Saturday, October 11, 2008
He reported that the medical solution they were attempting was no longer working. Not only is the tumor in her lung not shrinking, but the medication is now causing unacceptable secondary side affects.
He has established a dramatic course of Chemotherapy: one treatment a week, for twelve weeks.
Sandie and I thank you for your continuing prayers and support.
I will continue posting here, because this is my therapy. If I seem to be ignoring the larger events in our life, if I seem indifferent, I assure you that I am just editing.
We are determined that Sandie will become a Cancer Survivor.
Whatever it takes.
We're not grim. We're just finding this new development to be a little overwhelming. And scary.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I'm sure you haven't all had time and opportunity to actually READ the bill which provides
You know, the bill which Barney Frank, in his Infinate Wisdom said could not conceivably be a problem because, after all, it was Guaranteed by the U. S. Government?
Yeah, that bill.
Here's some interesting text embedded in the bill:
SEC. 115. GRADUATED AUTHORIZATION TO PURCHASE.
(a) Authority- The authority of the Secretary to purchase troubled assets under this Act shall be limited as follows:
(1) Effective upon the date of enactment of this Act, such authority shall be limited to $250,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.
(2) If at any time, the President submits to the Congress a written certification that the Secretary needs to exercise the authority under this paragraph, effective upon such submission, such authority shall be limited to $350,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.
(3) If, at any time after the certification in paragraph (2) has been made, the President transmits to the Congress a written report detailing the plan of the Secretary to exercise the authority under this paragraph, unless there is enacted, within 15 calendar days of such transmission, a joint resolution described in subsection
(c), effective upon the expiration of such 15-day period, such authority shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.
(b) Aggregation of Purchase Prices- The amount of troubled assets purchased by the Secretary outstanding at any one time shall be determined for purposes of the dollar amount limitations under subsection (a) by aggregating the purchase prices of all troubled assets held.
(c) Joint Resolution of Disapproval-
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Secretary may not exercise any authority to make purchases under this Act with regard to any amount in excess of $350,000,000,000 previously obligated, as described in this section if, within 15 calendar days after the date on which Congress receives a report of the plan of the Secretary described in subsection (a)(3), there is enacted into law a joint resolution disapproving the plan of the Secretary with respect to such additional amount.
*(Apologies for the crummy formatting, but if you can read the words, you can get the general idea.)
Here's the idea:
This bill authorized the Feds to commit no more than $250 BILLION dollars to the bailout at any one time.
If the Prez (who knows who the hell THAT will be this time next year?) decides that they need more money, he can submit a request to The Secretary, and The Committee can authorize up to $350 BILLION dollars invested in The Bailout. No more, though!On the other hand, if The Prez (PBUH) determines that is not enough, he can submit a finding to Congress, who can autorize up to $700 BILLION distribution to "Purchase troubled assets" at one time.
"Troubled Assets" may seem to be a vague term, but essentially it referr to homes occupied by, and being more-or-less purchased by:
- people who didn't have a reliable income;
- people who couldn't come up with the 10-20% down payment which (until the Clinton Administration stepped in) was the normal requirement for a mortgage which was 'Guaranteed By The Government';
- or can't afford to make full payment on their mortgage when the economy falls into the crapper;
- or realize that their home is worth far less than the amount they still owe, and so have decided not to continue payments but instead to save their money so they can make their minimum down-payment on their next home which is financed by a REAL loan;
- or have been milking the system to establish a system of rental properties which they only hope will pay the mortgage on at least the first property in their personal Pyramid Scheme.
No need to worry yourself about this.
I'm sure that The President of The United States of America, and Congress, (those 500+ stalwart Sons and Daughters of America who have already proved that they have their fingers on the Heartbeat of American Economic Health) will remain steadfast in their care and concern over The American Economy, even if it isn't in their best personal interest.
Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
Rabelais: "All things are as they should be in this most nearly perfect of all possible worlds."
Star Trek, Generations: Excuse me! If you're God, why do you need our help to leave this world?
Never mind. Don't think you have to be cynical about American Politics just because I am.
It's not you. It's me.
Yesterday, a bowdlerized version of the skit was posted on the NBC webpage.
Here it is.
(I tried to embed the video, but NBC and SNL have conspired to show almost any number of objectionable videos instead. Here is another link to the video, which may even actually work. But I doubt it. Try the previous link, first, because it may be more stable.)
And here is the explanation WHY it was deleted. Essentially, the original version suggested that some of the tycoons who have profited from the "Sub-Prime Rate Mortgage" fiasco should be hanged.
I seem to be in a particularly bloody mood this week, so I admit I see nothing wrong with the suggestion. It's just a thought, nothing that need be acted upon. But still, we should not be censored for considering what some might think is as appropriate response to thoroughly reprehensible business practices ...
Okay, maybe I'm wrong on that point.
(Click the link on the event description, or the complete URL, or cut&past the URL into your browser bar.)
Scores are up at www.sppl.us
Below are two links to pix from the Inland Empire 3 gun, thanks to all who participated by working, ROing, cooking, scoring, tearing down, and shooting. Ty Mabry made this slideshow...way cool!
2008 IE 3 Gun Match
2008 IE 3 Gun Team Event
I'm not familiar with SmileBox, but I'll be checking it out. One feature seems to be that after it completes a show (which may take a half-hour or so), it goes into 'loop mode' and starts all over again. You'll have to decide for yourself how many times you want to watch.
The first display, of the 3-gun main match, provides some short videos interspersed with a lot of stills, choreographed by a fair amount of headbanger music.
This is a long display, but the music is an interesting mix and the videos jazz up the action. The pictures range from try-to-catch-the-brass-in-the air to interesting people smiling for the camera.
I discovered that the people were most interesting. I saw a lot of people I knew there. R&R Racing was well represented, both in the people (Bobby and Scott) and the props ... which I assume were donated to the match by R&R. Of course there were a few Montana Gold shirts there, Bill S. included.
Mostly, there were so many family and couple group photos represented that the entire display gave the happy impression that this was a family event.
The range, incidentally, is little short of wonderful. The footing can be described as 'meadowland', with lots of hills and trees in the background. It's a warm Summer (or early Fall) day, the sun is shine and faces are well populated with smiles and gap-toothed grins.
The second display, which seems to be a side match, demonstrates something knew in my experience: a 3-gun tag-team match.
There are three six-plate racks, three shooters, and 3 guns.
On the left rack is the shotgun shooter, with the rack not-to-far away. On the buzzer, he jumps up from his chair, grabs the pre-staged shotgun, and blazes away until he knocks down all six plates. (If you have to reload, you have to reload!)
Then he grounds the shotgun safely and RUNS to the second position, where the second team member is seated in a chair. Slapping hand ('tagging') releases that shooter to run to the table where his rifle is grounded. After knocking down the six plates at a 'pretty far out' distance, he grounds the rifle on the table and races to tag the third team member.
On receiving the tag, the third shooter runs to a barrel where a pistol is pre-staged. Grabbing the pistol, he knocks down the six plates on that rack
there appear to be some restrictions on how a gun must be 'safely grounded'; if you screw up, you have to go back and safely ground the gun before you can tag the next team member.
Lots of action, lots of fun, and lots of cat-calls from the Peanut Gallery when a team member screws up.
Highlights: Bill S. on the shotgun (he may not be accurate, but he is fast!) and a four-foot-not-much-more junior who does a fine job on the pistol plates.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Jonesboro. school shooter again facing prison sentence - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
Do you remember Mitchell Johnson?
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Jonesboro school shooter Mitchell Johnson could get as many as 30 years in prison for stealing a debit card and possessing marijuana, though his attorney says the slayings he committed as a 13-year-old should not be considered at sentencing.I remember him as the scrawny kid who decided, with his little pal Andrew Golden, to ring the fire alarm at the school he attended and shoot his schoolmates and teaches as they exited the building in an orderly manner.
I remember this, too:
When the boys got to the school, Golden set off the fire alarm whilst Johnson took the weapons to the woods near the school. Golden then ran back to the woods where Johnson had taken the weapons. When children and teachers came out of the school, The two boys opened fire, mostly with their rifles. 13 Students and 2 teachers were hit, 5 of whom died. Afterwards they attempted to run back to the van and escape, but were apprehended by police.And:
Police did not offer a motive, but a classmate said one of the suspects had recently broken up with his girlfriend.And I remember the pictures of the girls, and teacher .. the teacher who died trying to protect her charges.
"He told me after seventh period (Monday) that he was never going to see me again and I wouldn't be able to see him again because he was going to run away," said Jennifer Nightingale. She did not say if any of the victims was the former girlfriend.
Mitchell Johnson was released from confinement after he turned 21. Authorities won't discuss the disposition of Andrew Golden "for privacy reasons" ... as if this little
But Mitchell Johnson has had his chance to make it in The Real World, and failed.
Johnson pleaded guilty Tuesday in Benton County court to theft and financial identity fraud, both felonies, and to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. Last month he was sentenced to four years in prison on a federal weapons conviction.
Johnson and Andrew Golden, then 11, killed four pupils and a teacher at Westside Middle School near Jonesboro in 1998. Their ages limited the length of their incarcerations, and both were freed at age 21.
In the latest case, Johnson was accused of taking a debit card left by a disabled man at the gas station where he worked. Police said that when Johnson was arrested Feb. 2, he was in possession of marijuana.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 14. Benton County prosecutor Van Stone said he will seek the maximum sentence and may try to make the schoolyard slayings an issue under a new law that allows juveniles to be punished as adults once they serve their juvenile court sentence.
Johnson's lawyer, Scott McElveen, said Wednesday that he will argue that none of the crimes Johnson committed as a juvenile can factor into the punishment for his latest offenses. "It's inadmissible," he said.
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers ..."
This is a pistol marked "Model of 1911 U.S. Army". The SN is 3131** (obscured for privacy) which, according to references, was built sometime in 1918.
MGG retorted: "Do you know what a 1918 is worth?"
That one set me to thinking.
It sounds as if he is astonished that I would be willing to risk a valuable collectible firearm in an experiment. Fooled me, I thought it was 'just another gun', not thinking of the historic value. If, in fact, there is any collector value associated with this pistol.
As far as I know, a 1911 Colt built in 1918 (SN=3131**) is worth what you can get someone to pay you for it. My best information is that it's worth something in the $600 -$1000 range, if you can find a buyer. (There were 347,000 build during that period.)
Is that accurate?
Researching the question, I have found (no surprise here) that there are no obvious resources on the Internet representing a legitimate buyer or authority which is willing to put a price on an unseen gun except for gun dealers who own it. If there is a record of a sale of a pistol in this category, they are keeping a mighty low profile.
If you have more information about the value of this pistol, please write.
I'm not looking for a buyer. I just want to confirm the information I have already received from other (deliberately uncited) sources.
Note: click on the photos to see full-size images. I have deliberately obscured the last two digits of the serial numbers. The white or black blurs represented there are not blemishes. They are nil-value pixels artificially imposed on the image for the sake of privacy. All serial numbers are as clearly cut as those remaining in the image.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Part of the reason is that you can completely dis-assemble and reassemble the pistol using no tools other than the parts contained within.
Have you heard that legend?
Do you believe it?
Are you sure?
I mean ... are you really sure?
I'm curious how reasonable this proposition might be, so I contacted a local gunsmith (and USPSA Grand Master, whose name will not be mentioned at this time) with the proposition that he make the attempt to prove this legend.
I'll think about that. I have heard the same thing, but have never tried it....I don't blame him, not a bit.
I'm not sure it can be done, but I also think it's worth the effort to try.
So here's the challenge, which may be known as "The Process" (see below):
- Completely dis-assemble, and then re-assemble a Genuine 1911 (military surplus) Colt Pistol, SN. 31312** ca. 1918. No tools will be used, but parts of the pistol, ammunition and magazine (the stuff which one can reasonably expect to be available in the same time and space as the pistol) may be used as tools when and where seems appropriate. The pistol must be equally as functional after reassembly as it was before the process began.
- Perform the same process with a Kimber Custom pistol, which includes a full-length guide rod. This is perhaps the greater challenge because the manufacturer will assume that a "Geek Tool" will be constructed by the owner to remove the Guide Rod Assembly. The Geek Tool would normally be used to retain the recooil spring on the guide rod.
Both pistols are in my immediate possession, and I would/will make them available for the experiment.
Both pistols feature 'fixed sights'. Removal of the sights is not part of the problem, so both the front and rear sights will not be moved in the process. I'm confident that the barrel can be used as an adjustment tool, and the frame as a hammer, but sighting the pistol back to the current zero would be beyond the scope of this exercise. This will not be attempted during "The Process".
In addition, the Ejector is often 'peened' into the frame. It will not be necessary, nor advisable, to remove the Ejector.
The Plunger Tube as well need not be removed.
We're not trying to make this process beyond the means of a primary arsenal maintenance effort.
Whatever techniques are used for this project must leave the parts un-damaged. If this is shown to be not possible, that will be valuable information. The criteria is that the pistol must function as perfectly after the process as it was before the process. Obviously, this implies that the pistol(s) must be test-fired both before and after the process.
I've given this some thought, and I can see how certain parts may serve a particular purpose.
For example, the dis-assembly of the 1911 may be performed at two levels. The parts may be referenced in the 1911 Schematic, and the process of reassembly is demonstrated in this animated video.
The first level is to Field-Strip the pistol.
The barrel bushing is rotated counter-clockwise to remove the Recoil Spring Plug. The slide stop is removed, allowing the slide to be detached from the frame. The Recoil Spring assembly (Recoil Spring, Guide Rod) can be removed and dis-assembled. The barrel is removed.
The second level is to Field Strip the Slide Assembly.
the firing pin is depressed to allow the Firing Pin Stop to be removed. This allows (in turn) the firing pin, firing pin spring, and extractor to be removed.
The third level is to Detail Strip the Frame Assembly.
This specifically includes the mainspring housing assembly, the hammer and sear assembly, the trigger assembly the magazine assembly, the safety assembly and the grips.
Have I left anything out? Fine, except for the exceptions listed below ... that goes, too.
Essentially, after the completion of of the Third Level of dis-assembly (and reassembly), there should be nothing left connected to the slide except for the sights. There should be nothing left connected to the frame except for the stock screw bushings and the ejector.
What parts can be used as tools?
It's axiomatic that removal of the firing pin allows that part to be used as a tool to remove all of the pins which keep the major assemblies (including the mainspring housing
But how do you remove the firing pin block to get at the firing pin?
The first assumption is that the the Slide Stop will serve to depress the firing pin sufficiently to remove the firing pin block.
If this is feasible, most other problems are resolved. Just looking at it (I am deliberately not testing these hypotheses), it appears that the diameter of the Slide Stop is too large. Let us assume that this is possible.
The firing pin can be used as a Pin Punch to remove all of the pins retaining the trigger assembly, the hammer assembly, and the mainspring housing (and connecting pins within each assembly).
How about the screws?
The three-finger spring ("Sear Spring") might be used as an awkward screwdriver. But how do we break loosen the screws which have been torqued? Can we use the rim of a .45 acp cartridge? How about the tang on the front of the magazine? Is it too thick?
Let's assume that these can be used to break loose the major screws, such as the Grip Screws.
The final hurdle is the Magazine Catch Lock, A#21 on the Brownell's Schematic.
I'm not sure whether the Sear Spring is sufficiently robust to start this screw without suffering damage. In fact, I'm not sure whether the width of the fingers is sufficiently small to fit within the limited circumference of the hole within which the screw dwells.
If these three obstacles -- the firing pin, the grip screws, and the Magazine Catch Lock -- can be resolved, then I see no reason why the 1911 cannot be disassembled using no tools except the parts of the pistol.
How about the 1911 with an Extended Guide Rod, as is typically found on the Kimber and STI pistols?
I don't know about this. The School Solution is to un-twist a paper clip to serve as a Recoil Spring Retainer during dis-asembly.
The only parts I can consider acceptable resources for this purpose are coil springs. This includes the Recoil Spring, the Main Spring, and the coil spring in the Magazine Catch Assembly.
The first is unavailable, as the tool is used to retain this spring.
The second and third are so small and designed to fit into the narrow channels of the Mainspring Housing and the Magazine Catch Assemblies. It seems likely that the gunsmith would have to partially uncoil the spring to function as a Mainspring Retainer Tool.
At this point, I'm stuck.
If you have any suggestions to resolve the various questions which I have raised (small-diameter pin-remover other than the Slide Stop to remove the Firing Pin; and some kind of tool to retain the Recoil Spring on the Kimber Extended Guide Rod), I would appreciate your contribution.
When we have the answers to these two questions, perhaps we can continue with a video demostration of How To Dis-Assemble and Reassemble the 1911 Without Tools.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Folks, I have NO idea ...
H/T Crime, Guns and Videotape
I'm not the only viewer of that video who found it incomprehensible ... or indefensible. The original video has been deactivated, but Yuri pointed me to another version on YouTube (thanks, Yuri).
Also, the middle-school teacher/advisor of the "drill team" has been relieved of all duties by the school board, who had warned him of the consequences if he posted the video on the Internet. (See "Obama Commandos' teacher disciplined".) It seems they don't think an educator should be indoctrinating 13-15 year old students in political activism ... especially when it results in chanting campaign slogans for a single candidate.
My son is, as I know I have mentioned before, in the Navy. He recently completed his A-school training for Master at Arms. He is now a Navy Cop, with the badge and gun and everything, and while I can't imagine Gentle Ben as the guy who busts drunks in bad bars I am inordinately proud of his determination to establish himself in an Honorable Profession. (YMMV, if you're a drunken sailor.l)
Nevertheless, he had 10 days to get himself from his A-school sight in Texas to his Permanent Duty Station (for 3 years duration of the 4.5 years remaining in his Military Commitment) in San Diego.
He has chosen to spent his 10-day furlough, for such it must be defined, in the home of his mother and stepfather (Julie and Ed) in Northern California.
this was my best chance to see my son, Ben, and his wife and to meet his brand new twin sons for the forseeable future. So I took some time off work and drove to the Redding, California, vicinity where he would be spending his leave.
Going South: Friday
Driving from the Willamette Valley in Oregon to Northern California is not normally that stressful. But the weather did not cooperate, and my 350+ mile drive south was essentially a Hell Ride.
I saw two wrecks on the the way ... a Ford Taurus and a dump truck, both upside down for unknown and unknowable reasons, but probably related to the slippery road conditions. The weather was rainy, the first significant rain of the fail, and the 3-month hiatus on inclement weather served to slurry the oils on the road surface into a slippery film which not only made the road surface similar to ice, but the cars and trucks in front of me threw up a fog of oil which obscured my view for much of the drive. My windshield wipers were not up to the challenge, even though they were the most "High Tech" available, and I took much more time than I had expected to make the drive from the Willamette Valley in Oregon to Redding, California.
When I got there, I was already bushed. But I had already committed to driving the extra 30 miles through bad back roads to where my Son was waiting, so I did it.
I spent two hours with my Son, his step-father, and his wife. I also re-acquainted myself with his son Jake ("The Shy One" ... not much paternal reinforcement there because I hadn't seen him for the past 2 of his 4 years.)
I arrived around 5:30 pm, and by 7:30 when dinner was ready I realized that I was entirely too exhausted to join them for dinner and still manage to safely renegotiated the twisting road between their domicile and my motel in Redding. So I left early, with regrets, for the sake of safety.
Saturday Morning I left Redding at 9:30 am with the intention of spending the day with my family. This actually worked out rather well, although I didn't get to spend the whole day with my entire family.
I finally met my twin grandsons. Logan seemed distracted, internalized. Aiden looked me right in the eye every time I presented myself to inspect him -- it was as if he was inspecting me.
Their mom tells me that usually they are just the opposite, as well as being different in demanding attention (Aiden yes, Logan no) than I had also observed. Just goes to show that twins are naturally adept at confusing their families; it's not a learned skill.
For the record, both boys are fascinating. I could watch them for hours. I did.
Their older brother, Jacob, celebrates his 4th birthday in a couple of weeks. Because I can't be there then, his father Ben and I took him to a local toy store so he could pick out his gift. During the thirty minutes we spent touring the toy store, he said "buy me this!" 87 times. Then he went back to the first toy we had viewed ... a yellow plastic Caterpillar Tractor and proudly carried it to the counter for purchase.
Note: he selected 7 more "buy me this" between that moment and the time we left the store. And two more times on the sidewalk.
Not surprisingly, Logan and Aiden's personalities are not well developed. They're cute as heck, they are definitely different (Logan has a higher hairline) but they have a lot of growing to do before they become more than milk-processing machines.
Jake, however, is endlessly innovative. He was enormously shy on Saturday when I first met him, but he got over that before Saturday ended. He really likes being photographed, but his sweet smile was difficult to catch, it is so fleeting. Also, he kept asking me to take his picture, then tried to show me his butt when I brought the camera out. The kid's either a natural Geek, or he has seen too many Ace Ventura movies. Must speak to his parents about this.
My Daughter-in-law (DIL) is the kind of mother who can only be described as awesome. Endlessly patient, sweet to her children and saucy to her husband, I have always loved her but I fell in love with her all over again this weekend.
My Son The Cop (seems strange to describe him thusly) is trim, brave, personable, loving to family and endlessly patient. Just like always. I'm concerned that I may be too proud of him.
Grandma Ju-Ju and Grandpa Egg are mellow and industrious. Their home is beautiful; they designed it and had it custom built for their retirement in a gated community. Ju-Ju is working at a retail store to help support the extended family. Egg is diabetic, and so spends his time supporting the family by maintaining the household.
Son and DIL will be leaving for San Diego in the next couple of weeks. Son got the ten-day change-of-duty-station furlough, but is working part days in the local Navy Recruitment office to preserve his Leave Time. DIL and kids will follow him to San Diego after he has completed arrangements for Married Enlisted Housing.
After we bought Jake his B-day gift, Sone and Jake went grocery shopping. We bought components for "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes" Spaghetti, which I later prepared while the rest of the family (sans Ju-Ju, who had to work until 8pm) watched "Iron Man". Jake flirted with the camera between moments when I rushed to the kitchen to stir the pot of spaghetti sauce.
We ate at 7pm, Ju-Ju came home from work and ate her share, then we all adjouned to the driveway to watch the gated community's delayed version of Independence Day Fireworks. (Fire hazard was down to zero for the first time in four months.)
I left for my motel by ten pm, and for the third night in a row did not sleep well in a rented bed.
Going Back North, Sunday
I underslept and then drove another 350 miles back home.
I must be getting old. The freeway driving through the roller-coaster ride which is the Siskiyou Mountain Range turns out to be both frightening and fatiguing. Despite predictions to the contrary, rain was again a factor. People in California scoff at speed limits, even at mountain passes of 4,351 feet (Siskiyou Pass) and turns which are marked at "Maximum 50 MPH turn, this is no shit!" or the politically correct equivalent.
After two nights of little sleep in uncomfortable beds, eating strange food and missing my comfortable normal regime, I am blitzed with stress and tension of driving back over a highway where I have seen demolished vehicles only 2 days previously, and under similar driving conditions.
I am reminded again of the Freeway Definitions of An Idiot, A Jerk, and An Asshole:
- An Idiot is someone who is driving slower than you are.
- A Jerk is someone who is driving faster than you are.
- An Asshole is someone who is was driving faster as you are, until he passed you; but immediately slowed down to bogart the passing lane so you can't get around the Idiot in front of you.
I had left Redding before 10am, and by 3pm I am suffering from The Mother Of All Bellyaches, cranky, and not feeling very communicative. However, I did phone SWMBO and tell her that I was within two hours of completing the trip. I wouldn't want her to worry, although I am wondering what made me think I was physically competent to make this trip in 3 days.
when I finally get home, I phoned SWMBO again with the "Safe Arrival" message and inform her that I am going directly to bed.
Which I did. And I couldn't sleep.
I am tired, and achy from driving 900 miles in three days. I originaly promised that "I will continue with this journal tomorrow." I won't, except that this version is much expanded from the original version ... but it is no less boring.
I'm glad I made the trip. And I am very glad that it is over.
UPDATE: Monday, October 6, 2008
This article has been expanded to make it more complete and coherent. Sorry if I've missed on both counts. Sometimes I write to convey information, and sometimes I write for therapeutic reasons. This is Door Number Two ... I write because I must.
If you have read the whole thing, I wonder that your life is even more boring than mine.