Of course I remember 9/11…

…how could I not? We started two wars over it, I’ve lost 6,280 of my brothers and sisters in arms over it.

The problem is that I’m deeply ashamed of my country over the whole thing.

One of the wars we instituted over it, we simply declared victory and started pulling out, leaving the society we set on its head in the lurch to fend for itself before it was ready.

The second war we haven’t even bothered to declare victory, we’re just tucking our tails and coming home with nothing to show for it but graves in military cemeteries.

Both wars proved beyond doubt that we simply do not have the national will to fight a war with conviction. Right or wrong, when the decision to go to war is made, it needs to be all-in. Get over there, kill people and break things until the enemy is subjugated and then allow the politicians and bureaucrats to take over and rebuild a functioning government. We can’t seem to do that any more. We are so afraid of being seen as less than civil, we don’t have the will to do what it takes to win a war any more. We enmesh our military in ridiculous edicts and restrictions that make it impossible for them to do their jobs and endanger their lives needlessly and don’t even give them the CHANCE to win. With our current national will, we would have lost WWII without a doubt.

Back at home, we’ve used it as an excuse to abrogate liberty and institute police-state policies that our forefathers would have risen up in revolution against…and we meekly follow along with them like the sheep we’ve become.

We gladly give up individual liberty and personal responsibility for a fleeting and purely imaginary feeling of security.

At the site of the most significant attack of that day, we succumbed to the evil and (after years of bickering about it) refused to rebuild. Even worse, we reinforce our failing there by leaving the gaping wounds in the ground in some sort of misguided attempt at memorializing. All we have memorialized there is our failure and weakness.

At the second most significant site, the memorial plan called for the entire site to resemble the very defining symbol of the militant islamics who perpetrated the acts against us. The public outcry resulted in a change of the plans, but the stench of the controversy still surrounds it.

Our nation has become more and more divided along economic, racial, ethnic and religious lines. Group is pitted against group, race against race and class against class because a body of people divided can be controlled, subjugated, ruled. And we willingly…nay, enthusiastically…play right into the hands of those who would rule us.

We demand that someone else accept responsibility when the consequences of our own decisions come down on us and simply declare that the fruits of another’s labor, effort and ability are our constitutional rights and expect the government to force them to provide for us.

Our national economy is a house of cards that WILL collapse at some point…and instead of biting the bullet ourselves, undertaking the many years of hard work and sacrifices it would take to make things right, we just kick the can further down the road and hope that it is our children or grandchildren that are forced to clean up our mess rather than having to face it ourselves.

No, as a nation, there is not a whole lot about our post 9/11 history to be proud of.

So yes, I still remember the horrendous act of war perpetrated against innocent members of our society like it was yesterday. I still remember the heroism of the NYPD, FDNY, and the everyday citizens who stepped up on that day and did us proud. I remember the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform…up to and including the ultimate sacrifice…who wrote a blank check to an undeserving nation.

But I see what we’ve become, what we’ve done and, more significantly, not done, and I feel that we as a nation have failed to live up to the sacrifices and heroism of our countrymen.

Yes, I remember 9/11…and I grieve for the nation I once knew and was once willing to die for; a nation that seemingly is no more.

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Update

I survived Denver, although I did get sick while I was there and was feeling bad all weekend, and now I’m safely in Portland.

I did figure out one thing while in Denver: Why they chose that spot for a city.

I believe they were traveling West, hit the spot where the city now sits after having already climbed a mile up to get there, saw what they faced in the distance and said…

“Ok…this is far enough”.

And the city of Denver was born.

Can’t say I blame them.

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Update and Observation

I haven’t had much time to work on the blog lately.  I have gotten some of the linked youtube videos hosted locally, and I’ve gotten a few more of my daily reads added to the blogroll, but I’ve been working 10 to 12 hour days, had to work last weekend, and just haven’t had much time for it.

Hopefully things will calm down soon.

In the meantime, The Wife added Top Shots to my Netflix Queue for me the other day (thanks hon).  Last night I watched the first show from season 2.

I watched Season 1 until Caleb finally got eliminated but stopped watching after that.  The personal drama and silly sensationalism of the show (which is, of course, the trademark of the reality TV genre, and the aspect of that genre that I dislike the most) rendered the show unwatchable for me.

What I discovered last night, though, is that the ability to fast forward past the petty, political infighting, the breathless attempts to manufacture suspense, and the silly “look at me” self-aggrandizement of the more “colorful” participants and just watch the good parts, not only can I watch an ostensibly hour long episode in about 15 minutes, but it is quite enjoyable to watch when all the stereotypical reality TV claptrap is filtered out.

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Musing

I was thinking today (after reading a comment) about why I haven’t been posting much lately.

When I started this blog, it was back in 2005 (I know my posts don’t go back that far, I actually lost a good bunch of early posts during a transition period long ago) and blogging was really just catching on.  There were some very good gun bloggers out there (most of them are still around and still providing excellent content), but I felt that I had something to add to the conversation.

Also at the time, most news outlets didn’t have commenting features so when I read a ridiculously inaccurate anti-gun article or editorial, I could either send in a letter to the editor and hope it got posted (which I often did anyway), or I could comment about it here.

This blog was a way for me to vent, to openly counter the inaccuracies, fallacies and outright lies of the MSM, and to contribute to the conversation.

Along the way I started blogging about my experiences with amateur gunsmithing…which have become my most popular and most sought out posts.

So, what happened?

Well, my wife lost her job several years ago and because of ongoing medical issues has been unable to work.  As a result, our finances have been pretty strained for quite a long time and I just haven’t had the money to continue my gunsmithing experiments.  I even let my range memberships lapse mostly due to lack of funds.  I haven’t been shooting much, I haven’t been doing gunsmithing stuff so I just haven’t had anything to contribute on that front.

As far as the political/media front.  I think that this is a prime example of why I just haven’t felt the need to berate the media on these pages.

The article just screams out to be fisked, debunked and otherwise excoriated…but…check out the comments section.

250 comments at this writing and only a handful support the premise of the article.  Comment after comment pointing out the flaws in the piece and correcting the record.

And this is on the decidedly left leaning Washington Post.

How could I possibly add to that?   We’re winning and more and more people are coming to see the truth.  Even on the Huffing and Puffing Post (which doesn’t deserve a link), anti-gun articles and posts garner huge responses, primarily from those pointing out the flaws and fallacies presented.   I just don’t see the need to repeat the same arguments here when they are being so thoroughly and effectively presented at the source.

As I said, when I started this, there were some gun blogs around…but now just transferring my blogroll from the old blog to the new is a daunting task.  There are literally hundreds of excellent gun bloggers out there, all providing great content on everything from politics, to product reviews to keeping up with the ridiculous rantings of the anti-freedom fanatics, to shooting and self-defense tips.   Good Stuff.

I simply haven’t felt like I had anything to add.  Anything I could possibly say about the myriad subjects out there has already been said, several times, and much better than I possibly could hope to do so, by other and better writers than I.

No…this is not a segue into why I’m shutting the blog down.  I still like to have a place to spill my thoughts when they come to me and I do believe I still have something to contribute, I just haven’t quite discovered my niche yet.   I will.

Basically, I just wanted to share what little I could in the way of explanation and to take this opportunity to thank those who’ve stuck with me all these years, even during the times that I just haven’t had much to say.

Thanks for hanging in there.  So will I.

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The Obligatory 9/11 post

Ten years after 9/11 and what I’m feeling is

Disheartened

Depressed

Dispirited

Others that feel the same way have said it much better than I ever could, so I’ll just lead you to their words, rather than try to articulate it as well as they did, and probably fail.

First, from N.U.G.U.N.

We watch our children cower in terror. Not from islamic terrorists but from people in U.S. TSA uniforms. The enormous measure of damage to U.S. citizen’s rights is huge, and growing.

I feel we’ve lost. Had we rebuilt those towers. And kept our freedom. Than we would have been the victors. Ten years later I must conclude we have lost.

And Kevin, with a lengthy quote from Mark Steyn:

In the months after 9/11, I used to get the same joke emailed to me every few days: the proposed design for the replacement World Trade Center. A new skyscraper towering over the city, with the top looking like a stylized hand — three towers cut off at the joint, and the “middle finger” rising above them, flipping the bird

But the years go by, and they stopped emailing that joke, because it’s not quite so funny after two, three, five, nine years of walking past Windows on the Hole every morning. It doesn’t matter what the eventual replacement building is at Ground Zero. The ten-year hole is the memorial: a gaping, multi-story, multi-billion-dollar pit, profound and eloquent in its nullity.

Both are worthy of a “Read the Whole Thing” recommendation, and sum up how I feel about the whole thing pretty well.

The only disagreement with those two piece is that we lost against the terrorists by fundamentally altering what it is to be an American.

With that I disagree. We didn’t lose. We surrendered.

And because of that, I hold out little hope of our once great nation ever again being able to lay claim to the lofty description “Home of the free and land of the brave”.

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Pet Peve…grammar edition

Update: A post criticizing grammar wouldn’t be complete without the mandatory grammatical error…in the title no less. I, of course, meant “Pet Peeve”. For all who noticed and didn’t drop a bomb in the comments: thank you.

I’m really not that much of a grammar nazi. It does bother me a little when I see incorrect word usages, improper spelling or punctuation etc…but I rarely proofread my stuff carefully enough so I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next guy; so, I don’t often mention it.

However, there are a few turns of phrase that really bug me…mainly because they make it obvious that the person using them is only repeating something that they’ve heard said many times. They may have a superficial understanding of what is intended to be conveyed, but obviously don’t know to what the expression is referring or what the expression is analogizing.

For example…the expression is “toe the line” not “tow the line”. The image is supposed to be of someone in a tightly controlled situation, say boot camp or prison, being required to stand with their toes exactly on a line. To “toe the line” means following the rules.

“My boss really expects me to tow the line” doesn’t mean what the author thinks it means.

Another one I ran across today. Kevin posted a story this morning that included a link and invitation to check out the amazon.com reviews of a book about educational “improvement”. Among those reviews was this one from someone calling themselves “beachteach”.

This book is nothing more than a progressive’s journey to power. Its socialistic dribble espousing redistribution of wealth from “whites” to everybody else is disguised by the author’s attempt to raise cultural awareness among teachers.

See the problem?

Here’s a hint:

drib·ble
[drib-uhl], noun

1. a small trickling stream or a drop.
2. a small quantity of anything: a dribble of revenue.
3. Sports . an act or instance of dribbling a ball or puck.
4. Scot. a drizzle; a light rain.

Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved September 06, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dribble

I think what they were really shooting for was a different word that, in certain contexts, can have a similar meaning:

driv·el
[driv-uhl]noun,

1. saliva flowing from the mouth, or mucus from the nose; slaver.
2. childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle.

drivel. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved September 06, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/drivel

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to beat a dead rented mule (that was a joke). This one really struck me profoundly because it ostensibly came from a teacher.

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Father’s Day

I know I’m a day late, but I was busy yesterday.

Spent the morning in Church, then the afternoon with The Wife, then the evening with The Kids and The Grandkids.

But I was definitely thinking about my Dad.

I’ve posted a bit about my Dad in the past, including this heartfelt homily a few years ago on Father’s day.  I’ve never been much of one for repeating myself so I’ve not put up another one…though I could say volumes about how great a man my Father was, I just don’t think that adequately tells the story.

I would like to say something about him and why this never occurred to me before, I truly don’t know.  From here on out, assuming I remember and am not wrapped around the axle on something else, I’m going to post something about my dad every year on Father’s day and on his birthday.  Just a short anecdote or factoid to let you know who he was a little bit, and also to save his memory for posterity.

I don’t really know much about my Grandpa on my Dad’s side.  The first funeral of my memory was Grandpa Stone’s.  He died when I was fairly young.  Dad told us what a great man he was, but very few details.  I just don’t really know much about who he was or what he was about.

I don’t want that to happen to the memory of my Dad, so I’m going to write a little about him here, and hopefully my kids and grandkids will be able to look back at this and get a feel for who he was.

I think my first installment is going to be Dad’s favorite joke (mom wasn’t overly fond of it and would groan every time he told it).

Dad was a very serious man and didn’t show much emotion…including humor.  Things that would have the rest of us rolling on the floor with laughter might get Dad to smile a little bit and maybe even let out a little snort of laughter.

So seeing him tell this joke and laugh out loud was something of a thrill.  It makes me smile (and tear up a little bit) just thinking about it.

Dad loved airplanes and had a private pilot’s license.  He couldn’t afford to fly much, but he did when he could and would take us up in little Pipers and Cesnas to fly around the countryside and see things from a bird’s eye view.

Because of his love of flying, his favorite joke was fitting:

An old farmer and his wife were at the county fair.  The fair was being held on the grounds of the local grass airstrip and there was a pilot there offering rides in his nondescript four seat plane of uncertain descent (and maintenance).

The old guy had never flown before and thought he’d like to give it a try so he approached the pilot and said “The missus and I’s never been in one of them fancy flyin’ machines…how much fer a ride?”.

“$50 for a half hour” the pilot replied.

“Fifty Dollars!”  the old farmer exclaimed; “that’s a fortune.  I reckon we’re gonna pass.”

“Well…” said the Pilot “…if you really want to fly and you’ve never been up before, I guess we might be able to work something out.”

“How about this:  I’ll take you up for the half-hour and give you the ride of your life.  If you can both finish the whole ride and not make a peep…no screams, no crying out, no begging me to stop…you won’t have to pay me a cent.”

“But” he continued “if you cry out even once, you’ve got to pay me the whole $50….deal?”

The old farmer thought about it for a minute.  Looked over at his wife…she was a steady ol’ gal and not prone to swooning or hysterics…and made his decision.  “You’ve got a deal” he replied.

The deal struck, they boarded the plane – the Pilot up front and the farmer and his wife in the back – started up, taxied down the grass and lifted into the clear country air.

Immediately, the pilot gave it full power and climbed as fast as he could, putting as many g-forces on that old plane as it could handle.  As he reached altitude, he turned the yoke until the plane rolled onto it’s back and then pulled back into a screaming power dive, reminiscent of his days as a P-47 pilot in WWII.  When he got enough airspeed, he pulled the yoke back to the stop again and brought it up into an inside loop…and he was just getting started.

He flew barrel rolls, spit “s”s, hammerheads, Immelmen’s…anything he could do to shake up his passengers and get them to cry out.  Every maneuver was performed a little more aggressively than the last in the effort to break their resolve.

Over and over he shook the old farmer and his wife, tossed them, scrambled them as best he could.

After 30 minutes of non-stop aerobatics, and without a sound coming from the back seat of the plane the whole time, the pilot finally gave up and reluctantly returned to the airstrip.

He landed gently and idled to to the parking area, his admiration for the old couple growing by the minute.

He cut the engine and as the prop slowed and the plane coasted to a stop, he said over his shoulder “Well, I’ve gotta hand it to you.  I threw everything at you that this old bird could handle and you never gave in.  I guess that was worth the $50.”

“Ayup”  said the old farmer.  “I gotta admit that you just almost had me there once.  I almost cried out when the missus fell out, but fifty bucks is fifty bucks.”

[rimshot]

Ok…so it’s a little corny…but Dad loved that joke and it makes me laugh out loud thinking about how much he enjoyed telling it.

Happy belated Father’s day to my Dad and to all the other Fathers out there who dedicated their lives to making us hard-headed kids into functional members of society.

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Wanna know how old I am?

This is where I went to Elementary and Jr. High school.

Sent to me by bff CB, who was a schoolmate there.

That’s just sad.

It would have bothered me less if there was a shopping center, housing development, even a corn field.

That would be a sign of progress…that the site has become useful in other ways.

Seeing the ruins just sitting there, forlorn and abandoned tears at my heart.

The school was built in 1910 (IIRC) as Windfall High School.  A POW camp was housed on or near it’s grounds toward the end of WWII.  I remember it as a stately, brick four story building that always seemed to me as impregnable and indestructible as a fortress.

Everything that has a beginning, has an end.

 (Image borrowed from Classmates.com)

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OK. This is just weird

I couldn’t sleep.

It’s about 2:15am in Germany and I turned on the TV. 

They’re showing “Hart’s War” dubbed in German.

Kind of strange seeing American soldiers (including the Black ones) speaking German to each other.

Not to mention the whole concept of seeing an American movie about soldiers who are prisoners of war in a German POW camp, in Germany, dubbed in German.

I have to wonder what the Germans who are watching this think about it.

BTW:  Bruce Willis’ voice sounds really strange when he speaks in German.  Doesn’t sound like him at all.

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