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Ringling Brothers Circus Is Closing Down ‘The Greatest Show On Earth,’ After A 146-Year Run.

elephamts

Tempus fugit.

I was never a huge circus guy as a kid, probably because I wasn’t a very good athlete – although the acrobats did impress me.  Of course, being feet from large wild animals was thrilling!  (except for the smell!)  And being a ‘semi-professional’ magician (starting in the Fourth Grade) I was drawn to performers like clowns – even considering crossing the makeup line and becoming a clown magician myself!  I’d read of Harry Houdini, and how he got his start in traveling carnivals performing feats of strength and ‘oddities’, like being able to pick up needles with his eyelashes while hanging inverted!  (How one does this for an audience – who knows?)

But what really got my attention were the oddities, the Sideshow.  The beginnings of the traveling circus.  People and animals with disabilities or birth defects – Siamese twins, women with beards, two headed snakes – that sort of thing.  Obviously, middle-America in the early 1800’s needed some kind of diversion, right?

And this is precisely why the circuses are ending.  If one wants to see an elephant, there are thousands on You Tube.  The same for magic, people with birth defects and feats of strength.  No longer must one wait in line for tickets, endure the crowds, animal smells and over-priced popcorn to see such things.  The circus can come to you!  And there are TV, movies, shows – all stream-able to your TV, computer or cell phone.

Jeff Cooper sometimes spoke of seeing the elephant.  In the olden days, a farm youth (as most were prior to 1920) had little or no exposure to life outside that which was on the farm.  Birth, death, butchering, harvesting, hunting, planting – all hard physical labor.  But little else.

When a boy ‘came of age’, his father would shove a few dollars in his pocket, point him to town, and tell him to go ‘see the elephant’.  The circus was coming to town!  The boy would dutifully go, see the elephant, the sideshow, perhaps have some liquor and engage in games of chance.  If he had any money left, he might find a woman of ill-repute with whom to ‘spend some time’.

It was all about a rite-of-passage.  Learning something about the outside world.

But, in today’s instantaneous electronically-connected world, there is no rite-of-passage.  Boys (and girls) learn about sex from the Internet.  Not exactly seeing the elephant.

No wonder instant gratification is the motto for the Millennials.

And we as a society are lesser for it.

Go see the elephant before the circus closes forever!  Reportedly, they will stop using elephants by 2018.  of course, the circus will end before that…

Find a woman?

😛

 

 

 

Remembering Clive

Going to the recent memorial for Bob reminded me of others who have gone before.

Like my work-pal Clive!

One of most unforgettable characters when I worked @ TMCCC was CLIVE.

At least that’s the name from which we all knew him:  Clive.

Could he have BEEN any more British?

Clive was another of the credit card fraud investigators with whom I worked.  He had the accent, was married to his American wife (his 3rd, I think) and had lived in the United States (legally) 40 years.

I once asked him why he didn’t go for citizenship.  He said a piece of paper wouldn’t change where he was born!

He was a classical liberal and loathed Margaret Thatcher.  We had many a thrilling political discussion.

He found out via the company grapevine I was a firearms enthusiast, and was quite anxious to know if I had a Lee Enfield .303 rifle.  He apparently was familiar with them through the British military.  I did not, but he still wanted to go shooting with me.  We made a desert run (with his pal, a retired Flagstaff PD guy ‘Harry’, also an investigator) and had a blast (no pun intended).

I suggested he could obtain his own SMLE, but he didn’t understand that particular abbreviation.  And, anyway, he explained his American wife (whom he lovingly referred to as SWMBO*) wouldn’t stand for it.  She didn’t like guns.  I knew a high-end range in North Scottsdale offered lockers for storage.  And he was carefully considering it.

I took a vacation week, and upon my return found out that Clive had also.  He told his wife he was not feeling well and stretched out on their couch.

He never awakened.  (this was some years ago)

I never knew much more about him, until I saw his obituary.  Turned out his first name was Richard, and he had been a respected scientist in the U.K.

From his obituary, in part…

For many years Clive was a Research Scientist for Weyerhaeuser and has three patents. He was a founder of Home Builders International, which developed low cost housing in Third World countries using mostly straw and mud for construction. He and his wife, Dawn, spent six months in Mexico City where Clive helped establish a factory to manufacture the straw and mud into a material suitable for home construction. He was the founder of the Phoenix Institute of Technology. It was a national group of scientists who developed a report on methods to generate power in Third World countries using only local resources. The report was presented to the world at an international environmental conference in New Mexico in 1995. It was written initially for the Vatican and the Mennonite Church who are the largest missionary groups in the world. This research was done and sent with no monetary exchange. (…)

Clive served 3 years in 341 Squadron of the Air Training Corps, connected to the Royal Air Force. (…)

I miss our spirited exchanges, my friend.

*She Who Must Be Obeyed

 

Eye Of The Needle

(from Brock Townsend)

Fascinating: 50,000-Year-Old Needle Found in Siberian Cave AND It Was Not Made by Homo Sapiens

Via Ol’ Remus

50,000-Year-Old Needle Found in Siberian Cave AND It Was Not Made by Homo Sapiens

A sensational discovery in Denisova Cave is at least 50,000-years-old BUT it wasn’t made by Homo sapiens. The 7-centimeter (2 3/4 inch) needle was made and used by our long extinct Denisovan ancestors, a recently-discovered hominin species or subspecies.

Scientists found the sewing implement – complete with a hole for thread – during the annual summer archeological dig at an Altai Mountains cave widely believed to hold the secrets of man’s origins. It appears to be still useable after 50,000 years.

Professor Mikhail Shunkov, head of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, said: ‘It is the most unique find of this season, which can even be called sensational.

I know for every Indiana Jones fantasy there are many serious archaeological professionals out there, finding stuff heretofore unimaginable.
 So much for the Earth only being 5000 years old and flat!

Not A Gunsmith

And cannot afford one!

HOWEVER…

I AM a learner, albeit a slow one.  After shooting a friend’s Smith & Wesson J-Frame Monday last ( 🙂 ), I’m considering improving the trigger pull on mine.

You see, I generally prefer STOCK guns.  When I had my Browning High Power, I purposely DID NOT REMOVE the magazine safety, as it was the way the gun was manufactured.  (Yes, I know it improves trigger pull, yadda yadda…)

I’ve been carrying my S&W model 442 – electroless nickel for going on 22 years.  With the stock trigger (15 pounds?).  Because that’s the way it came.  And I shoot ‘okay’ with her.

HOWEVER, my friend’s revolver had a trigger-job done on his.  And the result was amazing.  I inquired if he ever had a problem with lack-of-ignition.  He replied in the negative.

As stated before, I cannot afford an over-priced dilettante the services of a gunsmith.

Off to the Brownell’s website!

They have all manner of replacement spring kits for S&W J-Frames – including a Wilson version with one (7 1/2 pound?) mainspring and three choices of trigger return spring weight!

For under $10 !!!

And, while I’m not the most mechanically-adept (insert laughter here, Dave!) I do know how to remove the side plate and remove/replace springs.

My questions are – is this a good deal?  Beneficial to the gun’s function?  Are there other choices out there of similar cost that are better?

I figure minimally, I get to detail clean and lube the revolver and possibly improve function.

Inquiring minds want to know.

442

Better shape than mine…

This just in – I gave in and ordered the Wilson kit yesterday!  😛

 

Smith & Wesson and Brownell’s gave me nothing!  Go Away FTC!

Who Am I?

I’m having a bit of an identity crisis.

I was born white, which makes me a racist.

I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which makes me a fascist.

I am heterosexual, which makes me a homophobe.

I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.

I am older than 55 and semi retired which makes me a useless old man.

I think and I reason; therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which makes me a reactionary.

I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.

I value my safety and that of my family; therefore I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right wing extremist.

I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual’s merits, which makes me anti-social.

I, and my friends, acquired a good education without student loans and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of odd underachiever.

I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland by all citizens, which makes me a militarist.

Please help me come to terms with this, because I’m not sure who I am anymore!

And now I don’t know which bathroom to use anymore….

H/T Doverthere, Theo Spark

Knock On Any Door

I’ve often written regarding the windshield time and shoe leather expended during my tenure as a private investigator.  This is definitely a shoe leather story.

One of the items TV cop and PI shows do not expand upon is the time expended.  Especially if the investigation in is the pre-Internet era.  Of course, even in today’s CSI-oriented procedural shows, time remains a factor.  Collect fluids for the lab – DNA results back after the commercial.  Easy-peasy.

In the real world it’s like a minimum of six weeks.  Would definitely put a damper on the 44 minute long hour show!

So, here I am, in the Fall, in N.W. Phoenix.  Not the oppressive heat of July, but not January, either.  Canvassing a neighborhood.  On foot.

Three, four fairly long neighborhood streets.  Middle-income, mixed ethnicity, probably 3/4 White. (IOW, NOT the ghetto, the barrio or the projects).  THANK YOU GOD!

Regardless, still laborious.  Lots of walking.  Keeping track of each household by address. By name if possible.  Returning to empty homes to try to catch folks who had returned.  Or get a name off the mailbox (or the mail) for a telephone call later.

All because at the end of one of the blocks, one neighbor’s dog (German shepherd, pit bull, I don’t remember) had broken through the horizontal-wood fence separating the yards and attacked neighborhood kids, seriously injuring one.

Did anyone witness the attack?  Or the aftermath?  Or someone taunting the dog?  Do you know any witnesses with whom I could speak?

As if most of the neighbors were in one or the other of the fenced back yards…

Due diligence was still necessary.

I walked and walked.  Knocked on a lot of doors.  Rang a lot of doorbells.  Received little information.  From this procedure (which took two afternoons and two evenings, by myself) or the follow-up telephone calls.

I remember one household.  Across the street from the feuding neighbors.  Had Mexican immigrants therein, all of whom had to fill the doorway when the person answering announced (to no one in particular) INVESTIGATOR! (een-ves-ti-ga-tor’).  Little English and even less information.

Most folks knew bupkis.  Some has their own opinions and theories – even if they hadn’t know of the event before I spoke with them!  Others offered information on other torts, crimes, events and neighbors.

As if I cared.

Eventually, I gathered up the big collection of negative data and coalesced it into a big report, signifying nothing.

I’m certain the lawsuit was eventually settled between the various homeowner’s insurances involved.  And their attorneys.

And my boss got a cut of one attorney’s fees.  I got my usually hourly wage, sore feet and worn-out shoes.  Pretty sure I didn’t make enough for a new pair, or even resoling.

Ah!  The thrilling life of a private investigator.  🙂

“We Must Do SOMETHING!”

This seems to be something inherent in humanity.

When a crisis occurs, we want need to do SOMETHING!  ANYTHING!

Even though so much of our lives is out of our control…

“There must be something we can do?”  (After someone had passed, to comfort the survivors) “If there’s anything I can do?”

And, of course, after tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, or riots, or a mass shooting (or stabbing, as recently in Sacramento)…

We must do SOMETHING!

It makes we, as humans, feel better about our powerlessness.

“I KNOW!  Let’s pass another LAW!”

When did we become so disconnected from how things work that we think ‘the government’ passing yet another law (which are selectively enforced, if at all, anyway) will solve any problems?

Bank robbery is already illegal.  Let’s make it even more illegal by passing laws restricting the kinds of firearms the robbers might steal to use!

“Double-secret probation!” – Dean Wormer (Animal House)

I have an idea.

First, lets undo the glut of useless, poorly-written laws clogging up the books since the first gun control (prohibiting freed slaves from owning firearms) was passed in 1809.

THEN…

Let’s let people protect themselves and others from those who would threaten harm.

As we used to allow do:

Protecting our families with hope while evil has guns is not protecting our families. We are in a gun fight and some do not want to give us a fighting chance.

John Croom's photo.

John Croom

1973, a student and teacher guarding a Delaware high school after someone called in a shooting threat during a morning class. Juniors, seniors, and teachers went to their cars and trucks to grab their guns, and guard the doors between classes. No shooter ever arrived.  (from FB)

And how about school districts hiring  honorably-discharged veterans (with security skills) as school security?  Jobs for vets, and schools more secure.

Easy-Peasy!

51% – ers

from Brock Townsend:

Socialism’s False Promise

Via Billy

Given its track record, one wonders why socialism is gaining in popularity in the U.S. and what appeal it has to a generation that, apparently, knows little about it.

A recent survey from Harvard University has found that 51 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent support the economic system that has allowed even the poorest American to live better and to have more opportunity for advancement than most of the rest of the world. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed support socialism.

Why does socialism receive such strong support among the young? I think it’s partly due to what is being taught in too many public schools and universities and it is partly due to ignorance and human nature, which would rather get a check than earn one.

Three quotes about socialism sum up both its false promise and its danger.

Back-in-the-day, when I was going to college, I paid all my own tuition, bought my own books, and worked full-time.  At minimum wage or slightly more than minimum wage jobs.  No student loans for me!
This is not to say I wouldn’t have considered a loan – I didn’t think I’d qualify and didn’t know I’d a choice!
What changed, wherein young people cannot work and afford college on their own? 
(I suspect the government is involved!)
(In the interest of full disclosure, I barely make it on SSDI today, and sometimes borrow (or am gifted) money to pay my auto insurance, or to make groceries.  This is not a bleg, but just a statement-of-fact.  What changed, when I could once afford to pay my own way, and now cannot?  I suspect the government is involved.)

Every Tragedy Has A Lesson

Peter (aka Bayou Renaissance Man) has a well thought out post regarding the terrorist attack in Florida, and personal response.  (Link Here)  Because group response after-the-fact is rarely efficient or just! (more gun control?!)

(In part:)

We’ve discussed terror attacks like that last night at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on numerous occasions in these pages.  Suffice it to say that anyone with two brain cells to rub together knew that something like this was coming.  Furthermore, it won’t be an isolated event.  More such attacks will follow.  Our terrorist enemies have already promised that – and every time they’ve made that promise, they’ve kept it.  We know they’re coming.  The question is, are we – we as individuals, not just as a society – prepared to do something about it?

There is much more in his post.  Please, educate yourself and go read it!  (You should be reading Peter daily, regardless!)

He concludes asking what lessons WE have learned(?)

Here is the comment I humbly left:

A.C.E.
ALWAYS CARRY EVERYWHERE!

Something I am already doing, barring the interference of metal detectors.
Just signage? Ignore it.
OR DON’T GO IN!

Easy Peasy.

Now, I’m not advocating violating any law.  HOWEVER, this is truly a personal choice.  Better to be tried by twelve, than buried by six?

_______________________________________________________

(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org/#22kill

22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE DAILY

Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #10 of 22)

Is Your Caliber Going The Way Of The Buggy Whip?

or even 5.75 mm Velo Dog?

a velo-dog revolver

a velo-dog revolver

When I came of (gun) age, the premier cartridge in my circle was .357 Magnum.  This was because it was what most law enforcement folks carried – revolvers. (early 1970’s)

Of course, .38 Special was utilized for practice, because it was easier on the gun AND the shooter.  And less expensive to shoot.

Semiautomatic pistols were just making their way into law enforcement, with 9 mm Smith & Wesson double actions leading the charge.  Single action autos, like the venerable Colt 1911 in .45 ACP, were thought to be at best finicky and unreliable.

Besides, cops carried revolvers and bad guys carried semis.  This is what was view as TRUTH.

But with the advancements in metallurgy and polymers, different ammunition and projectors were soon to be seen.  Most notably Glock and Beretta, in 9 mm.  And after the infamous FBI Miami shootout, the development of the 10 mm, which was later truncated into the .40 S&W.

Carried in DAO and striker-fired weapons, because it was believed genpop recruits (including some small Asians and women) couldn’t safely handle 10 mm or single-action autos!

Even though the military had been teaching single-action autos in .45 ACP for over 70 years!

Recent developments have shown that .45 is not as efficient as once touted.  And even federal law enforcement has reverted back to 9 mm over the .40.

And I have it on good authority that even (some) Gunsite instructors decided to shoot 9 mm instead of .45 ACP, and use Isosceles over Weaver stance!  Col. Cooper must be spinning in his grave.

Time marches on.  As does technology.

Do you carry the ‘latest’ ammo in the ‘most advanced’ machine?

Or are you an old-school guy like me?  🙂

Well, I guess I’ll be moseyin’ down to my buggy, whip and 1911 in hand.

Velo Dog just isn’t big enough for me.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…