Friday, October 31, 2008

Intellectuals or Bigots? You decide.

Erica Jong thinks blood will run in the nation's streets if Sen. Obama does not ascend to the White House, something she has shared with those who speak and read Italian.

If you don't, you can read the New York Observer piece by Jason Horowitz.

Her pals, including Jane Fonda and Naomi Wolfe, can't sleep for crying or call Jong every day for moral support. Then, Jong has had to resort to Valium and acupuncture for stress relief.

"It's the silly season"

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer thinks most gun owners, particularly the ones with blogs, are partisan, delusional, users and silly. He's "concerned about the backlash against Dan Cooper." You'll find it here, in a follow-up USA Today story.

Cooper has either resigned or has been ousted in order to put distance between him and his company. He said there is nothing he won't do for his 38 employees, innocents who had "internet anger" turned on them. However, he didn't answer any questions regarding his plans regarding his stake in Cooper Arms of Montana, Inc., and other roles he might play with the company.

Of course, Bob Ricker, executive director of the anti-Second Amendment front group, American Hunters and Shooters Association, had nothing good to say about any gun owner who objected to Cooper's poor public relations and business decisions.

Cooper is right. He's the victim. The paying or potential customers who complained are wrong. They are paranoid and are too silly to understand. And anyone who e-mails or posts different points of view such as Sebastian of Snowflakes in Hell are white, racist, gun nuts.

I can't speak for Sebastian. He writes and posts more effectively. But when I watched the 1994 Biden Crime Bill, which contained a ban on firearms solely for subjective, cosmetic reasons, pass through Congress to rapidly be signed into law by President Bill Clinton, I knew it was a first step toward a total ban on firearms ownership. I watched it unfold on C-SPAN Sept. 13, 1994.

It wasn't a delusion. Still flushed from celebration, the antis leaked plans for "reasonable, commonsense" restrictions such as arsenal taxes, restrictions on the amount of ammunition and reloading components one could possess in their homes, one-gun-a-month limits, a broader Brady Ban II, and efforts to demonize the "gun culture" such as discouraging people from wearing camouflage clothing and exploiting division in the ranks of gun owners.

Never again! If foreign interests or a nice guy like Dan Cooper buckle under or sell out the workers and consumers of companies such as Smith & Wesson in 1999-2000 or Cooper Arms of Montana, Inc., in 2008, there's going to be a lot of gun owners watching, writing and spending money elsewhere.

Dan, WAKE UP! You endorsed and funded the same candidate Sarah Brady is backing! Have a few of your 38 employees draw you pictures or slap you back into reality. Talk to some other people in your industry. Know your customers.

Your fancy, wood-stocked rifles possess barrels made by Wilson Arms, the outfit that made my AR-15 barrel. A Cooper rifle can kill at too far of a range, are deadly sniper rifles, and can penetrate body armor. Cruel white guys used them to slaughter poor Bambi on government land. When the Obamacons come for my AR-15, your fine hunting rifles aren't that much farther down their list.

Dan, stop blubbering to USA Today and humbly apologize to your 38 workers, your network of dealers, your suppliers such as Wilson Arms, and your industry. Then, made amends to the honorable people that helped you in your climb from mowing yards to heading a company making fine rifles.

Dan, those people are noble, tough, smart, and will prove forgiving if an apology comes from the contrite heart of a fellow rifleman. They're straight shooters. The antis, including Sen. Obama, will maim you at a time and place not of your choosing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No coffee, a sad song, and a screwdriver: a killing combo

A 57-year-old Huffington Post writer, Carol Ann Burger gave her spouse, Jessica Kalish, 56, 222 puncture wounds with a Phillips-head screwdriver in their Boyton Beach, Fla., home nearly a week ago. Investigators said, however, that a blow to Kalish's neck probably killed her.

Burger discharged a firearm into her head before police could question her about Kalish's death.

Burger and Kalish, a prominent software designer, had shared the home since 2000. They were married in 2005 in Massachusetts. The housemates had ceased being lovers more than a year ago but continued to share the home because of financial reasons. Kalish had a new lover, who she dated via the Internet in her half of the house. Burger told friends of her growing isolation, depression and bitterness in e-mails she composed in the other half.

Burger had recently stopped drinking coffee, told friends Jackson Browne's For a Dancer was ideal to listen to when sad, and had refused anti-depressants. The police found Burger's shoe prints in Kalish's blood on the garage floor despite Burger's clean-up attempt. "She was obviously out of her mind," an investigator said.

She was obviously filled with hatred. Two-hundred-twenty-two acts of rage--yes, Burger was OffTheBus.

One can find The Huffington Post tribute to Burger here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cooper Firearms of Montana statement

This is a statement I found today on the home page of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc., regarding Dan Cooper's statements to USA Today and his personal, financial support of the Obama campaign:
"The employees,shareholders and board of directors of Cooper Firearms of Montana do not share the personal political views of Dan Cooper.

Although we all believe everyone has a right to vote and donate as they see fit, it has become apparent that the fallout may affect more than just Mr. Cooper. It may also affect the employees and the shareholders of Cooper Firearms.

The board of directors has asked Mr. Cooper to resign as President of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc.

Daily operations will continue with the competent staff currently in place in Stevensville, MT producing the finest, most accurate rifles money can buy.

Dan Cooper has spentall of his working life producing the highest quality rifles built here in the USA. He started with nothing but the American Dream and built that into firearms company anyone would be proud of. We firmly believe Dan stands by the 2nd amendment. We wish him all of the best in his future pursuits.

In response to the recent article highlighting Dan Cooper’s personal political donations, the board of directors, shareholders and employees of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc would like to issue the following statement."

Bank that cash ... in a state senator's brassiere

Baby, what a big surprise!

Right before the FBI's video eyes, Bay State Senator Dianne Wilkerson allegedly negoiated a series of legislative influence-peddling deals. She allegedly padded her foundational undergarment with consideration of $1,000 last June. Wilkerson allegedly was teaching an apprentice, her granddaughter, The Art of a Deal: Boston Illegal, when taking delivery of another $1,000 at the Fill-A-Buster restaurant across the street from the Massachusetts state capitol.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty by a Washington, DC, jury. He had a lot of help remodeling a house and was gifted a massage chair and gas grill. Then he allegedly made a paperwork error when not reporting it. He will appeal. ... Allegedly.

Support those who support the Second Amendment

Someone expressed their distrust of Larry Potterfield, founder of MidwayUSA, in comments left regarding Dan Cooper, president and CEO of Cooper Arms of Montana, at Snowflakes in Hell.

If you're concerned if someone you trade with is undermining the Second Amendment, go to the Federal Election Commission and do a search. Enter your own name as well. Who knows? Maybe an ACORNer or your house cat has assumed your identity.

Anyhow, here's my comment regarding the Potterfields and other people who I buy guns, ammo, and other related items from:

"BTW, Brenda and Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA have donated thousands to pro-Second Amendment candidates in Missouri. I will continue to redistribute wealth to to them and their employees, all fine people, as I have done since the inception of their mail-order business. I have a MidwayUSA order right in front of me. The add-a-buck option to the NRA that MidwayUSA and a growing number of other companies such as Brownells offers to customers is always a plus for me. And I've never seen an NRA contribution can sitting on the sporting goods counter at Wal-Mart. Gun stores that support the Second Amendment in any way such as funding 4-H shooting sports deserve our wealth."
If you don't want to redistribute your human and financial resources to one particular group or another, there's a wide range of good choices. Help out your state rifle association, Gun Owners of America, the Second Amendment Foundation, the CCRKBA, a Junior USA Shooting Team program, or the shooting sports efforts of Boy Scouts of America. Teach, score a junior competitor's target, oppose range closures, and set good examples. There are thousands of ways to extend the freedom we enjoy to others now and generations to follow.

Don't despair. Distrust shouldn't put us in blinders. Do some research. Take positive action. Don't let up. The 2008 presidential horserace will soon be soon be over. Our campaign isn't.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Proud" NRA Member Dan Cooper backs Barack "Redistributor" Obama

From Snowflakes in Hell via Days of our Trailers * :

Chief executive of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Dan Cooper, is so dazzled by Barry that he's redistributed $3,300 to the Obama presidential campaign.

When I went to the Cooper Firearms website, I received the "HTTP 404: The webpage cannot be found" message after clicking the "Find A Dealer" link. That might be the digital equivalent of the flushing sound following Jim Zumbo's Feb. 16, 2007, Outdoor Life blog attack on black rifles.

Here's my response at Days of our Trailers:

Thanks for the heads up. I am in the process of redistributing wealth to a couple of those Illinois firearms manufacturers Obama and his rich, trial-lawyer, community-activist pals have been trying to shut down for years. And since Dan Cooper is a "proud member" of the NRA, I'm going to redistribute some wealth to the NRA-ILA and the NRA Foundation with Dan and Obama in mind.

If I'm able to garner enough wealth to redistribute if Obama moves to the White House, I'm certain Dan Cooper doesn't mind if I spread it to any of his competitors not stupid enough to undermine the U.S. Constitution, their customers, and their industry.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Miz Minka's Musings: Musical Monday: A Yodel

I've always been fascinated by yodelers and accordion players. What can I say? Mom and Dad said I made the crib rattle during The Lawrence Welk Show.

By way of Miz Minka's blog, here's a lady, Lisa Ward-Dillier, who does both at the same time. I can't remember an episode when Myron Floren yodeled. And he was inducted into the International Polka Hall of Fame!

Miz Minka's Musings: Musical Monday: A Yodel#links#links#links#links

"Wunnerful, Wunnerful!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Message from a True Second Amendment Supporter

In a Field & Stream article last month, Barack Obama said sportsmen in Illinois and his state senate voting record will prove he is a friend to sportsmen and gun owners. Richard Pearson, who has worked to uphold the Second Amemdment in Illinois since 1973, disagrees.

"Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.

Without a doubt, Barack Obama has proven himself to be an enemy of the law abiding firearm owner. At the same time, Obama has proven himself to be a friend to the hardened criminal. While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family."

One can find the whole text of Pearson's statement here or listen to a podcast interview conducted by Gary Kopel.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A 44-year-old message

Here's an excerpt from a Nov. 6, 1964, TIME article detailing the last days of Sen. Barry M. Goldwater's campaign to replace Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House.
Said he to the Madison Square Garden throng: "It is a fact that Lyndon Johnson and his curious crew seem to believe that progress in this country is best served simply and directly through the ever-expanding gift power of the everlastingly growing Federal Government. One thing we all know, and I assure you I do: that's a much easier way to get votes than my way. It always has been. It's political Daddyism, and it's as old as demagogues and despotism."
Johnson was re-elected in a landslide. Democrats gained enough seats to control more than two-thirds of each chamber in the Congress with a 68-32 Senate margin and a 295-140 margin in the House of Representatives. The Federal Government grew at a rate not seen since the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal." The core of LBJ's "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" agendas were passed by Congress in the two years preceding Goldwater's defeat. The Johnson Administration submitted 87 bills to Congress, of which Johnson gladly signed 84.

Now 44 years later, we have an opportunity to elect another political Daddy and a Congress eager to cooperate. How is this change we can believe in when it failed to work 44 years ago?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fair and Balanced, Left vs. Right

I can't deny it. There is no such thing as objective journalism.

If you're one of the growing numbers of people who turn their noses up at the graying, corporate-bound and moribund "mainstream" media, I present to you opportunities for insight from two e-sources, the leftist viewpoint from People's Weekly World and the right's Sweetness & Light. When used together, the pair will no doubt serve readers more than a baker's dozen of traditional news outlets.

You'll find both links to the right of the blog in my links section.

Neither e-publication makes false claims about being objective, balanced, fair or accurate. The PWW clearly lays out its bias, "We take sides... Yours! Working class news and opinion since 1924" It is the press organ for the Communist Party USA.

Now, Sweetness & Light is a bit more murky. It is a "Weblog featuring US and international news and analysis from a conservative perspective." There's no contact information. The domain name is registered to Domains by Proxy, Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz.

I know what you're thinking. S&L and PWW aren't legitimate news sources. Well, neither are SNL, The View, Oprah, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Comedy Channel, The Dave Letterman Show, Vanity Fair, Air America or Rush Limbaugh's EIB network. However, all those media outlets have shaped political discourse and opinion this year and in the past.

Journalists can't agree on exactly what a journalist is. The members of the Society of Professional Journalists studied and debated a proposed code of ethics for months before one was approved at its national convention in 1996. It calls for accountability, fairness, not paying for news, disclosure of sources whenever feasible and much more.

However, the Society will not enforce the code against any of its members and lacks control over other journalists outside its ranks. The code is totally voluntary, which means it is a pipe dream. The code is passed around in news rooms and journalism schools. Sometimes one can find it in a nice frame on a wall. I have a nice, framable copy that was presented to me in journalism school.

When you watch coverage of election-night festivities in downtown Chicago Nov. 4, know FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and a whole slew of print-media giants paid the Obama-Biden campaign for prime access to major players. The media also paid extra for assigned places on risers offering a better view. The campaign is charging a $900 parking fee per satelite truck payable in advance. I have no idea if the McCain-Palin campaign plans anything similar.

It is not ethical to pay for access to news sources no matter how any campaign justifies it. It instantly delegitimizes and undermines any newsgathering operation willing to pay and play.

There's still journalists out there who haven't sold out to either side--or anyone. They must feel outnumbered and impotent right now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweet Home Chicago

This 12-bar blues standard, which is credited to the legendary Mississippi Delta musician Robert Leroy Johnson by some, is an unofficial Chicago anthem. The Democrats also played it a lot during their 1996 national convention. It has been covered by at least 500 artists including Johnny Otis, Muddy Waters, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Roosevelt "Honeydripper" Sykes and Earl Hooker.

Mr. Johnson never visited Chicago, it is believed. His lyrics differed from the better-known version. The Honeydripper was the first one to record Sweet Home Chicago using the lyrics used in the Blues Brothers cover.

Others claim Johnson borrowed the song from a part-Cherokee blues guitarist, Scrapper Blackwell. Scrapper, who grew up and spent most of his life in Indianapolis, did travel to Chicago and the "level light city", Kokomo, Ind. He recorded Kokomo Blues in the 1928 for Vocation Records. Johnson's version that changed the city to Chicago was also recorded for Vocation nine years later.

Now, Johnson was the guy who was rumored to have sold his soul to the Devil at a Mississippi crossroad. He gets the credit for writing Sweet Home Chicago. The legend died at another Mississippi crossroad in August 1938, possibly from drinking strychnine-laced whiskey.

Blackwell lived on until October 1962 when he was shot and killed during an Indianapolis alley mugging.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A demotion?

Sen. Obama has been called the messiah. But some street vendor in San Francisco only rates him at saint level judging by this votive.

In the meantime Obama and his newfound friend, Sen. Hillary Clinton, are on the road together in Florida, where Obama complained about Sen. McCain's "ugly", "misleading", "careless", "misleading", "outrageous", "negative" and "small", "say-anything, do-anything" campaign tactics.

Forteen more days until Election Day. In the wake of ACORN, Cindy Sheehan is blogging about how her campaign against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been overtly sabotaged.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nothing in particular

It's been one of those weekends that passed so quickly. It seems as if it was compressed.

The weather has been beautiful. The maple trees are in their full autumn splendor. The oaks are starting to catch up. The full sun soaks into a body, but it isn't too hot. It got up to 71 degrees this afternoon. There's a good breeze blowing out of the south.

The one jarring event of the weekend was finding our oldest mare, Lacey, dead in the pasture. She passed late Saturday morning without warning while grazing along the creek. Lacey, a beautiful gray, dappled Missouri Fox Trotter, lasted 28 1/2 years. She won a batch of shows, gave us some excellent colts until she was 19 or 20, and has been retired since then. She was the Queen out in the pasture. The others always shrank back at the feeders.

I'm still putting together some items I'll need for the 9mm AR-15 project. I've ordered more 20 and 32-round CProducts 9mm magazines from and a magazine pouch from Tactical Tailor. As I can only strong-thumb 11 rounds into the magazines, I need a Colt SMG LULA mag loader. I'll probably order it from MidwayUSA or Brownells.

There have been times around here when I've had to grab up a weapon and other gear and travel a half-mile away from the house at night. I'll rig up a belt with pouches for magazines and a spare flashlight and a multi-tool to grab up with the 9mm. It will be a potent carbine out to perhaps 100 yards that all family members can use.

We're close to the county line and it usually takes at least 20 minutes for law enforcement to arrive if there's any trouble. It's usually pretty quiet here, but there have been notable exceptions stamped on my memory.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Night Lights

It's a going to be a crisp, perfect night for high school football in these parts. Hopefully, this next-to-the-last, regular-season game weekend is enjoyed safely by everyone. The home team, the Trojans, are lined up against the Panthers, the arch rivals a few miles up the highway.

So far we've dodged the frost. It will drop into the upper 30s tonight. I wouldn't mind seeing the flowers a bit longer. There's a nice batch of burgundy mums and orange and yellow marigolds out front and some various wildflowers growing in the plot where strawberries piddled out a couple of years ago.

The National Weather Service forecast states it is supposed to be dry and sunny until Tuesday night. Of course, the NWS issues this disclaimer:

The user assumes the entire risk related to its use of this data. NWS is providing this data "as is," and NWS disclaims any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will NWS be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congressman Calls Constituents Racists

U.S. Representative John Murtha has been a force in Congress since 1974. Murtha, who calls Johnstown, Pa., his home, has been sent to Washington by voters in the gerrymandered 12th District in southwest Pennsylvania 17 times.

"Congressman Murtha is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and is Chairman of its Defense Subcommittee. He was Chairman of the Defense Subcommittee from 1989-1995, its Ranking Member from 1995-2007, and became Chairman again in 2007."

So when Ed Blazina, reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, needed an official source for a presidential election story, he sought out Murtha. Here's how Blazina reported the exchange.

"I think Obama is going to win, but I don't think it's going to be a runaway," he said. "I think he wins Pennsylvania."

Mr. Murtha said it has taken time for the state's voters embrace a black presidential candidate.

"There's no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area," said Mr. Murtha, whose district stretches from Johnstown to Washington County. "The older population is more hesitant."

First we hear from Sen. Obama about the Bible-clinging, bitter gun nuts in that part of the country. Now one of their representatives say they're racists and a bit slow to boot.

What's the problem? Fall into lockstep, why don't ya! You may be as backward as us simple Kansas wheatheads.

Obama meets a "Wealthy" Ohio Plumber

The Gateway Pundit reports on Sen. Obama's weekend visit with a Holland, Ohio, plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher. He also includes some Fox News video. Other mainstream media outlets did not detail the dialogue between the two men.

Obama, when asked about his tax plan, said he did not want to punish Wurzelbacher's success as a tradesman and small business owner. The senator simply wants to spread Wurzelbacher's wealth around so "that everyone behind you--that they have a chance at success too."

Joe, the next time you're laboring in an effleunt-filled hole, look behind you and see if anyone's there. Perhaps if your small business paid less tax, you could afford to hire extra employees, upgrade equipment, and purchase better health care. You should have that freedom, as you made a point of telling the candidate.

Small business owners like Mr. Wurzelbacher employ nearly two-thirds of this nation's workforce. Why does Sen. Obama distrust millions like Wurzelbacher to the extreme he must take matters into his own, uncalloused hands?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Vigorous writing is concise."

Have you been dogged by the Style Police, those members of the literary intelligentsia posting contemptuous messages on blogs because they're no longer able to use their red pens?

They're just doing it for your own good, you should know. A Polish philosopher, Karol Libelt (1807-1875) was the first to detail how a mixture of messianism and intellectual elitism can produce change. He believed the Polish people would be able to redeem the history of the world with moral excellence gained through past oppression and heightened intellectual prowess. The intelligentsia, or inteligencja, were to lead the common people as a "guide for the reason of their higher enlightenment." The Soviets and Nazis killed off most of the Polish inteligencja during World War II.

Join the social experiment. Become a member of the literati. Volunteer for the grammar posse. Register--seven times if you can get away with it--as your blog's community activist. Together we can change. Yes, we can.

Find a style book. William E Strunk, Jr., convinced a pupil, E.B. White, to adopt The Elements of Style. Mr. White edited Strunk's 1918 original in 1959, and "Strunk & White" was born. Maybe you cursed it or similar guides such as the MLA Style Manual, the APA style guide, or Mayor Daley's favorite, The Chicago Manual of Style, in high school or college.

If someone says you've spelled "parallel" wrong, point out his or her unparalleled sentences. For one nasty note regarding a typo, raise the question of the critic's dangling gerund plus his overuse of passive voice. That will keep us busy until change comes, Spanish lessons start, and any uncooperative intelligentsias are guided to "higher enlightenment."

V.I. Lenin wrote to Maxim Gorky, Sept. 15, 1919, "No. It isn't a sin to jail such "men of talent" for short periods if that's what it takes to prevent plots (such as the one at Krasnaia Gorka) and the deaths of tens of thousands. We uncovered the conspiracies of the Kadets and quasi-Kadets. And we know that quasi-Kadet professors are giving assistance heart and soul to the conspirators. That is a fact.

The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and getting stronger in their fight to overthrow the bourgeoisie and their accomplices, the educated classes, the lackeys of capital, who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Orlando Sentinel: lopsided journalism

Henry Pierson Curtis, an Orlando Sentinel staff writer, has launched a drive-by, multimedia campaign against weapons that can fire more than one bullet through the walls of a typical Florida residence. Since the Sentinel has been orchestrating this linkage of Orange County's rising crime problems to the 2004 sunset of Joe Biden's Federal Assault Weapons ban since March, I suspect he knows that includes nearly any firearm.

He also invents the newest attack against the Second Amendment, "disposable AK-47s", after Andre Patterson, 27, and Joshua Sharpe, 25, were repeatedly shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Two AK-47s and other weapons were ditched at the scene by the murderers, who were not apprehended.

This information was casually offered in the 12th paragraph: "Patterson had been arrested at least 13 times in Orange County on charges related to drugs, violence and firearms. Sharpe, known as "Booty," did not have a record in Orange County."

Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary features prominently in Pierson's writing, which often lacks no documentation for the numbers he cites. Of course, there is the mandatory video footage showing sheriff's employees blazing away at their training range with an AR-15 and an AK-47 removed from the evidence locker.

Beary was attacked by the Sentinel last fall after the department purchased an Alexander Arms Beowulf .50 cal. M-16 upper to bag "large dangerous animals" such as "exotics" on the lam from Disney's Animal Kingdom or the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Pierson has also cited Beary for appearing in uniform at a fundraising event for Jerry Demings, former Orlando police chief, who Beary has endorsed to replace him as sheriff. Deming, a Democrat, is opposed by Republican John Tegg, a former Beary deputy who ran against him in 2004.

Beary has also endorsed Democrat Lawson Lamar, who is seeking reelection as that area's State Attorney. Politicians and criminals aren't linked to the area's growing crime problem, but animated, disposable "assault weapons" are. Something has been lost in translation.

The National Rifle Association named Beary its law enforcement officer of the year in 1996.

Happy Columbus Day!

Or El Día de la Resistencia Indígena for those in Caracas wearing their freshly pressed red shirts.

For those of like mind in other parts of the world, I give you Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" so that you may remember this somber day of oppression from which all sorts of evil has resulted such as electricity, the digital age, recreational drugs, and banks of amps and speakers that have damaged Neil's hearing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reloading, dreaming

This weekend I loaded some .223 Remington ammo with 55-grain Sierra GameKing BTHPs on top of Hodgdon Varget. I'm curious to see if they'll group nearly as well as the Sierra 52-grain MatchKing BTHPs, which I have been using until it took two to finish off a monster woodchuck who had been undermining the fence along the creek. The MatchKings group from .6 to .75 in. at 100 yards.
But paper isn't a gnarled, grayed whistle pig. He put most Butterball Thanksgiving turkeys to shame. Both of the match bullets plowed through but didn't open up. Many .224 bullets such as Sierra's BlitzKings are geared toward small varmints. They break up too easily on larger animals with a thick rind of fat and muscle. Hopefully the 55-grain GameKing will expand well but hold together. I'm the type who likes to use one load for all purposes. Perhaps it can't be done in this case.

Rain is coming this way. I might be able to get some range work done tomorrow afternoon. If not, the sun's supposed to be back Thursday.

This upper assembly has a 16" DPMS, 1-9" twist, free-floated, bull barrel. Some day I'd like to get a skinnier 18", 1-8" barrel paired with the JP/VTAC modular handguard. I think the extra length would allow for more velocity and enhanced bullet performance. The slightly faster twist would stablize longer bullets better.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Speechcrime in 2008: A column by Michael Barone

If you've kept quiet during this election cycle, stop it. Research, question, and boldy participate in public discourse. Don't assume you hold a minority opinion and surrender to your apprehension. It may be your last chance to speak out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One of the lost ...

I am a collector of facts. Most of them have no obvious value beyond making it a little more fun to watch Jeopardy! Otherwise they're only squatters in a diminishing number of my brain cells.

I was searching for John Wayne portraits for the last post when I came across a photo of Gail Russell, who was "discovered" by a Paramount Studios talent scout while still attending high school. She was a talented artist, who spent hours alone sketching and painting. When her parents entertained company, the painfully shy girl would hide under the piano. However, during the last of the 1930s and into the first months of World War II, Miss Russell's family had sold the piano and most other furniture to make ends meet. The girl was sleeping on spread-out newspapers at the time Paramount signed her for $50 per week. She graduated from school into Hollywood lights. The photo at left is of her and two other child actors signed by Paramount.

Miss Russell was beautiful to the point Paramount executives overlooked her extreme stage fright and total lack of acting experience. They set out to groom her into a star. Miss Russell was assigned an acting coach. She appeared on screens for the first time in Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour (1943).

More than 700 Paramount movies were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution. They were weekend and late-night television staples during my childhood. The Paramount movie I remember the best was Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, a 1944 film starring Miss Russell and Diana Lynn. She also co-starred in two Republic Pictures movies with John Wayne, The Angel and the Badman (1947) and Wake of the Red Witch (1948). These films capture Gail Russell at the pinnacle of her acting career.

Miss Russell had severe performance anxiety fueled by fears that she just wasn't good enough at her profession. She would become physically sick from fright and could not keep her hands from shaking during filming. So during production of The Uninvited (1944), the first movie in which she was featured, she tried alcohol as a means to relax. It helped her control the trembling, so she continued the practice.

Paramount terminated her contract after a 1950 DUI arrest. It was the first of multiple arrests. Miss Russell fell out of the public eye for a few years as she battled alcoholism. She sought treatment and attended AA meetings. John Wayne's second wife listed her as a contributing factor in a 1953 divorce action, something that both Miss Russell and Wayne denied. This contributed to her deepening emotional turmoil. Her 1949 marriage to actor Guy Madison ended in 1954.

Wayne selected her as the female lead for his 1956 Batjac Productions picture, Seven Men from Now. He did this despite being told Miss Russell looked 20 years too old to portray her 26-year-old character. Wayne's gamble worked. The movie, also starring Randolph Scott and Lee Marvin, is still viewed as a Western classic.

She had minor roles in two films, The Tattered Dress and No Place to Land, in the wake of Seven Men. But on July 4, 1957, she was arrested once again following a 4 a.m. accident. The intoxicated actress was charged with a felony after she drove a new convertible through a restaurant wall. A janitor was pinned underneath her car. After failing to appear in court the following summer, she was found passed out in her home by police officers. She was admitted to General Hospital's prison ward.

She said, "Everything happened so fast. I was a sad character. I was sad because of myself. I didn't have any self-confidence. I didn't believe I had any talent. I didn't know how to have fun. I was afraid. I don't exactly know of what--of life, I guess."

Miss Russell did not appear in another movie until 1961, The Silent Call. A few months later, she died alone surrounded by empty liquor bottles and her sketches. The cause of death was ruled as an alcohol-induced heart attack. Miss Russell was 36.

Monday, October 6, 2008

If everything isn't black and white, I say, "Why the hell not?"

Your result for The Classic Leading Man Test: John Wayne
You scored 38% Tough, 19% Roguish, 24% Friendly, and 19% Charming!

You, my friend, are a man's man, the original true grit, one tough talking, swaggering son of a bitch. You're not a bad guy, on the contrary, you're the ultimate good guy, but you're one tough character, rough and tumble, ready for anything. You call the shots and go your own way, and if some screwy dame is willing to accept your terms, that's just fine by you. Otherwise, you'll just hit the open trail and stay true to yourself. You stand up for what you believe and can handle any situation, usually by rushing into the thick of the action. You're not polished and you're not overly warm, but you're a straight shooter and a real stand up guy. Co-stars include Lauren Bacall and Maureen O'Hara, tough broads who can take care of themselves.

Rain Interlude

I am hearing the music of rain drops increasing in intensity. It is a break between days of sun and nights of cloud-free star gazing. The sun will be back later in the week unless forecasters are wrong. Sometimes they prove to be inaccurate as business-channel economic forecasters.

Hopefully, Farmer Frank and his neighbors are making good progress in the fields. The rain should be in his part of the country tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Exploding Yard Darts

I first encountered yard darts during a week spent south of Bozeman, MT. The people who managed the cabins had a set. After the kids nearly nailed a dog, they were put away.

Anyhow, the Civil War-era Ketchum hand grenades somewhat resemble yard darts. They were made in three sizes: one, three and five pounds. The Union purchased more than 92,000. The egg-shaped cast iron bodies were charged with powder. The tapered wood with three fins attached was inserted in the rear of the body to hold the powder in place. Then a primer was inserted into the nose followed by a plunger with a two-inch wide head. This picture shows the one-pound version.

The grenades were patented during the summer of 1861 by William F. Ketchum of Buffalo, NY. He was primarily known for his farm implement innovations. He was the first to offer a practical hay mowing machine, which hit the market in the mid 1840s.

Ketchum grenades were used during assaults on Confederate earthworks at Port Hudson, Louisana, in 1863. The defenders spread out blankets to catch the grenades so they wouldn't detonate. Then the Confederates would fling them back down into the attackers.

The grenades often failed to explode. Maybe plain yard darts would have worked better.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Support the Arts: Go native

Tam's post, The natives are reluctant..., ties in with an idea I've been struggling to get into type.

There's always something to explore. Any day when I'm compelled to sit around being bored . . . well, I don't have such days. People are blessed with free will. They can choose to not be bored. It simply takes a little effort, usually less than what one expends bitching about boredom.

Robert Capa, well-known photojournalist, said ""If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." It reminds me of the same problem when we lack appreciation of our surroundings. We're not getting close enough. So keeping Capa in mind, I've learned how to get closer. A field of soybeans ready for harvest seems bland until one gets close enough to see the intricate bristles of a single pod. Trees are something to convert into fence posts and firewood until I pause, look closer, and discover the art evident in a particular one.

Lichen on tree bark doesn't seem like much. Surely it can't entertain or teach us. Unless we go native, look closer and cast off the comtempt we hold for familiarity. Kunstformen der Natur, or Art Forms of Nature, a 1904 collection of prints by German biologist Ernst Haeckel, yields this illustration of lichen. It's proof that one doesn't have to travel thousands of miles, say to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, to see stunning art.

Go native, troll round home, or look deep into the eyes of someone you've taken for granted too long. You'll find magic. Share it with others, too, like Capa and Haeckel.

A glimpse back at spring

This photo from late March shows the west bank of the creek cutting through this basin. The blooming trees are Eastern Redbuds. This 17-acre patch is south of the farm house and barns. It is part of the original quarter section, or 160 acres, my family claimed in 1857. My great grandfather sold it in tough economic times. My parents bought it back when I was in high school.

The grass is a blend of timothy and orchard grass. We used to run horses on it during the winter. Now it is baled once a year for hay. We use a clearing near the south end for some overnight camping and church and family wiener roasts. My son's Boy Scout troop camped there this summer. The hawks, owls, turkeys, blue herons and whitetail deer don't seem to mind sharing the space with us.

I dropped my digital camera and it's not back in service. I need to get out and take fall pictures.

After sunset

We've been treated with clear skies as September has yielded to October.

Tonight, just as the sunset's glow faded to purple, Jupiter appeared boldy almost due south. It was at an azimuth of nearly 35 degrees here. Then my eyes scanned toward the last dab of sun. At about 245 degrees I could see Lady Venus a few degrees above the horizon.

If one draws a mental line slanting downward from Jupiter to Venus, the Moon's crescent is nearly halfway between the two and a bit below. Antares, the 16th brightest star in the sky, will appear right of the Moon in a bit. Antares, 600 light years away, is one of the stars making up Scorpio.

Sagittarians don't need to feel left out. Their constellation should be firing up to the Moon's left about ... now.


This photograph caught my eye a few months ago. It spurred me to read more about women pilots in World War II. Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, ferried 12,650 military aircraft between 1942 and December 1944. That was more than 50 percent of the total manufactured during the same time period.

The pilots above, from left to right, are: Frances Green Kari, Margaret Kircher Stevensen, Ann Waldner Currier and Blanche Osborne Bross. They were walking down the flight line at Lockbourne Army Air Base in Columbus, Ohio, where they were trained to fly B-17 Flying Fortresses. Mrs. Currier is the only one still living. Mrs. Kari died in 1994 of cancer in Boise, Idaho, I believe.

Thirty-eight WASP lost their lives. Although they were under the command of the Army Air Force, they were considered civil service employees and received no death benefits. This meant their families had to pay transport charges to have remains shipped home and all burial expenses.

The WASP were trained at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. Avenger Field is Sweetwater Airport. Hangar One, which was on the civilian side of Avenger Field during the war, is now home to the National WASP World War II Museum. The military side was located where the Texas State Technical College campus is now. On the campus, one will yet find the WASP wishing well. Next to it is a memorial wall.

Many of the pilots' letters, journals and photos featured the wishing well. The above photo is one of pilot Dede Deaton. It was a cool place to rest each evening after a full day of penetrating Texas sun. There, the pilots shared their fears and dreams with each other or quietly with the night.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Goodbye, Mr. Peters.

Another figure from my childhood has passed. House Peters, Jr., 92, died yesterday in Los Angeles.

Peters was a long-time supporting actor, appearing in so many of the shows I watched such as Perry Mason, The Roy Rogers Show, Lassie, The Twilight Zone, The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke. Do you remember the Shark Men of the Flash Gordon serials? They lived in an underwater kingdom on Mongo. House was the chief shark.

He is best known for being the first Mr. Clean in Proctor and Gamble television ads. I still remember being very careful not to disturb my mother's nap during As the World Turns every afternoon. Mr. Clean made a racket cleaning house during commercials. Mom slept right thought it. However, if I happened to bump the sofa or drop something, she would wake and tell me to be quiet. Then Mr. Clean would wink at me.

Peters was sharp. He set goals, saying he would change careers if not a star by age 50. By that time, 1966, he was doing little acting beyond a recurring role on Lassie. Peters then began a sucessful real estate business.

I extend best wishes to his wife, Lucy Pickett, their two sons and a daughter, and four grandchildren. One can learn more about Peters and his family in his autobiography, Another Side of Hollywood.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

He did not die in bed

Former Ford County, Kan., Sheriff Bat Masterson called his one-time undersheriff "the greatest of us all." And President Teodore Roosevelt said the old lawman would charge hell with a bucket of water. They were describing Bill Tilghman, one of Oklahoma's legendary "Three Guardsmen".

Tilghman, born in 1854, arrived in Kansas with his family two years later. By age 16, he was hunting bison in southwest Kansas. There he befriended Bat and Jim Masterson, the Earp brothers, and other hunters who later became peace officers in Dodge City, the "Queen of the Cowtowns". He served as an Army scout, operated a saloon, and was a rancher after the bison herds vanished.

Bat Masterson appointed Tilghman as a Ford County, Kan., deputy sheriff in 1877, where he served until 1884 when he became Dodge City's marshal. He also served as a lawman during the "County Seat Wars" in western Kansas.

In the 1889 Sooner land rush, Tilghman moved his family to Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. He served as a lawman in both Guthrie and Perry. U.S. Marshal Ed Nix offered him an appointment as a federal officer. Tilghman and fellow U.S. deputy marshals Chris Madson and Heck Thomas were assigned the task of hunting down the Dalton-Doolin gang. The citizens of Coffeyville, Kan., ended the career of the Daltons. The Three Guardsmen killed or led posses that captured the remainder. Together they made more than 300 arrests.

The marshal settled in Chandler and was elected Lincoln County sheriff in 1900. Later, he served Lincoln County in the Oklahoma Legislature. He resigned to become Oklahoma City's first appointed police chief in July 1911. He immediately directed officers to shut down brothels, gambling and bootlegging operations.

At the end of the two-year term, Tilghman returned to Chandler and operated Champion Stock Farm. The operation centered around Tilghman's horse, Chant, a Kentucky Derby winner.

He also directed a movie, The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws, which was released in 1915 by Tilghman's Eagle Film Company. Disturbed by the unfavorable portrayals of lawmen and the casting of outlaws as heros in other movies, he enlisted Nix, Madsen, other lawmen and the last surviving member of the Dalton-Doolin gang to portray themselves. Tilghman also starred in the movie. Theater owners were reluctant to run it because it lacked stars. The legend traveled the country, showing the movie and speaking to crowds.

Tilghman never retired from law enforcement. Along with Madsen and a few others, he held a statewide, special deputy's commission that was renewed by each of Oklahoma's early governors. He was called to stem tribal "Crazy Snake" uprisings and thwart Klu Klux Klan activities. In the early 1920s, oil was discovered in Oklahoma. Lawless boom towns sprang up in the oil patch and the state suffered from an unrelenting crime wave. Governor M.E. Trapp requested Tilghman to serve as his special investigator.

A few fearful citizens of Cromwell, nearly 60 miles east of Oklahoma City in Seminole County, petitioned Trapp for help. After the discovery of oil in October 1923, Cromwell grew from nothing into a wide-open, lawless city of more than 5,000 people by the following spring. The city had recorded at least 10 unsolved murders. Its oil-soaked, wood-frame businesses were primarily illegal saloons, gambling halls, and brothels. A man named Killian was reputably Cromwell's representative for crime bosses in Oklahoma City. Illegal drug use and "White Lightning" consumption was rampant. A Federal Prohibition agent, Wiley Lynn, was suspected of being paid to look the other way. Trapp asked Tilghman to tame one more town, "the wickedest in all Oklahoma."

The lawman's second wife and children asked him to turn down the assignment. Tilghman, who had not told them or Trapp he was dying from cancer, went regardless. Tilghman told a friend he wanted to die with his boots on and "not in bed like an old woman." After six months as the marshal of "Wicked Cromwell", he had made considerable progress with no help from Seminole County authorities. Lynn also arranged to release some of Tilghman's arrestees behind the scenes.

Halloween night, 1924, the marshal was having coffee in Ma Murphy's cafe, still in operation despite Tilghman shutting down Ma's attached "dance hall", with his deputy Hugh Sawyer and businessman W.E. Sirmans. Sirmans was one of the citizens who had requested help from Gov. Trapp. At 10 p.m. the men heard a shot fired outside in the street. Tilghman, who had stopped wearing his heavy gunbelt and Colt Peacemaker because of his cancer pain, drew a Colt .32 automatic from his pocket and ran outside.

G. Wayne Tilman, a distant cousin of Marshal Tilghman, described what happened next in "The Long Trail that ended in Cromwell: the Life and Death of legendary lawman Bill Tilghman", a July 1999 Cowboy Sports article:

"A drunken Wiley Lynn stood there, gun in hand. Brothel madam Rose Lutke was standing next to him. Another known prostitute, Eva Caton was sitting in Lynn's car with her date, a furloughed army sergeant.

Tilghman clasped Lynn's gun hand while jamming his own automatic into Lynn's ribs. He yelled for Hugh Sawyer to disarm Lynn. Rose Lutke, Lynn and Tilghman stood body to body in the dark as the young deputy rushed towards them. Two shots rang out. Lutke started screaming. After a few seconds, Tilghman slumped against the wall. Lynn disarmed Sawyer, who had yelled "Wiley Lynn has shot the Marshal!" though he had been unable to actually see the incident.

Lynn and Lutke jumped in the car and sped off.

William Matthew Tilghman died twenty minutes later on a sofa in the used furniture store next to Ma Murphy's. He had been hit twice in the left lung and bled to death internally."

One month after his death, every "every flophouse, bar, pool hall and brothel" in Cromwell were torched. The homes were spared. The arsons were never investigated. It was rumored the buildings were leveled in retribution for Tilghman's death by his friends.

Tilghman's body laid in state at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Lynn lost his federal position but was acquitted by a jury under suspicious circumstances. Key witnesses such as Rose Lutke vanished. Sirmans fled to Florida after his life was threatened.

Lynn died in July 1932. He entered Madill's Corner Drug Store and pointed a handgun at Crockett Long, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent. Lynn blamed Long for his failure to obtain a job with the state bureau. Long, who had served as Madill's chief of police, had also arrested Lynn in the past. Long turned, tried to get Lynn to put down his weapon, and then drew his .44 Smith and Wesson revolver. Both men shot each other. A bystander, 22-year-old Rody Watkins, was fatally struck in the spine by a bullet from Lynn's .38 Colt semi-auto pistol that had passed through Long's body.

Long died on the operating table a short time later. When Lynn heard Long had died, he said, "If he's dead, now I'm ready to die." Lynn folded his arms across his chest, and the killer of three men stopped breathing.

Upon hearing of Lynn's death and expressing regret for the deaths of Long and Watkins, Tilghman's widow, Zoe, said, "No jury on Earth can acquit him now."

Tilghman's grave can be found in Chandler's Oak Park Cemetery. His home, a private residence, is on the National Historic Register. Chandler celebrates Independence Day, his birthday, in Tilghman Park, which sits on land Tilghman once owned.

Cromwell is now a small town with less than 300 people. In years past, it has celebrated "Bill Tilghman Day" on the second Saturday in October.