Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This Got My Goat

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

(Click pic for bigger.)

A Bit Too Spicy For Their Tastes

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

There is an American fast food restaurant named Taco Bell, which is known for Tex-Mex themed comfort food sold at a good price.

A recent news article in the New York Post reports that a late night armed robbery at a Taco Bell in Cleveland, Ohio went very badly for the erstwhile stick up artists when three of the five employees working the midnight shift were armed.  One robber was left at the scene, gasping his last, while the others beat a hasty retreat.

Police say that no arrests were made of the fast food wage slaves, which is as it should be.

It Has Been A Long Time Coming

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Long time readers know that I spent half of my life on my charity home security/self defense course for violent crime survivors.

It took a great deal of my time, and just about every penny of my available cash.  But I always tried to keep a social life of some kind going.  This was rather difficult.

Lack of time and money meant that dating was not going to happen, and I have long since given up on any hope of building a family.  But for many years I did manage to keep involved with a circle of friends through a weekly gaming group.  I would host the session at whatever house I was renting at the time, and provide a dinner to further sweeten the deal.  A whole lot of dice were thrown, a whole lot of orcs were slain, and the home fires were kept burning.

Besides the regularly scheduled gaming group, I also made sure to take a week off every year to attend a gaming convention.  My favorite was Gen Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention in North America.  For more than two decades, this formula managed to keep my sanity, and discharged a lot of stress.

But time marches on.  I might not have had time for a family, but the same could not be said of the other members of the gaming group.  Little by little, year by year, they drifted away.  New members would be recruited, but never enough to cover the losses.  Eventually the weekly group was suspended due to lack of players, and it never started up again.

I still had the conventions, though they too started to fade.  My profession was as a computer operator, a job where mainframe computers are monitored so that programs can be started in the right sequence and on the right time.

There certainly was a need for such back in the 1980’s when I started, but advances in computer programs and hardware means that there are fewer positions to go around every year.  It became harder and harder to find jobs, and the pay kept shrinking.  I had to give up Gen Con for local conventions in order to save on travel and hotel expenses, and eventually I had to give up on vacations altogether in order to keep the charity course going.

That was eleven years ago.

Things have changed.  I moved to Texas from Ohio, got a job with the state government that has nothing to do with running mainframes, and found that my charitable services weren’t needed in the land where I now make my home.  I’m not rolling in dough, but debts are being paid off and I am considering purchasing a house instead of renting all the time.  I have also decided to take a vacation after more than a decade.

Where am I going?  It seems that Gen Con 2017 is celebrating its 50th year, and I think that it is time to try and rediscover some of the old magic.

And miracle of miracles, two of my old gaming group are coming along for the ride!  One of them is here in Texas, and the other still lives in Ohio.  In a few hours I’ll pick up my fellow Texan for the long 18 hour drive, and the Ohio dweller will meet us tomorrow outside of  the convention center in Indianapolis.  It will seem like old times!

I met a lot of people over the decades at Gen Con, but I doubt I will be able to renew old acquaintances.  Reports say that this will be the biggest the convention has ever been, and it was hardly sparsely populated in days gone by.

So now, if you will excuse me, I have to go and save the day, rescue the princess, and perform other feats of daring do.  Stand back while I roll to hit!

Don’t Go In There!

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Don’t worry, I didn’t.

Click pic for bigger.

SSHHH!!! They Are Sleeping!

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Sleeping sperm whales.  Click pic for bigger.

Here We Go Again

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Three years ago, I suffered an attack by an enraged canine.  My own dog, Chris, took the brunt of the damage protecting me and his small companion dog, Fuzzball.

The small dog, Fuzzball, is unfortunately no longer with us.  He suffered a stroke last year, and had to be put down.

But I have added a new dog to the pack, another rescue from the streets.  His name is Pete the Puppy.

I suppose I’m just an old softy when it comes to dogs.

The neighbors were moving, and had agreed to keep a few dogs owned by their kids while they packed up.  One of them tunneled under the fence separating our yards during the night.  When Chris and Pete were let outside in the morning, they were attacked!

As usual. Chris stepped in and got the worst of it.


I Think This House Is Mad At Me

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

It reminds me of something ….


Look Out Behind You!

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

I wonder what the guy in the hat is up to?  Where is his right hand?

That’s okay, I think I figured it out.

The picture is from a German movie titled Freddy unter fremdem Sternen (1959), which translates to Freddy under strange Stars.  The oily simp wearing the black hat (a dead giveaway) is played by Dieter Eppler, an actor who has 128 credits to his name.  Highly prolific, he portrayed characters in movies, TV, and even radio.  The picture above might not be the best representation of what kind of roles he filled, as he was usually cast as the dashing military hero.  He died in 2008 at the ripe old age of 81.

In Freddy under strange Stars he played the bad guy.  Big shock, right?

The winsome lass with the fiercely stoic expression is the German actress Vera Tschechowa, whose main claim to fame outside of her native land is that she was seen on the arm of Elvis Presley briefly while he was stationed in Germany during his military service.  But why would he spend the precious time he was allowed off base with some virtually unknown actress?

Yeah, that’s a mystery alright.  I don’t think we will ever be able to puzzle that one out.

Freddy under strange Stars was filmed about the same time that Elvis was pitching woo to Vera, and it was a box office smash.  It was the top money making movie in Germany in 1960.

So why in the world am I talking about forgotten Teutonic melodramas?  Have I suddenly developed a craving for bad movies set in Canada where everyone inexplicably speaks German?

No, not really.  I was wondering how influential German cinema was when it came to vampires, and I came across mention of a terrible Italian/German vampire flick titled The Slaughter of the Vampires (1962).  (Click on that last link for a nifty blog write up of the film.)  Seems that Dieter Eppler, the same leering perv as seen above, also played a suave undead count who slipped a fang into many a mesmerized hottie.

What I can’t figure out is why the vampire only put the nosh on women.

Another mystery!

I Watched With Surreal Fascination

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

During my charity self defense days, I chose only those in extremely dire financial straits as students.  If they had money, they could afford to pay for a standard course of instruction.

This meant I would have to pay for just about everything needed for the self defense course out of my own pocket.  Safety equipment, ammunition, targets, range time.  All came out of my meager disposable income.

One thing I would never do was give away firearms.


The reason for this is way obvious, as the potential liability was too great if the gift would be used in an irresponsible manner.  Besides the fact that I am hardly made of money myself, and guns are rather expensive.

This means my students would train in the classroom and at the range using my firearms, under my close supervision of course, but then would have to obtain their own guns to provide for their defense.  This resulted in a lot of old family heirlooms being cleaned up, checked out, and put into service.  Long after the original owners had become less than memories, their firearms would still be safeguarding the lives of their descendants.

But sometimes there were no old guns lurking in attics, or tucked away and forgotten in basements.  When that occurred my students would buy new, but they didn’t have a lot of cash to spend.  So they would try to something that was serviceable, effective, and devoid of expensive extras.  I would suggest Hi Point firearms.

Ugly, blocky, clunky, heavy.  All these things and more.  And yet they were also reliable, dependable, and chambered for effective calibers.  Although they look like they will come apart after but a few shots, they are rated for +P ammunition in case you want to load up something with extra punch.

And they are inexpensive!  At the time of this writing in 2017, one can buy a brand new, factory fresh Hi Point chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge for about $200.0 USD (£155.00).  Those chambered for the adequate .380 ACP cartridge are even less dear, with a new model coming in at $180.0 USD (£140.00).

Can one get a better gun for more money?  Yeah, sure, of course one can get a better gun for more money!  But you can’t get any better for this kind of money!

Bottom line is that a lot of my students were able to live their lives free from fear due to Hi Points.  But one thing I never knew was that they are just about indestructible!

Watch to the end.  You won’t believe that the gun can still function, but it still goes bang.

Keep in mind that I don’t recommend anyone treat their firearms the way that the gun in the video was treated, so viewer discretion is advised.

What Are Pocket Pistols?

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

The answer to the question posted above is rather simple.  Pocket pistols are handguns that are small enough to be carried around in your pocket.

The quest for small handguns that were easy to conceal has been around for centuries.  The first successful design that was cheap enough for purchase by someone of average income has to be the Deringer, otherwise known as the derringer.

Extremely short barrel, extremely small grip, extremely short range, but still chambered for an effective caliber.  You might only be able to hit a violent criminal attacker if they are within leaping distance, but you had a good chance of putting them down if your aim was true.

It is the large caliber that distinguished the original Deringers, as most pocket pistols were chambered for teensy little calibers that were less than potent.  When revolvers became popular, manufacturers were still offering firearms chambered for small and underpowered calibers in an effort to keep the guns small and light enough to be unobtrusively carried everywhere.  One sterling example is the Velo Dog revolver.

Riding through the countryside on bicycles used to be a great deal more popular then it is today.  As bicycles and the like were once known as “velocipedes“, you can guess by the name that the Velo Dog revolver was designed to be carried by bicycle riders in order to defend against any overly aggressive canines that might be encountered during a bucolic pedal-powered interlude.

Velo Dog revolvers and their ilk were very small, very light, and presented a snag-free profile with the folding trigger swung up out of the way.  They were perfectly designed to be concealed handguns that could be carried anywhere.  They were also chambered for cartridges that were of marginal use.

This drawback was addressed with the introduction of bulldog revolvers.

Very short barrel, very short grip, only effective at very short range, yet chambered for a potent caliber suitable for defense.  This is kind of like a revolver version of a derringer.

So one can see that the desire for small, concealable handguns is pretty much constant.  Another constant is the trade off between small and concealable versus effective.

Nothing has changed in modern times.  The most popular pocket pistol today are probably tiny autoloaders chambered for the puny .25 ACP cartridge.

Small frame revolvers chambered for the .38 Special cartridge are very popular, and a firearms company named Charter Arms even produces a bull dog revolver chambered for more potent cartridges.


Recognizing the desire for smaller, more concealable handguns, most gun manufacturers offer different sizes of the same gun.

(Picture source.)

The picture shows the three sizes available for the Beretta Px4 Storm, with the smallest being called a “subcompact” size.  Most subcompact autoloaders would fit the bill as being pocket pistols.

So what is the lesson to be learned from all this?  If you want to put some bang in your pocket for emergencies, you might as well make sure that it delivers a decent punch.