A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Raleigh Grand Prix Single Speed on ebay

It is not without interest that I am watching this auction, which is so much like my own Raleigh Grand Prix Single Speed. It's an English built Raleigh Grand Prix with dropped North Road style bars with shellacked cork tape, a leather saddle, modified into a 'swallow' style cut, a coaster brake laced into the original rear wheel, and a Raleigh chain wheel with a straight chain line.

Winning Bid: US $336.66

Then, there is this original Raleigh Grand Prix up for bids.


Summer Games

I didn't know where we were going when I hopped into the Jeep with Daddy today. I knew it must be fun and games because he didn't have me dressed in my super dog vest. We drove a while and I got kind of sick, but I didn't puke. Daddy doesn't like it when I puke in the Jeep.

Finally, we got to a big building and we went inside to a huge doggie playground! This place was like Doggieland! There were things to jump over, jump through, run over, and under. The only thing that was missing was an automated belly scratcher. There were a lot of dogs there with their parents, and one by one they got to play on the playground. There were all kinds of dogs, even those weird Dr. Seuss pseudo-dogs. Those foreigner dogs look silly with their strange hairstyles, but I know we are all the same underneath, even if some are still puppies.

I watched them over and over from the stands with Daddy, and I wanted to go play too. One game they had that was really freaking me out was the long dog fun house. They would run in the front and then out the back so quick that they couldn't have checked things out very well inside. That seemed kind of dangerous to me, so every time one ran inside, I would woof a warning to tell them to slow down. They never did. Stupid dogs. If there was something to find in there, they were just running right past it.

I whimpered and wagged my tail at Daddy to tell him I wanted to try, but he just scratched me behind my ears. That's when it dawned on me.......I was at the Doggie Olympics! These guys were pros! Sometimes it takes a head scratchin' to make me realize what's going on, but I pick up on it pretty quick. I notice Daddy scratches his head when he needs to think too. We are a lot alike in that way.

When we went outside, there was this huge water bowl with water flying out of it. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw, almost spooky. They really didn't need to do that, but I guess with dogs coming from all over the world to compete, some of them might not know where the water was. They must have still been looking because I was the only one drinking from it.

It was a fun time, but I really wanted to get to play too. I know I could knock over more sticks than those dogs did, and I could pick them up and bring them to my Daddy too!

Labels: ,

Puddles for Thoughts

It was wet and the buildings reflected in the water as I cruised on the Raleigh Super Course this morning. I got to thinking about the upcoming Presidential election.

As much as it pains me to vote for McCain, the prospect of Obama placing two (or more) Supreme Court justices on the bench is enough to make me put my ballot in the hat.

Labels: ,

Ugly Gun Sunday

Here we have the infamous green Kimber modified for Leprechaun concealed pimp carry. The poor bugger has melted down his gold to make some hideously vulgar grips for it.

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Click to enlarge

In spite of being on call this weekend, after I finished with the scheduled cases today, I was able to have a small Hellerbration. While I did not have a Barrett 50 cal, I did try to have a representative sampling of the firearms a citizen would commonly own as a toast to a majority in SCOTUS.

"I happen to believe that this is now going to open the door to litigation against every gun safety law that states have passed – assault weapons bans, trigger locks, and all the rest of it."
Senator Dianne Feinstein


Labels: ,

Track Pedals

I got some old track pedals and put them on the Armstrong.

It's done.


Friday, June 27, 2008

The $40 M1911A1

Click to enlarge
I knew I had this Shotgun News advertisement somewhere.

Yes, they used to sell as surplus for under fifty bucks each. Now they start at $500 for extreme beaters, and go solidly over $2000 for excellent examples.

Click to enlarge

Here's a Colt M1911A1
up for auction on Gun Broker.

Started at $1,660.00

Buy it Now for $1,895.00

Labels: , ,

Mr. Mathes

Fred Mathes is 92 years old. His ride is a three speed Schwinn Traveler that he purchased in 1952. He doesn't feel the need to purchase a newer bike any more than he feels the need to purchase more gears. Three is more than enough.

For his 80th birthday, he took a 380 mile ride to Oxnard California. For his 90th birthday, he took a 40 mile ride. His average daily ride is around fifteen miles.

Mr. Mathes does not wear flamboyant lycra or special cycling shoes. He climbs on his bike and rides in what he happens to be wearing at the time. If he is wearing long trousers, he rolls a pants leg up. Simple as that.

The Mathes Gestalt of cycling is "the breeze in your face, the exercise, and the constant change of scenery." Yep.

If I make it to 90 years of age, I hope I am as cool as Mr. Mathes.


One Down

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Agendas and Common Sense

It really came as no surprise to most gun advocates. The US Supreme Court. 5 to 4. The Washington DC gun ban struck down. The second amendment solidly defined as an individual right. ¤POOF¤*˜¨¨ The notion of the right to gun ownership being somehow tied to a militia as a collective right to be enjoyed by National Guardsmen was shot full of holes as surely as an IDPA target in front of Rob Leatham.

What the Supreme Court's ruling on District of Columbia, et al. v. Dick Anthony Heller means to gun owners will be up to them. Historically, a biased mainstream media has misinterpreted the second amendment. Gun owners can likewise expect them to misinterpret the meaning of DC v. Heller. Expect them to continue to cling to believing "shall not be infringed" means "walk on me if I do not resist." Even as the Supreme Court's ruling was released, the mainstream media has splashed a video of an anti-gun Presidential candidate's take on the implications of the historic ruling.

"You know, I have said consistently that I believe the second amendment is an individual right, and that was the essential decision that the Supreme Court came down on, and it also recognized that even though we have an individual right to bear arms, that right can be limited by sensible reasonable gun laws," claimed Barack Obama, "The DC law, according to the Supreme Court went too far, and now the key is going to be for us to come together and say people do have an individual right, and there's nothing wrong with common sense gun laws, background checks keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill, and creating what I think is the common sense belief among people that we can uphold our traditions with respect to firearms and prevent the senseless killings that we see on the streets of so many American cities."

Some will say that District of Columbia v. Heller was about Washington DC and the right to own a firearm in the district. Others will say it was about the right to own an assembled firearm in the district. District of Columbia v. Heller was about much more. It has reverberating implications across American society. Expect the Supreme Court's ruling to be painted many different colors, with many different brushes, in the months to come. As politicians are forced to change their platforms, simply to maintain political viability when confronted with the paradox of their unconstitutional stance against the rights of American citizens, their agendas will be exposed. Expect the talking heads of the mainstream media to do the same. Ideas die hard, even wrong ideas. I do not believe that any of them realize just how broad reaching this ruling is. The defining of the meaning of the second amendment, after so many years of debate with those who seek power through oppression, is a reaffirmation of the ideals the United States was founded on. The government is founded for the people, by the people and it serves the will of the people. The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the second amendment to prevent this ideal from becoming twisted, masquerading as "common sense" and being used against the people.

Common sense to one man is often not common sense to another. Indicative of this is the fact that many people cited the now defunct DC gun laws as common sense laws. Senator Obama is on record as advocating the abolition of the right to own handguns, any handguns, to the point of confiscating them from their rightful owners. He is also on record as advocating the repeal of concealed carry legislation that was hard won across the nation on a state level. Nay.....Senator Obama's common sense is not the common sense shared by commoners. His common sense is the same elitist fear of the common man's ability to depose him from his lofty perch that he sneers at the common man from. His "common sense laws" are only a foil to gain what is on his hidden agenda. That hidden agenda is one of power, control and oppression. But Obama is not alone. His agenda is shared by all who seek to strip the common man of his ability to protect himself. Fortunately, the Supreme Court upheld the common man's right to own and carry a firearm not only for self defense, but also so that he might again rise up against an oppressive government and regain the liberty endowed to all men by their creator. That is the ultimate protection, and the greatest fear of the elitist firearms abolitionist.


Labels: , , ,

Open Carry on Nightline


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

She became lethargic and listless. She refused to run or play. Her normal heart rate was 80 beats per minute. Now her heart rate fell to under half of that. Diagnosed with a heart attack, Molly was also found to have a complete heart block as a result of the damage.

A complete heart block is one in which there is no electrical conduction between the atria and ventricles. It is a grave condition. The ventricles fall into "rescue mode" and keep the body alive with a greatly reduced inherent rhythm of their own. Unfortunately, the suction of blood into the ventricles versus the pumping of blood into the ventricles by the atria creates a very strong probability of clot formation from the churning of the blood itself. The clots lead to further coronary artery blockage, cardiac ischemia, and death. A complete heart block is a condition that on humans, demands a pacemaker.

Unfortunately, Molly was a dog. She was, in fact, a beautiful chocolate Labrador Retriever. Further, she was a proven Search and Rescue dog with a career of finding disaster victims and murder victims. Owners Allen and Alicia Brown of Saginaw Michigan were facing over $2,500 in surgery, vet and travel costs alone. Through donations including a two thousand dollar donation from an anonymous businessman, a plan of care was devised. Medtronic Inc. donated the internal pacer. On May 22, 2008, surgeons at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine implanted the lifesaving device. Molly was the one rescued this time.

Molly is on activity restrictions for another month, but is expected to make a full recovery and return to K-9 search and rescue work. Training a search and rescue dog for both live body and cadaver retrieval can take up to two years. Buying a fully trained SAR dog can cost up to $20,000. "If she could save one more life or recover one more body for a family, it would be worth it," said Patrice Graham, another member of the K-9 SAR team.


Labels: ,

Courtesy Oleg Volk


The RetroVelo

OK, I have to admit it......I like this bike. The RetroVelo is an old school German balloon tire bicycle. It has a beauty that permeates it's simplicity. The contrast of fat tires and a skinny steel frame is a product of form following function. The fat tires protectthe rider from the inevitable bumps of the road, while the lugged steel frame makes the entire bicycle a solid machine willing to take years of abuse.

The RetroVelo comes in three and seven speed versions, as well as a fixed gear bike. The men's frame is a classic diamond. The woman's bike has one of the most graceful swan neck frames seen in recent years. The front hub dynamo powered headlight has wiring concealed within the forks. A sprung Brooks saddle, full fenders and mud guards round out the package. A matching rear rack is available.

Available in the US through Clever Cycles.

RetroVelo Catalog in pdf


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Click to enlargeI purchased some Bullseye/ZInzer amber shellac to finish off the cork grips on the Raleigh Grand Prix this afternoon.


Gun Show Loopholes

Each Presidential candidate is apparently in the dark regarding the "Gun Show Loophole." The imagery is deceptive. They are lying. Know what? There is no gun show loophole. At gun shows, the transfer of firearms must meet the exact same stringent criteria as in any other place in the state or municipality in which the gun show is being held.

What these politicians are advocating is preventing the private transfer of property between two private citizens. When a person owns a piece of property for their own use, be it a lawn mower, a wedding ring, a sofa and ottoman, a cord of firewood, or a gun, the state has no right or ability to regulate that transfer.

Closing the gun show loophole is not about preventing criminals from getting guns. Criminals steal guns through burglary. Criminals buy and barter for guns on the street from other criminals. Why? Because they are cheaper that way. What criminal wants to pay a fair market price for a gun when he can steal one or swap some crack for one?

No.....the gun show loophole fallacy is about two things.

1. It prevents honest citizens from rightfully buying and selling private property.

2. It gives politicians a talking point so they can look tough on crime to ignorant constituents.

Don't believe everything you hear.

JR's thoughts

Labels: ,

Monday, June 23, 2008


I'm trying to decide on which grips to keep on my parkerized Springfield GI45. Several years ago I swapped a few parts to more closely approximate a WWII vintage M1911A1. I decided on walnut double diamonds back then, and i like the look of them on the pistol.

I have an extra set or two of genuine USGI issue plastic grips from WWII that would make the inexpensive approximation of a GI gun a bit more authentic. I don't like the feel or the appearance quite as much though.

I'm not one to play Barbie doll dress up with my pistols, I usually chose a set of grips and stick with them, but this one has me in a quandry. The more I look at the real deal, the more I like them. Whadaya think?

Labels: , ,

Tell It Like It Is

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spooky Steps and Catzilla

Daddy took me to some really spooky stairs today. These stairs were slippery but not wet. When I stepped on them they went woingy woingy bing bong. It was like I was walking on a vibraphone.

It was late in the day and I had spent most of my day watching Daddy make bangs at a cardboard man. He does that a lot, and at first, the bangs were spooky but I got used to it. The steps he took me to today were just about to get on my last nerve though. Every where I went, bing bong woingy woingy tink tong. Daddy wouldn't let me walk on the concrete either. He made me go up and down those musical stairs after my toy over and over. He did give me a lot of praise though.

Then just as it started to get dark, I saw him out of the corner of my eye. He was the biggest damned kitty cat I think I have ever seen, and he was moving towards stalking us. I whirled around and gave him a couple of warning woofs and he froze in his tracks. At first, I was scared to death he would eat us both, but my woofs were so fierce that I petrified him with fear. He just stood there. If Daddy would have had some pliers we could have pulled his fangs out he was so petrified. You gotta respect the woof of a German Shepherd Dog.

You never know when a giant petrified kitty will snap out of it, so I advised Daddy that it was time to go. Thankfully he agreed. He can be hard headed sometimes, but I'm glad he listened to me today. He's getting better that way.

Labels: , ,

Early Morning Ride

The morning sun saw the Armstrong being unloaded from the rear of the Cherokee among the corn fields. It was nice to get out and ride on long stretches of desolate blacktop, with no intersections to cause concern.

The old Armstrong will fly. It was not long that I had sweat streaming down my face and being swept away by the wind.

Labels: ,

Ugly Gun Sunday

I really wish I had a better photo of this abortion. I wouldn't want to get that close or risk breaking my camera though.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

CCW Holder Foils Bank Robbery

The teller activated a silent alarm while filling a bag with $1 bills. Then the criminal claiming to have a bomb demanded "bands of 50s and 100s."

Another bank teller alerted Nabil Fawzi, a long time customer, who was standing in line. Nabil Fawzi, a former soldier in the Lebanese army, took matters into his own hands.

On July 20, 2006, Michigan passed the Castle Doctrine Law which states that a citizen has the right to defend themselves, with lethal force if necessary, if they are in a place they have a legal right to be, and they reasonably feel their life or the life of a loved on is in jeopardy.



Guns Found in Chef Menteur Pass

Chef Menteur Pass is a waterway connecting Lakes Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne near New Orleans. The New Orleans Police Department and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office make no bones about having used the waterway to dispose of firearms in the past. Beginning in the early 1900s, St. Tammany deputies routinely got rid of confiscated guns by dumping them in Lake Pontchartrain, Sheriff Jack Strain says. The practice continued for decades. The possibility of people diving for and retrieving the firearms before the salt water could destroy them in the strong currents was remote.

After Jack Strain became sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a new method of firearms destruction was employed. Confiscated firearms were melted down and the process was videotaped. The city of New Orleans did the same, turning them into manhole covers and sewer grates.

After hurricane Katrina, over a thousand firearms were confiscated from residents of the area. Many of these arms are still stored in barrels inside one of the New Orleans police department's trailers. Through a series of lawsuits brought forth by the NRA the ILA and the SAF, the rightful owners of these firearms have at least learned where they are being held. A few rusted and damaged guns have been returned after a NICS background check. The remaining owners have been told to go suck eggs as the New Orleans Police Department and the city of New Orleans began demanding proof of purchase from people who lost everything in the storm. Most of the guns continue to rust away unclaimed, as the owners realized the futility of trying to reclaim property that was wrongfully seized by a police department and city out of control, and especially one that is now faced with going to court over it's actions.

Then, as a construction crane was digging concrete and steel beams out of Chef Menteur Pass earlier this month, a handgun was discovered. At first, workers speculated that a criminal must have dumped it there. It was still in decent enough shape, although rusty. The gun was surrendered to New Orleans police and the work continued. Over the following week, eleven separate firearms were discovered. Next, a clump of rusted pistols and revolvers so covered with barnacles that they might be unrecognizable was brought to the surface.

Perhaps we will never know if any of these firearms dredged up from Chef Menteur Pass were guns confiscated after Katrina. With the long history of firearms destruction and the dumping of guns into the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by the area police departments, the truth will remain shrouded in the murky brine and time. What we do know, however, is that in New Orleans there is still a trailer with barrels of rusted guns waiting for justice to be served.

Labels: ,


It is going to be difficult to keep this blog an oasis free of political commentary this year. I chose not to comment on such things because I figure if you are intelligent enough to read what I write, you are intelligent enough to make up your own mind. Adding to the deafening packs of red and blue macaws masquerading as every day common sense people is not what I want to do here. Still, once in a while, I find something from an every day common sense type of person that merits a look. Such is the case with this video.

Labels: ,

Surmounting the Obstacles to Cycling

BSNYC has some words of wisdom for anyone wanting to get into or get back into bicycling.

If you are a cyclist and you have not found Bike Snob's blog, you are missing the bike worlds equivalent of Tam's View From The Porch. Total, unmitigated, well honed and incisive snark that has teeth that cut to the bone in one snap.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gun Auction Round-Up

Up for bids on Auction Arms is a nice little Beretta 950 from 1958. Now this is not the type of pea shooter I stick in my britches, but if you are looking for a pretty pistol to make the lady in your life beam with joy, this factory engraved one isn't a bad option. At $213, the price is right.

The Beretta 950 is a single action .22 short blowback pistol with a tip up barrel. It has an eight round magazine with one extra in the chamber. Even though the cartridge is derided as an impotent rapist enrager, because the owner does not have to rack the slide to load the chamber, the tip up barrel can be a good choice for those with arthritic or weak hands. This C&R Sunday going to meetin' gun is presently in the price range of a new black Beretta M21-A.

I'm not sure if this Remington Rand is all correct (the grips and screws sure ain't!) but the price is not bad at $600. In fact, at $600, the price is damned good, correct or not. It certainly appears to be correct enough. With the addition of some genuine USGI grips this old war horse could be returned to it's previous granduer rather quickly.

The only problem is that someone has throated the chamber and polished up the feed ramp. I would want to shoot this one before buying unless I was willing to accept a genuine $600 USGI paperweight.

The Remington Rand was won for $875.01

The Beretta was won for $313.98


The Raleigh Super Course

The handlebar stem was stuck when I started on the Raleigh Super Course frame. After a week's soak in ATF, it was still stuck. Click to enlargeI decided to Slip in a set of drop bars and proceed with the build anyway.

The Super Course was originally a medium priced racing bike, a Nottingham ten speed. This example was the classic British green, my favorite color. I installed a single speed cottered crank and bottom bracket, and the build was on it's way. A 27 inch front rim gave up it's hub to my spoke wrench, and in it's place I installed a Sturmey Archer coaster brake. The front rim is a high flange Araya rim. Both rims are shod with Kenda gum wall rubber. A Shimano quick release skewer secures the front hub, while old fashioned wing nuts secure the rear. A nickel plated 1/8 inch chain spins the wheels via rat trap pedals. A Brooks B17 Champion leather seat is atop a 26.4mm Kalloy micro-adjustable seat post.

Because I could not remove the GB handlebar stem, I was stuck with the forward center pull brake bracket beneath the headset bolt. To disguise it for the time being, I stuck a dice on the stud. I decided to leave the braze-ons on this frame, as they are solidly attached and at some point I may chose to return the bike to original status.

A set of moustache handlebars will likely be in this bike's future, but for now I stuck some ivory Hunt-Wilde rubber grips on the ends of the drop bars to prevent coring injuries to my knees if for no other reason.



Criniums are blooming about town. Throughout the year, these odd Sri Lanka imports have huge clumps of ligulate leaves above the ground, supplying humongous bulbs beneath the surface with nourishment. Crinum latifoliumThen, in a spectacular burst of white trumpets they bloom.

Criniums seem to last forever, surviving beneath the surface of the ground long after the gardener who planted them is gone; long after the house they once ornamented has fallen into disrepair , condemnation, and been torn down. Criniums are used in herbal medicine to treat prostate ailments and uterine fibroids. When I see the criniums bloom, it reminds me that the residual effects of our actions last longer than ourselves.


Horn Case to the Grand Jury

"I ain't going to let them get away with this. They stole something. They got a bag. I'm doing it.".

"Don't go out the house," the dispatcher cautions in a measured voice. "You're gonna get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun."

"Wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em."

"Stay in the house......"

"They, they're gettin' away!"

The Joe Horn case has gone before a Grand Jury in Houston Texas.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

M1911A1 Grips

I heard today, to my chagrin, that another M1911A1 escaped my grasp. Apparently it was a decent and correct Union Switch & Signal, and an even Cleveland saw it changing hands. I'm kind of bummed because of that.

On the plus side, I recieved two sets of US GI grips today. If you are needing grips to replace non-original or broken ones on your GI pistol, don't bother with ebay or gun shows. They are available for $15 a set at Simpson Ltd.

Maybe these grips will act as a seed.......




Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gun Paintings

Colt 1911.
Acrylic on pine
11.5"w x 8"h
Semi-automatic handgun. Originating in the late 1890s and designed by John M. Browning, it was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985. Still in use by some U.S. forces.
$ 900.

$900 for a painting that looks like a screenprint? Hell, just spend your nine Franklins on a M1911 mixmaster and be done with it......

More of Chris Crite's paintings here.

Thanks Breda.


Pawn Shop Circuit: Loose Tools

After work today I went back to the new pawn shop in town to see if he had any new guns. Unfortunately, he had closed his doors early. I was near enough to Neil's pawn shop, so I drive on over. Neil was in the process of selling the nickel plated Smith & Wesson auto-pistol, and the rest of his handgun stock was gone. I was needing a 15mm wrench, so I wandered on over to the bins of loose tools.

I managed to find a 15mm wrench among the rusty and greasy tools, but in the process I also found quite a few nice open end and combination wrenches, a small pair of Channelock pliers (I always wanted those but could never justify the cost of a small pair), and two 3/8 inch rachets. One of the rachets was a Sears Craftsman. I don't really go for Craftsman tools, I'm more a Snap-On, Proto and MAC kind of guy. I'm a stickler for quality tools. There is nothing worse than a screwed up job in the rain in the middle of the night....... Unless it's the same job with a broken tool. Still it's hard to ignore the Craftsman bring it in if it's broken no questions asked replacement warranty. Heck, I could simply take this old Craftsman rachet to Sears and get a new one. I tossed it into my pile. All would be good for modifying if needed, loaning out if cheap enough, and abusing if necessary.

Once Neil was finished with the gun sale, I ambled up to the counter. "How much do you want for these," I asked.

"How much will you give me?"

"Oh I don't know......." I started to say five bucks, but I decided to play Neil's game. He began to sort them, ordering them into piles. Then he moved a small wrench to the opposite pile and clucked his tongue. He looked up at me and I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't really need them I guess........"

Neil began to key numbers into his adding machine. They were nice tools, but truth be told, I only needed the 15mm wrench. Finally Neil looked back at me and ventured "How about three sixty-seven?"

I tried not to look too surprised. I was expecting ten bucks. Maybe I had heard him wrong. Maybe he said $23.67. I took four dollars from my billfold and handed the cash to Neil. He took the money, rang up the sale and put the tools into a paper bag for me. Daaaaum! I tried to act nonchalant, asking about the possibility of a Smith & Wessons in hock. As usual, Neil just smiled, and kept the possibility to himself.

As I got back into my car, I realized I will never buy tools the same way again.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pawn Shop Circuit: Pearls and Smiths

I drove over to Dave's pawn shop this afternoon. He had a Glock 27 in the case, as well as a S&W 22A, and some other plastic fantastic. At the end of the shelf though, cold Smith stainless beckoned me to make a closer examination. I asked Dave to remove a Smith & Wesson Model 66 from the case. It was an early production Model 66, no dash. The rear sight was stainless steel. The front was a plain stainless ramp. It was pinned and recessed. The grips were walnut targets. I looked the gun over, beamed a bore light up the barrel, and checked it for end shake. The old girl locked up tight. The rifling was sharp. There was some minor flame cutting on the top strap, and the grunge of poor storage was present on the exterior. Still, it was a P&R Smith, in original condition, and a rather obscure early example of the Model 66.

I thought about it a bit while Dave took care of another customer. Finally, I decided to pass. It was a stainless gun, not blue. I already had a Model 66, although it is not pinned or recessed. Finally, at $329, the price was OK, but not something to make me reach for my wallet. I handed the revolver back and came home.

I looked in my safe as soon as I got home, and retrieved the pearls I had purchased my wife for our anniversary. Click to enlargeI wasn't certain when she would arrive home, but I wanted them in my pocket when she drove up. At four o'clock, Ilsa announced her arrival with a woof and a dash to the door. I gave her a hug, and wished her a happy anniversary. I pulled the pearls out of my pocket and placed them around my mate's neck. She squealed with delight. Then she asked what I wanted........

"Why a gun, of course."

"But you buy your own guns."

"I know, but there is one I saw today, and I wrote down the serial number......"


Monday, June 16, 2008

On Fatherhood

I spent today reflecting on Father's Day. I am a father of three children, two by fortuitous virtue of my marriage, one as a result of that marriage. Two are grown, and the last one almost there.

I had to work Father's day this year. I awoke at 4:45 so I could begin my first case at 6:00AM. In between cases I called my oldest daughter in Baton Rouge. She received her Juris Doctorate from LSU this year. "Hi Dad!" she exclaimed when she heard my voice. We exchanged pleasantries. I knew my wife and my youngest would be meeting her in New Orleans later in the day.

My son now teaches math at the University of Arkansas. I remember when he told me that he regrettably did not want to be a surgeon after all. He said he did not think he could handle the responsibility, and he changed the course of his life. I was stymied, but I realized his life is his to live. He has done well, he is a good man, and I am proud of him. My youngest, Little Darling, will be the healer among our children instead

I could not reach my son by telephone, but an email from him was waiting for me when I arrived back home. "Happy Father's Day!" it began. I was exhausted from a day of cases at two different hospitals. It was six-o'clock again, the other six-o'clock. I retrieved a cola and some cold potato salad from the fridge for supper, and began studying rafts of scent to better understand Ilsa's training. Beautiful Wife and Little Darling would not arrive home for another two hours, assuming they were not late. (Ha!)

Today, I began my day again at 4:45AM. I scrubbed in a bit later, at 6:30AM. I worked cases with family present in the waiting room, and cases with no family to be found. As I worked, I conversed over patients with the other men of heavy responsibilities and sometimes regrettable burdens with whom I work. We talked about Tiger Woods, LSU football, shooting, and of course Father's Day. I was not alone in spending Father's Day disconnected from my children.

In the conversational lulls that men inevitably have, I thought of my own father. He died when I was two years old, and I only have one precious genuine memory of him. My mother never re-married, and I grew to be a man without a father's guidance when needed. Yet he was there. The power of a loving father was kept alive in my heart by my mother's stories about him. I knew who he was, what he stood for, and that I had a legacy to uphold. He was an ethereal force within my life, even in death. Without his presence, I would not be who I am today. Not that I am boastful of who I am, but I know I would be a lesser man. He is buried too far away to visit his grave, but I wished him a silent Father's Day, and thanked him for being my hero.

That is what a father is. Anything less is simply a man with offspring. A father is his child's first hero. It is perhaps the heaviest responsibility any man will bear. Whether he accepts that role or not speaks volumes for his character. A man who is unwilling to be a hero for a child is an overgrown child himself. It does not take much to be a child's hero. Super powers or paternal instinct are not necessary. It doesn't even require a child of one's own genetic structure. It only takes the willingness to be there for a child when needed, and the wisdom to provide proper guidance when required. When the inevitable parental fall from grace occurs in the teen years the resoluteness to remain steady on course is crucial. During those years a child is like a swimmer exploring a vast ocean, and the parent is their boat. If their boat leaves, the child will drown unless another boat appears.

Heroes have been available for boys with absent fathers through most of history. In modern times, young men without fathers have access to a greater range of media information, but fewer men who measure up to hero status. Alan Shepherd was my hero as a boy. There was precious little information about this man who I never met available to me, yet I strove to be like him. Perhaps that was a good thing. In today's world, Shepherd's exalted status would likely have been disposed of before he splashed down in the ocean. We all have pasts, and media heroes are quickly laid bare to the vultures who pick at their bones.

Little did I know that my most influential and steadfast hero was within myself in the form of my own father. A child can run away from a father, but they can not escape his influence. A man will influence and teach his children by his character, integrity and deeds. Children are not swayed by words, and they quickly decipher the carefully crafted illusion of bullshit parading around as valor. They will be taught virtue, or they will be taught deceit. They will, however, be taught. It is inevitable.

I firmly believe that when we are dying, that even if we are not judged by a higher power, we will judge ourselves. The harshest failure that a man can bear is the realization that he failed to be his child's hero. It is often said that upbringing (or the lack thereof) leaves an indelible mark on a person's life, and children become who their parents were. That may or may not be true. What is true though, is we become who our children are. They are what we leave behind in this world. They will speak for us and remember us as we slowly return to dust. How we are spoken of and remembered is up to us alone. It is out of our control, except by our actions. We can chose to rot away forgotten, or we can chose to be a hero. The result is the ultimate dividend on how we invested our life.


The Fitz Special

"J.H. FitzGerald, ("Fitz") to his many friends, was a key employee at Colt between the two World Wars, and the best company promoter since the Col. himself. He was a major force in keeping Colt alive during the Great Depression, and their point man when it came to law enforcement sales.

His revolver design was built around a concept of side-pocket carry, either pants or topcoat. It was for this reason that he cut away the front of the trigger guard, because of the tight confines of a pocket. In addition the hammer spur was bobbed and often the butt was shortened and rounded in the manner used on Detective Specials.

However some rather interesting people, Charles Askins being the most notable, liked the amputated trigger guard on any handgun, including a few pistols.

Askins and FitzGerald were both close friends, and Charley sent the Colt Company a fair amount of business when they badly needed it. But more to the point, Askins discovered he could quickly unload a revolver (or pistol) by, “fanning the trigger,” as he put it. He would hold the gun in the left hand (he was a southpaw) and use the edge of his right to literally fan the trigger through the open front of the trigger guard. It should be noted that he used a holster of his own design that covered the trigger guard, or where the guard would usually be. This holster was adopted by the Border Patrol for general issue, but they never made any alterations to their guns.

When I was a callow youth, and not the brightest light bulb in the room, I asked Askins – who was in a mellow mood – if cutting away the trigger guard wasn’t a bit dangerous. He looked me up and down, and then told me in somewhat stronger language that wouldn’t get past Art’s Grandma, that there were a lot more dangerous things one would encounter in a gunfight then a cut-away trigger guard. His words and experience made an impression I haven’t forgotten."

The Old Fuff

More info on Fitz Specials

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Dad

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly

More about Team Hoyt

Labels: , ,

Ugly Gun Sunday

You know, a break open single shot shotgun has it's purpose. Such firearms have long stood behind the door of the impoverished person, protecting their home, and not infrequently harvesting a squirrel or a rabbit for the stew pot. There is nothing ugly about that, in fact, it's an honorable, thankless job for a firearm.

What is ugly is this. If pistol grip M-4 stocks were as great as many folks believe, they would be on the shottys of trap shooters everywhere. There is, however, a remarkable absence of the collapsable stock on the shotguns of professional shooters. Perhaps this is because the stock is a compromise for use with or without body armor. Still, it looks uber tackticool, as does the M-4 heat sheilding forend and fiber optic sights grafted onto this one shot marvel.

But hey........black plastic is not tackticool any longer, it's commonplace. So after attaching a bunch of dischordant crap onto a decent shotgun, somebody painted it up to ressemble a coral snake, scales and all. Red on yellow? Kill that fellow. Where's my hoe?


Saturday, June 14, 2008


Breda takes her friend Elizabeth shooting.
"I can't say whether Elizabeth really liked shooting, but at least she now knows about safe handling. She can also cross "shooting a handgun" off the list of things people should try at least once in their lifetimes."

By the smile on her face, I hope she returns........


New Chainwheel

Click to enlarge
I put a Rudge chainwheel on the Armstrong. It's a 48 tooth cog rather than the previous 46 tooth one. That will give me a bit more speed. Plus, it has the cool Rudge hand cut into the center. Apparently, the Rudge hand is derived from the symbol of the Irish Gaels of Ulster.

The ancient Rudge rubber pedals will do for now, but I am keeping an eye open for some vintage track pedals with a 9/16 inch thread.

"The Red Hand of Ulster's a paradox quite,
To Baronets 'tis said to belong;
If they use the left hand, they're sure to be right,
And to use the right hand would be wrong.
For the Province, a different custom applies,
And just the reverse is the rule;
If you use the right hand you'll be right, safe and wise,
If you use the left hand you're a fool."



The rules are simple:

1. 1975 or older motorcycle
2. Can only spend $500 TOTAL on purchase and restoration of bike
3. 500cc or less engine size
4. Every man for himself
5. No Interstates
6. Portland, Oregon bound

The 555 looks like it's going to be a heck of a road trip!