Folks, if you don't know that "coyote" is a word for a person who is paid to smuggle people across the Southern border into the United States, then you don't know enough about unlawful immigration to have an opinion on the subject.
It was a whisper, barely louder than the breeze around us, and conveyed the same kind of quality you would expect if a Harlequin romance novel went emo, got a Ph.D in Literature, and spent a century or so wandering through a thesaurus trying out complicated synonyms for boredom. I took a closer look: it was a male, model-thin and pale white, with shoulder-length hair that the breeze fluttered playfully about. His face had never seen acne, nor a whisker, and came equipped with a chin you could split logs with. The chest was bare to what Texas thinks of as an autumn chill, also completely hairless and cut with a decent amount of muscles above skin-tight leather pants. I knew, just knew, that the eyes would be blue and piercing.
I gave the lady a little shove in its direction, safed and holstered the Wilson, before closing my eyes, pinching the bridge of my nose and gently shaking my head. “You brought a vampire into Wichita Falls? Are you nuts?”
My ears flicked around as I noticed the sleepy annoyance radiating from the gravestones. Thing is: a vampire isn’t an undead. A vampire is a dead body that got colonized by a mostly-sentient fungus with aspirations and a really good PR team. And they tend to annoy the actual undead.
The lady waved a hand dismissively, “It’s not like we’re in Chicago, or New Orleans, or L.A., even. I think Jean-Pierre can handle Podunk easy enough.”
I was willing to bet that before his corpse got colonized by the magical equivalent of over-sexed mildew, what was standing in front of me was named Phil, or Bob, or Frank, but that’s a damned vampire for you.
This time the whisper had overtones that could be best described as attempting to muster enough Give-A-Damn to become a sneer: “I, who taught Machiavelli, who played the intricacies of the Court of Louis Catorce the way Mozart played with music. I have little to fear from these mortals.”
“Yeah, well, they don’t do ‘intricacy’ around here. They do dynamite and bulldozers at noon.” I attempted to poke the lady somewhere that I wouldn’t get slapped for, fail, and settled for making finger quotes, “And the next time I see you, it’ll be in a solemn press release from the Sheriff’s Office lamenting you getting your ass killed while resisting arrest.”
She cocked her head at me, trying to conceal her amusement at the thought of the rube attempting to protect her, while the vampire leaned against the side of a mausoleum, probably getting ennui all over the marble. Eww.
If you want the rest, you'll have to buy the book.
Back in 2017 Herself and I started working out at Mark Rippetoe's gym, and -- barring illness and/or injury -- we've been working out regularly there ever since.
It's not exactly State-of-the-Art: There are barbells, there are the safety racks, and there are the plates; this is how you do the big, compound lifts. Get after it.
The simplicity leads to a certain Zen frame of mind. You put iron plates on the bar, and then you lift the bar. If you lift the set correctly -- yay, you! And you add five or ten pounds the next week. If you fail, you back off five or ten pounds, you add an extra set, and you keep going.
The thing is that there will be a point where you're going to fail. It's inevitable. As you keep increasing the weight, there will come a time when you just can't finish that last set of five. That time might be the first week, or the first six months, or the first year, but you're going to fail.
And the iron isn't going to listen to your excuses. It's not going to pat you on the back and fluff up your ego.
It's going to sit there and dare you to lift it. And when you do, it'll be heavier the next week. And -- sooner, rather than later -- you're going to fail again. And you -- just you, no-one else -- are going to have to reach down inside yourself and find the stuff to drive through and move that weight, because the iron isn't going to coax you, or baby you -- but it's not going to lie to you, either.
It's not going to make noises about "fairness", or "opportunity". It's just going to wait for you to lift it. And if you don't, it doesn't care.
In the last three years, we've seen a lot of people come and go; and the majority that leave cut sling-load after that first failed lift. You'll hear it. Usually it's a strangled grunt, followed by the crash of the bar onto the safety pins, and they'll leave, never to be seen again.
If you do see them again, at the store or a restaurant, they'll murmur something about "Strength training just wasn't right for me" and mention the Plyo-Dance Program, or Radioactive Yoga Conditioning that they're in, and how "It's a better fit".
It's not the program that's a "better fit", it's the subjective benchmarks, and never failing that's a "better fit".
There's 315 pounds. Deadlift it five times. You either do, or you don't.
Here's 265 pounds. Squat it for three sets of five repetitions. You either get all 15 out, or you don't.
Much like iron, the world doesn't care about you.
People think it does. Every time you hear talk about "fairness", or "opportunity", that's someone trying to tell you that the world cares, that it's subjective, when it's really objective.
Deadlift 405 pounds, or don't. Get that job, or don't.
Squat 365 pounds. Or don't. Earn that salary. Or don't.
Iron doesn't care that the guy in the next safety rack is squatting 495 when you can only squat 225. Iron isn't going to tell you that it isn't fair; it isn't going to make itself lighter for your self-esteem; and iron isn't going to throw a snit-fit when you fail.
Iron isn't going to lie to you. The world isn't going to lie to you. It sucks, and you're going to fail. Readjust, reacquire, and drive through. Or don't.
People are going to lie to you. You are going to lie to you.
More folks should learn this.
More people should be lifting weights, failing to lift weights, and driving through.
That's your Melancholy Monday ramble. Back to writing.
Fall is around the corner -- my favourite time of the year -- and it's soup season!
3 - 4 pounds beef
8 red potatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 16oz bag carrot slices
3 cans of stewed tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can Rotel
3 small cans green chilies
3 tablespoons minced garlic
32 ozs beef broth
32 ozs vegetable broth
32 ozs water
1 glug red wine
Cu your beef into cubes, sprinkle well with steak seasoning -- I'm currently using Head Country Original, but use the one you like -- and throw it into a pan with some oil to brown.
While the meat is browning, dice your onion, and chunk your taters. Throw them into a large stock-pot with all the canned stuff, the broth, and the water.
Once the beef is browned, toss it into the pot, and then use your red wine to deglaze the pan. Bung all those glorious bits into the stock-pot. Add everything else, except only the carrots, and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally.
After an hour, throw in the carrots and let simmer for another half-hour.
12 SEP 1683, at 1600 hours, Polish infantry skirmished their way to some flat ground outside of the besieged city of Vienna, and paused while their king -- Jan III Sobieski -- and 3,000 of his Winged Hussars emerged from the tree-line.
The Ottoman commander facing them sent a few companies to probe the Polish lines, at which point the Polish infantry fell back, leaving the heavy Hussars in place.
Seeing the Polish infantry retreating, the Ottoman commander ordered his cavalry on the left wing to engage the Poles and drive them from the battlefield.
One can only imagine the shock of the Sipahis when the Hussars began a canter towards them; indeed, the German infantry troop of the Holy Roman Empire to the left of the Hussars paused in awe as the Polish heavy cavalry lowered lances and burst into a full gallop at 50 paces from the Ottoman forces.
And then the Ottomans learned that in the Winged Hussars they faced the finest cavalry in the world, as they were smashed and scattered to the winds.
At 1800 hours, the Ottoman cavalry dead or fled, King Jan III Sobieski linked up with allied elements and personally led his 3,000 Winged Hussars, an additional 17,000 friendly cavalry, and his set of ordnance-steel family jewels into the elite Janissary infantry of the Ottoman Empire like the fist of an angry god.
The Janissaries, who were guarding the Ottoman encampment, did their level best against the Husaria. They really did, managing to slow the furious charge, before they broke under the lance-points and thrashing hooves of the Winged Hussars, and allowing the Polish king to drive straight through the heart of the Ottoman encampment.
At that, Turkish lines collapsed, and routed. As many as 15,000 dead littered the wake of the charge. Another 5,000 Ottoman troops were taken prisoner.
Three hours after the Poles entered the game, King Jan III Sobieski walked clanked into the empty tent of Kara Mustafa Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
Kara Mustafa probably should have hung around -- on Christmas Day of that year, at the direct orders of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Kara Mustafa was strangled for the crime of having had his butt handed to him by 3,000 raging winged Poles and their steel-spined king.
Thanks to Poland and her children, on 12 SEP 1683, the Turkish invasion of Europe took a metaphorical punch to the nose, and in 1699, the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Karlowitz, which ended Turkish rule over Central Europe.
In biker and inmate slang "FAFO" is a useful term. It is a low-level warning, a general statement about the Nature Of Things, and a kind of Zen philosophy.
It stands for "F(ool) Around and Find Out", understanding that the first word isn't "fool". The past tense is: "F(ool)ed Around and Found Out".
As a warning, it also implies that the person should accept responsibility for the consequences.
The best example of this was when I was walking through Intake, and spotted Waldo the Wonder Biker leaning against a corner of the holding tank, both eyes swollen shut, nose broken, and blood from his waist to the back of his head. Blinking a bit from the surprise I asked Waldo what happened.
Hocking a bloody lump the size of a kiwi fruit in my general direction, he growled, "I [deleted] around and found out, LT."
Whole bunch of folks who have been fooling around in far-Left Democratic strongholds are taking their foolishness into less-Leftist areas ... and finding out.
The latest is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and seems to be a pretty spectacular example of "Finding Out", and while I won't speculate on the legal details of the shooting, some of the pictures are probably going to wind up in trauma lectures.
Folks f(ool)ed around, they found out; and now the million-dollar questions are: 1) Will they take responsibility for their [deleted]ing around that led to the finding out? 2) Will everyone else learn from this, and modifying their future fooling around?