Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zombies for the win

I forwarded Tam’s zombie target post to a handful of people so they could read both it, and the awesome comments.

Bitter Young Guy at work responded with:

Agreed…. Wow…Zombie targets are juvenile?? Let me tell you something…

Girlfriend…who has just gotten into shooting, was so tickled by her zombie target that she told her (anti-gun) girlfriend who loves zombie movies. Anti-Gun Girlfriend now wants to go to the range for fun. “Just once, to try it”.

If that’s what it takes to get “closed minded” people interested in gun safety, so be it.


Unusual holster bleg

A good friend of mine asked the following question, and since this is SO out of my realm of expertise, I thought I'd pass it on and ask y'all.

Daughter got an Airsoft pistol for Christmas and I accidentally got her a right-handed holster for it.  I like UTG holsters but am having a hard time finding one for a leftie. Granted I have only looked on and and the one she really likes is right-hand only - the UTG Special Ops Leg Holster in Army Digital Camo. I found one by Taigear but it is solid black and does not have an extra pouch for the ammo.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Troops First Foundation

"Golf Channel's Rich Lerner shares the story of how CBS Sports golf analyst David Feherty and retired advertising exec Rick Kell founded the Troops First Foundation. Troops First develops, operates and supports a group of wellness, quality of life and sports-based initiatives in support of today's military personnel."

"Going to Baghdad was like going to Belfast but with worse weather."

"What was never reported was the restraint that they show on a daily basis. The compassion they have for the people over there and the nature of the greatest good deed that the world has ever seen from one nation to another."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I probably have the only 5-year-old who is still asleep at 10:45 on Christmas morning. Sweet Daughter was up all night. Vomit, drink Gatorade, sleep for 30 minutes, lather, rinse, repeat. She’s already mastered a key college skill of woofing into the garbage can without actually having to get out of bed. I’m so proud.

I was thinking that Mary was up all night on Christmas Eve, too. Being a parent is tough, but at least I’m not responsible for the freakin’ Son of God.

Around 5:00 this morning, whatever demon that was possessing her decided to exit her body rather abruptly at both ends. She’s been sleeping ever since. I think it’s time to check for a pulse.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I didn't expect this, either.

Sweet Daughter woke up from her nap and projectile vomiting ensued. The bedding is soaked, there is vomit on the rug and in my shoes. Poor kid.

Update: The Festivus Vomitus is occurring about every half hour. I must say the red Gatorade has added a rather nice touch to the Christmas color scheme. Maybe I'll actually be awake when Santa shows up this year.

Not what I expected on Christmas Eve

Sweet Daughter woke up this morning, her dial set at “11”. The service at the small country church we attend doesn’t even start until SD’s bedtime, and I figured it was going to be a long day. The Christmas tree nearly went to meet its maker several times this morning as a result of sheer exuberance (“But Momma, it’s Christmas EVE!!"), and so I figured that I’d take her to McDonald’s for a bite of lunch, and a chance to burn off some energy in the play area.

We were the only ones here for a while, and I sat in a puddle of sunshine, listening to Xmas music on the computer while sewing on a banyan and sipping on a milkshake courtesy of the manager (a mistake on somebody else’s order), while she ran around like a demented monkey. Well, sans the poo flinging. Now there are two more kids for her to play with and if all goes to plan, she’ll be worn out enough to nap for bit when we get home. Who knew that Christmas Eve at McDonalds could be so pleasant?

And now, I'll leave you with this bit of foolishness.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What caliber for Barbie?

Sweet Daughter and I were going through her toys today, culling out the ones she’s outgrown, or has no interest in. “My Little Pony”? Not so much. Dress-up dolls? Nope. “Get rid of them, Momma.” She likes to build things. Make crafts. Give her dirt and something to dig with, or some paper, markers, glue and scissors and she’s good for an hour or two.

So when we came to the Barbie Styling Head, it was a no brainer. “Toss it!” SD said. So I did. Then I had an epiphany. “SD”, I asked. “Would you like to see what happens if we pretend Barbie is a bad guy and we shoot it?”

Shorter Half about choked on his soda, “Are we going to JFK Barbie? If only we had a 6.5 Carcano!”

SD’s reaction was to slowly get an ear-to-ear grin. And then we told her we’d let her use the 10/22 on a rest. And she could go first, since it was her toy. I think she’s still grinning.

I’m starting to think we’re not like other families…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More on the Norway National Guard courtesy of Shorter Half

Shorter Half has been really, really busy at work. So busy that he hasn't kept up with his blogs when he gets home. So when he sent me an e-mail with some potential blogfodder, I said "Um, I already posted that. Last week."

What I didn't know was the rest of what he included. (And yes, this is a typical communication from him.)

Number 3 Company, Norwegian Royal Guards, in Gibraltar. No. 3 Company is the drill and band company, but they all still have to meet the same standards of a crack light infantry unit that is personally responsible for the defense of Oslo, but also the day-to-day protection of the King. (A-yup, unlike most European “Guards” units, these “Guards” are still legally and factually the King’s personal bodyguards.)

The Royal Guards are formally called “His Majesty The King's Guard”, and are a battalion sized formation that are a direct and personal command of the King of Norway – regardless of what the Norwegian parliament or Prime Minister may say, and regardless of the fact that the Norwegian King is largely just a figurehead of a constitutional monarch (while the King has HUGE personal powers on paper, they have been almost exclusively read to mean the King rubberstamps whatever the elected government does), these guys answer only to him. If he told them to invade China tomorrow, off they would go, even if all alone – as long as the King took over paying their costs out of his own pocket. (This is WAY more direct control than, say Elizabeth II, has over “her” personal regiments and Guardsmen. . . )

During WWII, the battalion was single-handedly responsible for keeping Norway in the war on the Allied side. On the first day of the Invasion of Norway in April 1940, the Germans sent a crack paratrooper unit, EXTREMELY heavily armed (almost every man had an MP40 submachinegun, except the guys carrying the 10 or so belt-fed MG34 General Purpose Machine Guns, and every man DID have a sidearm and a slew of grenades.), and extensively trained for exactly this particular mission, to capture the Royal Family and Cabinet in 1940. One company of Guardsmen, with bolt action rifles and limited ammo, only two Colt M-29 water cooled machine guns (basically, the 103 lbs water cooled Browning .30, only firing the same ammo as the German MG34), and a bunch of “militia” (the local rifle club, armed with the obsolete rifles the US abandoned), stopped them butt-cold, losing only three wounded in a 90 minute firefight. Total German losses before the commander gave up and retreated are unknown, but they left two dead behind.

This was considered a critical mission by the German command – grab the Royal Family and Cabinet, and they could force an immediate surrender and effective annexation of Norway in a day or two. Instead, they occupied Norway. . . but without any support from the official government. (King Hakon VII flat out told the parliament that if they surrendered to Germany, he would abdicate. . . as he could not, even by silence, acquiesce in the surrender of Norway. Instead, the parliament voted to give ALL formal control over Norwegian government over to the King’s Council until parliament could have a regular meeting.) Meanwhile, the Norwegian Government in Exile functioned superbly throughout the war, and the people of Norway kept their morale up, even under occupation and the puppet government of Quisling.

The battalion fought in the line for the remainder of the Norwegian Campaign, and their German adversaries respectfully named them, "Die Schwarzen Teufel" ("The Black Devils” -- they apparently fought in their black regimentals, not standard field uniforms. . . given their pre-war ceremonial duties, they may not have even been issued field uniforms!), much as they named the Marines “Devil Dogs” in WWI, Scots in WWI “The Ladies From Hell”, and British paras “The Red Devils” in North Africa.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A busy weekend

Sweet Daughter and I went to Williamsburg this weekend to do some clothing fittings. Both for me to fit, and to be fit. I helped Al with reworking machine-sewn smock. I did a fitting muslin for another banyan, worked on converting a set of trousers to a pair of breeches, and picked up the materials and got fit for a waistcoat and riding jacket for a very ambitious project that I hope to have done in time for Military Through the Ages at Jamestown in March. I have a horrible head cold, so I wasn’t in the best shape. Luckily, the group of people that had assembled were all phenomenally helpful with taking SD swimming and otherwise keeping her entertained, and helping out in general. Thanks to Ruth, my wig for said riding habit outfit is mostly done, too. Much socializing took place which included wonderful food and drink. All that, and hotel I stayed at didn’t accost me with timeshare salesmen when I walked in. And the best part? It’s the same one I stayed at last October. They said they’d get rid of them, and they did.

Now, if I can get the sinuses to unclog, the general congestion to go away, and the hacking cough to stop, I might actually be able to get to work on some of this stuff.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Prayers for "Darkhorse"

Please add these Marines and their families to your prayer lists if you are so moved. These particular Marines have had it worse than most units by far.

Shorter Half sent me the following:
The young Marines in 3/5 Marines ("Darkhorse") have been taking a beating -- the psychological impact of losing so many, so fast (they only arrived in-country this October) is enormously high. The toll on their families may be even worse -- even the families of unwounded Marines have to be experiencing feelings of inevitability, that it's only a matter of time before they get the knock on the door.

I verified this with Snopes, first. The total number is actually higher than when the original request hit the Internet -- at least 19 KIA and over 50 WIA from October to now. (KIA figures are as of 6 Dec, the WIA figures are as of the end of November.) That's a lot for one battalion in two months.

The originial e-mail:

We are asking everyone to say a prayer for "Darkhorse" 3rd Battalion 5th Marines and their families. They are fighting it out in Afghanistan & they have lost 9 marines in 4 days. IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE the message spread if more could pass it on.

Semper Fi, God Bless America and God Bless the United States Marine Corps...
Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever

Claire FitzGerald, Chaplain
Marine Corps League, Dept. of Washington

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Question about drop-legs holsters

Pros and cons, please. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t go all mall-ninja fanboi on me. I ask because after much careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that there are only two comfortable places for me to carry. Shoulder rig and drop leg. And this is why:

This is my Dad, circa 1947, give or take a year, when he was in his early thirties. See the short waist? See the long legs? Well, I inherited all that from him, plus some rather abrupt curves in vicinity of my hips from my Mom. There just isn’t any way for me to comfortably carry on a belt without something digging in, or sticking out. (And, oh do I wish I could!) And drawing? My elbows just about rest on my hips to begin with. In my aging, decrapitated state, I’d dislocate something if I had to draw in hurry. And no, purse carry won’t work for me, as I occasionally put it down -- like when I’m eating in a restaurant. That loss of control is a no-go for me.

So if anybody (Bueller?) has any pointers, I'd love to hear therm.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Norway National Guard Show

Back when I was doing the marchy-marchy, bangy-bangy thing with cannon and musket, my favorite part (besides the "blammo") was the drill and ceremony.

Who knew The Ecstasy of Gold and When Johnny Comes Marching Home worked so well together?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Saint Barbara’s Day

My living history experience began (crap, has it been 18 years??) as a Royal Artillery gunner on a Rev War reproduction 3-lb. field piece. Today is the feast day of St. Barbara, patron saint of those who deal with things that go “blammo”. I no longer have the youth, vigor and figure that allowed me to masquerade as a young man and serve on a gun, but I do miss it.

St. Barbara was removed from the Calendar of Saints in 1969, but I have a St. Barbara’s medallion that lives in my range bag. Some time, when I’ve got enough people to help me drink it, I’d like to try the punch outlined here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cthulhu’s own Christmas Tree

Once upon a time, the R. family used to go select and cut down a fresh Christmas tree each December. Somewhere, there are pictures of Sweet Daughter at 3 months old sitting in her car carrier next to our intended victim harvest.

The first year she became mobile, all I had time to do was cut it down, put it up where it wasn’t accessible and throw a single strand of lights around the top 2 feet of it. We no longer had the leisure time to go hunt down and harvest the tree, and then actually get it home and decorated. So I came up with the great idea of getting a pre-lit artificial one. We’d save time! We’d save money in the long run! Shorter Half wouldn’t be allergic to the fake one! No needles to vacuum up for the next 6 months! The risk of fire would go way down! We couldn’t forget to water it! We could get one with those new-fangled LED lights and save money on our electric bill!

So I did my research, and waited for them to go on sale. I selected a lovely tree. It had realistic artificial tips. It was pre-lit in a rainbow of colors. It had those dam#ed LED lights. I got it home, put it up and found out the lights didn’t twinkle, they seethed. There was something about the blue ones (and to some extent the green and purple ones) that sucked the very soul from my body. Looking directly at them was like being in the presence of my dementor. Even the red and gold ones seemed bitter. Nothing warm and cozy and joyous about this tree – you could almost hear it hiss at you as you walked by. If Cthulhu had a Christmas tree, this was it.

So while Shorter Half is marching in a Christmas Parade tomorrow with his WWII unit, Sweet Daughter and I will be looking for a reasonably inexpensive, bright, warm and twinkly pre-lit tree. And Cthulhu’s tree can sit in storage and seethe. The only question now is all white, or multi-color?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stuck in neutral

I had a lovely Thanksgiving. Four days of (relative) relaxation on a 150 acre farm just outside of Annapolis. (And if anyone is interested in buying it, let me know and I'll arrange for an introduction. It's on the mainland side of the Bay Bridge. Includes a 200-year-old recently renovated farm house and several new outbuildings. One of a kind property on the water.) I don’t know what it is, but since my return to the real world, I just can’t motivate to blog or anything else. Maybe it’s the short days – although I can’t complain – my office faces south and has a huge window. More likely it’s the cold. I HATE the cold. I had to spend 13 years and two weeks (not that I’m counting, or anything) in Minnesota, and I did not acclimate well. Christmas is only 3 weeks away, and my house looks like it threw up on itself, and that’s without having pulled out the decorations yet. Next weekend Sweet Daughter and I are heading to Williamsburg to meet up with a handful of people both for me to do some fittings, and to get a muslin fit (for me!) for my riding habit.

I’m thinking a hot buttered rum and turning in early tonight might not be a bad idea.