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Today’s Earworm

With apologies to Papa Roach.  I was in a class on data protection all week.

Cut my files into pieces!
This is my hash report!
Data streaming!
Don’t give a #$!@ if my backups are speedy!

Old Rifles

As you all can tell, I like old rifles. Yeah, the AR-15 and the other modern or semi-modern guns are fun and I geek out over the latest gilding of the firearm lily. But I have to admit, there’s just something about a big chunk of steel and wood that just feels right against my shoulder.

So, here are a few descriptions of old rifles that just make me happy.

  • M1903 – Take the bolt handle between the thumb and forefinger gently, but firmly. With just a practiced flick of the wrist, you can cycle the smooth-as-butter action and be right back on target.
  • Mosin-Nagant 91/30 – Smack that thing like it owes you money, tovarisch, and it’ll cycle every time. If it doesn’t, try hitting it with your shovel.
  • M-1 Garand – The ping of freedom. Just watch out for your thumb.
  • Winchester 94 – I’ll admit it, I like Louis Lamour and Chuck Connors. There’s just something satisfying about working that lever. Almost makes me want to invest in a pair of boots. Almost.
  • G-3 / CETME – Fired this a couple of times when I was working toward my Schutzenschnur. More teutonic fun than should be allowed by law.
  • Schmidt-Rubin K31 – Bang, pull, bang, pull, bang, pull, bang, pull, with each cycle making the cheap bastard that lives in my head yell out “We are not made of money!!”


  • The good news is that in the choice between a damaged television and a damaged Amazon Fire Stick, I got the broken Fire Stick.
    • We’ve been considering a new TV, but didn’t want to buy one this weekend.
  • Things I’ve decided as a parent:
    • Books are better than movies
    • Legos are better than Minecraft
    • Nerf guns are better than Fortnite
  • We got about three inches of wet snow, which rapidly turned to slush and then mud. It’s the natural cycle of things here in Louisville.
  • When your ten year old comes in from playing in the slush, then goes back out with a large glass of water, you know he’s creating something nefarious.
  • There’s a moment of absolute peace and well being when the dishes are done, the house is vacuumed, and the laundry is washed, dried, folded, and put away.
    • It’s only a moment, mind you, and then life reverts back to “hand grenade in a hen house” mode.

Today’s Earworm


  • Ah, the sounds of the season. The hiss and pop of a warm hearth, the tick of the timer on an oven full of cookies, my youngest trying to figure out how to make Darth Vader’s theme song sound Christmasy on the keyboard, my wife muttering to herself as she finds yet another gift that needs wrapping, and the dog farting against a hardwood floor.
  • Irish Woman thought that the two, count them, two Harry Potter Lego sets Boo got from Santa would take him all week to assemble. Total build time – 6 hours to get both done.
  • They may sound like a gimmick, but a 25 pound quilt made for the best nap I’ve had in years.
    • Lifting it, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly easy. Imagine trying to lift 25 pounds of loose bubblegum that doesn’t want to stay in one blob.
    • Irish Woman pinky swears she didn’t pay retail price for it. I most certainly hope this isn’t one of those little white lies I hear so much about.
  • One bad thing about having two black dogs is that when they bolt on you after sunset, it’s like trying to chase shadows. Luckily, both of them came right back to the porch after the three of us did a few wind sprints up and down the block, in the dark, and across several lawns.

Repost: Combat Preparation

Note – This originally appeared here in 2010. It is the first dim thought I had of the Minivandians

The old warrior slowly ran the stone down the length of his sword.  This weapon had been made for his grandfather, and he was planning on passing it along to his own grandson.  He could be buried with some of his lesser weapons, but this piece of family hardware would pass down the line along with the strong bodies and tough minds that had set him and his brothers apart during the wars.  Once the edge was sharp enough to shave with, he ran an oiled rag down its length to protect it from the elements.

Next came the shield.  He polished the leather, wood, and iron of it lovingly.  He noted every chip and dent, remembering the blows that had made their mark over the years.  He would need this old friend’s protection again today.

Next came his war kilt, chain mail shirt, and helm.  He strapped his sword across his back, and attached his long dagger to his ankle where it would make a good back up weapon.

Bowing his head before starting his march to battle, he prayed to the gods, both old and new, to protect him as he faced the ravening hordes he was sure to encounter today.  He thought of all the old comrades who had gone before him, and the young men who had come home half mad from the sights he was heading towards today.

Once both his body and spirit were armed and armored, he stepped out onto the black plain that lead to his goal.  He squared his shoulders, but knew that today might be his last.  Too many gray hairs graced his head, too many battles over the years ran through his memory for him to expect to see the sun set on this day.

As he walked forward to battle, the sights and sounds of this day burned into his soul.  The high pitched ringing of a bell, the soft music that filled the air, the old warrior knew they would be the sounds that would take him to Valhalla.  The red and black clad herald of  the madness within greeted him as he walked through doors that magically opened for him.  The noise of the horde immediately pressed on him like a wave.  Undaunted, he waded into the lair of the enemy, intent on his purpose.

The last thing he heard before the noise drowned out all sanity was the merry calling of the door keeper:

“Merry Christmas!  Welcome to Walmart!”

Today’s Earworm

This is the 200th anniversary of the first performance of this song. It’s always been one of my favorites.

Irish Woman and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

Today’s Earworm

Review – Against a Rising Tide

Alma Boykin closes her “The Powers” series with an excellent story of family, honor, and duty in “Against a Rising Tide“.

The World War has ended. The battles rage on.

Five years after the end of the World War, men, Half-Dragons and True-Dragons labor to repair the damage. The English and French insist on punishing the nations of the Habsburg Confederation and Germany, while nationalists and Communists threaten to tear the alliance and the Houses apart from within. As chaos swirls and tensions rise, István Eszterházy and Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg struggle to preserve order, and to preserve both Houses and Powers. Worse, an old enemy from the war stalks István, intent on revenge.

But true danger lurks to the east. The forces that destroyed Galicia threaten to devour all of the Powers and Houses, killing the very soil of the land as they do. As another war rages, István and Rudolph must hide the secret of the Powers from forces more terrible than the Mongols and ottomans combined.

Against a Rising Tide continues the story of Istvan Esterhazy, a nobleman leading a family that boasts dragons in its bloodline. After the defeat and dismemberment of the First World War, the Houses of the Empire are hard-pressed to adapt to a new world. Boykin adds a thread of tension throughout this story, which ratchets up the pace and keeps the reader riveted.

While taking us through the political and social upheaval of the 1920’s and ’30’s, Boykin paints a vivid depticion of a man trying to preserve what he can while living in the real world. In the end, this is a story of humanity in an ever-more dehumanizing world.

I had to take this story in small bites so that I could chew it over and think about what it was telling me. I definitely recommend this entire series to folks who are interested in this period of history and want a story that appeals on many levels.

Today’s Earworm

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