The Ever Evolving Wish List

As Of 2/26/2020

Generally speaking, I am not a materialistic person. I could care less what brand of clothes or shoes I wear as long as they fit, look halfway decent and are of reasonable quality. Ditto for other items of practical usage. I’ve never spent a dime customizing a car to impress or show off. If I don’t like it just the way it is, I probably won’t buy it. That’s not to say, however, that I do not have things that I really want or have preferences about the things I do purchase. I wouldn’t be human and male if I didn’t.

Having said that, I have found that my wants and desires have changed as I’ve aged and matured. Yet, it is still a truism that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. So, I thought I would share my ever evolving wish list with my readers in the vain hopes that someone, somewhere might take pity on me and fulfill some or all of my wishes (or, at the very least, clue me in when they find a good deal on one). I am trying to limit myself to items that are realistically attainable for/by me in my lifetime (though I stretch that definition a little in the aircraft category).

The first few items are not strictly material items with the possible exception of the third one. However, they are worth more to me in terms of importance than all the others combined.

Family & Home

1) A Happy Queen – I want a happy wife. A lot of people might put their kids or their house at the top of this category. Not me. Kids grow up and start lives and families of their own. They never truly let go of their parents, but they never truly stay either. Houses can be bought, sold, taxed and burned. Rising divorce rates, crappy economy, bald head and/or 12 pack abs be damned, a happy spouse will stay by your side forever.

The Queen and I met in 1997 and married in 2003. We’ve seen each other at our best and worst. We’ve survived disease and near death (both of us – pneumonia for me and "the mystery illness" [which turned out to be chronic Lyme's Disease and a few other things] for her), financial woes, infertility, in-laws living with us, arguments, frustrations, job loss and loss of family members. We’ve shared more blessings than we can shake a stick at.

None of that really matters. What matters most is that we both have striven to be better for the other. For instance, I know I am not the world’s best communicator (setting aside my profound, yet intermittent diarrhea of the word processor) and that that frustrates her to no end. Every time I screw up, I try harder to avoid the same mistakes next time. She does the same.

We also try to do the little things that eventually suffer in a marriage. I always try to get the door (car or building) for her wherever we are. Sometimes she beats me to it or I’m busy strapping a child into a car seat. She generally knows exactly when I need a long, tight, bear hug…or a batch of macaroni and cheese.

2) A Happy Princess – The Queen and I both wanted children (which is somewhat surprising in my case given my temperament when I was younger), and we are truly blessed to have M&M in our lives. However, after what we went through with the M&M saga, the likelihood of us pursuing another child is between slim and none. So, now, we focus our energy on giving M&M all the time, love and attention we can so that she has a happy childhood free of worry or fear. The time we have had with her so far has been nothing short of magical.

3) Hearth & Home – Everyone needs a place to lay their head that reasonably dry and out of the heat and cold depending on the season. The Queen and I are in the midst of a change in thinking on this item. We might just free ourselves from paying for our own cage and pitch a tent (or an RV) wherever the winds of whimsy take us.


Everyone needs some transportation, but not everyone needs a car…unless you live in Texas like I do. Even though I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area where something approximating public transportation exists, a personal vehicle is a necessity. And, unless you like smelling like a drowned and roasted goat when you arrive at work, motorcycles and scooters are not acceptable as a primary means of getting from point A to point B pretty much at any time of the year here. When it’s not 100+ degrees, it’s probably raining/hailing or tornadoes are touching down. Plus, have you seen how some of these retards are driving now? I mean, really, how hard is it to not hit the cars around you?

Setting all that aside, this is a wish list...not a grocery list. So, what do I want to wrap myself in to get from here to there and back again while having a little fun and exhibiting some style?

1) 1970 Datsun 240Z – So far, I have had two 240Zs. They are basic, no frills, sports cars. They are insanely easy to work on. They handle well despite the long nose. And, I fit in them. Actually, I want two of them. One to restore to original, and one to modify into a fire breathing monster. Well, a supercharged, 4.6 or 5.0L Ford V8, tire smoking monster with a body kit and extra wide wheels in the back to keep the power from spinning the back end around.

This one is very similar to the one I had originally.
I'll take one just like this one.
(both photos above sourced from
2) A.C. Cobra 427 (any year, original, continuation or kit) – Brute force in a lightweight, curvy body, 0 to 100 to 0 so fast you don’t have time to scream and couldn’t hear yourself over the pipes anyways…yes, please.
(photo sourced from


I love motorcycles despite the fact that I’ve laid one down myself and seen more than my share of bike accidents including the moron who turned an unpaid for, uninsured Yamaha R1 into a million itty bitty pieces when he hit the side of a Honda Accord at about 60 miles an hour. The biggest recognizable piece was the engine. He survived, by some miracle, with only a minor case of road rash.

In my opinion, crotch rockets are the motorcycle equivalent of an M16 with a giggle switch…all plastic and flash that make a lot of noise and waste a lot of money. Nice, but not my thing. I wouldn’t mind a dirt bike or an enduro, but street bikes are where my interest really lies.

Until recently, the Victory Cross Country 8 Ball was a strong contender for my heart's desire.

(photo sourced from
Then, Polaris up and kills off the Victory brand. Well, that just sucks. So, I go looking for what Yamahooha has to offer; and, low and behold, I discover that they have discontinued my previous favorite: The VMax (they have since brought it back into production...make up your ever loving minds already). What IS it with these companies? All I want is a cruiser/muscle bike with a nice, big engines, a fair amount of chrome and room for two to ride comfortably. Oh, and I want it to look cool. Maybe I'll just rent a bike when I feel the need. 


Airplanes are something of a family tradition. I am a fourth generation pilot even though I am not current right now because it’s a horribly expensive hobby (if you think a gun addiction is expensive, compare the price of AVGAS [at 10 gallons an hour or so] to ammo and get back with me). My mother’s parents ran the airports in Georgetown and Killeen, Texas back in the 1960s. My mother’s mother’s parents were licensed pilots. My mom was licensed. My uncle (mom’s brother) was an ATP rated pilot who worked for many years as a bush pilot in Alaska. Grandad was a well respected A&P mechanic and IA for many years and gave me my first airplane ride at the tender age of 6 weeks old. Grandmother was ATP rated and one of the first women hired by the FAA as a safety inspector back in the early 1970s. She was also my instructor. I suppose you could say flying is in my blood.

I’m not rated for anything but single, engine land. I once dreamed of a glider rating until I actually tried it. Once off the tow rope, it was a magical experience. The ride up close on the tail of the tow plane, not so much. With the possible exceptions of owning a DC-3, Grumman Widgeon or a PBY Catalina, I have no desire for a multi engine rating. Although I am not currently rated so, I wouldn’t mind a seaplane and high performance rating. My choices are limited accordingly.

Most of my flying time has been spent in the Cessna 150/152 and Cessna 172. The 150/152 is strictly a 2 person plane as long as the second person doesn’t weigh too much and doesn’t mind being very cozy with the pilot. It’s really not intended as a long distance, cross country machine. Despite the advantage of being able to go “as the crow flies”, it’s slow enough that birds have been known to pass them in the air and it’s also possible to hover one at minimum controllable airspeed on a steady, high wind day (ask me how I know these things sometime). Unfortunately, they haven’t made any since 1985, and most of the 7000 or 8000 or so they did build have been used and abused as trainers. In fact, the two main airplanes I learned to fly in (both 152s) were crashed by fools years after I moved on.

The 172 is technically a four seat airplane with a better cruise speed than the 152, but you’d better keep a close eye on weight and balance if you plan on launching with four, full figured adults. Forget about luggage. I consider it a pilot and 2 passenger plus minimal luggage plane. It’s capable of short to medium range cross country flights without too much trouble, and it’s reasonably comfortable for someone my size. They are about the easiest aircraft to fly by most accounts and reasonably affordable if you buy an older one. Having said that, I am really not interested in one. I’ve been there and done that. The older ones prior to 1985 are pretty tired for the most part and, with the exception of the early straight backs from the 1950s, are boring. The newer ones built after they resumed production in the 1990s are out of my price range and smarter than me to boot.

So, what would I want in an airplane?

1) Cessna 177B Cardinal – Cessna only built these birds for a relatively short time period compared to the other models in it’s line, but it has a devoted following. It’s a small step up from the 172 power wise, and the strutless, cantilevered wing with a swept back windshield make it look gorgeous. It’s closer to being a true four seater than the 172, and it has wider doors which make ingress/egress a bit easier. Most examples that come on the market are in much better shape than the average 172 too.

(picture sourced from Wikipedia)
2) Cessna 182 – The 182 is all but identical appearance wise to the 172, but the extra oomph in the bigger engine makes this plane a true four seater with the good cross country capability. There is a reason the 182 and its tail dragging cousins, the 180/185, are popular bush aircraft. I have a particular affection for the early, straight back models. They just look classier.
(photo sourced from

3) American Champion Citabria/Decathalon or Super Decathalon – I love, LOVE I TELL YOU, tail draggers. You fly tail draggers from the moment you turn the key on until the moment you switch it off. By comparison, you “drive” a 172 from the ramp to the runway. I have flown the Citabria and enjoyed every minute of it. The Decathalon and Super D are basically the same airframe with extra power and bells and whistles. They are capable of more demanding aerobatics than I am.
(photo sourced from

4) Pitts S2C, Steen Skybolt or Christen Eagle – If I just told you how much I love tail draggers, we don’t need to discuss my unspeakable lust for biplanes. I can build one in my shop from plans. I wants it…my precious.
(photo sourced from

5) Team Rocket F1 Evo – This is a modern, two seat, all metal, tail dragger kit plane based on the Vans RV design. It’s fast. It's sleek. The kits are made right here in Texas. Yeah...I'd get me some of that.
(photo sourced from


This section of the wish list changes almost as often as I change my underwear. It's the most financially accessible of my hobbies, and the market seems to want to add new toys on a daily basis (and that's before we even get into accessories). I've recently split this part of the list into three categories: Must Haves, Nice To Haves, and I Can Dream Can't I?. Several of the items have been on and off the list more than once as my mind changes about firearms related topics. Some of them may come off (or on) again. Bottomline: I like to shoot, I like different guns for different things, you can’t stop at just one, and there is no such thing as enough guns. All photos are shamelessly borrowed from the manufacturer's websites. 

The Must Haves

1) Bolt action .22LR rifle with a threaded barrel. Having shot several contenders, I'm leaning heavily towards the Ruger American Rimfire Target.  The plastic stock version leaves me a little "meh", but I wouldn't turn it away. I really like the blue steel/laminate stock version though. And, the Ruger has the added bonus of being able to use my 10/22 magazines which is a definite plus since I already have a 10/22. The Ruger Precision Rimfire Rifle is also very nice although the whole chassis rifle thing leaves me aesthetically cold.

Ruger American Rimfire Target
Same gun - laminate stock and blue steel
Fully adjustable, superbly accurate, great trigger...sterile, boring...

2) I really want a lever action rifle for fun that has plenty of power and accuracy to hunt where I'm likely to find myself hunting. I toyed with the idea of a Marlin 1895 in .45-70.

What's not to like about a round that can kill just about anything on the planet? Let's start with ammo costs and recoil. Sure, I can reload to bring costs down, but the criteria includes fun. Being beaten up by a gun does not make for an enjoyable day at the range. Besides, shooting Texas Corn Rats with this beast is likely to result in a pink cloud as opposed to usable meat. So, this goes down in the nice to have list. So, what about a .30-30?

You can find .30-30 ammo just about anywhere, it's not as spendy as some other choices, recoil is not nearly as punishing as the .45-70 and hordes of dead deer can attest to its effectiveness. If I can find one of these Marlin Curly Maple models, I can hunt in style!
Here's the thing though; I'm less likely to find myself hunting with it as I am to spend a day at the range plinking. So, .30-30 is overkill and costly for that purpose. That puts this in the nice to have category and brings us to the pistol caliber levers.

A Marlin 1894 CSBL in .357 Magnum (I wouldn't be opposed to one in .44 Magnum either), which is the smaller brother to the 1895, fits the bill for my needs quite nicely. It's got plenty of power to drop Texas corn rats (aka deer) at 100 yards or less (which is about the max range at which I'm likely to take a shot). Range ammo can be had at less than $20 a box for 50 rounds (in .357 at least) for an enjoyable day of plinking that doesn't require a bank loan. As an added bonus, lever actions are unlikely to ever wind up on the government's ban wish list and are pretty much legal in all 50 states. While not AS aesthetically pleasing as the Marlin CSBL  (to me), the Marlin 1894C or a Henry All Weather would be nice choices too. The new Henry X Series is intriguing too.

3. A Ruger Mk IV 22/45. I like the looks of the Lite series, but I'd be just as happy with the target model.

4. A .45ACP double stack pistol. If I had the money, I'd buy one STI's offerings such as the DVC Carry or the Staccato P Host (or whatever their current model designation is...they change the names like it's WitSec or something). I don't make that much money though, and my girls have a powerful desire for food, shelter and clothing which trumps my hobby's desires. Of the "commodity" polymer pistol offerings, I really like the look and feel of the Smith & Wesson M&P45 2.0, and I've spent a fair amount of quality time with the 9MM version of the Sig P320. So, I wouldn't be opposed to either of those. However, the Glock 21 does a couple of tricks that neither of those can such as the ability to swap uppers to a G41 length upper and drop in a 10MM barrel for some versatility. They can also handle .45 Super and .460 Rowland.

5. Commander Length 1911 in .45ACP. There is just something about the Commander sized 1911 that just works for me. I typically shoot them better than the 5" Government models. The most likely candidate for my current budget is the Ruger SR1911 Commander. If I can squeeze a few more shekels out of the budget, the Talo Night Watchman versions are pretty sharp looking.

6)  Ruger GP100 4" in .357 Magnum. Frankly, I wouldn't mind the Smith & Wesson 686 Plus 4" either. Plenty of  power for my foreseeable needs, ammo costs aren't stupid, solid hunks of  steel that will outlast my daughter's grandkids. Cut the cylinder for moonclips, throw it in a holster and take on all comers..

Nice to Haves

1) Polymer, double stack 9mm. I've had the Smith M&P40, the Sig P320 Carry RX and the Glock 23. I've put rounds through an XD and an SR9. I shoot the Glock the best. So, I need a Glock 9MM. I'd take the 17 or 19 preferably in the MOS configuration for ease of Red Dot installation since my eyes are crap.

2) Smith & Wesson 617 4" .22LR

3) Smith & Wesson 66 .357Mag 2.75"

4) Smith & Wesson 625 .45ACP

5) .308 Winchester Bolt Action Rifle

6) Remington 870 12 Gauge 18.5"/28" barrel combo

7) Marlin 1895SBL in .45-70 because go big or go home.

Hey, I Won The Lottery!
1) CMMG Guard/Banshee .45ACP

2) Smith & Wesson 325 Thunder Ranch .45ACP and/or TRR8 .357 Magnum.

3) A Brandan Bunker built custom 1911. Serious machining art. Brandan performs magic with metal. His tolerances are so accurate, you can't tell where one part ends and another begins.

4) Gemini Customs does phenomenal work on Ruger and Smith & Wesson revolvers; but, dang, they are some seriously expensive packages.

5) 9MM STI 2011

6) De Lisle Carbine in .45ACP because....shhhh. A more modern version using a Ruger 77/44 as a base would be an acceptable substitute.

7) Custom Ruger 10/22s for the family based on Kidd or Brownells BRN receivers.

8) Big Horn Armory .44 Mag lever action

9) Springfield M1A FDE in .308


  1. Good man... the Datsun 1982 280ZX Turbo, T-tops, bangin' cassette deck & big custom speakers that I once owned STILL visits me in my dreams... It was so sweet, I barely remember what all the fuss was bout in the Pacific in 1941-1945.

    1. Russell, I feel the same way about my first 240z. The second was a project that never got off the ground, but the many memories.

  2. You need a Henry rifle on that list!

    1. Randy, I've looked at the Henry's, and they are pretty. However, I prefer the side loading gate of the Marlin/Winchester action as opposed to the tube end loading of the Henry's.


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