Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I've been in Colorado-Durango, specifically-for about 10 days now, and I'll be here till the 31st....assuming that I don't get snowed in. Its been a heck of a good time so far!

My boy Josh and our friend Matt were here last week. We did some snow mobiling(lotsa fun and the views were rediculous)and a bit of shooting. Josh's new CZ rifle shoots very small groups. I shot about 5 rounds into one ragged hole at about a hundred yards with ammo it didn't like as much. That thing is pretty sweet. Other than the aforementioned activities and a couple visits to local restaurants (not counting Sonic), I've done very little.

Of course, there's been some watching of sports and movies, and we had to do some work to put a good dent in the beer stash, but for the most part, I've spent most of the time here enjoying not doing any required reading, writing of papers, or studying for or taking of exams. I haven't been able to do that for a year, and its been great.

I have been pondering whether I need to get a Masters or not. I can probably finish that in two years, but I don't know yet how much I need it. If I have to, I'll go back, but I haven't come to that decision just yet. I'll see how the job prospects go first.

So, there's the update, and the Merry Christmas/Happy New Year wishes for the three or four readers of Haji's Place. I hope you and yours are having a great time together!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nancy Pelosi is out of her damn mind

The worst House Speaker the nation has ever seen is running her suck again, saying of Republicans in Congress "They like this war. They want this war to continue." Yeah, that's it Speaker Pelosi. We like war. We want our people to die. Its how we secure power. Nice going, MENSA.

What the Republicans believe in is winning. You don't win by walking away before the job is done. I'd lay money that I've lost more friends and aquaintances than any of the Weak...I mean...Democrats...in Congress, and I don't want to see their sacrifice go for nothing by quitting before the job is done. You short sighted, politically motivated fools in Congress vote to go there, and then want to pull out before the job is done to make the President look bad. How you arrive at that reasoning is beyond me. Clearly you do not have the country's long term interests at heart. If this were any other country, you'd probably be up on charges for treason.

The crux of the matter, of course, comes a bit later, according to the AP article: "She expressed frustration over Republicans' ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters." That might be because between Pelosi and Reid, this Congress has had the lowest approval rating in the history of keeping track of such things, at about 14%.

Face it, Nance. Your leadership has been inept and ineffective. You won't be speaker for much longer, even if by some miracle the Dems keep their majority. Its time you finally packed it in and California got somebody who actually does some good for them. Of course, since you represent San Francisco, they'll just send another socialist. Maybe you can seceed SF from California and the rest of the Union, perhaps taking metro L.A. with you, and start your own little worker's paradise. It really would be the best thing that could happen to the country.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A 19 year journey

I took my last two finals today, and while I'm not sure I aced them, I did very well. Helps to study, apparently. I also dropped my transcript request today, so after 19 years, I'm finally done with school...as far as I know. I keep having this odd feeling that I'm missing something, but I know I'm not. After 19 years, having started in the fall of 1988, I've finally finished off the bachelor's degree. Haven't decided if I'm going for a Master's yet. I have a sneaking suspicion that to get where I ultimately want to be, I'm going to need one, likely an MBA. Be that as it may, I'm just stoked to finally be done with this process.

My one piece of advice is, if you have a choice, don't do it the way I did. LOL

Arthur Blank a racist!??!

Arthur Blank on Monday Night Football made the comment that if Mike Vick eats "fried chicken and french fries" in prison, he won't be in shape to come back and play foo'ball. Apparently, Arthur Blank is a racist for picking fried chicken and fries as the bad-for-you foods that Mike Vick can eat.

Hey, America! I gots news for your dumb asses! White folk like some KFC, too! I bet if you wait long enough, you could see some Crackahs, some Messicans, and some Ornamentals at KFC, gettin' a bucket and fries. This is a non-story. Leave Arthur Blank alone. He didn't do anything wrong. If this is enough to get your race baiting radar tweaked, you are a damn fool and need to get a thicker skin, and grow the hell up.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Football today: I guess this is why they play the games!

Because I'm relatively local to Nashville (Oak Grove is an hour from everywhere, but its still relatively local to Nashville), I got to watch my beloved Chargers against my adopted Titans. The best thing that can be said about that game is that it was seriously hard hitting. They were really going at it. However, for 3 quarters, and for 3 quarters of the last quarter, the Chargers couldn't do anything. The blocking for LT wasn't there, Rivers looked horrible, and nothing good was happening. Then all of a sudden, I guess they realized the game was on the line, and they mounted a couple drives with a couple defensive stands. Long story short, LT pulled off his typical amazingness and went to the house. Game over in OT, and the Chargers would have clinched their division, believe it or not, if Denver had lost. They won big, but I still think the Chargers will win their division again. Norv Turner is not off the hot seat.

New England, on the other hand, looked quite good against a Steeler team that looked good. NE got ahead, and stayed ahead, again. The Steelers, though, are gonna make some noise in the playoffs. The game was closer than the score makes it appear.

Are the Cardinals ever not gonna suck? It doesn't seem to matter who they get, who the coach is, who they're playing....it doesn't seem to matter. They lose. Year after year. I just don't understand it. Clue me in if you know why, because they seem to be much worse year after year than they should be.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Heard on the Hannity Radio Show

I like to listen to that evil, hardcore, right wing neo-con we-wanna-kill-children-and-set-the-world-on-fire talk radio at work. Yeah, I work, which is probably in stark contrast to the guy who called the Hate Hannity Hotline today. The Hotline is a toll free number that Sean Hannity put up for people who hate him to call, and the rage and vitriol is usually pretty amazing. What was even better, and more descriptive, I think, was the guy who called in and said "Hannity, you are a whore! H-O-R-E WHORE!"

Bro, you need to hate less and channel your energy into getting an education. I'd say get a dictionary, but a dictionary would appear to be of limited use to you. LOL

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What an odd feeling!

A short time ago, I came to the realization that the six page, 12 source paper I just wrote (its about the flat tax, but that's kinda immaterial) is the last paper I have to write before getting my bachelor's degree. I dunno why that stuck me as it did; I suspect it was because this has been a rediculous 19 year process. Man, what an odd feeling; sort of blend of relief, exhilaration and perhaps even a touch of sadness. Or maybe its because its pretty late and I got a late start on the paper, which means a late finish. lol!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NPR.org and This I Believe

One of my assignments for the last English class (Writing II) I hope I ever have to take is to submit an essay to This I Believe, a long-running program of National Public Radio. The idea is to construct a short (350 to 500 words; a page and a half to two pages) essay that describe a core belief. There have been some celebrities that have participated, as well as mush headed teens and seasoned citizens, with everyone else in between. If you've read anything on my blog, you know I don't have much use for NPR in general, but since this was assigned, and I'm somewhat happy with the results I attained (I still ran a little over 500 words; couldn't help it), I thought I might save my essay here.

Even if its a little long-33 words over, even with editing-there's still some truth to be gleaned from it. I'd also like to encourage the couple people that read my blog to consider submitting an essay or two to NPR. It won't hurt, and it might even help. Give it a shot! At any rate, here's my essay:

                    This I Believe: America's Fighting Men and Women

I grew up thinking I understood the military, and thought I knew what it was all about. My father was a career officer, and I was an Army brat. Because my Dad was one of the most honorable, patriotic people I knew (he passed away in 1993), I thought I understood what it meant to be in the military. It took a relocating of my life to learn what I didn't know.

I was living and working in San Diego, paycheck to paycheck and generally just getting by. Through an online friend, I was offered an opportunity to go take a job in the tactical equipment industry. Besides the interest I have in the products, I was able to cut my cost of living and had an increase in pay. The store is based outside of Fort Campbell, Kentucky; home of the 101st Air Assault Division, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the 5th Special Forces Group.

When I started, my boss, a former serviceman, told me that our customers “are the real deal heroes. Don't ever forget it”. I thought I understood what that meant. At that time, I didn't. Over time, I came to figure out what it was he was telling me. My first realization was when a soldier came in with his battle buddy in a wheelchair. He had an arm in a cast. and what looked like an Erector Set on his right leg. He obviously lost a rather sizable piece of his leg muscle in that leg. I asked him what had happened. “Got hit by a 105 mm IED”. I asked him what the prognosis was. He said it was a little too early to tell, but the doctors said he'd probably walk again. I didn't know what to say to him then; saying “thank you for your service” seemed hollow and inconsequential. What he said next really blew me away: “It don't mean nothin'; I'm still alive”. I was awed and humbled. This young man might not walk again, and he just considered it the price of doing the job.

I've had the privilege of calling many, many soldiers “friend”. They're amazingly tolerant of civilians like myself asking stupid, often personal, questions. One of my good friends, a recently retired Company First Sergeant in the 101st named Matt E., allowed me the indulgence of recounting his reasons for joining the Service. There was a time when I would have considered his reasons to be the exception rather than the rule. The more soldiers I meet, the more I realize his answer is not atypical. He said “I wanted to be the man on the wall. I wanted to be the one to stand in the breach and do the job. I didn't want someone else to be sent in my place.” The more I ask the question, the more often that is the answer.

Through their sacrifice, I've come to learn what it means to truly serve. I also understand my father better now than when he was alive. I believe in America's fighting men and women.

*Incidentally, Matt E. is the same Top that has had his words of wisdom shared here before. He's an astute, insightful individual, and I am a better man for having him as a friend.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims

First, a very Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family around the world. I know that a lot of my friends would rather be here, but they're doing an important job.

My Thanksgiving was devoid of turkey, which was OK with me. I grilled up about a pound of top sirloin, using the classic EVOO/Garlic sea salt/fresh ground pepper method spelled out elsewhere within my blog. Did some more salty corn, cholestertater of death, and some parmesan garlic bread. The breath was awful, but the grub was tasty!

Since I'm taking a required course on early American history, I've been reviewing what I already know about the colonies, and learning a couple new things. One thing that didn't pop out to me until recently is that the Pilgrims had to go to a capitalist system to survive. Interestingly, while the information is more or less all there in the textbook, nobody is coming out and saying it.

What you get is "Captain John Smith told the Pilgrims that if they wanted to live, they had to work". The books generally make it a point to say that they started using a communal system, with everything in a community pot, so to speak. Then the books go on to say "Lots of Pilgrims died that first winter, and then next one". Then they generally make a comment about how it was the leadership of Smith that kept them all together. That's not entirely accurate, though.

What happened was that the level of work that has always been the problem with the communal system was not sufficient to produce enough to keep them alive. We've known since we were kids that Joe isn't gonna bust his butt if Bob and his fat wife aren't going to put out at an equal level. That means that nobody does their best. Nobody excels. This was a big problem for Captain Smith, because lives were on the line. What to do?

Smith changed the entire system. He assigned private plots of land to individual families and told them that if they were gonna live, they were gonna work. That simple change made all the difference in the world. It is not to long a stretch to say that this new concept led to our system of a representative republic.

So what happened with the "everybody works their own plot" system? Some people still died, from disease, exposure, and some other factors. But the long and short of it is, the colony not only survived, but had enough grub to sell a surplus to England and Europe. That simply can't happen any other way. Socialism sounds great on the surface; everbody gets a handout. Everybody is guarranteed a salary, a retirement, and under Hillary's plan, government funded health care. But the same thing happens now as happened then: the more you move to socialism, the less efficient production becomes, and the less people put out to succeed. Once enough people quit putting out, who pays the taxes so the rest can be lazy? Its so rediculously clear that socialism doesn't work. Russia finally subcomed to its system's failure. Cuba is almost sunk. China had to incorporate capitalist priciples to stay competitive, and even they couldn't survive doing that without slave labor. The evidence of failure is all around us...but there is no Democratic candidate for President that doesn't want to run headlong to socialist programs. Do people want hand outs so badly that they will vote for their own ruin? I guess next year's election will show it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Real Inconvenient Truth: Gore's makin' bank

While listening to an interview of Frank Batten, founder of The Weather Channel, this morning on the Genn Beck radio show, I heard an interesting statement: Al Gore is standing to make $100 million off of An Inconvenient Crock...I mean...an Inconvenient Truth. Wow. Half that is a butt load of money. Oddly enough, I haven't heard of Algore donating any of that to environmental groups. Makes ya wonder a little, dunnit?

As this flick took off and gained popularity (read: made money), Al was all over the place promoting it. It has been said that he flew around the country in a G5 corporate jet. Its not known to be the most efficient of jets. One of the places Algore went after his guffaw-inspiring win of the Nobel Peace Prize-now forever relegated to inconsequentiality-was to a fund raiser in Arizona. The menu included such things as lobster medallions, tuna steaks, Kobe beef. If you take a look at all that, you'll notice that none of it is native to Arizona. It all had to be transported in. Additionally, in order to be worth doing, I'm sure there was a decent crowd of people there. And yet there is no outcry over all this from the left. What a surprise.

With Algore flying in and serving a completely imported menu (most of which I can't afford), he just left a carbon footprint larger than my entire family does in a year. Add to that all the jetting around the country, and his carbon footprint becomes larger than my whole family and the company that I work for. At least the company I work for contributes to eliminating terrorists.

What strikes me most is that Algore is making a pile of money. Even if he's making a tenth of what he's reported to be, that's still a metric buttload of money. So...money can be made off the global warming thing? Looks like a lot of money, too. Good thing a politician is the guy making it. If it was a private citizen, rather than a politician, you'd have to wonder if there was an integrity issue there. But as long as its a politician, then you can rest assured that he wouldn't say or do anything that might be a little shady. I mean, he's only making about a hundred million bucks on this deal. He has no vested interest in promoting the idea. It has to be true...right? Must be that he's donating all that money to environmental groups. That has to be it. He's not pocketing all that cash. That'd make it look like he's beholden to the concept to make him rich. But he's a politician! They're known for integrity and inviolable character. I mean, its not like he was VP under an impeached president. He's a rock. Yeah. Mr. Rectitude.

I'm not rolling my eyes. Why would I do that? He's a career politician.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dang, I'm psychic!

Given that the Pelosi/Reid Congress has set an all time record low for approval rating at about 11%, I look a lot like a modern day Nostradamus with this little gem of a post. What else can I say besides....I told ya so!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The obligatory Halloween post

Thanks to school and deployments, I don't have anything else to do this evening, so I'm spending Halloween at home doing nothing in particular. Sure, I should be doing homework...but I'm not. I'm celebrating getting a 96 on my History 108 mid-term and watching the gun stuff on Outdoor Channel. At least I will be until UFC Unleashed comes on.

Since none of that has anything to do with Halloween, I guess I'll get on with my Halloween topic. Of course, since today is the day, a lot of stuff on TV tonight has to do with "spooky" stuff. Most of it isn't, but since Lugosi and Carloff movies are kinda scarce, that's just the way it is. One thing that there is in abundance, though, is programs about ghosts.

If you read my treatise on reincarnation-go ahead and read it, I'll wait-you'll come to the conclusion that the idea of a transitory spirit doesn't hold a whole lot of water with me. The accepted myth of ghosts is that they are the disembodied spirit of someone who died in a bad way. Could be through trechery, murder, accident, unusal Christmas tree mishap...whatever. The general theory is that it wasn't grandpa dying peacefully at home after a long and fruitful life. Why that matters, I don't really know...which makes sense, because you know I don't believe that myth. The "accepted" mythology of the ghost is not particularly feasible.

Now, that is not to say that I don't believe in the spiritual plane; I definitely do. The Bible makes reference to it, and the existence of God and Satan requires that there be an otherworldly place for them to occupy. Going beyond that is getting into spiritual arguments that are somewhat beyond the scope of what I'm intending to convey here, so I'll leave that as it is at this time.

People report scores of happenings that can't be explained easily. We've all heard them; they go by the name of "ghost stories", and are meant to have an etherial explanation to what cannot be explained empirically or scientifically. Let me get this out of the way: I don't believe they're lying, and I believe that many, if not most, of them believe what they experienced at a very deep level. They attribute these happenings to the unhappy spirits-ghosts-of individuals that should have moved to the Great Beyond and for whatever reason have not. I don't believe that they're ghosts. So where does that leave us? If I don't believe they're ghosts, what are they?

My theory on this has not been put forth as a common explanation: those things imputed as ghosts are not ghosts, but they are from the spiritual plane. They are demons and angels. Since most of the stories skew to the malevolent, the majority, if not all, of them are demonic.

Demons are the antithesis of angels. They are the minions of Lucifer (that Satan dude. I guess he likes a lot of names. Pretty vain), who was a fallen angel that can't get it though his head that he can't be God's equal. He was cast out of Heaven for rebelling against God, and his followers went with him. Those followers are demons in league with Beelzebub who do his bidding. That's an archaic way of saying they're his posse, and they're all a bunch of guidos that do what he tells them to. Or he does it himself. Yeah, that's possible: he's not omnicient or omnipresent. Even with his power, he can only be in one place at a time. I guess he's in good shape with all that running around.

"Why?" I hear you thinking. Well, I don't really hear it, actually. I just know that's the next logical question. That's pretty simple, really. Satan can do a lot of creepy, freaky things. As proof, I give you Hillary Clinton. Well, maybe not, but she does things that make ya wonder. Anyway! We mentioned the "why" and couldn't avoid taking a shot at the worst of the Presidential candidates. So here's the very simple "why": because Satan doesn't have to make you a follower of his to achieve his goal. In the book of Revelations, we find that da debbil loses. This is fact, and he knows it. However, since he's already invested in this particular course of action (arguing for predestination...hmmmm....) and can't stop now. Maybe he doesn't know it, but he should. At any rate, as I stated earlier, he doesn't have to make you a satanist to pull off his plan. All he's got to do is to take your eyes off of God. If he's got you thinking ghosts are real, and that the mythology is real, he's done his job.

That quiet little "boom" you heard? Yeah, that was your mind being blown. Again.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UFC 77-don't read this if you're gonna get the PPV later!

Naturally, since I was supposed to be writing a paper today, I took a break from it to watch this PPV. Overall, I was pretty happy with the fo'ty buck I spent on it; the fights were mostly good ones. There was no lightweight epic war like the last one I watched, though. That's too bad, because I like the lightweights.

What's up with Jorge Gurjel? Dominated the first round, and then just fell apart in the second and third. He took shots he shouldn't have, and got literally beaten tonight. As a BJJ black belt, he lost to a brown belt. That's no good.

Vera/Sylvia was pretty dull, but Vera just didn't do enough to stay away and use kicks. Everytime he threw a punch, it seemed like Tim was able to tie him up, force him into the fence, and just wear him down. Meh...that's got a lot to do with why heavyweights aren't my favorite weight class. Brock Lesnar got signed, though, so I guess we'll see if the hype is real or not. I'm very curious, because he's freakin' huge, and was a very decorated wrestler. Gonna be interesting.

I simply do not know what to do with Anderson Silva. The guy doesn't seem to have any significant weaknesses, and he's every part of him is a weapon. He's got KO power in both hands, both elbows, both knees, both shins and both feet. He's unbelievable. Rich Franklin has a good jaw and he's a big, tough, skilled fighter. He was almost beaten at the end of the first round, and got KO'ed in the second. As Joe Rogan said (he's a decent color guy, but he's a lousy comedian), he's at the top of his game, and like Joe, I don't know who's going to challenge him. Looks like Spider Silva's gonna have a good, long run as the title holder.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shut Up and Sing: shoulda taken the advice

Starz is showing a lot of documentaries these days. The Warren Miller stuff is cool, even though I don't ski. I didn't realize how old he is, and he still spends a LOT of time on the slopes. That's awesome. The other stuff...at least they haven't shown Michael Moore's garbage yet.

One of those is Shut Up and Sing, which is a film about Natalie Maines' big mouth and how it affected the Dixie Chicklets and their company. The thing is, if they'd just have followed the advice in the title of the documentary, they'd have been fine. That's not what they-specifically Natalie-did, and there were issues stemming from it. The thing is, if they had any idea who their audience was at that time, they either would not have put themselves in that controversy, or they wouldn't have made the comments they did. To quote my boy Sneaky: Situational Awareness of an F'n Rock (hereafter referred to SOAFR).

In case you don't remember, at a concert in London a few years ago, Natalie Maines said "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas". Now, just so we're trackin' here: the 1st Amendment gives an American citizen the right to say whatever they want, short of the "yelling 'Fire!' in a crowded theater" scenario. She, as well as every other American, has the right to speak her mind, think what she wants, dissent what the government is doing, and on and on. Anyone saying that she, or any other American, doesn't have that right is at least un-patriotic and at worst anti-American. Its how the whole blogosphere exists. Its one of the reasons that America is the greatest country on earth.

The whole reason for me to write this, though, is to point out that they just don't get it. They don't understand who the country audience is, they don't understand that exercising their rights is not done in a vacuum. They just don't get it. At all. That blows me away.

Several years ago, the Chicklets were being interviewed by some network TV anchor guy. I don't remember who it was; it doesn't really matter. They were talking about success, and how the Chicklets weren't seeing the money commensurate to their sales. TV anchor guy did some quick math in his head, and said "this doesn't add up". The dumbfounded looks on the Chicklets' faces were priceless. Turns out they had to sue their record label or management (don't remember which, but they sued somebody) to get the money they were owed. So they seem to have a track record of being less aware.

Then The Comment happens. Now, when you make comments in a culture of hard work, morals, doing the right thing, and conservative politics, they need to be thought out and need to take that culture into account. That there would be a backlash would seem to be, to anybody with two halves of a brain cell to rub against eachother, obvious and inevitable. We're in what's called The Communication Age. There's just about nowhere in the world you can go that what you say won't be noticed by somebody. If those comments were made thinking that they wouldn't be noticed because they were in Europe...well...that's just stupid. They got the backlash that anyone would expect from fans of country music.

And they don't get it. Maines said "I can't believe anyone cares what I say". Here's the double edged sword of the 1st Amendment: you can say anything you want to. But if you're in a position of celebrity, you're automatically under a microscope. Because you're in the spotlight, you automatically are going to be noticed and have attention paid to you. And, because you make money selling a product to the public, you're dependent on their money, which they vote with.

They cried "Censorship!" because country radio wouldn't play their songs. Well...here's the thing. What you say has consequences. Just because no effort was put into thinking about the repercussions doesn't mean that they don't exist. Guess what? Saying things in the context of your job probably will have an effect on your job! What a surprise! Words actually matter? Who'd a thunk it? What happened to the Chicklets wasn't censorship, it was consequences. When the President was asked if what was happening to them was censorship, he said "''the Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind,'' adding, ''they shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.'(TMZ)
Can't put it any better than that. I guess that's the difference between a Yale graduate and somebody who allegedly went to UC Berkley and didn't finish.

This film isn't going to do them any favors. If anything, if it gets widely seen by the people who used to be their fans-who they call the source of "redneck bullsh*t" in the film-their careers really could be over.

It appears that they're trying to break from country music and do something different. The problem is, that's not what got them where they are. It rarely works to go down one road to get to gain a fan base and then take a road in a different direction. Ask TSOL. Never worked for them, and they're a good band. Ask Faith No More. They tried going in a different direction and ended the project. Same thing happened to Was Not Was, except that they had a hit that sent them in a different direction. Don Was even went so far as to say that "Walk the Dinosaur" was both the best thing that ever happened to them, and the worst at the same time. Bottom line: I'm betting the Chicklets are doing all this because its all they have left. If they're banking on the dislike for the President to be their fan base, they might wanna look at Congress's 11% approval rating. And Congress is run by the Dems now. It was a good run, Chicklets, but its pretty much all over now. Thank Natalie for not knowing who your fan base was.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I like trippin' people up

I find myself, once again, doing stuff other than homework, because homework is just no fun. In the end, I'll end up doing it anyway, and all this does is postpone it. Sooner or later I'll figger out that isn't very smart.

I took the first two of several exams at the end of last week, and finally got the tests back a couple days ago. Sounds rather medical, doesn't it? It was just your run of the mill exam over three or four chapters of material. The reviews were quite helpful, and both instructors gave a page + of review material. Basically, if you'd done the reading and went over the review material, you had the tests in the bag.

In my American History Since 1865 class, however, things didn't go so well for some of my classmates. That's the part I liked so much: the test was graded on a slight curve, and my 97 was the top score in the class. I know for a fact that there were several "F's" in that class...and I think that's awesome.

Why would I think that's cool? Because the people that failed are the stupid kids that probably don't belong in college. They're the disruptive idiots that talk all through the lecture. They're the jackasses that can't get to class on time. They're the morons who's academic skills are so remedial that they don't even take a notebook to class. My ultimate plan is to keep scoring high and drive them out of the course. These mouth breathers don't deserve the education that they're obviously not paying for.

This wouldn't happen if they were footing the bill. That class is over $300, which came out of my pocket directly this semester because student aid didn't come through for me. That's why I'm so irritated with with their behavior. Some of these punk ass emo jerks need to get a good beating. I have no doubt that its coming their way; they can't help it. Their alligator mouth is gonna write a check their hummingbird ass can't cover, and they're gonna lose teeth over it. Its simply a matter of time.

We were covering the American aquisition of the Hawaiian Islands, and the instructor used the term "haole" to describe mainlanders who were moving to Hawaii to make some bucks in the sugar trade. The term basically means "foreigner", but the wannabe surfers behind me started laughing when they heard the term. I so wanted to turn around and ask them the last time they were in the green room, since KY is so well known for its surf. I was offended for two reasons: first, it distracted me, and as I stated, I have a lot of cash invested in this class. Secondly, even though I don't like my instructor that much, I wouldn't even consider being that rude to him. We're from opposite sides of the tracks politically; if that subject ever came up, we wouldn't be getting along well. However, he's the instructor, I'm the student, and he gets the respect he deserves for his position.

All this eventually goes to the job market. Sooner or later, these idiots are going to want a job; mommy and daddy won't support their worthless, need a haircut, emo loser ways forever. When that day comes, they'll be sitting in front of my desk, probably with a wrinkled shirt, folded resume, and slouching in the chair. It will be my great pleasure to say "You should have spent your time in college more wisely and learned some skills. I don't need you." I can't wait.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Divided We Fail...Fails.

While watching some good ol' American foo'bah yesterday, I saw a commercial that the AARP is paying for. I have no problem with the AARP, except when they get into issues that are outside their game, like gun control. Now, this commercial doesn't really fall outside their purpose, as its all about health care. What I'm trying to figger out, though, is who thought this particular commercial was a good idea.

The commercial has a bunch of alleged humans ostensibly asking our politicians, "Don't say it just to get votes". "Don't tell us something you're not going to do". "Don't lie to us just to get votes". Honorable ideas, right? In general, yeah they are. Naive as can be, but honorable. The problem is, in their zeal to get their political ad on the air to have politicians always tell the truth and only do things that they say they're gonna do, they made one major, major error. They guarranteed that no politician was going to listen to the add, pay any attention to it, or have it impact them in any way: all of the "actors" in this commerical are kids. Not a one of them can vote.

I understand the artificial heartstring factor attendant with the use of kids. If I hear "if it saves just one child's life, it'll be worth it", I'm gonna projectile vomit for record distance. I'm even making sure I don't eat too much rough stuff, like pepperoni, to be sure I set the mark and don't tear my throat up too much in the effort. Why is it nobody ever bothers to ask what'll happen if the proposal in question happens to cost a kid's life at some point? Things that make ya go "hmmmmmm". Sorry, Arsenio; I know you haven't worked in a long time, but I'm not paying ya for that.

The thing is, health care isn't inexpensive. The whole process is costly. Look at the technology involved. None of it is cheap. Equipment costs a ton of money. Urban and suburban real estate where hospitals are located costs a ton of money. Medical fraud costs a ton of money. What are we gonna do, push the doctor button on the educational CNC machine and pop 'em out en masse? Education costs a ton of money. I know that, and I'm not even a medical student. If my degree is costing me this much money, a doctorate in doctoring will, by simple volume of required courses, cost more.

Hey! Let's get the government to pay for it! Yeah! They have money! We'll just have them pick up the bill! What a great idea!! Uh...Captain MENSA, I have some news for you: the gummint doesn't make money. They have no industry that generates capital. In fact, everything they do costs money. So where is the cash for health care coming from?

Go get your last pay stub. Got it yet? Well, get it. I'll wait. OK, you're looking at your stub. See that heading under "deductions"? Yeah, that's your money getting sent elsewhere. That FICA dude that's getting a nice fat chunk of your check-the largest single deduction out of that gross amount-goes to the gummint. Do you really want them to make that number even larger? Maybe double it? "If it leads to quality health care, it'll be worth it". It won't. How long do we have to allow the gummint to prove that they're not the best mechanism for creating, administrating, and handling buraucracies? If you think they'll do medical care any different from Social Security or any other branch of the gummint, you're out of your damn mind. It'll be every bit as inefficient as any other branch of the gummint. They are simply not the best way to get it done. Never have been, never will be, simply cannot be.

Do I think medical care is horrendously expensive? Of course I do. Would I like to see it cost less? Of course I would. However, I'm not willing to get a second rate doctor to do that, when my life is what we're talking about. There's very little that can be done to make it less expensive to field a quality doctor. It costs what it costs, and I'm not willing to sacrifice my care to a second tier doctor that got his doctorate in some third world country.

If socialized medicine, such as it is in England, Canada, and other places around the world, is so freakin' great, why is it that most of the world's leaders come here to the US to be treated, rather than dealing with the systems in their countries? Ain't for no reason. Think about it rationally a minute and maybe you'll get it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pics of the new stuff

I had a few minutes this afternoon, so I ventured out into the mosquitoes and shot a few pics of new gear. None of it is really "new", just new to me. There's my custom ATS M4 8 Pack Chest Harness, the new Hatch Operator HK (Hard Knuckle) grobes, my almost-new-but-new-to-me Glock 19, and the Colt receiver extension (not that it matters; if they're Mil Spec they're pretty much the same) and Vltor Clubfoot Modstock. I got all this stuff in trade (except the 8 Pack; that was a birthday gift from the seamstresses at work), so my capital investment is fairly low. The Grock I got in trade for my Grock 30. I think I may pick up another 30 someday, but its more likely that I'll get a G23. More rounds, less size, way, way easier to get mags and holsters for. The Colt RE is in a pending trade, and I swapped an SOTech double M9 mag pouch and a knife for the buttstock. All in all, not too bad.

BTW, the pack is an ATS Cobra One Day Assault Pack. "Cobra" refers to the name of my boss's unit in the 101st when he was in, and isn't an acronym. I made one for it, though: Chips, Oreos and Beer, Readily Available.


Guess what? I've got absolutely nothing new to report. The sad thing is, that's likely to be the case through December, after which I don't know what I'm going to do with the free time. Hopefully get a second job so I can afford to buy some ammo at some point.;)

Four classes and a full time job in the Military Industrial Complex means that I don't have a lot of free time. That's just the way it has to be this year. With a little luck, I'm gonna get a chance to see Resident Evil: Extinction, and maybe a UFC PPV or two. Still undecided if I'm gonna watch tonight's; don't have a lot else to do, but it is $40. My cable bill is already expensive enough. See the dilemas I have to deal with here?

Found out yesterday that it looks like my employer is going to have a booth at SHOT in Vegas. I was planning to go on my own dime; now I may have to work the show instead. My boss told me it'll probably be just the two of us representing the manufacturing division, which means I pretty much get to work two full days of the show...or more. Plus side: airfare and lodging will be covered. Minus side: I've already gotten squared away with a time share condo that's gonna cost me almost nothing. I guess I line up a non-stop flight and make them reimburse it. Its far to early to tell how that's all gonna shake out, but since I have no other news, that's what you get. More later...more of what, I'm not really sure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy, ye crusty, barnacle-laden bilge rat! 'Tis Talk Like a Pirate Day! Celebrate the day teh yeh heart's content! Consume much grog...or straight rum, if ye be man-o-the-sea enough! Yarrrr!

OK, Pirate lunch break is over. Back to work!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

UFC 75

Finally! A UFC "PPV" (free on Spike because it was in London, England. Does that mean they get all the rest of them free?) that was worth it! I would have paid for this one. We found out a few things: Quinton Jackson has some SERIOUS ground skills, Dan Henderson has a rock hard head, and Matt Hammill has some striking skills, but seemed to forget that ya gotta dance with what brung ya.

I'm not sure if Mike Bisping would have won that decision against Hammill in the states; that fight was really close. I kept hoping he'd clip Matt and end the fight, but it didn't happen. Hammill's a tough kid, a phenominal wrestler, and has overcome a rediculous amount of adversity, but I just can't back him because of the Ortiz connection. Tough fight, and he performed. I'm not a fan of the guy, but there's no doubt at all that he belongs at the top of the pile in light heavyweight.

Speaking of LHW's, I think Henderson ought to really consider a move down to Middleweight. Jackson was able to hold him down because Rampage probably had 15 or 20 pounds on him. Henderson in the same weight class as Spider Silva and Rich Franklin? Oh, man! Look out! It seems to be his natural weight, since even though he lost the PRIDE LHW belt tonight, he still holds the PRIDE MW title. No doubt about it, Henderson is a tough guy in any weight class, but he's a little small for LHW. Dude's got heart by the truckload, though. No doubt about that.

Cheick Kongo beat Cro Cop decisively. Not sure what's up with Mirko; is Kongo that good, or is Mirko just getting to the end of his fighting career? Kongo is going to be in line for a title shot...but he'll have to fight Randy Cotoure, and I don't think he's well rounded enough. His BJJ is not great, and Randy made Gonzaga, a BJJ black belt, look totally outclassed.

I'm looking forward to the next PPV. I gotta say, Keith Jardine has big brass ones for facing Chuck Liddell after he's lost the title, and Forrest Griffin is in for probably the fight of his life, at least since he was ripped off in losing a decision against Ortiz, against Marco "Shogun" Rua. Shogun is THE REAL DEAL. Granted, most PRIDE fighters haven't fared all that well in the Octagon-witness the Texas Crazy Fish Heath Herring, among others-but I'm feeling good about Rua's entrance to the Cage. Not sure what's gonna happen with the Axe Murderer, since he got KO'd by Henderson, but it'll be interesting to see. I had a feeling that it was just a matter of time before Wanderlei Silva got signed to the UFC, and that came true about a month ago. These are historical times for MMA. This is the cusp of where it gets to the point of gargantuan awesomeicality.

Whew! Wasn't sure I was gonna make it!

It was gettin' close. I was starting to get concerned, but it turns out that my fears have been allayed. Baseball is finally winding up, and FOOTBALL (so important that all the letters are capitalized) is here. Life is good again.

Its no real revelation that I don't care for the bore fest that is baseball. Its a boring game in and of itself, and to make it worse, we come to find out that juicing is so rampant in that silly game that records set now are said to be set "in the steroid era". That's pathetic. The only thing worse than cheating-and why people don't care that they're cheating baffles me-is that baseball isn't doing anything about it. Nothing.

Is it some kind of big secret that Barry Bonds is juiced? C'mon, admit it to yourself. Dude's clearly on the roids. How is it that he's bigger and stronger at 40 than he was in his twenties? How did his head and feet get bigger? How come he's getting injured regularly? How hard can it be to prove it? Throw the bum's record out and ban his ass from baseball forever.

Seems pretty rich now that they ban Pete Rose for gambling, which is apparently a really big deal, when there are a whole list of cheaters that haven't had anything happen to him. If you're gonna ban Charlie Hustle for betting on his team to win, then ban these other losers for cheating. In the end, its the same damn thing. Baseball needs to shorten its season to about 40 games. That way we can be done with it in a couple of months and not have to be subjected to the stupidity of unwritten rules, sloppy uniforms, huge salaries and crybaby attitudes. You like this game? You can have it. I'll be more than pleased if they ever lose their TV deal.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Needin' more content, a couple more surveys

Not cervesas, which really sounds pretty good right now, but surveys. You can tell I'm trying to fill some space when I bust these things out. Oh, well, maybe you'll chuckle.

Finish The Sentence Survey
My ex......uh...your "Y"?
Maybe I should...stop taking surveys
I love...guns and women. And women with guns.
People would say that i'm...dangerous to myself and others
I don't understand...why anyone would consider voting for Hillary
When i wake up in the morning...I open my eyes...I guess...
I lost...my mind somewhere along the way
Life is full of...surprises. Some are great. Some suck. Such is life.
My past is...not necessarily my future
I get annoyed when...I can't pick just one thing that annoys me
Parties are...fun with people I know
I wish...the best for my family and friends
Dogs...are God's greatest gift to human beings
Cats...make fantastic targets
Tomorrow...means more homework that I didn't do today.
I have low tolerance...for more than can be listed in this small space.
If I had a million dollars...I'd pay off my student loans and buy a machine gun.
I'm totally terrified...that I might not have enough guns by the time I die
Take This SurveyQuizopolis.com

OK, I said two, but I can't find another that doesn't suck right now.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A knife offends me again

Saw this new Boker for sale somewhere, and just shook my head at it.

There are a couple things I find offensive here. First and foremost...what an uninspired, derivative piece of crap. The text in the description from the marketer's tells you all you need to know: this thing was designed to separate those that don't know better from their hard earned overseas duccats, and Boker is hoping to get them in PX's the world over. To that end, they didn't bother to design a new knife, they just stole designs from others in the industry. I won't say competitors, because the companies they ripped off here are worlds away in better quality. The handle design is clearly an attempt to copy Strider's destinctive design. Too bad this knife is nothing like Strider's quality. The stop pin design belongs to Kit Carson, who licensed it to Columbia River Knife and Tool. IIRC, Carson has a patent on the opener design (The Carson Flipper), so this thing may even be violating a patent. Nice going, Boker!

Too bad its not gonna hold up like they say it will. Chinese (that's what "Partners from the Far East" means) folders aren't known for their long and distinguished history of holding up over time, or for the use of such things as threaded inserts or thread locker. Sure, the pocket clip can be swapped both ends on both sides. You may have to do that to keep the clip on the knife. The thread holes don't have inserts in 'em. When the screws tear the threads out of the G10, if you can keep the screws (good luck not losing them forever) you can swap the clip around until you run out of holes to screw 'em into. Its not a question of "if", its "when". G10 is a great material, but not for holding fine thread screws. And remember, Chinese knifes aren't known for having thread locker in 'em. They're gonna let the manufacturer do the QC on this line, too. Should be fantabulous.

Granted, this thing retails at $35.00, so it'll be discounted to a lower price than that. I'm just sick and tired of companies trying to cash in on guys who don't know better and giving them a crap product that "looks cool". The target market here doesn't make a whole lot of money, and they deserve to be looked out for. I'm obviously not against companies making money; I'm in the Military Industrial Complex myself, after all. But we do the best we can to make the best quality product we can, knowing where its going and who's using it. That's not the design parameter here. The stealing of the design and finest quality Chinese manufacturing sickitates me. "The first choice of the ARMED FORCES on their worldwide use." My ass.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Its been a long time since I've been subjected to this

Well, back to school happened again a couple weeks ago. Its about like I remembered it; I just haven't done a semester length class in a very, very long time. Kind of an adjustment to finish a class in four months instead of four weeks. Such is life; its how I have to do it so its how it will be done.

The thing I didn't realize before, though, was how much less aggravating it is to have taken classes with conservative or moderate instructors. We're only a couple of weeks in, and I'm already clenching my jaw during class. Examples to follow shortly. All these classes are to me is a means to an end. I gain nothing by getting into an argument with the instructor, so I just take notes and give 'em what they want. The instructors, though...damn.

One instructor claimed that her goal was for students not to know where she was politically. Except that on the first day of class, so wore a long denim skirt with embroidery on it, kinda wild hair, and said that Fox News was not "fair and balanced". She mentioned gay marriage (its an argumentative writing class) a couple times, too. Sorry, teach, I know where you are already. She seems to have an excellent grasp of the material, but I'd rather not spend so much time on social commentary for my $345.

My Early American History teacher probably teaches that class because he was there when it happened. He's not quite that old, but he is a WW II vet, which I give him huge, huge props for. The problem appears to be two fold, though: first, he gets off on tangents at an alarming rate. That's kind of entertaining because he's offending people left and right with what he's talking about. He even managed to offend the sixth generation Wiccan in the class, which was kinda cool. He's also drunk VERY deeply of the Evolution Kool Aid. I don't agree with him that the world is hundreds of millions of years old, but whatever. That's not as troubling as the fact that, out of the three hours of class we had this week, two and change of those was stuff he lectured on last week. I think he meant it as a review...we'll go with that for lack of a better explanation that doesn't involve tangents and senility. I don't know him enough to know if he's forgetful or not, so I'm gonna cut him some slack. In some ways, he's my favorite of the three...except that he's a lefty, too. Funny thing is, his home state he calls Taxachusetts, which is funny, but he's obviously voted for Kennedys, which is bad.

The History of America since the Civil War instructor is...interesting. Talk about a Classical Left Winger. He's wearing it on his sleeve, too. He made a couple of comments that I almost laughed out loud at. The first was when he was ranting about the current administration...or at least I think he was. I wasn't paying that much attention because he was talking about stuff that didn't pertain to the class or the subject. At any rate, he makes the comment that he's a Democrat, and blah blah blah and yadda yadda yadda. Then he says "If you're not a bridge builder, then you're my enemy". That's where I almost laughed. Exactly how many bridges are you building when you're separating people from yourself because of politics? LOL. He may actually have some real hate for conservatives. In talking about the Reconstruction, He made the comment (in regards to the Gideonites that did the experiment in Reconstruction at Port Royal) that the Gideonites had differing points of view on how to go about making things happen. One guy was pretty conservative, and saw it as a business. One lady was way more bleeding heart and thought that the former slaves needed everything to be given to them. Teach makes the comment that "I'd rather get helped by a bleeding heart liberal than have somebody pray for me and not give me anything as a compassionate conservative"...or words to that effect. You get the idea.

All I can say is, last day of class is Dec. 15th. I'll be submitting my transcripts ASAP after that so I can take my Binnis Manglement degree and run.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thumb Drive!

I was ordered by my Writing II teacher to get a thumb drive, so I went looking around for a suitable unit. I ended up with a Sandisk Cruzer Micro, because its cheap, but I really like this one:

Its stupid expensive at $90 (yeah, you read that right) but its cool. Sometimes cool is all you need.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sun can hurt

Man, hot sucks. Hot and humid is even worse. Its no wonder nobody is out and about during the day this past week. Hot to the point of unpleasantness.
“Let’s check in the field now. Hi, can you help me? What’s your name?”
“My name is Roosevelt Lee Roosevelt.”
“Roosevelt, what town are you stationed in?”
“I’m stationed in Poon Tang.”
“Well… thank you, Roosevelt. What’s the weather like out there?”
“It’s HOT! DAMN hot. Real hot. Hot as things in my shorts, I could cook things in it, a little crotch pot cookin’.”
“Well, could you tell me what it feels like?”
“Fool, it’s hot, I told you again! Were you born on the SUN? It’s damn hot. You don’t believe me, I saw one of those little guys in an orange robe burst into flames. It’s that hot, you know what I’m talking about?”

Yeah, it was hot like that. And Top, Sarn't Henderson and I went to the range. I even applied some allegedly waterproof sunscreen. Turns out that not only did I sweat off at least some of the sunscreen, and not only did I get myself a case of heat frustration, and not only did I burn the sides of my neck and the tops of my ears, but I also shot very, very poorly. I guess the lesson learned is to hydrate more vigorously (or perhaps to lose my extra insulation), and to get to the range more often, because my carbine shooting was craptastic. I did OK with the Man Gun (my custom 1911), but my carbine shoosting...not good. More practice will be needed! Back to the range to suffer in the heat some more!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

More reasons why Frankenguns choke

Top hipped me to some more info as to why TDP (Technical Data Package) guns work and parts guns don't when pushed hard. LAV (if you don't know who that is, you don't belong on my blog. Go away) is, as far as I know, the one who coined this term: tolerance stack.

Tolerance stack can probably be best defined in a comparison. Guns made to the TDP, or as close as can be, don't have it. The guns are made to the blueprints, so the parts are made to a specific spec and of specific materials. Parts guns don't have that. So, when you use a commercial spec receiever with a different brand of parts kit and whatever other parts, you're creating tolerance stack. Say your receiver doesn't exactly work completely and totally as it should with the parts kit. That's one little piece of the tolerance stack. Add the cheapest BCG you can get. Non-MPI'd bolt, unknown brand of pins. Every one of those CAN add to the tolerance stack. Eventually, all these things add up, and the result is the TS. Push the gun hard, as in a thousand rounds a day in a class over a few days, and you'll see failures. It happens with non-Mil Spec factory guns. Its definitely gonna happen with a parts gun made by somebody who doesn't build guns for a living. Its a statistical fact.

What can be done about it? Not much. Get a gun made with, or as close as can be, to the TDP. That means Colt, FN (good luck finding one) or LMT. That probably means Noveske and a few others, too. Fact is, the commercial tier three guns are probably going to fail when pushed hard. It may not, but tolerance stack is why they do. Check out what LAV, Pat Rogers, and others of that ilk have to say about how those guns perform. They'll almost all say that the Colt 6920 is where its at. When the gun has to run, they're just not all that expensive. If you can't float what the Colt costs, LMT can be had for a little less than a grand. Its pretty clear, with some study and research, that the commercial guns are OK for casual use, but aren't going to stand up to heavy use. I don't wanna hear it either, cuz I don't have $1300 to put into a rifle, but facts is facts.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sumpin' gotsta give!

I'd like to apologize to both the readers of my blog for not having more to post here. School has kept me so busy that I pretty much come home from work and go right to doing school stuff...instead of vacuuming, doing my dishes and like that. I'm finishing up my Corporate Finance course, which is beating me like a Roman task master with a cat o nine tails, and I still have to get more done in my Metaphysics class. I'll hopefully finish up Metaphysics by the end of the month, at which time I'll be starting at Hopkinsville Community College to pick up my last three classes: pre-whenever American History, post-pre-whenever American History, and Writing II. Once those are done, I will have a degree in Binnis Manglement, as well as having spent almost all of 2007 in school. I'm looking forward to February, when I'll be in Vegas celebrating both my degree and my birthday at SHOT. I told some of the reg'lars at Lightfighter.net that I would be there, so the party may be epic. Ellis Island and Freakin' Frog, here I come!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bear Grylls: the real deal superhero survivor dude

Oops! Apparently Bear Grylls, hard core survival specialist with a background part time in a territorial SAS unit (21 SAS, IIRC) and having something-but-not-really to do with Le Phrench Foreign Legion, wasn't real survivaling while doing stupid stuff like jumping off boulders he should have climbed off of if he really was in a survival situation. Its been widely held belief by people who know (ask a SERE instructor or graduate; they're out there) that at least some of what he's shown doing is dangerous and could prove to have adverse effects on one's physical well being. Come to find out, it wasn't all on the up and up. Nice going, Discovery Channel. You're supposed to do an integrity check before the first ep is filmed, not after the second season. At least they're doing something about it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Well, lookee there.

I saw this rating thing posted over at Josh's place. Since his language is more...colorful than mine, I expected to rate more along the lines of a PG or PG-13. Lo and behold!

By the numbers, I guess I'm even more NC-17-ier than Josh is! More talk of guns, bro!
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* gun (33x)
* shoot (7x)
* ass (5x)
* crap (3x)
* knife (2x)
* zombie (1x)

Can you believe I've referenced things as crap three different times???

Sen. Byrd blasts Vick. Glass houses, Senator.

Senator Byrd, who should probably be officially named "Doddering Fool of the US Senate", has done it again. I guess this guy never figured out the the old addage that "people in glass houses should not be throwing stones".

I will state up front that I find breeding dogs for fighting to be repugnant. I'm not defending Mike Vick for being involved. Still...it makes me wonder why they're going after him Federally with the over-used Interstate Commerce clause. That's going to be a post for another time.

DFOTUSS Byrd had this to say about this situation:
"I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt," he said.

So tell me, Senator: are those the same hottest places in hell reserved for Exalted Cyclops of the KKK, or do you guys get your own separate hottest places in hell? Glass houses, jackass. Nice going, making this a racial issue now. All in favor of calling for Byrd to shut his pie hole, vote "aye" with a flip of the bird for Byrd.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Words of Wisdom from The Top

One of my favorite customers has recently retired from the Army after 20 years and come to work for my employer. If you're on some of the tactical forums, his screen name is Matt E. That's not Eversmann, in case you were wondering. Matt E retired as a Company First Sergeant, and is a combat vet and Purple Heart recipient. He's also way squared away on shooting and similarly important things. He's just completed the 1911 Operator's Course with Larry Vickers. If you don't know who Larry Vickers is, you better find out or get the hell off my blog. Seriously; you don't know, get outa here. Go. Anyway, he's off to train on the M4 again this week, although I can't recall who its with. Its another high speed dude that lots of people wish they could train with.

All that to say, Top has a good base of information with which to work. A good base of knowledge gained from either being there or learning from the guys who were there. Because of this, he's got some interesting and poignant things to say about the defensive or combative use of firearms in the defense of self, loved ones, or one's country.

We recently had a very interesting discussion about carbines. My friend M4 Guru was there, too. Yeah, the name is not a fluke. He's an 18 Bravo and is a complete and total gun nut. Naturally, when the topic is AR-platform rifles, we get around to the oft-heard comment that "Colt is all name and no substance. My (insert third tier manufacturer or parts gun names here) is just as good as a Colt." Followed shortly by "My (Whatevergun) has shot 700 rounds without a problem." Well...experience tells different stories, and I've been asking a lot of people that go to a lot of classes and shoot for work (see the post below discussing Frankenguns), and those who train those guys what happens in those high round count classes. Trends become apparent. Certain manufacturers gain a track record of failure. That being the case, and it being documented all over the Intarweb, one thing becomes abundantly clear: "Just as good as"...isn't.

To put it into the words Top used: "You can have the 'as good as'...or you can have the 'as'." Think about that.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

So I'm at work yesterday afternoon, in The Happy Time. The seamstresses work 7-3. I decided I'd rather work 8-4, which gives me an hour to work with no interuptions, no aggravations, and no machines that need to be repaired by me (unless they kill one right before the day's over, which I don't think has happened yet). I can turn the radio up as loud as it'll go (which isn't that loud, unfortunately) or play some very un-PC tunes on the sad little CD player. Lately, the hard rockin' station has been playin' some good stuff in the afternoon. Yesterday was not one of those days.

I won't bore you with the playlist, but they played a good song about every other track. In between the crap I hate, like AC/DC's same old same again, and the stuff I dig, like that classic Led Zeppelin experimental stuff. The thing that bugs me is that the DJ who thinks he's creative and funny plays some stupid bit from the movie Independence Day about the President (I like Bill Pullman as an actor, but I'd never vote for the guy. If it had been Fred Thompson, he woulda been so money and he don't even know it; gets my vote in a heartbeat) sharing Independence Day with the whole world. We're fighting back! We're taking over again! Even the middle east and Africa...never mind that they haven't stopped fighting each other long enough to take a look at the rest of the world. Because I know everybody's seen that flick (once was enough, really) I'll just refresh yer memory with this quote:
President Thomas Whitmore: Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!" We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
[Crowd cheers]
Thanks to IMDB for the quote.

The DJ then goes to make some joke about how when the whole world needs to be saved, we call on the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire. Yeah, it was a bad joke; most of his are. He thinks he's hilarious. If he makes a funny, its usually an accident, but the sun shines on even a blind dog's ass once in a while. I'm not really sure what that means, but it has something to do with just gettin' lucky. His bad humor really wasn't the problem; the quote from the movie kinda bugged me, taken out of context.

The idea that July 4th is anyone's day of commemoration besides America's, at least in the context of America, is tremendously offensive to me. As with most holidays in America, this one seems to be another excuse to take a day off of work, with the added "bonus" of having fireworks involved, too. My jackass neighbors probably spent half their paychecks on what they lit off over the past couple nights. Nice of them to notice the time, but I digress. It seems like, for the most part, America has forgotten exactly what we're celebrating. Lemme break it down for ya.

We were founded as colonies of much larger (at the time) countries. Essentially, we were a new branch office of the homeland. That was cool until the homeland decided we had too much of a good thing goin' on, and they started seeing us as a source of income. That made our forefathers exceptionally mad, and we went to war with England to separate ourselves and gain our independence.

Now, America at that time did not have an Army. Didn't have a Navy. Marines didn't exist yet. They were ordinary citizens that risked their lives with no training for something they believed in. And they won.

About a decade later, they created the Constitution and founded the greatest country ever to grace the face of the earth. Click that hyperlink and read that Constitution. I bet its been a while for ya. Today's a good day to read it again. Every day's a good day to read it again.

Don't forget what it is that we're celebrating. Sure, its great to get together with friends and family and grillin' while hangin' out by the pool...I really miss the pool...but don't ever forget what today is all about. Its too important.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Something to keep you cool this summer

The Greatest Generation

This came through my network of e-mail forwarding intelligence gatherers. This gentleman appears to have it right. The 73 year old veteran was at a gathering where Ted "Ossifer, I'm not as think as you drunk I am" Kennedy and Hillary "I don't want socialized medicine, I just want your tax money to pay for it" Klinton were addressing Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Josh is down! Josh is down!

Well, I'm having a hard time these days, just getting through the hours till bedtime. My boy Josh, the South Park Pundit, has had some administrative issues, and his blog is offline right now.

Josh and I go back a ways; we used to work together at The Edge several years ago. Good times. He's one of those rare curious types who has a voracious appetite for information and learning, which means we got along right off the bat. Its all about the nomenclature, baby! He's young, but he's got a good, strong analytical mind, which is rare anymore. He's usually got something good to read up on posted on his brog, and most of the time I at least get a grin out of it, if not a real, live LOL.

Keep an eye out for his blog once he's back online. He's gotten his account settled up; matter of fact, he got it squared away several days ago. That means that rant that's coming is going to be epic. Keep an eye on it; it'll be worth it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Its grillin' season!

I picked myself up a small gas grill over the weekend (I know you purists say its all about the charcoal, but its a pain in the ass and I like the heat control of gas much better) and have started back to grilling. When I was in San Diego, I grilled regularly. How could I not? Its grill weather 359 days a year there. That kind of great weather means friends getting together all the time, and gettin' some meat on the Wagon Queen Family Grillster was a required event. Lemme tell ya: my friends can cook and party like pros. I have to coin a phrase: gargantuan awesomeicality. I miss it. Bad. Even with the new grill, I still miss it. Bad. Bad as in lots. Lots and lots. Good times.

So I got this new little grill that's perfect for a couple steaks. Being out of practice, I forgot to grab the garlic bread. I don't remember the brand; its Mama-soemthinerother. Wrap it in foil, throw it on the grill for a few minutes, and mack deeply of its buttery garlic gargantuan awesomeicality. That'll be for next time. Now, being a new toy, I was getting out of control in what I wanted to do with it. After a while, I decided that it really wouldn't pay to spend $30 on dinner without having draft brews to go with it. Being devoid of a keg, I finally realized that I would be better served by going simple. I'm very, very glad I did.

Part of going simple is getting your hands into the work; getting dirty, so to speak. For a decent piece of steak, all you really need is some fresh ground sea salt (I used garlic sea salt for this, but I like using cloves of garlic from time to time, too), some fresh ground pepper, and a good extree viriginical olive oil; I very much prefer the first press EVOO's. They're worth the slight extra cost. Give the steak a good coat of EVOO, being sure to get the edges of the steak, too. Give it a bit of a rub to work the oil into the meat a little. Bust out the salt and pepper, and give it a good coat; you'll end up with a bit of a crust if your grill is hot enough. Once nice thing about the oil is that you don't have to oil the grill grate. You'll get minimal sticking, as well as great flavor.

Fire up your grill while the oil and seasoning gets happy on your steak and soaks in a little. Get the grill hot, and place your steak in the middle. Close the lid. Let it sear for a minute. Literally a minute; don't go much more than that or you'll rough up your meat, and so far its done nothing bad to you. Flip it over, and let it sear another minute. Now, here's where I really prefer gas: turn the heat down to between medium and low, depending on your grill. That's hard to do with charkle brickits; ya gotta wait 'em out. So you've got that thing on low heat. Don't leave it on more than a couple minutes or you're over cook it. Take that bad boy off the grill with tongs. Don't go pokin' holes in the steak with the fork; that's counter-meatative. Trust me on this: the less damage you do to the meat, the better it is. The best part of grill tongs is that they're nice and wide (most of the time; if yours aren't, invest in some quality tools!) so that you can pick the steak up in one go and set it on the plate. The less you bend it, the more juice it'll hold in. That's important. If you don't, the steak police will come beat you with tongs and barbecue sauce brushes. Don't risk it.

Let the steak rest. That means leave it on the plate and leave it be. Resist the temptation to molest your meat. Now's the time for the side dishes. I made two side dishes: salty buttered corn and Haji's Heart Stopping Baked Tater. Take a good sized spud and wash it good. Dirt is not tasty, so be rid of it. Take a knife and score it end to end. Make a couple X's on the ends, too. Now its time to get messy again. Take either butter or margarine (your choice; I actually prefer margarine, believe it or not) and rub that bad boy with it. The tater, foo'. Get a good coat on it, and dust that beastie with garlic salt. You can either wrap it in foil and grill or bake it, or throw it in the microwave. Both ways work; the micro is faster. If you bake it or grill it, add some onions in the foil with it. If you do it in the micro, put it in a micro-safe bowl. You'll see why shortly.

OK, so the tater is done cookin'. Throw it in a bowl, slice that thing up and spread it out. Add a good bit of butter, and top it with a handful of sharp cheddar. Other cheeses work, but the charp cheddar is my favorite. Throw it back in the micro and melt the cheese. Take it back out, and throw a fat blob of sour cream on top. Try not to faint from its gargantuan awesomeicality.

The corn is easy, but damn tasty. Cook it, drain it, butter it, salt the heck out of it. Try not to faint from its gargantuan awesomeicality. I'm tellin' ya, its simple but its so money and it don't even know it.

Like I said, its really, really simple, but simple is key here. Simple is not just good; its great. Now that grillin' season is here, I think I'm gonna have a lot more to add here. And I realize this post is useless without pics. ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nazis? I hate Illinois Nazis!

So I'm watching The History Channel, AKA the War and Destruction Channel, AKA Among the Very Best Channels on TV, when The Secret History of the KKK comes on. Like everything on THC, production value was excellent, and it was very well done. I'm sure the snotzie's didn't like it, but it seemed to me that it was a solid depiction of the events of history. Sure, it had an anti-hate slant to it, but that's OK with me. It made more sense that way. I used to watch that encephalitic moron Tom Metzker's cable access show "Race and Reason" back in the day. That seems to be about the best the neo nazis can do, which was equal parts comedy, relief, and dismay for me. I'd have loved to see some choice bits of "Race and Reason" to have made it into the History Channel; anything that helps the skinhead movement look as ridiculous as they are is a good thing.

The show brought up a couple questions in my mind, though. First and foremost, how is it that the snotzies were called the National Socialist German Workers' Party, and yet their ideology was anti-communist? I can see them hating Russians, I guess, but communism is just socialism without the intellectual honesty. There is no way to get to commie-ism without going through the Democratic Party...I mean...socialism. The Third Reich was clearly a socialist state, with a dicktaster...uh...dictator as its head. And yet the snotzis proclaimed that communism was not their friend. Current snotzies look at Hitler's administration at a model. Its no wonder it only worked one time in one particular place in the world: even the snotzies didn't have a grasp on what their ideology really was. Nice job picking your role models, guys. Great choice.

The second question that came to mind is this: what happens when you get your way? Say we end up segregated, Whites over here, Blacks over there, Hispanics over there someplace, and the Orientals happily living where they already do for the most part. The Orientals may have it right: islands have that whole beach thing going on, and I suspect that rum would be available ;). So there's this perfect separation of races; Cletus doesn't have to have niggers, kikes, zipperheads, or anyone other than his airian brothers in his neighborhood. The perfect race utopia, right? I guess so; since I'm white and I'll be living there, theoretically, I'm gonna need somebody to sweep the streets, wash my truck when I don't want to, and fill all those undesirable positions that are shown on Dirty Jobs. See where this is going yet? My education, skills, and talents will put me further up the ladder than ol' Cletus will be, and he'll be in the same position he always was.

Lemme spell it out for the thicker ones amongst us: your hate is nothing but a crutch. You complain about the Jews taking over everything and suppressing you, the proud white man that can only get a job where he has his name on his shirt. You complain about the black man getting preferential treatment through affirmative action and getting ahead of you. All you've done is let your hate get in the way of your progress. Ever wonder why the depictions of race haters are generally done with teeth missing, bad haircuts, and stained T-shirts? Because there's truth to it. Sure, you have that "uniform" of the tight jeans and suspenders that we all suspect was borrowed from Steve Urkel. Its obvious that there's not an educated person among you.

So you have hate. How has any of that made your life better? How has the quality of your life improved from this? What's been made better by all this? You spend so much time whining about other races not giving you your due that you've become exactly the same as generations of people on welfare. You spend all your time worrying about everybody else when you should be worrying about making yourself better. And ya know what? It works exactly the same with haters from every other race, too. You'll never amount to much of anything believing what you do. You'll never get over, never have more than you do. That's sad; you're so worried about somebody else that you're sacrificing your life to it.

What's worst of all? For most haters, nothing will change. That being said, I guess that gives me license to use you guys as a source of comedy whenever it suits my purposes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I've been a member of the NRA for quite a long time, probably more than 20 years. In that time, I've seen a lot of both good and bad happen to gun owners. Clinton's gun ban, as well as the town of Kennesaw GA passing an ordinance that every home must have a gun in it. We all know that nothing happened to the crime rate while my AR was illegal. Care to take a guess at what the crime rate in Kennesaw has been since that ordinance was passed?

In that time, and in light of current pending legislation where the NRA and the Dumbocrats have agreed in principle, I wonder if the NRA is the best choice to invest in the defense of our gun rights. The Assault Weapon Ban was passed on their watch. Lots of other minor things have happened in the past 20+ years as well, and that fact has many gun owners, especially the ones who take the purpose of the 2nd Amendmentseriously, wondering if the NRA has their best interests at heart. They wonder if the NRA is worth the investment in defense of own rights. They wonder if the NRA is looking out for them, since they don't shoot an expensive side by side shotgun or a blued steel and walnut Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 or .270. It has appeared in the past that the shooters of military-style weapons, which are what the 2nd Amendment was meant specifically for, are sacrificial lambs in terms of legislative politics. I'm not sure that's true.

Let's face it: up until gun owners got out and voted the bums out, and really made the Dumbocrats bleed about a dozen years ago, the NRA was fighting a defensive fight. They took the offensive from time to time, but most of their time and money got spent fighting the restrictions that the legislature that the Dumbocrats controlled for about 30 years came up with. It was rare that there was pro gun legislation to get behind, and by the time it got through the process, there were so many other riders attached that most of the time they couldn't continue to back the law.

The NRA is the big dog of the gun lobby. There are over 3 million members, which gives the NRA quite a lot of political clout. Now that some of the most anti-gun legislators have been voted out, primarily by gun owners, the rest of congress and the senate are listening to what the NRA lobbyists have to say. They may not do what gun owners want all the time, but they may refrain from doing what we don't want them to do. Out of respect or fear...who cares. Get 'em doing what we want.

So the question now is, does the NRA have all gun owner's rights equally in mind? I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the NRA being the standard bearer for all weapons equally. I can't point to anything off the top of my head that makes me say that, but its a gun feeling that I can't shake. Perhaps its because the hunting arms are easier to defend, or at least they were. Now that the hunting groups are coming under increased fire as well, things may be evening out. That said, now that the NRA can go on the offensive on occasion, so they should have the chance to try to get some good black rifle legislation passed. I'll back 'em all the way and back if they make that happen.

Are they the best choice for defending your rights with your hard earned ducats? I'd like to examine that a little bit. The implied question here is "are there better choices to give your money to?". Wow...I finally get to use something I learned in College: opportunity cost. Since you do not have unlimited funds to spread evenly amongst all the possible choices, you as the individual donator (donateist?) must choose where your funds are going to be spent. That's opportunity cost: doing one thing with your money means the opportunity cost of that action is that you can't use that same money somewhere else. There are lots of other gun groups to join, in national, state, and local forms. Here's the thing, though: none of them come close to rivaling the NRA in membership. There may be a couple of them that have a few million members, but the NRA is the beast. They're also one of the oldest, if not the oldest, which means they have their lobbying efforts down to a science.

If you have the funds to join several groups, then by all means, do so. If you're a gun owner and you're not doing something to defend your rights, then you're being a tick on the rest of the gun owners that are. I'm not saying you must be a member, but with membership fees at a paltry $35 a year, there's not much reason not to join up. As long as the NRA is the big dog on the porch, I see little reason to avoid being a member. While other groups will surely be working hard to preserve your rights, being a member of the biggest organization going really makes the most sense and puts the most effort out.

I have worked for a couple companies that have made a similar mistake: they have a disagreement with a vendor, and decide to drop them. The question that doesn't get answered is "Great. Now what? What are we going to replace the hole you just put in the inventory with?" Ya gotta bring something in, because you just caused a headache for yourself. If you haven't, you probably didn't need to carry that line in the first place. That's not the case here: ya gotta replace the nothing with something. I suppose the bottom line is, if you're a gun owner, join the NRA. If you can't do that for whatever reason, give your support to another group. Now is the time for gun owners to stand tall. Things are not likely to get better without a lot of work, but they can get worse in a heart beat. Do something.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sometimes I miss the old days

Sometimes there's a reason to feel nostalgic. In many ways, technology and the like are far better now than they've ever been. Advancements have been made in many of my favorite areas: food, beer, electronics (can't afford it, but I think its cool), gear, and firearms, among others. There's even a Coke Zero now, and it doesn't taste like ass. There are cars out there now that can be had new for $15,000 (I know it won't have much on it, but it'll have wheels and a seat) that can go 30 miles on a tank of gas. The art of the carne asada burrito with sour cream and cheese added has been perfected for less than a fiver. Not here, mind you, because Messican food doesn't exist here, but they have 'em in California. I've had 'em, I know its true. 'Course, here we've mastered the $15 half rack of ribs to go. Its not the same, but it must do. The gas piston AR can be had for about what a high end DI gun goes for (I know, HK uppers sell for between $2500 and $5000, but since they'll never sell them on the civi market it doesn't count).

All these advancements were shown to pale in comparison to one Ol' Skoo' way of doing things: the epic summer blockbuster at a single screen theater. I remember seeing Hunt for Red October at a BIG single screen theatre in La Mesa. That place is a Good Guys stereo store now, and it hurts to see it. That old theatre had the ginormous screen, the Voice of the Theatre audio system...it was a great experience. The seats were like the first class seats on a cross country flight. I don't think they had cup holders-its been a while-but the seats were thick, wide and had legroom in spades. I will grant that stadium seating is pretty cool, but the seats are smaller, closer together, and its easier to hear the bung hole behind you on his stupid cell phone.

Back in the day, that screen was about a story tall. If you were in the front row, the screen was so large that all you saw was Sean Connery's nostrils. Not even the plural; just one, really. I'd have loved to see POTC: The End of the World on that screen. I saw it last weekend at our local theatre. Its a nice place; well cared for, nicely decorated, fairly comfortable, and supremely expensive. But its just not the same with that little screen. The sound is probably even better, but it all pales in comparison to that huge single screen. What a pity.

The fact is movies have gotten so expensive to make that single screen theatres are just not efficient enough anymore. That's why there's a 4567-plex theatre in the malls now, with chairs smaller than a bucket and screens the size of a piece of paper turned sideways. The ticket is $15 and a bag of popcorn and a drink is $157...plus tax. And, because of those exorbitant costs, we end up with stuff like The Hills Have Eyes 2. That means that the summer blockbuster and the single screen theatre will never happen again. That is, unfortunately, technology costing us one of the greater experiences that used to be available. And that truely is a pity.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dragon Skin: more marketing than fact

I've been skeptical of Dragon Skin armor for quite some time, mainly, that only one company was doing it. Armor has been around long enough that pretty much everything has been tried, excepting new materials that haven't been invented yet. What that means, basically, is that if Dragon Skin worked like TV like Future Weapons (which should be called Current Weapons, but that's another post) shows claim it does, there would be other companies making a similar product. What about patents, I hear you say? Have you looked into how much money Armor Holdings brings in per year? If this stuff worked, they'd own DS. Believe me, they have enough capital to buy any armor company in the world. Matter of fact, I would wager that the ones you've heard of are Armor Holdings companies.

Of course you don't believe me because you've called DS "The Greatest Thing in Armor Since Excalibur Was Forged" on a forum somewhere, and this is your Scared Cow...uh...Sacred Cow. Now that the testing info is coming out, you don't have to believe me. Believe an expert instead!

Flexible Rifle Resistant Armor Vs. Monolith Hard Plate Inserts

There is a raging debate as to which is superior against high powered rifle rounds, the flexible Dragon Skin (DS) body armor, or

the Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). There have been claims that the military has purposely failed DS because they didn't invent it,

and there are also numerous videos on the Pinnacle Armor web site and other places as well demonstrating the amazing performance of DS.

The debate has heated to the point where a major news media show "NBC Dateline" has seen fit to get involved , and that has caused Congress to call for a hearing on the matter all to make sure that our troops are getting the best equipment available especially as it relates to life saving equipment.

This is a very complicated subject and for the most part it boils down to testing to determine superior performance, but what kind of testing and how should it be performed to ascertain side by side comparative data? We have seen the demonstrations on Pinnacle's website, some video clips on the Army testing, and we have seen NBC's Dateline arrange what appeared to be independent testing. So what does it all mean?

In our view not a lot has been determined other than the DS Level 4 armor hasn't passed First Article Testing required by the Army.

We have constructed an analysis of the various tests people have seen, and why they are not conclusive in determining which armor system is best for the Army.

Beginning with Pinnacle Armor's website please draw your attention to the video titled, The History Channel Test Lab. It's located in the lower left corner of the page.

Dragon Skin Videos

When you view this video there are two separate tests. Referring to the first one where the Fresno Police take their shots against Dragon Skin using 7.62mm x 39mm ammunition allegedly brought in from Iraq. There were no identifying marks on the ammunition to prove they were armor piercing, no shrapnel recovered to prove it either, just a mention that it was steel cased and that it was real military ammunition. The ammunition was then referred to as military ball rounds, which indicates a soft core of lead. Nevertheless even if it was a mild steel core 7.62mm x 39mm rifle round with a steel jacket it would be representative of one of the most common threats, and it travels at about 2300 Ft./Sec., and represents some of the easiest military rifle rounds to defeat. With a full coverage DS vest it's easy to stop that many rounds, and I would say that with equal coverage using a hard plate version the performance would be relatively similar and at a lighter weight. The rest of the test involves 9mm ammunition being fired into ceramic rubble, previously defeated rounds, and the final backing material representative of a typical soft armor vest . Plus the test was conducted on a moving fixture at only a 90 degree angle to the target (this is important as we will show later in this analysis). This test really looks impressive, but in reality it's not, it's typical of today's armor, with the only real advantages being flexibility, and increased square area of coverage without gaps, which we agree are great features, but at a weight penalty that may or may not be acceptable to the various end users that would consider DS.

The second part of the test discusses the biggest threat to American troops called IED's, and the havoc these threats have caused in Iraq. The Hollywood stunt fabricators were called in to devise a method of creating a "realistic" IED threat using a fabricated air gun, launching manufactured shrapnel at about 900 Ft./Sec.. This was the worst test of all. The manufacturer was quoted by the narrator as not knowing what would happen, when in fact it was a known commodity the whole time. Any ballistic expert would have no problem predicting that steel shrapnel traveling at 900 Ft./Sec. would never get through a level 3 or 4 DS armor or hard plate armor like the IBA system, and in no way was the air gun even close to representing what a real IED can do in the battle field. Some of these IED's in fact have been known to penetrate Abram's tanks as quoted by numerous sources within the military.

The problem here is that these "testing shows" are designed to show Dragon Skin off in a positively amazing light to those who don't know the facts about ballistic testing.

In the video titled Discovery Channel Future Weapons the narrator and the hairless man firing the weapons made numerous comments about how awesome the AK-47 was, and how much punch it possesses, but in fact again there is no actual qualification of the round. Even if it were an API version (the worst of the AK-47 threats), which travels around 2500 - 2600 Ft./Sec. it doesn't matter, clearly plate technology is on par if the sizes were the same at a fraction of the cost. Once again the only real advantage proven is the flexibility and square area coverage, which we all agree is a fantastic thing, but says nothing as to whether or not it's a superior body armor. Another suspect issue is the distance at which they fire the rifles rounds, in almost every instance that we can see it's from about 20 feet. Typically it takes a rifle round nearly 50 feet to achieve a true spin, and up until that point it tends to wobble, and this very much plays into showing off performance you wont see at the ballistic testing laboratory.

There is also one video running around that shows off the newest level 5 plate, and a demostration that is supposed to show how it compares to steel plate and level 3 or 4 ceramic hard plates. There is no direct comparison of a level 5 Dragon Skin flexible insert and a Level 5 hard ceramic insert.

This is the theme in all the videos; moving test fixtures, unqualified rounds, distances that are an advantage to the armor performing better, comparative testing for fragments and other threats that really aren't comparative. No one is saying that DS isn't a great idea, and in the level 3 threat DS has probably proven all it needs to in order to be adopted by the police, SWAT, and "special ops" missions, but what about the big Army?

Military Testing

Go here to see video footage of Dragon Skin being tested in a real laboratory with a stationary test fixture with armor clearly being

tested in the areas where the Interceptor Body Armor would be tested against the APM2, the Army's projectile of choice. There were reportedly

many penetrations on various environmentally conditioned vest units. Clearly the video showed Mr. Murray Neal witnessing a clean hole in DS right in front of him with no excuses.

The Pinnacle Armor representative was probably afforded the opportunity to examine the bullet before it was hand loaded. The military tests differently than the NIJ for police body armor and for good reason, armor and other types of military equipment are subjected to grueling conditions in the field, and need to be either easily repaired or maintained and/or proven not to be susceptible to failure under the toughest conditions. This part of the market development can't be faked or jazzed up by movie or TV guys, this is real, and the laboratory only touched the surface of some of the weaknesses of the current model of DS with respect to facing level 4 threats.

Let me explain what I mean. The NIJ has developed a whole different test protocol for testing scalar armor. The reason is simple, the tiles pivot and move as armor bends around the body, and are adhered into place with adhesive coated fabrics. The tiles tend to open a bit as it makes the bend around the body, and this has led the NIJ to test at high angles of incidence. Soft body armor is tested twice on each panel at a 30 degree angle, and scalar armor in order to pass the standard must defeat additional rounds at extreme angles i.e. 30, 45, and even 60 degrees. They also are allowed to position the armor so you don't impact an area where the tiles overlap. This NIJ protocol should include a curvolinear clay filled torso box so that the armor is tested in the manner that it is worn, and precise positioning so the weakest point is impacted on every shot. Scalar armor systems are only as strong as the weakest link.

The Level 3 threat is typically less problematic than the level 4 APM2, and that's why we have seen a level 3 pass and a First Article Test (FAT) failure. The Army knows the weak spots, and they are going to test them. Review the illustration below to see our point:

Ray Segment "A" represents the path of a bullet at a test laboratory that is perpendicular to the backing box. The Dragon Skin armor is sitting flat, and we are illustrating a side view of how each tile is overlapped, and the fact that these tiles do not sit flat. They are angled against the 90 degree strike represented in ray segment "A". This angle gives a great advantage to the armor.

Ray segment "B" represents the corrected angle of attack with respect to the angle the tile actually sits when flat as depicted by angle "C".

Angle D is a reference point depicting a 90 degree angle to the backing box and parallel to ray segment "A".

Understanding the above pictorial representation lends an understanding of why you don't test this type of armor flat, and why you don't shoot at a 90 degree angle with respect to the backing box if you want to see how the armor performs at a true 0 degree obliquity at the weakest point.

When you flex the armor around the body the tile angles are exacerbated, and thus the importance of determining real 90 degree angles with respect to the test specifications is paramount. This means that you must adjust the backing box so that the tile is at the true angle of incidence called for in the specification with respect to the test barrel, and aimed at the exact weakest spots on every shot. Failure to do this will eliminate the possibility of evaluating a scalar armor design's efficacy. The Army wants to know this, and they will test scalar like this, it's that simple. If it can't pass at the weakest point, or after tough environmental conditioning tests that the Army requires then why should it be adopted as the best the armor for the Army?

NBC Testing

We have reviewed the date line testing in Germany, and could not see any testing that addressed the issues above with respect to how the tiles sit on a flat block of clay. It all appeared to be 90 degrees to the test box. To do a side by side test you would mount the interceptor body armor and then swivel the clay box to a 30 degree angle on every shot, but honestly since it is DS that has the weak points, all shots should have hit the weakest point, and at the best angle to create real 90 degree perpendicular shots with respect to the tile instead of the test box. So in effect this was not side by side testing unless they did some of the shot sequences as described above, but didn't actually show them on the broadcast.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day this isn't a debate for the military and Congress to resolve, nor is it a an issue of which is better IBA or DS.

IBA in it's current form has passed First Article Testing, DS hasn't.

DS costs about 1800.00 dollars to manufacturer and is on sale for 5000.00 USD. If DS passes First Article Testing there are other consideration; Second Article Testing, weight, competitive bidding, and setting a manufacturer up to meet strict defense contractor QC guidelines and specifications. This takes a lot of time, and in the interim the question has been posed, "are the troops receiving inferior body armor"? They are receiving armor that has passed very tough testing, is serviceable in the field, and saves lives, and has passed (FAT). I agree that DS and other armors in the pipeline will replace IBA, as IBA is definitely coming to the end of it's generational life, but if we had adopted DS when Mr. Neal thought it was ready, we wouldn't be looking at some of the improvements he has made as a direct result of failures, and I would imagine that there will be more improvements as well before this controversy is decided.

One more point that I think is worthy of consideration. Hypothetically if a group of contractors collaborated and came up with a plane that met Air Force standards according to them, and if Congress bought them and delivered them to the Air Force, and they were told this is your airplane for the next ten years to defend this country without consulted or allowing the Air Force to test the plane during development, what do you think the Air Force would say, of course this wouldn't happen. So why should the Army have no say in what they are going to adopt as their infantry armor concept for the next 10 - 20 years. It is unrealistic to say the Army shouldn't have a big voice in what is going to be worn by the troops they train. The "video shows" and media hype has really undermined the effort to develop and procure new armor for our soldiers, and has caused a loss of confidence for the purpose of one manufacturer to try and land the richest body armor tender in military history, and that's very sad.

We are in the process of arranging testing of some of our designs with the military this summer and the one thing I want to leave all the readers with is a simple fact, "we are not a body armor manufacturer"; we sell components and arrange manufacturing, we are consultants, and intellectual property developers. So in theory Pinnacle Armor could actual be a customer of ours, although I doubt that the circumstances would come about to cause this to happen, but in theory any manufacturer of armor is potentially our customer for our new flexible rifle resistant armor. So although we have a look of a competitor, we are more about , consulting, and material & component sales. We are not as biased on this issue as some people involved.

Congress needs to look proactive or they lose votes, and an office that pays very well, NBC needs to sell advertising, Pinnacle wants to win the most lucrative military body armor contract ever tendered, and me, well I just want to make a good living doing what I have been doing since 1983, designing and developing armor systems and successfully bringing new concepts to market. The manufacturing part is no longer in our purview, but I did it for 12 years and invented the whole concept behind Dragon Skin, and that's a fact all backed by records you can't fake.

I invite anyone who has questions to contact me at your convenience.

Allan D. Bain

More articles regarding the politics of Dragon Skin can be found here.