All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

7/25/2014

Quote

I've been kicking this around in my head and wanted to get it down someplace.

"If you are a man, it is impossible for you to 'get in touch with your feminine side'.  You don't have one.  You're a man.  If God wanted you to have a "feminine side" he would have made you female.  In the beginning God created them male and female, not metrosexual and less hairy menstruating metrosexual with mammaries.  Want to get in touch with the feminine?  Get married.  Touch her.  See, it's nice isn't it?  It's nice because you're a man.  She was made that way to please you.  Do you know why no one ever tells a women to get in touch with her masculine side?  Nobody likes a less hairy metrosexual with man boobs.  It's a offense against nature.  MALE.  FEMALE.  That's it.  There is no benefit to a man being slightly women or a women trying to be a man.  It doesn't work that way.  Call it a design feature."
This rant brought to you courtesy of all the idiots claiming to be Christians who can't be bothered to glean even the slightest clue regarding the natural God made differences between the sexes.  We've made a huge mess of women wanting to be men and men trying to please women by thinking/acting like them. 

My grandmothers had no problem understanding things as "a man's point of view".  "Man talk" and "women talk" weren't bad things that somehow degraded the other person just by existing.  They knew that women and men didn't see the world in the same way.  Somehow that was OK.

7/23/2014

5 X 5

Back on January 26th of this year I started my quest to become less of a man.  Less of a man in terms of mass and total percentage of body fat.  I hadn't lifted weights or worked out since I was in my 20's, and it showed.

My "method" of getting "in shape" consisted of Googling "weight lifting for weight loss" and picking a workout routine that the readers of a weightlifting website voted as "the best".  I also made an effort to think about eating less junk food.  I bought a gym membership and started on a 6 day a week workout routine after work.

I made it a point to only weigh myself once a month and not obsess about early results.  The rational being that so long as I was sticking to the schedule and making an effort, I would see results at some point. I set a weight loss goal of 18 to 30 months to achieve a target weight and 6 to 8 months to reach a "ideal" workout target for the amount of weight I was lifting.

The first couple of months went fairly good.  I did most of what I set out to do and my strength was growing according to schedule.  Then I hit a wall, or a plateau depending on how you look at it.  I stopped being able to increase the weights I was lifting.  My body weight remained steady and then started yo-yoing on me.  I was tired of my workouts and discouraged about my results.

I needed a new plan.

So I asked an older guy at the gym what he thought I should do.  He suggest that I forget about the system I was doing and focus on getting my strength at target levels BEFORE even THINKING ABOUT LOSSING WEIGHT AGAIN.  That seemed like crap advice to me, since the goal is to lose weight.  So I floundered around for another 6 weeks or so not making any progress and even putting a couple of pounds back on.  It seems like maybe two or three other guys gave me the exact same advice too.

A couple of points about lifting weights to lose weight:
  1. Advice on weight lifting routines to "lose weight" should be taken with a grain of salt.  Skip that.  Advice on the internet designed to help a person who is at 10% body fat drop down to 7% body fat so they can go to a competition might not work so great if you need to drop inches and pounds.
  2. If you're really out of shape, getting muscle back should be the priority, not dropping pounds.  This is counter intuitive.  It is also correct.  Focus on getting to your target performance level.  If you want to rep 10 X 275lbs on the bench (or whatever combination of lifting exercise goals) as a way to lose body fat then focus on getting to the 275lbs not on dropping weight.
  3. IF you're old, meaning over 30, 40, 50 etc, admit it and deal with it.  You might need more than one rest day a week to recover and get stronger/leaner.
  4. There is no "perfect" or "best" plan that works for everyone, every time.
  5. If you don't have a plan, pick one.  Any one.  That's right it doesn't matter much.  Just start lifting correctly and stick with the routine for at lest 3 months.
  6. Reevaluate after 90 days of doing the plan.  Now you have started a new habit and you have some kind of idea about how your body is reacting to the exercise.
  7. Get a new plan and try it for 90 days.
  8. Rinse and repeat.
I just started a new plan.  I had a couple of people tell me about Strong Lifts 5 X 5.  The guy running the website isn't doing anything new.  In fact its a very old weightlifting concept that he has borrowed from other people.  He's not selling anything.  He doesn't claim it was his idea.  He just promotes it, and for lots of people, it seems to work.

What I like about the new plan:
  • All free weights all the time.  I had become dependent on the Smith machine.  I like the Smith Machine.  If you are lifting late at night, by your lonesome its nice to be able to twist your wrists and "save" yourself from a bad rep.  BUT by the time you're pressing/squatting etc 200lbs or better on the Smith, you're in good enough shape to use the free weights and get your balance and auxiliary muscles into the act.  I was stuck with my crutch and need to move on.
  • It takes 35 to 45 minutes including warm up to get it all done.
  • It's a "major muscle group" plan.  I had been doing all the muscle groups individually once a week and wasn't making much progress.
  • I'm doing 3 exercises I wasn't doing before.
  • Once you plateau there is a plan designed to move you into more "advanced" lifting.
What I need to do to advance my over all fitness goals:
  • Add regular moderate cardio.
  • Get a flexibility routine
  • Work on diet.  I like "healthy" foods, I just like eating refined carbs too.  The carbs are killing me, probably literally.
  • I'm thinking that a massage routine might help my recovery.  The problem is that I don't have that kind of money in the budget right now.
I'm going to do the new plan for 12 weeks and reevaluate my progress.

Flight Delay Announcement

A passenger on a Southwest flight says that he once faced a flight delay just before they boarded.

A flight attendant picked up the microphone and announced:

"We're sorry for the delay. The machine that normally rips the handles off your luggage is broken, so we're having to do it by hand. We should be finished and on our way shortly."

7/16/2014

Divorce

A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce. He asked, "What are the grounds for your divorce?"

She replied, "About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by."

"No," he said, "I mean what is the foundation of this case?"

"It is made of concrete, brick, and mortar," she responded.

"I mean," he continued, "what are your relations like?"

"I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband's parents."

He said, "Do you have a real grudge?"

"No," she replied, "we have a two-car carport and have never really needed one."

"Please," he tried again, "is there any infidelity in your marriage?"

"Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don't necessarily like the music, but the answer to your question is yes."

"Ma'am, does your husband ever beat you up?"

"Yes," she responded, "about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do."

Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, "Lady, why do you want a divorce?"

"Oh, I don't want a divorce," she replied. "I've never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can't talk to me."

7/15/2014

W.T.R.C.

The Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship formerly the International Tactical Rifle Championship is the long distance shooting event I've been working with for about 4 years now.  Each year I make the pilgrimage to the Bliss Ranch in northern Wyoming / southern Montana to participate.

The event is a two man team display of firearms skill designed to test the shooters ability under field conditions.  Part one of the event is a two day game of sniper golf.  Part two is direct team on team shooting contests.  These games change every year, but normally there are long range egg shoots, exploding targets, man on man spinning plate racks, fast draw work etc.  In the past there has been strafing exercises from helicopters, zip line events etc.
 
The course of fire consists of four courses which each have between seven or eight shooting stations.  Each course is approximately a mile, give or take, long.  The shooting stations have a variety of steel targets at various unknown distances.  Target size is generally either a 10x10in steel square or a 6in triangle.  The targets are suspended above the ground in such a way as to mimic a live target in a real fire solution situation.  They can be partially concealed behind trees/dead falls, terrain, shadow, or in line with the rising or setting sun.  Yes Frank, Chris and Chuck can be a real pain in the backside.  They do this on purpose. 

Targets are designated as handgun, carbine, rifle or bonus.  The shooting teams walks/runs each course.  The course is timed.  Each team is allowed two hours to solve all of their stations on the course.  There is a minimum of one hour spacing between each team start on each of the courses.  A range officer serves as a safety supervisor and as the official score keeper.  The RO rides/drives a ATV and arrives ahead of the team at each shooting station.  The course is well marked and the shooting stations are well defined. 

Upon arrival at the station the RO informs the team the number and type of targets to be engaged.  Example:  There are 4 pistol, 8 carbine and 6 rifle targets and one bonus rifle target.  The team must locate, guide the RO's attention to, and shoot the targets in the order they indicate.  Typically the pistol targets are cleared first, then the carbine and finally the rifle.  As soon as the RO declares the weapons clear he will lead the team to the next station and the process will repeat until all stations are completed.  Time ends when the team crosses the finish line.

A shooting station may or may not have all four of the different target options.  The course designers change this aspect of the shoot each year.  Typically targets are placed in such a way as to provide a large and realistic set of shooting solutions.  This may look like: A series of handgun targets at ranges of 8 to 35 yards with a smaller bonus target at 45 yards; or, A series of carbine targets scattered over a range of 80 to 500 yards, some of which may be concealed and/or difficult to locate, a bonus target in this case may be a 625 yard target in an area known to have particularly interesting cross winds; or, rifle targets arranged at distances of 100 to 1,200 yards, although typically the distances are inside of 1,000 yards.

The game is played by awarding points for hits and deducting for misses or failing to engage the target.  Each target must be engaged twice.  10 points are awarded for a hit and 10 points are deducted for a miss.  Failure to engage is minus 20 points for each required engagement.  A team will receive 1 point for each minute under par (2 hours) that they finish the course early.   A par score for each of the courses may be between 2,400 to 2,800 points. 

Any type of equipment can be used, except the organizers are not fond of the 50 bmg, or similar rounds that do damage to the targets.  Most shooters don't want to lug around that heavy of rifle anyway.  I don't think I've seen anything bigger than a 338, and I can't imagine wanting to spend two days humping and shooting that rig.  All equipment that a team will use, including for the team on team events must be carried on the precision portion of the course.  That means if the carbine shooter wants to use a bolt action for precision work, he may, however he must pack his AR each day if he wants to use it for action shooting. 

Each course requires a different amount of ammo to engage all the targets twice.  150 rounds of ammo for the carbine is a good amount to pack, but you aren't going to use that much each round.  I wouldn't carry more than 50 rounds of handgun ammo for the course, and a 100 for the rifle.  When it comes to the team on team shooting, I'd bring 250 rounds for handgun.  Normally you won't use that much, but there might be a shoot off situation and having extra is better than not having enough.  Each year they publish a more precise round count before registration begins, as a rule 200 pistol, 300 carbine and 300 rifle seems to be  normal, but more bullets can be more better. 

As long as you want to carry it, all equipment is legal, any scope, spotting scope, bipod, tripod etc is fair game.  Everyone uses a laser range finder, even the legendary Darrell Holland.  If you don't know Darrell, he is the worlds foremost guru on optical range finding.  He's quite the guy when it comes to range estimation.  You'd have to see it to believe it, but he is amazing.  Even he "cheats" and uses a rangefinder.

The entry fee is $300 per person.  If that seems steep that's because you haven't seen the prize table.  The cheap scopes on the table were $800.  They also had some nice Night Force and similar products.  There were a few thousand dollars worth of handguns.  I have no idea how many thousands of dollars worth of ammo or component prizes were up for grabs.  I don't remember what all was available but here are some companies involved: Burris, Berger, Leopold, Night Force, Steiner, Glock, Sierra just name the ones I can think of right now.  There was a ton of grab bag stuff too.  Over half of the entry fees comes back as cash prizes and any overage in fees collected is donated to the Wounded Warriors Fund.  This year they had all the event tee shirts donated, rather than take them as freebies, the guys pitched in $10 a piece and donated the cash to the Wounded Warriors Fund. 

Accommodations for the shoot can be had on the grounds if you want to camp out in your RV or tent, or Frank has a couple of rooms in his bed and breakfast that you can rent on a first come first serve basis.  The closest hotels are about an hour and a half away.  Food can be purchased on the grounds or bring your own.  Alcohol is not allowed during the shoot.  You can have a beer afterwards if you want, but its BYOB.  The ranch is state licensed for a commercial kitchen and hotel but doesn't have a state liquor license.

The shoot is open to anyone who wants to participate.  I've not seen anyone under 18 give it a try.  I'm guessing the oldest team was in their late 60's.  Last year two boys decided that as part of their home schooling curriculum that they would research, build and equip long range shooting rigs.  As far as I know, their families were not "gun" people.  So these two young men earned their own money, designed and built their equipment, taught themselves about ballistics, reloading and (to a lessor degree) shooting.  Being under 21 they could not buy or in their state posses handguns so about 2 weeks before the shoot they got their dads to buy pistols.  They came out and did their best.  Which was pretty good.  They finished in the top part of the lower 50%.  Considering that my coaching session with them (after the shoot) was the first handgun training they had, they did very well.

The normal mix of teams incudes professional shooters, LEO, MIL and sometimes an Operator or two, as well as a good amount of guys retired from those categories, hobbyists, industry reps and when they can work up the courage an internet sniper or two. 

To place in the top third it takes consistent shooting.  50% of the shots are what I would consider "normal" shooting in terms of range and difficulty.  Maybe 20 to 25% of the shots are in the difficult category, with the rest being somewhat between the two.  The second factor to place well is team work.  The spotter/shooter dynamic and communication aids in making first round hits, follow ups and corrections. 

Over the years I've seen a couple of things that hamper most teams, the first is an unwillingness to give up on a missed target.  Guys get convinced that they can hit something and they won't stop trying.  At minus 10 points a miss they won't quit shooting.  The rules require you to try twice, if you miss twice, that's -20 on the score.  If you miss 8 that's -80 points.  This year the most common thing I saw hurting scores was the inability to hit squat with a handgun.  I had good teams that I've RO'd for years display pathetic handgun shooting.  There might only be 24 pistol targets on a course, but a minus 240 on a course of fire worth 2,400 is a 10% drop in overall score, if you hit 100% of the carbine and rifle targets.

Some guys get intimidated when they hear that "professionals" are shooting.  I wouldn't.  If you think a SEAL team or a couple of guys from an unnamed special group are going to automatically win, you'd be wrong.  LEO's ain't what they should be.  There are several hobbyists that routinely out shoot cops.  Also professionals have gear failures all the time.  They may even have more equipment failures than a hobbyist due to the hard use their equipment gets.  I've seen good shooters lose because a barrel decided to go out half way through the shoot.  It is true there are a handful of USMC, Rangers, etc that come out.  Most of them are retired and just having some fun.  When the last time your opponent saw action was Vietnam, there is a chance that your eyesight may be a tad better than his.  

Like most things in life, WTRC is a competition against yourself.  Can you spot, call wind, adjust, shoot consistently and work with your team mate?  If you can, you stand a pretty good chance at finishing well.  Can you own a mistake and not overly commit to a target that you've missed twice?  Then you will keep from sabotaging your own performance.

Give it a try.  Shooting is fun and shooting against others provides a little pressure to preform.  Oh and there is normally a couple of girl teams.  Personally I think it would be more embarrassing to lose to them than to a couple of old RECON guys.

7/10/2014

R.O.

It's late Thursday night.  I just got in from work.  In a couple of hours I'll be packing up to head up north to work the Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship, formerly known as the International Tactical Rifle Championship.   Technically that Wyoming part of the name is a bit of a misnomer too, part of the match is shot in Montana.

Late to bed early to rise, watch guys shoot all day and make up lies.

Well the make up lies part will be harder, since I'm going to be one of the score keeps for this match.

It's too late to join us this year, unless you can make the ranch in 6 hours.  I think it'd be a hoot if the Ilk could manage to field a team or two for next year.