Friday, October 03, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sherrie Of The Jungle

Here we are.
We're the Princess of the Universe.
Here we belong,
Fighting for survival ...
(Apologies to "QUEEN")

Last night we received the wonderful news that Sherrie from Dundee has finally won her long battle with cancer.

[Cheering! Crowd noises!]

Sherrie endured the agony of chemotherapy, the sickness (and hair loss) of radiation therapy, and finally her doctors decided that surgery was her last best hope.

They operated two days ago, and she was released from the hospital yesterday. She was home before the flowers that SWMBO sent were delivered to her hospital room!

Sherrie told SWMBO that the doctors are convinced that they got every bit of the cancer, and now she is on the road to recovery from the surgery.

I know that she is far from comfortable today, but this Gallant Lady told Sandie that this is the end of active treatment. Sherrie is now a cancer survivor, and from what Sandie tells me she's understandably even more joyful than we are.

Sherrie has been in close communication with us ever since she heard that Sandie is fighting lung cancer. She has been a wellspring of support and advice for Sandie; she was just completing the chemotherapy course of treatment when Sandie was diagnosed.

Sherrie wasn't dealing with cancer by herself. She also had Lorin (Husband, head of her own Support Team, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, reluctant Master of the Vacuum Cleaner, and always there to do whatever he could to make her as comfortable as possible.) Together, they taught us courage, the value of devotion, and that nobody can or should try to battle cancer alone. Sandie and I are grateful to them for their voluntary efforts to help us through the early stages of Sandie's treatment. They have been the exemplars of feisty folks who just won't quit.

They were there when we really needed them. We still do.

During her subsequent radiation therapy, according to Lori (Statsmistress at Dundee and Albany), Sherrie showed up at the Dundee range one day on the back of a motorcycle! She had already lost all of her hair, but her head was wrapped in a colorful do-rag and she was having the time of her life on the bike. This is not a lady who is ready to be voted off the island!

(click on the photo for full-size)

Sherrie and Lorin are perhaps best known locally for their annual efforts to design, build and officiate the famous Jungle Run stage at the Dundee Croc Match.

In celebration of this most excellent day, here (once again) is their favorite video taken from the 2005 Crock Match. It was, of course, filmed on the Jungle Run.

(Raw video courtesy of Ron D.)

IPSC people are among the best in the world. We don't just "go shooting", we make friends.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Woman Wearing Cow Suit

Woman Wearing Cow Suit Charged With Disorderly Conduct - Local News Story - WLWT Cincinnati

A Middletown woman is accused of being disorderly in public -- while wearing a cow suit.

A police report filed about the incident said Michelle Allen allegedly chased children in her neighborhood while wearing the suit on Monday evening.

Allen also urinated on a neighbor's front porch, the report said, and was warned by officers to go home and stay there.

A woman wearing a cow suit? Urinating on the porch?

She must have been really pissed off!

Utterly fantastic.

At least she lived up to her character.

Rumor has it that she had four male streakers inside the suit with her.

Family Pride

I haven't told you much about my family, mostly because it's boring to people who aren't part of my family.

But I'm going to take a long weekend (Friday thru Sunday) to visit out-of-state family, which means that while I may write on Thursday the chances are I'll be packing for my trip.

Most of my stuff is pretty boring, but if you choose to stop by here from time to time, this is a warning that there will probably be no new material for the next few days.

I don't need to tell you why. But I want to. If you don't want to hear about it, this is a good time to move on to something more interesting.

You may know that my son, the B-Geek, is in the Navy now. He has completed his A-school training (Master At Arms ... he wants to be a cop, which fills me both with pride and concern) and will soon be transferred to his permanent duty station for a 3-year tour. That station is too far away for a weekend visit, but this weekend only he will be within a one-day trip from my home while he visits his mother.

I'll be taking Friday off work and driving to where he and his wife (and the majority of his five children) are, so I can see them. I like my son, I like his wife, and I like their children.

Most important, I have brand-new twin grandsons as of six weeks ago, and this may be my best chance to see them for the first time ever.

There was a time in 1968, in a fire-fight in Viet Nam, where I found myself curled into the tiniest possible ball while I waited for a hand-grenade to go off, and my thought was a regret that I had never had children. I was 23 years old at the time, and frankly had never expected to come home, but until that moment I didn't realize how important it was that there be Little Geeks in the world.

(Then, I thought of them as "Little Sergeants", but that has changed over the years as my priorities changed.)

The grenade never went off, and I've since been blessed with two Little Geeks and they, in turn, have provided a total of seven Littler Geeks. No, I will resist the temptation to apply the title "Least Geeks". I am surprised to discover that children become even more precious in the Next Generation. I don't understand how that could be possible, but there it is.

The most recent two are twin boys. I've only seen their pictures. That I have never met them is A Darkness In The Force.

There is a school of thought which suggests that our progeny is a Narcissistic extension of our own ego. That may be true, I don't know. But to me, grandchildren are an affirmation of life.

They may grow up to be total rounders and worthless dregs on society, although I very much doubt it; their parents are too family oriented to allow such a travesty. Both my son and his wife, the Aly-geek, love children and all of their children know it.

It is important that children grow up with a sense of family. I grew up that way, and I know that the best thing I can do with my life is to pass that sense on to the twins and their siblings.

So I'll be spending some quality time with The Kids ... Jake and the Twins ... and this is hopefully only the first of many opportunities to acquaint my grandchildren with a sense of continuity.

It's difficult to do, given that career choices have taken my children, and their children, so far away from me.

But my children are determined that their children know their family, and that they learn Family Pride.

I couldn't be more proud of all of my children.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm gonna get ya, Sucker!"

Okay, Vinny, now you're starting to worry me.

Hat Tip to Michael Bane

(PS: For those who are "very concerned", please email me.)

Write to your Congress-Critter

I checked the votes on the $700 billion dollar ($700,000,000,000) bailout vote.


My congressman (Peter DeFrazio) voted against it. (I was not surprised that Democratic Representative Darline Hooley voted for it, but I was surprised the Republican Representative Greg Walden voted for it., and that Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer voted against it.)

So I sent him (DeFazio) an email applauding his decision ... and I included a few suggestions.

Here's the full text of my letter:

Dear Representative DeFazio,
I want to thank you for your vote against the "Bailout" bill. I agree that this bill was being touted as a 'fix' without justification, and also that it was being rushed into place without sufficient thought and consideration.

Congress for the last week has looked like a convention of Door-to-Door Encyclopedia Salesmen. "Don't worry about reading the contract, you wouldn't understand it."

It is significant that 2/3 of the Republican congressmen went against the wishes of their party leadership (in the person of President Bush) to vote it down.

It is significant that 40% of the Democratic congressmen went against the wishes of their party leadership (in the person of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) to vote it down.

And it is telling that the Democratic-ruled House could have passed this bill without a single Republican 'Aye' ... and yet there was insufficient party unity to effect this simple walk-over vote.

Perhaps it is time that both parties put their divisive political efforts aside and begin working for America, rather than for Party affiliations. I realize how difficult this must seem in this year of Presidential Election, but considering that neither party has a viable candidate ...

This vote may be important in ways other than requiring, or refusing to require, the American Taxpayer to assume an even more crushing tax burden. It may cause both parties to step back and re-examine their role in ensuring the health of American society.

I encourage you to continue to search for the 'right' solution to our current economic situation, not for the 'quick fix'. I'm not convinced that your "No Bailouts Act" is the best solution, but it is at least evidence of your earnest attempt to find the root cause of the problem.

Surely Congress must take a look at regulation of GSE's, and at the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992.

As a rule of thumb, any bill which is supported by Rep. Barney "Nothing Is Wrong" Frank should be opposed.

And here is a video from a 2004 Congressional Hearing, which depicts Republican Representatives and Regulators begging for oversight on GSE's (Governmental Supported Entities, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and the contempt of Democratic Representatives for the words of caution and "nothing is wrong" rejection of these cautions by Democratic Representatives:

Who did what to whom?
Check it out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jungle Run Slippage

I actually attended a USPSA match last weekend, Saturday. I didn't impress anybody ... I haven't been doing much actual shooting for the past year, and it shows ... but I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed the people in my squad.

In fact, I was having so much fun that I didn't drag the camera out of the range bag until the last stage of the match ... the Jungle Run.

Tell you the truth, I didn't even care very much that I wasn't filming the match, except that I missed a lot of 'funny stuff'. I decided that I would film a couple of shooters. It was sheer guilt.

Just my luck. I caught one lady shooter doing a very respectable job on the stage, and then I filmed another lady shooter in the most embarrassing moment possible: a Match Disqualification.

A bit of background is in order here.

The Jungle Run is an unimproved trail through ferns, low bushes and other moisture-loving foliage. The trail parallels a creek, and is in the middle of a small swale which traps moisture. The soil is clay, which traps and holds moisture in all but the driest summer months. Consequently, the trail is almost always a slippery surface, and in the competitors rush to move between targets it's all too easy to over-run your forward-leaning body posture. The slightest miss-step will pitch you head over tea-kettle, which is exactly what happened here.

I've seen it a dozen times. It's the kind of thing which makes the Dundee "Croc Match" an especially challenging exercise, but it's a Widow Maker.

Here's Judith, who demonstrated a classic Jungle Run stage. This version required the shooter to engage only 8 targets, but three shots were scored on each target with a final scoring 24 shots.

The video is classic, as is the stage. The first stretch of the trail is within the view of the starting point, although this is not a "Surprise Stage". The end of the trail is hidden from view, so all we know of it is that there are 'more targets'.

Then we see Kim's execution of the stage, and from the available footage it's impossible to see what she has "done wrong".

What happened is, Kim slipped on the wet surface and fell forward on the slippery rail. The impact jarred the pistol from her grip, resulting in a Match DQ because she lost control of her firearm. I don't know if the muzzle of her pistol broke the 180, and it doesn't really matter. As soon as she dropped the gun, the Range Officer (Brad) shouted WHOA! and took charge of the situation.

Brad did what he was suppose to do, and Kim demonstrated that she was a real Lady by accepting the consequences without Histrionics or any protest.

Well, it's a "Gun Down!" situation, what can you do?

Unfortunately, I have seen far too many competitors shift to Denial Mode at Warp Speed, but Kim was above all that. It speaks well for her competitive-but-not-excessively-so mindset that she was willing to accept the Match DQ with equanimity.

I liked Kim through the match, and I was impressed by her demeanor.

As he Common Wisdom had it;
"If you must DQ, it's best to do it on the last stage of the match. At least you don't miss out on most of the Fun Stuff".

It's worth mentioning that she had some bad luck on the first run (she was the first squad member to shoot the stage), but her score was not recorded. She was reshooting the stage when she DQ'd.

If nothing else, this serves to prove that a reshoot very rarely improves one's score.

Tough luck, Kim. But you recovered like a champion.

Kava Maga - Israeli Self-Defense stuff

I keep tripping over this Israeli Self-Defense "No Quarters!" stuff on You Tube. It looks a lot like
"300" (the guy even looks like the gentleman who plays Laertes).

Probably, the techniques they propose are do-able if you're a super-quick, super-aggressive buffed up guy who has a LOT of training.

For the Average Geek, it looks like Suicide by Mugger.

The demonstrator does not fail to pay homage to the "Give Up Your Stuff -- It's Only Stuff" mantra, and this seems responsible to me.

And certainly, breaking or burning a hand when the grab-the-gun technique is a little bit too slow to be 100% effective is better than getting shot in the face.

Still, I think this can safely be slotted into the "Desperation Moves" category for the Average Geek.

I'm not sure I'm physically capable of doing this.

The theory is good:

When you're confronted with an armed assailant, and he tells you "Hands Up!", during that process ("he is expecting you to move your hands"), you transform the motion into grabbing his pistol and twisting it away from your body, and away from his trigger-finger hand so he is less likely to reactively pull the trigger.

(Somewhere in here there is some verbiage about blocking the hammer with your other hand, but it sounds like even the demonstrator isn't all that convinced that this is going to happen.)

During this movement, you rotate the pistol over 180 degrees, so that it breaks the trigger-finger of the aggressor. After that, you relax the tension on the gun so that the broken trigger-finger doesn't interfere with your pulling the pistol out of his hand.

No, I'm pretty sure I couldn't do this without a lot of training and practice.

Maybe you're a better athlete than I am (Well, that's almost a 100% certainty), but it still smacks of desperation.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

American Bail-out! (A Modest Proposal)

An Open Letter To:
George W. Bush
President of the Unites States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, District of Columbia

Jerry The Geek
You Know Who I Am
You Know Where I Live

Dear Mister President;

My VISA card is maxed out, the rent is past-due, and I have some grandchildren whose birthdays are due in the next six months. I am heartbroken that I cannot pay my bills and continue to give money to my family.

I hear that you have proposed a Seven Hundred BILLION dollar ($700,000,000,000) bailout to the banks who have been obliged to follow the dictates of a Democratic congress for the past ten years, advocating the approval of mortgages to people who can't afford to buy the houses they are now forced to give up.

It occurs to me that this money would be better allocated to people who did NOT buy a house they could not afford during this period.

I don't know who these mortgagees are, nor how many may be involved, but I'm reasonably certain that you don't know, either. I've read the Patriot Act, and it doesn't appear to cover this population segment.

You don't know who they are but I bet you know who I am.

I am reliably informed that there are 200,000,000 people in this country over the age of 18; they have voted, or soon will vote in Presidential elections. Why don't you give the money to these people who pay the taxes and pay the taxes, instead of bailing out the banks who have placed them in this untenable position?

$700,000,000,000 distributed among 200,000,000 Americans would place $3,500 in the pocket of every voter in the country. Ignore the children (that has always worked for you in the past); give the money to the Families and let them distribute the wealth as seems most appropriate.

Note that married couples would receive $7,000, which buys a lot of Christmas presents ... if I can still use the word "Christ" in an email.

Please send my $3,500 Bailout Bucks to me, Jerry the Geek, post haste. I really need the money in order to avoid a Financial Crisis.

Help me to avoid a Panic!

Jerry the Geek
You know who I am.
You know where I live.

PS: Please send a Money Order. I don't trust checks. I would rather you don't tell the banks about this scheme.


Link: 11 minutes.

I was in the army, 1968-1970 (active service, RVN).

My son is in the Navy (2008 - ?)

No rivalry is involved.

I salute him, gladly.

: The Hobo Brasser