on July 7.

I am thinking to myself: What are you people talking about? On top of invading your privacy, those cameras didn't prevent jack shit! The poor civilians are still dead.

There are over 1.5 million cameras watching where all of the citizens of London go and not one of them could prevent 50 from getting killed and many more wounded.

What They Said

Here is a great post by Lex Green of Chicagoboyz that echoes Carl's excellent post below. The money quote:

So, by whatever twisted course, ongoing violent confrontation, and the ultimate defeat of Islamic terrorism, is going to be the long-term outcome. A lot of people are going to die first. Even so, fear nothing. How we live is what matters, and when we die is, by and large, out of our hands. What we make of this country and this time we live in and what we hand on to those who come after are what matters. (italics and bold mine)
In the comments of that post Green states:

These terrorists have literally limitless demands. In Ralph Peters' parlance, they are "apocalyptic" rather than "political". They cannot be negotiated with. They have to be killed. I wish it were otherwise. But there is no other way.
This is true. Only thing I disagree with is that Green wishes it were otherwise. There is no point to that, really. They have to die and that is just the way it is. This scenario is almost repeated exactly in Victor Hanson's "Ripples of Battle". The scene is the terrible, brutal battle of Okinawa. The Japanese didn't want to surrender. So our men knew what had to be done. And they did it - to the tune of over 120,000 Japanese killed to our 12,000. We will do the same thing to these loons that blow up innocents on subways and buses.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Dude, We Partied So Hard

We now have a station in Madison that plays the "Jack" format. Basically it is songs from the 70's through current day, mostly top 40, played in a "random" fashion. Believe it or not, the iPod shuffle has created a new radio format.

Today I heard "Nuthin' But A Good Time" by Poison. That song, like so many others reminded me of college. College, of course, reminds me of all of the good (great) times I had. I have lots of good times now, but the good times are very different from what they used to be.

For starters, when I was in college at the good ol' U of I I drank a LOT. I mean a lot. Whenever I hear a person utter the words in the title of this post above I always cringe a bit, knowing in the back of my mind that my friends and I partied a little bit harder. Quite honestly I wish I didn't party quite so hard, but no regrets.

A certain roommate of mine and myself used to play backgammon quite a lot. When we got the urge, we would play for shots. The shots were usually terrible "Piccadilly" brand whiskey which we used to keep around. How do you play backgammon for shots? Simple - every time you go "up" on the bar, you do a shot - if you stay there for a turn, another shot ensues. Needless to say this was a good way to get loaded. And that would be the beginning of a fun night out.

Another example of the level of alcohol abuse was the head count. Whenever four or more friends were together drinking beer and/or playing Nintendo (the original - we called it Nint) we would seriously think about getting a keg. That's right, four or more = keg. This was more to save $$ than anything but is still unbelievable to me that we could drink that much beer.

Yikes some of the stories I could tell...and some of you reading this already know. I will end this post with a blast from the past. In our tiny apartment on Green St. my senior year we had a mammoth blowout party with a DJ complete with mosh pit (I still remember cleaning the tye dye off the walls) and "I Will Refuse" by Pailhead was one of the feature tracks - take a listen.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Negotiating with terrorists

Obviously the terrorists are hitting England because they want them to quit the war on terror. They forced the government in Spain to back off, and they figure that they can do the same with the UK.

I think that they are underestimating the resolve of the English people. They have withstood far, far bloodier challenges in the past, from world war to Napoleon to even the IRA in the 80's and 90's setting off bombs in the financial district. Note that even the IRA tried to limit civilian casualties, while the entire intent of these terrorists is to CAUSE civilian casualties.

But on to the topic at hand. The real thread of the anti-war let's get out of Iraq cause is that we should negotiate with terrorists, and that we can come to some kind of a rational agreement.

This is a literally insane thought. What is the goal of these terrorists? Originally the goal was to get US troops out of Saudi Arabia. Know what? We pretty much pulled back our troops. Stunningly, this wasn't enough. The terrorists began going after the government of Saudi Arabia, because they weren't "Islamic" enough.

The real goal is an Islamic Caliphate that would rule the entire world, end to end, under strict Islamic law (as they interpret it - note that there are many moderate and reasonable clerics that vehemently disagree with their violent and brutal interpretation). Everyone must convert or die.

Let's repeat that - convert or die.

So all of the liberals that want to negotiate with these loonies pretty much better ask themselves if they like living under brutal despotic Sharia Law. As for the women, no point even expressing an opinion, because your opinion won't matter. You don't exist, you have no rights at all, better get out that Burka and realize that you can be beaten and won't receive an education. Maybe you will get attacked in an "honor crime".

Why didn't we negotiate with Hitler? Why did we demand "unconditional surrender?" Because the man was a brutal lunatic who needed to be destroyed, to be wiped off the earth along with his vile ideology. His power needed to be completely eradicated.

Unfortunately in our current war it is much much harder to identify the nuts who want us to convert or die as they hide in the midst of civilians and don't gather themselves into a state that we could crush outright. Their main, pretty much only tactic, is the suicide bomber, usually aimed at killing fellow muslims that they believe are collaborating with the US.

So I just don't get it. We want to negotiate with lunatics, child killers, the most brutal people imaginable, when their stated goal is that we convert to Islam or die? Once again this doesn't represent Islam as a faith, but if you want to negotiate with the people that are performing these types of acts of terror in Spain, England, the US (9/11) and Iraq these are exactly the people you need to talk to.

There is no escape from this battle. If we don't battle them in Iraq, then we will battle them elsewhere. We can run but we can't hide. They aim to control oil and the region, gather weapons of mass destruction, and take the battle to us. Don't take my word for it - take their word for it. Go anywhere on the web and listen to their insane screeds.

I really don't understand how liberals, who get up in arms over the rights of everyone in the world, and every supposed wrong gives them immense anguish, feel that we can deal successfully with these lunatics, when they are nothing but mass murderers of the most ruthless type?

Someone please explain it to me. Because I don't understand.

Be Ye Men of Valour


Today I heard the news of the attacks in London. Those animals blew up innocent men, women and children on buses and the subways - as they have been doing in Israel for eons. For our allies in the UK and Tony Blair, the following from Sir Winston:

"Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar."
This call and spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice was quoted by Churchill in his first broadcast as Prime Minister to the British people on the BBC - May 19, 1940, London.

In other words, to hell with all of you peaceniks - if you don't understand we are at war yet, maybe now you will get the message. Remember, it could happen tomorrow in DC, Chicago or Madison.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Trip to Canmore, Canada


Mountain view in Canmore, Canada. Posted by Picasa

This is the view from Canmore, Canada outside our bed and breakfast. I just got back from Canada after a long view and it was a good trip. Sorry I haven't blogged for a while I spent a couple of hours researching a mega-post and tidying it up and somehow I lost everything so I didn't post for a while out of a blogger snit. I feel better, now.

Canmore is a great place to visit. If you fly direct into Calgary it is only about an hour away. Canmore is right next to the famous Banff / Jasper park in Alberta and the lesser-known but equally cool Kootenay and Yoho parks in British Columbia. Even though Banff is the big town there and is famous I avoid it because it is expensive and too touristy.

Attention - bears! Posted by Picasa

On our first day of hiking we saw a big black thing moving by the side of the trail and decided to high-tail it out of there because there weren't many people around. We made a quick stop by the sign for reference and then got in the car. No point being a hero with bears...