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Today’s Plans

It’s Veteran’s Day, and I took a day off from work.  To celebrate, I’m going to relive some of the best moments from my glory days.

Here’s my agenda:

  • Take a perfectly clean rifle out of the safe and spend a few hours ‘cleaning’ it before presenting it to someone who hates me with the fire of a thousand suns for ‘inspection’.
  • Get into a spotlessly clean and pressed suit of clothing, complete with immaculately shined footwear, then climb around a greasy, dirty truck for an hour while filling out paperwork that will be glanced at and thrown into the trash.
  • Remove everything from my basement, sort it out into neat lines, and have the neighbor check to make sure I haven’t lost anything since the last time I opened up the storage room.
  • Lock a craggy old fart who’s too old for this shit into a room with an enthusiastic college senior who thinks he’s Patton.  Take side bets on which one survives the encounter.
  • Pack everything I need to survive for a year into two small bags, carry it all to the end of a runway, then sit and wait in the rain until told that the op’s been cancelled and there’s an equipment inspection in the morning.
    • Repeat that last step while blind drunk at 2 the next morning because you never know when you’ll need to do it for real.
  • Spend weeks planning something really, really important and extremely fun, including travel and lodging arrangements and a list of interesting people that you want to meet and have long conversations with, then cancel it after your plane has taken off because some pissants in some 3rd world shithole decided to have a ‘peaceful election’ and form a ‘democratic government’.
    • Spoil sports
  • Pack a briefing room full of guys from upstate New York, Michigan, North Dakota, and Alaska for four hours and teach them how to stay warm and dry in the winter.
  • Pack the same room full of native Texans and Arizonans and teach them about surviving the heat.
  • Teach about both heat and cold injuries after issuing a complete set of cold-weather gear to two Air Force guys and telling them to walk two miles for chow.
  • Be called fat and out of shape by someone who got carried by a fat and out of shape dude after she passed out carrying 20% of her body weight up the side of a relatively long, steep mountainside.
    • It’s OK, she only weighed about as much as my rucksack did. Soaking wet.  Holding a brick.


  • I’m not sure what’s wrong with America’s youth.
    • I left a bowl containing five pounds of assorted chocolate bars on a stool at the end of my drive for trick or treaters when I left this evening.
    • Maybe five pieces were gone when we got home.
    • In my day, not only would all of the chocolate have been gone, but the mixing bowl and stool would also vanish for a few days.
  • Speaking of young people, apparently adolescent humans are using the hashtag #OKBoomer to dismiss someone older who disagrees with them on social media.
    • The explanation I’ve been given is that it’s a shorthand way to express how  motivated the writer is to deal with the mess left over from the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
    • I suggest that when some little pissant who still has egg yolk behind one ear uses that hashtag, it should be answered with #PissOffInfant.
    • We can use that to express our disdain for folks of any age who believe that their limited life skills and experiences qualify them to hold an informed opinion on anything more advanced than whether Huggies or Pampers are more comfortable after nap time.
  • So, the House of Representatives held a vote today to authorize the already-begun impeachment investigation of President Trump. Surprise, surprise, it was almost a party-line vote.
    • I won’t comment on what got this all started or the motives of either side in what little debate is happening.  A pox upon both their houses.
    • What I will say is that the time for closed-door hearings is officially over.  When Watergate was going on, Sesame Street and my mother’s soap operas were preempted to show testimony live for months.  I want that again.  I want it on C-SPAN, YouTube, BET, ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX, PBS, and Nickelodean.  I want the public to watch, in real time, what’s said and who says it.
    • Yes, sunshine is the best disinfectant.  If the President is dirty and deserves this, show me the facts.  If he’s clean, show that to me unfiltered.
    • Either way, it’s time for us to see how the sausage gets made.

New-to-me Rifle

The other day, Irish Woman indulged me and we went to the local big box sporting goods store.  This is one of those with an indoor fishing pond and enough taxidermy that my loving wife calls it The Dead Zoo.

Anyway, I followed my habit of strolling through the racks of used guns to see if there was anything interesting.  It was an embarrassment of riches.  They had several Swiss K-31 straight pull bolt actions.  There was a rather beat-up Spanish Mauser next to a row of CETME clones.  There was the obligatory rack of Mosin-Nagant 91/30’s, all of them looking like they’d been dug out from underneath an old bunker west of Minsk.

By the way, when did Mosins start going for almost $400?

Then I caught a glance of polished wood and steel.   Nestled between a couple of Russian shotguns was an old Enfield.  Further inspection showed that it was chambered in 7.62×51.  It was missing its magazine, but was otherwise in heavily used, but good shape.

Being the responsible adult who had his wife along with him at the time, I put it back on the rack.  I asked a few friends to convince me to not go back and get it, and they dutifully told me I needed to go back and get it.

So, tonight, I went back and got it.

My new purchase is a 1967 Ishapore 2A1, an evolution of the SMLE MkIII.



Other than the proof marks and serial number on the receiver, this was the only marking on the rifle. The furniture is dinged up quite a bit, but seems sturdy.


The rifle has seen quite a bit of use. Anywhere the finish could wear off the steel from use, it has. The bore is quite shiny, and I couldn’t find any rust on it.

First, I’m going to learn to tear her down and give her a good cleaning.  Then, I’ll find a magazine for her and get it fitted so that I can invest in a few boxes of 7.62×51 and take her to the range.

Time to find out why everybody’s been raving about the Enfield action.





  • I started a new injection today for my arthritis.  Possible side effects are ravenous hunger, abnormal hair growth, irritability, and an aversion to silver.
    • Am I the only one craving really, really rare lamb right now?
  • DaddyBear’s Maxim of Yard Work – Do not mow the lawn until after Memorial Day and do not rake leaves until after the first wind storm.
    • However, if it’s snowing, you better be out there shoveling while it’s still coming down.
  • I told my boss the other day that I was officially changing my title to “Designated Guilty Bastard”.
    • He may have thought I was joking.
    • If the reward for doing a job well is more of that job, I just be doing pretty good.
  • We turned on the furnace for the first time tonight.
    • Apparently, we were also making a burnt offering to some arcane deity in our ductwork.
    • Usually, we get a couple months of fall between turning off the air conditioning and turning on the furnace.  This year, we got a week and a half.
  • I was feeling pretty good about Boo and I getting out of the house this morning.  No bad attitude, no sharp words. We even got in the truck ahead of schedule.  We had a few extra minutes to listen to a Larry Correia audiobook and talk about the day before the doors to school opened.
    • Truly, it was a great way to start the morning.
    • Then Boo got out and noticed that he’d forgotten his lunch on the counter.
    • Oh, well, there are worse things to forget.  One of his uncles once forgot his left shoe and didn’t realize it until he was halfway to school.


  • For the first time in 25 years, I have taken one of my sprogs fishing and been able to get my own hook wet.  I will call that a victory.
  • There is nothing like the feeling you get when your wife notices a juvenile raccoon pushing its head through a previously overlooked hole in the screen door.
    • It had a sibling.
    • Hijinks ensued.
    • When I spoke to the maintenance fellow at the lake resort about it, he chuckled and said we were lucky it wasn’t a bear.
  • On a related note, I told Irish Woman that she could only adopt a raccoon if she promised to sit on the porch and drink beer with it on hot Kentucky afternoons.
  • If you’re going to fish at the bottom of a big dam, you better keep an ear open for the warning sirens.
    • If you are in a boat and do not heed the warning sirens, you better be pretty good at handling your boat in rough water.
  • Irish Woman and I thought Rock House was really neat, until we realized that we were about 10 miles downstream from the dam.  That would be the dam we saw them open the gates on an hour earlier, causing the river level to rise several feet in about two minutes.
    • The mud 20 yards up from the river, dotted with dead minnows, during a time when we hadn’t gotten rain in weeks, convinced us that we shouldn’t linger.
  • Note to self – When visiting a distillery, visit the gift shop before going to the bar.  It gets a tad expensive when you do it the other way ’round.
  • During out meander south, we visited one of my favorite gun stores.
    • I took a long look at a Mossberg in 20 gauge for Boo.  One may be following us home soon.
    • Ruger has apparently caught lightning in a bottle with the Wrangler, its new single-action .22 revolver.   I am currently number 30 on the waiting list and should have the revolver I bought last week sometime around Christmas.
  • Remember what I said about getting a suppressor?  Yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever have that much disposable income.
    • Yet another example of government regulation making something that should be inexpensive and convenient costly and a pain in the butt.
  • Our 15th anniversary is coming up in a month or three.  That’s the ‘crystal’ anniversary.  I already know what I’m getting Irish Woman.  She has no idea what to get me, but I told her that the finely ground glass in a good rifle scope might count.

In Memoriam

DaddyBear's Den

Imagine you’re a 30 something highly trained professional.  Throughout your military career, you’ve worked hard to be the best you can be at everything you do.  You’ve been through all of the Army’s toughest training, and have ascended to the pinnacle of the Special Operations Forces pyramid with an assignment to be a sniper in Delta Force.

You’ve deployed all over the world for both training and combat, and you’re tasked with providing sniper support to a routine snatch and grab operation in some third world shithole.  Absolutely routine, same op as you’ve done a number of times in the past few months.

Then the world falls in.

First, one American helicopter is shot down, and then another falls from the sky.  A search and rescue team is able to make it to the first helicopter, but the crew of the second crashed bird is alone and thousands of pissed…

View original post 237 more words

Never Leave a Man Behind

DaddyBear's Den

On October 3 and 4, 1993, Operation Gothic Serpent, also known as the Battle of Mogadishu happened.  U.S Army Rangers, Delta Force, and helicopters from the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment began the day on what should have been an easy snatch and grab mission. By the time the sun set the next day, 19 Americans would be dead, 91 would have been wounded, and 1 would be a prisoner of war.  History was made that day in a way that no-one could have imagined when the helicopters lifted off.

When the Somalia relief mission was announced, our brigade commander came through our battalion looking for people who could speak Italian, French, or Arabic.  He didn’t even ask if anyone spoke Somali.  Volunteers who were accepted were sent off to augment the combat forces as translators.  This was the first of the “Christiane Amanpour Operations” where political leaders reacted to…

View original post 370 more words


  • For once, air travel was quite pleasant.
    • Seriously, even the TSA people were pleasant and helpful.
    • I can’t even complain about New Jersey drivers, much. The drive between Newark airport and undisclosed location was, for the most part, uneventful.
  • I do believe, however, that I shall never frequent the hotel I stayed at again.  It wasn’t the condition of the room (mediocre), the dearth of water warmer than piss, or even the lack of pressure for said piss-warm water.  It was the fire alarm sounding at odd times, usually when I was trying to sleep.
  • Scheduling a conference in Manhattan on the same day that the United Nations was meeting was probably not the best move somebody could have made.  Looking on the bright side, I got an opportunity to observe New York street life for three hours as we crept along through traffic.
    • Some people call it The Big Apple. I’m thinking it’s more like the The Big Anthill.  How can so many people stand being so close to each other?
  • Newark is one of those cities where there are islands of good places, surrounded by high fences and unarmed guards, in a sea of crackheads, strip clubs, and burned out cars.
    • Seriously, I expected to see roving bands of undead to complete the scene

Review – Heart of a Soldier

I first heard about Rick Rescorla as a young private in 1989.  My First Sergeant was a Vietnam vet with a 1st Cavalry Division combat patch, and among his war stories was talk of a fearless lieutenant he had met there.  I learned more about him when I read and reread We Were Soldiers Once, And Young a few years later.

Imagine my shock at finding out that Mr. Rescorla was not only among the dead of 9/11, but was also a hero of that infamous day.  Heart of a Soldier tells his story in a very human manner.

From Pulitzer Prize winner James B. Stewart comes the extraordinary story of American hero Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley security director and a veteran of Vietnam and the British colonial wars in Rhodesia, who lost his life on September 11.

Heart of a Soldier is the extraordinary story of war, love and comradeship, danger and heroism, told by a Pulitzer Prize winner who is one of our finest writers.

When Rick Rescorla got home from Vietnam, he tried to put combat and death behind him, but he never could entirely. From the day he joined the British Army to fight a colonial war in Rhodesia, where he met American Special Forces’ officer Dan Hill who would become his best friend, to the day he fell in love with Susan, everything in his remarkable life was preparing him for an act of generosity that would transcend all that went before.

Heart of a Soldier is a story of bravery under fire, of loyalty to one’s comrades, of the miracle of finding happiness late in life. Everything about Rick’s life came together on September 11. In charge of security for Morgan Stanley, he successfully got all its 2,700 men and women out of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Then, thinking perhaps of soldiers he’d held as they died, as well as the woman he loved, he went back one last time to search for stragglers.

Heart of a Soldier is a biography of Rick Rescorla and his life-long friend, Dan Hill.  The story starts as they meet in post-colonial Africa, and progresses through a lifetime of combat, family, and friendship.

While both men’s leadership and heroism in Vietnam is discussed in detail, this is more than a gathering of war stories.  We learn about how they were brought up, their plans for life, how they diverged from those plans, and the ending one of them chose.  We get to know their families, their life after the military, and how they lived as men.

Heart of a Soldier isn’t an action story, although there is action throughout the first half of the book.  It’s not a romance, although romance plays a large part in Rescorla’s later life.  Heart of a Soldier is the story of two men from very different backgrounds who never forgot the meaning of honor and duty, even until the very end.

If you believe that such men deserve to be learned about and remembered, I think you’ll enjoy Heart of a Soldier.

Audiobook Review – Darkship Thieves

Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship Thieves is a fun romp that sucks you in and holds on tight.  I started out reading a bound copy I purchased from the author, but liked it so much I sprang for the audiobook so I could listen during my commute.

Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space. Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. Never had any interest in finding out the truth about the DarkShips. You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the strangerwho turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help. But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime – if she managed to survive.

If you’re a fan of Heinlein, you’ll enjoy this book.  It is part Friday, part I Shall Fear No Evil, and part excellent world building and storytelling.  Hoyt’s attention to details in her settings and characters comes through in three dimensional Technicolor, and I found myself sitting in the car to listen to the end of a chapter more than once. The story has space opera, intrigue, and future history, all of which kept my attention.

Kymberly Dakin was an excellent choice to give voice to the main character, who narrates the entire book.  She did an impressive job of conveying the world and characters that Mrs. Hoyt created.

Because this is the first book in a series, the author had to spend quite a bit of time describing the word in which it happens.  Some readers will find this to be a bit of a drag on the plot, but the world that Hoyt builds is intricate and well filled out.  Otherwise, the plot moves along at a good clip.

Like I said, this reminds me a lot of Heinlein’s later works, and so the story is probably a bit too adult for readers under 15 or so.  There is some language, but it’s not gratuitous.

I’ve packed the sequel, Darkship Renegades, for a business trip, and I can’t wait to get started.  I think that once you give Darkship Thieves a try, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

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