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Musings

  • Tomorrow morning I go in to have blood drawn for an upcoming physical.  Dinner tonight included a very rare ribeye.
    • If I’m going to get chided about my cholesterol, I’m going to enjoy earning it.
  • Irish Woman and Boo decided to play some cards tonight.
    • It wasn’t that she’s teaching him how to play blackjack that concerned me.  It was that she was teaching him how to count cards.
  • Girlie Bear took the Greyhound back to Louisville this weekend.
    • There was the beginnings of a brawl starting when she got out of the station, so apparently little has changed in the couple of decades since I last took a bus.
    • There’s nothing like the time spent parked at a bus station in downtown Louisville on a Saturday morning to make you think, “You know, maybe I didn’t bring enough guns.”
  • Division of labor at our house:
    • Irish Woman is in charge of summer lawn care, specifically mowing and trimming.  I probably mow the grass two or three times a year.
    • I, on the other hand, am primarily responsible for leaf removal.  Irish Woman does, however, run the mower across the leaves a couple of times every year.
    • This works out that she does quite a bit of mowing over several months, while I do a lot of work over a few weeks.
    • I will point out, however, that it’s rather rare for the lawn to need mowing three times in one day. This weekend, I had to go over the leaves several times in order to not get buried.
    • I would also like to point out that when snow needs shoveling, that’s my job.
  • This morning, I had to run to the big box home center for a couple of things.  There was a young couple in the paint area.  It was quite obvious that the young lady of the pair was picking out paint for a new home. She was looking at about 17,235 shades of pastel something or other, and would squeal every time she found a new hue to consider.  The stack of paint cards clutched in her hand grew by the minute.
    • The young man looked like he would rather be drug behind a honey wagon for about ten miles of gravel road.  He visibly winced at several of the possibilities the young woman was considering.
    • I wanted to up to him, give him a manly hug, and tell him to be strong, because it was never going to end.  Ever.  Even after death, she’ll pick out the color of pillow he’d rest his head upon for eternity.

100 Years On – Mutiny!

On October 29, 1918, members of the German High Seas Fleet refused orders to prepare the fleet for one final battle against the British Navy.  Their activities ranged from work stoppages to outright mutiny and sabotage.

Initially, ringleaders were rounded up and imprisoned, and Navy leaders felt that the situation had been dealt with.  However, a growing number of sailors, allied with unions and socialist political groups, continued to conspire against the German government.

Finally, in the first week of November, an open revolt broke out in many parts of Germany.  Military units from the North Sea to Bavaria joined with civilians to overthrow the German government, eventually bringing down Kaiser Wilhelm himself.

100 Years On – Flu

In the second half of 1918, the second and largest wave of deaths caused by a worldwide flu pandemic built to a crescendo that killed more people than World War I.   While its origin is open to debate, it was soon rampant in every part of the world.

The conditions at training posts in the United States and in the battlefields of the First World War were almost tailor-made for the spread of the flu.  Soldiers on both sides of the trenches were falling to the illness in droves by the time the war ended.  When they returned home after the Armistice, the virus went with them to all the corners of the globe.

The Spanish Flu, in three waves that stretched between 1917 and 1920, killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide.  To put that in perspective, if a similar outbreak were to occur now, it would kill between 230 and 380 million people.

100 Years On – End of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

On October 20, 1918, the German Empire ended its program of unrestricted submarine warfare.  Off and on through out the war, German U-Boats had attacked shipping destined for Allied countries without warning.  This reduced the risk to the German boats and crews, but increased the loss of life on targeted ships.  The resumption of the tactic in 1917 was a calculated move to knock Great Britain out of the war before the United States could mass sufficient forces after they declared war.

In four years, German submarines sank over 4000 Allied and neutral ships, with a tonnage in excess of 8,000,000 tons.  Losses to the German fleet was 178 U-Boats and about 5000 sailors.

Review – First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

During my recent trip, I listened to the audiobook of David Harsanyi’s new work, First Freedom:  A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun.  It’s a solid survey of the history of gun technology, the personalities that helped to make advances in firearms, and their impact American history and culture.

For America, the gun is a story of innovation, power, violence, character, and freedom.

From the founding of the nation to the pioneering of the West, from the freeing of the slaves to the urbanization of the twentieth century, our country has had a complex and lasting relationship with firearms. Now, in First Freedom, nationally syndicated columnist and veteran writer David Harsanyi explores the ways in which firearms have helped preserve our religious, economic, and cultural institutions for over two centuries. From Samuel Colt’s early entrepreneurism to the successful firearms technology that helped make the United States a superpower, the gun is inextricably tied to our exceptional rise.

In the vein of popular histories like Salt and Seabiscuit,Harsanyi takes you on a captivating and thrilling ride of Second Amendment history that demonstrates why guns are not only an integral part of America’s past, but also an essential part of its future.

First Freedom is an engrossing look into how firearms have evolved over the past 1000 years and how they have had an impact on American history.  Harsanyi fills in details without overwhelming the reader, and even folks who have used and studied firearms for years will learn from First Freedom.

While the pro-gun attitude of the author is evident throughout the book, it doesn’t become at all thick until the last couple of chapters.  The author takes time to discuss personalities such as Colt, Browning, Garand, and Stoner as much as he writes about their creations.

Harsanyi paints a detailed picture of the thread that weaves firearms and the right to self defense into the fabric of America.  From the earliest explorers and settlers to the everyday citizen of the 21st century, the book’s narrative relates the importance of firearms in American culture.

I’d recommend First Freedom to anyone who is a fan of history, firearms, or both.  It’s an easy read, and will definitely go into my rotation.

Helping Out

Like a lot of you, I’ve been shocked by the devastation Hurricane Michael left in its wake.  That area of the Gulf Coast is one of our family’s favorite vacation spots, and we’d like to help out a group that is already on the ground and helping those hardest hit.

Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.

My short work “Working Vacation” is set in the area hardest hit by Hurricane Michael, and I borrowed a lot from the folks who live and work in the area.  So, I’d like to use it to help out.

From now until November 30, I will donate $1 to Team Rubicon for every purchase of “Working Vacation“, with a minimum donation of $100.

If you’ve already read the book, please consider going to the Team Rubicon webpage and making a donation.  They do good work, both here and around the world, when disaster strikes, and they will put anything we can give them to good use.

Musings

  • How my flight went on Monday:
    • Arrive at airport over an hour before boarding.
    • Check my bag, because the TSA isn’t going to get another chance to toss out half of my razor again.
    • Turned the corner from the ticketing desk, took half a step, and ran smack dab into the back of the line to go through the TSA checkpoint.  Seriously, I’ve flown the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby and it wasn’t as bad.
    • Wave as my boss walks past me and into the TSA pre-check line.  Reconsider whether the $85 every 5 years is worth the shorter line and easier screening.
      • I decided that it was.  My interview is in November.
    • Fly to Atlanta so that I can then fly to New York.  Yeah, I don’t understand it either, but it’s Delta.
    • Fly from Atlanta to SmallAirportInNewYork.
    • As we approach SmallAirportInNewYork, the captain announces that the airport is socked in and we can’t land.
    • I go back to watching my movie as we circle the airport for a couple of hours.
    • The captain comes back on and announces that we’re running a tad low on fuel.  Since we can’t get out and push, he decides it’s a good idea to divert to Hartford, Connecticut, to fill ‘er up.
    • We land in Hartford and proceed to wait about half an hour, with no sign of a fuel truck in sight.
    • The flight attendant, backed up by the captain, announces that we will, indeed, be fueling up and returning to circle SmallAirportInNewYork, but we will only try to land once or twice before returning to Atlanta.
    • I quell the outrage and tunnel vision, but am happy to report that my fellow passengers did not have that much self control.
    • Due to the pending riot on the plane, the flight attendant and captain decide that everybody who wants to get off is welcome to do so.  The airline, of course, will not be providing ground transportation to SmallAirportInNewYork, so we’re on our own.
    • Bossman and I retrieve our luggage while he tries to get us a rental car.
    • Upon inspection of my suitcase, I notice that the outside pocket where I put my shaving kit is about 1/4 of the way unzipped.  Further inspection shows that the pocket is devoid of said shaving kit.  Tunnel vision returns for a few minutes.
    • We acquire our rental car, have a quick bite to eat in lovely Hartford, and make our way down the freeway.  While we’re driving, I get out the Amazon app and order a new razor.  It’ll be delivered to my house on Wednesday.
    • Two hours later, after driving through every roadwork zone in Connecticut, we wave to SmallAirportInNewYork as we pass it.
    • Bossman graciously stops at a Target so that I can buy replacement toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and a pack of disposable razors.
    • We make it to our hotel, four hours later than planned,  with no further issues.
    • Upon unpacking my suitcase, however, I find one of those nifty-neato TSA cards that notifies me that an agent of the government found it necessary to rifle through my unmentionables.
    • Lo and behold, I find the contents of my shaving kit at the bottom of my suitcase.  Luckily for me and the people I had to interact with on Monday evening, my toothpaste and shampoo did not leak out onto my work clothes.
    • 7 PM – I get a notification from Delta airlines that my flight from Atlanta to SmallAirportInNewYork, which I got off of hours ago, has been cancelled.  I feel a warm glow knowing that the airline is looking out for me.
  • Wednesday was spent in New York City, ending a 20+ year drought of me setting  foot in New York City.
  • As we walked along the fetid streets of Manhattan, I considered another large city I’ve visited:  Moscow.
    • Moscow is cleaner, but New York has slightly better road conditions.
    • I saw fewer drunk people sitting on the sidewalk in New York.  Of course, the drunks in Moscow were frozen to the sidewalk, which adds a level of sophistication.
    • Both are impossible to drive in, and the odor of a big city is the same all over the world.
  • On the flight home today, I watched the new “Murder on the Orient Express“.  I’ve walked around all afternoon thinking about growing my mustache out.

Things I Learned from Old Radio Shows

  • Women have only two roles
    • Damsel in distress
    • Femme Fatale
  • Every hero needs an ethnic servant who will either secretly hate their employer and plot their death, or will be a steady, loyal ally who constantly keeps the protagonist alive.
  • If you’re going to track down your sworn enemy and have them corned, nailed down, or locked up, do not just leave them to die.  Finish the job and enjoy the rest of your life.
    • Not to put too fine a point to it, but very few folks can come back to darken your doorstep after two slugs behind the ear.  Just saying.
  • Anyone with a vaguely German, Russian, or Japanese accent should automatically be treated with suspicion.
  • The best shows are sponsored by cigarette and booze companies.  Not sure why that is.

Musings

  • Due to an upcoming business trip, I had to go clothes shopping today.
    • I wisely chose to take along my lovely wife.  You see, like many men I know, I can only see the colors that came in the Crayola 8 pack I got in kindergarten.  I’ll allow that there are “regular”, “light”, and “dark” shades of each, for a total of 24 total colors.
    • Apparently, through some magic that must be intertwined somewhere in the double-X chromosome, Irish Woman can see a myriad of colors, and can sense which of them should be worn together.
    • Hence, dear reader, her presence as I picked out a new sport coat and dress shirt for my trip.
  • Since it’s been umpteen years since I last bought a dress coat, I asked the nice young lady at the second store we went to to measure me.  Apparently, I’m a “Lower Primate – Long”.
    • Now that I think of it, it might have been faster and cheaper to go to the zoo in order to skin out a silverback for my jacket.
  • Boo has graduated up to Webelos Scout, and since his blue Cub Scout shirt fits like a sausage skin that no longer reaches to his belt line, we purchased him a new khaki Boy Scout shirt, with all the necessary patches.
    • That, along with a new Webelos manual and a spare neckerchief, came to only slightly less than my dress jacket.
  • We finally broke down and called a plumbing company to come out and correct the issue we’ve been having with our sewer lines.
    • It would have taken me a couple of weekends and many trips to the store to fix it.
    • They, on the other hand will arrive tomorrow with crew, talent, equipment, and supplies, and will probably be done in a couple of hours.

100 Years On – Attention to Orders

After having previously destroyed a number of enemy aircraft within 17 days he (Second Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr.) voluntarily started on a patrol after German observation balloons. Though pursued by 8 German planes which were protecting the enemy balloon line, he unhesitatingly attacked and shot down in flames 3 German balloons, being himself under heavy fire from ground batteries and the hostile planes. Severely wounded, he descended to within 50 meters of the ground, and flying at this low altitude near the town of Murvaux opened fire upon enemy troops, killing 6 and wounding as many more. Forced to make a landing and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who called upon him to surrender, he drew his automatic pistol and defended himself gallantly until he fell dead from a wound in the chest.

 

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