June 2012 Journal

This month's wallpaper was the ever bubbly and positive Buttercup, one of the jewels of the SASS office:

May 31,2012, Thursday

Made .45-70 rounds. I have been using the RCBS full-length resizer die on the completed rounds, decapping pin removed, of course. Guaranteeing a round doesn't stick in the chamber of the Handi-Rifle during a Plainsman match is a useful goal. But then the die ate one bullet and pulled the case apart, leaving brass and lead stuck irrevocably inside. Ordered another die from Midway amid much authentic cowboy gibberish concerninc RCBS dies. Made some rounds without this extra step. The Lee Factory Crimp die is supposed to resize, but I don't see any evidence other than just on the neck.

May 30, 2012, Wednesday

Went to Founders Ranch to practice. Did I ever need it. The problem, of course, is when I do it, then the left hand is in pain for about 24 hours. I limited pistol shooting, as a result. It's 45 minoutes out and 45 back, and 4 gallons of gas, but I don't have tp put up and take down targets, and I don't have to wait for another shooter to be there to shoot. They let me have a stage to myself.

May 29, 2012, Tuesday

I've been remiss in not posting this earlier. Straight Shot Jane, aka Valerie Shaw (email) made this cover for my Wally World stool at Winter Range.

The cover is held on with elastic. I can't take the stool to the range when shooting Frontiersman because of no place to keep it on the cart. I have to use that scary little stool that Rugged Gear sells. But this one works when shooting FC and WB. I use it in the shop, too, of course.

She's also the lady who did the PG13 gun covers for Wild Bodie Tom and Two Dot. They're embroidered on velvet.

Apparently Wild Bodie Tom and Two Dots trips to Nevada have involved places with velvet covered furniture.

The lady above is one of the models under consideration for the "Naked Cowgirls Shoot Clean" flag, but I know I'd have to get a PG version, SASS being SASS. Clearly Straight Shot Jane's embroidery skills (computerized) are worthy of consideration.

I actually found Federal Small Pistol Match Primers at Sportsman's this morning! Amazing. I had completely run out of Federal Small Pistol primers, but the match and practice ammo for main match and WB for EOT and beyond are finished. I need to make some .45-70 for Plainsman, and I'm finished making ammo before EOT.

May 26-28, 2012

Pleasant Surprise Email of the month:

As I recall, the last time I saw you was sometime around Jun-Jul 70. We were out of Cambodia and on some shithole FSB near Quan Loi. That may have been the night we medevaced a pregnant VN woman by the light of 81mm mortar (?) illum rounds. I am glad to hear that you survived the experience.
I retired from the Gov't in 2001 and now live in northern Ohio. Take care and answer if you want.

Bob Mc Corkle
O-3 Armor
Tm 70 5/70-5/71

Needless to say I answered.

Spent the weekend shooting, at Founders Ranch Saturday with HDD. Shaky Shooter had 2 cardiac stents installed Wednesday and was there, not shooting. What an improvement over cardiac bypass! He's entered for EOT and may/may not shoot. Shaky and Shirley are on my posse. I told him if he is able to shoot, he's not allowed to work. He can shoot, prepare his guns, and rest. That's it.

Saturday night went to Thunder Road at the Route 66 Casino and met Cat and Tex for dinner. They drove nearly 50 miles to meet there then missed the exit due to one lane construction, adding 18 miles to the trip! Excellent dinner and company. Our favorite waitress, Haley, was there, insuring everything went well.

The annual Memorial Day Weekend custom car show was still going on when we got there. I've covered it before here. This time I'll limit coverage:

My Pick for best in show:

1942 Powder wagon US Army ambulance, absolutely beautiful

The left side had the red cross, but the right side had this spectacular artwork

Aircraft had nose art. This ambulance made an homage to it. Inside IV bottles hung from their racks in the middle of the patient area.

Carroll Shelby, the creator of the Cobra just died at 89. He had to quit racing after winning Le Mans in 1959 because of angina. He survived, got a new heart and later a new kidney and lasted to 89, This is a '67 AC Cobra

Shelby lived near the Bar 3 Ranch of Dooley Gang fame and used to meet Cobra owners at the Bar 3 gate and sign their cars. He signed this one. When Enzo Ferrari died the value of a lot of Ferraris skyrocketed and then plummeted. I don't know what one will bring right now, but a specimen like this should be worth top dollar.

I put this near stock '55 Chevy Bel Air 2 dr hardtop because my mother had one that was white and light blue. It's a Rod and Custom show, so the owner put the mag wheels on. I would have found stock wheel covers, assuming they exist. Beautiful restoration

Sunday went to the RGR match. Both matches were fun. Having your hearing go does wonders for putting things into perspective. It's hard to worry about shooting with that going on. Just a reminder that it's all borrowed time. Might as well enjoy it.

After the match watched the Indy 500 on DVR. This was a very impressive race. Dario Franchitti's performance was one of the most impressive I've seen, winning after another car tapped him in the pits, making it necessary to replace the nose and putting him into dead last. He went from 28th to 3rd on one tank of gas. Then he ran a masterful race and held off a last lap challenge from Sato brilliantly. Then Franchitti's wife, Ashley Judd, channeled Jim Clark in an interview. Franchitti, like Clark, is Scottish. I was at Hockenheim when Jimmy Clark was killed April 7, 1968. I was surprised Ashley Judd mentioned him because she was born April 19, 1968. But, of course, if you're a Scottish racing driver, Jim Clark is your hero. Sir Jackie Stewart, another great Scottish racing driver, was a mentor of Franchitti, and she mentioened him, too. ESPN/ABC did a superb job of covering the race.

Monday we really should have been somewhere without TV or radio. I couldn't keep from watching the various Memorial Day items on TV, including the "50th Anniversary"* of the Vietnam War at the Wall. Would have been a beautiful service if the featured speaker was someone who had the least little respect for the military and what they've done. Beautiful speech, but spoken with a forked tongue. Interestingly he did apologize for the treatment of returning Vietnam vets--by the left wing loons who later would put him in the White House.

*American advisors were in Vietnam fighting the war in the 1950s, but US units were not officially there until 1962. My professor of military science was there in the 50s and wore the MAAG patch. Another instructor, a major, has been an advisor to ARVN Infantry when the Marines first landed--at a beach that advisors used for R and R, according to the major.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

This was one of my soldiers at my first assignment in Vietnam. He was on his second or third extension if I remember correctly,. Since I can't remember his name (or find the notebook I kept for a while that has the names of the men I worked with, "Atlantis on $5 A Day"), I might not. His helmet indicates 66-67 and 68-69, It was August '69 when I met him. He introduced me to the shortened M-16 eventually called a CAR-15. His had a M-16 stock, and the plastic forearm had burn marks. His story was that it was from a crashed Air Force aircraft. Only the Air Force seemed to have the short guns. I thought that was a really good idea for operating in a jungle environment. Later I "acquired" one, a Colt XM177E2 '"Colt Commando" that had been in a FAC 01E Bird Dog. I remember the sergeant would accompany each request for an extension with a request to get to a US line unit instead of an advisory team. The Colonel had, apparently approved the extension but disapproved the transfer. He was one of the two sergeants who got the new lieutenant squared away. They took me to the nearest village to get a "VC hammock," in which I spend a lot of nights a foot or two above things I didn't want crawling over me that were way too evident when I had to stay on the ground—not sleeping. He showed me the bodies of dead NVA soldiers, probably to test my reaction. I remember him pulling the belt off one because the buckle had a Chinese Army Star on it. I don't know if he thought it was an intelligence find or a souvenir.

I'm pretty sure he survived to go home. Not everybody did. I knew at least 60 men who didn't come home, guys I worked with or had gone to school with.

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend


May 23-25, 2012

The ears started getting better on Wednesday. By Friday evening it was close to where it had been except for one major thing. Now both ears have their own sound effects. The left ear is replaying the background soundtrack for a 50's haunted house movie, or perhaps "The Hound of the Baskervilles." The right ear switches from turbine to electrical hum to nearby generator. It wakes me up when the Ambien wakes off about 0230. I don't know if it goes off and comes back on, or if I just can sleep through it until then.

May 22, 2012, Tuesday

While sitting down at the computer this morning I suddenly experienced a tremendously loud tone in my right ear, turbine like, and painful. The Redhead suggested we go to the VA, or, perhaps, "Did you know it's May?" I really can't hear much.

We went to the Patient Advocate's office, and she sent us to Mark, the Patient Advocate on the second floor, also the scheduler for the Audiology department. He said he had received no consult from Emergency, and my call didn't get to him. He scheduled me for 1300.

We came back at 1300 and got in about 15 minutes late. The audiologist did an audiogram and determined that, yes, I really can't hear, and the right ear has gone to hell quickly. It passed the bone conduction test, though, which offers, at least, that eventually I can get help. Then I saw the ENT Dr., and, after a thorough exam, he said, essentially, that they couldn't tell what caused the sudden loss, and the only thing they could do is give me s prescription for steroids (Prednisone.) So we waited for my name to come up at the pharmacy and came home. This is what I was trying to get from the ER doctor on Sunday, knowing that steroids only work on some of the causes of sudden hearing loss, and only within a short period of time. Last year it took nearly 3 weeks to see a civilian doctor, and the steroids didn't work.

May 21, 2012, Monday

Today's Email of note:

Slow afternoon, crappy weather, and a cancelled shoot have me snooze testing the ole barco lounger. During a moment of consciousness I took a look at your blog. Your article on the shameful fiasco of SPC Sabo's MOH processing (or lack of) brought back recollections of the bad old days.
Gov't bureaucrats are the bane of my, and your existence. The worst of these are modern day carpet baggers. They are the unqualified low-lifes who seemingly go out of their way to make other peoples lives miserable simply because they have the power. They hide behind redoubts constructed out of the volumes of various gov't regulations, including; code of federal regulations, DoD Regs, and the regs of the armed services. Their misinterpretation of these statutes goes, all too often, unchallenged. Even when exposed these individuals are merely moved to another position, usually involving a promotion. This technique was copied by the catholic church as a way of dealing with pedophile priests. Their actions are the single largest cause of human misery, and gov't waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. Any fool who votes democrat is fueling the flames of bureaucracy, the repubs don't help, but at least they are only using low grade watered down kerosene. The dems are using nitromethanol with a dash of white phosphorus.
SPC Sabo's MOH serves to demonstrate that good wins out in the end despite the best efforts of gov't bottom feeders.
De Oppresso Liber
Wild Horse John

Called the VA ENT Department. Answering machine. Left message. No reply. I suppose the words, "Sudden and almost total loss of hearing, pain" didn't deserve a response.

Went to Wally World and got a wireless headset for the TV, 900 mHZ, so it works in any room (even the shop!). This helped. The TV was at full volume, and I couldn't hear it, so I was sitting close to read the CC. CC is REALLY bad in news shows and late night. Example: Jujitsu became "Jew Jet Sue."

May 20, 2012, Sunday

I went to the VA Emergency room and fought my way through the system to get to an actual doctor. He said the only thing he could do is check for earwax. That wasn't the problem. Eventually he did write a consult for ENT and Audiology. If history repeats, it will be months before I see them. There are things that cause hearing loss that can be helped by the immediate application of steroids, such as Medrol. But, by the time I can actually get such a prescription, having failed today, it will be too late. The civilian world proved to be only slightly better last year as it took a couple of weeks to get such a prescription, and, if it would have helped, it was too late.

May 17-19, 2012

Worked in garage Thursday and Friday (and searched in vain for Federal small pistol primers.)

Saturday went to Founders Ranch for the BRR Cops and Cowboys match.

Amber Ale. Note the big, white targets next to the rifle targets. Cops shot the IPSC paper targets while cowboys/girls shot the smaller steel targets.

Boggus Deal deserted the cowboy side and shot as Travis Boggus on the cops side dressed in Ergo Grips clothing (he works for them). Note the Benelli shotgun with the 42 round extension on the end, designed for 3-gun matches.

APD lieutenant Greg Brachle, shooting an AR variant taken over by the Borg. You can't wear enough ear plugs to get next to an AR with a short barrel and a muzzle-blast accentuator on the far end. Other people call them muzzle brakes.

Over the last couple of days the ears have gotten significantly worse. The left ear is completely deaf, and the hearing aid just brings in a little noise. The right ear has gone to hell. I can hear you if you're right in front of me talking in a normal voice, but not from 5 yards away or further. I couldn't hear anything at the Belle Union with the ambient noise. It was very frustrating. When I would tell people I had gone deaf most laughed. I assume they thought I was joking. Right now I can't hear you if you're on the left side at all, and probably not if your back is turned to me.


May 16, 2012, Wednesday

Very depressed by the Medal of Honor ceremony for SP4 Leslie H, Sabo, Jr. I consider it a metaphor of the whole Vietnam war. SP4 Sabo died during the Cambodian Incursion in May, 1970, a manner that in WWII would have resulted in a movie about him. But his parents were told he was shot by a sniper while on guard duty because they had lost his records. The Army LOST the Medal of Honor recommendations that had been signed by the survivors of his platoon while they were in the hospital recovering, alive because of his actions. His parents never knew of his heroism, and the only relatives at the ceremony were his wife who married him just before he left for the war and her brother.

"There's one more person who has yet to be mentioned in many press accounts of this story, but who deserves some credit for Wednesday's ceremony at the White House. If it wasn't for Alton Mabb, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War who discovered Sabo's story 30 years after it happened, there probably wouldn't be any ceremony. While doing research for a military publication in 1999, Mabb found a box from the National Archives that contained stacks of papers detailing Sabo's actions and recommending him for the Medal of Honor. Mabb took those papers to Congress and put Sabo's story back into consideration for the nation's top military honor." http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/05/16/medal-honor-vietnam-hero-42-years-later/#ixzz1v5IwiPxp

There are probably thousands of stories like this, not necessarily Medal of Honor level, but heroism ignored nonetheless. But for every Colonel who got an award written by fawning staff officer there are probably a hundred enlisted men who got nothing for their sacrifices. I knew of several lieutenants and enlisted advisors who were ignored after earning something simply because the officers they worked for were too lazy to write them up. Then there was Colonel @$%@!#. During the Cambodian Incursion Col. John J. Hays, a veteran of 6 years of Vietnam combat and 3 years in the Korean War was replaced by probably the worst Colonel in the Army. One of @$%@!#'s first orders was a statement sent to all Senior Advisors that his office would not approve any recommendations for valor awards other than Purple Hearts and posthumous awards. We had just gone into Cambodia, and fighting was, at times, intense. My team took an ARVN Infantry Battalion in with 399 troops on the first combat assault. 299 walked out when the incursion ended. Some had deserted, but the rest were medevaced or killed. I ignored the order and wrote up two of my team (no more than 4 Americans at any one time) for awards. They deserved it. One managed to sneak through Col. @$%@!#'s office thanks to his Sergeant Major. Col @$%@!# caught the other one and took great pleasure in tearing it up while chewing me out for writing it.

But I guess the point of this tirade is SP4 Sabo deserved his Medal of Honor. It's unlikely that anyone who received the Medal of Honor didn't deserve it. Like the Catholic Church's use of Devil's Advocates to investigate sainthood, the military has a good system for rejecting or downgrading Medals of Honor. But it should have been awarded in 1972. The Army's paper pushers blew it. They usually did. That sort of thing was the norm, and probably was in every war. His country abandoned him, and his incredible valor was ignored, and it's too late, just as it's too late for most Vietnam vets because most of us are dead.

May 15, 2012, Tuesday

Installed Photoshop Elements 10 and spent hours trying to learn about how to use it. But Adobe assumes everyone using their products has a PhD in computer science and has been using Photoshop since version 1 full time. Went to the garage to reload to dissipate my anger at Adobe products.

May 14, 2012, Monday

The Redhead had rented a car for the weekend. It had to be returned to Avis/Budged by 0730. The A/B personnel never showed up. Had to call the customer service number and get through the prompts to get a human being to close out the rental and drop the key in the key drop.


can't work on the computer without Angelique's help

Then I started working on the computer. I used disk repair and Tech Tools to check the operation and defragged the disk, which took all night.

May 13, 2012, Sunday

The Cowboy Memorial Barn, er Chapel. It seems that if you build a chapel in New Mexico, you have to conform to about 70,000 pages of Federal and State regulation including large, handicap accessible restrooms. If you build a barn, you don't. It doesn't matter that the barn looks vaguely like a chapel and has seating for hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls.

Now at the other end of the town we need to start raising money for a Cowboy Memorial Bordello

Taylor's Gun Shop, at what is now called Bay 9, a new permanent shooting set under construction, due to be debuted at EOT

Long Hunter Saloon, at what is now called Bay 11, another permanent shooting set to be debuted at EOT

Went to the BRR match at Founders Ranch, rescheduled because of Warrior Quest. This hurt turnout, only one posse. I shot slow and missed twice. I have definitely lost what speed I had. Shooting Frontiersman.

May 12, 2012, Saturday

Back to Founders Ranch for the Wild Bunch match. Good stages.

May 11, 2012, Friday

Vaquero Luna let me know that Tex was doing a WB match at Founders Ranch Saturday on short notice, and he needed setup help. So we met Tex and Tijeras Pete for breakfast at the Greenside Cafe in Cedar Crest. Then we went to Founders Ranch and set up the match.

Chrono Results

Tex set up the chronograph, so I got to chrono some loads:

.45 ACP, Colt Series 70 (Wilson Master Grade, 1983), 5" barrel

200 GR LRNFP, 5.3 gr. Trail Boss: Hi-849, lo-815, Avg-832. ES-34, SD-12.PF-166.4

230 GR LRN, 3.9 GR WST, Hi-755. lo-712, Avg-734, ES-43, SD-17, PF-168.82

.45 Colt, Cimarron '73 Trapper, 16.5" barrel

200 GR LRNFP, 6.0 GR Trail Boss, Hi-981, Lo-800, Avg 914, ES-181, SD-71, PF-182.8

200 GR LRNFP, 5.4 GR Clays, Hi-964, Lo-854, Avg-908, ES-110, SD-54, PF-181.6

The Trapper is fairly new and is quite handy with the 16" barrel. The Colt is one I had Wilson Combat do after attending Ray Chapman's academy. It has been through all of the schools I went to, and I even loaned it to a young lieutenant attending Thunder Ranch after 9/11. Probably 50,000 rounds through it. The hammer and sear were cleaned up somewhere along the way, and Clint Greenwood checkered the frame and had it re-nickeled (electrolyses). The 30 lines per inch checkering is as sharp as he could make it. It has drawn blood, sometimes mine, always when loaned out. These two firearms are most likely to produced the lowest velocity readings from my WB guns, so making sure the loads are sufficiently powerful for competition using them makes sense.

May 10, 2012, Thursday

Worked on the articles

May 9, 2012, Wednesday

Went to the RGR 2nd Wednesday match. Shot FC. Took about 3 stages to get in the groove of shooting with two hands. Good match.

In Texas, if you qualify, you can get one Purple Heart license plate for your motor vehicle for $3 instead of the usual registration fee. You can get a Purple Heart plate for another vehicle for the normal registration fee, about $65 for cars. Thus, not being a total idiot, I had my $3 Purple Heart plate put on the bus and my $65 plate put on the Jeep. As you can imagine, the bus costs more to register. I would tell you how much it costs to register, but people from, say, California might slit their wrists when they find out how low motor home registration is in Texas. I could have gotten a Disabled Veteran plate for $3, but I didn't—until I discovered that the state had started putting medals on DV plates. You have to send a letter from the VA and your DD214. So I ordered one. It just came in. I have Photoshopped the plate to remove the numbers. I'm funny that way and don't want my license number on the internet if I can help it. I know, that's paranoid. What's your point? And who are you working for? Who told you to say that?

When I was last in Texas the Purple Heart plate had another advantage. It got free parking at city lots, including the airports. Once I discovered this, I parked at the expensive, covered spaces, not the uncovered ones that get you a ride in the shuttle bus. I don't know if DV plates do, but I haven't flown in 4 years or been to Texas in two. The PH and DV plates are still readable, only 6 digits. Like several other states, Texas has gone to 11 digits, including at least 5 letters, 3 numbers, two symbols, and a Zapf Dingbat.

Back to work on the articles.

May 8, 2012, Tuesday

Angelique, looking very witch-like

Spent much of the day at the VA. My 6 month check on the progress of the prostate cancer recovery (5 years) should have taken a few minutes. But the urologist didn't have the PSA results from the late March blood test taken for the primary care appointment. So I had to get another blood test, my third since getting to ABQ. No big deal--if it were in the afternoon. Left the urologist's office before 1000. Left the lab after 12.

Took George to the Vet. He still has the itchy skin condition. $408 and 2 hours later we left. Shots, tests, 2 prescriptions.

Didn't get much done on the articles, needless to say.

May 1-7, 2012

Wild Horse John in his "Sinko Da Mayo" outfit for a May 5 shoot in Cheyenne. John is a member of the exclusive "Captain John Hughes Society," sometimes called the "Man enough to wear a big sombrero to a SASS Match Society"

I've been busy, among other things, working on the Buffalo Stampede article and the next column. One thing I haven't been doing is shooting. I went to Founders Ranch Wednesday only to find a tent city suitable for a division of Civil War soldiers, much bigger than EOT, with a line of porta potties about half the length of the town. The range was closed to the public. Something about a Warrior--something with 10,000 entries. I couldn't find anything about what the event was in the FR calendar, but then, until then I didn't know there was a FR calendar. 84 miles round trip.

We did take off a day to go to the Unser Museum, which is much better than I expected. It's full of race cars, as you would expect. Everything is exceedingly well done. A volunteer gave us an excellent orientation. There's also a big display room behind the museum with a lot more cars including some antiques that have been magnificently restored. Al, Jr. said hello. He is often there to meet visitors. If you don't know who the Unsers are, you probably aren't interested in the museum. They gave The Redhead Mom Unser's apple pie and chili recipes.

This is the Mercedes powered Indy car that Al Unser, Jr. won Indianapolis in 1994 after teammate Emerson Fittipaldi crashed near the end. If I remember correctly, that's also the year Al, Jr. spun, corrected, and continued to win, a feat accomplished by only 3 drivers, Jimmy Clark, Rick Mears, and Al, Jr. The Mercedes engine, made to a loophole in the rules that favored pushrod engines, dominated so thoroughly it was banned as soon as possible.

Even the men's room was first class. Aside from being beautifully and expensively made, it had these antique gas pump models on the countertop. There were several restored real gas pumps in the museum. Yes, I could have taken about 300 pictures of the museum, but I just enjoyed it.

Back to work on the articles.