Thursday, January 05, 2006

January General

Vote For Your 2005 Today's Toons Favorites (Preliminary Round)
h/t: Techno Gypsy

Here's an idea .... Read Mark Steyn!

If you don't read him daily, there's no better time than NOW to start.

His latest (as of right NOW!) is "It's The Demography, Stupid!"
The real reason the West is in danger of extinction.

The Smallest Minority links to Lileks for more .....

If this doesn't run chillls up and down your spine, you must be a Flaming Liberal (who thinks this future is "just fine")

H/T: WorldNet Daily

Mr. Completely has a great idea for demonstrating the idiocy of anti-hunters.


(H/T ... Mr. Completely)
I have participated in two BoomerShoots to date, and it was always worth the drive.

Joe Huffman plans once again to demonstrate the indefatigable drive of the Western Male to go to exotic places and blow things up.

Expect rainy weather, expect 2pm winds from the west which will drive your bullets far from the target, and expect to have a great time while experiencing wind, rain, awkward positions and highly reactive targets.

I still have the t-shirt I got at the 2001 "Big Bang", and I still haven't worn it. For a while, I thought to donate it to Kim DuTuit in recognition of his splendid blogging. But it pissed me off when he closed down his KDT blog in favor of the "Nation of Riflemen" forum, so I'm keepin' it. (Hey, it's my blog, it's my shirt, and I can be pissed of for illogical reasons if I want to!)

Maybe I'll snap a picture of the shirt next week. Or not. Depends on my mood, which is mercurial. Besides, the shirt is still clean and has the creases from theoriginal folds. (Also, it's already too darn small for me to wear.)

In preparation for the first (1999) BoomerShoot I attended, I sent an email to Joe describing the conditions I expected to encounter. It's still up on his website, under the heading "How to prepare for your Boomershoot experience (Sixteen Helpful Hints for the Boomershoot)".

Joe, and my friend Bumstead, are determined to never let me forget that a list of 16 items should be expected to include sixteen points. Nonsense. I was just leaving Bumstead room for a response.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Iraq hero

Michael Burghard's Moment of Glory

(H/T: Hobo Brasser)

The Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant in the picture is Michael Burghard, part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team that is supporting 2nd Brigade 28th Infantry Division (Pennsylvania Army National Guard). I heard the below story first hand last Saturday during a video teleconference between his Brigade Commander and the 28th Infantry Division Commander. I thought that others should hear it as well, as I think it demonstrates the true spirit of most of our troops on the ground (from my experience).

Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as "Iron Mike" or just "Gunny". He is on his third tour in Iraq. He had become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour. Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had arrived at a chaotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. He chose not to wear the bulky bomb protection suit. "You can't react to any sniper fire and you get tunnel-vision," he explains. So, protected by just a helmet and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposal officers term "the longest walk", stepping gingerly into a 5ft deep and 8ft wide crater. The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his 7in knife to probe the ground. "I found a piece of red detonating cord between my legs," he says. "That's when I knew I was screwed."

Realizing he had been sucked into a trap, Sgt Burghardt, 35, yelled at everyone to stay back. At that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below the sergeant's feet. "A chill went up the back of my neck and then the bomb exploded," he recalls. "As I was in the air I remember thinking, 'I don't believe they got me.' I was just ticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything from the waist down."

His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. None could believe his legs were still there. "My dad's a Vietnam vet who's paralyzed from the waist down," says Sgt Burghardt. "I was lying there thinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, 'Good, I'm in business.' "As a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. "I decided to walk to the helicopter. I wasn't going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher." He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered salute. "I flipped them one. It was like, 'OK, I lost that round but I'll be back next week'."

Copies of a photograph depicting his defiance, taken by Jeff Bundy for the Omaha World-Herald, adorn the walls of homes across America and that of Col John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi, who has hailed the image as an exemplar of the warrior spirit. Sgt Burghardt's injuries - burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks - kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But, like his father - who was awarded a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam - he stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against insurgents who are forever coming up with more ingenious ways of killing Americans.

Because this was sent to me with no attribution, I can't identify the person ("John") who wrote the preface.

If you click on the story title, there's a link to the Omaha World-Herald source. However, you have to be registered to read the article.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Warning to Canada

Canada Has Been Warned

This morning, from a cave somewhere in Pakistan, Taliban Minister of Immigration, Mohammed Omar, warned Canada that if military action against Afghanistan continues Taliban authorities will halt Canada's supply of convenience store managers.

If this action doesn't yield sufficient results, cab drivers will be next.

It appears that it's really going to get ugly.

H/T: The Hobo Brasser

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Video Blog: CCS 2005

It has taken me five months to complete it, but I've finally uploaded all of the photos (including movies) of the 2005 Columbia Cascade Sectional Tournament to Jerry the Geek's Shooting Gallery.

There are 5 sub-albums total, presenting 204 photos and 33 videos

You can go directly to the shooting gallery main page and click on the links for direct access to each sub-album, or follow the links from the day-1 album, or weave your way through the albums and find links to the sub-albums.

That works fine for browsing, but here's the directory with links to the main album and all the sub-albums:

Day 1 - Still Photos (48 images on 6 pages)
Day 1 - Videos (12 movies, including "Miami Vice - The Movie" on Page 2)

Day 2 - Still Photos (71 images on 8 pages)
Day 2 - Videos (21 movies)

Awards and Group Pictures (85 pictures on I forgot how many pages)

You may recall that I earlier spoke of how burned out I was after the match, and later I discussed the thematic considerations ("Keystone Kops") and how they affected the stage designs and the props we used. (There were lots of jail-bars, and all of the stages were named after cop-movies and cop-television shows.) Also, as the Keystone Kops were known for running back and forth in apparent confusion, most of the stages featured lateral movement and often required you to re-cover the the same ground several times.

There was even a fine discussion on rules interpretation ("What is A Tool?") , which overflowed into various Internet forums including my home town, The Unofficial IPSC List.

Unfortunately, we didn't have a 'dedicated photographer', so most of the photos and videos were taken within the confines of the squad to which I was assigned: Squad 1. I don't know whether I got that squad assignment because I was Section Competition Director, or because I pouted so prettily. But it was kewl starting with the first stage, and going to each stage in rotation until I got to the last stage.

The first article I wrote gave the link for the match results, if you're interested. They're still 'up' on the Columbia Cascade Section Website (see the link on the sidebar),

If you go look at them, and compare them to the sequence of the photos, you may notice that the stages are numbered differently than the sequence in which they were actually encountered. That's because no single range was big enough to hold the entire 11-stage (plus chrono) match, so it was spread across two ranges. Half of the squads shot at the Dundee range on Saturday, and on the Tri County range on Sunday. The other half of the squads started on Tri County, and finished on Dundee on Sunday.

But the Tri County range was in the middle of a MASSIVE reconstruction project, adding a lot of new bays, and they weren't sure how many would be available and what size they would be. The TC folks but a major effort into completing enough bays to hold their half of the stages JUST in time -- they were building the berms and leveling the grounds on the last two bays while we were setting up stages, TWO DAYS before the match started!

As a result of this reconstruction, Tri County will host the 2006 Area 1 match. They now have 12 bays, from small (10x20 yards) to huge (40x60 yards) and most of the berms are built of huge concrete 'bricks', faced with dirt. You can see them in many of the pictures on the album.

Incidently, my home range (Albany Rifle and Pistol Club) is also in the process of reconstruction. There will be 11 bays, the last four of which will be comparable to the biggest of the Tri County bays. Seven of them currently feature concrete pads and 3-walled cover over the staging area. All of the bays in these two ranges are covered in deep gravel, so mud and rain are no longer a problem in the Columbia Cascade Section.

The plans are for the 2006 Columbia Cascade Sectional to be held at the Albany Range, which will even have sufficient parking for over 100 competitors.

I'm getting a little far astray of my main theme - the CCS photos are UP! - but this is my first official post of 2006, and I think it continues with the comfortable tradition of Geek-Length posts.

I want to extend a special thank you to the lovely SWMBO, who took at least half of the photos displayed on the Gallery. I didn't post ALL of the photos, but I did post all of the videos. She chose to assume this chore in addition to RO-ing, taping, scoring, helping me with squad-leader administrivia, and incidently shooting her own match.

If you like the photos, thank her; she made it all possible. If you don't like the photos, it's my fault.

But if you have a hi-speed connection, I particularly recommend the film she made showing how a couple of the stages look from the point-of-view of the shooter. She did this for "Remington Steele" and "Miami Vice". (I added a little appropriate music to the last film.)