Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I miss Iraq. I miss my gun. I miss my war.

Yesterday, I talked about my home on the internet, Cast Boolits. I mentioned we have a lot of vets there, from wars ranging back to Korea to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

One of our members had this piece e-mailed to him.

If you're a vet and reading this, be prepared. It's haunting and it will take you back to your days of innocence that we still futilely search for on occasion.

If you're not a vet, please understand the men and women coming home from Sandland. They've been through a lot. A helluva lot.

Do not categorize them just because some ate sand, were sniped at and saw friends disintegrated by IEDs, and others worked in semi-air-conditioned tents making sure necessary supplies and support got where it was going.

When the shit hits the fan, which is what combat is, there IS only one team--and if the linemen don't block the other guys, then the quarterback and running backs get knocked on their asses.

In combat, that translates into dead. No instant replays. No challenges.

Just dead.

These are the words and thoughts of one such young man. Never have I ever read such a succinct description and soulful pouring of a tortured heart as to what happens to a person.

I Miss Iraq. I Miss My Gun. I Miss My War.

A year after coming home from a tour in Iraq, a soldier returns home to find out he left something behind.

By Brian Mockenhaupt

A few months ago, I found a Web site loaded with pictures and videos from Iraq, the sort that usually aren't seen on the news.

I watched insurgent snipers shoot American soldiers and car bombs disintegrate markets, accompanied by tinny music and loud, rhythmic chanting, the soundtrack of the propaganda campaigns. Video cameras focused on empty stretches of road, building anticipation. Humvees rolled into view and the explosions brought mushroom clouds of dirt and smoke and chunks of metal spinning through the air. Other videos and pictures showed insurgents shot dead while planting roadside bombs or killed in firefights and the remains of suicide bombers, people how they're not meant to be seen, no longer whole.

The images sickened me, but their familiarity pulled me in, giving comfort, and I couldn't stop. I clicked through more frames, hungry for it. This must be what a shot of dope feels like after a long stretch of sobriety. Soothing and nauseating and colored by everything that has come before. My body tingled and my stomach ached, hollow.

I stood on weak legs and walked into the kitchen to make dinner. I sliced half an onion before putting the knife down and watching slight tremors run through my hand. The shakiness lingered. I drank a beer. And as I leaned against this kitchen counter, in this house, in America, my life felt very foreign.

I've been home from Iraq for more than a year, long enough for my time there to become a memory best forgotten for those who worried every day that I was gone. I could see their relief when I returned. Life could continue, with futures not so uncertain.

But in quiet moments, their relief brought me guilt. Maybe they assume I was as overjoyed to be home as they were to have me home. Maybe they assume if I could do it over, I never would have gone. And maybe I wouldn't have. But I miss Iraq. I miss the war. I miss war. And I have a very hard time understanding why.

I'm glad to be home, to have put away my uniforms, to wake up next to my wife each morning. I worry about my friends who are in Iraq now, and I wish they weren't.

Often I hated being there, when the frustrations and lack of control over my life were complete and mind-bending. I questioned my role in the occupation and whether good could come of it. I wondered if it was worth dying or killing for. The suffering and ugliness I saw disgusted me. But war twists and shifts the landmarks by which we navigate our lives, casting light on darkened areas that for many people remain forever unexplored. And once those darkened spaces are lit, they become part of us.

At a party several years ago, long before the Army, I listened to a friend who had served several years in the Marines tell a woman that if she carried a pistol for a day, just tucked in her waistband and out of sight, she would feel different. She would see the world differently, for better or worse. Guns empower. She disagreed and he shrugged. No use arguing the point; he was just offering a little piece of truth. He was right, of course. And that's just the beginning.

I've spent hours taking in the world through a rifle scope, watching life unfold. Women hanging laundry on a rooftop. Men haggling over a hindquarter of lamb in the market. Children walking to school. I've watched this and hoped that someday I would see that my presence had made their lives better, a redemption of sorts.

But I also peered through the scope waiting for someone to do something wrong, so I could shoot him. When you pick up a weapon with the intent of killing, you step onto a very strange and serious playing field. Every morning someone wakes wanting to kill you. When you walk down the street, they are waiting, and you want to kill them, too. That's not bloodthirsty; that's just the trade you've learned.

As an American soldier, you have a very impressive toolbox. You can fire your rifle or lob a grenade, and if that's not enough, call in the tanks, or helicopters, or jets. The insurgents have their skill sets, too, turning mornings at the market into chaos, crowds into scattered flesh, Humvees into charred scrap. You're all part of the terrible magic show, both powerful and helpless.

That men are drawn to war is no surprise. How old are boys before they turn a finger and thumb into a pistol? Long before they love girls, they love war, at least everything they imagine war to be: guns and explosions and manliness and courage.

When my neighbors and I played war as kids, there was no fear or sorrow or cowardice. Death was temporary, usually as fast as you could count to sixty and jump back into the game. We didn't know yet about the darkness. And young men are just slightly older versions of those boys, still loving the unknown, perhaps pumped up on dreams of duty and heroism and the intoxicating power of weapons. In time, war dispels many such notions, and more than a few men find that being freed from society's professed revulsion to killing is really no freedom at all, but a lonely burden.

Yet even at its lowest points, war is like nothing else. Our culture craves experience, and that is war's strong suit. War peels back the skin, and you live with a layer of nerves exposed, overdosing on your surroundings, when everything seems all wrong and just right, in a way that makes perfect sense. And then you almost die but don't, and are born again, stoned on life and mocking death. The explosions and gunfire fry your nerves, but you want to hear them all the same. Something's going down.

For those who know, this is the open secret: War is exciting.

Sometimes I was in awe of this, and sometimes I felt low and mean for loving it, but I loved it still. Even in its quiet moments, war is brighter, louder, brasher, more fun, more tragic, more wasteful. More. More of everything. And even then I knew I would someday miss it, this life so strange.

Today the war has distilled to moments and feelings, and somewhere in these memories is the reason for the wistfulness.

On one mission we slip away from our trucks and into the night. I lead the patrol through the darkness, along canals and fields and into the town, down narrow, hard-packed dirt streets. Everyone has gone to bed, or is at least inside. We peer through gates and over walls into courtyards and into homes. In a few rooms TVs flicker. A woman washes dishes in a tub. Dogs bark several streets away. No one knows we are in the street, creeping.

We stop at intersections, peek around corners, training guns on parked cars, balconies, and storefronts. All empty. We move on. From a small shop up ahead, we hear men's voices and laughter. Maybe they used to sit outside at night, but now they are indoors, where it's safe. Safer.

The sheet-metal door opens and a man steps out, cigarette and lighter in hand. He still wears a smile, takes in the cool night air, and then nearly falls backward through the doorway in a panic. I'm a few feet from him now and his eyes are wide. I mutter a greeting and we walk on, back into the darkness.

I salute you, Brian, with every ounce of respect I can muster. Your generation of veterans makes my generation proud, just as we strived to make the generation that trained, nurtured and fought side by side with us proud.

God Bless you, Brian, your comrades and God Bless every single man and woman who stand at the ready to defend us from evil.

Wounded Warrior Project. Guitars For Vets. Lots of groups out there helping veterans like Brian come back to what our generation called "the world."

Like the vets, these organizations don't ask for much, but they give a lot.

Help them out.

We owe our veterans.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Internet gun commandos. *Sigh*

With a nod to Old NFO, I start this post with a deep, resigned sigh.

Internet gun commandos. Entertaining or irritating?

For the record, I call one and only one internet "discussion forum" home, and that would be Cast Boolits. There, I actually post and contribute, trade PMs (private messages), buy stuff, contribute financially to the forum's well-being, and have actually met some of the members and had lunch/dinner with them, etc. I'm a member of a boating forum BoaterEd, but read only and haven't posted in several years. Also a member of an aviation forum, but have never posted--read only. Anything I want to know, the "search" function is my friend. There are a few gun forums I'll stumble upon courtesy of a google search, but I've only joined one which was the Pennsylvania gun folks place, and I've made a few remarks there but not lately.

Cast Boolits is my home.

I'm a gun guy. A one hundred percent Texas pro-Second Amendment "get out of my damned face with your commie stinking gun-control bullshit" bonafide gun guy.

I wear the Gun Blog Black List badge with honor and with pride.

Some folks used to be fond of saying, "If you don't like Hank Williams, you can kiss my ass." I'm fond of saying, "If you don't like me having guns, you can kiss my ass."

I've carried a gun in defense of my country and fired it. I've carried a gun in defense of my fellow man by way of law enforcement and fired it. I've carried a gun in defense of myself and family by way of a concealed handgun license and have fired it. I believe in defense of country, defense of fellow citizen, and defense of self and family.

If this bothers anyone, I refer you back to the Hank Williams line.

I also reload my own ammo, which I refer to as handloading when it comes to my match-grade ammo. And I also cast my own boolits--known as bullets to the unwashed among us.

So Cast Boolits is a great place for bonafide gun guys like me.

Our crowd, I've been told, can be kind of intimidating to new or younger shooters. I once read a quote about us on another well-respected gun forum with a membership that numbers well over one-hundred thousand in which one of the original members and a moderator said, "Those old farts at Cast Boolits have forgotten more about reloading and casting and shooting than ninety-nine percent of us will ever know."

Some of us kind of resented being thought of as "old farts," so we did a poll and found out, damnit, that most of us ARE old farts.

So, when some youngster with self-inflicted delusions of grandeur when it comes to his "shooting abilities" shows up out of the blue, ostensibly to impress us with his knowledge, skill and experience, we can be kind of a tough crowd to impress.

Someone once called them "mall ninjas" in honor of some comic book character who went by the name of "Gecko45." I thought it was all a joke until someone e-mailed me the link to the legend that is now Gecko45.

Holy mother of mariachi midgets. That was the funniest stuff I have ever read in my life!

I'm thinking that this Gecko fella is over the top on purpose. . . kind of a satirical toss at some of the internet gun commandos who aren't quite as over the top, but instead are far worse because of something else:

They believe what they write about themselves.

I remember one rainy day a few weeks ago. . . I'm at home, watching it rain and eating a bowl of my homemade chili and surfing the net. One link leads to another which leads to another. I call it the "Lost In You Tube" syndrome. Anyhow, I end up on some obscure gun forum about modified "tactical shotguns and cloned H&Ks."

You can find anything on the internet.

Some guy named "Frog" was one of the room monitors and he was scolding some new member for making fun of a guy who had dressed up in his airsoft combat costume, but was holding his actual pimped out shotgun in one picture, and his pimped out something gun in another picture.

Oh. My. God.

It was then that I finally understood the term "internet commando" and "mall ninja."

I read the discussion, did a little digging (it was still raining outside, after all, and I had plenty of chili left) and found out this clown referred to himself as an "educational tactical security specialist."


Further digging revealed he was an unarmed school security employee in Houston, Texas. In fairness, he WAS hoping to move up in the security company and be transferred to one of the shopping malls they had under contract.

Oh. My. God.

One of the people in the discussion with this mister Frog fella actually asked the Houston school-crossing (unarmed) guard if he was, or was related to, the legendary Gecko45. No, the fellow replied, but he admitted to having a "great deal of respect" for Gecko45.

Even more frightening was the legions of DEFENDERS this clown had defending the two or three guys deriding him for looking like a cross between Idi Amin, Colonel Khadaffi and Rambo all dressed in SEAL Delta Force nomex basic black.

Read that again: Other guys were defending him for his delusions!

Oh. My. God.

So all of this comes crashing back to me when I stumbled across another post by some kid from somewhere in the lower South bragging about how "all his friends are impressed with how great he shoots" and how he "shoots his initials in the target" and that they all call him "Sniper, because he's that good."

He argues a bit with a few folks, then goes on to state that "nobody wants him shooting at them" because he's that good.

What a warrior, eh?

I was in the Air Force many years ago. We delivered Death and Bad Things to people and places we didn't like very much. The Death and Bad Things often went by the name of U.S. Navy SEALs and Green Berets and U.S. Army Rangers and Recon Marines. Pretty nice guys as long as you saluted the same flag. Stone cold professionals. And if they happened to have a difficulty or two in getting away from whatever appointment we dropped them off at, we had these fellas called Pararescuemen, or PJs, that made Superman, Bruce Lee and John Wayne all take two respectful steps back. The PJs didn't give two shits in Cheyenne where you were at or how many people were around that didn't like you--if you needed getting out, they got you out.

Now those are warriors. Real warriors. Hell, I salute ANYONE who gut-checked it up, left home and strapped on a pair of combat boots. Hey, you sacrificed. You served. You did your part.

Thank you.

But these internet warriors. . .

When I read about these guys on the internet shooting their initials in a target or being called "sniper" by their friends or telling us about how many "$100 bills" they've won on shooting bets, I smile.

Then I go re-read the Legend of Gecko45 and figure somewhere, this guy must've been the world's greatest sexual performer because he certainly spawned a helluva lot of offspring.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let's shoot some prairie dogs.

A friend of mine from CCI Ammunition sent me this.

Be forewarned: It's a little addicting.

Let's shoot some prairie dogs!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet Chump of the Decade, Terrell Owens.

Why did the headline not surprise me?

Terrell Owens says he's broke, "in hell."

According to the story in Yahoo, and with excerpts taken from an interview with GQ, Owens made somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million during his tumultuous, controversy-filled career.

For those of us that will never see eighty-million dollars, the figure looks like this:


Lot of zeros in that figure, but the biggest zero is Owens himself.

For the record, I thought TO sucked. As an athlete and especially as a human being. I had a minor business dealing with him some ten years ago, a very minor business dealing and he was a complete ass. One of our clients thought they might consider an endorsement from this overhyped nimrod. It took us less than ten minutes to realize the monumental mistake and walk out of the meeting.

To listen to him that day, you would've thought he had a friggin business PhD from MIT. He has a PhD all right, it's a Piled Higher and Deeper degree, and it's from BSU--Bull Shit University.

To listen to TO talk about his athleticism, you would've thought the Heisman was going to be re-named the Oweisman. I--and legions of others--know better. I saw him drop passes in Dallas that should've been caught. For the money the Cowboys' idiot owner wasted on TO, those passes should've been caught, branded, BBQ'd and personally stagecoached into the endzone by TO.

I always thought TO should've tried catching passes with his mouth. Big target and always open.

And now the idiot's broke, and as usual. . . blaming everyone but himself for his problems.

Funny thing is, who can he blame for the four kids he sired by four different women that he admits never having really dated? He refers to three of them as "repeat offenders."

All four are suing him because he has no job, no money and can't pay the combined $44K the courts ordered him to pay. (On a side note, any woman who claims to need $10,000 a month in child support is every bit as full of crap as the idiot who impregnated her. I have no sympathy for these women and consider them little more than prostitutes who are suing for breach of contract.)

No NFL teams will even talk to him, and TO claims it's the media's fault.

Maybe he wants to look at the calendar? The stupid arrogant SOB is 38-years-old, which is ancient in the NFL, save for Brett Favre. What idiotic owner (shhhh, Jerry Jones might be reading this today) would pay an over-the-hill, loudmouthed, locker-room wrecking has-been with concrete hands any sort of money at all to come join his team?

But Terrell says it's everyone else's fault. He even goes so far to say that even knowing all the mistakes he made, he wouldn't change a damned thing because it would "disrespect his grandmother, who raised him."

He blew $80,000,000.00 dollars and has stooped to blaming his grandmother.

What a chump.

Unfortunately, in the NFL and professional sports, Terrell Owens isn't alone. But at least for once, he stands at the top of something.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Southern pride and mainstream BS.

The media learned a valuable lesson in 2008.

Pick the Republican candidate and they're guaranteed to get the Democrat elected.

Up to this point, the mainstream has been cramming Mitt Romney down our throats and up our collective butts.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, the media pushed Romney on us. Except in Iowa, Santorum pulled a rabbit out of his hat.

The result?

The media is all but ignoring Santorum. No headlines, no substantive interviews, no coverage. Instead, they continue to create a bigger controversy between the establishment candidates Newt and Mitt.

Kinda like they did with Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann when each of them pulled out their own rabbits and began soaring in the polls.

Ignore them, concentrate on who THEY want and trust the average American to be stupid enough to blindly follow.

Seems that didn't work in Dixie. In South Carolina, Mitt got his yankee ass kicked--both in the debates and at the polls. He ain't looking so hot in Florida, either.

The media's solution? Shut the American public's response and feedback down. No more cheering or applause at the debates.


The irony is delicious. The great stalwart of "freedom of speech" and "freedom of expression" is the first to shut down anyone with whom they disagree with. You see in "letters to the editor" sections of newspapers everywhere--perhaps giving us another reason why most newspapers are in serious financial trouble.

The big problem for the media is that the primary debates and cauci are moving into the South, and us Southerners don't cotton to big-city yankees. South Carolina proved that. I suspect Florida will, too, although I only consider the northern half of Florida to be part of the United States. The southern half is more akin to a third world country, thanks to the northeastern liberals who've retired and moved there and now are trying to insist on making Fort Myers exactly like Trenton, New Jersey.

So now the secret is out. The media doesn't want your feedback during the debates. Newt says BS to that and threatens to boycott the debates if the audience can't clap or cheer.

Good for Newt.

There is a reason more and more Americans get their news from the internet and alternative/new media. Crap like what's being pulled at NBC, the New York Times, et al, is why.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why AARP can kiss my ass.

From the e-mail stacks. . .

Dear Mr. Rand,

Recently you sent us a letter encouraging us to renew our lapsed membership in AARP by the requested date. I know it is not what you were looking for, but this is the most honest response I can give you. Our gap in coverage is merely a microscopic symptom of the real problem, a deepening lack of faith.

While we have proudly maintained our membership for several years and have long admired the AARP goals and principles, regrettably, we can no longer endorse its abdication of our values. Your letter specifically stated that we can count on AARP to speak up for our rights, yet the voice we hear is not ours. Your offer of being kept up to date on important issues through DIVIDED WE FAIL presents neither an impartial view nor the one we have come to embrace. We do believe that when two parties agree all the time on everything presented to them, one is probably not necessary. But, when the opinions and long term goals are diametrically opposed, the divorce is imminent. This is the philosophy which spawned our 200 years of government.

Once upon a time, we looked forward to being part of the senior demographic. We also looked to AARP to provide certain benefits and give our voice a power we could not possibly hope to achieve on our own. AARP gave us a sense of belonging which we no longer enjoy. The Socialist politics practiced by the Obama Regime and empowered by AARP serves only to raise the blood pressure my medical insurance strives to contain. Clearly a conflict of interest there!

We do not understand the AARP posture, feel greatly betrayed by the guiding forces that we expected to map out our senior years and leave your ranks with a great sense of regret. We mitigate that disappointment with the relief of knowing that we are not contributing to the problem anymore by renewing our membership. There are numerous other organizations which offer discounts without threatening our way of life or offending our sensibilities.

This Obama Regime scares the living daylights out of us. Not just for ourselves, but for our proud and bloodstained heritage. But even more importantly for our children and grandchildren. Washington has rendered Soylent Green a prophetic cautionary tale rather than a nonfiction scare tactic. I have never in my life endorsed any militant or radical groups, yet now I find myself listening to them. I don't have to agree with them to appreciate the fear which birthed their existence. Their borderline insanity presents little more than a balance to the voice of the Socialist mindset in power. Perhaps I became American by a great stroke of luck in some cosmic uterine lottery, but in my adulthood I CHOOSE to embrace it and nurture the freedoms it represents as well as the responsibilities it requires.

Your website generously offers us the opportunity to receive all communication in Spanish. ARE YOU KIDDING? The illegal perpetrators have broken into our 'house', invaded our home without our invitation or consent. The President has insisted we keep these illegal perpetrators in comfort and learn the perpetrator's language so we can communicate our reluctant welcome to them.

I DON'T choose to welcome them.

I DON'T choose to support them.

I DON'T choose to educate them.

I DON'T choose to medicate them, pay for their food or clothing.

American home invaders get arrested.
Please explain to me why foreign lawbreakers can enjoy privileges on American soil that Americans do not get?

Why do some immigrants have to play the game to be welcomed and others only have to break & enter to be welcomed?

We travel for a living. Walt hauls horses all over this great country, averaging over 10,000 miles a month when he is out there. He meets more people than a politician on caffeine overdose. Of all the many good folks he enjoyed on this last 10,000 miles, this trip yielded only ONE supporter of the current Regime. One of us is out of touch with mainstream America . Since our poll is conducted without funding, I have more faith in it than ones that are driven by a need to yield AMNESTY. (aka - make voters out of the foreign lawbreakers so they can vote to continue the government's free handouts). This addition of 10 to 20 Million voters who then will vote to continue Socialism will OVERWHELM our votes to control the government's free handouts. It is a "slippery slope" we must not embark on!

As Margret Thatcher (former Prime Minister of Great Britain) once said "Socialism is GREAT - UNTIL you run out of other people's money".

We have decided to forward this to everyone on our mailing list, and will encourage them to do the same... With several hundred in my address book, I have every faith that the eventual exponential factor will make a credible statement to you.

I am disappointed as all get out !!!!

I am more scared than I have ever been in my entire life !!!

I am ANGRY !!!

I am MAD as hell, and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!

Walt & Cyndy
Miller Farms Equine Transport

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Something California excels at.

"Frankly, I don't know what it is about California , but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I'm not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine , even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington , we're number one. There's no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on 'Macbeth'. The four of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of blab. You don't know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words."

-- columnist Burt Prelutsky, Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Congress, Wall Street, listen up and listen good.

I'm fed up.

You and your SOPA crap have touched something off in me.

So be advised this:

I'm an American citizen.

I'm armed.

I'm trained.

I'm experienced.

I'm pissed off.

I'm not alone.

Better pay attention.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My days of being a conservative may soon be coming to an end.

I just received one of those "Oh my God!" e-mails. You know, the kind that forewarn you of the world coming to a catastrophic end unless you call your Congressman's office and raise hell about stopping the passage of some nebulous bill or the other.

This one had me scratching my head, then navigating towards the Google and Bing buttons to do a little searching on my own.

Then I called my elected officials' offices and raised pure bloody hell. Screamed at them, I did. Loudly and profanely.

Told them my days of being a campaign-supporting conservative were quickly coming to an end.

The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is to the internet what Obamacare is to medicine.

A death sentence.

SOPA (HB 3261) effectively gives unbridled power to the Attorney General, the same one, mind you responsible for the murder of a federal agent ala Fast and Furious, to regulate the internet and not just "including" businesses, but especially businesses.

Right up to and especially including blogs like this one and online classified ads sites like craigslist.

The supporting corporate sponsorship of this draconian bill include some of the richest corporations, and their fat-assed CEOs, in all of America, such as:

RIAA, MPAA, News Corp, TimeWarner, Walmart, Nike, Tiffany, Chanel, Rolex, Sony, Juicy Couture, Ralph Lauren, VISA, Mastercard, Comcast, ABC, Dow Chemical, Monster Cable, Teamsters, Rupert Murdoch, Lamar Smith (R-TX), John Conyers (D-MI)

Now I'm a capitalist at heart, and have been since I mowed my first lawn for a dollar, and then went on to get my first paper route. I retired from the advertising and marketing industry, which is about as capitalist as it gets.

But there is no way in hell you can--or will--ever convince me that any CEO is worth $50 million dollars a year, plus stock and bonus options. For the record, you'll never convince me that any professional athlete is worth that, either. I've negotiated enough endorsement contracts with professional athletes to pitch clients such in the categories of sports drinks, soft drinks, fast food, etc., to know I have a leg to stand on here.

But there is a difference between a $10MM/year CEO and a $10MM/year professional athlete.

The athlete actually has to perform, has to have the ability, and fans pay money--by choice--to see or watch the athlete and his team perform.

Not always so with CEOs.

When is the last time the CEO of, let's say Walgreens or CVS or Walmart or Sears or Target spent a week working the cash registers--the source of all income for their companies? Or when is the last time these same CEOs had to unload the huge trucks that roll in all hours of the day--the source of goods for which the cashiers ring up the sales, and for which deposits pay the companies' expenses starting with the million dollar salaries?

And when CEOs perform badly, as most of them inevitably end up doing, and get fired, as most inevitably end up doing, why do they almost always get seven and eight-figure golden parachute bonuses to soften their fall?

I've been fired from a job exactly one time, and all I got was a severance check and shown the door (I was in college working part time for one of the above mentioned retail companies).

I saw a store manager get fired and all he got was his vacation he had "banked" and a one-month severance check. The man had over thirty years with the company and was fired basically to make room for the younger, greedier Number Two man to move up.

Two years later, the CEO of this company was fired when the company was underperforming horribly AND was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for age-discrimination. The CEO walked away with over $15 million in cash payouts, plus the remaining fourteen months on his contract, plus health benefits, plus his life insurance policy was paid off.

Translation: The CEO fucked over the company and employees and shareholders and walked away with over $20 million dollars.

CEOs have only gotten worse, and now they are threatened by little people like you and me who may like to shop for stuff on craigslist. They claim we're "stealing" business from them--"them" being Walmart, Target, Walgreens, et al. The elected asshats claim we're "dodging taxes" by buying directly from our neighbors.

What a bunch of crap.

This nation was founded upon individual relationships of our own deciding. The business I retired from was based upon "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your doorstep." Small business is THE engine that drives our economy--not the Wall Street conglomerates.

I have nothing against the acquisition of wealth so long as it's done honestly and ethically. But when our top business people have done nothing more than politic their way to the top, then appointed board members who continue to inflate each others' salaries and benefits and all at the expense of the very people making thos companies work who live in fear every single day as to how much longer they'll be employed, then we have a problem.

Likewise, when these crooked, greedy sons of bitches are threatened by individuals in Fish Bite Falls, USA who are selling their handmade quilts on craigslist, then we an even bigger problem.

Government and more regulations are not the answer.

More support of the "little guy" business is the answer.

I try to avoid publicly-owned businesses whenever I can. It gets harder at times, and even when I shop at my neighborhood hardware store, I realize that many of the products I buy end up supporting one of the CEOs whose ass I'd really like to kick.

And while that can't be helped, the initial purchase of my goods goes towards my community neighbor who opens his hardware store up each morning and who has put two sons and one daughter through college by way of his hardware store.

Likewise, I all but boycott corporate-owned restaurants. Their food sucks anyhow, compared to mom & pop restaurants.

There are exceptions to my shopping with Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops being notable exceptions. For a long time, I supported Sears because of how they correctly handled and treated their veterans who were sent off to war. There are some responsible large corporations out there and I will continue to support them.

But for those who want to support bills that will shut down mom & pop internet businesses?

Kiss my non-corporate ass.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gunsamerica.com & Paul Helinski. Where ignorance meets arrogance.

First off, be advised that if you're reading this, you're basically an idiot according to Paul Helinski, CEO of something or someplace called "Gunsmaerica.com"

I went to check it out and it just looks like a big electronic bidding house or auction place for guns, and it's on the internet.

The same internet Helinski seems to think he should own when it comes to guns and serious gun talk.

There are some serious ironies going on here, but first--as journalists would say--a little background. In fact, I'm going to do the background as a direct quote from Mr. Helinski regarding his view of blogs, those who read blogs, those who sponsor blogs, those idiotic gun manufacturers, dealers, suppliers who like or advertise on blogs, etc.


"Now the question is when you are going to start qualifying internet media? We have to crawl over nobodies who can install wordpress and have nobody reading anything they write, It isn't so hard to qualify internet media using Alexa.com and Compete.com. Why do you waste the manufacturers' time and make the real internet media have to deal with wish I were internet journalists who are just using your stamp of approve to solicit review guns and accessories? You've created this giant gorilla in the room and we all have to deal with it, and you may think the industry takes your numbers seriously, but everyone sees things for what they are. If you are serious about bringing value to your exhibitors, you need to vet the press list."

"There is nothing like killing yourself for ten or fifteen years to have to wait for a guy to shoot his video for Colt on his cellphone at media day."

"You are a wanna be internet media professional. Why don't you go into Compete.com and compare gunsamerica.com to any other gun website, not just blogs. You've never heard of us, and we are the industry leader in internet readership, after 15 years of hard work and dedication. Why should I have to wait for you to finish taking a video with your phone at range day?"

Why isn't that sweet?

I liked the "wannabe" as it kinda reminds me of when Helinski was trying to get in the gun business. He used to be an IT guy. Translation: computer nerd. While I have no way of knowing it to be a fact, I would presume due to Mr. Helinski's elitist attitude that he was probably one of the top nerds at Apple or Microsoft, literally hovering just underneath the shadows of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

After all, he seems to have so much contempt for "wannabes" that there is simply no way he himself could've ever started something outside the IT (computer nerd) world unless he was the bona fide real deal. Right?

Secondly, I find it ironic as hell that in the early days of his Gunsamerica.com thing, Mr. Helinski lowered himself to the depths of "wannabes" in the form of gunnuts.com, a blog and podcaster, and actually gave a podcast talk in which he kind of rebuked folks who ordered or bought direct--bypassing the "stocking" dealers as he referred to them.

But Gunsamerica.com is kind of a bypass of "stocking" dealers, isn't it?

I guess once you sail past "wannabe" status and into "CEO" status, the criteria by which you judge yourself changes.

Didn't we see that with a less-than-reputable self-pronounced CEO of some scam called "Gunpal" that later morphed (and crashed) as "Gpal?"

So Mr. Helinski falls into the same trap he bitches at others for--becoming an electronic CEO.

Oh, but he's legitimate because he says he is. The rest of us aren't, because he says we aren't.

Seems he isn't making too many friends in the gun industry now that he's come out of the "anti-everyone-but-himself-as-a-serious-blogger" closet.

Here's a big clue for you, Mr. Helinski: You don't own the SHOT Show. The vast majority of manufacturers would much rather have 450 electronic journalists/bloggers pitching their goods honestly and unbeholden to paying advertisers rather than less than a dozen dying paper & ink rags.

Oh, and there have been a few other intellectually-challenged folks like you in the gun world make disparaging remarks, and their booths at SHOT Shows and NRA annual meetings stayed pretty danged empty.

Conclusion? Dumb move, dumb statements and dumb attitude for Mr. Helinski to have.

Only thing he could do dumber would be to sign up Gpal as a payment service.

And it wouldn't surprise me if he tries.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hooyah! Marines urinate on dead Taliban. Obama, Clinton pissed.

Seems the Obama misadministration and the usual legion of cat's reproductive genitalia are moaning and whining over a video of some U.S. Marines urinating the on the three dead bodies of some Afghan enemies--reputed to be Taliban.

My first thought when learning of this was, "Big F***ing Deal." After all, dead terrorists need to be pissed on.

Live terrorists need to be pissed on.

But, as expected, the liberal pacifist factions come howling forth calling for court-martial, investigations, punishment and Hillary Rodham Clinton is tripping all over herself apologizing to the Afghan president, who himself is pissing and moaning over this instance.

Here's my response to the Afghan president. Now, I'm not the secretary of state, but unlike either, or any, Clinton, I served and I'm a veteran and I have every bit as much right to say what I want to these assholes as our ineffective government does.

So here goes:
"Mr. Afghan President, Kiss my ass. Sincerely, An Ordinary American."

Where is the outrage from our stupid-assed secretary of state when IEDs destroy and maim U.S. Marines? Where is the outrage from the chickenshits calling for court-martial and punishment when suicide bombers blow themselves up in the middle of a Marines' barracks?

Liberals hate America. Anything we do to stand up for ourselves, they hate. Liberals were losers when they were kids. They were never picked for athletic teams, nobody gave a damn that they won the sixth-grade spelling bee, and they always sat in folding metal chairs pulling at their putzes on prom night because even the school librarian's daughter wouldn't be seen dancing with them.

Now that they've grown up, the only way they can get attention is to be pacifist losers and "protest" the very men and women who are living and fighting in foreign lands and who have the guts to fight for freedom and liberty, regardless of where it is--when the chickenshit liberals refuse to fight for it right here at home.

Fight for it? Hell they refuse to even support it! They think the government has all the answers.

The comments at the end of the story in the Washington ComPost are most telling of all. An awful lot of posers writing in, claiming to be vets. Maybe so, but my bet is IF they even served, they were REMFs of the worst order.

That is, IF they even served. . . which I find highly doubtful.

And to the Marines that pissed on the dead Taliban? I raise my soft-drink glass tonight in your honor, and when the alarm rings this morning and I have to head to the bathroom for the usual morning mechanics, I'll be thinking of you guys urinating on those dead pieces of terrorist crap.

I think I'll have an extra glass of water before I go to bed.

Semper Fi.

Carry a handgun? Never.

I had a conversation with a woman a few years younger than myself the other evening. The topic was carrying a handgun.

Or, more accurately, why carry a handgun.

She argued that she'd never needed to have a handgun on her person or in her car.

Never, eh?

I'm used to this line of mislogic. It kind of goes with the mislogic used by the anti-gun crowd that whines, "If the Founding Fathers knew there were going to be Uzis and AK-47s and 50-caliber sniper rifles, do you think they still would have written the Second Amendment the way they did?"

I answer that question with one of my own: "If the Founding Fathers knew there was going to be an internet, blogs, hundreds of cable-news stations, 'journalists' like Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather outright fabricating stories (ie exploding pickup gas tanks, false papers about George W Bush, et al) and no accountability whatsoever for the media, do you think they still would have written the First Amendment the way they did?"

Normally I get a "deer in the headlights" gawking, gasping, stuttering response to that question.

As far as "never" needing to have a handgun, I nodded at the woman and offered the following points:

• I'd driven for years and never needed a spare tire. Then one day on a lonely highway, I had a tire go flat on me. This was before cell phones, so I was on my own. Glad I had a spare tire, even though I'd never needed one.

• I'd gone for years and never needed to see a dentist, but then I got some wisdom teeth hurting. Glad there was a dentist around and even more glad I'd planned ahead and stashed away some money for just such an eventuality.

• I'd managed to go for years and years and never had my wallet stolen, so there was no need to keep track of silly things like my drivers license number, credit card numbers, insurance info and the other stuff most men typically keep in their butt-purse. But then one day, some scumbag SOB at the gym rifled through my (locked) locker and wouldn't you know it? Glad I had all that info written down and in the (gun) safe at home.

• My granddad had put me in judo shortly after first grade, then in jiu jitsu, then in karate--all before I was in junior high school. I'd never needed needed it in a real fight, but the first week I was in high school, three guys--all older and bigger than me--(mistakenly) thought they were bad asses.

Point is, if I'd gone through life blissfully ignorant and naive thinking I'd never need anything that might save my life or keep me from being very uncomfortable or in a bad way, I would've learned some hard lessons.

As it is, I changed a tire and went on my way. I had some wisdom teeth extracted and continued college. I called the Texas DMV, my insurance companies and banks to cancel everything in my stolen wallet. And three seniors sported some bruises and bumps for a few days, but nobody died and within a few months, we had all actually become fairly good friends.

Being prepared does things like that.

So, that's why I carry a gun. Hopefully all the excitement of life is behind me, but still, my wise old grandma always used to say, "Never say never."

Good advice then. Even better advice now.