I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

History Lessons

The oldest of my students this year are 17. Most are 16, a couple 15. The oldest are definitely more adult than child, and even the youngest don't seem like kids at this point. They are thoughtful, intelligent people and it's a joy to teach them.

Not a single one of them remembers 9/11/2001.

They have never known a United States that wasn't at war. They have never known a United States that didn't have the Patriot Act.
They have never known a United States where you could fly without taking your belt off.
They have never known a United States that felt secure.
They have never known a United States characterized by optimism and hope.

I was 8 years old in September of 2001. I can't claim any great understanding of the state of the country before, but I remember seeing things change. I remember seeing Muslims go from just people in unusual hats, to a source of apprehension. I remember seeing airport security become uncomfortable and very slow. I remember seeing adults argue, and eventually fight, over what we should do next. I remember seeing movies turn dark and gritty.

I also remember many people standing up and doing right. I remember people relearning, as every few generations has to, about sacrifice and duty. I remember a nation coming together in unity, grief, and resolve.

The legacy of 9/11 is a complex one, and I'm hardly the one to describe it. Today has made me wonder for my students though. How do we teach them about today? How do we show what was lost? How can we teach them that hope and unity are possible? Can we do all that without casting blame and hatred on those who have made mistakes?

I don't know how to teach that. I hope someone does. Our students need to know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The election is two weeks from today, and I just... can't make myself care anymore.

This is a very important election what with everything at stake, SCOTUS noms, disintegrating international relations, and a very irritated population, but it feels like someone has asked me to replace the mainspring on a watch and has given me as my only tool choices a 3lb drilling hammer and a pasta server. Oh, and the hammer is a misogynistic angry moron, and the pasta server is a hateful criminal with control issues. It's not exactly a perfect metaphor.

I've asked myself, if I did have any truck with the notion of "voting for the lesser evil," which one I'd vote for. I honestly don't know. Both would be disastrous on most every level, particularly foreign policy. Some days I think there's no way Clinton would actually be that bad, as she's basically Obama Plus, and we've managed to keep him from doing, well... crap. It could have been worse? Other days, Paul Ryan's point about Trump being likely to let the House work seems valid, and it's not like he says things that are THAT outrage...ous...... often.......... this week...

Gary Johnson seems a decent sort of person, putting him light years ahead of the big two, but his policies are bizarre and uncomfortably progressive. He has approximately zero business in foreign relations, and seems to have tried too hard to bring in the Bernie supporters, leaving his platform a mess.

I personally really like Evan McMullin, His platform, and more importantly him personally, seems thoughtful and considered, and keeps Rule of Law rather more central than any other candidate I have seen recently. He seems principled. That being said, he's somewhat a cipher. Practically his entire background is classified, and he has no political record to consider. His platform looks great on his website, but his commitment to it is all based on his personal statements. I believe he's sincere, but I certainly understand the reservations people have towards him. He also has essentially zero chance of winning. The odds of him being even in the running (i.e. the election going to the House) are not friendly, and I have zero confidence in the House choosing him.

Given that, he's still got my vote. I like him, and I won't vote for something I dislike if there's something better available. Political strategy it ain't, but it helps me sleep at night.

All that alone has me plenty frustrated, but the really disheartening thing is what I've seen from the people around me. I ask myself how we got to this point, and then I look at my Facebook and it makes perfect sense. Enough people have come to believe that being cruel and angry is perfectly fine, as long as the "right people" are upset by it, to nominate Trump. Enough people have come to believe that law doesn't matter, so long as it checks off the right box, to nominate Clinton. Enough people have come to believe that voting against something is way more important than voting for something. Enough people are feeling their way through their lives instead of thinking that anything that makes them feel better is great.

Enough people are fond enough of schadenfreude to get some really base and petty discourse. Snark and hard lining are lauded. Potshots over appearance are "just having some fun" or "they deserve it because X." Wishing for the deaths of those that oppose you is "pragmatic" or "the hard truth." I've seen rhetoric between members of my FAMILY that shock and sadden me. How much worse is it then between people that don't normally even like each other.

Everyone has their reasons why this election is so important. To me, it's not about the politics. It's about what it's shown us about our nation. From where I sit, barring a third party miracle shakeup, it's not going to show anything good on November 8th. Which pretty much just leaves me disheartened.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ray Carter

Yesterday the world lost a Good Man, and I lost a friend. Ray Carter, known in the gun blogosphere as Gay Cynic, had been fighting liver cancer for two years. That fight is over.

I had the opportunity last night to sit with friends and remember Ray. There was a lot of laughter and many sad smiles. Ray always seemed to have a way of bringing one of two reactions, laughter and good humored exasperation. He was, despite his cynical handle, nigh impossibly motivated and optimistic. He had so many plots for the betterment of the world, his friends, and good causes (many of which involving the now somewhat infamous 501c3s he was so fond of.)

When I went to my first NRAAM in Houston, I was humbled and amazed at the welcome I received from the community. I met many people I'd been reading for years, and many that I'd talked to on IRC for almost as long. There was only one person there though who went beyond welcoming my appearance to actively seeking me out. That was Ray.

Ray became a close friend. He has helped me through several sticky wickets of life, and led me to consider things I had never imagined. He prompted me to reach out to the Blogorado crowd, and was in a rather real sense my sponsor into the Tribe. My life has been enriched greatly by his kindness, his thoughtful nature, and his sly sense of humor.

It's difficult to remember Ray in any other way than wearing one of his rather ridiculous Hawaiian shirts, with his trademark *trying desperately not to cackle* grin. The red, white, and blue S&W 25 holster, complete with rhinestones and rabbit fur, is rather fitting as well.

We didn't always see eye to eye, but then friends never do, and I think we were both the better for that.

I will miss him, alongside the many whose lives he made a little brighter.

Goodbye my friend. Fair winds and a clear course to you, until we meet again.


...remember our Veterans today, and especially those that did not make it back to become Veterans. What Freedom we still enjoy in America is because they thought it worth fighting for.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Seemingly Silent Scribbler

But I assure y'all there is a reason for that. He's been a bit busy...

Getting ready to get hitched! To a lovely young lady whom I am pleased and proud to have as a daughter in law. Congratulations to a fine son and one of the best men I have ever known (and between you and me, THAT is saying something), and best wishes to a cute couple. May you know eternal joy, love, and happiness.


Saturday, April 18, 2015


I have a tendency to always want to make things. Recently, I've made a number of things, very many of which would likely be interesting to this audience. None of them have been written about. So, here's the first of a series of posts on recent projects.

This is the most recent project. My CZ clone, a Canik55 S120*, is a pretty nice gun, but came with unpleasant plastic grips that felt a bit off in the hand. I decided to do something about it.

More Prettified! I only grabbed the one sided picture. The other side looks similar, albeit with a slightly different grain orientation. Serial number blacked for hopefully obvious reasons.

The wood is Bubinga, also known as African rosewood. It's hard, takes to a varnish ridiculously well, and works reasonably well. The weird contour at the back where it doesn't quite reach the edge is actually the way the original grips were. Weird, but ah well.

Incidentally, 1911 grips are EASY. Nice, straight sides, a flat back, and a simple curvature. This critter is secured by a single screw and a lip that fits into the frame. Right pain in the rear to get everything aligned properly, particularly since, being on a college campus, I couldn't have the gun to hand for fitting. As such, the fit isn't quite what I'd like.

I'm already contemplating a mk 2 out of a lamination of purple heart and ash. For now though, the ugly plastic is no more! Well, once I get a few more coats of lacquer on at least.

ETA This is what the original grips looked like for those who are interested and don't want to google it yourselves. You're welcome!

*I really like this gun. More accurate than I am, comfortable to shoot (all steel 9mm, who knew!?) and the only malf so far was absolutely ammo related. Story for another time. Maybe 250 rounds through it so far.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Without Comment

If democratic peoples substituted the absolute power of a majority in place of all the diverse powers that hindered or retarded beyond measure the ascent of individual reason, the evil would have done nothing but change its character. -Alexis de Tocqueville