Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pendulum Waves

YouTube - Pendulum Waves

Hat Tip: G-man

Ho Hum - Bicycles: just another Excellence in Performance video

YouTube - Danny MacAskill - "Way Back Home"

I want you to watch this video, and think about just how much Excellence in Performance is demonstrated here.

Done watching?

Pretty damn impressive, wasn't it?

Now, go watch Athena Lea's performance at the latest major USPSA match ... 2011 Double-Tap Match. Go ahead; if you haven't seen it yet, go watch it. We'll wait.

No, even if you HAVE seen it before, go watch it again.

And while you're watching that video, keep in mind the differences between the two videos.

The Danny MacAskill - "Way Back Home video showed one person, in carefully chosen milieus, performing stunts which the common person could not even imagine himself doing. It's breath-taking. It's beautiful (not in the least because of the background music) ... in a controlled, stolid and consistent setting. When we watch this, we are in awe. We can only imagine the years of practice and dedication which allows and leads one person to accept and overwhelm such challenges of balance, speed, and power.

I'm impressed. Aren't you? If you aren't, you should be.

But consider the Athena Lee video. How are the challenges SHE faces any less intimidating? How many years has she practiced her skills .... and in the effort competed against a multitude of people no less skilled, no less dedicated, no less practiced over and over again.

Or, how are her challenges MORE intimidating? Other than, of course that she is competing, rather than making a feel-good video?

Danny has a 3 minute (more or less) video, which is obviously the result of hours of filming. It's like a Jackie Chan movie ... who knows how many takes each shot required, before he got it 'right'. Sure, he may have injured himself in the filming; we don't know. What we saw here were only the very best of an unknowable number of 'takes' before everything was just right.

Now look again at Athena Lee, or ANY USPSA/IPSC competitor. They only get one run, one chance to make the perfect run on any given stage ... On EVERY Stage! If it isn't perfect every time, they don't get another go at it .... their time and score is recorded and they stand on their single best/worst/good/mediocre performance. They have to be ALWAYS at the top of their game on every stage at every match .... or nobody cares about them.

I think that when people look at videos of USPSA/IPSC matches, they tend to say "ho hum, just another day at a match".

But when they look at a bicyclist riding a child's bicycle, they say "Hey, Wow! That's rather a dicey place he's put himself into, isn't it?"

Bicycle riding is ... I don't know if I can put it in to the proper framework. I'm impressed by the amazing stunts they can do, but I'm always aware that they probably didn't do it 'right' the first time, no matter what stunts they do.

USPSA/IPSC competition, however, is ALWAYS "do it right the first time, over and over, or you're merely an "Also Ran". (And we all know how many of us fit in THAT category, don't we? Show of hands? I thought so.)

I'm not saying that the antics of grown men on kiddy-cycles isn't impressive, because it is.

And yes, I've deliberately used the most demeaning buzz-words I could imagine in describing this phenomenon, because I am trying to demonstrate the wide gap between appreciation of one "non-spectator sport" and another.

When we see a grown man on a kiddy bike jumping walls and riding rails, it's justifiable impressive.

But when you see a truly champion-class Practical Pistol shooter (Athena Lee, for example) doing everything right, on every stage of a bit match, it's all to easy to say "Ho hum, just another IPSC match." You and I could probably do a fair approximation of Ms. Lee/s performance, couldn't we?

Well, maybe so, maybe no. But the point is ... you can't get your name in the winners' circle with a "maybe". You need to perform better than everyone else, first time and every time. Or you're still a "Ho Hum" performer.

I think that the kind of competition as typified in USPSA is the finest, most point-of-the-sword kind of competition available on this planet. This is roughly equivalent to Olympic quality athletes, but looked at in a different way.

(And do NOT get me started on the stupid failed efforts of IPSC to make Practical Shooting a "Demonstration Event" in the International Olympics a decade or so ago. I'm still frosted about that; this was the most inept political effort in recent history, in ANY venue, and a child could have told the IPSC President ["He Who must Not be Named"] that it was ill timed, poorly conceived, and ineptly executed.)

Yes, Practical Shooting could and perhaps should be elevated to an Olympic level, but that's a Political Decision, and IPSC/USPSA is not a politically-correct "sport" (Quotes used advisedly, well knowing that they are included in the sardonic sense.) In a single sentence: Kiddy-Bike rail-jumping will be elevated to an Olympic level before Practical Shooting is, because Kiddy-Bike rail-jumping is not politically incorrect ... even if it's EASIER TO DO.

Scroll back:

Biking looks good, because you get a lot of tries and it's not competitive AT ALL!

Shooting doesn't look good, politically, and it's easy to lose because you have only ONE TRY and the competition here is fierce, man. Truly fierce!

No, I'm not putting down biking, whatever the venue. Some of the stunts I see in the provided video ... oh hell, ALL of them! ... are just beyond the concept of the common man to perform.

But when I look at videos of USPSA/IPSC competition, I'm even more impressed. I KNOW I can't do that, because I've tried, for over 25 years, and I know that however well my performance may look on video, there's always some one else who can do the same thing better, smoother, faster. It's like the Bionic Man:

"We can do it. We have the technology. We can make him better .. stronger ... faster."

Yeah, but can you make him "better .. stronger ... faster" than everyone else? Or can you just make him look good on Video?

Here's the point:
You can look at a lot of video events, and you can look at a lot of competitive sports. But there are very few events which are both competitive sports, and which position each competitor against every other competitor .. in a field which may include 300 or 400 other competitors ... and elevate one single person above all of his or her opponents. This kind of competition selects the best, the fastest, the smartest and the most consistently excellent person in the field.

This kind of competition is found in very few venues; these venues include ..... well, The Olympics. And all subordinate versions of competition which qualify competitors for The Olympics.

No mistakes. No awkward moments. No minor slip-ups wit the penalty of only a second or two accumulative over multiple efforts ..... and the first try you get is the ONLY try you get.

Child bike-riding looks really good on video, but when you compare it to IPSC/USPSA competition (remember, these people are shooting real guns and a moment's slip-up could result in disaster!), it's just a kid sport.

Ho hum.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Area 1 Director wins "Super Trooper" at FNH USA 3-gun National Shoot-Off.

Shooting Wire: "Anderson Wins 3GN Shoot-Off, $5K From Warne":
"PARMA, Idaho - A year ago, Chuck Anderson came up one run short. This time around, he could not be denied.

Anderson, delivering remarkable speed on the pistol, upset perennial favorite Daniel Horner in the finals of the FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Shoot-Off, Presented by SureFire, following the MGM Ironman to win $5,000 from Warne Scope Mounts on June 11.

Anderson qualified for the 3GN Shoot-Off by defending his Trooper class title at Ironman, one of the most unique divisions held anywhere. In Trooper division, competitors are required to carry all their gear on their person for the duration of the match. With shooters carrying as many as six firearms, ammunition and gear, especially at the physical slugfest that is MGM's Ironman, winning Trooper division is a major achievement." (emphasis added by Geek)

Congratulations, Chuck!

I've watched Mr. Anderson compete in USPSA matches for years, and he has always been among the top shooters. A working LEO, Chuck has always been a hard man to beat. Although I'm not familiar with the "Trooper division", it sounds like a true Iron Man category.

I'm impressed, you should be too.

I'll be working the Chrono stage at the Area 1 match later this month. Hope to see him there, so I can offer him my personal congratulations.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I had to vacuum my Antelope today.

The dust-bunnies were just getting too darn thick; every time I looked at him, he appeared about to sneeze.

That's a pretty tough trick for a critter who has been dead for going on 30 years.

Actually, it's hard for me to decide exactly how long I've had "Fred". I took him in SE Oregon during a season during the early 80's. It was probably about 1982 or 83, because my son was still a toddler and he was born in 1980.

My father and I had been hunting antelope together since I was in high school, which means our first hunt was probably in the autumn 1963. We went to Wyoming then (the area around Rawlins) and we both bagged decent Buck Antelope although they were nowhere near trophies.

Then we started applying for tags for Eastern Oregon Antelope hunts. They were limited, we had to put if for the drawing, and had to specify the area we wanted to hunt in. We found a dry lake bed just outside of Burns, Oregon, and thought that it would hold little attraction to most hunters even though it was just a few miles from an Antelope reservation area. We figured there might be a few drifters from the reservation, and that they would probably be lone bucks or old bucks with a small harem. We got our tags, drove down there in a teensy little datsun pickup (attached to a motor home ... we like our comforts when we can get them) and spend a couple of pre-season days scouting the area.

We saw a TON of good, shootable bucks as we were driving around the day before the season opened. but when we went back to the same places on Opening Day, we didn't see any Antelope at all. We decided that Antelope are like Deer; they know when the hunting season opens, and plan to make themselves scarce.

But the second day we move a little bit west, where we hadn't scouted before, and found a magnificent 100-foot tall mesa that was narrower than it was tall, and it had a slope on the south side that we could easily climb.

When we got on top of that mesa, we could see for miles in either direction. We saw two water tanks of which we were not previously aware, so we decided that this was good hunting country because both the cattle (which were pasturing in the area) and the wildlife would know that there was a reliable source of water.

We also saw a few antelope ... a small bunch of five or six ... about a mile away. By that time of cay (about 9am) they had already watered for the day and were now grazing. Or browsing, more likely, because like Deer, Antelope feed less on grass than on bushes and brush ... even sagebrush.

So we took a compass bearing (NE by N), climbed back down from the mesa and headed out on the same bearing. After trekking about a half-mile, we started still-hunting.

Antelope like cattle; in Antelope country, you don't always look for Antelope. Sometimes you look for cattle, and when you find them you begin to hunt Antelope.

So it was that day. Cattle were scattered all through the area, but we found Antelope in the near vicinity.

The big buck had a small harem of 3 does. There were a couple of young bucks loitering around the area, sniffing around the does. The big buck had apparently been successfully fighting them off, as all three males showed signs of fighting. The most obvious evidence of this was the chips off the horns.

We sneaked around the harem, Pop in overwatch and me doing the sneak. I came around a big sagebrush, glanced to my left, and saw the biggest damn Antelope I had ever seen in my life. He was looking straight at me from about 35 feet away, and (they are so fatally CURIOUS about things!) the old boy kept watching me as I faced him, raised my .25-06, and shot him ... and missed!

I've missed game before, but never that close, standing still, and just begging to become my dinner. I guess it must have been Buck Fever, or I just rushed my shot so badly because it was so PERFECT I didn't want to blow it.

So I blew it.

The buck didn't wait around for me to repeat my invitation to dinner. He wheeled on the proverbial and headed for parts West ... back toward his harem.

I had no good shot. So I racked another 117 grain Nosler Boat-Tail Partition bullet in that customized 1903-A3 and shot him right in the ass.

Pitiful. Broke his leg at the hip, and he kept ON running hell-bent for leather with one hind leg literally flapping in the breeze. Who knew a hundred-ten pound Antelope could be so tough?

He went through the sage like a swallow goes through a swarm of gnats. I locked down the ought-six and took off running after him. The sage brush was tall, over my head, and he didn't need to bob and weave to quickly get out of my sight. But he wasn't hard to track. There was a plain blood trail that my 2 year old son could have followed. About a hundred yards away I came up on him. He was laying on his side, bleeding and broken, and looking up at me with the biggest dark eyes the world has ever known.

I feel like the biggest jerk the world has ever know. Rather than put another high-velocity bullet in him, I pulled my 1911 and put a 230-grain hardball through his heart. But THAT took me two tries, as well, before he finally put his head down, sighed, and died.

I was so ashamed of my self. I sat down in front of him and started to weep. I was only a couple of years back from Viet Nam, I had killed men, and none of that ever affected me as much as this horrible, sloppy inexcusable murder of an innocent beast.

My father walked up on my while I was sniveling; he saw what was going on, and just stopped. Waited for me to settle myself down and get back up on my feet. The old man surprised me a lot (as I got older, he got SO much smarter!), be never as much as when he said: "That's okay; a man who has no feelings for the animals he kills, is a man I don't want to hunt with."

I never figured out exactly what that meant, but it made me feel better about it even though it was a nasty, sloppy kill.

I started field dressing the critter while Pop went to get the pickup. When got looking at him close, I found that my first shot had not been a clean miss. The view was quartering me more than looking head-on, as I had thought. I only know this because I found a shot low on the ribs from the front aspect which went through a little meat before exiting ... the light hollow-point bullet wasn't hitting bone or enough meat to cause it to expand. The poor old fellow could have run a mile with that hole before he bled out, and I might not have ever tracked him to his death spot because he was only bleeding heavily from the second shot, the leg-breaking hit.

We got him cleaned up, washed out the body cavity with five gallons of water we had hauled for that purpose (no Virginia, it doesn't ruin the meat to pour water on it; it cools it off and keeps it from getting gamey in hot weather) and put him in the back of the truck.

On the way out, we ran across another small bunch. Parked the truck, I bird-dogged with the binoculars and Pop stalked down a very nice young buck (no harem there ... the buck was about 2 or 3 years old as were his bachelor buddies) and took him with one clean shot. That 7mm Magnum hit right in the neck, a broadside standing shot at 200 yards, and that Antelope collapsed just like a puppet when his strings are cut. Never saw a more instant kill before, never did again. That was a beautiful shot; he never knew he was dead. Well. Pop was ever the better hunter.

We dressed the second buck, and t when we got back on the graded dirt road we were met by an Oregon State Wildlife (Fish & Game) Ranger. He checked our tags to make sure they were attached and filled out properly, and admired my buck.

He admired it so much, he took a picture. He said they like to post them on their bulletin board at the Ranger station, so hunters stopping by can see what fine Antelope they grew in that area.

We took our bucks to the local taxidermy station (they set up in the boondocks during Antelope season, it's just good business.) Eventually it cost me about $350 to get a full head-and-neck mount, and I've cherished that singular trophy ever since. Turns out, the tips of both horns were broken out (see the photo), apparently Fred was fighting off the young males to protect his harem. I guess one of those two young bucks fought off the other to game breeding rights ... but that's all Antelope Culture.

Oh ... when we finally got back to Oregon, I took Fred to a professional butcher. Ordered all cutlets ... no roasts, no chops, no hamburger. But I did ask them to turn all the stuff that would ordinarily be used to make hamburger, to be made into salami.

Fred may have died hard, but the meat was tender and absolutely delicious! Since then, I've had all of my antelope processed the same way.


We (Pop and me) went back to Wyoming three other times ... it's where we had our last hunt as well, in the mid 1980's. It was sad, as it was the last hunt my father went on. I found him a good big antelope with good horns and a beautiful black face, but he couldn't see it even using the scope mounted on his 7mm Remington Magnum rifle. Two years earlier, he did just fine, but Pop was in his late 70's and his eyesight was going and so was his stamina. I hunted the last day by myself, because Pop was too pooped to make it up those steep Eastern Wyoming hills in the strong winds. I found a little doe and I had an "any-sex" tag, so I shot her down like a mangy dog, gutted and dragged her to the truck, and went back to camp so we could pack up to go home.

I haven't hunted since. It's no fun, unless you have the Jaeger Meister with you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eviscerating Sarah

Palin and Paul,
sitting in a tree,

Earlier this month Sarah Palin told a group of Massachusetts tourists that The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (originally described by Longfellow as "Paul Revere's Ride") included warning the British that the American Patriots were waiting for them and would not willingly give up their guns (many of which were stored in an arsenal at Concord, Massachusetts).

In fact, Revere was captured by the British and held at gunpoint.

Palin's assertion that Revere "warned the British" was recorded, and subsequently her grasp of historical fact was gleefully derided by many Liberal sources.

Chris Mathews on HARDBALL stepped on Palin's neck, asserting that Palin "... don't know much about history" and "I think that speaks for her credentials more than anything else". Quoting John McCain, Mathews said "She Doesn't Know Anything".

(Why is the Lame Stream Media so focused on Palin?
No matter what she does ... or doesn't do ... she is criticized. Even if the LSM pays more attention to Palin than to supposedly 'major' Republican candidates, the story is that her day-to-day activities are more emphatically (and critically) reported in the News than "mainstream" Republican candidates. And the reason for this is .. . what?)

One radio commentator was so astounded (after stating that "She's an idiot .. it doesn't matter") when his staff informed him that Palin's assertion was accurate, that his head exploded ... leaving only his mouth to further his political agenda regardless of the facts.

These were his earlier comments ... before he realized that he was entirely clueless:

What a bunch of maroons!

When asked by Fox News about her supposed faux pas, Palin confirmed her assertion, saying "I know my American History".

And in fact, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society, Palin was exactly right.

In a much later letter written long after the event, Revere said (in part - note that variant spellings and grammar are reproduced exactly as written):

I got a Horse of Deacon Larkin. While the Horse was preparing, Richard Devens, Esq. who was one of the Committee of Safty, came to me, & told me, that he came down the Road from Lexington, after Sundown, that evening; that He met ten British Officers, all well mounted, & armed, going up the Road. I set off upon a very good Horse; it was then about 11 o'Clock, & very pleasant. After I had passed Charlestown Neck, & got nearly opposite where Mark was hung in chains, I saw two men on Horse back, under a Tree. When I got near them, I discovered they were British officer.

One tryed to git a head of Me, & the other to take me. I turned my Horse very quick, & Galloped towards Charlestown neck, and then pushed for the Medford Road. The one who chased me, endeavoring to Cut me off, got into a Clay pond, near where the new Tavern is now built. I got clear of him, and went thro Medford, over the Bridge, & up to Menotomy. In Medford, I awaked the Captain of the Minute men; & after that, I alarmed almost every House, till I got to Lexington.

I found Mrs. Messrs. Hancock & Adams at the Rev. Mr. Clark's; I told them my errand, and inquired for Mr. Daws; they said he had not been there; I related the story of the two officers, & supposed that He must have been stopped, as he ought to have been there before me. After I had been there about half an Hour, Mr. Daws came; after we refreshid our selves, we and set off for Concord, to secure the Stores, &c. there. We were overtaken by a young Docter Prescot, whom we found to be a high Son of Liberty. I told them of the ten officers that Mr. Devens mett, and that it was probable we might be stoped before we got to Concord; for I supposed that after Night, they divided them selves, and that two of them had fixed themselves in such passages as were most likely to stop any intelegence going to Concord.

I likewise mentioned, that we had better allarm all the Inhabitents till we got to Concord; the young Doctor much approved of it, and said, he would stop with either of us, for the people between that & Concord knew him, & would give the more credit to what we said. We had got nearly half way.

Mr Daws & the Doctor stoped to allarm the people of a House:

I was about one hundred Rod a head, when I saw two men, in nearly the same situation as those officer were, near Charlestown. I called for the Doctor & Daws to come up; - were two & we would have them in an Instant I was surrounded by four; - they had placed themselves in a Straight Road, that inclined each way; they had taken down a pair of Barrs on the North side of the Road, & two of them were under a tree in the pasture. The Docter being foremost, he came up; and we tryed to git past them; but they being armed with pistols & swords, they forced us in to the pasture; -the Docter jumped his Horse over a low Stone wall, and got to Concord.

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back, and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from, & what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up.

(Note: this was the part where Revere "ratted out" the American Patriots.")

He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms. He then orderd them to advance, & to lead me in front. When we got to the Road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we had got about one Mile, the Major Rode up to the officer that was leading me, & told him to give me to the Sergeant. As soon as he took me, the Major orderd him, if I attempted to run, or any body insulted them, to blow my brains out.

We rode till we got near Lexington Meeting-house, when the Militia fired a Voley of Guns, which appeared to alarm them very much.

As you can see from Revere's own words, he was repeatedly threatened with sudden death and yet he had the presence of mind to "warn" the British that Americans were prepared to resist British efforts by force of arms.

He had no real knowledge even that Americans would respond to his call to arms, let alone how many might show up at concord; but Revere valiantly presented to the British that they would be resisted.

I didn't now this about American History. Did you?

But Sarah Palin knew it, and was so secure about her knowledge of American History that she placed herself in a very dangerous position .. and then defended her position, successfully. Did she have a very knowledgeable staff? Or was she just so confident that she was willing to place herself in a position where she had to confirm her knowledge about America, to make a point.

B. H. Obama would NEVER do this!

This was not, as may be assumed by some leftist Americans today, an attempt to appease his captors. Instead, it was a exercise in what we would call today "disinformation". At the point of his capture by aggressive British soldiers, Revere played his sole remaining trump card and threatened the British with American Resistance.

Revere had no reason to believe that the British would not execute him with no notice; yet he continued his resistance even though he knew that it could incite the powerful military to violence ... at the cost of his own life.

We can only wonder why the Liberal Press has reacted so fervently against Palin's History Lesson. Was it because they thought it made an American hero, Paul Revere, seem less than fervent in his revolutionary ardor?

No, probably the reaction of the Liberal Press was solely because Palin is a Conservative, and they will not consciously miss any opportunity to portray her in the most unfavorable light.

The MSM, as antiquated as they are, will always portray a female conservative as dim-witted.

Fortunately, they don't do their homework, as Sarah Palin obviously does.

My thanks to Conservatives4Palin, for the link to the original Revere letter; also, to "Legal Insurrection" for the link to the link.

Also, note that Yahoo News in their article "How Sarah Palin Got It Right about Paul Revere 'Warning The British'" for their link to the link to the ... well, you know.

Fortunately, we don't have to rely on the Main Stream Media for information. They don't do their homework, and they should be ashamed of their lapse.

Incidentally, this puts the MSM long-time claim that "Bloggers aren't reliable news sources, because they don't have the staff to confirm the validity of their information" completely out of our realm of approbation. In this case, as in so many others, the MSM doesn't do their homework.

Bloggers do.

And so does Sarah Palin.

IMDb Video: Eyewitness

IMDb Video: Eyewitness

Several Incidents .... Adam-12 full episode link