Sunday, October 9, 2016


I broke free yesterday and built things. Little things. Cut pine pieces, glued, clamped and assembled the old-fashion way with small nails. Screwed in place and now functioning in the kitchen cabinet to neatly hold new frying pans, 7 in all. Old glass lids, old pans still on the counter and we are both trying to throw them away in the garbage can of recyclables. Today could be the day. We have no problem of finding stuff and bringing it home with intentions to use. Pasta-making machine, old-fashion espresso pot, pizza stones. Stuff.

The old cat blankets were removed and thrown in the garbage can earlier this past week and replaced with warm sweaters, bathrobes and blankets from the bin of old clothes. I get pleasure out of seeing the cat in a freshly cleaned cat house, snuggled deep in warm surroundings. Time is short now before her heated bed is turned for 6 months and her water dish plugged in. Eating two cans of cat food and two large helpings of cream daily now. A sign.

Making little things on the cleaned shop bench is what I need to get back to. I have an idea of making a model of a V-22 Osprey. A whirligig to get flying before the first snows set in. I have two large over-sized fan blades that ought to hum in a gentle breeze. I enjoy getting wrapped up in no-nonsense projects like this because I get totally lost in the planning, thinking and building. I can see the finished project in my head and the propellers turning. Once I get the fuselage roughed out, the project will gain a life of its own. Stay tuned.


Skimming the Net This Past Week

Fred On Everything.

From the    Wood Pile Report

* "The purpose served by race riots is clear unless you believe the rioters are deep thinkers with a noble sense of justice. Just as dogs claim territory by pissing on it, so too do they claim territory by pissing on it. Detroit for one, thoroughly pissed on and thoroughly claimed. Great Civil Rights Leaders piss from on high, rioters piss horizontally. "White flight" isn't some unfortunate side effect of such tribal territorial marking, it's the intent. Mr. Buchanan could have ended this essay with "... a criminal takeover of Charlotte’s downtown". Whether it was criminal or not will be debated by the usual ameliorists. That it was a takeover won't be."  (Pat Buchanan article)

* "We got to talking around here about what we'd really do if we were in a city when the SHTF, meaning a sudden catastrophe, real life-or-death stuff, grid down or Boston winning the World Series. Kidding.
Let's assume you know it's "the big one", but you know almost nothing more. You must act immediately. This will win me no friends with the comms and intel people, but here's what you don't need to know in the first hours:
exactly what happened,
when it happened,
what caused it,
who did it and why,
and here's what you do need to know in the first hours:
where a safe place is,
how to get there intact.
That's it. Either you want to survive or you want to be the best informed corpse in the city. Said differently, he who panics first panics best. Yes, there are times when panic is the rational response, not in the sense of unthinking reaction but in the sense of committing to survive without wasting time on distractions. First get off the tracks, then watch the train."
Surf Party
* 'Hurricane Matthew can suck my a**,' she said, before downing multiple beers at once."
Nothing like a fridge full of beer to welcome in a major storm to your neighborhood. This article is worth a few minutes of reading wonderful quotable quotes. Quite the contrast from the end of the world weather/news casts. Ought to be interesting to follow all of this after the storm passes.

Telegraph Road

Mark Knopfler singing - playing guitar. Rolls up his sleeves, feels the music and shakes the numbness out of his fingers.   If I could sing, write music and play the guitar, this is what I would want it to be. If you do not have 13 minutes, then fast forward to 8:50 and let go for a few minutes. Full screen and audio up.  This is what music sounds like.


When I was flying commercially after Vietnam, I often gave orientation rides to folks who were afraid to fly. Maybe a birthday present from a family member or just taking a walk on the wild side for a moment in their life. I always had access to a Cessna 172, a very comfortable and user-friendly airplane.

I always gave the very best flight I could. There were way too many stories of pilots scaring the hell out of someone who was already apprehensive about flying in small planes to begin with. I never understood the need for anyone to act like that. To what point, other than 'look at me'.

The flights always went well, the coastal scenery was worth the chance they thought they were taking. A few gentle turns along with longer duration straight and level flying. An hour introduction flight.

Smiles on their faces when the flight was over said it all. They will be back and speak well of their first flight. A basic fear or uneasiness, overcome.

These past few weeks are at the forefront here. We are having more and more conversations with people who want one-on-one instruction to learn to shoot. The reasons vary, mainly centered around self and family protection, but quite often a hidden fear, uneasiness and apprehension to over come. While on the range, we have seen fear rise in the admittance of being scared and trembling hands. But they come and have put a major personal concern on the line for us to work with, and for, them, coming to grips. We work with them in the same sense of first flights. 

We focus our instruction on gun safety and the basics of shooting. We tell all the folks that at the end of the lessons they will be tired for working new hand skills along with some stress. That what we will be looking at is safety, consistency and basic success with rounds down range. If they are off the target initially, not to worry, we will get them on target by the end of the session and we always do. And most important to them, and to us, is “that you will be safe shooting a .22 pistol, you will know and demonstrate handgun safety, from loading, moving with a pistol in your hand, clearing a jammed gun and returning a cleared gun to a shooting bench/storage. After a few magazines, they are required to explain to us what we have explained to them. Uneasiness and fear turn into working the challenges of learning to shoot and be on target. Lots of smiles and heart-felt "thank yous" when the class is over.

I would like to share with you some of the reasons women attend our classes but will never betray a trust. I WILL say that with all that is pressed into our chests daily on the whole gun debate, some everyday, wonderful women have become seriously threatened in the courses of their daily lives. Young to old. If what we are seeing in some of our classes is but a little window of life here in this great country, we are in a world of hurt.

Their stories and concerns do not come from a fear of the world falling apart, but from being too close to drug users and old-fashioned abuse. Fear of being cornered is a hell of a motivator. Some have come to this hard realization and are acting on doing what it takes to protect themselves and their children. I wish I could summon words to describe the profound seriousness these women bring to being ready to act. It has been an education for me, working with all of them.

I must admit that I have run into a wall here this week. Re-written much and deleted much.

We often talk about distractions all around us. No sooner than I got on a path this week, “squirrels” happen and I am ninety degrees into the underbrush. And while in the underbrush, “squirrels” happen again, another ninety degrees and soon I need to stop, look for high ground, check the compass and find a familiar landmark to gain the path again. Circles this week and a few ups and downs.

I would like to leave you with a letter from a father to his sons in college that he wrote to them this week.  With his permission:

You might call me paranoid or reactionary or irrational...but people buy life insurance because they *might* die early, they buy health insurance because they *might* get sick and they buy home insurance because their home *might* burn down or flood.
So, this is my advice for a different kind of (free) insurance...
At Colorado University this week, someone had a machete and was trying to attack people.  Doesn't matter why, what religion or color he was, or what weapon he used - he was trying to hurt people and was successful.

Problem is, the people he hurt were just in the wrong place at the wrong time - it is usually so very random.

There are dozens of examples of similar (and worse) events recently taking place in the US.  I'm just not sure it's going to get any better for a little while.

But, if you keep your eyes and ears open while you are in a public space (even at school), you can increase your chances of not being one of those unfortunate people.

* When you enter a public space, look around at the people, identifying who in the immediate area is most likely a threat (profiling).

* Look at people's hands.  Anything in them?  Like watching a pitcher about to do a pickoff, you watch his feet for movement - same here, hands and feet

* Don't zone out in a crowd (smart phones anyone?)  Keep your eyes on everyone, switching your glance to different parts of the group around you.

* Try not to turn your back on someone, unless you know they aren't a threat. Put walls and obstacles to your back or flank.

* Look for quick exit points in every place you go.  If you hear a loud noise, exit away from it. (A lot of people in public shootings say they thought they heard "firecrackers", which were gunshots).

* Don't go towards a threat unless you can easily kill it dead.

Yes, this may sound paranoid but it is what trained police and military people do as a habit.  I still do it, especially in the city and subway and in every crowd, regardless.  Habit.

The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

It is called "situational awareness" and the people who practice it survive and may even be the ones who identify and stop bad things before they happen or get worse.

Unfortunately and sadly it is part of our current reality.  Actually, it is just plain human nature - but some times are worse than others.

Be aware.  Don't be surprised by anything.

Love you,

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