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The Cavalier Players

I was in high school, active in the (award-winning) choir, and in The Mystic Crystal (the magic club). And one of the kids in the neighborhood pointed me in the direction of an amateur troop of kids who performed free.  For people who needed entertainment.

And I thought what the heck.

They were called The Cavalier Players.  Founded by a quintessential stage mother to get her daughter’s (marginal) dance talents exposed further, they performed free for anyone who would have them.

And I signed up.

I remember many elder care facilities, some like Phoenix’s The Beatitudes – the top of the spectrum. Others where the only thing in memory was the smell of urine.

And one Thanksgiving at the St. Vincent De Paul dining hall, packed to the brim with the unfortunate.

Other members included dancers, singers, gymnasts, and piano players.  On one occasion, the tape deck with needed music broke, so (Geez!  What the hell was her name?) the stage mom stepped out on stage, announced “I-AM-THE-ORCHESTRA!” and began humming so the dancer could continue with her performance!

Another time, Debbie J. (a gymnast) performed the splits, but had not stretched sufficiently.  She reached the bottom of her split, but was unable to come back up.  And began screaming and crying.  The EMTs were called.  She had torn some ligaments.  YIKES!

Being a magician, my only faux pas were dropping my concealed handcuff key (loudly, on a wooden stage), and having one of my juggling balls bounce off the stage toward the audience.

At least I was able to exit the stage, pick up the ball in mid-bounce and continue juggling!  I was much more mobile and faster, then.

I performed with them a couple years in high school.  It did teach me a little about the less fortunate, and about the show going on.

We even made the local paper, with a photo!  Sadly, in the pre-digital age, my likeness was over-done with ink, making me appear as a minstrel show player!  Not very cavalier…

The stage mom and her daughter moved a couple years later.  I never saw them again – guess the daughter never ‘made it’?

And Yes, Another David!

(See – I told you!)

My Life’s friendships are made up of many folks.  But an inordinate number (for whatever reason) are named either Bob (Robert) or David (Dave)!

Who knows why?

I was walking to McClintock High School to attend a Summer School session (having missed my first Freshman semester because of the onset of my leg disability) and wanting to complete high school in 3 1/2 years to stay with my class.

Turned out, a number of other Tempe High students were also attending McClintock’s Summer Session. And walking more-or-less the same way to school.

Conversations ensued.  It was about a mile-and-a-half from my house, and an 0700 start time, so it was early, ‘cooler’ (AZ summertime) and we were bored kids.

And friendships developed.  One was with David M., who had to walk an additional 1/2 mile to get to where I was.  Not to be confused with Dave the genius mechanic, or David the artist college-roommate.

And we walked together to Summer School, and back on the return trip.  And became fast friends.

David was smart, funny, musically-talented (playing piano by sound!).  He was a school A/V guy and a photographer.  And we both liked the same stuff.  Magic tricks, philosophy and girls.

Not necessarily in that order.

And it was David who introduced me to the Firesign Theatre and Cheech & Chong!

And I introduced him to the magic club.  And other the neighborhood guys became his friends, as well.

We palled around together all through high school, and into college.

His parents were divorced, and his mother was religiously conservative.  She seemed to like me, but objected to the magic club, as there were things just not right there (in her mind.)  She called playing cards The Devil’s pasteboards!

I remember both of us liking to listen to Jethro Tull.  His dad was putting an addition on his house, and we used to sit in the unfinished rooms (for the acoustics) to play flute.  I, self-taught with a rented one – he bought his and could play rings around me.  Accompanying Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, again, with David playing by ear!  He even held it wrong (not knowing any better) – both hands facing backward (fife-like) – and could STILL sound better!  And actually play!

He was going to marry once.  They canceled it at the last minute – I never did find out why.

And, as with many other friends, we drifted apart.

He has a common last name, and I’ve been unable to re-connect with him via social media for this reason.

Wherever he is, I wish him well!

November 24, Seven Years Ago

(a follow-up to the November 8 post I Sometimes HATE Novembers, as promised…)

So, here I was, in my insurance-paid-for-rented-condo, about a mile North of my home, while contractors rebuilt it, after the drunk driver had hit it two weeks prior.  That’s what I get for buying a corner lot, off a street that zig-zags.  Drunks never caught that nuance, head straight for the alley, see the power pole, and crash into my back yard.

It had happened before.  Last time it was just the fence that was destroyed.

Good times…

I, of course, still had to go to work, pay bills, and check the mail at the house, all while surveying the excruciatingly-slow process of rebuilding the rear of my home and replacing the fence.

Thankfully (?) I was beginning to have more health issues (joy, joy) which meant I was missing more work. Which gave me the excuse to stop by and check the mail and the progress of the reconstruction more often.

And, it had been a couple of days since I had last checked the mail, and it was my birthday(!), so I thought I’d check the mail again.  Hell, there might be a birthday check from someone in the mail? :-)

I pull into the driveway.  No contractors present.  This always bothered me, as this process was taking forever. Of course, mine wasn’t their only project.

(This had been a little over two weeks!)


This alarmed me, as no one was around.  The door had been always locked and the extra key placed in one of those Realtor-access combination locks around the door knob.  Which was now nowhere to be seen!

I exited the car and drew my 1911 pistol.  (Yeah, I know.  All my training (which I had trained others to do many times before) was to leave the area to a relatively safe location and call the police to respond. After all, there may have been multiple armed intruders inside burgling my home!)

BUT, this was MY HOME!  And the training went out the window.  Sigh.

I slowly entered the kitchen, listening intently for any activity inside, pistol at-the-ready.  Then into the living room, bath and two bedrooms.  This was relatively quick, as it was a 740 square-foot house.

It was obvious someone else had been inside.  Someone NOT a contractor.  A home computer, portable television, stereo, some faux Samurai swords and a number of other items were missing.  Movers had taken many of the larger furniture items to put into storage prior to the reconstruction.  But I was told they were unable to take the gun safe, as they were prohibited from storing firearms.

They had removed the Dillon XL 650 reloading press from it’s mount, preparatory to the rebuild.  But had not put it into storage. (I guess it was gun-related).  It was gone.

And the 800 pound, Fort Knox gun safe was missing.  And this was on the floor…

20151106_165708 (1)

Someone obviously had pried off the combination dial and locking lever to open the safe.  And when that failed, THEY TOOK THE ENTIRE 800 POUND SAFE! 

Credit cards, spare checks, school transcripts, cameras, my birth certificate and over fifty firearms! Gone.

First, I called the insurance company, to see if they had perhaps authorized storage of the safe and it’s contents, and had inadvertently broken the locking mechanism somehow in transit.  Then, I called the mover and the police.

And was scolded by the 911 operator, as it was for emergencies only.   How was fifty+ firearms possibly out on the street was not an emergency?

Ultimately, the contractor, the storage guy, my insurance man and the police arrived on the scene.  I recounted my actions upon arriving multiple times for each of them.  And I was livid.  To keep me occupied (and busy and out of the way) the police advised me to make a list of what was in the safe, including all the firearms and serial numbers.

I knew most of their descriptions by heart, but the list (with Polaroids and serial numbers) was not around.  It was probably in the materials previously packed and moved to storage.

Fortunately, I still had many of the receipts and gun boxes, which were labeled on the edge with the numbers.

And set about making the list on a legal pad.

All parties were questioned.  The contractor’s employees all had cellular telephones they were required to keep with them at all times (for GPS tracking purposes).  And all passed the location test.

As if someone couldn’t have left the phone at home off-hours to do a burglary?  Or they told someone else?  Come on!  I never broadcast about the safe in my home, suddenly, after many strangers had seen it, it went missing.

After six months, the house was reconstructed, painted, re-floored (safe drag marks) cleaned (even clothes in the closet dry cleaned!) and restocked with the stored items.  I had called in to stop all my credit cards the same day.

I received a check for the maximum available from my policy.  (Note-to-self:  Make certain all valuables are covered, and if there is a cap it covers all firearms.  I was insured for a maximum of 5K on the firearms, eventually paid just over 7K total.  Firearm valuation of the missing?  Over 21K! in 2009 gun values)

Fortunately, I had taken my favorite 1911 and .38 snub with me to the condo!

And none of the identity items, credit cards or firearms have ever surfaced.

I’m thinking Mexico, and thank God that Fort Knox makes a quality piece of security equipment!  I suspect it’s abandoned in the desert somewhere, still unopened.  (Let this be a lesson – if you’ve not done so already, bolt your safe to the foundation and wall studs – even if it weighs 800 pounds!)

And among the missing are my electroless nickel Colt Gold Cup, 1969 Browning High Power, 4 AR-15s, my Ithaca Deerslayer Police Special 12 gauge, my pre-model 27 Smith & Wesson 5″,  my Sig-Sauer P220 – marked made in W. Germany(!) and my 1942 Springfield Garand!!

I had to use the insurance money for other things, and never was able to replace any of the missing firearms.


FTC – Fort Knox safes gave me nothing.  I bought it at a gun show.  Leave me alone!


♫ Nowhere To Run To, Baby…♫

♫…nowhere to hide…♫

Wirecutter linked me to RT Question More.

Who posed (in part) this idea…

To me, the US – and most of the supposedly free West – increasingly looks like a truck being systematically filled with Semtex.

But it’s easy to counter cries of alarm with the fact that the truck is stable – because it’s true: you can hurl more boxes into the back without any real danger. Absent the right detonator, it is no more dangerous than a truckload of mayonnaise.

But add the right detonator and you’re just one click away from complete devastation.

We can see how fragile the U.S. is now by considering just four tendencies.

The Four Tendencies

1. Destruction of farms and reliable food source

2. Weak economic system

3. Americans increasingly on mind-altering drugs

4. Morals in decline


There used to be a time (in my mind, anyway) that this constitutional republic strove to be the best.  The best physically, academically, militarily.  The best as a shining example to the rest of the World of individual liberty, rights and responsibilities.

A truly Norman Rockwell Nation.

We fed the rest of the World.  EVERYONE relied on AND TRUSTED, the Dollar!  People didn’t ‘just take a pill’ for every perceived ailment.  And, while differing dogmatically, we strove to treat others as we ourselves wished to be treated.

The times, they are a changin’.


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.)

A Not-So-Gentle Reminder

For those not paying attention to the calendar…

sept 11


And prayers and good thoughts for the victims, first responders and survivors.

And woe be to those who committed and continue to commit such heinous acts!

(Fill-In-The-Blank) Eradicating History

JDZ (of Never Yet Melted), tells us the following tale…

The Left Eradicating History

, , ,, ,, ,,

Statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford, where he was a student for one term in 1873. Rhodes left a portion of his estate to the college.

Last April, a statue of Imperialist hero Cecil Rhodes erected in 1934 was removed from the campus of the University of Cape Town. The statue had been previously desecrated with paint and excrement. When a crane lifted the statue away, celebrating students climbed up and danced on its plinth. Rhodes had to be removed, you see, because the 19th century figure was guilty of believing in African Inequality and was a renowned champion of British Colonialism.

Telegraph story

The insistence upon the removal of prominent historical figures guilty by the present standards of the extremist left of politically incorrect behavior and opinions is not merely restricted to Third World countries where revolutionary regimes have succeeded to power.

In Oxford, in the heart of England itself, the campus left is following the South African example and demanding the removal of a statue of Rhodes from a niche on the facade of his own college. Newsweek

The Left’s war on history, as you see below, at Yale, has been underway for decades.

What could possibly demonstrate the intellectual and moral fatuity of today’s academic establishment than this kind of abject surrender to the worst kinds of left-wing extremism in response to emotionalist blackmail?

If the study of History produces any kind of wisdom at all, the most basic component of that enlightened understanding would have to be the apprehension that it is impossible to pass judgement on the beliefs and actions of people living in the past by the standard of conventional opinions of the present.

The stained glass picture of Vice President, Secretary of State, and political philosopher John C. Calhoun, Yale Class of 1804, ornamenting the Common Room of the Yale residential college named for the great man was deliberately broken by left-wing students during the 1970s. The window was restored, but portions of the window depicting a black slave in chains kneeling at Calhoun’s feet were removed officially in 1993, after a black student complained that he was personally offended.

I’m reminded of the recent kerfuffle regarding removal of flags of the Confederacy, and desecration of other historical items.

And, of this…
This is not to equate the teachings of the Buddha with those of the Confederacy, but to show that we need to remember history in it’s entirety to obtain the full message.
The First Amendment to The Constitution (at least in the United States) may apply, also.


Doppelganger (n.)  a duplicate person, as in someone who looks exactly like __________.

I never used to believe in such a thing.  I mean, each human being is an individual, there is no one else like them, right?


I have seen three in the past 20 years(!)

About two months ago, I was grocery shopping at the closest market to home.  Not because it was my favorite, but because it was close.  (Laziness?  Heat?)

I’m standing in the checkout line, and five or six folk ahead of me was a familiar guy.  Tall.  Large.  Built familiarly (if that’s even a word?)  He turned to push out his cart of groceries, and I almost yelled out his name!  He resembled strikingly BOB, my former PI and gun store boss!  Except the previous week I was informed by the original Bob that he just has had the lower part of his left leg amputated.  And I knew there was no way he would have been across the Valley, 30 miles from his home, and so ambulatory right away.  And this guy had more hair, a goatee and a pony tail!  Nope – not Bob!

But certainly closer looking to him than his brother!!

Another time, we were in a Mexican restaurant.  Because it was cheap, not because it was good.  And we were seated by the back door, and could see folks seated outside on the patio.  And there was Marla, a former girlfriend.  Same figure, same face, same laugh and mannerisms.  Except Marla passed away in 2004 – I have a copy of the obituary!

And there was my first observance with a doppelganger.  In 1995, about 4 months after the accident.  You know where I’m going with this…

The ex and I were window shopping at a large mall, largely because it was late Summer and air conditioned.  And a couple walks by with three children.  And number-two child looked exactly like Molly, except with blond hair!!!

I’m not normally the kind of man who faints, but I leaned up against the wall and closed my eyes to keep from losing consciousness.  And to keep from screaming and crying.  And my ex (who obviously had not seen her) asked me what was wrong.

And I nervously pointed.  At air.

There was a couple with children.  TWO children!  And neither resembled our daughter.


To only be able to see her again…

It’s Been Said They Come in Threes…

Famous (or perhaps infamous) deaths, that is.

(Of course, this all depends on how one defines fame or the starting point!  And this is MY blog.)

Macnee, with Rigg

Macnee, with Rigg

I am sad to report on the passing of Patrick Macnee, most famously known as John Steed of the British TV series The Avengers.  At age 93.

The series ran in three permutations – the original British-only version (co-starring Honor Blackman), the import (with the most-lusted-after Diana Rigg), and a third version with Tara Thorson (later of Absolutely Fabulous).

Of course, most of us loved the series co-starring Ms. Rigg.  Leather cat suits and all.

And how dapper was Patrick Macnee with his Edwardian clothes, bowler hat and lethal umbrella?

I remember an interview after the series, wherein Mr. MacNee quipped he had been approached about yet another remake.  He responded, “What would they call it, The Geriatric Avengers?”

Retired, Mr. MacNee spent much of his time in his Rancho Mirage, California home, wearing Aloha shirts and shorts.  He claimed doing so allowed him his privacy, as no one recognized him without his bowler and umbrella!

You will be missed, good sir!


h/t Dave the reaper the mechanic, NPR

Almost An H&K G3 !

Except it wasn’t.

After I shot Bob’s (the former PI, gun store manager) Heckler & Koch 91, I knew I had to have one!


It took me over 10 years to acquire one.  And it definitely wasn’t a G3 (the select-fire version).  It wasn’t even really a Heckler & Koch 91 (the semiautomatic version).

She was a PTR91 (H&K parts, except a domestically-produced receiver, to comply with the spurious, unconstitutional and misnamed Assault Weapons Ban).

The good news is she shot similarly.  Functioned exactly the same.  And took same foreign parts. Expensive German-made H&K parts.

(Wait a minute – maybe this was the BAD news?)

I remember purchasing some different furniture and a sling for her at a gun show.  At premium, President Clinton inspired prices!  Fortunately, there were bazillions of cheap magazines.

The bad news was I could never afford the case lot prices for ammunition.

Which meant she was never shot very much.

AND, she was a PITA to clean and re-lube, for a neophyte like me.

Of course, she was stolen in the safe with the others.  That’s what I get for deciding I liked rifles, too!


"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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"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

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“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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