A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Smith & Wilson

"Whatcha got in that box Mister?" There have been times that I almost wanted to put a rattlesnake in a blue Colt box and stroll through a gun show. I didn't know if I would even make the gun show today. It was my call weekend, and I've been busy. I began yesterday at six in the morning, and I walked out of the hospital after dark. When I got home, I collapsed sideways on the bed, devoid of sheets, as my wonderful mate was doing laundry. Today, I had another couple of cases, but we finished at noon, and I left the hospital with only my pager to remind me I was not a free man.

After a burrito, I decided to gamble the gate fee and head to the gun show any way. I checked the gun vault for trade fodder, and at the top of the stack was the SW1911 I purchased from Neil last year. I purchased the pistol as trade fodder, and it still resided in my gun room. I opened the box, checked the chamber, and headed to the gun show. I was violating my gun show rule number four, carry cash, but the banks were closed, and I hadn't planned on going. Perhaps I could get a swap for the SW1911......

I was looking forward to seeing old friends, and after I let an officer of the law fumble, paw, zip tie and tag my pistol, I entered the Last Bastion of Freedom. As usual, I made my way to the rear of the arena where Cowboy Bob peddled his wares. I first purchased a firearm from Cowboy Bob years ago, a Star Model A. I thought it would shoot 9mm parabellum, but I soon learned that Largo wasn't just the name of an island off Florida. Bob was a gentleman about it. He took the gun back, returned my money in full, and I have been a faithful customer of his for the past decade or so. Bob's pencil thin moustache and Stetson aren't that unusual, but his lavishly engraved Colt single action Army revolvers are heady fare at small town gun shows. He always has used guns, usually at fair prices and is an eager trade. Heck, I purchased my first Remington Rand M1911A1 from Cowboy Bob. There was no telling what he might have!

Cowboy Bob was not there. A dealer who didn't know Bob was in his usual spot. I cruised the tables a bit, and took note of several items of interest, I looked at a S&W 22 caliber AR clone for $500. That seemed like a fair price. The Colt version was a bit more. Both, however, are available at any time for the same money. I passed.

I spied a Clark Custom 38 Special wadcutter gun. It was in the cardboard and styrofoam Colt box, and had obviously been built by the old man himself. The bluing was like new, and tiger tooth stippling covered the frontstrap. The old Keithville location was hand engraved on the slide. It was interesting, but the dealer selling it liked it a lot. The price was $1600. I decided to keep my thirty-eight specials in wheel guns.

As I attempted to pass by the bearded guy from Arkansas who sells mix master M1911s as all original war relics for inflated prices, he called out "Whatcha got in the box, Mister?" I started to say 'Grandpa's trashy old Singer sewing machine gun,' but I refrained. I just smiled and kept walking. He dodged past his Chinese 1918 trench knives and asked again. I finally told him a S&W 1911 that I was looking to trade off. He asked me how much I wanted in cash.

Lesson #1 in negotiating: Never be the first to state a figure. Lesson #2: Guns are worth more that cash. Cash doesn't shoot, and there are many ways of obtaining cash. I told the fellow that I only wanted a trade, and if he had anything to barter besides cash, we could talk. He eyed his stack of beater GI guns, and decided he would save them for some unsuspecting fish. I walked on.

As I passed a table full of zip lock baggied ammunition, the seller inquired about my mystery box. We talked 1911s a bit, and I learned his two Kimbers ate everything shoved into their chamber, even lead wadcutters. He went on to inform me that Colt 1911s and S&W1911s only shoot hardball and I would do well to swap the pistol for the Taurus revolver he just happened to have. I thanked him for his generosity. After all, it is unusual to find such an honest reloader selling factory ammunition in reusable and biodegradable containers. I decided not to take advantage of the offer though.

I was starting to believe I had walked into one of the gun shows I often read about when I came upon my old friend Lester. "You still trying to sell that pistol Xavier?" he asked.

"Trade Lester, trade...." I replied. I asked to see what Lester had purchased, and he opened his sportscoat to reveal two Smith & Wesson revolvers in his waistband. The diamond grips of one caught my eye. Lester grinned and pulled a Combat Masterpiece from his waist.

"Damn. Yesterday? I asked.

"Just now, in the parking lot," he replied. Then Lester saw my face. "Don't even think it," he instructed me. We cruised the tables together, and I asked about Cowboy Bob. Lester had not seen him the previous day either. Nobody seemed to know what had happened. Finally, as the arena became crowded with people coming in from church and Sunday dinner, Lester and I decided to call it quits. I still had the SW1911.

"Have you ever thought about ordering a 22 conversion kit for that thing and making it a dedicated 22 caliber training gun?" Lester asked as we walked through the parking lot. Actually, I had not. Lester went on, "I hear Wilson Combat is putting out a pretty decent 22 conversion." Hmmmmmm.... A Smith & Wilson, mail ordered to my door. I could do that. Hmmmmmmm....

Wilson Combat 22 conversion kit

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010


The AlienBees monolights and accessories came in yesterday via the brown van of joy. I spent the evening checking things out. Everything seems to work well, and the equipment was well packaged for shipping.

I plan to order another heavy duty light stand and use the lightweight stand with a reflector. I just have more confidence in the larger stands. I'm looking forward to a learning curve with studio lighting. More later.......

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pocket Wizards

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Choices Made.

I ordered the studio lights over the weekend. Two AlienBees B800s, a general purpose stand, a heavy duty stand, a shoot through umbrella and the Softlighter II. I also ordered the Cybersync CSR and CST units to activate the lights without a cable tethering the camera to them.

While I wait for the lights to arrive, I am brushing up on my reading about lighting. Lots of information out there.........

I went by Neil's pawn shop. The Model 10 was still on the shelf priced at $299.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 22, 2010

AlienBees B800 Information & Testing

I'm considering purchasing some studio lights for portrait work. The AlienBees set-up is looking attractive. I'm thinking a B800 with an umbrella, and the 10 ft GP stand.

More on AlienBees.

Update: The more I research AlienBees, the more I like them. The price is extremely competitive. The owner of the company, Paul Buff, is a retired USMC avionics technician who revolutionized the studio lighting industry through customer service, customer focused marketing, durability, and price.

I'm already considering a brolly box Softlighter II to soften and diffuse the light, and possibly a backlight to separate the background. The initial expense will be something I will have to grin and bear.....

Paul Buff interview

Labels: ,

Monday, January 18, 2010

On 22 Sustitutions

Todd G has complied several salient thoughts on training with a 22 pistol as a substitute for your carry gun. With the present economic crunch and ammunition costs, a 22 pistol may seem like an attractive alternative.

I still advocate teaching new shooters marksmanship with a 22 pistol. I also advocate training with what you carry. Click to enlargeWhen I still traveled into "Indian Territory" on a daily basis to see patients, I would pop into an indoor range each day to run one magazine (or cylinder) through my carry gun. That amounted to 60-70 rounds a week, sometimes less if I carried a revolver that week. Round counts do not build proficiency. Familiarity builds proficiency.

I do not disagree with Todd, I still shot some weekend volume at the range as well. Failure drills are important, as is shooting with either hand. Being able to shoot accurately on the move with an adrenaline dump is the skillset to strive for though. This comes from being as familiar with the gun as we are with our automobile. Each day we get in a car and perform complex tasks based on time and space, often within mere feet of injury or death. We do it easily, without thinking. How? We do it every day, a little at a time, not by driving 500 miles once a month.

I sometimes wish I still had the time each day to shoot a magazine. With my present job, unfortunately, I do not. My risk is lessened, and my time is more precious now. I do, however, make certain that I stay intimately familiar with the gun I rely on, and I still benefit from the time I shot them that frequently. But give Todd's article a read. It's good food for thought.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


"I want my baby out of jail. He's just a young boy. He didn't do anything wrong. It was a freak accident." These are the words of Marsha McMillan, a grandmother whose boys fired a 30-30 rifle into the air on New Year's night.

Neighbors complained. According to the news report, Roberto Bracey "removed the clip but didn't realize a bullet was still left in the chamber." At some point afterwards, Roberto Bracey had the gun in his hands, pointed it in the direction of his friend, Marquies "Hugga" Thomas, and pulled the trigger.

Thomas, who was shot in the chest, was pronounced dead at the University of Mississippi Medical Center approximately two hours later. Oddly, other reports state the gunshot wound was to the victim's leg. Bracey has been arrested and charged with murder.

It's a tragedy when a friend kills a friend due to negligence ignorance or stupidity. What many people may not understand, or refuse to accept, is that this tragedy was not a "freak accident" as Ms. McMillan claims. People who fire guns into the air in celebration are inherently negligent. They do not have any concern for gravity or perhaps they believe the lead projectiles will safely orbit the Earth for eternity. Celebratory shots fired into the air kill people almost every year. So, by the very nature of his prior actions of firing a gun into the air, Roberto Bracey was either woefully ignorant or he did not give a damn about the lives of others.

Reportedly Roberto Bracey removed the magazine from the rifle. I have to wonder if it was a lever action rifle with a tubular magazine. If the media cannot agree on the location of the fatal wound, then how can we expect them to get firearms esoterica correct? Lever action rifles are by far the most common 30-30 rifles. The 30-30 cartridge is a rimmed cartridge that does not feed well from a box magazine. A quick scan of any gun shop or pawn shop rifle rack is all that is necessary to determine that the 30-30 cartridge is far and away more common in a lever action rifle, whether Winchester, Marlin or other manufacturers. However, the Winchester 54, the Savage 840 and the Remington 788 do exist. All are bolt action, magazine fed rifles available in 30-30 WCF.

Lets suppose that Roberto Bracey did have a 30-30 rifle with a box magazine, and that he did remove the magazine but failed to check the chamber afterwards. These actions demonstrate a complete ignorance of basic gun handling. His ignorance does not absolve him of responsibility. If he were to don scrubs and a surgical mask, and attempt to perform cardiac surgery, would his ignorance of medicine excuse him from his actions?

No. There is the expectation that reasonably intelligent people will try to prevent the killing of others, and will abstain from handling items that may kill others if they are ignorant of their use. Roberto Bracey demonstrated ignorance, and he demonstrated that he did not give a damn. At least he did not give a damn until he suddenly realized the life was escaping from him friend. I feel sadness for Roberto Bracey. His grief must be a heavy burden. However, he is responsible for his actions, no matter how much he may regret them afterwards. He killed Marquies Thomas, and Marquies Thomas is in the cold January ground, never to breathe or walk again. Roberto Bracey and his family may try to shift blame to the slow response of an ambulance service, to the short staffing of an Emergency Department, or anywhere else they may dream up. The fact is, Marquies Thomas would be alive if Roberto Bracey had not behaved recklessly, negligently, and foolishly with a gun.

I do not think first degree murder charges are applicable, but there is definitely a case for negligent homicide. Roberto Bracey is where he belongs. If he ever handles a loaded gun again, hopefully it will be after he learns to use it safely.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh Say can you See?

Back in December 2009, I began to read about Medal of Honor recipient Van T. Barfoot's fight with his homeowners association. It seems the homeowner's association forbade the flying of flags on a free standing flagpole based on asthetics, and the old vet wanted to fly Old Glory properly outside his home. When he was denied a permit for a free standing flagpole, Col. Barfoot erected one on his property anyway.

The Sussex Square Homeowners Association first threatened legal action. Colonel Barfoot remained unswayed. After the story of the old soldier's struggle began making the military blogs, the mass media was coerced into paying it some mind. Then the homeowners association went into damage control mode.

I may be late, but I recently learned that The Sussex Square Homeowners Association has agreed to drop threats of legal action against the 90-year-old veteran of three wars. Col. Barfoot's star spangled banner yet waves.

Colonel Barfoot's MoH Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot.

Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank.

As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.


Thoughts for Today:

"Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment."
~Lao Tzu

"If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence."
~Lao Tzu

"From caring comes courage."
~Lao Tzu


Butt Bandits

nick said:
"LOL can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen I suppose.

put yourself out there, you're going to butt heads with people. that's true of anything. thought you were a bit tougher than this. friggin 12 year olds on youtube can handle that.

will miss ugly gun sunday... s'bout it."

For fifteen years I went into peoples home, into dangerous situations and communities to help a bunch of idiots who neither appreciated what I did, or cared. I suspect that many thought it was amusing that I would keep coming back. Before that, I was a part of a liberation effort of one country and the suppression of two coups. Those who benefitted from what I participated in, at risk to my own life and limb for absolutely no gain, now believe me to be a fool for doing so. They despise our country for helping them when they were invaded. They laugh at us. They support those who would harm and kill our children based on religious prejudice. Yet they still will not get off their dead asses and do what is necessary to protect themselves. They are the leeches of the world.

Today, I see the same type of parasites, these same ticks on society, every day. They arrive on gurneys for me to patch up and send back home to suck more blood from society. Each day. Over and over again. They come in shot to shit, cut to Hell, or beat to a pulp because they don't know how to behave in a civilized society. They come in barely hurt but in handcuffs and whining like a little piggie, because they killed somebody driving drunk or stoned. They come with broken glass shoved into their rectum, or claiming to have vomited blood so they can get their demerol fix. Anything for the dope.

At the hospital, I do not have the authority to chose who I will work on, or even to not give the dope. I will do what the case demands and I will work the cases the doc deems necessary. I suppose if some dumbass breaks a coke bottle and shoves the jagged neck of it up his ass to get dtugs, he must want them pretty damned bad. What the Butt Bandit doesn't realize is that he places the medical professionals who remove his ass glass at risk of death from disease if they are injured caring for him. He places their spouses and children at risk. All it takes is one cut. When the spouse contracts HIV, and the child is orphaned by a dead Daddy, the act of shoving a broken Coke bottle up your ass to get demerol is pretty damned childish, selfish and stupid. I don't care how badly you are hooked.

I can't take away the dope from the dopeheads in the hospital. I can here. Nothing here but Ugly Gun Sunday for ya? Good. No more Ugly Gun Sunday. No more pretty pictures either.

12 years olds on YouTube? I'm not a fucking twelve year old on YouTube, idiot. Perhaps you missed that little bit of information. Let me explain something to you, nick without a shift key.......... You don't know what the fuck you are talking about. You are the same kind of parasite that is beneath my contempt. You take what you want and offer nothing. Then you spit in the face of those who have fed your lazy ass when they say no. Tough? You are a child. A simple, stupid, immature and worthless punk kid.

Bye asswipe. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Well Damn.

Damn. I never suspected.........

OK. The lights will be left on. The reference material will remain available. I did not realize that some of it was so difficult to find, or that people wanted it so much.

When I left for work this morning, I noticed that I had about fifty comments to my last post. I figured I would answer each one once I got home. I came home to find them pouring in faster than I can read and publish them. At work I received two telephone calls, something that I usually cannot allow. I returned the calls in between cases and was amazed at who I had touched. All I could say when I hung up was "Damn. Well, Damn."

Friends, thank you for the outpouring of support and goodwill. The blog will remain available, and I will likely return to it to update things after a few days or weeks. I need to get away, I need to to put down the keyboard. I need to pick up my guns and go shoot. I need to pick up my camera and go shoot. I need to take my daughter out for ice cream. I need to run Ilsa along the river. I need to go to Gunsite. I need to get away.

I remember my favorite blogger, Rob Smith. When he died and I thought his blog would dissolve it hit me hard. I visited his place this afternoon, and I read in his side bar...... "If my blog does not meet your standards, then LOWER YOUR STANDARDS. Who the hell do you think you are, anyway?" Rob was right. I chuckled at his Axis of Asshole insignia and I re-read some of his words.

I read some of Syd's work. I still long for an update on Syd's posts. If anyone was my Blog-daddy, it was Syd. Exploring his thoughts and trying to reach his level of competence inspired me to better myself. I never considered that my attempts had the same effect on others. The idea just doesn't seem realistic. I am not worthy of that.

Over the past few months I thought I had some great material for blogging, but the muse just danced a dance I could not follow. I will, perhaps, write about some of my past experiences, some of my recollections. I may or may not be accurate. Hell, is our memory of distant events ever not colored by more recent experiences? I don't know where this blog will go, or how often it will be updated, but I will keep it public for you.

I apologize if anyone went berserk trying to save information, that was not my intent. I had intended to keep it up for a week or so, and then let it go. I did not want to sound histrionic, as though I would toss the baby out with the bathwater, but I suppose I came off that way. I apologize for that.

I cannot promise that I will ignore stupid comments. I may publish them anyway. I may have inadvertly published an email or two in the comments of yesterday's blog. I will go through them, find the emails and try to delete the email addys without deleting the comment. Not certain how, but I will try.

Thank you for the support and goodwill. All of you. Even the ones who think this is an overtly political blog. Even those who disagree but said thanks anyway. Yep, the lights will stay on. They just might not have an addition for a while.

I went by Neil's pawn shop yesterday. The S&W Model 10 was still there. Still $299. I'm still holding.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The End

I'm sorry guys, but I will soon be turning off this blog. I am tired of arguing with a bunch of know-it-alls and chuckle-heads. I am tired of getting emails from people who object to what I write about criminals and people who have handled firearms irresponsibly. This is a blog, not a forum. I have tried, however, to answer even the most thick headed missives with respect and decorum. Frankly, I often wanted to simply say "Who the Hell do you think you are? Write your own damned blog. I am not here to serve you."

I began this blog out of anger at the New Orleans/Katrina firearms confiscations. I continued it because I felt I had a few things to say that would help others. I hung on past that point because people told me they enjoyed my writing.

I will not disolve my blog into nether space, but it will be made into a private reference and diary for myself in the very near future. If there is information here you would like, copy it quickly.

It's been a good run, thank you for your readership and friendship.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Clark Custom Carry Piece

I'm starting to become anxious to receive the call to drive over to Shoot Out Lane and pick up my Smith & Wesson Model 649. Back in July 2009, I dropped it off with Jim Clark for some remodeling. I purchased the little snubbie a few years back from CDNN. I think I paid about $230 for it. It looked like it had hit the concrete a few times, but the crown was good, and it shot reliably and as accurately as I could muster from any snubbie.

The plan was to give the gun a Meltdown treatment and a bead blast finish. Then, a tritium XS shotgun front sight would be dovetailed onto the muzzle. The rear notch would be hogged out to match the front sight. The lone example that Jim had to show me had the topstrap checkered ala a Model 27. I liked that too. I'm thinking I will stick with the Uncle Mike's grips.

I'm wishing now that I had weighed the gun to see how much metal is removed in the Meltdown. Perhaps when I pick it up, a reader can help me with that.....

Labels: ,

What Brand Pistol for War?

I was just this morning reading on a forum what pistol internet ninjas say they would like to tote on their hip into the theater of Afghanistan or Iraq.

The usual plastic fantastics were listed. It made me think of what people carry when they tend to know sidearms and they have a choice in the matter......

The original MEU (SOC) pistols were hand-selected standard government issued Colt M1911A1s that were gutted, deburred, and prepared for additional use by the USMC Precision Weapon Section (PWS) in Quantico, VA.

They were then assembled with after-market grip safeties, a rounded hammer, ambidextrous thumb safeties, lighter triggers made by Videcki, improved high-visibility sights, accurized match-grade barrels made by Bar-Sto, Pachmayr rubber grips, front cocking-serrations, and improved stainless steel magazines made by Wilson Combat.

The trigger-pull weight is specified at between 4.5 and 5.0 pounds of pressure.

The pistol's components are hand fitted and are not interchangeable. The last four digits of the weapon's serial number are stamped on the top of the barrel, on the right-side of slide assembly, inside of the beavertail grip safety, on each side of the ambidextrous thumb safety, and on the inside face of the mainspring housing group.

Due to wear and tear of the MEU(SOC) pistols, the U.S. Marines attempted to look commercially for replacements. On 17 February 2005, Marine Corps Systems Command announced that it was going to purchase 150 Springfield Armory Professional Model pistols for use as MEU(SOC) pistols. Despite the planned purchase of the commercial pistols, Marine Corps Systems Command has continued to solicit parts to build additional MEU(SOC) pistols.

Source: Cut and paste from Wikipedia. Use: Personal reference. Don't like it? Write your own blog.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Updating Firmware

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ugly Gun Sunday

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Story of Reggie

(from an email, author unknown.....)

They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, and the people really friendly. I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street. But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to.

I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did. But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.

See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike. For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls - he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when I called his name - sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cellphone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me."

Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home. But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction - maybe "glared" is more accurate - and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down with his back to me.

Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought and I punched the shelter phone number. But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice........."

"To Whoever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.

I'm not even happy I'm writing it. If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was
different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong... which is why I have to go to try to make it right. So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls... the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in
there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful - really don't do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones - "sit," "stay," "come," "heel." He knows hand signals:
"back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down - I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business. I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.
Good luck getting him in the car - I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time. I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially. Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new. And that's why I need to share one
more bit of info with you....

His name's not Reggie. I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the
shelter, I told them his name was Reggie.. He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine. But if someone else is reading it, well... well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It'll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.

His real name is Tank. Because that is what I drive. Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter... in the "event"... to tell them that Tank could be
put up for adoption. Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting to downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family. But still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my
family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will
adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me. That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. If I had to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He was my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.

Thank you, Paul Mallory"

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog. "Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright. "C'mere boy."

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.

"Tank," I whispered. His tail swished. I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and licked my cheek. "So whatdaya say we play some ball His ears perked again. "Yeah Ball You like that Ball "

Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room. And when he came back......he had three tennis balls in his mouth.


Thursday, January 07, 2010


The weatherman says a wintry storm is coming tonight. I didn't know whether to believe him. He has been imprecise so many times before.

Never the less I found the hydrometer and checked the antifreeze. I left the garden hose dripping and I brought in the plants. Earlier my co-workers had made contingency plans, schemed to gain a day off work if we received any snow at all. I drove home not believing. A skeptic. Unswayed.

Tonight I went out with the dogs for a last bathroom break before bed. I felt the wind. Maybe it is coming.....

Meanwhile, in North Carolina........

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

One Armed Citizen

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ten Most Expensive Car Crashes

#10. Bugatti EB110 ... $500,000
This 1992 $500,000 super-exotic Bugatti EB110 was being driven by a mechanic as part of its annual checkup. He claimed there was an oil slick on the road which caused him to lose control and crash into a pole. The owner of the Bugatti is a famous "feel good" guru named Emile Ratelband. No report of how good he was feeling after this wreck......

#9. Pagani Zonda C12 S ... $650,000
Only 15 Zonda C12 S were ever built, but that didn't stop this owner from driving it like a bat out of Hell. He wrecked this beauty in the wee morning hours while driving in Hong Kong.

#8. Mercedes Benz SL 300 ... $950,000
The SL 300 "Gullwing" represents the very finest of Mercedes. The owner thought it would be a good idea to race this million dollar car on the streets of Mexico at the annual "La Carrera Panamericana" race, an event limited to classic cars produced before 1965.

#7. Jaguar XJ220 ... $1.1 Million
The XJ220 once held the record for highest top speed for a production car (217 mph).

#6. Ferrari Enzo ... $1.3 Million
The most famous Ferrari Enzo crash (shown above) was at Malibu , California in 2005, when the driver, "Fat Steven" Eriksson crashed the car at 196 mph.

#5. Bugatti Veyron ... $1.6 Million
The Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive production car in history. Only 300 are expected to be produced, and already two have crashed. Above is the first one. The driver thought it was okay to speed at 100 mph in the rain. He only had the car for one week.

#4. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT TDF ... $1.65 Million
This extremely rare classic car, the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT "Tour de France", crashed into a wall at the Shell Ferrari-Maserati Historic Challenge in 2003.

#3. Ferrari 250 GT Spyder ... $10.9 Million
The record price for a 1961 250 GT California Spyder at auction was set on May 18, 2008when a black one was sold for $10,894,900. So what is one doing buried in the sand? Not really a wreck, but still a near total loss, the owner had it stored near the beach when a hurricane hit.

#2. Ferrari 250 GTO ... $28.5 Million
The 1962-64 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most valuable car in the world. In 2008 an anonymous English buyer bought a 250 GTO at auction for a record $28.5 Million. The crash above represents a car worth more than the combined value of all 14 Enzos (see #6 above) involved in accidents. After a track event involving historic cars, the owner rammed into the back of another car after traffic slowed down.

#1. Tiger Wood's Escalade... $55 million and rising....

Monday, January 04, 2010

I Like Guns

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ugly Gun Sunday

Must do ugly gun, must do ugly gun, must do ugly gun, must do ugly gun, must do ugly gun.....

I'm in the process of processing wedding pics, so please excuse the delay....

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Pawn Shop Circuit: Three Franklins

I was out taking some photographs this afternoon when I found myself near Neil's pawn shop. "Where have you been?" he asked jovially as the bell on the door handle announced my entrance. He put his newspaper down and met me at the gun counter. "I've been wondering who would come in and buy that one," he smiled as he pointed to a Model 10.

The revolver was in good shape. It was a Model 10-2, and everything was correct except for the grips. The 10-2 is a difficult Model 10 to find. It was only manufactured in 1961. Model 10-2I do not own one. I looked the revolver over, and it checked out good. I asked Neil the price. "Two-ninety-nine," he replied, placing his hands on the counter, his cigar clamped between his fingers.

"Damn Neil, that's a lot. I'll have to sleep on that a bit. How firm are you?"

"I just took it out of hock this morning. That's what they go for now," Neil replied, taking a puff on his stogie. "Kid, you must have a bird dog nose for Smith & Wesson. Not a Smith in my case for months, and you walk in on the day I pull this 'un out."

We chatted a bit more, and I handed the old wheelgun back to Neil. In the parking lot, I pulled my pawn and gun show price journal from between the seats of my vehicle. In it I record the prices of guns I purchase, look at, and am interested in. Even if I do not buy the gun, I record the price. My journal helps me keep a finger on the pulse of what particular guns sell for in my area. I recorded this revolver, and I looked back to March of 2009, and saw that Kenny had a Model 10 snubbie for $319. The last Model 10 I purchased was was a nickel 10-8 from Neil for $239. But I clearly recall not too long ago, when a used Model 10 priced over $200 would clearly show the seller was smoking something, and it wasn't La Palomas.

I already own several Model 10 revolvers with four inch barrels, as well as several M&Ps, and a couple of Model 10 snubbies. I really don't need a revolver simply because it has a particular number stamped on the frame. I did sleep on it though. I closed my eyes for a second at a red light. Perhaps Neil's prices had caught up with the market. Perhaps I am behind the times. Maybe it's the Obamanation. It doesn't matter, really. I just know that three Franklins will buy a lot of 45ACP.

Labels: ,

On Kirk Caldwell.......

NUGUN said it well. Lets not be too quick to condemn the man who may have had to make the most horrendous decision of his life.



Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

First, the wedding went off well.

Next, for the Colt shooters, it looks as if Colt finally has an online factory store. You can once again order parts directly from Colt! Of course if you shoot a Kimfield and Wesson 1911, a lot of the parts will fit those as well. Are Colt parts really better? Some are, such as the recoil plugs that capture the recoil spring to prevent the plug from flying into your eye on field stripping the pistol.

Happy New Year!
¡Próspero Año Nuevo!
Gelukkig nieuwjaar!
Bonne Année!
Buon anno!
สวัสดี ปี ใหม่
Selamat tahun baru!
Frohes Neues Jahr!
سنة جديدة سعيدة!
Feliz ano novo!
Anno Nuovo e Felice!
새해 복 많이 받으십시오