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  • The hand specialist took a look at my arthritic fingers, pronounced that I do have hands with bones in them, and to continue what I’ve been doing.  That cost me an hour of my life and $30.
  • How to know you’re a geek:  Flatbed truck is in front of me on the way home from work last night.  The tarp covering its cargo is gone.  Its cargo is a mock-up of a SovietZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft gun.  As we drive along, I’m reciting to myself every fact I know about the system, its capabilities, its faults, and the countries that have fielded it.  That one-sided conversation lasts 15+ minutes before the truck and I part ways.  I then go home and read up on everything I can find on the Internet about Soviet air defense.
    • I’m not sure, but I may need a sponsor.
  • How do I know I have a great wife?  Well, yesterday evening she presented me with three six-packs of good beer, and tonight I came home to homemade buttermilk pie.
    • Boys, I got me a good Southern woman this time.
  • Quizzed Girlie Bear on physics and U.S. history tonight in preparation for tests.  She seems to have quickly learned that I’d rather hear “I don’t know” than a scientific wild ass guess.
  • There’s nothing more romantic than your wife asking you to go on a date so you can go see the new baby hippo at the zoo.


  1. Beer without asking?
    Free Pie?
    A date at the zoo?

    Ha! You’re being buttered up, bro.

    • Dude, she also suggested we go to a Vikings game in Minnesota instead of getting a diamond ring for our 10th anniversary. Seriously, I’m thinking that she knows I’m dieing and can’t stand to tell me.

  2. ZSU-23? Nasty, nasty critters. I didn’t run across the 4-barreled version, but the 2-barreled was bad enough. It was often used by Angolan and SWAPO forces to defend their bases in the bush, and when used against vehicles (even APC’s) could inflict terrible damage. Fortunately, most of them couldn’t shoot straight – with the result that an entire anti-aircraft unit of the South African Army was equipped with captured ZSU-23-2’s, and many others were ‘souvenired’ by conventional units and mounted on truck beds, etc. UNITA, RENAMO and other anti-Soviet movements also used captured ZSU-23’s very effectively.

    Even though I hated to encounter them, they were (and are still) damn fine weapons.

    • I had a professional interest in them once upon a lifetime, but not quite as intimately as you did, Peter.

      You know those kids who sit and rattle off statistics for the different creatures in fantasy card games? Yeah, I used to work with their parents and they were interested in opposing forces hardware. We used to sit and argue about which tank we’d rather face, which AD system was the best for a given scenario, and which Warsaw Pact army would be the worst to face off with.

  3. Spike

     /  September 12, 2014

    How do you know that it was a mock up?

    • I’ve crawled around on a lot of mock-ups and a few real ones. This was a mock-up. The ply-wood and sheet-metal sides were a give-away, as was the hollow radar dish on the back of it.

  4. You just HAD to do that didn’t you… sigh… Now you’ve got ME doing it… grumble… and it wasn’t one of my ‘required’ ones…

  5. Whereas, in an EH60, we were VERY interested…

  6. mrgarabaldi

     /  September 12, 2014

    Hey DB,

    Yes I remember the ZSU was very popular with us ELINT guys for the gundish radar system. and the 2000 rounds per barrel. GSFG and other soviet armies had a LOT of them. The helo guys always looked for that one…they hated that one more than any other, the SA-6/SA-8/SA-7 were missile system…you know why they are called missiles? because they were not “hittile’s”. Where the 23 mm would flat out ruin your day. They could be killed with a 50 cal though. I always wondered why we couldn’t field a good radar gun system for the division level. The Sgt York never passed muster, whereas the Soviet version worked great…..

    • Mission creep and trying to make something that could do everything, most likely. That seems to be the main reason most defense contracts I worked with failed to live up to expectations.

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