I Don’t Think She Mops The Floor In Those Shoes

sexest kelloggs pep cereal ad

(Picture source.)

At first I thought this was some sort of ad for one of those strange fetish websites that are scattered about.  Seems reasonable, what with the feather duster she is holding and all.  And what is the male doing with his left hand to put such an odd, squinty-eyed smile on her face?

But, no.  Instead it is an actual vintage ad for a cereal that was popular back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  The images above were meant to be wholesome and comforting, instead of provocative.

The Internet has ruined our sense of propriety.  Someone deserves a spanking for that.

Haunted By My Past

Ever have a sudden desire for a favorite food?  One afternoon the craving for french fries came upon me, but not just any fries.  I wanted those skinny fries that you usually only find at county fairs and carnivals.

shoestring fries on a plate

One would think that I would be out of luck, as there were no fairs or carnivals around at the time.  But it seems that there is a restaurant chain which has just those types of fries, so I headed there.

While I was waiting for my order to be prepared, I heard my name from behind.  Someone was calling me?  I turned to find a really large guy giving me the nuclear stink eye.

actor angus scrimm scowling

(Not the guy in question, but the expression was similar.)

Oh, jeez.  Just what I needed.  Hey, I was only trying to order some french fries!

He was considerably younger than I was, much larger, and rather fit.  He was also between me and the front door.

angry muscular man

He wasn’t making any overtly threatening moves, at least not yet.  But he was obviously enraged about something, and I figured it was just a matter of a few moments.

So, go out the back?  I wasn’t certain that there was a back door I could use unless I vaulted over the counter.  So I turned in order to block his view of my hand fishing the defensive spray from my belt, and waited to see what he would do.

Then I heard my name spoken yet again, except that he didn’t say anything.  My awareness expanded from the obvious threat to see that there was a very pretty young woman standing next to the angry (and very large, did I mention that?) young man.

attractive blonde in very short shorts

(Not the woman in question, although there is a certain resemblance.)

For some unfathomable reason I immediately admitted that, indeed, I happened to be the James Rummel that she was looking for.  Her quest was over, her prayers were answered, because here I was!

She introduced herself, and said that she remembered me from my charity work.  This puzzled me for a moment, as there was no recollection of ever having taught her the finer points of self defense.  And I was absolutely sure that I would have remembered her if she had ever applied to be a student!

It seems that she had never taken the course.  Instead it was her mother, fifteen years in the past, who had approached me for help.  The young woman had fond memories of playing with her dolls in the family kitchen while I went through my paces.

little girl with doll

(Thinking of how old she had been when we first met kinda put the brakes on my ambitions, if you know what I mean.)

She had also watched me as I installed deadbolt locks on all the exterior doors, and replaced the back door with one that was free from windows so it would be harder for burglars to get in the next time.

We passed a few minutes in conversation, which mainly consisted of me hanging a frozen smile on my face while she excitedly related how her mother managed to shake off the fear from her encounter with criminals after graduating from the self defense course.  It was lucky that she didn’t ask for too many responses from me, as I wracked my brain the entire time and could not dredge up any wisp of memory of either her mother, or of her at 6 years of age.  I suppose that is what happens after more than 700 students.  The one thing that is certain is that her mother 15 years before did not resemble her daughter all grown up, or else she would have stood out from the crowd.

So she was far, far too young to have taken my self defense course way back when.  I asked if she was presently interested, but she politely declined.  (Dammit!!)  After a few minutes my order was up, and she said her goodbyes.

Her boyfriend never said a word, just loomed over the entire exchange with hate shining from his face.  I wonder what she had been telling her about me to get him so riled up.

(This is a retelling of an incident which occurred a few years back.)


Looking For Ammo?

I just finished a trip to my local gun store, searching for ammunition needed for an upcoming handgun safety class.  Let me just say that the experience soured my mood.

When the charity course was chugging along full speed, I went through ammunition by the triple handful every month.  To make sure I wouldn’t be caught short, an effort was made to gather a stockpile to be held against need.

pile of 9mm parabellum cartridges

I’ve been semi-retired from charity work for some years now, and the stockpile has finally run low.  Although I knew that ammunition and reloading supplies were difficult to find, the idea was to visit several stores in the area and buy a little here and a little there until everything needed was found.

This particular store is always busy, and they have traditionally kept the ammunition behind the counter so customers have to ask for what they want.  This can be tedious, as customers have to take a number and wait for a time before a clerk becomes free to help.

Things had changed a bit in the year since I had last been there.  A sign on the counter stated that practice ammo for three of the most popular calibers could be had at the cash registers by the front door, so anyone needing nothing but the three listed wouldn’t have to wait.  This was fine, but I use a wide variety of handguns in my course.  I hit the lever, collected my little paper slip with a red number printed on it, and waited my turn.

It took some time, but my number was finally called after close to an hour.  I bellied up to the glass display case and asked for what I needed, confident that I would be on my way in a few minutes.  After all, how much time would the clerk need to grab a few boxes of ammo and walk them up to the cash register?

To my confusion, I was met with an attitude that I can only characterize as being heavily infused with contempt.

contempt from a cat

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Still Hanging On

I like to say that I’ve almost died more times than I can count, but that simply isn’t true.

1920 daredevil balancing on the edge of a high building

There was the time a wannabee serial killer tried to run my car into a concrete pillar while I drove down the highway.  The car started to violently spin, all traction between my tires and the pavement broken.  I went by the pillar without touching it, and then my car rolled up an embankment onto the acceleration ramp.  The roof of the car collapsed everywhere down into the seats, except where my head happened to be.  I kicked the back window free from the frame and crawled out from under without a scratch, spitting little chunks of safety glass that had gone into my mouth during the long scream I started when the car began to tumble.

destroyed geo metro

(My car wasn’t nearly this bad.)

A Rottweiler surprised me once, leaping for my throat before I could clear my gun.  It had me dead to rights, but a small dog I was walking at the time jumped into the jaws in order to buy me some time.  Since I couldn’t shoot the attacking dog without hitting my own, I took a step to the side and broke some big pooch ribs with my hiking boots.  This caused the Rot to drop my pet without seriously injuring him, which was good, but it also slowed me down enough so the owner arrived at the run and covered the Rottweiler with his own body before I could defend myself decisively.

At any rate, another episode gone by without a scratch.  My toes were bruised up from the kick, and smarted for a few days.  Hardly counts as a scratch, though.

snarling rottweiler

(Not the actual dog I mentioned.)

Someone saw me walking my dogs late one night, so he drove his car up on the sidewalk and gunned the engine towards me.  I was carrying a really big Magnum at the time, so I snatched it from the shoulder holster and aimed it at the driver side of the windshield and four inches above the hood.  He twitched the steering wheel and all four tires went back on to the pavement, the car never touching me or the dogs who anchored me to the spot via their leashes tangled around my left hand.  I couldn’t give anyone a description, dazzled as I was by his high beams and the rush of adrenaline.

model 686 357 magnum revolver

(That is the actual .357 I was carrying that night.  Still have it.)

There was the time I was shot at while hiking.  Three redneck teens who were out poaching before hunting season mistook my rustling for a deer, and opened up on the noise.  I flopped down behind a tree that was far too narrow for my ample girth, and listened to the solid slugs crashing through the bushes all around me.   When they stopped to reload, I went up the small hill they were standing on like some sort of super-powered gazelle and read them the riot act.  They were far more surprised that a fat man could move that fast than they were at finding out that the deer they were shooting at wasn’t a deer at all.

Peed my pants during that one, I was so scared.  The only time in my life I couldn’t hold it during a time of stress.

deer silhouette shaved into back of head

(Not one of the kids who tried to shoot me.)

And that is it.  Four close calls.  Not only can I count them all, I don’t even have to take my shoes off!

Oh, there are plenty of others that stand out in my mind, but I have to admit that the possibility of imminent death was not very high.  I just thought I was about to die, but there was no real chance that it would be worse than losing a limb or becoming massively disfigured.  Certainly not good enough to include the incidents in the “About To Die” file.

I’m sharing this sordid tale of a life misspent with you due to this essay.  It would appear that the author is upset that she is about to turn 50 years old, and is struggling with the whole midlife crisis thing.

That isn’t the way I look at aging.  For me, every birthday is a parade!  Hey, I managed to make it yet another year!  And I intend to get older and more wizened until I can’t walk anymore and have to confine myself to a wheelchair!

Don’t ask me why I feel this way.  It is a mystery!

According to this Wikipedia entry, a midlife crisis is often triggered when someone realizes their own mortality.  I think that happened to me when I was seven years old.

Once Again, Our Tax Dollars Prove Gun Control Doesn’t Work

The run up to the 2000 Presidential Election in the US was seen as a referendum on several hot button issues.  To keep the metaphor rolling, let me say that no button burned with greater intensity than that of gun control.

gun control protest

The Democrats insisted that laws which restricted private ownership of firearms reduced crime and violence, but they were hampered by the amount of evidence which proved their position to be wrong.  So they decided that the wrong questions were being asked.

The focus, so they said, needed to shift away from how many times each year that privately owned guns were used to prevent crimes.  Data instead should be collected which showed how violence, death, and crimes were reduced when gun control laws were put in place.

So the Clinton Administration commissioned the Centers for Disease Control to conduct such a study.  They even made sure that the panel of scientists tasked with collecting the data consisted almost entirely of people who had spoken out in favor of gun control laws in the past.  Then the Democrats sat back, and smugly waited to be vindicated in their views.

smug cat

Except it didn’t happen that way.  The CDC study was wide ranging in scope, perhaps even definitive, but it could not find even a single instance where a gun control law reduced crime or prevented violence.  Not even one!  Instead of finding proof that their opinions were based in the real world, gun control advocates were faced with scientific evidence that strongly showed that they had been wrong all along!

How did the Democrats react?  By any reasonable measure, they should have been very sad.

sad cat

But instead the reaction was anger and hatred!

very angry cat

They pretty much denied that the CDC had found anything at all.  Instead they insisted that the NRA had manipulated Congress into removing the funding for research into the effectiveness of gun control laws just before proof of reduced violence and crime was to be discovered.

See, it wasn’t that they were wrong.  To a dedicated gun control advocate, that simply isn’t possible!  Instead it is supposedly a vast conspiracy by people who actually like high crime rates and the death of innocents.  There is no evidence of this, either, but their belief in a nationwide conspiracy just as strong as their faith in the effectiveness of gun control laws.

A decade passes.

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Time Is Running Out

I applied for my license to carry a concealed firearm a few days after the law went into effect in my home state of Ohio.  That was in April of 2004, nine years ago.

sample ohio ccw license

(Not my picture or license, although I must admit that I think Samples is a fine name.)

My fingerprints were taken at my local Sheriff’s office, and a background check was conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI).  They gave the OK in a mere two business days, and I was downtown the next morning to pick up my laminated ID card.  Less than a week and I was able to legally defend myself against threats to my life, hooray!

Many of my students were without transportation, and several times a year I would drive them to the Sheriff’s office so they could apply for their own CCW license while I waited outside.  In most cases they would receive a phone call within one or two business days to inform them that their ID cards were ready and waiting, so I would go around to pick them up and repeat the trip.  All routine, nothing to see here, move along.

But then it came time for me to renew my own license.

I dutifully applied, all forms in order, everything ready to go.  And then I waited, and waited, and waited.

The Sheriff’s office said they weren’t holding up progress, it was the BCI.  For some reason they wouldn’t approve my renewal, but they also weren’t issuing a denial.  They were just sitting on my application, without explanation, while they did …. something!

waiting clock

While all this time was going on by, it was business as usual so far as the charity course was concerned.  I was still using my car to drive students to the Sheriff’s office, only to have to go around to get them a few days later so they could pick up their own shiny new CCW license.  I couldn’t help but wonder why they were getting fast approval, while I languished in the doldrums.  After all, my name and signature were all over the documents they needed to prove that they completed the mandated training course, as well as competency with a firearm.  If there was some sort of question as to my fitness to carry concealed firearms, why would the BCI take my word that my students were ready to do the same?

It was certainly puzzling.

puzzled dog with cocked head

The law states that the Sheriff has to issue a license within 45 days, or provide a reason for denying the application.  As the Sheriff’s office was claiming innocence, I decided to send a letter to the BCI.  In my missive I requested that they clearly state a reason why my application was not granted.  They were to provide the reason on official BCI stationary, and it was to be signed by someone who was responsible for the decision to withhold my license.

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Mary Jane In The Gun Safe

I’ve written here before about how drug smugglers will sometimes use the address of empty houses to have their illegal drugs delivered.  This news story tells of a similar wrinkle.

It seems that a man in my home state of Ohio ordered a gun safe online.  When it arrived, he found 300 pounds (136 kilos) of plastic wrapped marijuana tucked away behind the airtight door.

Bricks of Marijuana

marijuana leaf

The safe was manufactured in Mexico using convict labor, and seems to have been delivered to the wrong house.  The truck driver who moved a load of gun safes from Mexico into the United States is being sought by police, but they are having trouble finding the guy.  Probably never will.

It would appear that drug shipments ending up in the hands of bemused innocent citizens is a common occurrence.  This news article from 2 years ago relates the sordid tale of an elderly couple residing in a township that borders Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who received a single marijuana brick in the mail.  The local police superintendent thought it was no big deal, stating that the cops see “… half a dozen of these types of deliveries a year …”

So if about six deliveries go awry in this one township, how many make it to the intended owners?  One order of magnitude?  Two?

Make your best guess, and then expand it to cover all of Philadelphia.  Then multiply by the number of big cities in the US.  Just judging by the occasional mistake, its a big business!

Makes you wonder how the US Postal Service can be going bankrupt when they are the biggest mule for illegal drugs.

Shoddy Workmanship

Over the past decade, the nation of India has been expending a great deal of effort and money in an attempt to become a major regional military force.

india military parade

This means that they have to come up with the ability to convince the other significant powers in the region to take them seriously.  What other powers could I be talking about?  The big 800 pound gorilla in that part of the world is China.

china military parade with rpg

Unfortunately, India lacks the industrial and technological capability to produce world class weapons in the numbers needed.  So they have to buy from someone else.  Also unfortunately, they decided to cut costs and buy from Russia.

russia military parade in red square with mobile anti air units

This really shouldn’t be much of a problem.  After all, the vast majority of military hardware used by the Chinese was stolen from the Russians during the Cold War.  The stuff used by India would be similar, but more advanced and better maintained since it was purchased new.

At least, that was the plan.

News just came in of an explosion that partially sunk a submarine in India.  (Alternate news story found here.)  The submarine in question is a Kilo class attack sub, a design that was considered to be perfectly adequate back in the bad old Soviet days.  It seems that time has not been kind.

What must be particularly galling is that the India government just paid the Russians the equivalent of $80 million USD to repair and upgrade that very same boat.  If the explosions today are the result of bad maintenance and shoddy repairs instead of a terrorist act, then that was money that would have been better spent elsewhere.