Sunday, August 27, 2006

a bit of an epiphany

I was sitting in church this morning when a thought came to me, all out-of-the-blue like. I had to write it down lest I forget it, and I had to get it posted before that note slipped my mind. Would ya look at that: motivation!

There's a very old saying that probably came from either bikers or criminals: "Its better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven." The sentiment is that whoever's wearing that on the back of their beat up t-shirt is a rough dude; one would suppose that character could take care of himself...whatever that really means.

It also brings up an interesting question: who said you get to rule in Hell? I don't care how much of a tough guy the hardcore shirt wearer is; there are plenty of things between Heaven and Hell that are tougher. No puny human gets to decide where he rules. Think about it: you don't even rule much of anything on Earth, and you want to be a ruler in a place not even of Earth? How do you get that job? What kind of schooling is required? If you're not even good enough to rule on earth, how ya gonna do it where beings are more powerful than you are? If you can't rule the world (and better leaders than you have tried, come close, and ultimately failed) you stand no chance of getting that job in the afterlife.

The arrogance of people never ceases to blow my mind. We think we're so in control, that we affect so much. Its laughable. The Earth was here before us. Animals didn't need to worry about ethical treatment or rights. They go on living with or without us. Scientists two decades ago were claiming we were causing a global freeze, but when that didn't pan out, they went for global warming instead. The Earth was here before us. It will be here, if God decides that it will be, after we've gone. We could blow up every nuclear weapon we have simultaniously, in the process really putting the Iranians to shame with thier efforts in comparison, and make the world clicking hot for generations. The Earth would still right itself. Humans can mess things up, and maybe even do it for a long time, but we still don't have that much of an effect on things. The world goes on with or without us.

So, since we can't even make the world bow to our will, how is it we'll be able to rule in Hell, then? The shirt doesn't qualify as a pass. You gotta stand up and do something about it. Didja see The Omen? The Possession of Emily Rose? Who's possessing who? You gonna go to Hell and take that demon's job? Go! Tell him he's a pansy. Whup his ass, then go after his boss. Lemme know how that works out for ya.

Think about it a moment. Since those are the choices, there's really only one way to go. I'll be a servant in Heaven. Its going to be a lot better serving Jesus than it will be serving Satan. If nothing else, the working conditions will be far easier to deal with.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I've been watching the VH1 series of "The Eleventy Billion Greatest Acts of Hard Rock"...or something like that. Makes me wonder two things: what happened to MTV that VH1 took over as the hard rockin' station, and who's deciding this list? Its hard to believe that the channel that was supposed to be the alternative to MTV for 30-something parents has become the last bastion of rock on basic cable. I can't count Fuse in on that because I don't get that channel. More's the pity; Juliya is not only extremely knowedgible, she's three kinds of hot, too.

I've pretty much been a dirt head all my music-listening life. I'm not an expert on Hard Rock, but I certainly know it when I hear it. The list was allegedly amalgamated from the responses of professional musicians. I gotta call BS on that.

Meatloaf is hard rock? No. The artwork was...the songs aren't. Husker Du? Also not hard rock. Punk? Probably; alternative to probably more accurate. Alternative in this case meaning "not very good". Alternative to good music, I guess.

They ranked Bad Brains above Primus. What-the-hell-ever. I saw both of those bands opening for Living Colour. LC can blow a lotta bands clean off the stage. Primus not only held their own, they were completely memorable and seeing them live made me a fan. Seeing Bad Brains live made me an anti-fan.

These compilation list shows are interesting, but it makes me wonder what people are hearing when they listen to music. Some of this stuff is obviously crap, and it still makes the list. How do we know its crap? It didn't sell. That's not to say that only good bands sell; there's more than ample evidence to show that idea as false. But over time, if the public isn't buying it, its because it sucks. Or they don't get it.

I guess I don't get it. I must be out of touch. I have heard scant little that's worth listening to these days, much less plunking down hard earned cash to get the CD. One of the contestants that got voted off of Rockstar Supernova made the comment that everything's already been done in rock. She got voted out, but I think she may have been right. I'm listening to the same CD's I've had for a very long time, with few exceptions. Once a year, if I'm lucky, I'm finding something I wanna hear that's new. Everything else is stuff that's a few years old now.

What's new that I'm into? Demon Hunter. They just released their third record last year, and I'm trying to wear that CD out. At least they rock. I'm gonna go back and listen Sailing the Seas of Cheese now.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Champ

The next UFC PPV is this weekend, and for the first time in the past couple of them, I think we're gonna get some great fights. I'm excited about the Babalu/Iceman fight. The buzz for this fight is really interesting. Seems that, for the first time in a while, people want to bet against the champ.
I'm not sure why that is. Renato "Babalu" Sobral is a fantastic fighter. He's tough, he's got great wrestling skills, he's a Gracie jiu jitsu master. He's very well rounded, with better striking skills and he's bigger than he was three years ago when he got knocked out. He's been thinking about this fight for three years. I wouldn't wanna match up against this guy. He's going to bring it, full speed and all the time.
Chuck has great takedown defense. He's got good wrestling skills, and he's taken guys down to beat them. But he doesn't like to be there; Chuck wants the fight to be a stand up striking affair.
Chuck's game plan is the same as it always is. He's not gonna do anything different; he's going to defend the takedown and look for the knockout. Who hasn't he fought like that? Ortiz? Beat him that way. Cotoure? Defend the takedown, stand up and strike. He beat Randy two of three, getting the belt, and getting the belt back. Then he beat Randy in the final shot at the title. He beat Sobral the first time in the same way. His game plan is old, well known, and not going to change.
Don't bet against Liddell. He will win this match up via knock out and retain his title.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I realized this weekend that Snakes on a Plane is a movie that I have no desire to see. The Intarweb buzz for this movie has been outrageous. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. Sure, Sammy Jackson is a good actor. Is he great? Is he good enough to carry a movie like this? Mark my words: this movie is gonna suck.
How can I feel so strongly about that when the movie doesn't even come out until tomorrow? From the trailers, Jackson's charcter is pretty weak. He plays a cop of some sort, probably a sky marshall. Yay, another cop on a plane. That's pretty unoriginal. The protagonists are snakes? Yeah, that worked great in such films as "Slither" and "Anaconda". You have both of those in your first line DVD collection, right? OK, six of you do. What about everyone else? Yeah, that's what I thought. "Anaconda" had Kari Wuhrer and JLo's big ass in it, and it still couldn't be saved.
The Intarweb has this wierd underground popularity thing that this flick has tapped into. Its sort of the "Pirates vs Ninja" thing, but with a movie. What effect will that have? It'll probably cause the movie to debut at #1, knocking another movie I have no desire to see out of that spot, and then it'll disappear soon after. If they'd have made the snakes look real, it may have had a chance...but it doesn't. Try to at least see it on a matinee if you have to see it. At least that way you'll be out slightly less money.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Found out a couple days ago that a good friend of mine got wrecked by some crazy lady on his brand new motor-sickle. Not even 600 miles on his bike yet. Crazy lady was behind him, then went to pass him, made eye contact with him as she was going by, and then cut in front of him and hit her brakes.
The good news is that my bro is fine, except for some bruises. He went OTB, and the bike landed on him, which is where the bruises came from. He jacked up his helmet and jacket in addition to probably totalling his scooter. The Crazy Lady pretty well copped to causing it in the Police report. Of course, it apparently didn't do all that much damage to her rig. Ain't it the way? Seems my bro's insurance company is going after everything on this one, and he's got gap insurance in case they don't. He'll end up with a new bike out this, more than likely.
Wanna guess where he was coming from when this happened? Think about it...what would be the most ironic thing you can think of? That's right: motorcyle riding school. Since he's fine, that's funny!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Classic monologue for the day

"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas."
"A what?"
"A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace...bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one...big hitter, the Lama...long..into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish eighteen, and he's gonna stiff me. And I say,'Hey, Lama! Hey, how about a little something...yuh know...for the effort..yuh know.' And he says, 'Oh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will consiousness.' So I got that goin' for me...which is nice." -Karl Spackler, Assistant Greenskeeper (they say that doesn't mean anything, being assistant greenskeeper), Bushwood Country Club.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Sorry, its not what you think. An SF buddy of mine showed me how to detail strip a 1911, by helping me tear mine down to the bare frame and slide. Its a handy thing, having an SF Weapons Sergeant around. He knows a couple things.

My baby was built, oh, almost a decade ago by a very talented gunsmith named Lance Martini. He's apparently out of the gunsmithing business and works for a Sheriff's crime lab somewhere; more's the pity. It started life as a near-bone stock Springfield Armory 1911-A1 Lightweight. The difference between near-bone and totally-bone is that it had high profile fixed sights and a lowered ejection port. If the slide hadn't been lowered, I'd have had it done. If you're going to reload, you don't have a choice; it'll save your brass.
The pistol has some great parts in it. Here's the rundown, because I haven't used the list feature yet:
  • Springfield Armory 1911-A1 Lightweight; aluminum frame and steel slide
  • Novak fixed rear sight fitted by me. Someday its gonna be replaced with a milled in Novak night sight.
  • Factory front sight, grip screw bushings, mainspring, sear, hammer, extractor, spring guide, firing pin, recoil spring cap, detents and detent springs. All else has been replaced.
  • Wilson firing pin return spring and Wolff recoil spring
  • Bar Sto barrel, hard fit to the slide
  • King's trigger, thumb safety, slide stop
  • Wilson's grip safety
  • Wilson's stainless hex head grip screws. Ya gotta get ya some of these or yer not a real 1911 shooter! ;)
  • Pachmayr Presentation grips with wrap around front strap, and not thumb rests. I needed something to increase grip on the front strap because of the light weight of the pistol
  • Reliability polishing job

This gun has shot like a champ almost from day one. The Bar Sto barrel had to be opened up to commercial specs from a match chamber because it wouldn't feed reloads reliably. It feeds rocks now. The best thing about Bar Sto barrels is that in addition to being very accurate barrels, they simply don't rust. Most folks I know replace the Rustmaster barrels in their Kimbers with Bar Sto's so they never have to see corrosion again. For a couple hundred bucks, they're a heck of an investment. If you can shoot, you'll see a marked difference if your gun is of average accuracy.
But after all these years, the gun had never been more than field stripped, mostly because I didn't know how to detail strip it. Sometimes detail stripping is like black magic voodoo to shooters. We just don't want to get involved in it in case we mess something up. I have some nice accurate guns that I don't want to be the cause of them forgetting how to do so!
This particular pistol has had thousands of rounds through it. It's been my primary match gun and shooting class gun since it got built. I've carried it daily at work for the two years I've been in Kentucky. It still gets carried from time to time, getting a day off from time to time when I've got my Grock 30 with me.
Detail stripping is something I really wish I'd done before. I can't believe how much dust, dirt, carbon, powder residue, funk, junk, and other stuff that was in that gun. No tumbleweeds, but that probably wouldn't have surprised me. Doing all this cleaning made me a believer in the beauty of the Dunk-It. I didn't have one to use for this gig, but its clear how much easier that would have made the job. The M4 Guru said he's used it quite frequently and swears by it.
If you don't know how to do this, by all means, find out. There are videos available, and you probably know somebody who already knows how to do this. If you don't trust that guy to change a battery in a flashlight, though, don't let him at your guns! Some people give off a bad vibe regarding mechanical things. That's not the guy to allow near your expensive bet-your-life-on-it blaster! My rule has always been, "Only let the best available touch your guns". In my case, I have both an 11C and a cop that's been through the Colt's Armorer's Course at my disposal. If you don't have that, get an education in how to work on your firearms. I'd hate to hear that the guy wasn't qualified when it was too late! "Oops" is something you don't want to hear from your doctor, your dentist, or your "gunsmith".
One last thing. You may notice a wierd two tone effect in the finish of the frame of my gun. That's where I've worn the finish off the frame by shooting the hell out of it. All gun refinishing needs to be started in this manner. Yes, I'll refinish the gun, but when people see the gun, they know its got miles on it. That kind of character cannot be bought.

Lies, Damn lies, and MySpace

If MySpace ever had any value (I don't know if it ever did; I found about it on TV. They said its where teenage girls go to get hooked up with sexual predators...or something like that) that value is totally used up now. I just checked out the MS page of a girl I work with. I bookmarked it with "comedy" in the title of said bookmark.
This lead to an interesting discussion on the topic of human psyche yesterday at work. Hey, I can't always be doing what I'm supposed to do, can I? At any rate, its become common knowledge that this kid we work with has an MS account, because she tells lots of people about it. That's a separate issue that will be discussed later. Here's where this gets interesting.
She claimed her height was 5'7". I think she may be fudging that, but we'll give her the benefit of the doubt. However, she claims her body type is "average". Ummmm...yeah, as long as "average" means "shaped like a barrel". She weighs at least 200 lbs, and probably a lot more. That's definately where the fudging comes in...along with cakes, ice cream, bacon triple cheeseburgers...and diet Cokes. She claims a religeous faith, but according to her MS friends, she sparks up the chiba and drinks to excess.
I bring all this up partly for comedic purposes, but also to illustrate the discussion of yesterday. She's hardly the only one. If anything, I'd be surprised to find out anyone on MS had a truthful, honest account. The question becomes, then, is she lying to attract someone that couldn't attract before, or is that how she sees herself?
Remember "Collateral" with Jamie Foxx and that short guy that jumps on couches on TV? The cabbie always made it sound like he was working towards his dream goal. It turned out that he was doing nothing of the kind. That would seem to be more the case with the majority of people in the world. So many people have dreams that they could reach with some work, but either through fear, lack of confidence, or lack of desire, they don't even try. Yet, they'll talk about it as if they do, or have, or are actively working on it.
What is it about people that they just can't be honest, with themselves or anyone else? What drives them to have to lie about themselves? Or do they really believe their "cover story"?
Because I work in the tactical gear industry, I run into people on a fairly regular basis who claim to be what they're not. One kid I heard about came back from the Army on leave, and told his dad that he was the was the youngest kid to graduate "Special Forces Sniper School", and that he was with 10th SFG. Dad got all chuffed and contacted the newspapers, who sent a reporter to write a story on this kid. The article got published. One of the members of the forum I am an admin on found it, and posted a link. Now, this particular forum is mostly .mil and LE types, who don't take kindly to people claiming stuff they haven't done. This kid went home to a weekend with the family, and came back to work to find out that members of our forum had used their contacts in the service to let the kid's platoon leader, sergeant major, and company commander know what he allowed to happen. He claimed to be something he wasn't, and ended up with a maxed field grade Article 15, and had to write a formal letter of apology to 10th Group. I heard that his extra duty (45 days of it) consisted of being given to 10th Group to do whatever they wanted to with him, but I can't confirm it. I suspect he ended up polishing things that were never polished before. All that because he couldn't be truthful with himself, his family, or a reporter. He still had three years to do in the Army. One forum member described it like this: "remember having that dream where you show up at work with no pants? That's his life for the next three years."
I know a guy who claims to have been a Ranger. Except that he called the obstacle course at Camp Darby the "Queen Darby" (its real name is the Darby Queen). That fact, on top of many others, got called. Then he had to backtrack and lie some more to cover it. In the end, he lost all credibility with the people that he was trying to build credibility with. Oops.
Why is it people feel the need to do that? I don't understand. I won't claim that I've never lied, but I've tried to always be the person I appeared to be. I'm a low speed, high drag nobody with a pretty cool job that I got because I had developed some useful skills that were needed by my employer. In my job, I get to meet a lot of people who are bona fide heroes, badasses, straight up shoot-you-in-the-face killers, and would be celebrities if what they did for a living was celebrated in the press. Its no wonder so many people want to be them, but its also no wonder that so few can be. Those same "can't be's" are the same ones that "wannabe" and "claimtabe". For the life of me, I can't understand why. If you wanna be one of them, then go do what they did to get where they are. If you can't, be honest with yourself and say "I can't". If everyone could do it, everyone would do it. There are more jobs than I can count that make the world work everyday. If they didn't need to be done, they wouldn't be paid.
I guess what I'm getting at is that if you're not happy where you are, do something about it. This is America. Opportunity is there, and so is copious amounts of help. If you don't wanna do it, then don't. Just don't claim that you did. All that happens in the end is that you lose a whole lot more than you were willing to bet, and gain a whole lot less than you wanted to win. Its too high a price to die unhappy because you spent your life as a lie.

Friday, August 11, 2006

rainy rain

Man, have we gotten some rain over the past couple of days! The weather here in the KY has been energetic, to say the least. Its been generally hot and humid for the past couple weeks, but in the past two days, we've really gotten some good quality storms. I mean rain with enough wind to go with it to blow the rain in sideways. I wish I'd gotten photos of it.
Now, I'm a semi-believer in O'Brien's Law (O'Brien's Law is, "Murphy is an optimist"), which would generally state that if there is to be rain, then your weekend will be ruined by it. According to the Weather Channel, though, this weekend will be clear, with rain coming again on about Tuesday of next week. I have to admit to being stunned that my weekend didn't get hosed.
So what am I going to do? I don't really know; I don't have any plans for the weekend at all! Figures, doesn't it? I'll probably go visit some friends in Nashville. All I know is, I have to do something to get out and about. Well see what happens after the weekend, but I have to attempt to do something so I have a subject to post after this one. Obviously, a lot is riding on this clear weekend!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


We're supposed to get a visit from Ashley Burnsed of Blue Force Gear tomorrow, the maker of the best damn slings on the market tomorrow. I wish it wasn't so rare for companies to make a fantastic product (theirs truely is), be able to deliver fast (so far they've done exactly that), and have great people running it (everyone I've met there has been wonderful). Ashley's one of the coolest guys in this industry. I really wish there were more of them.
What's Ashley do that's so different? He's the first guy to make a sling modular. There are no common rifles that can't be slung with one of his rigs. He and Larry Vickers got together and designed the best tactical sling in the world, which of course is named for Vickers. Name a sling. I don't care who's it is. Pick one. Blue Force Gear slings are better. Don't bother trying to argue it, you'll just embarrass yourself. Don't even think about bringing up some bungee cord contraption; they're cute but inferior.
One of my cop co-workers got the run down on how cool the Vickers two point is. He ended up leaving with it. We're right outside Fort Campbell, so we have a lot of friends and customers in SF. Those guys have been getting BFG slings in large, large quantities. In addition to making the best two point sling going, they make the best releasable armor integrated sling, too. Lots of companies make slings, but who else does a releasable sling? Every other sling maker is behind the curve.
I'm hoping to get a chance to give a slogan to Ashley tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe it makes them famous. Everyone we talked to tonight agreed that its true: "the Blue Force Gear Vickers sling is the only true two point tactical sling going. Everything else is a carry strap." If they use it, they'll send me something for it. On top of making the best slings going, Ashley's one of the most honorable guys in the tactical industry.
What do I get out of all these kind words about this company? Do I have some vested interest in 'em? I've already been given a Vickers sling, and I love it. My vested interest is that ATS is a BFG dealer, so we want to sell a bunch of them. In fact, in our showroom, they're one of only four brands of slings that we stock. One of those is ours, and the other two are the Troy one point and the Spec Ops Wolf Hook. None of them, including our own, are as good as the BFG. Guess which ones we recommend. You simply can't get a better tactical sling right now. Go order one!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

on the way!

We just finished our first production run today. ATS Gear delivered a bunch of new rigger belts to ATS Tactical Gear (the showroom) and they've sold a few already. And so it begins. I expect that we'll soon be selling a metric buttload of them.
Tomorrow we start a new product run, a unique medical pouch that's unlike anyone else's. I almost wish I needed one because they're slick. Once I get cleared to post some pics, I'll put 'em in here.
The goal is to be in on the sub level (below ground level; it means that, although I'm in management, I still get to swing a mop around, do heavy lifting and sweat off a few pounds) and be one of the ones making it happen, while it grows. I have no doubt that this will soon take off, and we'll be growing by leaps and bounds. Or heaps and bushells. If you have another favorite cliche, insert that one ----->"here".
I'm coming home dog tired every night, but I'm excited beyond words at the possibilities here. Its not too much of an exaguration to say that this has the potential to make me....not rich, exactly...ummmm...OK, how 'bout this: very, very comfortable. Yay Capitalism!

Monday, August 07, 2006


I just re-read a story that re-blows my mind. An elected "official", Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D of GA, threw a hissy fit when stopped by Capitol Police for not following the rules at a security checkpoint . She threw her cell phone at a law enforcement officer, and then cried foul, claiming "inappropriate touching" when they detained her. She wasn't wearing her congressional pin, which is a sort of ID badge (not enough of one, in my opinion). I suppose she expected the Police to remember what she looks like and just let her through, because she's been elected, after all. Now, if she looks like this all the time, I gotta say she'd be pretty memorable, in that crazy-lady-with-200-cats sort of way.
But the bigger question here isn't Rep. McKinney's obviously detached perception of reality. It isn't even her "I'm above everything because I'm a congress-person" attitude, exhibited by her claims of being assaulted when, in point of fact, she could have (and probably should have) been arrested for battery of a law enforcement officer. The bigger question has less to do with the representative and her kind. It rests with the people.
Why is it that so many people around the world can see her as a caricature of a lawmaker, a political whacko (its a technical term) and someone that most of us wouldn't be represented by, when she repeatedly wins elections? What do people see in these fringe candidates that gets them elected? Are there really that many nut jobs in America?
Here's a less extreme example. When I lived in deepest, darkest southern California (the border was a mere 15 minute drive away) I was represented at the Federal level by Barbara Boxer. She's far more liberal than I am, but that's not really why I disliked her representation.
I disagree with the rules of the game as they are at this time. Representatives are in Washington DC to get money for the states. I don't like the way it works, but until that changes, those are the rules that govern. Barbara has failed in that job, getting California less and less funding every time around. Diane Feinstein has garnered more funding for San Francisco's alleged illegal immigration problem (must be importing hippies from somewhere) than the rest of California gets. That's just not right, and it points directly to a failure in representation.
Which really just means that an innefective employee has the job. OK, then, vote her out and replace her. Californians of various political stripes have voiced their displeasure; its not just us whacky kill-em-all-for-oil neo-cons. She's been eminently beatable for the past couple elections. But what do the people do? The reelect her.
I suspect that this phenomena (and I'm not speaking strictly of female elected officials, those are just two of the plethora of examples I could use, from both genders and all political affiliations) rests with the fact that Americans have grown lazy. I started voting when I came of age, and haven't ever missed voting in an election that I was eligible to vote in. But there are family members, friends, and aquaintances of mine that can't be bothered to vote. At all. Many that do don't put in serious study into their candidates because of busy schedules. I've taken the easy road from time to time and voted the party line, but I've been far less disappointed when I have, compared to "if I hadn't". In those cases, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting; the candidates were known entities.
What happens now, it seems, is that when there are new candidates, such as presidential hopefuls, we the people vote more on appearances than policies. Once they're in office, the easy way is to keep them there. More's the pity.
In the end, regardless of what political stripe one wears, one gets the government one votes for. Sort of a political "you get what you pay for." When people get elected and they do something rash, foolish, illegal, immoral, or criminal, the finger of guilt, at the end of the day, points to the people that put them there.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Toys for my Evil Black Rifle!

I received my new Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling on Friday, and finally got it on my EBR last night. Still needs some adjusting, since I attached it a little differently than the directions describe, but I'm absolutely loving this new rig! I'm done with one point slings from here on out.
The difference is that I ran it from my GG&G end plate adapter to a rail mounted QD sling mount closer to the lock nut for the rail. I picked that up from some SF friends of mine who've deployed with this style of sling, set up that way. So far, I'm totally hooked.
I'm a big, big fan of Daniel Defense parts. My EBR sports a 9.5 FSP rail and a 16" M4-ish profile barrel of theirs. I'm hoping they're going to start doing some throw lever mounts to compete with La Rue. The quality is certainly there, and their finish is outstanding. Ashley Burnsed from Blue Force Gear has Daniel Defense make the end plate adapters that he designed. Its quality stuff, backed by a lifetime warranty, made in the US of A. What else can you ask for? You want another reason? My buddy works for them, and recently got married. Buy their parts so he can keep his wife supplied in the manner she deserves! ;) Here's some more pics for ya:

I also added a Badger Ordnance version 1 Tac Latch. I like the latch; its way easier to get a grip on without seeming like it has a big, fat paddle on it. I'm glad I added it. Intalling it? Almost bad enough to make we wanna give up on putting it in! The difference was that the old one was already out. I hit that point of no return, and finally got the tiny roll pin to line up with the charging handle and the latch, which required some prayer, alignment of planets, and luck. I'm not changing that part out now! Even if I hated it, it stays! Good thing its a good part.

Holy cow! What a (not) day off!

My new gig with ATS Manufacturing Division (we don't really have a name yet, so far as I know) starts tomorrow, so I spent today getting the building (more) ready. We were hoping it would be a couple of hours. It ended up being seven, and we're still not at 100%. However, we're much, much closer, and we should be stitching by Tuesday. I'm excited.
I'm also exhausted! Every time I had to go outdoors, I think I lost about six months from my lifespan. KY in the summer isn't the greatest of places to be. Its hot (at 9:25 PM, its still 86 degrees) and its humid. I'd estimate the wet factor at about 80% or so. Nasty. Overall, though, even with a few injuries sustained (that's SOP for me; no big deal), we're almost there. I'm fully expecting this thing to get huge in a big hurry.
Tell ya what: if you're going to go into a new venture, its awfully nice to have a parent company that has the capital to back the venture. Look for cool new, original, well made, kick butt gear from ATS in the very near future. Then order some!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Are they as stupid as I think they are?

I'm really scratching my head these days. The current crop of commercials has me baffled. And the bafflement (yes, I just created that word) extends more towards the advertisers than the advertisments. The commercials I'm seeing these days really make me wonder who is making them. The products advertised are OK, for the most part, but the ads themselves are getting worse and worse.
Here's an example: The Roaming Gnome, Denouncer of Travel Myths. Not a bad concept, and the Gnome is somewhat endearing. The ads, though, baffle me with their contradictions. To whit: the ad talks about the myth that booking air and lodging separately is less expensive. The Gnome rejects the supposition, backing it with fact (way to go, Intellectually Honest Gnome!) and making the point of the commercial: if you book both at the same time (with that travel vendor, of course) you'll save money. OK! Makes great sense. I'll do that next time I need to travel.
That is, until they get to the next part of the commercial: the second Travel Myth. "Gnomes make horrible tour guides", which the Gnome vehemently disagrees with, claiming "We're the best!" The next scene is a double decker lorry (a bus, in the US) running over sidewalks and fire hydrants, with that crack head Roaming Gnome behind the wheel. What's the message here? Is the Gnome only to be believed part of the time? Is the whole commercial a lie? Who signed off on that damn spot? See what I mean? It leads to scratching my head again.
This is hardly the only one. What's that damn kid that eats cereal all day getting paid for? Isn't that other goober his boss? What's so hard about firing that geek? It doesn't sell that cereal to me, and I'm a cereal eater. Oddly enough, I've never seen a commercial for my favorite: Reese's Puffs. Perhaps that's a good reason for it to be a favorite.
I'm sick of having my intelligence insulted, and I've begun to make a concious effort to avoid buying the products that are seen in those rediculous ads. Here it is, Madison Avenue: take a good, hard look at who's writing this dreck, and see what's happening at the schools they're coming from. Something is seriously wrong here, and I don't think its because I have hyper-sensitive perception skills or that I'm over-educated in the area of comprehension. The real answer is that there are people out there doing jobs they're not qualified to do. The work they broadcast across the globe proves it. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

I doubt it'll make a scrap of difference to anyone but me...but I have no problem allowing my politics influence my buying decisions when it suits my purposes. :)

They can't see the forest for the trees

I'm a big, big fan of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I've been watching it almost from its inception, and the athletes involved continue to amaze me with the cerebral aspects of fighting. I've got just enough combat arts training to be useless to me, but its enough that I can tell what's going on in the Octagon. MMA has evolved into a highly technical sport that isn't just about blood anymore. As a matter of fact, it hasn't been about that for quite some time.
Which is why people who should know better baffle me when they make stupid comments about it. I'm not talking about people who aren't fans, I'm talking about people that make their money by being connected to combative sports.
I recently read an interesting article on Chuck Liddell's website ( that started out being about the Light Heavyweight Champion, but ended up being about MMA in general. Jim Lampley, who I respect as an authority on boxing, made himself look like an ignoramus when he said,
"The technical profundity of boxing is a product of its 115-year pedigree in this country, and to compare those two is like comparing a mole hill to a planet. What I see with the UFC are bar fights. They may be very good bar fights, but they're still bar fights."
That comment irks me, because having been a commentator on boxing and a color analyst on who knows how many fights in the 19 years he's been doing it, he should know better. The technical profundity of boxing? What the heck is that? How many different combinations of left and rights are there? I think I wanna go check out the bars he hangs out in. Sounds like there's some pretty amazing matchups I can see for free. How many throws are there in boxing? How many locks are there in boxing? Takedown defense? Sure, they have striking, but that's all it is. MMA is so much more than that now.
Must be the compelling personalities that make boxing so great, after 115 years. Who are the world champs again? In any weight class? In any organization? I couldn't tell you one of them. OK, well, then it must be the sportsmanship that makes boxing great. Except for that Tyson guy who bit a piece of a guy's ear off in the ring. And then said some stupid crap about eating somebody's children. All this from boxing's top draw.
Hmmmm...we're not doing well here, boxing. What else...oh, yeah! Boxing is so well refereed that nobody gets seriously hurt. What's that? Guys have died in the ring, huh? *sigh* Well, I guess Lampley's right. Boxing is definately the planet in this comparison. Especially because the UFC has never had a guy get killed fighting in the Octagon. Yup. Boxing is the thing. Its become so refined that only the highest quality individuals get involved in it. Oh, yeah. That Tyson guy again. Rats. Never mind.
If you're not a fan of MMA but you follow combat sports of some sort, take a good look at it. It will surprise you with how technical and well rounded its become. Especially in the new lightweight class in the UFC. The depth of knowledge and skill at the professional level are really impressive. Thanks to for Tyson's second mug shot.

John Wayne

Saturdays are good for John Wayne movies. There's usually a good one on TV, and if there's not, I'll pick one from my DVD collection. I just finished watching The Commancheros for the eleventy billionth time, and I'm half watching The Undefeated now. Of note is that Jan Michael Vincent is in that movie. He shoulda had a great career. Sad.
Watching these movies brings to mind John Wayne's character. He passed away when I was young, but I remember some of of his public appearances. He was a WYSIWYG type of American. He was the pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps kind of person. The man was a patriot, a complete supporter of the military, and active in the world around him, mostly in politics, it would seem. He was always on the side of Justice and Freedom. I've been pondering this of late. Is John Wayne gone from America?
Every day I go to work, I see the best of what America has to offer. I'm in the tactical gear industry, which means damn near all my customers are soldiers. Not a day goes by that these men don't impress me.
I'm not talking about the "me against the world" characters. I'm talking about the real professionals. The men who volunteered to make a difference. To defend their country. Perhaps the cynical among us don't believe in that, but seeing it day after day makes me a believer.
These men have a hard job. They go to work early, stay late, and sweat while they're doing their tasks. They do it and love it. They do it because its the right thing to do. They do it to give back to the country that gave to them. I can't help but to be fiercely proud of them. I do what I do because it helps them do their job. Their job is to defeat America's enemies. I thank God every night that they're there to do it. I see in them the spirit of John Wayne. Justice and Freedom are well defended. Say a prayer for these warriors. They do what they do so you can be free to do what you do.

What do I need a blog for?

After several years of wondering what I might need a blog for, now I have one. I still don't know what I need one for, but several of my friends have 'em, so I guess I got jealous.
The world supposedly revolves around blogs. Ask the news. They're all up in it, especially come election time. To me all they prove is that the Intarweb has revolutionized communication. The interesting thing about that is that its about the only medium where its potentially a one, two, or multiple (perhaps into the hundreds of millions) channels can send information in more than one direction. F'rinstance: the news comes into your TV (if you even watch the news anymore; I rarely do), but its the channel sending info to you. You can't interact with it. The Intarweb allows for that...but it doesn't have to be that way.
The beauty of the Intarweb (and one of the major drawbacks) is that if you choose to hide behind your computer screen, its not that hard to do. Check out any forum on any subject anywhere on the net. On some quilting forum somewhere, somebody's flaming somebody else for their opinion, and hiding behind their keyboard. I was recently banned from a forum...and I have no idea why. None was given. I sent an e-mail to the admin of that forum asking why. I just wanted to know why; I wasn't asking for reinstatement. I got no response.
I guess where I'm going with this is, if you're going to interact with people, you're gonna make somebody mad. Nothing wrong with that; nobody other than Jesus can make everybody happy. (Yes, I realize a lot of people are going to be mad about that statement) But if you're gonna take action because of it, stand up and let them know why. Its the right thing to do, even if its not the easy thing to do.
....And I still don't know why I need a blog. That question may take a while to be answered.