Saturday, May 28, 2005

Ducks In A Barrel

In my previous article on the Basketball stage, I promised to discuss our efforts to ensure that Range Officers would not apply procedural penalties inconsistently. Of course, nobody could have forseen that two entire squads of experienced shooters would fail to apply stipulated penalties. (We had no dedicated Range Officers; all ROs were competing members of the squads. The MD read the penalty as part of the stage walk-through, but apparently it just didn't register on the conscious mind of many participants.)

During conversations between the Match Director, "Barsoom", and myself, we did note that the classifier chosen for the match, "Ducks In A Barrel" (CM 03-01) stipulated order of engagement. This was an 8-round short course featuring 3 IPSC targets and two Pepper Popper targets. The steel Pepper Popper targets were to be engaged through a barrel, the paper IPSC targets were to be engaged outside of the barrel. The stage procedures read: "Engage the IPSC targets, THEN engage the steel targets."

(emphasis added)

We first questioned whether this explicit order-of-engagement was intentional and necessary. Querying THe Unofficial IPSC List, I learned that this question had already been addressed (via the Brian Enos Forums) to John Amidon, VP of the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) and head of the National Range Officer Institute of USPSA. His response was clear and unequivocal:

While it may seem as "what difference does it make what order they are engaged in" some classifiers have a specific engagement order, as in this one. The word "then" stipulates that order.
(Please note that the Brian Enos Forum thread included an image of the stage procedure document ... thank you FLEXMONEY.)

We noticed, in reading the forum thread, that several people had already shot this classifier and, not understancing the issues, the Range Officers had allowed them to violate the procedural stipulation and had failed to assign ANY penalties when the targets were engaged 'out of order'. These classifier scores were submitted to USPSA. Lacking any information which would suggest that the scores were not correct, USPSA corrected them and the reported scores were applied to the classification average for everyone who shot the classifier.

Next we wondered what procedural penalties SHOULD be applied. The question was whether a single penalty should be applied, or if 'per shot' penalties should apply. Having no other authoritative guidance, I wrote to John Amidon for a clarification. His response was quick, but I found it difficult to understand whether a single or multiple penalties should be applied under specific circumstances.

" ... the first responsibility to shoot the stage properly, is the competitor, the second is the match staff, they are also advised in the classifier book sent out, that if they have any questions on set up, to call before the match. The issue of how many procedurals is never a cut and dry thing, but if you keep in mind, to stop and think as an RO, before issuing the penalties, a viable solution is usually there."
To this, I attempted to apply existant USPSA rules regarding 'advantage gained'. I decided that there were no rules which applied 'per shot' penalties on more than one target: the only advantage to shooting the paper before the steel, in any combination, was that the Pepper Poppers were set up one behind another. There was a certain delay while waiting for the 'front' popper to fall far enough that the competitor could engage the 'rear' popper, and some competitors were using that time to index over to one or more paper targets and then back for the 'rear' popper. There was an advantage gained in that they may have been able to complete the index away, and the index back, in less time than they had spent waiting for the 'front' popper to fall. However it only applied an advantage in engaging the 'rear' popper, not in engaging any of the IPSC targets.

After I had communicated my decision to Mr. Amidon, and having received no corrections to my reasoning, I decided that a single penalty was sufficient under any circumstances. I communicated this decision to Barsoom, the Match Director, and he agreed that it was certainly sufficient in a 40-point classifier stage.

On match day, I learned that USPSA had decided that the classifier had been compromised by previous inconsistent application of penalties, and USPSA had pulled the classifier from the classifier book ... the day before the match!

Barsoom discovered this in time to substitute another similar classifier, and this is the one which was presented at our Columbia Cascade Section Points Match.

Considering that this classifier ALSO featured a barrel set so that the top of the barrel was only three feet above the ground, nobody was disappointed in the change ...

Free Image Hosting at

... although most of us found it very difficult to shoot an open gun through the barrel while staying in the shooting box, because of the backblast.

I'm learning to enjoy my tenure as a Section volunteer. The most interesting things happen behind the scenes.

Jerry the Gamer

This was posted on The Unofficial IPSC List by 'friend' and shooting pal Mark O. after the IPSC match at Dundee on Saturday:
Jerry the Geek heretofore known as Jerry the Gamer, earned his new moniker in a points match yesterday. In a stage where one had to carry a deflated basketball and drop it in one of two buckets before the last shot or suffer a procedural he simply dropped the ball on the ground and took the procedural. Now this wasn’t so bad except that unbeknownst to the rest of us unimaginative rule-followers he had an email conversation with the MD in which this was discussed and he didn’t share it with the rest of the sheep squad. Now this is particularly heinous since he is the section competition director and was using inside information. Hence he shall be known now and forever as “The Gamer”.
In my own defense, I can only say that every word is true.

Free Image Hosting at
[photo credit: Mark O'Shea]
(Click on the image to see the full-size photo. Please ignore the incorrect date stamped on the photo ... it was taken May 28, 2005. Also be advised that there is a terrible sun-glare from the fishbelly white GeekLegs.)

As you may have assumed, there's a story behind the story.

This was a "Points Match", where we compete within the section for an annual award ... a reduced price 'slot' to the U.S. Nationals. As section Competition Director, I'm charged with evaluating all stages for the Points Match series to insure that there are no safety concerns on any of the stages, and also to ensure that competition rules are not violated by any element of the stage designs. (We watch for long-courses where all targets can be engaged from a single location or view, or more than 9 shots are required from a single location or view, etc.) Also, we work together with the stage designer to avoid controversy on stages, such as the possiblity that different Range Officers may assign procedural penalties inconsistently. (More on that later.)

This stage, designed by "Barsoom" and which was an acknowledged rip-off of an Area 1 stage, required the competitor to start with a basketball in hand, and to deposit the basketball into a basket before the last shot was fired. Barsoom and I discussed the stage design elements to make sure that the competitor, if he lost control of the basketball, would not commit an unsafe act by trying to chase a rolling/bouncing basketball around the stage while holding a loaded pistol in one hand. We compromised on a DEFLATED basketball, and using half-cut plastic barrels for the 'basket'. We decided that this would make it very easy to insure that the basketball could be relatively easy to handle, and would not bounce out of the basket nor tip it over.

Finally Barsoom brought up the number of procedural penatlies to assign if the competitor failed to follow the stage procedures ... "the basketball must be in one of the two baskets before the last shot is fired". He had originally written that only one procedural penalty should applied, because it seemed far too cheap a price to warrant ignoring the procedural requirement. We finally decided that, yes, it WAS an advantage to take one penalty, and in return run the 30-yard 26-round stage completely unencumbered by props. "But what the heck, IPSC is suppose to be free-style, and it will be interesting to see how many people realize that you can shoot the stage any way you want to if you think it's worth the penalty".

When my squad shot that stage, I was (by luck of the draw) 9th out of the ten squad-members to shoot the stage.

We watched everybody fumbling with the ball. Some people ran to the first of two baskets, deposit the ball, shoot the closest array, then have to retreat to engage an array which was then uprange of them. Others kept the ball in their possession until they got to the 2nd basket, near the last array, rather than to cross the bay to deposit the ball in the basket closer to the starting position.

One very good A-L10 shooter scampered down to the first basket and hurled the ball into the basket ... and missed the basket. He had to run another few steps down range, pick up the ball, run backwards with the ball in one hand and his gun-hand trailing downrange, to the point where he could safely deposit the ball in the basket. THEN he had to retreat even further downrange, and across the bay, to engage the earlier array.

Shooting encumbered, some people had to take extra make-up shots at some targets; they became so concerned over not losing control of the ball, they forgot that they had shot more rounds than they had planned and consequently ran out of rounds at the last array. They had to do a standing reload to complete the stage.

When I dropped the ball as soon as the buzzer started my run, I was able to treat the stage as a straight 'hoser stage'. Thirteen seconds was a good time for that stage; on the other hand, running the stage with the ball resulted in times of around 20 seconds.

This caused a bit of furor in my squad. I learned that The Usual Suspects can be quite creative in inventing names for 'former friends'. The term "Jerry the Gamer" involved the least invective, and certainly was least questioning of my masculinity and parentage.

Other squads had somewhat different experiences. Near the end of the match, the Section Coordinator informed me that two squads had noted the advantage in not following the procedures, and they had (quite reasonably) ran the stage without the encumbrance of carrying a prop. However, they had neglected to apply the mandatory one penalty ... clearly stipulated in the stage procedures ... for this choice. Since there was no way we could require those two squads to reshoot the stage, we made the decision, albeit reluctantly, to throw the stage out. Too bad, it was my best stage; but I had to concur that we had no choice in the matter.

The rest of my squad, for some reason, found some obscure satisfaction in this turn of events. I attribute this to an unfortunate tendency toward schadenfreude in their personalities, but I can't blame them for their indulgence.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Other Day

Okay, here's a first.
NOT blogging a bill, NOT blogging a news article. Today I'm blogging in praise of anothera blogger.

GeekWithA.45 has been a permanent fixture on my sidebar since Day One.

This day (my Bro-In-Law's Birthday ... Happy Birthday John!) The GeekWithA.45 has written what I consider to be the finest example of RKBA activism I've ever seen.

I'll not waste your time by gilding the lily. It's short, and it's worth the read.

The Other Day

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Concealed Carry Permit: License To Be Burgled

Cowboy Blob's Saloon, Sanitarium, and Shootin Gallery: Countertop is on Fire!

So, you've got your Carry Concealed Handgun permet, and now you're feeing like the Cats' Pajamas. You are carrying in Stealth Mode, right?


Concealed Carry is only 'stealthy' if nobody knows you're packing.

(Obvious Hat Tip to Cowboy Blob, and Countertop)

This asshole is the publisher of the Northwest Florida Daily News.

Tom Conner
792 Gary Player Ln

The other day they decided to publish the names and adresses of all of Florida's Concealed Carry Permit Holders. In the interest of fairplay, I've decided to publish his home address and phone number too.
(ripped from COUNTERTOP's blogsite)

Hey, you know what?

Unless there are severe legal restrictions to CCW or CCH permit information, they can do this in YOUR state, too!

I have no idea whether that information is accessible in MY state, but I would be willing to bet that it could be done.

Kinda takes the romance out of concealed carry, doesn't it?

This may have been the reason why Tom Conner, of 792 Gary Player Lane; Shalimar, Florida 32879 (home phone 850 651-0164) decided to publish the information.

Open Carry is not the answer, either. See the latest chapter in the continuing story of FishOrMan who was arrested after a traffic stop, openly carrying in his car .. and also, on another incident, in the local Fred Meyers store. He is currently fighting the second legal action, and has pled on the first incident which cost him $925 plus forfeiture of the firearm.

Not wise to be too bold.

"Air America" Shot Down In Flames

New York City: Comic files suit against 'Air America Radio' over pay

I'll bet this sounds like gloating.

Well, so be it. I'm gloating.

These losers were in 'content' trouble from Day One, and in Financial trouble from Day Two.

"America's Progressive Talk Radio Network" was conceived for one reason: to provide a talk radio format for Progressive/Liberal/Democrat radio listeners, and in the process to steal listeners from Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Reagan, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, my local (oregon) host Lars Larson, and a plethora of other 'Conservative' talk radio hosts.

(I'm not forgetting Michael Savage: I just can't stand him, and while I can't avoid mentioning him I certainly won't provide a link to his website on my blog. Some people are just too obnoxious for words, and these are the last words you'll read here about this mouthy twerp.)

Anyway, Air America was predicated on the proposition that there is a huge number of Liberal radio listeners who are desparate for a talk show which represents their political views, and this new 'silent majority' will flock to anyone who will provide them a forum. They can sell commercials, .....


Liberals would rather call CONSERVATIVE talk shows, and argue with the host. They don't want to talk to people who agree with them; they just want to demonstrate their superiority over anyone who disagrees with them, and they also want to express their hatred for the host (and the host's demented followers). Maybe they think they can 'win hearts and minds' with their clever reparte'.

So far, it hasn't happened. But the liberal callers never quit trying; part of the schtick is that they are so obviously right, they don't need to be reasonable. This may be a partial explanation for why they are the minority in the house, the senate, recent gubenatorial races, and why Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election and John "I willrelease my military records" Keary lost in 2004.

Air America started out with umpteen stations ... and within a month they lost half of them for lack of funding. Read: nobody was buying commercials.
Nobody was listening.

After they leaned up, they were going strong with a few stations. (I'm embarassed to mention that an Oregon station still carries the show, which is a waste of innocent Bandwidth.)

Al Franken is still gibbering shamelessly. Randi Rhodes is blithering along.

But you won't be hearing from Liz Winstead. (Lizz?)

The Comedienne has been stiffed, big-time.

Comic Lizz Winstead doesn't think Air America Radio was very liberal with her severance and other pay.

Winstead, who helped create Comedy Central's "Daily Show" and went on to develop Air America Radio, filed suit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan Monday against owners of the liberal network, which is a counteroffensive to conservative talk radio.

She claimed that Air America and Piquant LCLC, the latest owner of the year-old network, did not pay her for work as an on-air announcer. She said she also was not given the severance due her as an executive after she was fired in March.
They fired a LIBERAL?

Couldn't they feel her pain?

Winstead, who had a base salary of $250,000, claimed in her lawsuit that she didn't receive four months' severance pay of $83,333, unused vacation time of $14,423 and $200,000 for her on-air work.

Winstead hosted a show called "Unfiltered," with Chuck D. It was part of a network line-up that includes Al Franken created to combat the likes of conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
Adding it all up, it looks like she has been shorted (by her count) well over half a MILLION Dollar$.

That's more than I make in a year. Or ten.

It sounds as if pimping for the libs is profitable ... unless they decide to sign the contract and then not honor it. Oh well, that's the libs for you.

As Lew Rawls once sang:
"Oh shut up, silly woman"
said the reptile with a grin,
"You knew darned well I was a snake before you took me in."
But there's more ....
In addition, Winstead claimed she never received money due for her on-air promotional work for the Vermont Teddy Bear Co.
Who could be so heartless that they would smudge the Vermont Teddy Bear Company?

Certainly not this demented twit.

I'm sorry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Blogspot down! Oops! It's Back!

IN case you hadn't noticed, the Cogito Ergo Geek was not available for viewing for a part of Tuesday, May 24. This was a problem which originated with the host (

Since you can read this, they have obviously fixed their problem. It didn't affect everyone, but it clobbered me.

It forced me to realize how much I depend on this blog. Not only does it provide me a forum to spew my demented rants, but it also is the source of ALL my favorite links.

If you have some links that you go to frequently, perhaps you could suggest them. I'll load the most popular to my sidebar, making it even easier to go to Cogito Ergo Geek on your way to your regular evening net-surfing regimen.

If you have any suggestions for a subject, I get more fun out of researching a topic and providing pertinent references than a collegial MS candidate. Let me know what seems interesting. (If you can't think of anything specific, go look at the Sondra K website. It should give you some ideas.)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Kipling: a tribute to a master

I think I'll make one day a week "Kipling Day".

Rudyard Kipling is one of the most unappreciated writers of English-language literature in the world. All of us have heard the name (and if you haven't, you should broaden your horizons.) Most of us think little of him, except that we may have seen "The Jungle Book", which is a Disney movie, or read "KIM". Or "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", or some other story of his which is generally considered a 'childrens story'.

The truth is, Kipling (1895 - 1936) didn't really write for children. Mostly, he wrote about the area of human conflict.

Kipling wrote about war.

Did you never see the movie "The Man Who Would Be King", starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery? It's a story about two British soldiers, around the turn of the century in 'Kafiristan' (Afghanistan? The Khyber Pass?) who are mistaken for gods ... with a disastrous and gruesome ending.

Ever hear of "Captains Courageous"? "Gunga Din"? "Wee Willie Winkle"?

Kipling wrote all of these, and more. Much, much more.

Last year, I was fortunate to find a 9-volume set of Kipling's writings in a used book store. I bought them for $35 dollars ... a steal at five times the price! For example, Volume I includes:
  • Soldiers Three
  • The Story of the Gadsbys.
  • In Black And White
Well, perhaps you haven't heard of these stories. "Soldiers Three was the basis for at least 4 movies, from 1913 to 2003.

Perhaps more important, Kipling wrote poems. He wrote 'Barracks Rooms Ballads'. He wrote ... and wrote ... and wrote!

After I started reading Kipling in earnest, I discovered an almost fatal flaw in the 9-volume series I had bought. This set of Kipling was published in 1895. The literature was set, but Kipling kept on writing!

I bought a couple more Kipling anthologies from Amazon dot com, and discovered that after his son was killed in WWI, Kipling senior became very disenchanted with war and its conduct. Some of his best writing was done AFTER WWI.

But still: his poems ... his poems captured the very essence of the fighting man and what it is like to be the very bottom of the food chain in a battle.

And some of them, perhaps even most of the, are entirely applicable to the present.

Consider "The Young British Soldier", which ends:
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
(Geirge Dzundza's character learned this in the movie "The Beast Of War".)

As a tickler to your memory, perhaps you will recall this ending to "Gunga Din":
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
I was going to end this piece with "Snarleyow", from "Barracks Rooms Ballads". I think you should read it, certainly, and think about what it really says. But for this moment, it may be better to make another choice to quote here in full. I can't find this reproduced anywhere else on the Internet.

Perhaps that is because it is so long.
Perhpas because it is really not Politically Correct in concept or in choice of words.

Or perhaps because it is so gruesome.

"The Grave of the 100 Head"
-Rudyard Kipling

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Bumans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squbbed in the jungle
Somebody laughed and fled,
and the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead,
And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Twarri,
Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
Twenty rifles in all.
Marched them down to the river
As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river
A blanket over his face --
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
The men of an alien race --
They made a samadh in his honor,
A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Liutenant Eshmitt Sahib
should go to his God in state,
With fifty file of Burmans
To open him Heaven's Gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
Marched til the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
The village of Pabengmay--
A jingal covered the clearing,
Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
Under the village wall;
sent out a flanking-party
With Jemadar Hira Lol.

The men of the First Shikaris
Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
On to the howling crew.
The jemadar's flanking-party
Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
Fiver score heads and twain;
and the men of the First Shikaris
Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village --
The village of Pabengmay.
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prat Tewarri
Put the head of the Boh
On top of the mound of triumph,
The head of his son below --
With the sword and the peacock-banner
That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris --
The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
and Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadr Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.