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This category contains 43 posts

GERDS Of A Feather

I’ve been prowling this Internet thing since the early 90’s.  (Remember dial-up? *shudders*)

It still amazes me how it can connect people from all walks of life, from all over the world.

I remember surfing bulletin boards on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and found some guys in Finland.  They found out I was American, and told me to go away!

I posted a few days ago about yet another medical adventure.  This time with my upper GI tract.  Seems I have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) – aka acid reflux damage to my esophagus.

I chalked it up to getting older and poor diet.  Whined about it and forgot.  (I’ve a tendency to post stuff, then forget about what I posted – as if I needed to get it out of my head.  Must be a writer(?)

The other day, I get a gift and nice note from a regular reader (who knew I had those?) whose reason was we both suffer from the same affliction!

Other people have sent me – and even brought me – gifts of money, ammo, and even single malt Scotch!

Sometimes, I feel unloved and forgotten…

FRIENDS, and the Internet are wonderful things!

THANK YOU!

Another Day In History

(I always imagine similar post titles being announced by Merrill Heatter or John Cameron Swayzee.  Youngsters, ask your parents or grandparents.)

Many of you know I try to begin my daily routine with Email, blogging and reading the Ref Desk Almanac page.  Sometimes, a confluence of births, death and historic events seem to have happened on the same day.

For example:

Birthdates which occurred on April 20:

0121 Marcus Aurelius 16th Roman emperor (161-80), philosopher

1808 Louis-Napoleon [Napoleon III] emperor of France (1852-71)

1889 Adolf Hitler Braunau Austria, dictator of Nazi Germany (1936-45)

1896 Senor Wences ventriloquist (Close the Door)

1940 George Takei Los Angeles CA, actor (Sulu-Star Trek, Green Berets)

Deaths which occurred on April 20:

1769 Pontiac Indian chief to Ottawa, murdered

1912 Bram Stoker Irish theater manager/writer (Dracula), dies

1992 Benny [Alfred Hawthorn] Hill comedian (Benny Hill Show), dies of a heart attack at 67

1993 Cantinflas [Mario Moreno] Mexican actor (Pepe), dies at 81

On this day…

1775 British begin siege of Boston

1799 Napoleon issues a decree calling for establishing Jerusalem for Jews

1841 1st detective story (Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue”) published

1853 Harriet Tubman starts Underground Railroad

1871 3rd Enforcement Act (President can suspend writ of habeas corpus)

1965 People’s Republic China offers North Vietnam military aid

1993 Uranus passes Neptune (this occurs once every 171 years)

1999 Deadliest school shooting in US history at Columbine High School, Littleton CO, 13 killed, 23 wounded

1943 In Poland, Germans Nazi troops massacred the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

 

Index, Index, INDEX!

The lovely and brilliant Tamara reminded us again of basics.  And reminded me, as well:

Continuing Education

I cannot speak for anyone else, but as much as I lecture others in these pages regarding complacency, I, too, can fall victim to it.  (Duh)

Not just the almighty INDEX (NOT placing one’s index finger in the trigger guard until one is ready to shoot – and where exactly DO you place it?  ALTHOUGH, I’M PRETTY GOOD AT REMEMBERING THIS PART!), but…

When was the last time you checked your weapon for function and safety?  Are all the mechanical parts in good repair?

AND, appropriately lubricated?

How about the magazines (speedloaders or speedstrips)?  Clean and functional?

And the ammunition?  When was the last time you changed it out for newer stuff?  Is your ‘one-up-the-spout’ (aka The Barney Bullet) seated correctly?  Or has months of recharging your sidearm crushed the case mouth?  Or seated the bullet farther inside?

How about the function and maintenance of the holster?  When was the last time it was cleaned, oiled, inspected for damage?  And the belt…

AND WHAT ABOUT YOU?

When was the last time you did a dry-practice exercise?  Including a reload or two?

And do you know the latest nuances in your State’s criminal law statutes?

Not unlike driving a car – one does it every day.  When was the last time you checked the tires?  The oil?  The transmission fluid?  Your brakes?  Reviewed the traffic code?

Do you always wear your seat belt?  (I’m a libertarian, and I do!)

But I’ve not done everything above with regard to my sidearm and it’s equipment.

I need to, more religiously.

Mr. Thingy

FarSide_MrThingy1I’ve never liked referring to myself as disabled.  Or the politically-correct differently-abled.  Even now that the State and my private insurance have labelled me as such.  I’m just uncomfortable so doing.

I haven’t even bothered to get one of those disabled license plates or mirror hangers.  Other people need them more than I.  :-)

I’m just me.

But, there are some things difficult and nearly impossible for me to do without some kind of assistance.

One of my ‘problems’ having a fused right hip (and imperfect right knee) is putting on socks.  I have been known to perform a kind of modified hurdlers stretch, bending my leg back and reaching behind me with a sock one-handed.

not me, not even close!

not me, not even close!

Believe me when I say doing this isn’t quick, easy or comfortable.

Or pretty.

Enter The Sock Thingy 2.0.  This is the name I’ve given it.

sock aidHere is a simple device which kind-of extends my reach with an open sock!  (Hey! It doesn’t dress me, but it makes things a little easier.)

One curls the black part into a sock, which holds it open, then dangles it to insert the foot in the opening, and pull up on the straps – viola’!

My only complaint is Sock Thingy 1.0 was made of thin plastic and terrycloth, and eventually broke.  It was quite comfortable, but replaced with the 2.0.  The 2.0 model is hard plastic.  Much more durable, but less comfortable, too.

At least it helps!

(It occurred to me while dressing this morning that some others of you might have a need for such an aid(?)

FTC – neither Amazon or Duro-Med have given me anything.  Put on your own socks!

Rose In The Garden

Life doesn’t always go as we plan or desire.  We certainly cannot control others in their personal plans or desires.

Especially, in matters of the heart.

Sometimes, we must let them go…

When love is good, it’s very, very good.

And when it goes away, it sucks.

Life Is Loss, Part Two – A Lesson Learned

I posted a few days ago regarding losses – specifically the loss of my daughter, and a good friend’s loss of most of his lower left leg and foot.

Hardly an upbeat read.

However, Life is not just loss.  Life also gives us lessons!

Since I heard from my good friend Bob regarding his diabetic amputation surgery, I’ve tried to contact him.  We exchanged texts initially a couple of times, and he advise me he would call.

Nothing.

I feared the worst.

So, I took it upon myself to call him.  Not to incessantly badger him (thinking he was busy enough) but once a week, just to check-in on him and his condition.  And attitude.

And I ended up leaving messages.  And this concerned me.

Bob returned yesterday’s message last night.  I needn’t have been concerned.

Bob – (my former PI and gun store boss) was in great spirits!  YES, he did lose his left foot and about 12″ of lower leg.  And yes, he has a long, painful recovery and rehab ahead.

But he was not only doing physically well – he was doing well emotionally and spiritually, too!

Now, Bob would be the first to tell you he is not a religious guy.  And not the most spiritual.  But he almost lost his life to sepsis, and took his survival to mean he is supposed to remain here a while longer.

And not wallow in his losses.

He is fortunate to have the great support of his wife and two daughters.  And his brother.  And he reminded of previous losses and near-death experiences he has suffered.

AND HE SEES THIS AS YET ANOTHER CHANCE TO REDEEM HIMSELF!

Or, in the words of his parents (both deceased), “Put on your big boy panties and get on with it!”

And his is and has.

And, he reminded me (indirectly) that I have similar lessons.  I, too, have had losses, and near-death experiences.  And I have wallowed.  Or more specifically whined.

I might lose some benefits.  So what?  Big boy panties are available for the wearing.

Bob has set an example for me to try and emulate.

Starting now.

Things About Which We Have Passion

superbowl_redditExactly!

Most of you know, my Father was sports addict, and as a result (because of my inability to play after the onset of my disability at age 12), I was a sports orphan.

And the culmination of all this for me is I don’t have a passion for most sports.  Watching, playing, appreciating.  Because I can’t play, and because I was saturated with it as a child.

(If YOU love your sports, enjoy!  It’s no problem for me.  But, like religion, please leave it outside my door!)

I oft wondered about the American fetish for the love of team sports – especially baseball, football and basketball.  It’s been explained to me that it has to do with civic pride.  And, of course, friendly bets around the water cooler.

Or the bookie.

Marx says religion is the opiate of the masses.  In this country, the opiate is also sports!  I guess it stops folks from discussing religion and politics(?)

MY passion is the ability to live free.  To make my own choices.  To not be compelled to give to others through the power and force of government.  If I choose to do so, that’s one thing.  At the point of a gun, that’s another.

And, of course, my passion for the love a good woman.

Currently absent.  :-(

But that’s for another post…

h/t FB

In Loco Parentis

My friend ASM826 (whilst reporting in Borepatch) spun a tale of government most foul:

In Maryland, this week, one set of parents have been investigated for letting a 10 year old and a 6 year old go walking without supervision. The parents want the kids to have what they think of as normal freedom, expanding as the children get older. Child protective services are now involved in a neglect investigation.

Of course, we don’t know many specifics.  But this from the article in the NYDN is telling:

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say the county’s Child Protective Services began investigating them after police stopped their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter midway through a mile-walk home on Dec. 20 in Silver Spring. Police say they stopped the children and drove them home after someone reported seeing them.

OMG!  Someone saw children!  Sacre’ Bleu!

(In the name of piling on, I’m adding to ASM826’s tales of misspent youth)

I was raised in a small, white bread college town.  Still, my parents placed boundaries with regard to my wandering.   Roughly 1/2 mile in any direction, as boundaried  by major streets I was NOT allowed to cross.  Withing those boundaries were trees needing climbing, houses under construction needing exploring, irrigation conduits needing climbing down into and junk in alleys needing examining.  And rockets and firecrackers needing ignition!  I had these boundaries until high school,  to which I either walked or rode my bicycle.  One mile each direction.  Then there were stores, shops (the hobby shop) and MORE construction sites, including an industrial park just the other side of the high school.

With underground electrical access.

VERY cool for fledgling secret agent fantasies!

Yes, I was wounded, scratched, developed blisters, was hit in the head by a rock in a dirt clod fight, dislocated my left thumb playing football, and broke my arm at school doing faux karate.

And none of these things with parental supervision.

I didn’t ride my 24″ Schwinn Speedster with a helmet, either!

Now CPS and the police are enforcing this NERF world.  And taking more rights away from parents.

In loco parentis, indeed!

Lock-Picking For Fun And Profit!

lock picks

similar to mine, without the leather case!

(Disclaimer:   I-in no way-endorse illegal activities of any kind.  If you are reading this in a correctional facility (and are not staff) you should probably disconnect before the guards are alerted to your activities!  They generally have no sense of humor! – Guffaw)

From The Art of Manliness…

An Introduction to Lock Picking: How to Pick Pin Tumbler Locks (link)

Why You Should Learn How to Pick Locks (Even If You’re Not a Criminal)

Some of you might be thinking, “Brett, why should I learn how to pick a lock if I don’t plan on breaking into people’s homes?”

Great question.

There are a few good reasons why law-abiding citizens should learn how to pick a lock:

Lock picking opens your eyes to the “illusion of security.”

It makes you handy.

It’s cool and fun!

When I was a private investigator/security supervisor for P**M**, my boss and I decided it would be appropriate (cool) for each of us to obtain a set of commercial lock picks.  Pretty much for the reasons listed above.  We went to a commercial lock supply store, presented our P.I. credentials and each bought a set.  Then, we returned to the office and spent the rest of the afternoon locking and unlocking the exterior door of the office.

YES, we were both ‘adults’ at the time.

Of course, just like the PIs of yore, we had guns, binoculars and tape recorders, and thought this would be another (cool) tool for our arsenal.

IN THE REAL WORLD, I only used them once.  At my own home.  Because burglary IS a felony!

I still have them, tucked away somewhere.

But, in my mind, I have the voice of Thomas Magnum, “Work the lock, don’t look behind you!  Work the lock, don’t look behind you!”

They really do open one’s eyes to the “illusion of security”, though.  Not all burglars are opportunistic, door-shaking street kids – some actually have skills!  If you have something worth protecting, make certain you’ve enough good obstacles ( e.g. quality locks) to make the criminal go somewhere else!

I’m NOT A Hipster

hipstersI’m so glad I’m not a hipster.  I pretended to be Joe Cool in college, but in reality was a crippled proto geek with oily skin and shorter-then-acceptable-as-a-hipster hair, and glasses.

It’s been suggested if only I changed my hair, my clothes, some of my beliefs (etc.) I’d be cooler.  I don’t care – I’m happy being who I am.

Never Yet Melted quoted what I think is the definitive comment on hipsterism.

In part…

Hipster economics are standard economics because hipsters are everything the US economy has ever wished for in one convenient package. It’s a group consisting largely of young, upper-middle class people with very little conviction, who will spend large amounts of money to maintain their own comfort and the appearance of diversity and rebellion. They are activists as long as it’s easy, poor as long as it doesn’t involve dirt or hunger, and selfless as long as they don’t stand to lose anything. They represent the sanitizing of national issues so that they can be discussed without being addressed. And all you have to do to control them is use some reverse psychology. They’re not rebels, they’re not even malicious, because they’re not anything except a bunch of kids playing pretend. They’ll eventually grow up and become bankers, lawyers and politicians, just like their parents…(Robert)

Again, I’m NOT a hipster…

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

Penn Jillette

“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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