Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I May Have A New Favorite Holster

Back in early September I ordered a FIST All Around IWB holster through my favorite local gun store. It finally arrived a week or so ago, and I am seriously impressed.

Ride, cant, position, you-name-it, this holster redefines adjustable. I carry a bobtail Commander 1911 appendix IWB, and the All Around works better than any other holster I have for getting everything just right. The belt clip allows just enough wiggle to keep it comfortable while not letting it move out of position. Molding to the gun is excellent with firm retention. Drawing requires a firm, positive move. It is impossible to shake the gun out of the holster upside-down, even fully loaded with Dummunition for maximum weight.

After I wear it a little more, I'll probably use the ol' hair dryer to shape the Kydex at the top to conform more closely to the safety and rear of the slide. I might also shape it a bit at the muzzle, since it can dig in when I move around.

The clip is very secure but kind of clunky, but with it attached by Velcro I can easily replace it with any alternative attachment my devious little mind can contrive. It also gave me the idea of using self-adhesive Velcro to attach a leather backing to a few of my other Kydex IWB holsters to improve comfort and keep me from sweating on my gun.

For sheer versatility, functionality, and practicality, this thing's a winner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It Sneaks Up On You

My dogs' favorite food in the whole world is green tripe. Raw-frozen is better for them, but canned will do in a pinch. No matter how you package it, though, green tripe is vile.

Since they love it so much, I decided that would be their Christmas dinner (I celebrate Yule, not Christmas, but take full advantage of the days off to do the "heavy lifting"). Since I store the dogs' food in the barely-heated foyer and I happened to have canned tripe on hand, I opened the cans and set them on the woodstove to warm up.

Really cold green tripe has very little odor. When the tripe was nice and warm, I thought my residual head cold was protecting me from the awfulness. Unfortunately, the rate at which it warms up and stinks appears to equal the rate of human olfactory fatigue. I found this out the hard way after I fed the dogs and went outside to do some chores.

When I came back in the house, I walked into a nearly tangible wall of stench. I've worked in a slaughterhouse and a morgue without any difficulty at all, but this was nearly enough to make me hurl. Generous use of bayberry candles and fresh orange peel (aided no doubt by the aforementioned olfactory fatigue) eventually rendered the house habitable, but I still hung my jackets outside for the rest of the day.

I found the following essay years ago on the Greyhound-L mail list. I think it was originally written by a member of the Dogwood Rottweiler Club, but their website is currently down. If the site comes back, I will verify and attribute. Whatever its source, though, it accurately describes Green Tripe In A Can in all its horrific glory.
Tripe In A Can

You know, I used to think I was tough. That I could handle just about anything! After all, I LAUGHED at fresh Green Tripe!

So it was with much joy when I discovered that one could BUY Fresh Green Tripe, in a CAN!

How novel, I thought! No more mess, no more fuss, just open a can, and feed Green Tripe on demand.

Of course I ordered from this company immediately! And not just one or two cans, but a case! Mind, you, I'm no simpleton! After all, It's Fresh Green Tripe. In a CAN!

So today, that Santa Claus of the mail system UPS came to my door and delivered a LARGE brown box. With a satisfied "Ahh Haaa!!!" I hoisted my prize high over my head and carried it inside, Max following along, sniffing at the box, tail wagging. After all, he knew it was for him!

"What's in the box??" my 13 year old son asked.

"Fresh GREEN tripe! In a can!" I stated emphatically. "A case of it!" What a smart consumer I was indeed! (Oooh! Ooohh! Tim Allen grunt!)

Finally the moment I had waited for, came, later in the evening. Max's dinner time. We put the normal raw beef heart, some veggies, Hokamix, flaxseed meal, and a wee bit of kibble in his dish, but the crowning moment was about to happen.

As I looked longingly at the can, it felt almost like a solemn occasion. "Now you will see some good stuff!" I smiled as I positioned the can into the electric can opener. Clink, Chink Whhhhrrrrrrrr!!

Went the can opener. For a brief moment in time, it felt as though time itself had stopped, so intent were we to see this wondrous marvel of modern science. Green Tripe in a can, why it was almost as if we were discovering the lost Ark of the Covenant. Dog, Child and myself were held in awe. With a final CHINK! The can lid was released… And then I smelled something.

"What is THAT?!?!" my son exclaimed. One of our cats who had been sitting by the kitchen door, quickly sidled out. She was smart.

"Green Tripe, in a can…" I tried to sound parental and authoritative, but I could feel the first churning of my stomach.

The dog's eyes were on me intently, like two laser beams.

With a daring poke, I took off the lid to the can. And then it hit us. "Oh Geeeshhhh!!!!" and then my normally angelic son cursed for the first time, in my presence, "What the $&%@ is that *@#*???!!!"

And with that he ran away.

AT that point a smell hit me, so foul, so putrefied and grotesque, that bathing in fresh skunk spray would have been a pleasure. A smell so rancid, that it made a raw sewage plant in a hot southern sun, smell nice.

I felt my insides roil dangerously.

Max now had two long lines of drool that hung from his mouth, and with a sickening slurp! He licked his lips, willing me to give him what was in that can.

"You're sick," I said to him through clenched teeth. I had to clench them or else I knew my dinner would be revisiting at that very moment.

This Green Tripe in a can was nothing like the fresh tripe I had dealt with. No, this stuff was insidious, vile, and deadly. The US Military should use it as a biological weapon. I could see squadrons of men falling before this stuff.

I held the can at arms length like radioactive plutonium and gingerly waggled it over the dog's dish, aiming for his food bowl. Sluuuurrrrk!!! It made a sickening noise as it slid out of the can. By now my vision was clouded, and I could have sworn I saw GREEN vapors leaking out of the can, like some mad scientist's experiment gone wrong.

I thrust the dogs dish down, and he immediately threw himself into eating it, like a starving man at a banquet.

"Aaaaaaaacck!" was all I managed to say, as I WILLED myself not to hurl my cookies. "Steve! Help me! Find the plastic lid cover!" I cried plaintively to my son.

"Nuh-uh!" he screamed from somewhere deep in the house, "That stuff REEKS!"

Now it was my turn to come up with colorful expletives as I dug up a plastic lid cover to try and hide the horrible bomb that had been unleashed in the house. I just KNEW that the smell would be forever imbedded in my walls, my furniture, my cat's fur, and thanks to the central AC, the putrefying fragrance was being spread to all corners of the house.

Finally in disgust I managed to cover the can and thrust it into the refrigerator. The dog had finished his dinner, and stood looking at me, as though hoping for more. I knew I would be sterilizing the dogs dish, and probably his mouth with hot water. Heck I may just throw them both in an autoclave. If a hurricane hit my house now, it would not have been a bad time. It may even clear the air. I realized now why they called it GREEN tripe. It was. And it was in a can. And it was deadly.

Five hours later, the smell STILL lingers around, in cruel little whiffs. But hey, who am I to complain, I was smart, right? After all, I only have 11 and 1/2 cans to go, of Green Tripe in a CAN!
Fortunately, the horses' favorite delicacies weren't disgusting. Baby carrots, cut-up apples, and Mrs. Pasture's Horse Cookies are all favorites. None of my current herd like peppermints, oddly enough, and weird old Max refuses anything except his normal Triple Crown Senior.

I'm afraid I just can't bring myself to give Milton The EvilPony™ his favorite treat in cold weather. He absolutely loves Edy's frozen strawberry bars.

"We'd Like To Get Him Off The Street"

Pacedon Birge is wanted for a home invasion robbery. He's had "hundreds of run-ins with the law" and been in and out of jail over a ten-year period.
"(He’s) been arrested for burglary, theft, various assaults, felony terroristic threats and other offenses of that nature," said (Omaha Police officer Michael) Pecha.
In this latest home invasion, Birge and two accomplices fired shots at a person running away from them. Gee, felon in possession. Which gun control law would have prevented that?

Other items on his list of accomplishments include burglary, theft, various assaults, felony terroristic threats and sexual assault. OPD says they'd like to get him off the street.

What I'd like to know is, why is this ambulatory fecal matter even ON the street???

We need criminal control, not gun control.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Typical

I'm driving down the aisle in the grocery store parking lot. Up ahead,I see a pickup starting to back out of a stall. There's a van next to it, so the pickup's driver will have trouble seeing what's coming. I stop well back, figuring the car in front of me will do the same.

Oh no, that driver just keeps on going. The truck stops abruptly as the driver finally sees the oncoming car. The car's driver screeches to a halt, rolls down the window, and starts yelling at the pickup driver complete with hand gestures. Mr. Car Driver apparently thinks Mr. Pickup Driver is Number 1, sort of.

The rear of the car is covered with bumper stickers: Obama '08, Nebraska Democratic Party, COEXIST, Nebraskans For Peace, a big "equal" sign, something espousing Tolerance. Heh.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hazmat

That pretty well describes what I've been horking out of my sinuses over the last few days.

I swear, every workplace has its own mutant strain of The Annual Winter Crud.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Philosophical Question

I have a Colt Combat Commander Model 70 in electroless nickel. It's a 9mm and was my first "training wheels" 1911 back when I was still intimidated by .45 ACP. It was quite inexpensive as Colt 1911's go, and I know it's not truly a collectible.

It has the classic teensy safety, vestigial sights, and hand-ripping tang, and so is not particularly pleasant to shoot. I only actually shot it a few times before making the leap to .45's, and it's just been sitting in the safe ever since.

My question is, should I send it in to be reworked and refinished as a shooter or keep it an all-original safe queen?

Opinions?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Westroads "No Weapons" Signs Are Still Defective

Just before 7:00 am on Black Friday, there was an armed robbery in the food court at Omaha's Westroads Mall.

After their malfunctioning "No Weapons" signs failed to prevent this, I would have thought they'd fix them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Absolutely Hilarious

Courtesy of Fugly Horse Of The Day, we have the Shetland Pony Grand National:
I could so see Milton The EvilPony™ doing this.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Sights And Level III Class

I got a good chance to test out my new Wilson Combat Ultimate Speed Sights in the Advanced Pistol Level III class last weekend. The class included a lot of low-light work with and without flashlights, and overall I have to say that so far fiber-optic front sights and I just don't get along.

We were working about mid-range and the only ambient light was from the viewing room windows. With light only coming from behind the gun, the front sight appeared totally black. When using my Surefire E2D 200-lumen LED light, the fiber-optic insert became totally academic as the silhouette of the sights stood out clearly against the brightly illuminated targets. Working without lights, my sights were essentially invisible until they picked up my muzzle flash.

In normal light the sights are taking some getting used to, but do work very well. My hits were good from the start and got better as the class progressed despite fatigue and adrenaline. I had some problems with my Wilson not locking open on an empty mag (the same thing I sent it back to have fixed) during the flashlight drills, but I feel I was probably limp-wristing with the gun held in one hand and the flashlight in the other. During all two-handed shooting the gun ran perfectly.

The tactical medicine portion of the class was excellent. We were each given a Tac Med Solutions Downed Operator Kit and hands-on work with training versions of its components.

My CERT training in disaster medicine gave me an edge in the surprise force-on-force exercise that followed. This was the first FoF scenario I've ever done that included administering emergency medical care to a victim. It was a very valuable experience, and more training opportunities in this area would be greatly appreciated. And since the syllabus made no mention of a FoF drill, there was no opportunity to mess myself up psych myself out for it ahead of time. Also very valuable.

One thing I'm noticing after training with multiple training providers is how much of their material can conflict. Exposure to a variety of techniques is great, especially with instructors who explain where those techniques came from and why they work, but it makes for some awkward moments when what you're expected to do in class is diametrically oppposed to a technique you've practiced extensively for months or years.

Oh yeah, and nothing makes you feel more like a doorstop in a training class than a fellow student who's an Army Ranger turned police officer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zipper Horse 2 And Needle Nose

Last month I had the vet come out to do everyone's annual dental work. Since I always try to get as much as possible out of a barn call, one of the items on the to-do list was examine Sarge's scarring. The vet found a nidus inside a skin button on Sarge's side, so he decided to remove it.


Sarge was on house arrest for two weeks. Thank goodness I only had to do the twice-a-day antibiotics for five days this time instead of ten like Judge. It's amazing how many messy and destructive ways an active four-year-old (of any species) can devise to stay amused.

No sooner did Sarge get sprung from solitary than Milton The EvilPony™ showed up with what looked like a large pimple or small abscess on his upper lip. I found it the hard way when it splurted while I was haltering him. Just dandy: Milton seriously distrusts anything involving physical restraint.

Usually when something like that bursts it drains and heals. No such luck. Instead, Milton quickly sprouted a second oozing hole. I called the vet. Guess what he found?


Those are two huge wood splinters that were buried under the outer skin of Milton's upper lip. An EvilPony™ stick his nose where it didn't belong? No, he'd never do that.

Both equines are doing fine now. My checkbook, not so much. Dentals For Everyone Day ran me $784, quite a bargain considering. I haven't got the bill for Milton yet, but I'm expecting around $300 for that little adventure. Not all that long ago, Judge's tumor removal bill was almost $600.

Which brings me back to one of my perpetual rants. Horses are a huge responsibility. Craigslist and other dumping grounds are overflowing with the helpless victims of people who can't or won't understand that simple fact.

Yeah, I know, hoping that people will take the time and trouble to learn what's involved before they get a horse is probably a waste of time. Look how many don't consider what they're getting themselves into before they buy cars or houses they can't afford. Look how many give no thought at all before they reproduce.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mr. Wilson's Coming Home!

Wilson Combat notified me that they shipped my gun back to my FFL yesterday with a scheduled delivery date of Monday. I can hardly wait!

They said the mechanical work was completely within the lifetime warranty, so my only cost will be for the new sights. They also said they would credit me for the overnight shipping to Berryville, so my out-of-pocket for the whole thing should be negligible.

Their first shipment of production Ultimate Speed Sights isn't coming in until January, so they offered to install a set of their prototypes instead. I said sure, so it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

All in all, Wilson Combat's customer service is second to none.

I'm so glad I won't have to carry the Government CQB any more. It's a great gun, but a (literal) pain when you're 5'4" and carry appendix IWB. And I'll say it again, an Ed Brown Bobtail is the greatest single improvement to 1911 concealability ever devised.

Stay tuned for a review of the Ultimate Speed Sights. I have an Advanced Pistol Level III class next weekend including low-light work, night fighting, and trauma care. Should be a good one.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And Now A Few Words From Joseph Stalin

"I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how."

We're not quite there yet. VOTE!!

Timely Reminder

A friend forwarded this to me. While I couldn't find documentation of the story's veracity, its message stands on its own merits:
"Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way that you can quickly understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. It was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitungon on 04.28.2010.

"'The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.'"
'Nuff said.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Bother?

The midterm elections are tomorrow, and I'm hearing a significant number of people say they're so disgusted with the whole mess that they aren't going to vote at all. While those folks may think they're making some kind of statement by staying home, I don't think it's a very constructive one.

Two years ago, Dear Leader was elected by a scant 52%-48% majority. Less than a third of registered Republicans bothered to show up. I'm not saying McCain was a great alternative by any means, but I doubt he could have effed things up as badly as the Demonrat Democrat dictatorship that resulted.

Like it or not, we still have (more or less) free elections in this country. Friends who have become US citizens after escaping truly horrific repressive regimes are incredulous that so many Americans ignore their voting rights.

Just as with the right to effective self-defense, incrementalism works both ways. This country didn't get in the toilet overnight, and it won't get out overnight. Job One is to do everything we can to break the current force monopoly in Congress. After that, we need to hold the replacements accountable, and vote them out if or when they fail.

Linoge points us to an excellent discussion of the resistance continuum. We still have many, many ways to work within the ballot box before the cartridge box is our only recourse. We have an absolute obligation to exhaust every single one of those ways first. Sitting out elections is not the way to do so.

The world is run by the people who show up. VOTE!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Buy A Truck, Get A Gun

Classic Chevrolet in Omaha is running a promotion where you get a free rifle or shotgun when you buy a truck. Cool, and oh so delightfully politically incorrect!

UPDATE: Heard the commercial again this morning, and it's the Classic Chevrolet dealership in Council Bluffs, not Omaha. The free gun offer is with any vehicle purchase, Chevrolets or Cadillacs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spending Your Money And Mine

No wonder India is delighted with Barack Obama's upcoming visit. The local economy will benefit to the tune of INR (Indian Rupees) 15 lakh per hour.

And how much is INR 15 lakh? The word lakh means 100,000. At current exchange rates, INR 15 lakh = INR 1,500,000 = US$33,608.93.

PER HOUR.

That doesn't include money spent on this side of the pond. When Marie Antoinette Michelle Obama went to Spain, the cost of using Air Force One/Two was listed at $11,351 per hour. We'll probably never know how big the bill is for the rest of the India entourage. Seems the Secret Service refuses to divulge the costs of providing security, lest anyone use them to estimate the level of protection.

And where did all this money come from? Your taxpayer dollars and mine.

Midterm elections are six days away. Time to start chipping away at the rot.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Everybody's Good At Something

Despite all of his natural obnoxiousness, Milton The EvilPony™ is a trailer-loading champ.

Yes, he uses cute as a weapon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fear Of The Dark

The same Overlords Authorities who tell us we should aid and abet cooperate with criminals also hand out plenty of other advice on how to supposedly keep safe. They tell us to clear trees and bushes away from our houses and use plenty of outside lights to "discourage" break-ins.

Those measures, like rape whistles, assume there will be somebody else around to observe the crime-in-progress and call for an appropriate response. The obedient drones who swallow everything their betters hand out have properties that look like a Wal-Mart parking lot at night.

But what if you live out in the country where nocturnal passers-by are few and far between, or your so-called "neighbors" would be more likely to celebrate than call for help if you were murdered in your sleep? Then, removing obstacles and having lots of outside lighting just makes the bad guys' jobs easier.

Anyone coming on my place at night will be unable to negotiate the woods without making noise, and they'll need to use their own lights. Both those things will make them conspicuous. My dogs alert on noises in the underbrush, and they notice moving lights in strange places. Their job is to sound the alarm, and my job is to take it from there.

Only trusted friends are allowed on my property, and then only by prior arrangement. Nobody who knows me will ever show up at my door unannounced, or try to enter my home on their own. Yes, I have boundary issues, but after the whole stalked-harassed-and-raped thing, I think I earned them.

So I have a high degree of confidence that anyone attempting unannounced entry into my house at 2:00 am is a legitimate threat. I'm not about to make it easier for that attempted entry to be without warning.

I live thirty miles south of the nearest metropolitan area, and the orange glow of their sodium vapor street lights fills my northern sky. Don't even think of doing any amateur astronomy out here. The vacant house across the road has a mercury vapor yard light that I can see clearly from my bed when the trees are leafless. I close my drapes, but it's still disturbing.

Trying to turn night into day is not going to keep me safe. I know better than to trust my safety to casual observers. I'm not afraid of the dark.

The dark is afraid of me.

What "Assume" Spells

I got a telemarketing call the other day that was all my one-nerve-left mood needed. Normally I try to not be too hard on people doing a rotten job for peanuts, but this telemarketer committed the unforgivable sin that earned her my full wrath.

She addressed me as "Missus."

How dare you assume I'm married?

Fools make assumptions all the time. Their little minds are made up, and they assume everyone fits into their little boxes. Here's a wake-up call to all the fools out there, a significant number of whom occupy positions of public trust:
  • How dare you assume I'm a christian because I belong to the NRA.
  • How dare you assume I'm a redneck because I own guns.
  • How dare you assume I worship some christian devil because I'm a Witch.
  • How dare you assume I'm a liberal Demonrat Democrat because I'm a woman.
  • How dare you assume I have chronic health problems and take multiple prescription drugs because I'm on the high side of forty.
  • How dare you assume I'm looking for an assisted living center for the same reason.
  • How dare you assume I'm incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle for the same reason again. Two years ago when my driver's license was up for renewal, the DMV sent me a pamphlet asking if it was time for me to hang up the car keys. Could I turn my head, read and understand road signs, sit for more than ten minutes, did I get lost in familiar places? Fercryinoutloud, people, I'm middle-aged, not enfeebled and afflicted with dementia.
  • How dare you assume I'm mentally defective because I'm not just like you.
The only thing the telemarketer could have done to make it worse would have been to address me as "Missus" and then ask to speak to the head of the household. The ears of last telemarketer to do that are probably still ringing. Yes, I'm on the "do not call" list, but that doesn't save me from companies with which I already have a "business relationship." I'm already this close to terminating my business relationship with this company, and told their minion if they ever bothered me again I would do so immediately.

Junk mail and other mass-marketing vehicles can tell you a lot about what those who like to assume think about you. Their value to me is in validating just how wrong they are and making it easier to ensure I never, ever in any way contribute to their continued success.

Worst Phishing Attempt EVER

(Click to enlarge)

Either that, or the feds are hiring lolcats.

Come to think of it, that would explain a lot . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

People Are Getting Dumber

Overheard at the laundromat today:

Customer: "What setting do I use to wash the clothes in hot water?"

Attendant: "Uh . . . Hot."
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mr. Wilson Goes To The Doctor

My custom Wilson Combat Elite Professional is on its way back to Berryville for repairs.

When it stopped locking open on an empty mag, my first thought was pilot error. I had several respected friends including two professional gunsmiths look it over, and they all agreed wear on the slide stop and slide were the true culprits. So I called Wilson and made the appointment.

What I found interesting was everyone agreed they'd never seen anyone with a custom Wilson actually shoot it as much as I do. I can't imagine having a gun built expressly to your shooting and carrying preferences and then not shooting and carrying it. There is plenty of wear visible on the gun, outside and inside. Honorable scars, just as with working dogs and horses. I hope they'll consider them honorable scars.

Until it comes back, I'm carrying my Government-size Wilson CQB. It's a major pain to switch to a longer barrel, especially when you carry appendix IWB.

I'm also sufficiently bummed that I'm considering picking up a Dan Wesson VBOB with the black "duty finish" as a spare carry gun. I seriously considered their CBOB before I ordered my bobtail Commander from Wilson, but the CBOB only came in stainless. I have to do too many stealth transitions between holster and lockbox to ever want to carry anything other than an all-black gun. Nothing has driven home the value of a bobtail frame for carry like having to go back to a standard frame.

As long as it's in the shop, I'm having the rear sight switched out for one of these. I've wanted a rear sight with a cocking ledge for easier one-handed gun manipulations for a long time.

Oh well, they told me it should be back in a week. It's gonna be a looooong week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Catch And Release

A police chief's daughter is murdered in North Carolina. The primary suspect is a registered sex offender who had six felony arrests in the last 22 months. There is no record of him ever having served any time for any of these arrests.

WHY WAS THIS DELETED EXPLETIVE OUT ON THE STREET???

Protect yourself, because the revolving door injustice system sure as hell won't.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Selective Memory

I couldn't say anything better about 9-11 than what Michael Bane said here.

How soon the distractible masses with their short attention spans forget. So few years for the horror to fade so completely. Newsweek says the country "overreacted" and no major media outlet speaks up in opposition. Fortunately, there are still some who will.

Never forget.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Deceptive Practices

I have power of attorney for my 90-something, end-stage-Alzheimer’s aunt. That consists mostly of sending every dime she has/gets to her nursing home, filling out and signing interminable Medicaid paperwork, and having her mail sent to my address.

The majority of that mail is junk clearly designed to trick gullible old f@rts into signing up for various "services" that will cost them money.

Prescription drug plans, chronic-care plans, Medicare supplement plans, who-knows-what plans sending her documents that read at first glance like she has already enrolled and just needs to “update” some (personal, financial) information and sign on the dotted line. Trouble is, she hasn't enrolled in any of them. I'm the only person who can enroll her in anything or sign on her behalf, so I know.

These crooked corporations wouldn't send out so many of these misleading mailings of there wasn't serious money to be made. How they can look at themselves in the mirror when they profit from bleeding old people on fixed incomes dry I will never know.

Well, there is one thing I can do besides feeding this crap to the shredder. I file mail fraud complaints with the United States Postal Inspection Service.

If you have any impaired oldsters you care about, please check their mail. Watch their accounts and investigate any irregularities. And when you find fraud attempts, please take a moment to report them. Hopefully, if enough complaints are filed some of these scam artists may end up getting shut down.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

MAG-40 AAR

Two weeks ago, I took Massad Ayoob's MAG-40 class, two days covering the Armed Citizen's Rules Of Engagement and two days of StressFire-based live fire. The material covered was incredibly valuable, both in the classroom and on the range, but the greatest benefit I derived from this class had nothing to do with either law or shooting.

On the second day of classroom instruction, Mr. Ayoob discussed the physical and emotional aftermath of a defensive gun use. As he listed the effects someone who has had to shoot in self-defense should expect, I realized they were things I experience every day but have come to think were normal. Then he described how post-shooting police officers who have the same symptoms don't recognize them either. The ton of bricks hit me, big time.

A single extremely traumatic event causes many of the same difficulties as post-traumatic stress. The only difference is in the latter case, the trauma is endured for months or years instead of minutes. What I discovered was while I thought I had done such a good job of dealing with my personal trauma, it wasn't anywhere near as behind me as I thought.

My first reaction was feeling like a failure and a fraud, that all these years I had been lying to myself and everyone else. My family did everything in their power all my life to convince me I was worthless and I should be grateful they tolerated me at all. Others tolerated me only because they didn't know the "truth" and they would abandon me as soon as they saw through my facade. My role in the family was "scapegoat" and that indoctrination made me attractive to people looking for easy victims.

When that old pattern showed up again, I felt like I had also failed to beat my family's destructive indoctrination. Failure again. See where this mess was going?

I spent that night mostly in the bathroom, getting pretty much no sleep. A great way to hit the range the next day. Monday's first live-fire day was a waking nightmare. I was in full-on adrenaline dump the whole time, shaking so hard I could barely hold my gun. My bobtail Commander Wilson wouldn't lock the slide back on an empty mag, so I shot the rest of the class with my Government-size Wilson CQB.

I shot like crap. No, I would have had to do better to shoot like crap. I had run out of adrenaline by Tuesday, and spent that day in parasympathetic crash, spaghetti arms and everything. Even so, I managed to do a bit better than on Monday, and passed the qualifier.

So what's the bottom line here? I don't know yet. I am dealing with the old problem of "shoulding" on myself: I "should" have beaten this crap by now, I "should" have better control over my life, blah, blah, blah. Thanks to the information provided in the class, I have new directions to explore toward really overcoming what happened to me.

Or maybe the lesson is that some things you never fully can forget. Maybe they stay around forever. Maybe I need to learn how to turn these weaknesses into strengths. Maybe this is one more example of the destination being the journey.

This isn't your typical After Action Report. In deference to the usual model, I will say that Mr. Ayoob is a tremendous speaker and the legal information provided in this class is absolutely essential for anyone who has and carries guns for self-defense. What comes after the shooting may well be worse than the violent criminal action that precipitated it. It gives one pause to truly reconsider what using the most effective tools to preserve innocent life really means. And that is a good thing.

There was a great guest lecture by Bill Laughridge of Cylinder & Slide, one of the top pistolsmiths in the country. He described the evolution of our modern defensive handguns, and what features help and hinder their safe and effective use.

I brought a new 70-page narrow-ruled notebook to the classroom portion of the training, and nearly filled it. I'm glad I decided against bringing my netbook, because I could barely write fast enough to get everything down, never mind typing.

The live-fire sessions were also extremely valuable, despite being something of a blur to me under the circumstances. It was a great opportunity to experience shooting under extreme stress in safe surroundings. Nothing like actually experiencing how that affects your skill. As Mr. Ayoob said, we should expect some "post-LFI stress syndrome" for just that reason. I just got a bigger dose than anyone else. I absolutely want to take the MAG-40 again, once I come to better terms with what I learned about myself in this one.

Mr. Ayoob was also presented with a certificate signed by Governor Dave Heineman appointing him to the rank of Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska. Governor Heineman has proven himself a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

I cannot fully express my thanks to Massad Ayoob and Gail Pepin (aka "The Evil Princess") for this training experience. I might, however, respectfully suggest that Mr. Ayoob consult with his opthalmologist after referring to me in passing as a "baby fox."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jury Duty Over And Done

Without ever being called in for an actual jury.

Massad Ayoob went over the jury selection process in the classroom portion of the MAG-40 class I took earlier this week. He explained how "lightweight yuppies" are considered ideal candidates. The last thing they want on juries are people who have experienced violence and who have made a committment to never letting it happen again.

Too bad.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Jury Duty Week Four

What do you know? They don't want me next week, either. Just as well, I had to get a partial excuse for my Massad Ayoob class anyway.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got Root?

Well, I finally got sufficiently fed up with Motorola's and Verizon's lack of committment to the original Droid and rooted my phone. As you can see, since I'm posting from it, everything's working just fine.

No custom ROM yet, just Android 2.2 FRG01B with root access. At least I can now actually back up my data, not just the apps.

Verizon is supposedly pushing out FRG22, but nobody I know has seen it yet. Now I don't care if they ever do. Life is good.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Fear And Loathing

Gun folks are familiar with the hysterical shrieking of gun-haters and gun-banners. We almost universally agree that the solution to their repeated attacks is education, since fear and hatred of guns is founded in ignorance and lies.

Why, then, do those same reasonable and rational gun folks so often act just like the panty-wetting hoplophobes where snakes are concerned?

I see it on blog after blog, forum after forum. People who decry the closed-minded screeds of those who do not or will not learn the truth about guns cheerfully talk about killing snakes on sight simply because they are snakes. A few distinguish between venomous and non-venomous species, allowing the former to live but slaughtering the latter. All express a deep-seated loathing of suborder Ophidia. I find none of these attitudes defensible. The overwhelming majority of snakes are harmless, incapable of inflicting injury on a human more severe than a paper cut.

I don't fear guns, I respect them. I strictly observe the protocols necessary for handling and using them safely. I don't fear dangerous snakes, I respect them. And just as with guns, strictly adhering to safety protocols in their presence prevents serious injury or death. When out in venomous snake country, wear proper clothing. Watch where you walk, sit, and put your hands. Maintain good situational awareness. Sound familiar?

Recently, a fool in Papillion, Nebraska, died after his red-tailed boa constricted around his neck. That incident was just as preventable as the "accidents" that happen when idiots disregard Col. Cooper's Four Rules.

Just as with guns, ignoring the basic safety rules around dangerous snakes can lead to serious injury or death. Large constrictors must never be handled alone. Putting one around your neck is as stupid and dangerous as pointing a loaded gun at your face. Anyone familiar with the "rear naked choke" knows how little it takes to incapacitate or kill a person by applying pressure to certain areas of the neck. The snake lacks the anatomical features we exploit when learning counters to chokeholds. Unwinding a constrictor must be done starting from the tail and working forward. It's impossible to remove one from your body starting from the snake's head.

The current python problem in Florida is not the snakes' fault, but just as with green iguanas, was caused by irresponsible people failing to keep their exotic pets confined or deliberately dumping them into the wild. Unfortunately, the climate there is ideally suited for both of these creatures, and that combined with no natural predators have made them victims of their own success.

I've heard people claim that hatred of snakes is genetic in humans, but in the absence of hysterical adults, babies show no fear or aversion. Just as with guns, hatred of snakes is societally conditioned. Education, not extermination, is the solution for both problems.

Histopath's Back

The histopath results came back for Judge's ear tumor. Surprise, surprise, it was a sarcoid and not a melanoma.

That's kind of good, because sarcoids are technically benign. It's bad in that sarcoids almost always come back aggressively and in many cases can only be managed, not eradicated.


Judge can count on one thing, though. While sarcoids are the number-one skin-related condition resulting in euthanasia of horses, typically because the tumors interfere with being ridden or are so unsightly the horse becomes unsaleable, when bad things happen I don't cut my losses and run.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jury Duty Week Three

Just called the Juror Status number for next week's schedule, and I am not required to appear for the third week in a row. I'm starting to think they don't like me or something.
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Would ANYBODY Need A Gun . . .

In a National Park?


As an aside, what were these deleted-expletives doing in a medium-security prison? I'm just so glad our wonderful injustice system treats convicted murderers with such compassionate leniency.

Carry everywhere, all the time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Post-Operative Update

Judge had his surgery to remove his melanomas on Wednesday. Everything went really well.

Since there is no loose skin to suture inside a horse's ear or on the hairless part of the dock of the tail, both sites have to heal as open wounds. Despite the whole ear tumor being bigger than a golf ball, its point of attachment was only about the size of my thumbnail and did not involve the ear cartilage. That spot is nearly healed already.

The site of the tail tumor is not nearly so small and neat. In order to get good margins, Judge has a divot a bit over two inches across that goes well into the muscle. I'm treating it with Granulex V spray, plus Judge has ten days' worth of twice-daily Trimethoprim/Sulfadiazine tablets.

The vet came out to the barn to do the surgery because after all our trailer loading practice, when it was time to haul him to the clinic Judge wouldn't load. He's always been very well-behaved and cooperative, but in recent months he's been aloof and short-fused. Thoroughbreds are more normally reactive than most other breeds, and I attributed the rest of the behavioral changes to his moving up through the ranks in the herd. He's now the dominant gelding and thinks himself to be quite the ladies' man.

According to the available literature, equine melanoma is not painful. I could touch either of the tumors without Judge showing any sign of discomfort. But despite those facts, now that they're both gone Judge is back to his old cooperative self.

When we were trying to get Judge loaded, there was no shortage of "helpful" advice. The horse is being a pig, the horse is disrespectful, you need to get after him and make him mind. I now know those tumors, especially the one in his ear, were bothering him more than I thought. I feel absolutely awful for not doing something about the tumors sooner, despite normal veterinary advice being to leave melanomas alone unless absolutely necessary since surgery can cause otherwise localized masses to metastasize.

So I owe Judge a huge apology. The ear tumor is going in for histopath, since it was an atypical melanoma. It's way too soon to tell how fast the tumors will return, since most melanomas do. But regardless of the tumors' size or appearance, I will take action at the first sign of change from normal behavior.

I broke one of my own cardinal rules here: that horses never do anything without a good reason, and any time a horse is resistant look for a physical cause first. Judge's personality change was from physical discomfort, pure and simple. I won't make that mistake again.

Punishing Judge for being a disrespectful pig would have accomplished nothing except making him more miserable than he already was. He probably would have (justifiably) started avoiding me altogether. Removing the tumors fixed his behavior, not inflicting negative reinforcement and positive punishment.

The horse does not lie. We humans just have to be willing to hear the truth.

Jury Duty Week Two

Looks like the federal court system doesn't want me for any possible juries next week, either. Funny about that.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jury Duty Week One

The way they do jury duty now is you call a toll-free number on Friday to find out if you need to appear at any time during the following week. I called in last Friday and they said I didn't have to show up for anything this week.

Are we surprised?

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Latest New Arrival

Last November, I ordered a precision rifle. After agonizing over accessorizing it properly, ordering said accessories, and waiting for it to be built and then assembled, I finally picked it up today.


Sorry about the crappy cellphone picture. As usual, the "real" camera's batteries were dead.


Now I'll really have to get my butt out to the gun club where they have a 650-yard range.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Must Have Been The Witchcraft

Courtesy of Breda.

You are 1% hippie.

Ok, you conservative soul. Do you even believe in global warming? Loosen that necktie a little, and try some organic food. It actually does taste better. And go to a farmer's market--they're fun.

Are you a hippie?
Take More Quizzes

Hide In A Corner

That's what Karen Lofton, a 45-year-old nurse, was trying to do when she was murdered by a suspected serial killer in her own home.

No.

Her daughter Karissa, 16, was killed while trying to call 911 from her bed.

No.

The security system in their home had been disabled and all the doors were locked. A Maryland UPS worker has been indicted for killing as many as five or more women altogether. It is believed he used UPS databases in part to select his victims.

News like this fills me with disgust and anger. If you have time to try to hide in a corner, you have time to get behind cover or at least concealment with a gun. If you call 911 it should be from a position of strength while armed. A place where your assailant is forced into the "fatal funnel" in order to continue his attack.

Having a gun and the skill and will to use it would not have guaranteed these women's survival, but it would have given them a chance. The murderer was armed, and did in fact shoot them to death, but he didn't instantly drop them in their tracks. They had time to take action.

Too bad that action wasn't effective.

Hide and cower? No. Call 911 so someone else can come and stop the threat for you? No.

Stop the threat. Reload. Call 911 as soon as it's safe to do so, not instead of saving your own life. Calling 911 brings the people who put up yellow tape and take photos. It's up to you whether your body or the bad guy's is the star of their show.

Your Very Own Zombie

Gnomes are lame. Your very own Garden Zombie, though, now that's cool.

ThinkGeek does it again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Clunk!

I had a CLUNK in a public restroom over the weekend.

No, it wasn't my gun, the restroom was a one-holer, and it was in a business where if the proprietors had known what happened, they would have just pointed and laughed.

In no-jacket weather, I've been carrying my two reloads in a spare snubby-size pocket holster in my left front jeans pocket. It's comfortable, they're readily accessible, and they're less conspicuous than in a mag carrier on my belt.

While I was paying careful attention to my 1911 in its Minotaur Spartan IWB, the other side of my jeans drooped just enough for the two loaded mags to slip out of the snubby holster and hit the tile. No harm-no foul, but a great teaching experience.

Keep track of all of your EDC gear, all the time. Thus endeth the lesson.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Feeling Vulnerable

Now that I'm gimping around on a bum knee, my defense toolbox is significantly smaller. Many options such as good old Nike-fu (running away) are off the table entirely, and a lot of my empty-hand skills are seriously compromised. That means I'm more dependent on tool use.

Unfortunately, my new employer is so politically correct it hurts. On my first day, during the HR orientation spiel, I was warned that even pocket multitools are considered dangerous weapons and will earn equivalent disciplinary action. All company property and anything on it is subject to search at any time. And their posted criminal-empowerment zones include the employee parking garage.

Under state law, leaving a gun locked in a car in a posted parking area is not a violation as long as the gun does not leave the vehicle. State law does not, however, prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee for violating their so-called safety policy. That means my new employer is rendering me helpless not only at work but also on the drives to and from, and for any other stops I might make during those drives.

Having been unemployed twice in the last less-than-a-year, I have a whole new appreciation for having a job in an at-will world. This last time I was job-hunting was right after Obamacare passed, and prospective employers were asking me wholly inappropriate questions about my health, whether I was on any prescription drugs, et cetera. If I lose this job, finding another will only get harder.

Being a professional geek involves working maintenance windows and callouts in the middle of the night. Where I work now is very near an area heavily frequented by the non-harmless variety of homeless people. It is the height of arrogant-liberal fingers-in-their-ears-la-la-la denial for this company to render me helpless from the moment I leave my house to the moment I return. Disarmed is not safe.

Yes, I'm looking into alternate parking arrangements. Other nearby garages are expensive and currently have waiting lists. Parking at a meter on the street is not an option.

Not looking like food is a big part of avoiding predators. That's a lot harder now that I'm temporarily mobility-impaired. I can't walk as fast or move with the same confidence and fluidity as before. That makes me look like prey, and I absolutely hate it.

So I'm being very careful to not do anything that can get me fired while looking for a way around the worst of my employer's helpless-is-safe newspeak stupidity.

And if anything happens that I can't handle with only a flashlight on a keychain, I will do my damnedest to sue them into bankruptcy for putting me in that position.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Why should Jay G and LabRat have all the fun? Here's a list of my guilty pleasures:
  • DVD NCIS-a-thons, best on nasty-weather weekends. Between the 5-disc changer, the DVD-VCR combo, and the high-def player, I can watch a whole season and then some without having to hoist my butt off the couch.
  • The old Roberta Williams-Sierra Online "King's Quest" game series, especially "King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride." Virtualization using VMware vCenter Converter and VMware Player (both free downloads) lets me run obsolete software in its true native OS as guests of a current operating system.
  • Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Merry Gentry books. I have 'em all, in both dead-tree and electronic formats. Now, between eReader and Kindle for Android, I can take the whole collection with me wherever I go.
  • Eating this cold, right out of the package. 'Nuff said.
I'm so ashamed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Write Like . . .

Now this is probably the last result I would have expected.

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Feminists, Victim Advocates, and Victims

I've had a rant fulminating in the back of my mind for a while now, and some things that happened yesterday finally brought it to a head.

I was at a grassroots activism conference sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association. I was one of only three women in attendance, and the only one who did not come along with a husband. I was the only woman there who had never been anti-gun.

As Alan Gottlieb was describing the value of letting the public know about the true diversity of gun owners, one man raised his hand and said that since (in his opinion) most gun owners are white male rednecks, why shouldn't grassroots groups focus on that demographic? According to this man, "experts" agree that women don't really want to protect themselves, they want "John Wayne" to come to their rescue.

At that statement, everyone in the room who knew anything at all about me looked in my direction.

Yes, the eye roll was everything they expected.

When I told my Significant Other* about that statement, he scoffed that anyone who would say such a thing had to be a man who wanted women helpless so he could be the big, strong protector and ride to their rescue.

I agree with his assessment. There are nonetheless many vocal self-proclaimed "feminists" who are truly focused on keeping women disempowered. This article, linked by Joe Huffman, is a perfect example.

Gun control laws are absolutely a feminist issue, but for the exact opposite reason simpering cowards like the author above believe. Gun control laws do absolutely nothing but make the most effective means of self defense difficult or impossible to utilize by innocent people. They do not nor have they ever made any reduction in criminal use of firearms, or any other crime. Just look at Washington DC, Chicago, and (formerly) Great Britain for example after example.

Whenever somebody tries to tell me what to do or how to live my life, I immediately look to their motivations. What do these people stand to gain if I comply with their direction? What do they stand to lose if I don't?

In the article linked above, the recurring theme is "women are victims who must be protected." The sources of this "wisdom" are uniformly women-advocacy and victim-advocacy groups. In other words, organizations who would not exist if not for women and victims incapable of acting on their own behalf.

Nobody can control everything that happens to them in life, but everybody is 100% in control of what they do about it. I was a victim, and I was set up by my family of origin to be a victim. If you give off a "victim vibe," you will attract victimizers. And by playing it their way, abdicating my responsibility to keep myself safe to external authority, I ended up raped when that external authority refused to act on my well-founded fears.

Let me remind you again, this happened in Chicago.

I could have chosen to wallow in self-pity and helplessness after that. Many do, and there's a whole advocacy industry built around them. Many of these organizations, including NOW, claim to be "feminist" while actually promoting the idea that effective personal safety is too icky, patriarchal, or dangerous for women. Their constant mantra is that women must be protected. Seems to me the only ones who need to be protected are those who cannot or will not protect themselves.

Too many women's and victims' groups don't want women and victims to be empowered at all. They really want them to continue to see themselves as helpless. Truly empowered women, and victims who have become survivors, wouldn't need them any more.

Without a steady supply of helpless women and victims, their donations and grants disappear. Their cushy jobs being professional whiners disappear. They lose all their power. They have no reason to exist.

Any effort to disempower anyone comes from those who want that power for themselves.

Women are, for the most part, smaller than men and not as strong. That's simple biology, not politics. My gun, along with my training and the will to use both, puts me on equal ground with any attacker of any size. Gun control as pushed by the "advocates" would deprive me of that, forcing me to rely on the strength of others for personal safety. I know first-hand how that works out.

I don't need any advocates to look out for me. I can look out for myself.

* He's a real HOTR Man, and I love him for it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Now It Could Get Interesting

When I asked for my partial excuse from jury duty for gun stuff, I managed to avoid telling them what the excusal was for. Well, yesterday I got a supplemental jury duty questionnaire to fill out and mail back.

Right off the bat, there's a question about whether I have ever been a victim of a crime. Then I have to list all organizations I belong to. I have to list all my hobbies and activities, and what websites I visit regularly.

Care to speculate on the odds a rape survivor/shooter/gun rights activist will make it onto an actual jury?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Trauma-Free Trailer Training

Judge's ear melanoma has gone weird, so the vet wants to remove it and send it in for histopathology. As long as he's taking that one, he's going to remove the other melanoma on Judge's tail as well. That necessitates trailering Judge to the vet clinic about 30-odd miles away.

Judge has only been trailered once, when he was moved to where he's living now from the place where he was born. That was several years ago. Since I like to stack the deck for success whenever possible, we spent the day today doing Trailer Loading 101.

We pulled my trailer into a safely-fenced area so I could use free-shaping to get Judge calmly loading himself. I brought some of my other horses in as well, since loading like ladies and gentlemen is an essential skill. Milton The EvilPony™ is a trailer loading champ and could come in handy to give an uncertain horse a lead. Funny how even the worst little snot around has something he does really well.

By clicking and rewarding the slightest effort made in a positive direction, Judge was soon loading himself with no physical coercion at all. No halter, no lead rope, no drama.

It really helps to have a trailer that's big and airy enough for the horses to feel comfortable. Judge is a solid 16 hands, and in my 7'8" tall, extra wide trailer he has plenty of room.

Sarge was especially fun to work with. In about ten minutes, he would load himself when I told him, "Load up." He would stand in his proper spot, then turn around when asked, walk to the top of the ramp, wait until I told him it was okay, then walk down the ramp and stop at the bottom. Then I had to put him back out with the other horses because he kept loading and unloading himself and getting in the way.

Hopefully Judge will have smooth, stress-free trips to and from the vet, with Milton along for company. Once he gets there, well, I don't expect that part to be so pleasant.

Maybe I'm weird, but I enjoy playing with my horses, seeing how each one learns and the different activities they like over others, and learning how their minds work far more than riding them.

Raw Diets For Dogs

I'm a label reader, and the ingredients in commercial dog foods disgusted me. I also watched my very first dog, a Brittany, decline in old age while being fed a Hill's product formulated for geriatric dogs prescribed by my vet. It contained ground peanut shells among other things I felt could not possibly be good for even a facultative carnivore, but I followed what I was told. My dog paid the price.

Then my aunt's dog started losing function in her rear legs and we took her to Iowa State's veterinary teaching hospital. There, the chief of neurology diagnosed her with spinal myelopathy and said there was no treatment. Brandy would continue to deteriorate with ascending paralysis until euthanasia would become necessary. Again, we followed what we were told, and that's exactly what happened.

Then I stumbled across an article describing Dr. Wendell Belfield's successful treatment of this same "fatal" condition. I read, and learned, and changed the way I fed and cared for my dogs.

By this time I was up to my eyeballs in Greyhound adoption and vice-president of GPA's Midwest Chapter. A Grade-A running Greyhound owned by a friend who was the chapter president started having problems just like my aunt's dog. He went to ISU and was diagnosed by the same board-certified neurologist with spinal myelopathy. My friend called me to say that Conway couldn't stand up by himself any more and they were going to put him down. I told her to start giving him high doses of vitamin C, and that I would take the dog and see if he could get better.

I called Dr. Belfield's office, and he was happy to advise a local vet on a treatment protocol. No vet would cooperate, so I tried a less-aggressive regimen involving oral vitamin C to bowel tolerance, other supplements, homeopathic support, chiropractic adjustments, and a raw diet. Long story short, Conway got better. He got back up, and except for some minor incoordination between his front and rear ends remained happily chasing tennis balls for the rest of his life. His breeder/racing owner saw how well he had recovered, and I gave Dr. Sharon Willoughby, his chiropractor, copies of both his and Brandy's patient files from ISU. He was also the star of a number of Dr. Willoughby's teaching seminars in Illinois.

Seeing how diet helped Conway convinced me that raw food was definitely the way to go for dogs. I don't feel qualified to address cat nutrition, because I've never successfully transitioned a cat to a completely raw diet. Their tendency to go into hepatic hyperlipidosis has always scared me off taking the hard line of not offering the commercial food the cat will eat to force them to eat the raw stuff they're refusing.

Fortunately, dogs aren't so fussy or stubborn, and generally love raw meat and bones. Most of my dogs' food is exactly that: raw meaty bones. Ten-pound bags of chicken hindquarters are a staple. Pork neck bones and pigs' feet are another favorite -- modern farming practices have made trichinosis a thing of the past. The rest of the diet is a glop of "green slime:" raw vegetables run through a juicer with the juice mixed back in. Sometimes we change it up with some canned mackerel, cooked but still better than dog food. None of my dogs like raw fish, unless they can hide it long enough to get nice and rank. Then they roll on it.

Harriet in particular likes to bury food, then dig it up and eat it later. Doesn't bother her in the least. I certainly don't encourage it, but canids are predator-scavengers, and a healthy dog can handle carrion just fine.

Once in a while, I throw in a multivitamin on general principles, half of one of the caplets I take myself. Everything my dogs ingest regularly is sold for human consumption. Which vitamin formula? Doesn't matter. What are the dietary proportions? Doesn't matter. Does every bite we eat have to be "complete and balanced for growth and maintenance?" Of course not. Same goes for dogs.

There are plenty of raw diet plans out there that are wonderfully complicated. I started out that way, and over time learned it wasn't necessary. Probably 95+% of what my dogs eat is raw meat and bones. The rest is green slime, or a blob of canned pumpkin if I don't have time to mess around with the juicer. Notice the total absence of grain products. I used to feed whole grains, but not any more. The dogs do far better without them.

Periodic fasting is also good for carnivores on a natural diet. They'll even fast themselves with absolutely no ill effects. One day every week or two on water only is a good cleanout.

Feeding raw may be a bit more expensive than quality dog food, but you'll more than make it up in vet bill savings.

There is way more information available on raw feeding than I can link to individually here. There are also lots of holistic vets around now with whom you don't have to play the "don't ask, don't tell" game.

I take a team approach with my animals' health, with holistic and conventional practitioners. My conventional small-animal vet once told me, "If an average client asks us about raw feeding, we'll advise against it since they're not going to take the time to do it right. Your dogs live longer, healthier lives than theirs do, so whatever you're doing, keep it up."

Works for me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Apology

I was just informed that the terms "naked" and "Mayor Daley" should never occur in the same sentence.

Please allow me to make amends.

Monday, June 28, 2010

SCOTUS WIN!

From Justice Alito's conclusion in the majority opinion:
"The 14th Amendment incorporates the 2nd Amendment right… to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense."
Words to make Naked Emperor Mayor Daley cry.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Risks And Rewards

This started out as a comment and ended up growing into a post of its own.

When I elaborated on exactly why I mistrust and avoid conventional medicine, I never said all medical intervention was inadvisable. Symptoms we cannot identify on our own have to be identified somehow, but we absolutely must retain control over what treatments are pursued. Once we have a diagnosis, our lives may depend on whether we choose to follow the doctors' regimens or look elsewhere.

Taking greater responsibility for our personal health is no different than taking greater responsibility for our personal safety. It involves a lot of education and work. It's easier to abdicate responsibility for both of these things to the "only ones" we're told are qualified to handle them, but doing so is equally dangerous for both.

There is an awful lot of conventional medical "wisdom" that's based on seriously flawed models. Nobody goes to their doctor to be deliberately inoculated with cancer so it can grow and then be be treated, but most animal-based cancer studies do exactly that. Many treatments work more toward suppressing symptoms rather than addressing root causes. If I personally was diagnosed with sleep apnea, my first reaction would be to research the condition's probable causes and eliminate those from my life. Correcting causes rather than palliating symptoms improves overall health and frequently resolves other, less troublesome problems at the same time.

Where does a lot of conventional medical methodology come from? To find out, follow the money. Drug and other medical product companies fund research. Do they want people buying less of their products? No, they want us buying more.

It's no different than pet food companies pouring money into vet schools so that vets will tell their clients to feed their pets kibble instead of fresh raw diets. The low state of health created by commercial foods is then considered "normal." I feed my dogs a raw, natural diet, and when I sent my mortality figures in to a worldwide Greyhound age and cause of death survey, I skewed the figures: "One of the replies was from a lady who had had greyhounds for more than ten years, and her reply mentioned more than twenty dogs. When these figures were entered, the average age of death went up by a year!" When I brought my morbidity and mortality stats to a national Greyhound adoption conference and showed them to Greyhound vets from all over the country, they agreed my dogs had less than a third of the cancer they saw in the overall pet population and less than a fourth of what they saw in retired racing Greyhounds.

"Doggy breath" and "doggy odor" are not normal. They are indications of preventable disease. My raw fed dogs smell pleasant, and their breath smells fresh and clean. Their teeth stay free of tartar, they have no gum disease. I have a 14 year old dog right now who still runs around like a puppy, and she's been fed raw nearly all her life.

It's a lot easier to abdicate responsibility for our health to our doctors, our animals' health to our vets, and our personal safety to the police. To do otherwise can be difficult and painful (trust me, a week-long, high-speed-low-drag class at gun school is painful). For those who choose the path of least resistance, their experiences may be good enough for them. For those who aren't satisfied with the lowest common denominator, there are associated risks but far, far greater rewards.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Running The Numbers

Here are my most recent calculations for the comparative risks of physicians and firearms:
I deliberately used the WISQARS "all intents" number to ensure the results were as biased as possible "against" guns.

So on a purely mathematical basis, any given doctor is 696 times more likely to be responsible for a death than any given gun owner, and 2,176 times more likely to be responsible for a death than any given gun. Obviously we need a lot more common-sense doctor control in this country. If it saves one life. Think of the chiiiilllllldrennnn . . .

ETA -- So how come the same people who would be outraged at the suggestion all doctors should be vilified because some of them are dangerously incompetent have no problem demonizing all gun owners because less than one half of one percent of a typical urban population consists of violent criminals?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is This Working?

I mentioned my aversion to doctors and the medical industry here. Perhaps a little background will explain why I avoid them so assiduously.

A former co-worker and her husband illustrate perfectly my problems with allopathic medicine. The co-worker periodically had to take a day or two off work when she had her arthritic knees injected with cortisone. The injections were very painful, but she swore her knees were so much better after the pain wore off.

I explained to her how cortisone injected into a joint actually works, how it's a total short-term-gain-long-term-loss situation, and how horses who are injected this way end up getting put down. Oh no, she insisted, these were absolutely safe. Guess what? Next thing you know she's having both knees replaced.

Then there's her husband. When they got married, he was active and to all appearances healthy. He hunted and fished, built and fixed things, and never had a cardiac symptom in his life. His new wife insisted he go in for a full physical as she did twice a year, and he agreed.

During that physical, the doctors found what they described as a serious heart murmur. Despite the total absence of any cardiac distress whatsoever for his entire life, they insisted the husband have his mitral valve replaced at once.

The husband had the surgery, and then while still in the hospital had a massive stroke -- a post-operative complication that's more common than you might think. Recovery from the stroke was lengthy and difficult, and the husband had sufficient permanent impairment that his formerly favorite activities were nearly impossible.

The he started passing out. The doctors had him wear a Holter monitor for a week and concluded he now needed a pacemaker. As the co-worker was describing her husband's painful recovery from that surgery, she gushed, "And I'm so glad we caught all these problems so early."

Say what? Odds are if her husband had listened to his own body instead of his wife's doctors, he would still be an active outdoorsman today instead of a near-invalid.

My best friend for many years died because while she knew exactly what was wrong with her, the doctors wouldn't listen. How dare she think she knows more than they do? She had been a medical professional herself before quitting in disgust, her husband was a doctor, and still they wouldn't listen. The last time I visited her in the hospital, she knew she was dying. The doctors kept saying as soon as she could start walking again she could be released, but she knew better. It was painfully obvious to me as well what the outcome would be, but the doctors refused to believe her. As she said during that last visit, "Well, they finally killed me."

And the sickest I ever was in my entire life was from a respiratory infection I picked up while visiting her in the hospital.

My aunt is the only person on either side of my family who ever developed Alzheimer's disease. She is also the only person on either side of my family who was (and still is, gotta love those doctors) on one of a certain class of extremely popular and lucrative prescription drugs. A doctor friend confided that he and other medical professionals are wondering about a possible causative relationship between these drugs and the increasing incidence of Alzheimer's, but to speak of it is to commit career suicide.

I'm sure if I went in for a full physical, some doctor would see a number or a squiggly line on a piece of paper and tell me I need to be on prescription drugs. And if I took those drugs, I would no doubt end up on the downward spiral of ever-increasing dependency on the pharmaceutical industry. My aunt is on a whole laundry list of drugs, half of which are to counteract the side effects of the other half. None of them are increasing her quality of life one bit. She's just this side of a chronic vegetative state, and who's to say if this condition was truly inevitable?

If the current medical industry was really making people healthier, wouldn't they need it less instead of more? Kinda like if gun control was really effective, wouldn't the cities with the strictest laws have less crime instead of more?

Oddly enough, I find it much easier to find a competent and trustworthy veterinarian than a practitioner of human medicine. Maybe that's because, as one vet told me, "We don't take that God 101 class in vet school."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sheriff West: "Arm Yourselves."

Hudspeth County, Texas, Sheriff Arvin West understands the Mexican border situation much better than any of the fools in Washington DC.


He also understands the true importance of the Second Amendment.

This mess has nothing to do with American gun shows. It has everything to do with an utterly corrupt and hypocritical Mexican government, and a cowardly and ineffective American government. Arizona passes a law that does nothing but enforce what the Feds won't, and the Obama administration plans to file suit against it.

November can't come soon enough.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Does This Hurt?"

"DeletedDeletedDeleted!!! What do YOU DeletedDeleted think??!?"

When a doctor who's cranking your blown knee in exquisitely painful directions asks that question, what does he expect you to say?

It's not so much blown as re-blown. My first encounter with the "unhappy triad" was over twenty years ago, and no surgery was done then. This is the same knee that has since been hit with a bo in training leaving a permanent dent in the muscle, and kicked by Milton The EvilPony™ since we all know Murphy's Law loves a weak spot.

The doctor wanted to refer me for an MRI and probable surgery, but I refused. I stay healthy by avoiding doctors wherever possible. That's why when I absolutely can't avoid having an acute problem evaluated, I go to a doc-in-the-box. Pay cash, no obligations. Now that I know how to identify what structures are affected and how severely, I won't have to go back the next time. Following a conservative course of action won't take any longer for recovery, and will spare me the risks of surgical invasion of a major joint and its associated costs and inconvenience. With any luck, I should be fully functional again by the Machine Gun Shoot and my Massad Ayoob class in August.

The ankle on that same leg has been stepped on twice by horses, once medially by Sailord and once laterally by Margo. Margo also had a difference of opinion once with the vet, yanking me off the ground and slinging me off to the side, where she stepped squarely on the middle of my tibia. I had a perfect round hoofprint on my leg for weeks that went through many interesting color changes. I figure if that didn't break my leg, I don't need to worry about osteoporosis.

I also figure if I can get back up and finish what needs to be done after getting run over by a 1,200-pound horse, I can take a hit in a self-defense situation, get back up and finish what needs to be done.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This Is What Disarmament Gets You

As if the recent spree-killings in gun-control-paradise England weren't bad enough on their own, it appears their police had actually cornered the killer fairly early in the event. Their unarmed police. All it took for him to escape and continue killing was pointing his gun at them.

As AztecRed points out here, why even have police when all they have to stop a sociopathic killer is strong language?

An American who'd been a police officer in Texas before moving to the UK was appalled at what he was told by his instructors while training to be a British police officer:
"If you ever see somebody carrying a gun, turn and run away as quickly as possible."
That's what they call police training? Gee, here in the barbaric Colonies, the good guys run toward the gunfire, not away. In any American jurisdiction, point a gun at police officers, especially multiple police officers, after you have already murdered people and they will shoot you to the ground. Even just one person with the tools, skills, and will can end a public killing spree.

I hope the panty-wetters in power accept responsibility for the blood on their hands resulting from their creation and enforcement of an utterly depraved public policy of defenselessness. They won't, though. They will undoubtedly use it as an excuse to clamp down even more on inanimate objects instead of their dystopian society that promotes violence by rewarding the violent with job safety and security. Ban weapons for the law-abiding, criminalize defending yourself in any way at all, then train the police to run away from danger? And they wonder why violent crime increases rather than decreases?

Insanity is doing the same unsuccessful thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. And welcome to the blogroll, Barack's Gun Lies.