Sunday, April 22, 2012


Why is it that Bill Clinton having illicit sex is "Something between consenting adults and no one else's business", but Secret Service agents having legal extra-marital -- last I checked prostitution is quasi-legal in Columbia -- sex is a scandal and everyone's business?

Maybe if the Secret Service agents had lied about it to a Grand Jury, would it have been okay then?

Just asking.

And apparently some military members may have been involved. In parties. Where sex is going on. As a former military member me-own-self this is my shocked face ... let me show you it.

Seriously?! The first three-day pass I received when I signed out at the CQ desk there was a box of preventatives beside the sign-out sheet and I was not allowed to leave the desk until I had put some in my pocket. Is the United States Navy no longer famous -- or infamous, if you prefer -- for shenanigans at various foreign ports?


Granted, stiffing* short-changing** refusing to pay the full negotiated and contracted fee for services rendered is monumentally tacky -- not to mention frankly embarrassing -- on the part of the Secret Service, but I'm not sure that it merits the thundering denunciations by various poli-critters and expostulations of moral outrage by various media figureheads -- at least, not until said poli-critters and media-critters check their own closets for hookers.

I do find it interesting that the solution to this little dust-up -- according to popular and conventional wisdom -- is to hire more female Secret Service agents.

While I applaud the hiring of more female agents (in my opinion, women make better law enforcement officers, you perverts), anyone who thinks that the distaff side of the species isn't capable of just as much debauchery as the male half probably hasn't been anywhere near a Motley Crue tour-bus circa 1987; a college spring-break party; a Girls Gone Wild video, or anywhere else that you can find adrenaline, tequila, and power in more or less equal quantities.

Ah, well.


*Oh, I'm going to hell for that one.
**Somebody stop me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


During dinner at Carmine's in St Louis this weekend, I overheard Squeaky asking someone else at the table about "pink gorillas".

*blink, blink*

It turns out that the lass has never read the Pink Gorilla story.  Well, we must rectify that.

The previous evening, Don admitted to me that he has never read the Ratel Saga.

Ye gods and little fishies.


Ratel 1; Ratel 2; Ratel 3; Ratel 4; Ratel 5; and Ratel 6.

Honestly. Kids these days.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All was not roses and kittens

Lest anyone think that the NRA Convention was all roses and kittens, there were a couple of flies in the ointment.

On Saturday, Thirdpower from Days of Our Trailers casually made mention of a planned protest. "Hullo," sez I, "Protest?" Turns out that some anti-gun types had purchased a Permit to Protest for 1300 hours. I trundled out just prior to the designated time: Nada. Nuffin'.

Bloody hippies. No discipline.

On more serious matters I had run into OldNFO in the press room where he was monumentally cheesed off at El Paso Saddlery for fielding a couple of reps whose Give-A-Damn engine was apparently stuck in neutral.

I have an El Paso Saddlery "Street Combat" holster which I am fond of, so as soon as I could I popped over to El Paso Saddlery's booth ...

... where I am sorry to report that OldNFO was correct. I'm going to guess that the NRA Convention was an onerous burden to those folks -- but that's just a guess, since I couldn't get anyone to talk to me.


Oh, well. If El Paso Saddlery doesn't want anyone's business, I'm sure that Mike or Dennis will be happy to pick up the slack.

I had remarked to Herself that the H-S Precision booth was satisfyingly lonely at several times during our perambulations, and after Stingray over at Atomic Nerds sent a request, I scooted over to the H-S Precision territory under full sail with a snark broadside prepped.

To my shock, I found that the booth was full. Overflowing, even. Gobsmacked, I looked around ... and discovered that the FN guys were having a demonstration, and the mass of spectators had overtaken and seized the H-S booth for use by friendly forces.

After catching a look at the faces of the H-S folks, I didn't have the heart to kick them when they were down.

Plus, I couldn't get through the crowd.



Monday, April 16, 2012


One of the things that I kept noticing, and that everyone commented upon, was how polite everyone was at the NRA Convention.

As crowded as the convention floor was, it was inevitable that folks were bumping into each other, stepping on toes and spoiling camera shots.

Each interaction of this sort that I witnessed was marked by courtesy on the part of both parties. I was quite refreshing to hear all of the "Yes, sir", "No, Ma'am", "Please", "Thank You" and "You're welcomes" that drifted around the convention Center.

Just out of curiosity, and because the lads and lasses in the service industry have all the good dirt and juicy gossip, I asked some of the behind-the-scenes folks how this convention stacked up compared to others they'd worked.

A janitor, who had worked, "a lot of these things" thought about my question for a moment, then replied, "You know what? Ain't nobody puked in a corner, [deleted] in a bottle and left it in a corner, or done anything else nasty in a corner for me to find. In my book, that's a good one."

Mental note: In future, non-NRA conventions, stay away from the corners.

The America's Centre was crawling in security, both security officers and St. Louis PD. While I couldn't get a SLPD officer to say anything other than a courteous "No comment", I did get one security officer to talk to me -- off the record.

According to this security officer, it's not unusual for tempers to flare at conventions. The officer explained that too many people in a small area, long delays and lines for scheduled events, and just plain "People being people away from home" results in the occasional screaming fit, or drama, and that minor vandalism, intoxication issues and "strangers getting a hook-up in the bathrooms" and building maintenance areas were a constant at conventions.

He then went on to state that -- as of Saturday afternoon -- the NRA Convention had been a "nice, quiet, boring" job. And he seemed fairly happy about it.

The last person I talked to was one of the people who stocked the snacks and drinks in the Media Room. When asked, this person smiled gently and remarked that everyone he had met so far had been, "Happy and laid-back." I remarked that surely there had been a complaint or two, and the response was: "Nah. Too busy talking and laughing."

I would say that I'm surprised, but I'm not.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Robert Heinlein is often quoted as saying, "An armed society is a polite society."

In my experience nowhere has this been as apparent as this convention. Everyone, from the NRA Media staff to 99% of the vendors to the people wandering the aisles, has been as courteous and accomodating as they can be.

Well, for the most part. Several bloggers -- friends both old and new -- have taken over a table in the corner of the Media Room as base camp for our perambulations throughout the convention, and as I sit here, I can look over to the long table occupied by traditional media ... and the disdain of not only the traditional media, but the traditonal gun media, for us lowly, plebian bloggers is palpable.

I'm not sure why. Not sure I care why, to tell the truth.

However, this disdain does not extend to the vendors. There is no readily-accessible second-level OP that would allow me to take a panoramic picture of the convention floor, so I looked around and the Lone Wolf display had a second story that the Lone Wolf folks were using as an office.

So, I wandered up and asked if I could climb up to the top and use it to take a picture. They gave my Media pass a bit of the old hairy eye-ball, until I mentioned that I was "just" a blogger. Next thing I know, I'm given a friendly and cheerful escort to the roof and encouraged to take what pictures I wanted.

To my surprise, this wasn't unusual. I wanted to talk to FN about both their new FN-FNS pistol and the 303P Less-Lethal pistol. When they saw the Media pass, they asked which outlet I was with as they steered me towards their Media/PR expert. When I told them I was a blogger, we stopped, they asked if I was "Going to blog this?" and when I answered yes, I got to talk to the engineers, the manager and the training gentleman.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dispatch from St Louis

You know, now that I've been to one, I tend to have to wonder why I haven't been to an NRA convention before.

Of course, there are more guns than I can shake a (brand-new) stick at, but the real draw to this thing is the people-watching.

Are there a bunch of Caucasian people here? Oh, hell yes. There are also a heck of a lot of people who aren't melanin-deficient wandering around.

Men, women, children, walking around, gaping, laughing, chattering, gossiping, having a really good time.

Quote of the moment:

Phlegmmy: I just saw a t-shirt that says, "Don't bring skittles to a gun-fight."

Stunned silence and disbelief around the table, finally broken by AD snarking, "No matter what velocity the unicorn is pooping them at."


And I've been promised hippies.

Back in a bit.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

NRA Annual Meeting, here we come!

I can't believe that I'm actually going to willingly stuff myself into a enclosed space with a thousand or so strangers.

I must be losing my mind.

On the other paw -- guns. I'm willing to bet that the exhibited gun collections are going to be awe-inspiring.

And I'll have a press pass. I have no idea what to do with a press pass, or even what it entails, but I imagine that my lady will help me suss it out.

Deep breath.

Good friends will be there, and Phlegmmy assures me that we'll probably make even more friends before the weekend is over.

That will be odd.

Deep breath.


postscript: Does anyone else find it a bit incongruous that there's a note at the bottom of the NRA Annual Meeting page that states:

"The city of St Louis prohibits the carrying of firearms at the America's Center Convention Complex".

Not "prohibits the carrying of concealed firearms" or "prohibits the unlawful carrying of firearms". Just: "Carrying Firearms Verboten".

At a meeting of the National Rifle Association. At a convention center named "America's Center Convention Complex".


So far yet to go.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

The First Migraine Salute

The Scene: A Roman centurion briefing the on-coming shift centurion, about two thousand years ago, or so.

Day shift: "You really should have called in sick."

Swing shift: "What could possibly be so bad in this little burg?"

Days: "Well, to start off with, you remember that suicide your boys found hanging around yesterday?"

Swings: "Yeah, what about him?"

Days: "Turns out he was somebody's CI."

Swings: "You know what they say, 'Snitches get stitches.'"

Days: "Think Homeland Security. We've been hip-deep in paperwork and secret squirrels all day. Two of 'em specifically want to talk to you."

Swings: "Oh, great. Crap."

Days: "Three of my boys are over on East-side, trying to talk a 10-96* off the ledge. You get to do the commit paperwork on him."

Swings: "What's his malfunction?"

Days: "Oh, he swears he just saw his best buddy walking around the market this morning. Trouble is, Best Bud is DRT**."

Swings: "We sure?"

Days: "Dead and planted, but the guy swears he saw him. Real twisted off about it, too"

Swings: "'Retire to Judea', the wife says, 'It's a nice quiet backwater', the wife says, 'No Germans swinging bloody huge swords at your neck', the wife says ..."

Days: "Speaking of, the lady in the lobby is all yours."

Swings: "What?"

Days: "She swears that she's lost a body."

Swings: Long silence.

Days: "Hey, I just report the facts. Lady says she went to check on someone she buried two-three days ago -- I'm not real clear on the relationship -- but when she went to check this morning, the body is gone."

Swings: "Oh. Great. Do you have any ...?"

Days: "Aspirin is in the top desk drawer, next to the Maalox. Have all you need, my happy butt is going fishing for the next two days."


Lord, forgive me for that, and bless all of the li'l pygmies in New Guinea.

(Even if I am a little late.)

Happy Easter, Blessed Pascha, Happy Resurrection Day, Joyous Eostre's Day and any other holiday I might have missed.


* 10-96: Severe Emotional or Psychological Issues.
**DRT: Dead Right There.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ask, and ye shall receive

A couple of days ago -- well, 01 APR, truth be told -- my Inbox lit up with the news that 5.11 was making a Tactical Duty Kilt.

Mindful of the date, but still hopeful, I put my name in the "Notify me when this product becomes available" slot.

None-the-less, I was not surprised to learn that 5.11 was pulling a bit of an April Fool's joke. I chuckled, murmured something along the lines of, "Oh, well played, lads" and moved on along.

Today I learn (to my delight) that apparently the joke is on 5.11: They've had so many requests for the Tactical Duty Kilt, that they're going to do a limited-run of the kilts.


Now, I don't know if the TDK is going to sold for the $59.99 listed on the web-page, but I'm here to tell you -- as someone who has purchased the odd kilt or two in the past -- 5.11 could double the price and still be half of what most other comparable kilts ask on the Internet.

If you're interested in a limited-run, Official Tactical Kilt from 5.11, you might consider popping over there and letting them know about it.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Meditations on melancholia

I am not, by nature, a cup-half-empty kind of guy.

My general reaction to unpleasantness is a combination of "stiff upper lip, old boy" and a pause to smell the flowers before powering through whatever unpleasantness has reared its' ugly head.

Coupled with this attitude is a state of general physical health that apparently has to be experienced to be believed, along with an immune system aggressive enough -- to borrow a phrase from Ambulance Driver -- to attack squirrels in the back-yard.

I have literally been told, on more than one occasion, by a doctor, "I don't know what the hell you brought back from Nigeria, but it seems to be clearing up."


Diabetes is the first major hitch in my get-along that I've ever experienced.

When I was diagnosed, my doctor sat down and asked if I had any questions. I really didn't, so he looked me in the eye and said, "Your death certificate is going to read: Complications of diabetes. That's a fact. However, we can get another thirty or forty good years."

It appears that I may have locked in on the first part of that sentence and ignored the last part.


I have done extraordinarily well. My HbA1C levels have been consistently better than expected. My doctor wants my A1c to be at or below 6.9 -- and it's been between 4.8 and 5.6.

However, getting the old blood sugar down that low has required some fairly significant life-style changes. Stress and pain, I have discovered, tack on a decent 100 points to my blood sugar ... and me with a job that is nothing if not stressful, and the occasional pain is unavoidable.

Pizza and rice -- two foods that have been staples of my diet in the past -- elevate my blood-sugar all out of proportion to what they should, damn it.

Last week, I was checking my blood sugar at work. Normally, I do this in a closed office, or in a quiet corner somewhere, but there was a fairly major fur-ball hanging-fire, so I was doing it on the Ops Desk in Central Control.

One of my rookie officers happened to see me doing so, and was obviously squicked-out about the whole finger-stick thing; the stress had run my blood-sugar too damned high; I really wanted a medium pizza; and I was suddenly heartily sick-and-tired of being diabetic, of the responsibilities of rank, with the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

The icing on the cup-cake was when one of my best subordinates walked up and handed me a two-week notice of resignation.

Have you ever seriously thought of crawling into a dark room, shutting the door and staying there?

My officer apologised for the resignation, but explained that the officer's spouse was going to be dead in less than a year because of a medical condition, and that my officer was determined to spend as much time with the spouse as possible before the end.

The officer then shook my hand, thanked me for being me, and calmly reported that part of the fur-ball had been dealt with and what were my orders as far as the rest?

After work that evening, I walked out to my pick-up, looked up at the moon and said, "I get the point. I'll pull my thumb out."

So I can't have pizza. Or a sandwich whenever I want. Rice is right out. So what? Assuming I don't zag when zigging is the right answer, I've got as many good years ahead of me as I have behind me.

I can think.

I can talk.

This morning I woke up above ground.

You know what? Everything else is just gravy.


Monday, April 02, 2012

The hell?

To my mind there is no more perfect all-around rifle -- for me -- than a good lever-action.

While I do have a serious love for double rifles -- I am a child of Africa, after all -- a lever-action 7.62X51R* is my go-to rifle.

A lever-action rifle is light enough to carry comfortably on long walks, they tend to balance nicely, and a second shot is as simple as dropping your hand and lifting it up again.

I'm also a fan of an exposed hammer. To me, lowering the hammer to half-cock feels safer than actuating a safety tab. And it is second-nature to thumb the hammer back as the rifle is coming to my shoulder.

While I realize that the classic chamberings in lever-action rifles aren't exactly long-range death rays, when I'm hunting I don't take shots at game past 200 yards. If I can't stalk inside of 200 yards of whatever I'm after, then I don't need to be hunting it.

The .30-30, the .32 Winchester, .35 Remington -- all of these are capable of doing the needful cleanly within 200 yards if the hunter does his job.

However, today I have discovered that my love for the lever-action rifle has its' limits.

Gentle Readers, I give you the Mossberg 464. Just looking at pictures, it looks like Mossberg snagged hold of the venerable Winchester 94 action and then ...

... committed one grievous sin against taste and The Nature Of Things:

I am gobsmacked, I am.


*Also known as the .30 WCF or .30-30