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This tag is associated with 18 posts

Spoiler Alert!

As I grew up doing magic (eventually becoming semi-pro in my teens), I know many secrets – even if I cannot perform them personally.  😛

And, sadly, knowledge kinda ruins watching other magicians!  I’m looking for the gimmick, misdirection, the gaffe, the secret – other than just enjoying the performance for entertainment sake.

It takes an unusual talent to keep me interested in the actual performance.

I am also an AZDPS certified/NRA trained instructor.  And have trained people professionally in safe gun-handling and proper techniques.  I also shot in IPSC competition for a short time.

The point being, while I’m no big-time trainer/shooter, I have been around.

And, this has spoiled many TV shows and movies for me.

It’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief when I see a magician perform poorly (and not on purpose for comedy, ala Carl Balantine!)

The same thing applies to gun handling from Hollywood.

In recent memory, the TV show 24, with the counter-terrorist expert Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) holding his pistol as a cup-and-saucer.  Obviously, the set firearms trainer didn’t bother, or the actor didn’t care!

To be fair, Hollywood has generally improved in this area – Michael Mann with Miami Vice and Heat brought in weapons experts.  We don’t see the ‘grabbing the wrist’ thing as much as we once did.

I’ve been binge watching Bosch on Amazon.  Based on Michael Connolly’s book character, the plots are generally riveting and well acted.  And Titus Welliver as the lead is pretty good, as a driven, ‘colors-outside-the-lines’ LAPD detective.

But, they had a big parking lot gun fight last night (Season 2), and many of the ‘professionals’ (both mobsters and cops) confused concealment with cover, and kept doing the jack-in-the-box thing (jumping up from behind something to return fire).

Smile for the camera!

It kinda took the wind out of my sails…

I plan on continuing to watch it, and hope the acting and the plot hide the poor action sequences.

Also, the lead character wears two extra 1911 magazines – placed backwards in the mag pouch (about half the time), making tactical reloads problematic!

I know – picky, picky, picky

Bosch

 

 

 

Short Distance Travels

I don’t get out much.  Between my physical limitations (being disabled and in chronic pain, low income, crummy car) and my mental ones (I’m just not that interested in so doing), I’m lucky to get to the credit onion, grocery store, a cheap restaurant and perhaps the library each week.

This is one reason my Internet access and computer are so important to me!  My ‘window on the World’, as it were!

I’m essentially the ubiquitous pajama boy, except much older, more educated, and living in a rented room upstairs instead of a stereotypical basement.

And I’m less liberal.

In one of my travels, I met a nice couple. A psychologist and her office manager husband (not that that’s of any importance to this post).  Marlo and Jon are both pre-eminent in their field.

And Marlo comes from a long family history of motorcycle riders.

In 2008, she was in an accident which changed her life.  And almost ended it.  A car turned in front of her.  (Can you see why she got my attention?)

While hospitalized and in rehab, she wrote a blog, which she later coalesced into a very personal book regarding her Chautauqua from a person with addictions to one in recovery.  Her story included the courage, loyalty and love of her partner and husband Jon – whom I have personally nick-named St. Jon after reading her book.

Anyone who has had love, loss, ‘challenges’, courage and been fortunate enough to have others to help with those challenges should read this story!  Be forewarned – it is not always light reading.

But, there IS most definitely a positive message!

UP FROM THE PAVEMENT: Triumph over Grief and Trauma through Medicine, Miracles, Love, Laughter, and Faith Paperback

Be the first to review this item

See all formats and editions

(FTC – I get nothing from Amazon I don’t pay for.  Only friendship from Dr. Archer.  Leave me alone.)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Private Investigating

I’ve not been a private investigator since 1986.  I’ve not been a credit card fraud investigator since 2009.  But I’ve been some-kind of investigator (private security, process server) most of my adult life.

It’s in my blood.

As such, I’ve tried to keep up with the latest regarding what records are available, what has been limited (due to privacy concerns) and the like.

And, of course, the overall erosion of privacy since Al Gore invented the Internet!  And the government passed The Patriot Act, NDAA, et al.

My dear friend Biff (previously lauded in song and story in these pages – well story, anyway) recently met me for coffee, and, as he oft wants to do, presented me with a gift!

I like gifts!  🙂

As he peruses used bookstores (in search of first editions and signed editions) he sometimes finds books his friends might appreciate.

And he found THIS!

pi-book

It was obviously used and in fair condition.  He was curious what I thought of it and it’s value to today’s sleuth.

It took me a few days to read it.  I had to keep reminding myself this was geared for the neophyte.  Hence the clever title…

Overall it’s a pretty good book.  The author claims to be a retired FBI agent who now has his own P.I. agency in Florida. (The Internet does confirm this.)  It’s fairly well organized and has both current and historic information regarding how to find stuff and to keep out of jail in so doing.  It even has material regarding sources on the Internet, and electronic surveillance.

My copy is the second edition.  An Amazon search revealed there is now a third.

It now holds a place of honor on my bookshelf, adjacent to Where’s What (the CIA book regarding where to find records, circa 1974).

Yeah, I’m a snoop at heart…

(FTC – neither Amazon, nor this book’s author gave me anything!  Biff did, but he’s my friend!  BACK OFF!)

Here’s An Interesting Book…

(from Brock Townsend)

Those who hold Lenin, Trotsky, and Ho Chi Minh in anything other than contempt are dupes

Via WRSA

Communism did kill, Courtois and his fellow historians demonstrate, with ruthless efficiency: 25 million in Russia during the Bolshevik and Stalinist eras, perhaps 65 million in China under the eyes of Mao Zedong, 2 million in Cambodia, millions more Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America–an astonishingly high toll of victims. This freely expressed penchant for homicide, Courtois maintains, was no accident, but an integral trait of a philosophy, and a practical politics, that promised to erase class distinctions by erasing classes and the living humans that populated them.

Courtois and his contributors document Communism’s crimes in numbing detail, moving from country to country, revolution to revolution. The figures they offer will likely provoke argument, if not among cliometricians then among the ideologically inclined. So, too, will Courtois’s suggestion that those who hold Lenin, Trotsky, and Ho Chi Minh in anything other than contempt are dupes, witting or not, of a murderous school of thought–one that, while in retreat around the world, still has many adherents. A thought-provoking work of history and social criticism, The Black Book of Communism fully merits the broadest possible readership and discussion.

They need to author a companion piece about Capitalism – oh wait!  While there were certainly abuses and deaths, the numbers pale next to Communism.
Exponentially.
As do the results of a free market versus State control.
Empty Venezuelan store shelves

Empty Venezuelan store shelves

I know, I’m mostly preaching to the choir here.  But with the constant bombardment of the so-called ‘facts’ wonderful lands like Zimbabwe and Venezuela show us…

Oh, wait.

(FTC – no one gave me this book)

 

They’re Dropping Like Flies!

…but some are returning!  🙂

I’ve been reviewing my blog roll, TGBBL, and other lists of blogs, and have noticed many people are no longer blogging, or have not blogged in some time, or have died, or whatever…

And that makes me sad.

BUT, Peter wrote today that LAWDOG has been convinced to begin blogging again, AND plans on a BOOK regarding his adventures!

HUZZAH!

Please go welcome him back!

The LawDog Files

R.I.P Frank James

Most of us on the gunnie blogosphere are familiar with Frank James.

Excerpted from his obituary:

Frank published thousands of articles over seven countries during his career as a writer. He published five books and was awarded the Anschutz Outstanding Writer of The Year Award in 1994. He was an expert outdoorsman with a passion for adventure and travel. He also owned and operated farms in the White County area for over 45 years. Frank created the White County Shooting Sports 4H Program and hosted Davidson’s Gallery of Guns on the Sportsman Channel as well as appearing on Gun Stories that airs on The Outdoor Channel.

He was an active shooting competitor, having shot in The Masters International Tournaments and USPSA (IPSC) competitions. He and his wife were longtime members of Palestine Christian Church and he also served on the Wolcott Library Board for several years.

But, most of all, Frank wanted to be remembered as a farmer.

Because he helped feed people.

R.I.P. Frank.  Most of us in the gunblogging world aspire to be like you, personally and professionally.

You will be missed.

h/t Tamara, (I’m sorry for your loss.)

Love Of Lovecraft

JDZ (Never Yet Melted) waxed on (and off) regarding (H)oward (P)hillips Lovecraft, dark science fiction/fantasy author, bigot extraordinaire and photophobe.  Below:

H.P. Lovecraft: Too Popular to be Ignored, Too Un-PC to be Acceptible

, , ,

HP-Lovecraft-by-Lee-Moyer
H.P. Lovecraft by Lee Moyer.

Philip Eil, in the Atlantic, contemplates with unease the posthumous rise to fame and pop culture ascendancy of the visionary horror pulp writer H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft, you see, was not just a pulp writer. He was a passionate, nearly hydrophobic racist and anti-Semite, whose letters are absolutely filled with expressions of distaste for the presence, appearance, physiognomy, and even the odor, of Jews, Negroes, Asians, and persons of Southern European origin. The sight (and the smell), when encountered on city streets, of the result of 1900-era mass immigration could make the Mayflower-descended Lovecraft literally physically ill.

Hence, the dilemma troubling Mr. Eil: today’s American establishment culture faithfully worships at the altar of fame and success, but it simultaneously wants to cast out and obliterate anyone or anything incompatible with its own fanatically egalitarian ideology. Some pretty serious chin-stroking is in order here.

[N]o tale of posthumous success is quite as spectacular as that of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the “cosmic horror” writer who died in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1937 at the age of 46. The circumstances of Lovecraft’s final years were as bleak as anyone’s. He ate expired canned food and wrote to a friend, “I was never closer to the bread-line.” He never saw his stories collectively published in book form, and, before succumbing to intestinal cancer, he wrote, “I have no illusions concerning the precarious status of my tales, and do not expect to become a serious competitor of my favorite weird authors.” Among the last words the author uttered were, “Sometimes the pain is unbearable.” His obituary in the Providence Evening Bulletin was “full of errors large and small,” according to his biographer.

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine Lovecraft faced such poverty and obscurity, when regions of Pluto are named for Lovecraftian monsters, the World Fantasy Award trophy bears his likeness, his work appears in the Library of America, the New York Review of Books calls him “The King of Weird,” and his face is printed on everything from beer cans to baby booksto thong underwear. The author hasn’t just escaped anonymity; he’s reached the highest levels of critical and cultural success. His is perhaps the craziest literary afterlife this country has ever seen. …

My feelings on Lovecraft—as a bibliophile, a lover of Providence history, a Jew, a fan of his writing, a teacher who assigns his stories—are complicated. At their best, his tales achieve a visceral eeriness, or fling the reader’s imagination to the furthest depths of outer space. Once you develop a taste for his maximalist style, these stories become addictive. But my admiration is always coupled with the knowledge that Lovecraft would have found my Jewish heritage repugnant, and that he saw our shared hometown as a haven from the waves of immigrants he saw as infecting other cities. (“America has lost New York to the mongrels, but the sun shines just as brightly over Providence,” he wrote to a friend in 1926.)

I haven’t made peace with this tension, and I’m not sure I ever will. But I have decided that perhaps he’s the literary icon our country deserves. The stories he conjured, in many ways, say as much about his bigotry as they do his genius. Or, as Moore writes, “Coded in an alphabet of monsters, Lovecraft’s writings offer a potential key to understanding our current dilemma.”

Indeed!

Eventually also, we shall dissect Charles Beaumont, assuming I can get my soul essence back above ground, from whence Mr. Lovecraft’s character’s liked to dwell.

All hail Cthulu!

Personally, I like dark.  I like intense.  I like Poe.  The works of Charles Fort.  I don’t read as much as I should.  And currently, I’ve been sticking to history and politics.

Now I will leave you, with homage to H.P. here in this Phoenician Sun, I remember the cool air… 

What About Bob?, Part Tres’

I heard back from Bob this morning.  He remains hospitalized, and frankly, things are not good.

From the Man, himself:

I have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  (Apparently the leg amputation was simply a warm-up.)  I will begin three months of radiation and chemotherapy, soon to be followed by surgery to remove the lower third of my esophagus and upper portion of Mr. Stomach.

Prognosis is guarded.

I am attempting to remain positive and as upbeat as possible.

Can you believe this guy?!  Positive and upbeat?  I’d be a puddle on the floor…  😦

Please keep Bob in your thoughts and prayers.  He is a voracious reader (and likes paper media, eschewing the electronic), so I’m bringing him copies of Brigid’s two fine books, when he allows me to visit.

Orange Is The New Black

Uh, NO, it’s orange.

My roomie and I watch a lot a correct amount of television together.  We both like movies (Alfred Hitchcock), and many of the same intense TV shows (Graceland, Suits, The Shield, True Detective, Complications), and some less intense (Property Brothers, House Crashers).

Recently, she was convinced we should try watching Orange Is The New Black.  It’s a series (based on a book) surrounding a poor little rich girl, who, when she was young and stupid, moved some cash for a lesbian drug dealer (who also became her lover).

Then, years later, when she was engaged to be married (to a man) the Feds found her and advise her the statute of limitations was 12 years for her offense.  And it had been 10 years.  Someone had dropped a dime on her.

Presto!  She’s in a federal prison for 15 months.  And the show recounts her adventures.

With the prison administration.  Corrections officers.  Other prisoners.  In a women’s prison.  (translation – violence, unfairness, depictions of both lesbian and straight sex, just short of requiring an X rating!)

Replete with her whining about how unfair everything is.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, depending on your view) the whining and sex are not the entire focus of the show.

As the show progresses surrounding the main plot, the back stories of the other prisoners are revealed.  Sometimes they are victims who made poor choices, sometimes they are controlled, sometimes controlling.  Sometimes mentally ill.

And sometimes just plain evil. 

I never watched OZ, but I get the idea this is similar, except with women.

And I expected not to like it (except perhaps some parts:-)), but it’s really not bad.  My biggest complaint is whoever did the sound mixing had no idea what they were doing!  We have to keep playing with the volume to either hear or not go deaf.

And watching with a good female friend, with whom you used to be romantically-involved, who is now your landlord is the most uncomfortable part!

“That’s The Fact – Jack!”

Quote of the YEAR!

Yes, more people are killed by cows each year than lawful guns intentionally fired by a non criminal. Even more than sharks (though I’d avoid if swimming in the Pacific wearing your wasabi wet suit).

Yes – Cows.

Brigid

My dear friend Brigid wins the Internets with this one!  And all the more serious (and sometimes less so) appending text.

I’m not big on insulting my readership, however, if you are not reading Brigid regularly (and own a copy (or more) of her Barkley book – see the sidebar) THEN YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

She is thoughtful, and well-versed in the manner of educated prose.  And poetry!  And turns-of-phrase. (see above).

And, she’s a redhead!brigid4

 

Who would hurt me significantly if I posted a proper photograph.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…