December 2013 Journal

November 27-30, 2013

Senior kitty Arthur Pendragon died Saturday morning in the arms of his loved ones. He was 10. We are devastated but comforted by our remaining pets, George S. Patton and Angelique.


November 21-26

Still stuck recuperating, bad cough, etc. The Com Pilot on the hearing aids failed. This is the second one. Naturally, just before I leave for Branson. The Com Pilot is the bluetooth connection, TV Link connection, and has an FM receiver for an FM transmitter that The Redhead could wear around her neck. Had to go to the VA in Phoenix to get it sent off for repair. Nice tech. He agreed to send it to the Phoenix address. Let's hope. The "Civilian" hearing aids are now the best pair, still not good for TV usage, but they'll go to Branson.

Yes, this cough is kicking my ass. I used to go to work and just take massive doses of cough medicine when I had this. Staying inactive doesn't seem to help.

From Facebook:

Renault and Ford have joined forces to create the perfect small car for women.
Mixing the Renault 'Clio' and the Ford 'Taurus' they have designed the 'Clitaurus'. It comes in pink, and the average male car thief won't be able to find it - let alone turn it on - even if someone tells him where it is and how to do it.
Rumor has it though, that it leaks transmission fluid once a month, and can be a real bitch to start in the morning! Some have reported that on cold winter mornings you can't get it to turn over.
New models are initially fun to own, but very costly to maintain, and horribly expensive to get rid of. Used models may initially appear to have curb appeal and a low price, but eventually have an increased appetite for fuel, and the curb weight typically increases with age. Manufacturers are baffled as to how the size of the trunk increases.
This model is not expected to reach collector status. Most owners find it is best to lease one, and replace it each year.

There was a small church in Texas that had a very big-busted organist. Her breasts were so huge that they inadvertently bounced and jiggled the entire time she played the organ. Unfortunately, she distracted most of the congregation considerably, both male and female.
The very proper church ladies were appalled. They said something had to be done about this or they would have to get another organist.
So, one of the ladies approached her, very discreetly, and told her to mash up some green persimmons and rub them on the nipples of her breasts and maybe they would shrink in size. She warned her to not eat any of the green persimmons, 'because they are so sour they will make your mouth pucker up and you won't be able to talk properly for a week!’ The perky organist agreed to try rubbing the persimmons on her nipples.
The following Sunday morning the minister got up in the pulpit and said...."Dew to thircumsthanthis bewond my contwol, we will not haff a thermon tewday."

Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows recently, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu. A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and, to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.
However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colors of paints appeared on the bird's beaks and claws. By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.
MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills.
The Ornithological Behaviorist very quickly concluded the cause: when crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger. They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout "Cah", not a single one could shout "Truck."

Forever stamp commemorating Obamacare

B-Western legal?

November 14-21, 2013

Got The Redhead's Cold/Flu/URI. Stopped most activity. Got the article off to Cat and Tex and went to the Sat CCSA match, probably a mistake as I've been worse since then. Basically I take cough medicine every two hours, which makes me undesirous of doing anything else.

Took some pictures of percussion loading with a cylinder loader at the match (for the Convention seminar):

When you clean the guns, use compressed air to blow out the chambers and make sure you can see through all 6 nipples. If it's a stainless gun, you can leave the cylinder dry and unoiled. Then when you get to the match, if you can still through the nipples, you don't need to pop caps and can load the chambers.

An idea I stole. Using the captive spent .45 ACP case on a wire instead of your finger on the powder funnel means you get more consistency, and you don't contaminate your powder with a finger that's wet after cleaning the cylinder.

The screw knife goes in the empty chamber, then it moves to the last one filled to keep you from double filling or not filling.

If you're using real black, use Wonder Wads or equivalent to lube. Insert and ram, then...

Insert and ram the balls.

After breaking the boots in with 3 two hour sessions wearing them with no socks and one two hour session wearing them and cleaning guns and loading the Jeep I wore them to the match, and they were quite comfortable.

November 13, 2013, Wednesday

Went to Cowtown today to practice, mosly doing transitions by doing 2 shots per gun drills (4 with shotgun because the second pair is the hardest). I'm at a wall.

New Earthwalker Boots arrived today:

I'm following instructions and wearing them without socks for a couple of hours at a time till they're comfortable with socks. The last pair is several years old, and da feets are a size and a half bigger now and need orthotics. So the mold for these was made with the orthotic in place. Plenty of toe room now. Many improvements over the last pair (they're on their second soles but not worn out.) If you suffer from "da agony of da feet" at matches, look up their booth at big matches. I ordered these at Outlaw Trail.

November 12, 2013, Tuesday

I'm partially deaf, as you know. At the Cowtown Cowboy Shooters Match I couldn't hear an announcement that the combination to the lock on the range gate had been changed due to vandalism. Between then and today the gate was open when I went to practice. Today it wasn't. I tried calling a couple of people who would know the combination but got no answer. Just as I was beginning to try to guess the combination based on the fact it's a shooting range, a guy who works at the paintball portion of cowtown drove up and gave me the combination. Since I was in full costume it was easy to tell I was with SASS.

Why was I in costume? I went to do a video on loading percussion pistols for the BP Seminar at the SASS Convention. I spent a couple of hours on the project, but I'm not happy with the results.

November 1-11. 2013

Way too busy to keep this up day to day.

Veterans Day

Looked at the Vietnam pictures, always a mistake:

Welcome to Vietnam, 1LT Rich

MACV, home of paperwork in Vietnam




I have no idea what "The Last Resort" is, but it looked inviting

MACV Transient Officer's Quarters

Saigon as seen through a bus with heavy mesh on the windows.

At Advisory Team 70's HQ in Lam Son, there was a USO Show performing, the last one I would see in Vietnam

The last one of those I would see for months, too

When I arrived at Team 70 a lieutenant had just been killed in 8th ARVN Infantry Regiment, so I was sent there to replace him instead of the armored cav assignment I'd been promised in Saigon.


The senior advisor at 3/8 Infantry had gotten US Navy Seabees to build a really neat bunker for the advisors out of reinforced concrete. I got to spend one night there before went on an operation, never to return


Members of my first team. I've lost all of the names. The major on the left was Senior Advisor. The sergeant on the right was one of two experienced NCOs. I think he was assigned to "break me in," as he introduced me to dead bodies and the like, probably to see what I would do. I did okay. Dead bodies, I realized, were one of the things movies and TV never got right. The two sergeants took me to town to get my "VC hammock", a hammock that rolled up to fit in about 1' x 4-5", and a load bearing vest instead of the issued pack.



Seeing the sights


This sergeant was on his second or third tour, all Infantry. He was very good at his job and at fighting. He went into harms way by choice and seemed to enjoy it. He had to really work at it to get this feral kitten to sit on his lap and purr. Cats are good judges of character.


His other side. He carried a rifle that was commonly called a CAR 15. On its side it said COLT XM711E1 COMMANDO. His had been put together from two Air Force issue guns that had been damaged. There has to be a pretty good war story behind that. About 7 months later I got a Colt XM177E2 Commando that had been issued to the Air Force. There's probably a pretty good war story behind that, too.


His helmet, decorated with places and dates of his time in Vietnam.

Store in a village, probably the one where I got my hammock.



A break on a day of humping through the boonies. It was over 90°F and 90% humidity, and we were wearing heavy packs.

September 1969-I was transferred to the 1st ARVN Armored Cavalry regiment's advisory team. I was Senior Advisor to first Squadron. This was my vehicle. I could pick it out of the crowd because it had an antenna farm and two armored helicopter seats on top, one for the CO, one for the advisor. It was also a new APC. The previous one had been destroyed by a command detonated mine. My predecessor survived, but his ear drums were damaged, and he didn't go back to the unit.


An armored cavalry unit consists of two types of vehicles: tanks, in this case Korean War vintage M-41s. Unlike the (obsolete) M-48s the American units got, these even more obsolete tanks burned gasoline.

And Armored Personnel Carriers. These were M113s. They, too, burned gasoline. They had another flaw. They were under-armored. They were designed to be air-droppable and thus armored with aluminum. The armor would stop a pellet gun, My unit didn't have an interpreter because he was sleeping in an APC one night in Chon Tan, and a 12.7 mm bullet penetrated one side of the vehicle and killed everyone inside as it bounced around. 10 men were sleeping in it.

When I arrived the unit was at its headquarters for inspecting and reequipping. They also used this as an opportunity to welcome me by having a party, which consisted of drinking contests until I passed out. Worst hangover of my life. The next morning my sergeant got back from extension leave. He was a legend, having been in Vietnam for 5 years, all in combat units I was not very impressive.

Soon we left on an operation in Song Be Province. We had daily skirmishes. After the first one the major chewed me out for stuttering on the radio. The proper technique was to sound like Chuck Yeager.

My view as we went down the road.

Hiding tanks in plain sight

The unit in a Night Defensive Position.

One day we were ordered to go to a certain grid square and set up an NDP. We had just topped off fuel tanks. M41s have exhaust pipes on top of the armor on the back of the vehicle.

The NDP position was in a rice paddy. The tank slipped off a bank at an angle. Fuel overflowed from the filler and hit the hot exhaust pipes, bursting into flames. You will note the guys acting wisely and trying to get far away.

You will also note my next picture was taken from a safe distance. I had seen a tank explode already and knew it was not a good place to be.


Two of the tank crewmen convinced me they needed wheelbarrows for their cojones. They tried to put out the fire with the fire extinguishers that had just passed inspection. Nothing. Then they slung mud on the fire with their bare hands and put it out.

The major and the crew inspected the danger

The major was a hands on guy and climbed aboard. I took pictures.

Then we attached an Armored Personnel Carrier with tow lines to pull the stuck tank out of the mud

Then we attached another APC to pull the stuck tank and APC out of the mud

Then we attached another APC to pull the stuck tank and 2 APCs out of the mud

I stayed with the Armored Cavalry unit for 69 days before I had a disagreement with my ARVN counterpart and was moved to a recon company. I was replaced by a 35 year old captain who had come back to active duty after a divorce. He wanted a combat assignment in order to get promoted. Not too long afterwards I was a few miles away and could listen on the radio when the 1st Squadron 1st ARVN Armored Cavalry Regiment was ambushed. As it entered a wooded area a B-40 rocket hit the front slope of the command APC and AK 47s raked the men on top, killing the advisor and critically wounding the commander. The advisor sergeant rode on the outside of a tank. It rotated its turret to the threat and threw him off, tearing up one knee and making it impossible for him to walk.

He fought the rest of the battle leaning against the side of the tank and talking on the radio. He sounded a lot like Chuck Yeager. He was medevaced to Japan but vowed to return. He was recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross, not his first. Usually medals were downgraded in Saigon, so I don't know if he got it. I saw him months later when he got back from Japan.


We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.