Saturday, August 31, 2019

Phil Collins remembered the Alamo

The singer has been an Alamo fan since age 5, when he saw Fess Parker as Davy Crockett on a black and white TV.

Five years ago, Collins delivered his collection of Alamo memorabilia to San Antonio. The collection is valued at $10 million.

“To me, these items aren’t just about a battle,” Collins said, “they are about the idea of these men and women having a choice and staying to fight for what they believed to be just and right. That’s what makes these things special.”

So, you thought they would leave clan feuds in Syria and Lebanon?

About 50 men, Syrians and Lebanese, got into a brawl in the Berlin borough of Neukolln.

“In Berlin-Neukölln, known for its no-go areas and Arab clans, about 50 people, mostly Syrians and Lebanese according to unconfirmed information, fought in a brutal mass brawl with machetes and knives in the street.” The brawler also used “mace and traffic signs,” police said.

“The investigation into the exact course of events and the background are ongoing.

Earlier in the week, Neukolln was the scene of a brawl, with 10-15 people going at it.

“Two weeks earlier another mass brawl took place between the members of two large families of Arab origin on the Fuldastraße …”

Real news -- Well, maybe

FDA Recommends Pouring All Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Beverages Down Drain Immediately**

Lego Introduces New Sharper Bricks That Instantly Kill You When You Step On Them

Residents of Florida Urged To Evacuate, Not Because Of Hurricane But Just Because It’s Florida

More real news at

**Gets all the votes I can stuff in a voting box, because I was on the verge of threatening to disguise myself as a scarecrow and destroy every pumpkin patch in the county. Pumpkin spice flavor is the same as almond milk or walnut milk and all those other estrogen-laced soy things.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Whatever it takes, Mr. Former Vice President

Joe Biden: “You want to protect yourself against the federal government, you’re going to need at least an F-15.” – From article by Carl Bussjaeger, at The Zelman Partisans.

The Second Amendment means the American people may be armed with the same weapons as an invading army. Whatever it takes.

Chapter 9, The Amazing Adventures of Ralph Kroder, a work in progress

Brains of the outfit

Ralph’s platoon of six Stalker APCs was ambushed while driving through a small village fifteen kilometers west of Xuddur in Somalia. The platoon escorted eleven Mercedes flatbed trucks loaded with food and supplies for a refugee camp thirty kilometers farther west.
Ralph’s Stalker was last in the column. First Squad and Second Squad led the column, followed by five Mercedes trucks, then the platoon leader’s Stalker and Weapons Squad Stalker, six civilian trucks and the trail element, consisting of Third Squad and Ralph’s APC.
The village consisted of twenty mud brick houses ten meters south of the hard-packed dirt road. A shallow stream ran east-west twenty meters north.
Jihadists blew the ambush by initiating fire when the lead element and four trucks were in the kill zone. First and Second squads immediately returned fire with turret-mounted .50-caliber machine guns and two squad automatic weapons, as well as M-8 infantry rifles, all weapons firing at jihadists on the roofs of houses. No fire came from lower floors, since all windows and doors were at the back of the houses.
Drivers of the four Mercedes trucks increased speed and drove to the right, passing the two lead Stalkers and getting out of town as fast as possible.
The fifth Mercedes stopped before reaching the kill zone. Platoon Leader First Lieutenant Daniel Morrell took his Stalker left of the Mercedes and directed Weapons Squad to the right. Both vehicles opened fire with .50-caliber machine guns, with the Weapons Squad adding fire from its two M-249 machine guns.
The .50-caliber and 7.62-millimeter guns ate up the mud brick houses. Bullets slammed into and through Jihadists attempting to fire RPGs from rooftops, exploding heads, and in at least two cases, separating upper and lower bodies.
Ralph sent Third Squad and his own Stalker far left, positioned to fire in whatever direction was necessary or possible. His movement became important within minutes, when surviving jihadists decided to run. The only direction to run, though, was west, the direction covered primarily by two .50-caliber machine guns and Third Squad’s squad automatic weapons. Third Squad’s riflemen and the grenadier added to the killings.
The firing was over in less than seven minutes. Lieutenant Morrell sent First and Third Squads west to corral the four Mercedes trucks, which had stopped two kilometers ahead. He sent Third Squad forward as lead vehicle and directed the convoy to continue. Ralph agreed with the lieutenant’s decision. Searching the village would take time, and the platoon’s mission was to get the convoy to the refugee camp.
Ralph happened to glance over the side of the Stalker as Specialist Floyd Foyt, Ralph’s driver, backed up. “Holy shit,” Ralph said. He stared at the jihadist, who had been run over by four of the Stalker’s eight wheels. The raghead’s face was flat, as was most of his body. Blood and gray matter, pushed from the man’s head, soaked into the red sand. “Where did he come from?”
Vehicle commander Sergeant Cody Browning stared at the body. “Looks like a used toothpaste tube, don’t he.”

Thursday, August 29, 2019

OMG! A hurricane is coming!

Prediction: Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall somewhere between Miami and South Florida.


State and federal agencies are making the usual recommendations.

Damage could result if Dorian hits South Florida or Central Florida or North Florida or South Georgia.

Everybody needs to stock up on emergency stocks. See last year’s recommendations.

My wife and I live on the Gulf side of Florida, a few tens of miles south of Tampa. We have food stocks, a few rifles and pistols and a few hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

We do not need hysterical news readers or hysterical federal weather people to tell us to prepare for (OMG!) a hurricane.

Marijuana CEO ‘Big Mike’ visits N. Macedonia PM

Instagram: “Just met with Prime Minister @zoranzaev of the Republic of #NorthMacedonia, and we got to talk a lot about #cannabis. Let me tell you, this country has huge potential, and I’m excited to be a part of turning Macedonia into one of Europe’s first Cannabis Superpowers.”

What the government had to say after the press found out about the unannounced visit: “In a short media release on Thursday, the government just said that its representatives, including the prime minister, have working meetings on economic matters on a daily basis, and that they have no obligation to inform the public about all of them.

North Macedonia legalized growth of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2016. Private use is illegal.

“North Macedonia hopes to get a share of the worldwide sales of medicinal marijuana that in 2018 exceed 7 billion euros. Some estimates suggest that this figure is expected to triple over the next three years.

Marijuana, money and politics. What could go wrong?

Trajce Zaev, cousin of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, “is already one of the biggest investors in the business in the country, and more of Zaev’s relatives are mulling involvement.

Warning! Warning!

Wednesday night, my daughter-in-law brought from the store something called Kefir. This afternoon after making coffee, I looked at the Kefir container. Kefir is made from low fat milk, sugar, nonfat milk, pectin, some other stuff, vanilla flavoring and probiotics*. With those ingredients, I figured kefir should make a good cream replacement in coffee.

Do not do this! Do not put kefir in your coffee unless you want coffee that tastes like sour milk!

No where on the container is the word “yogurt.” But that is the taste produced when combining a cup of coffee and kefir. After stirring in 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, I find the coffee palatable. Barely. (I am cheap and saw no need of pouring coffee down the drain,)

You have been warned. You’re welcome.

*The word “probiotic” is a made-up word to substitute for “gut germs.”

Chapter 8, The Amazing Adventures of Ralph Kroder, a work in progress

Inspecting the dead

       Each of the dead men had a long, bolt-action rifle on a leather sling at an angle across his back, right to left. A leather belt with six ammunition pouches went across the chest of each body. Ralph checked a pouch on the belt of one body, finding two five-round clips. He again wondered why the riders had charged him with drawn sabers. “Six rifles, they could have come to a halt, unslung their rifles and filled me full of holes.” He shook his head. “Must have been the leader. He saw me, drew his saber and ordered a charge, and the others followed. Well, I’m glad leader dude was more interested in appearance than in common sense.”
       He took a rifle from the body. Engraved on the receiver he read, “National Armory 7.5mm Model 93.” Opening the bolt, he ejected the chambered cartridge. “Clean. Not always what you find with” – he made a small shrug – “barbaric people.”   
       The rifle on each body was a Model 93. “Not so odd, I guess,” Ralph said. “Way back when, everybody we encountered carried an AK. These guys look like nomads, and not army cavalry or mounted infantry, but they could get their weapons from the same seller.”
       Ralph did not go through the pockets of the dead men. Whatever money they carried was not Ralph’s, not even by right of conquest, he figured. There was no intelligent section that wanted the information sometimes found in a dead man’s pockets.
       One of the horses strayed near. Ralph stood slowly. He made sounds to the horse. The animal nickered and moved nearer. In a quiet voice Ralph said, “I don’t have an apple or sugar cubes.” He watched the horse’s large eyes as he bent over and took the reins. The horse did not try to pull away. “Tell you what we’re going to do,” Ralph said in a quiet voice. “You and I are going to go to the other horses and we’re going to unsaddle and unbridle each one. Does that sound okay?” When the horse made no objection, Ralph said, “I’m glad you agree.”
       He mounted and turned the horse toward the nearest other horse, approaching slowly and from the front. The second horse raised its head, and then went back to cropping grass. Ralph dismounted, and, holding the reins of both horses in his left hand, unbuckled and untied all restraints on the second horse’s saddle. He set the saddle on the ground. He patted the horse on its shoulder. “Good girl,” he said, as he slid the bit from the mare’s mouth and the bridle over her head. He remounted and repeated the action with each of the other four horses. He then rode back to the golf cart.
       “You’re a good girl, and I’d like to take you with me,” he said to the mare. “But that would make me a horse thief, and I’m pretty sure this place has rules against stealing horses, even when a man has to kill its previous owner in self-defense. Maybe there is a right by conquest, but I’m not taking the chance.”

Iran: We have this secret device we’re flying into Beirut

Hezbollah: What if the imperialist Zionist Jews find out?

Iran: Do not worry. We will keep it secret.

Headline: ‘Report: Beirut strike will delay Hezbollah missile program by at least a year.’

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Lost ideals

“We Americans are the peculiar chosen people — the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. God has predestined, mankind expects, great things from our race, and great things we feel in our souls. The rest of the world must soon be in our rear. We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in this New World that is ours.” -- Herman Melville, from White Jacket

Yeah, but Melville is a dead white dude and not worthy of reading.

Viva leaving Las Vegas!

Marilyn Monroe stared at me from across the room. Her hair was silvery, her lipstick bright red, he ears surprisingly small. She was of two colors -- and three hues, actually -- dark gray, light gray and red lips somewhat apart. Her teeth showed between her lips, her teeth at the white end of gray, but not actually white.

The framed photograph had been manipulated to make it look like a painting. It was an okay picture, but not one I would pay for. Not even 50 cents. Ms. Monroe would not fit in any room of my house.

Westgate Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., exists for two things: gambling and sex. I was there for a Vietnam veterans reunion, which kind of falls under the convention label, but Las Vegans expect conventioneers to lose money at the gambling sites and in bed with ladies of a price. Our attendees might have lost some at gambling, probably not much in bed. We are 67 and up, into the 80s, maybe even some 90-somethings who can still get around.

My wife and I do not gamble, and neither of us has a need for paid sex, so the only money Westgate got from us was room payment and a few meals at the overpriced restaurants. Our first night, we went to an in-house steak place. We did not order the $70 steak meal, certainly not the $90 or $95 steak meal. Instead, we got the less inexpensive ($29) roasted chicken.

When commercials say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” the advertisers mean your money stays in Vegas.

In the airport, a man pushing my wheel chair said all prices were much lower, numbers and percentage, when the mob ran the place. “That all changed when corporations took over,” he said.

For gamblers and sex seekers, then, your choice is cheap prices backed up by bodies, or higher prices backed up by letters listed on Wall Street.

A strange sight at the airport

A young woman walked into the waiting area at Tampa Airport’s Gate D. About fifty people sat in airport chairs. Half those waiting were men.

The woman was 30, maybe 32. She was tall, her hair dark, and she filled her jeans and her white blouse. Quite an attractive woman.

I watch people. All people, not just attractive women in jeans that fit well.

Here’s the strange thing: Not one other man looked up. The young woman walked to the airline counter, talked with someone there, and then walked a semi-circle through the waiting area and into the terminal where there were shops. She walked around all the seated men and women.

Again, not one man looked up. About half the men were with wives or girlfriends. Most of the men were looking at their cell phones. Not one man looked up. Not one.

Are American men afraid to give an appreciative look at an attractive woman? Are American men so stuck to their electronic devices, they don’t even see attractive women?

It was a strange thing to witness.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ruling returns water rights to states

This is one of the greatest rulings in decades, overturning Democratic usurpation.

By Leslie Eastman of Legal Insurrection:

Back in 2015, we covered the Obama administration’s far-reaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule and the pushback it received at the time.  States’ suits are making their way through the courts, and there is good news to report!

U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has handed a victory to the state of Georgia and nine other states that sued the federal government (and to the rest of the nation) by declaring that the  WOTUS Rule is unlawful.

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that implementation of the rule led to a Wyoming farmer being fined $37,500 a day for constructing a stock pond on his own property.

Or, as says, “Your pond is once again your pond.”

 Remember: The Democrats want your property and your guns.

One reason Bud Selig was the dumbest man in baseball

"As we look for role models for our nation's youth, we need to look no further than to Jerry Coleman and Ted Williams, heroes of the baseball diamond and the battlefields of the skies. Each was asked to interrupt his or her private life to serve in harm’s way." - Commissioner Bud Selig (MLB Press Release, June 14, 2003) [Jerry Coleman Quotes] – at Baseball Reference stats page for Jerry Coleman.

So, Mr. Selig, which one interrupted his private life and which one interrupted her private life?

Chapter 7, The Amazing Adventures of Ralph Kroder, a work in progress

  Blowing up Sudan
(Several Years Before)

       Sergeant Hasdrubal Phillips checked the door of the Sudanese goat herder’s shack for tripwires, then cautiously stepped inside. He backed out faster, much faster, whispering, “Holy moly!”
       Platoon Sergeant Ralph Kroder was standing nearby. Knowing Phillips’ disdain for reptiles, he said, “There a viper in there, Haz?” Sudan was home to a dozen or so vipers. Ralph had made it plain to his soldiers: “Leave the snakes alone. I don’t care what you do with snakes back home. Here, you kill ‘em.”    
“Ain’t no viper,” Phillips said, turning toward Ralph. He wiped a hand across his brow, removing most of the fear sweat. “There’s enough explosives in there to blow up …” He waved a hand. “I don’t know. Anything you can think of.” He walked a ways off. “I think we need to mount up, drive about a mile away and call EOD.”
       “Too late in the day,” Ralph said. “It would take them an hour to get here, and by then it’d be too dark for them to see what’s in there.”
       “I know what’s in there,” Phillips said, gesturing at the wood and mud shack. “A whole shit load of Semtex, that’s what’s in there. And—And a bunch of weapons I don’t know what kind they are.”
       By now, several other soldiers were gathering around, drawn by the unusualness of Phillips’ actions and words.
       Ralph sent everybody away. “Hey, hey. You’re supposed to be securing the perimeter and looking for stuff. Nothing to see here but a few tons of Semtex, a bunch of weapons and ammunition.” He looked at Phillips. “There’s ammunition in the shack?”
       Phillips nodded. “Lots of it. All in wooden crates.”
       “Okay,” Ralph said. He took the radio microphone from its vest attachment and called company headquarters, asking the CO’s radio operator to let the commander know of the finding and that he would give a look and call back with information. Then, he grinned at Phillips. “You want to show me what you found?”
       Ralph went first into the shack, with Phillips reluctantly following. Light from Ralph’s flashlight shone through the gloom, illuminating stack after stack of plastic explosive bricks.
       “Damn,” Ralph said. “There must be about a thousand pounds here.”
       “Ain’t that what I said?” Phillips said. “What’re we gonna do with it?”
       “We’re going to blow it in place,” Ralph said. Phillips made some comment, but Ralph didn’t hear. He saw five crates of RPK-74 machine guns, but the big surprise came when his flashlight beam fell on a STEN gun, which sat on a crate of 9mm ammunition. “We won’t blow everything,” he said. He searched the area around the STEN and the crate, all sides and underneath. “Okay,” he said.
       When Ralph slid his hands beneath the wooden crate, Phillips said, “You gonna pick it up?”
       “I am,” Ralph said. “You might as well stay where you are. If I missed anything and this is booby-trapped, you wouldn’t get far enough away.”
       “You’re crazy,” Phillips said.
       “Could be,” Ralph said. The crate came free from the dirt floor. “Okay,” Ralph said when certain he had not blown up Phillips and himself. He stood and carried the crate and the almost ninety-year-old submachine gun past Phillips and into the sunlight. He set the crate on the ground and picked up the STEN.
       “That looks like it was made in somebody’s garage,” Phillips said.
       Concentrating on carrying the crate, Ralph was not aware Phillips had followed him. He looked at the young sergeant. “I am always surprised when a soldier indicates lack of knowledge about weapons.” Phillips only shrugged. Ralph said, “I will not give you any information on this STEN gun other than to say the design comes from the Second World War. It cost about ten dollars then and took five hours to make. If you want to know anything else, you’ll have to look it up.” He removed the empty magazine and locked back the bolt. “In fact, tomorrow morning I want a one-page report on this weapon.”
       “A report?” a surprised Phillips said.
       “Wrong answer.”
       “Oh. Yes, Sergeant.”
       “That’s better,” Ralph said. “Now, would you please find Sergeant Pham and ask him to join me?”
       “Yes, Sergeant.”
       “Thank you.” As Phillips walked away, Ralph took his field knife and began work on the ammunition crate wire closures.
       Sergeant Pham was the platoon demolition man. He did not hold a specified slot in demolitions, but most infantry platoons have at least one soldier who has self-learned demolitions, as well as some who have completed an explosives course.
       “Wow,” Pham said when joining Ralph near the command vehicle. “Is that a real STEN?”
       “It is,” Ralph said.
       “Does it fire?”
       “I disassembled it and checked everything,” Ralph said. “All parts function, as far as I can tell.”
       Pham said, “Haz said you’d found an old gun, but he didn’t remember what kind.” He tapped the crate. “And a whole lot of ammo, too.”
       “And one magazine,” Ralph said.
       Pham laughed. “Probably not in stock.”
       “Probably not. Haz tell you what else we found?”
       “Half a ton of Semtex?”
       “Yep,” Ralph said, nodding.
       “You want me to blow it?”
       “If you don’t mind.”
       Grinning, Pham said, “Oh, hell yes.”
       “You need any help?”
       “I’d prefer to work by myself.”
       “Okay,” Ralph said.
       “How long a fuse do you want?”
       “Ten minutes be enough?”
       “That will get us far enough away.”
       “Okay,” Ralph said. He put the STEN on top of the crate, stood and picked up the crate. “I’ll get the vehicles pointed in the direction of away and get everybody loaded.”
       Pham said, “I’ll have it all set up by then.” He grinned. “Probably before.”
       Pham was good to his word. He had a block of C4 sitting on the Semtex, and a timed fuse-igniter ready to set as Ralph was directing the last Stalker into position. He stood outside the shack as Ralph drew near. “All ready,” he said.
       “Ten minutes,” Ralph said.
       “Let’s make it twelve,” Pham said. “We can drive for ten minutes and then we’ll have two minutes for everybody to get into a good watching position, get their cameras all ready to video the show.”
       “Sounds good,” Ralph said. He waited while Pham set and initiated the timer.
       “Coffee’s on,” Pham said, grinning.
       The five Stalkers drove west for ten minutes. Ralph directed the vehicles into a line facing east. Ramps dropped and the soldiers dismounted, all talking about the upcoming explosion. The goat herder’s shack was a black dot in the red desert.
       “One minute,” Pham announced.
       All dismounted soldiers stood in front of the armored personnel carriers. Drivers and vehicle commanders stood in their hatches.
       Pham yelled out, “Thirty seconds!”
       Ralph said to Pham, “I’ve never seen half a ton go up at one time.”
       “Me, neither,” Pham said. “I’m really looking forward to this.”
       “Give us a countdown,” Ralph said. He watched as every soldier, including Pham, activated cell phone cameras.
       “Ten seconds,” Pham called, while pointing his camera toward the target area. He counted down, reaching two seconds when a small red dot suddenly became a cloud of red sand pushed up by a red ball of exploding Semtex. The red sand flew high into the air and expanded in a sphere quickly eliminated by the burning explosive.
       “Holy moly,” Ralph said.
       His soldiers shouted phrases much more profane. Ralph grinned. Unlike other soldiers, American soldiers always voiced pleasure when things blew up.
       A wave of dust swept across the desert. The shockwave swept around and over the soldiers, pushing against camouflage clad chests and legs.
       “All right, show’s over,” Ralph said, after the wind passed. “Mount up. We’ve got a patrol to finish.”
       Pham was running the platoon sergeant’s Stalker while Ralph was platoon leader. As the two neared their vehicles, Pham said, “You think an LT would have let us have a little fun now and then?”
       “The splodey stuff, you mean?”
       “Depends on the lieutenant,” Ralph said. He shrugged. “Some platoon sergeants wouldn’t allow such deviation from a patrol order.”
       Pham said, “You can’t just leave that much stuff.”
       “Nope,” Ralph said. “Some platoon sergeants would call in a report and then wait for EOD to arrive.”
       “Shoot, that could be next day.”
       “That’s what we were told.”
       Shaking his head, Pham said, “I’d hate to spend all night with that much Semtex. I mean, the rag heads might decide to drive out and pick up their stash. Then you’d have a fight with half a ton of plastique at your back.” He waved a hand. “Or lightning might hit the stuff.”
       “Two good reasons to blow it in place,” Ralph said, smiling. “Plus, it makes a hell of a show.”

Maya used young foreigners for sacrifices

“Up to now, many archaeologists propose that the victims were picked from the local Chichén Itzá population, but others maintain that it wasn’t good economics to do away with too many of your own young people, so the Mayas, according to the new study, perhaps found their human sacrificial offerings after wars, using captured warriors to appease their gods.

Limbs were removed, as was all skin, decapitation was a normal part of sacrifice. Heads were displayed on poles hung horizontally.

The noble savage did not exist, but was an invention of 19th century writers and do-gooders of the American East.

Link at

Monday, August 26, 2019

Doughnuts the clear winner

A facebook post:

“In a span of 17 years 114 people died in weight lifting accidents at a gym.

“In the same 17-year time frame, only one man died eating a doughnut.

“Life is about the choices we make.

“Educate yourself.”

Worker finds Tang Dynasty tomb

beautifully decorated intact tomb from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) has been discovered in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, Northern China. The site, formerly the playground of Xiaojingyu Primary School, is being redeveloped into a new sports field. At 8AM on August 16th, one of the workers partially exposed the tomb while digging new foundations. The team caught a glimpse of murals, pottery and a square stone, and alerted the Taiyuan City Cultural Relics and Archaeology Department.
The style of the murals and pottery identify the tomb as dating to the Tang Dynasty, specifically the period known as Sheng Tang, the dynasty’s peak of prosperity between 713 and 766 A.D., almost entirely under the rule of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712–756). Later periods would look back on this time as a pinnacle of cultural achievement, setting an aspirational standard in art and literature.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Chapter 6, The Amazing Adventures of Ralph Kroder, a work in progress

Unknown weapons

       You have to look at the dead ones. Especially the ones you killed. Maybe you can get an understanding of why they wanted to kill you. Well, that wasn’t a difficult answer. You are here, in their country. Sometimes their country. Not all the time. There were Chechens from the Caucasus, a cold place, and you killed them in an African desert. There were others from the Caucasus – Dagestanis, Azeris, Karabach, Abkhazian, Ingush, Ossetian, Turks and even an occasional Russian. You had seen the dead from just about every Muslim country on Earth, from Turkey to Indonesia, and Muslims from almost all European countries, several from the States -- St. Paul, Flint, Chicago, Queens.
       The dead always had one thing in common: Every body had a beard. Age did not matter, from barely discernable on teenage terrorists to full beards on men who should have known better than to think they could kill all the infidels in the world. And the beards were in all colors -- red, brown, black, salt and pepper, full gray and as white as Santa Claus’s.
       Ralph reached the first bodies, the four who took all eight of his first shots. He stood centered on the four, who were laid out nicely, numbers three and four slightly behind one and two, two face down and two face up, depending on the way each fell from his horse. The two who lay face up each had two holes around center mass. “Three inches apart,” Ralph said. “Could have had better shot placement.” He shrugged. “But, it got the job done.” He knew the myth about John Browning’s .45-caliber cartridge: Hit a man any place on his body, even in an arm, he’ll go down. Studying his marksmanship, Ralph remarked, “I don’t know anybody who shot a jihadist in the arm on purpose.” A hit on a target’s arm was the result of bad marksmanship techniques.
       The four in front of Ralph were dressed much the same – gray or brown trousers stuffed into brown leather boots; gray or brown pullover shirts with no decorations; turbans that once were white but now were a grimed gray; wide leather belts with saber scabbard and pistol holster.
       “Huh,” Ralph said when noting the pistols still holstered and sabers clutched in dead hands. “They could have shot me. Or shot at me.” His experience in three wars showed lack of marksmanship from jihadists. Or, as one of his soldiers said, “Ragheads can’t shoot for shit.” As for competitive rifle firing, Ralph would agree. Most American soldiers were not as trained as they should have been, but just about any U.S. soldier could outshoot a jihadist. But Ralph also knew that the jihadist way of war, “Spray and pray,” worked up to a point. “You put enough bullets downrange, some of them will run into a body,” he had said when his soldiers disparaged jihadist accuracy. “The thing to do is, use cover and concealment, gain fire superiority, and fire and maneuver. That’s what we’re trained to do, and it works.” What worked for jihadists more often were the explosive devices planted, hidden, buried and emplaced just about everywhere. Attached to doors and windows, beneath floor tiles, in culverts, beneath road surfaces, paved, gravel or dirt – any place a soldier would walk, touch or travel by vehicle. The army had mine detectors and engineers trained in their use, but detectors would not find every explosive device. Nor would bomb dogs, no matter their sensitive noses and training. No body and no thing will find everything, Ralph knew.
       He went to the nearest body, first right-center and his second target. Unsnapping the holster flap, he took out the semi-automatic pistol. “Lighter than a 1911,” he said. He pushed the magazine release. “Seven shot, maybe eight. Single stack.” He pulled back and locked the slide and picked up the ejected cartridge. “Thirty-something caliber.” Lettering on the left side of the slide read, “National Armory 8mm Model 42.” He let the slide go forward and then held the pistol at arm’s length, checking the sights. “Better than the 1911. If they could shoot worth anything, they could have hit me. Six pistols. Of course, they were riding horses at a full gallop. Still, if they had been properly trained, they would now be checking my pistol. And looting the golf cart.”
       He returned the pistol to its holster and checked the other bodies. Two of the remaining five had similar pistols, while numbers five and six, the two who tried to run away, carried 8mm revolvers.

Obituary snippets for Benjie Lee Meek from 11th Armored Cavalry’s Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia web page

“He was an all-around badass.

 “He enjoyed taking (his kids) fishing, hunting, camping and to the shooting range. He was an avid gun collector, history buff and movie lover. His family was always mesmerized by his wild tales of his adventures all over the world. Buddy, pal, lots of cussing, the Popeye, love of the grandpa's life, John Wayne and all that other good stuff.

In Vietnam, Meek was with Headquarters & Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, and with E Troop, 2nd Squadron.

Andrew sounds like a Democrat in statement on Epstein friendship

The British prince sought to “clarify the facts to avoid further speculation.”

Here is a hint to Andrew’s press people: Anytime you announce an intention to “clarify facts,” you are seen as, ah, lying.

The MSN story kneels to Royal authority in referring to “an old scandal that seemingly will not go away.”

Well, you know, that was such a long time ago. We should just put it aside and move on.

Right. Move on from accusations that powerful men in finance and politics had sex with underage girls. This is one of those instances in which we will see if the super powerful and politically controlling have the influence to make it all go away.

We should sincerely hope justice prevails.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Chapter 5, The Amazing Adventures of Ralph Kroder, a work in progress

Center mass

       Ralph did not feel any pain when he died. Mostly, the lack of pain was because he came back alive within seconds. Nano seconds, really. He had no time for pain.
       No time literally and figuratively, because as soon as he knew he was dead, he and the golf cart, the JV bag and his purchases from Publix were somewhere else.
       The golf cart landed smoothly and softly, settling on a wide stone road that wound across a grassy plain. Ralph did not have time to consider his death and his reappearance not dead, because of six horsemen riding abreast to his right. He and the horsemen saw each other at the same time. The horsemen drew sabers and charged. Later, Ralph would wonder if the horsemen and he had appeared at the same time, but right then, he saw the need for defending himself from the six men who clearly intended to kill him by stabbing him or slicing him with their sabers. Ralph knew the golf cart would not outrun the horses, so he reacted from years of training.
       The horsemen began their charge from about fifty meters. That distance gave Ralph time to step from the golf cart, draw his Colt Commander from the holster at the small of his back and take a good two-hand firing position. He quickly assessed the situation, determining the two center riders would be first to reach him. Those two, therefore, were his primary targets.
       When the horsemen were within range, Ralph flicked off the safety, focused at the left-center rider, fired one-two, switched to the right-center rider, fired one-two, then the new right-center, one-two, new left-center, one-two. The flank riders, seeing their friends or compadres or whatevers go down from accurate shooting from one man, turned, and spurring relentlessly, rode away as fast as their horses would go. With the eight-round magazine empty, Ralph quickly reloaded with a second magazine from his holster and shot the fleeing riders, one-two, one-two, between their shoulder blades. Those two fell hard upon the thick grass, as dead as the other four.
       Ralph took a deep breath. Adrenalin raced through his body, causing a sudden chill and a slight tremor in his hands. The chill and the small tremors were not an unknown result of engagements with people who intended to kill Ralph. The last time had been eleven years before, in northeast Honduras, where Hezbollah terrorists left their training camp in northwest Nicaragua, crossed the Coco River and captured Iralaya. Why a Middle Eastern terrorist group wanted to take a small town in Honduras was a dominant guessing game for intelligence people and news broadcasters. Guesses and statements continued from the day of the invasion and for three weeks after the Honduran army, navy and air force took back the town. News people concentrated on civilian casualties, dead and wounded that could have been avoided, so the news people decided, had the Honduran military only taken one or two of several courses of action promulgated by the same news people after the fighting was over. Civilian dead totaled two hundred seventy-three, slightly less than ten percent of the population of Irlaya. Honduran military dead numbered eighty-six, while all ninety-seven Hezbollah were, reportedly, killed in the fighting. None was reported to have surrendered. News reports somehow missed an immutable fact – had the Muslim terrorists remained in Lebanon and Gaza and other places outside the Americas, no one would have been killed in the fishing and agricultural village.
       An adviser to the Honduran army, Ralph accompanied two companies of infantry in their air assault on Iralaya. Ralph was not armed when he boarded the UH-60 Blackhawk. Rules set by the U.S. Congress stated American trainers in Central America would not carry weapons, lest some bandit or robber or terrorist become deceased while attempting to rob or kill said American trainers. Such deaths, Congressional wisdom decreed, would send the wrong message concerning American presence. Although not in agreement with the rule, Ralph followed the congressional decision.
       Events often take precedent over wishes. That was so on late afternoon of Ralph’s first day in Iralaya. As helicopter-borne Honduran forces moved in from the northwest, additional infantry arrived by landing boats from the east. Fighting was house to house. Almost all houses in Iralaya were made of wood. Many caught fire from the heat of tracer ammunition, from hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades and smoke grenades.
       The commander of the western force told Ralph to remain with the command element and not to accompany the farthest forward infantry units. Ralph said, “Yes, Sir,” to the Honduran major. That the major’s decision was correct became evident when three Hezbollah ambushed the command group, firing with automatic weapons from a cattle pen. The fire wounded five Honduran soldiers. Ralph, deciding self-defense overrode any decision on carrying weapons by the U.S. Congress, picked up a squad automatic weapon dropped by a wounded soldier, and immediately placed accurate fire upon the attacking enemy, eliminating the threat to the command group, so read the citation for the award of the Honduran Cross of Merit of the Armed Forces.
       In Ralph’s twenty-six years as a solder, a number of people had attempted to kill him. He had taken bullets on three separate occasions – in Sudan, Somalia and Mali – but none had done enough damage to take Ralph out of his daily duties.
       Now, he knew he was truly dead, courtesy of the flying Toyota Tacoma, and brought back to life -- somehow. He chuckled as he took keys from the golf cart ignition and unlocked the metal box holding his JV bag. “Done in by a pickup at an intersection in Florida.” Ralph took his JV bag from the box, opened the bag and found a box of fifty .45-caliber rounds. He loaded the empty magazine and put it into the magazine holder on his holster. Then, he replaced the four fired rounds from the magazine in the pistol. With that done, Ralph sat on the cargo shelf as he rummaged in the bag and brought out a bottle of water. He removed the top and drank about half the water. His throat had been dry.
       Ralph studied the terrain, grass and low rolling hills, no trees in sight. The stone road ran generally northwest to southeast. The golf car pointed northwest.
       “I don’t like the Northwest,” Ralph said aloud. “Washington and Oregon. Seattle and Portland. Fucking hippies.” He drank more water, then got up and went through one of the two cloth shopping bags on the back floor of the golf cart. He opened two sealed packages and took out a Twinkie and a Hostess cupcake. He sat on the back seat, and took a bite of Twinkie. “Nothing like sponge cake and rich, cream filling,” he said. He ate a quarter of the Twinkie. “Well, shoot. Cassandra’s going to get home and wonder where I am. She’ll see the golf cart is not in the garage, so she’ll figure I went to Publix. After a while, she’ll wonder why I’m not back. All this time, I’m lying underneath a pickup.” He shook his head and ate another quarter of the Twinkie, then took a sip of water. “I hope my cell phone is broken, ‘cause she’s liable to call, and I don’t want a fireman or EMT to answer.” He shook his head. “Shoot. Nothing I can do.” He sighed. “This is not the way I expected things to go. You die, that’s it. There is nothing else. Your heart stops working, and so does everything else, and you’re done. Nothing but a great void.”
       A thought hit his mind then, a thought so intense he almost fell from the golf cart. The earth was without form and void.
       “No, no, no, no,” Ralph said aloud. “That’s not the way things work. You die, and everything is over. There is nothing else.” Part of his mind argued: Are you now dead? If you are dead, why are you eating a Twinkie? “Because I am hungry.” Dead men don’t get hungry. Dead men don’t get anything or do anything. “Yeah, well.” He ate the last bite of the Twinkie. “I get hungry when people shoot at me. I always have.” Dead men don’t get shot at. Ralph opened the cupcake package and took a bite. Chocolate, his mind said. Chocolate makes everything better. More manageable. “Maybe. I could use some coffee to cut this sweet stuff.” Sorry. I don’t have coffee. “You just have answers, hunh.” Not even that. I’ve got questions. For when you think you have all the answers. “I never thought I had all the answers.” We’re getting off course. Ralph gestured with the cupcake. “Who are those men?” Men who wanted to kill you. “Why did they want to kill me? They got something against people who appear out of nowhere in golf carts?” I think they want to kill everybody who isn’t like them. “I guess that would make life simpler. If everybody agreed on the same thing.” He shrugged as he took another bite. “Not that that made any difference in some places we’ve been.” On Earth, you mean. “Only place I’ve been.” Except here. “Yeah.” A sudden realization hit his mind. “Aw, man! Don’t tell me they’re here, too?” Not the same people, but, yes, they are here, too. “And I’m supposed to kill them?” You got something against that? “No. I mean, those guys intended to kill me.” You did good. You haven’t lost anything. “I’m slower then I used to be. But, yeah, I still have the eye.” And the balance. Like you told young soldiers -- Good sight alignment, good sight picture, good hold, squeeze the trigger. Works every time. “It does.” He swallowed the last of the cupcake and drank the last of the water. “Guess I’d better go look at them.”


Chapter 4, The Amazing Adventures of Ralph Kroder, a work in progress

Read the freaking rules

       Cassandra was at a Homeowners Association meeting the night the flying Toyota Tacoma killed Ralph. Cassandra was treasurer for the HOA. Ralph attended one HOA meeting, afterwards telling Cassandra he would not give the idiots any measure of his experience in working with people. He said, “It was extremely difficult, but I managed to keep seated and not go off on those dumbasses, who obviously have not read the covenant rules and have no intention to. I mean, it would be real easy if they read the rules. The rules explain what they may and may not do, but you’ve got idiots who show up and say really stupid things and then won’t listen when somebody tries to tell them why they can’t have six pink plastic flamingos and a dozen plastic penguins in their front yard.” Cassandra said it was a good thing Ralph had kept his seat and his temper. She knew well her husband’s short fuse with stupid people. That he was almost always right did not make assuaging hurt feelings any easier.
One of the things Ralph appreciated about Cassandra was her deep-seated belief that people would be of much better emotional health if everybody played well together. Cassandra did not directly take on the role of peacemaker, but worked from the sidelines, influencing whomever she could. That did not mean Cassandra had no iron or steel. Of those, she had plenty.
When working as CEO of a non-profit while Ralph was in one of his long-term assignments at Fort Hood, Texas, Cassandra had reason to fire three workers. She did not enjoy ending the women’s employment, but each had failed to meet goals and expectations, even after counseling sessions in which Cassandra reminded the women of specific, written instructions concerning volunteer membership recruitment, training of volunteers and retention of volunteers, without whom the organization would not exist. All three of the women, in previous counseling for not meeting goals had said, “Well, if I meet your goals, you’re just going to increase them for next year.” Cassandra’s reply, “You have not met your stated goals, and I’m still going to increase your numbers for the next year,” was met with looks of “You’re kidding, right?”
One of the women was in charge of maintaining membership and training lists for all volunteers. Shortly after taking the CEO position, Cassandra asked the woman to update and print a spreadsheet of membership. “Please let me have the list two weeks from today,” Cassandra told the woman. The day before the report was due, Cassandra asked the woman where she was on the report. “It’s due tomorrow,” she said. The woman said, “I didn’t think you meant it.” Cassandra asked for an explanation of the statement. The woman said, “Well, you told me you wanted the report tomorrow, but I didn’t think you meant it.”
       One night at supper, Cassandra told Ralph, “I made a woman cry today.” Her words indicated she blamed herself. Ralph asked what had happened. “I called her into my office to fire her,” Cassandra said. “I laid out everything -- unmet goals, which she and I had agreed on, results of three counseling sessions, in which I repeated the goals. She had signed the goals statement and the counseling session reports. She started crying right after I told her I was letting her go. She cried and she cried. She used up a whole box of tissue.”
       Ralph said, “All she had to do was her job, right?”
       “Yes,” Cassandra said.
       “You and she set attainable goals, and she got counselled when she did not meet the goals.”
       Cassandra nodded.
       “Three times,” Ralph said.
       “Yes,” Cassandra said.
       “You have no fault,” Ralph. “Here are the three things on leadership and on training.” He counted on his fingers. “You explain what was wrong, why it was wrong, and how to fix it. You did all those.”
       Cassandra nodded and said, “It’s easy to say. It’s easy to agree. But the doing …” She shook her head. “If she had only listened.”
       “And done what she was supposed to do,” Ralph said. He smiled. “I have the easy job.”
       “How’s that?”
       “Well, I have almost two hundred years of regulations, traditions and experience backing me up. And my soldiers know that. Sometimes they don’t remember all that. But …” He shrugged. “When I have completed a counseling, there is no doubt that they know the three things. If they don’t meet what I lay out, I counsel them again. And again and again, if necessary. My soldiers, generally, do not do things deserving of ending their employment. I know I won’t have to fire any of them. In my line of business, that is a really serious deal.”

Dog adopts ROK SF unit

When Collie first showed up, soldiers took her to a shelter 10 kilometers away. Collie did not like the shelter. She went AWOL and rejoined the Special Forces training unit.

Part 1

Part 2

A war story

Major Schorr was platoon leader of Third Scout Platoon (Huey gunships). One day din the Flight Operations tent, the Flight Operations Officer said to Major Schorr: "There was a report yesterday of three bodies found east of Base Camp. You were in the area. Did you see anything?"

Major Schorr: "Were they (the dead people) VC?"

Ops Officer: "Yes. They were all identified as Viet Cong."

Major Schorr: "We killed 'em."

No postings for a while

I am gong to a high school reunion and a Vietnam reunion. Both places will have "Whatever happened to Whomever?" and "You remember the time we did this stupid thing and got away with it?"

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

We’re not going to take it anymore

Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference supports Polish criticism of ‘LGBTQ ideology

Daily News Hungary

András Veres, head of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (MKPK), has expressed his solidarity and support for the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference after Archbishop of Krakow Marek Jedraszewski came under fire for a speech criticising “LGBTQ ideologies”.

“History has taught us that standing up for the teachings of Christian faith often causes anger in others,” Veres wrote in a letter posted on the MKPK website and addressed to Stanislaw Gadecki, the head of the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

“Still, we are dumbfounded by the undeserved attacks you suffered, since all you did was explicate the teachings of the Catholic church in connection with a current phenomenon,” he said.

Veres said it was shocking that the same people who “demanded that their opinion should be accepted” denied others “even the right to express a differing opinion”.

“Considering that the attacks you suffered were peculiar, we would also like to express in a peculiar way … our solidarity with you and our brotherly support,” he added. Jedraszewski came under fire from the Polish left wing and liberals, including the liberal Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny, after talking about a “rainbow-coloured epidemic” in a sermon commemorating the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw uprising on August 1.