Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Remember the war dead remains that went to the landfill?

Apparently, it has remains from 9/11 too!
"The practice at Dover of cremating partial remains and sending them to a landfill began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, the report said, 'when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the Shanksville, Pa., crash site could not be tested or identified.'"

The county Board of Supervisors does not, at this time, seem to be enthusiastic about erecting any sort of memorial or consecrating the site -- even through donations and at no cost to taxpayers.

The BoS may be reached here if you would like to offer an opinion.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I have an e-acquaintance from one of my 18th century lists who is looking for some information. Can anyone lend a hand?

Looking for help in tracking down the German word Schimmel.
I know schimmel as meaning "Grandpa's" old barn gun.
A barn gun was a very plain flintlock rifle - one which was sturdy enough to stay year in-year out in its designated place in the barn. It was NOT "a piece of junk" - it was a highly accurate and reliable vermin killer. It was not exactly a "frontier" gun because it was not kept in the house, but rather was always in the barn, handy for use on the spot.

We did find the definition below, but it does not seem to expand to cover a rifle.

Does any out there - perhaps Mohawk Valley Platts Deutsch or "Pennsylvania German -
recognize a schimmel as a "barn gun" of the era?

Schimmel : Old High German
- mold, mildew, to become moldy, a white horse, a grey horse

Thanks, all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Honest Gun Owners Meme

My blogfather tagged me in the latest gun meme that started here.

"I will write down 5 things that indicate, to me, that a gun owner or shooter maybe is an honest one; I say 'maybe' because I have known some seemingly honest gun owners to tell some really tall tales. Then I will tag 5 other gun owners who are also bloggers and I hope each will play along, each listing, in their blogs, at least 3 things that are indicative a gun owner is an honest one, then sending the challenge of this meme on to 5 other gun owner who are also bloggers."

Here's what I've got:

You have more than one holster that fits each handgun you own as a result of well … lots of reasons. You thought IWB would work. It came with the pistol. It was too inexpensive to pass up.  It seemed like a good idea at the time. Someone told you you should buy it.

Someone asks if you’d like to shoot their gun, and you say “Sure! Can you show me how?” Okay. Maybe that one’s just for me, but I’d rather ask for instruction than beg for forgiveness. Because if there is one thing I know, it’s how much I don’t know.

You own a weapon strictly for its historical/sentimental value, even if it’s a piece of crap.

Somebody posts about something stupid they’ve done with a firearm to serve as a warning or example of what not to do, and after heaving a sigh of relief that nobody died and realizing that there but for the grace of God go I, you notice that the comments are full of respectful commentary, including at least one “Me, too.”

And the corollary to the above: You’re not a d!ck. I’ve seen some rather, um, intense discussions on topics that completely elude me. Or subjects that, to me, don’t really seem to matter in the long run. Or occasionally even about something where I know enough to actually have an opinion. But for the most part, you can passionately disagree without being rude.

So, now I have to tag 5 more, and so I'm going to pick some locals who will undoubtedly be much more insightful than I.

MSgt B
JB Miller

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Northern VA Blogshoot/Meet Thing

Alternate title A: Hide and Seek

Alternate title B: Marco Polo

Alternate title C: Chinese Fire Drill

Alternate title D: CTone and Andy are my heroes.

The Miller (alternate title: “My buddy the gun enthusiast”) organized a northern VA get-together. Living 80 or so miles away, I knew there was no way in this lifetime (or any other) that I was going to make it to the range by 7:30. I didn’t even bother to bring my range bag, and considering that those who showed up at 7:40 had a 20 minute wait, that was a wise decision. So, Sweet Daughter and I hit the road about 9:00 and headed north by northwest. I had the address programmed into my Garmin, and having been hosed by that stubborn little device before, had also printed out directions from MapQuest. Things were looking good.

We were within 2 mile of NRA headquarters (with SD reading off the directions for me) and it was looking promising. That’s when I made my first mistake. Garmin told me to do something different, and I believed the stupid computer instead of the printout and map I’d confirmed with my own eyes. The next thing I knew, we were on a major highway, with HQ flashing past at 60 mph on our right, Garmin telling me we’d reached our destination, and me protesting “But we can’t get there from here!!”
So, I got off the highway and had the brilliant idea to tell the stupid computer to take us to our lunch destination (that I had carefully programmed in after confirming the map on The Miller’s post to the map from the corporate web site to make sure I was going to the right place). I figured I could find HQ from there. That worked after a fashion and we arrived at NRA HQ. We headed down to the range to see if we recognized anybody. Nope.
Up to the museum. Ditto.
Into the gift shop and back out. Three for three.
Things were looking bleak, but I had an ace in the hole! I had CTone’s phone number from a previous range trip! I called, he answered, and we figured I must have walked into the gift shop about 17 seconds after they had all left. He was on his way home, but the rest of the gang was headed to lunch. Great! I could catch up with them there. SD and I hopped in the car and headed down the road. Less than a mile to our destination of Ruby Tuesdays, and the Garmin and the printed directions matched. What could go wrong?
Except that when we arrived at our destination, there was no Ruby Tuesday. We circled the parking lot. We drove behind buildings. I asked someone on the sidewalk if they knew where it was, and they told me it was no longer Ruby Tuesday, but was called something else, now. I called CTone back and left a message describing our plight and asking if he had anyone’s phone number so I could figure out at what point I’d jumped into this parallel universe. SD and I found a McDonalds, and we bought drinks and I pulled out my laptop thinking that I might be able to figure something out when CTone called me back and gave me Andy’s number. I called Andy and left a message explaining that there was no Ruby Tuesday. He called back and explained that they’d decided to go somewhere else anyway, and that they were done eating, but that they’d be happy to meet us somewhere for dessert and coffee while we had lunch. Since I had no idea where anything was, and was NOT about to put my fate into the hands of the Garmin again, we decided to meet back at NRA HQ. I could find that!
At this point, SD pretty much said she needed something to eat before she died on the spot. We grabbed some chicken nuggets and headed out the door. I figured if I told her to hang on as we’d been eating in a few minutes, we’d get misdirected and end up in West Virginia or something. So, we made it back to HQ. I saw Andy and The Miller (I’d met them before) and got to meet MSgtB. Who works in the same small town that I do. (WHAT are the odds?) A new eating establishment was selected and I stated in no uncertain terms that I was FOLLOWING somebody.
And we arrived. And had lunch, and coffee and pie. And I got to meet a handful of new people who I want to thank very, very much for taking another hour or so out of their day so come hang out. It was a pleasure to see The Miller and Andy again, and to meet new folks. And SD learned some valuable lessons.
1.       Have a plan. (Garmin)
2.       Have a back-up plan. (Printed directions)
3.       Have plan C. (Fine. We’ll just meet for lunch.)
4.       Explain that it’s okay to be frustrated, or upset as long as you react appropriately. Yelling doesn’t help. Cursing an inanimate object doesn’t help. Put it in perspective. (It’s not like we’re going to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, or starve to death.)
5.       Try to think of another solution. (Hey! I have CTone’s number!)
6.       Sometimes you just have to make it up as you go along, so be flexible.
7.       And luckily it didn’t happen today, but sometimes, no matter how well you plan and prepare, you’re just going to get hosed. So you deal with it and move on.
8.       Which just reinforces that you should carry your gun. Because there are days when the universe hates you, and it just might make the difference as to whether you’re the windshield or the bug.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The (second) time somebody stole my wallet

Or, “Go pick on someone your own size”.

Once upon a time, back in the late ‘90’s when you could check bags on airlines for free, and carry enough liquid onboard to rinse your contact lenses, I traveled to England. My traveling companion was convinced that the way best was to reset your internal clock was to stay up during the flight and the next day so you went to bed according to the new time zone. I had my doubts as I really need my sleep, but there really weren’t a lot of other options.

We checked into the hotel and in order to keep from falling asleep at 5:00 local time, decided to travel to Picadilly Square. I transferred all my identification and money to my front pants pockets. The pants were, uh, snug. Ain’t no way anybody was getting in there without my noticing. However, I was used to traveling with a purse, and I knew that if I didn’t have it slung over my shoulder, I’d spend the entire evening in my sleep deprived state freaking out because I didn’t have it. So, I emptied it out except for some Chapstick and a wallet nothing but a $5 bill.

Now, I don’t know if I was targeted because I was in code white, or because I (apparently) looked like the quintessential idiot American, but as I was going through the turnstile at Victoria station I felt … that my purse was lighter. I whipped around and there was a gentleman standing there with my wallet in his hands. He had just gone through the turnstile as well, and couldn’t back up.

“You STOLE my wallet!” I declared, and snatched it out of his hands. My traveling companion had continued on*, not realizing what was going on.

“No! You dropped it. I was just returning it to you” he stammered, glancing around nervously.
“No, you STOLE IT!” I repeated, and noticed the line of people backing up behind the turnstile.

And then I had a moment of doubt. My sleep-starved brain said “Don’t be an ugly American. You’re a guest here. Maybe you really did drop it.”

And as the logical part of my brain gagged on that piece of tripe, the gentleman shoved past me and hauled ass to the escalators, scrambling down the railings at warp speed. Okay. Score one point for the logical part of my brain.

I caught up to my traveling companion who asked where I’d been. I said “Someone stole my wallet. But it’s okay! I stole it right back!”

Yes, that could have ended badly, but honestly, I was so tired all I could think of “Hey! That’s mine! Give it back!” Not having time to feel like a victim helped, as did the fact that I had about 8” and 3 stone on him.

Just because I’m not a predator doesn’t mean I have to be prey.
The Ugly American in Trafalger Square, 1998
*See? You can’t count on anyone but yourself, as much as you’d like to think otherwise.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Better than nothing

When I got my permit to carry concealed, I worried about how little practice I had, and wondered if I should even be carrying a gun.

I don’t have much confidence in my ability to draw quickly, but if I wait until I’m flawless, I’ll never have my gun with me.
I may still be practicing on how sights work, but if I wait until I can consistently drill two rounds through the same hole, I’ll never have my gun with me.

I may not ever be tacti-cool enough to keep moving while reloading and firing but if I wait to carry until I am, I’ll never have my gun with me.
I may not be as aware of my surroundings as I should be, but if I wait until I’m free of other distractions, I’ll never have my gun with me.

I may never have the time to train to reach any of the above goals, much less all of them, but if I wait until I do, I’ll never have my gun with me.
Some say having a gun makes you a target. Some say having a gun serves as a deterrent. If I waited until that debate was settled (including my internal one), I’d never have my gun with me. 

And don’t even get me started on the caliber wars.
Some of us come late to the realization that the only ones we can count on to keep us safe are ourselves. So we open our eyes, and we travel that road – all with different starting places, and going at difference paces. But as long as I’m making progress, however slow, I’ll keep plodding along. Because no matter how much I have to learn, or how much I need to improve, I’ll keep carrying my gun. Because something is better than nothing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Liebster (not Bieber) Award

A Girl and Her Gun has nominated me for an award!

Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award.
3. Pick our five favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.

I've got to start with my buddy Michael W. (a.k.a. "Cutler to the Stars") at Doin' the Time Warp. I've known him through our reenacting unit for 10 years, and longer than that through the hobby. He doesn't post very often, but if you ever get a chance to meet him in person, he's very entertaining. And he makes the finest rum punch I've ever had. (And that's saying something.)

Next is the Adaptive Curmudgeon. Smart. Useful. Snarky and funny as hell.

My Muse Shanked Me. Also snarky and funny as hell. Stunning writer. And somebody that I don't ever want angry with me.

Mike W. at Another Gun Blog. He's no poseur. He walks the walk. Everything else I want to say makes me sound ancient. Like I wish I had half as much of a clue as he does when I was his age. Or that he's such a nice young man. Check him out if for some reason you don't already. Oh, and he likes big butts.

And bluesun at Dead Man Dance if for nothing else than the complete randomness of his musical selections. He also carries a Springfield XD so he can't be all bad. *grin*

So, tag. Y'all are it ...

Interpretive Dance

Unfortunately, the memory card filled before the finale which involved backs to the audience and ruffles being shaken. I hope to have better footage courtesy of another mom later.

Presented without further ado, the can-can as performed by Sweet Daugher's Daisy Troop.

Disclaimer: this was taken with a hand-me-down camera that I don't yet know how to use.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dress rehearsal

Tonight I watched twelve 5 to 7-year-olds "practice" the can-can while wearing taffeta and tulle. It was like watching a roomful of cats mainlining catnip. It was loud and disorganized and there was lots and lots of spinning. I'll try to get pictures this weekend.