Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm Not Bribing These People, I Promise

This is becoming a rather regular phenomena. I'm not sure whether to be disturbed or comforted. I opened up Blogger to start working on my yearly homage to The Queen's moment of weakness in deciding to marry me; and, lo and behold, there's another shiny, new, official follower there on the dashboard waiting for me. Number 46 if Blogger is to be believed. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Odysseus from the blog By Other Means. Odysseus, thank you for taking the time to publicly shame yourself by following my little corner of insanity. I don't promise to be good or regular or consistent, but I just might succeed in putting a rational thought together once in a while.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Am I Giving Away Cash or Something?

A quick check of the blog this morning reveals another new follower. Officially, number 45 in the follower list goes to txmuziklover. Based on his profile, it does not appear that he has a blog of his own. Txmuziklover, if that is incorrect or changes in the future, let me know and I will update the rest of the congregation. In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to follow my humble home on the internet. Welcome, I hope you enjoy.

Correction from the comments:

Our new follower is The Impulsive Texan from the blog of the same name. Follow the link for more.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More New Follower Goodness

I just pulled up Blogger for a little stat counter nosiness and discovered a slight uptick in the number of followers. With the addition of HH, the congregation of official followers is now up to 44 (although there are 50 something of you as subscribers if Google Reader is to be believed). HH does not appear to have an active blog at this time. If that changes in the future HH, let me know and I'll be sure to update things accordingly. In the meantime, welcome. Enjoy and comment to your heart's content. Just don't touch the pie in the fridge. You have no idea how much shaming and guilting of a certain niece it took to get that pie.

Update: HH stands for Heroditus Huxley, and HH's blog is A quick perusal suggest that HH's corner of the blogosphere is right up my alley. You might find it interesting as well. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

She's a Genius

So, I was sharing some quality time with M&M whilst feeding her a bottle earlier this evening. For a we little tyke just shy of eight pounds, she chugs formula down like college freshman fraternity pledges guzzle down cheap beer. She farts and belches like one too. I am convinced she's smarter than your average fraternity pledge by at least an order of magnitude.

At any rate, I took the opportunity of our little mealtime one on one to discuss the finer points of Major League Baseball and last years World Series with M&M. The conversation went something like this.

Me: So, how about them Rangers?

M&M: [suck, suck, suck...] URP!

Me: I suppose you're right. Their performance in the series sucked so bad it would make me want to spit up too. So, do you think they have a chance at winning next year and avoiding the stigma of becoming the Buffalo Bills of baseball?

M&M: [fart]

Me: Yep, I think I have to agree. Their chances definitely stink. 

I think she's got a great future as a sports or political commentator. What do you think?

In other news, The Queen and I shared a tearful moment earlier this evening while out shopping. We were making our semi monthly, post paycheck pilgrimage to Whole Foods to stock up on food. Along the way, we stopped off at a thrift store The Queen frequents to see if a "baby coat" could be located for M&M as "The Rules" requires to have one for her. I question the wisdom of these rules given the fact that newborns spend 95% of their time swaddled in onesies and blankets. The remainder of their time is spent stark naked getting their butt wiped mid diaper change. 

While on the subject of diaper changes, if anyone can come up with a diaper changing gizmo sort of like a mechanical bidet that hoses them off, drys them and stuffs them into a new nappie, I'd be standing in line with cash.

Any stinky digression, while at the thift store, The Queen found a CD for the soundtrack to the movie Prince of Egypt. The Queen and I are suckers for animated movies. The fact that Prince of Egypt was a more or less Biblically based movie was a bonus. We even chose the song "When You Believe" as the song we had our first dance to at our wedding. I could have lived without Whitney and Mariah moaning throughout the song, but it's still a good song nonetheless. So, we get back in the car and pop the CD in to have a listen and see how M&M responds. 

Then it happens. I start getting all teary eyed. I'm serious. I turned into a little puddle of sappiness. There are maple trees in Canada less sappy than me at that moment. The Queen looks at me all concerns and asks what's wrong. I choked out something to the affect that the CD is a perfect soundtrack to M&M's situation. The Queen asked what I meant, and I said that the story of Moses is one of adoption. The song "When You Believe" is all about faith and miracles. Then The Queen starts crying. Tears of joy I assure you.

M&M is our little miracle delivered through faith. I thank God for her everyday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Super Secret Special News

It’s official. I can finally discuss the super secret special news that has been in the works. Since I have a very smart and astute group of readers, I doubt this news will come as much of a surprise to you all. But, at least now I can pay off the hints I’ve been dropping here and there.

For the last month, I have been in the interview process for what turned out to be an extremely selective company. Today, I received and accepted what I can only describe as an incredible offer. I was selected over 25 other applicants that have been invited to go through the process since May. That should tell you a little about how seriously this company has taken the hiring process.

The process started for me a month ago when I received a call out of the blue from a recruiter I’ve talked to a couple of times over the years. He had seen my resume posted on an industry job posting website which had been posted several years ago when I was trying to get a job back in Dallas to be back with The Queen during the darkest days of the mystery illness. We chatted for a bit, and he asked how things were going. I brought him up to speed on my world, and he mentioned that he was working on something but that I sounded pretty comfortable where I was. I almost shot the job down out of hand when the recruiter mentioned a certain type of claims that are anathema to me being involved with the job. Fortunately, further discussion revealed that those certain claims were a relatively small part of the job.

Anyway, the more we talked, the more interesting the opportunity became. I agreed to have the recruiter submit my resume to the company. They got back with me almost immediately to schedule an interview for the following week. From there, things have been moving remarkably fast for this type of position.

There some odd yet interesting highlights to the process. One was the spelling test. This company has institutionalized a spelling test as part of the hiring process. Basically, it’s one sheet of paper with about a 100 words on it. You have to circle the misspelled words. Apparently, if you do not do well on that small task, you don’t get to the next phase. I was told that it is amazing how many “well qualified” people do not pass the test. I was also told that I scored a 98 which has me puzzling over which two words I missed.

The other was the psychological evaluation which I mentioned previously. After the initial interview, I had to complete a battery of online assessments before meeting with psychologist in person. The battery of tests was intense. It seriously felt like I was taking the GRE and LSAT all at once. The in person interview with the psychologist was easy by comparison.

Yesterday was the final interview; and, at the end of the interview, the VP of claims and the CEO of the company said they were definitely interested in my and would get back to me with an offer ASAP. The offer arrived via email this morning; and, after a series of phone calls, we were able to come to some very agreeable terms.

So, what will I be doing? My official title will be claim consultant which is the same title I currently work under; however, the two positions are worlds apart. At my current company, a claim consultant is a frontline claims adjuster who handles claims and nothing else. At the new company, a claim consultant is part claims adjuster, part home office oversight for third party administrators and part account manager. The new company is also much smaller than my current company which means flatter management (my boss will be the VP of claims who reports to the CEO), less bureaucracy, more responsibility, etc. After the past six years with a large (30,000+ employees), old company with a huge, distant, entrenched bureaucracy, being able to literally walk down the hall and talk with the CEO to get a decision is huge for me.

Did I mention I will get my own private office with a nice view?

There is a fairly heavy, nationwide travel requirement with the new position, and one of their conditions for offering the job was that they expected me to leave law school behind. That condition alone led to several late night discussions with The Queen. We ultimately decided that I would agree to leave law school if the job were offered for several reasons. First, law school and becoming a lawyer were never “The Dream”. At most, it was a means of moving forward to make The Dream possible. Second, the money involved with this job is good enough that we will be able to get out of debt much sooner than we would have otherwise (as opposed to going further into debt with student loans). If I hate the job or the people (both unlikely after the process I’ve been through), I can stomach it long enough to save some cash back to make going back to school less of a burden. Third, I really didn’t comprehend how difficult working full time and going to law school was going to be. It really was too much. I had too many late nights. Work was suffering, school work and study weren’t as good as they could have been, and I really wasn’t able to give everything to The Queen that she deserved. If I could go to school full time and do nothing else, that would be one thing. As it is, I could probably do it, but at what cost?

With the family rapidly expanding, the money was a major factor in the decision as well. The company said they wanted the very best people and compensates them accordingly. I will tell you that the money is well above average for the industry. To give you an idea, my salary was already above average for the company I’m with (and the industry for what I do) because I was allowed to keep my supervisor’s salary when I stepped down to move back home and take care of The Queen. The new company is offering a very nice pay increase (in the double digits by percentage) with a significant signing bonus which makes for a pretty big incentive to make a change.

I wish I could say that I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, but I really don’t. I’m too excited about the new position, the people I’ll be working with and what it means for The Queen and our growing little family to be anything but happy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Nickname

The Queen, M&M and I had our first visit from the adoption agency caseworker last night. Everything went well. I was able to confirm that there is no harm in sharing basic information about the child via social media (i.e. you guys). So, it pleases me no end to tell you all that M&M is a happy and contented little girl. It took me all of two seconds to become attached to the little angel after she snuggled up on my chest and went to sleep.

I still can't share photos which really stinks because I've got some good ones. For now, you'll just have to settle for this photo with Spanky McCloud serving as M&M's stunt double.

Speaking of Spanky and M&M, Spanky was not real sure what M&M was at first. I think he was concerned that he might be replaced. At first, he wouldn't go anywhere near M&M. Then he'd be extra rambunctious like he was performing or auditioning to keep his job as resident cute thing and attention whore. Finally, he jumped up on the bed where M&M was temporarily sacked out and gave her a tentative sniff from a near her feet. Then he moved around to where her head was, laid down within paw's reach and gently reached out to touch her head with his paw. I have a photo of that and will share it when I can.

The Queen has a better story about bath time. Unfortunately, we don't have photos or video of this one. The Queen gave M&M her first bath at our house. Spanky decided to come check things out. He put his front paws on the edge of the basis where M&M was being bathed, reached out to touch her head and then licked his paw where he had just touched her. He did that a couple of times according to The Queen. We're not sure if he was trying to help bath her or find out what she tastes like. Next time bath time rolls around, I'll be standing by with the camera.

Finally, the punch line of the post title. The Queen has now bestowed a new title upon your humble Shepherd. I now bear the official title of Daddy Hawk. Apparently, The Queen has been immensely impressed with how I've responded to M&M and fatherhood (especially considering my lack of parenting experience prior to M&M's arrival in comparison with The Queen's vast experience with caring for children from her days as a nanny). She's commented to others about how I've been very attentive, watchful and protective of M&M. So, she started referring to me as Daddy Hawk. 

I like it. I can see it now: M&M comes home from school all sad because some boy teased her, and I will get to say, "Aw, sweetheart, which little boy does Daddy Hawk have to go kill and make it all better?" Come to think of it, I might just have to get the grips on the 1911 I plan on buying engraved with "Daddy Hawk".

To all the little boys in the neighborhood, don't even think about it. Daddy Hawk is well armed and he's watching you.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baby Update

Well, dear readers, the baby and freshly minted foster parents survived their first night together. All indications are good that tonight will be successful as well.

I promised more to follow, and I intend to give you just as much detail as I can. Since the little one (the child’s nickname from this point forward will be M&M – a play on the initials of the first and middle names we selected should we be allowed to adopt) is a ward of the state and we are merely the caregivers (for the time being), I am limited by law and contract in what I can do with and say about M&M.

One of the main things I can’t do is post photographs. It has to do with the privacy and protection of the child. I am not sure how a parent whose child has been taken away would find a photograph of their child if all identifying information had been left off, but supposedly it happens. We are allowed to take photos for personal use (and we have). If we are fortunate enough to be allowed to formally adopt M&M, we will be free to share everything then.

Anyway, back to the story telling. Friday started out normally enough. I trudged my way past traffic caused by a two cat pile up in the hallway, let the dogs out and settled into my morning routine. I had a conference call/webinar for a refresher course on handling claims involving Medicare liens (snoozer…hit mute and continue working) that started at 1:00 PM. About ten or 15 minutes into the call, I heard The Queen’s booted footsteps running across the kitchen through the pantry and into the TV room outside my office. She came to a skidding halt when she saw my headset on which is her signal that I am busy at work and to wait for my attention. Since she doesn’t normally run across the house to get my attention, she got it fairly quickly.

Once I confirmed that I was muted, I turned around as my desk chair faces away from the door so I can look out the window into the back yard. The Queen blurted out, “Renee [our adoption coordinator] just called. They have a three week old baby, and CPS is on their way over here now with the baby.” I had the mental equivalent of the record player needle being dragged across the record when my brain completely locked up. The Queen continued, “I need help to get the house ready. They’ll be here in about an hour.” I allowed as how I was tied up with the conference call and would come assist as soon as I was free. It took me a few minutes for my brain to process things and realize that 1) we had just received our first foster child placement, 2) the child was en route to the house right then and there, 3) The Queen needed help, and 4) everything else was unimportant and could wait until later. Once my brain had finished catching up with reality, I confirmed with the training coordinator that the power point materials would be distributed via email. With that done, I hung up and walked away from the desk to assist The Queen in the whirlwind cleaning of the house.

We finished with plenty of time to spare. As it turns out, the CPS caseworker was running behind schedule due to traffic and bad directions. Once we got her pointed in the right direction, it was only five minutes or so before they would arrive. I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I dragged The Queen outside to wait on the front porch for M&M to arrive with the CPS caseworker. I felt it important that we show CPS that we were excited and eager for M&M’s arrival.

They pulled into the driveway a little after 3:00 PM, and The Queen and I all but said, “Gimme, gimme, gimme.” when the nice caseworker lady stepped out of her car. She opened the car door to get M&M. I immediately offered to take the baby carrier, and we escorted everyone into the house. Once inside, we got our first look at M&M. Absolutely the most precious child I have ever laid eyes on. And tiny too. M&M was born prematurely, and technically should not even be born yet today. Ready or not, M&M is here now. We signed some mercifully brief paperwork with the caseworker, asked a few questions and unloaded M&M’s horde of possessions.

This was totally unexpected and, as the caseworker confirmed, very unusual. Normally, when you get a placement of a foster child, you are lucky to get any clothing or belongings. In our foster parent training, we were told to expect to have to make a run to the store for clothes, diapers, formula, etc. Not so with M&M. M&M came loaded for bear complete with brand new car seat, play pen, clothes, five bags of preemie diapers, blankets, and cases of special preemie formula which is being downed at a prodigious rate. The Queen had found a great deal a few weeks ago on a new stroller which mates up perfectly with the car seat. So, that was already here and ready to go along with the crib that my sister…the devil had used for my nieces which had been stored at Mimi’s house for the past twelve years or so. Topped off with a new, mattress obtained by The Queen, and we were set for kiddos.

After the CPS worker left at about 3:45 or 4:00, we started trying to figure out the game plan for the evening. We debated going to the store for some things, but decided we wanted to introduce M&M to the family right away. The Queen wanted to surprise her parents. So, the plan was that we would just show up unannounced. I called my mom and dad to let them know. Mom wanted to come to us, but we told her we would come her way since it was more or less in the direction we needed to go for The Queen’s folks. There was a little confusion and miscommunication on the exact order of the visits, but we got that sorted out in short order. Everyone in the immediate family except for my dad has seen M&M, and dad is planning on coming by tomorrow for a visit.

The Queen and I got home late Friday night and made a quick snack while we got M&M fed, changed and put to bed. We were told to expect the child to sleep about four or five hours. M&M had other ideas. I had first shift and got up about two and half hours after going to sleep. If you want to call it sleep. After five years of dealing with The Queen’s mystery illness, I am an attentive sleeper when caretaking is required. I spent most of my sleep time listening for M&M to see if there was any distress since we hadn’t really had any time yet to get to learn M&M’s normal sounds. Feedings and diaper changes went smoothly through the night. M&M has a good appetite and no obstructions on the used formula end of the equation.

We now know quite a bit more about M&M’s situation than we did yesterday when CPS left the house as we found M&M’s hospital records in the bag o’ stuff we received from CPS. I was not amused to find out that some of the things we were told were flat out wrong, whether by design, omission or human error. Some of those things are mildly concerning as they have a potential impact on M&M’s future health. Some of those things deal with actions and attitudes of certain blood relations of M&M’s. Those little nuggets of information are the reason I am withholding some potentially identifying information such as date of birth, gender, ethnicity, etc. because there is a real need to protect M&M under the circumstances. However, none of those little factoids are M&M’s fault and don’t change my feelings toward the baby in the slightest.

For now, I am comforted to know (and I hope it will comfort you all as well) that M&M is in overall healthy condition considering the premature birth and some of the attendant circumstances leading to the premature birth. Neurological and septic issues have been ruled out. Respiration is good. There is an intermittent cardiac issue which will be monitored over the next couple of months. Hearing checked out normal. Vision appears to be okay. Eating and elimination are functioning properly as indicated earlier. M&M’s diet will have to be monitored and adjusted for the near term which is normal for preemies from what I understand. We are required by law and contract to have a doctor’s appointment scheduled within the first thirty days regardless.

So, what’s next?

According to the paperwork, CPS expects M&M to be in foster care for one year. It is possible that it could be less or more. Much depends on the birth parents actions over the next month or two as to which way that will go. If the birth parents voluntarily terminate their rights, The Queen and I would be eligible to adopt M&M after the child has been in our home for no less than six months starting from Friday. In the meantime, CPS will proceed with attempts to reunite the child with the birth family. The first step in that process is a supervised visit at the CPS offices. If the parents are a no show, additional efforts are made. However, each no show by the parents or failure to comply with the care plan (including parenting classes and other requirements depending on circumstances) makes it more and more likely that CPS will move to have parental rights terminated involuntarily. Once their rights are terminated, M&M would be available for adoption.

Though not guaranteed, it is our understanding that The Queen and I, as the foster parents, would have right of first refusal if there were no other blood relatives interested in taking the child. We have been told that there are no other blood relatives in the picture. That may change.

In the meantime, we are going to enjoy every moment we have with M&M who, so far, has been an absolute angel. This child does not fuss. Being held, lying down, riding in the car, being passed around in the musical family members game, getting a bath…doesn’t matter. The kid is as content and even tempered as any child I’ve seen. This too may change, but I hope not.

That’s it for now. I need to get a cat nap before coming back on duty at 4:15. Y’all play nice while I snooze.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Follower #43

In addition to the baby in the house, I awoke to discover another new follower. Welcome, Crex. I apologize for the brevity of the welcome this morning, but we didn't get much sleep last night. If you have a blog you would like me to link to, drop me a comment and I'll fix things up on an update.

Friday, December 9, 2011


As I type, there is a three week old baby in my arms and tears of joy in my eyes. More to follow.

That New Follower Smell

I am up late playing Words With Friends against my niece JuJu, The Queen and my sister...the devil, and I took a moment between turns to check out blogger and discovered a new follower hiding on the dashboard much to my surprise. Even though I now know how people find their way here (usually via other blogs), it still amazes me that people find my musings interesting enough to publicly associate themselves with my little corner of the internet. 

At any rate, I'd like to give a warm welcome to Country Life Dreams (or maybe The Agrarian Homesteader...not sure exactly which) to the congregation. It does not appear that CLD (I hope you don't mind the abbreviation...if you don't, let me know) has a blog of his or her own. If that's not correct, I hope they will let me know in the comments so I can correct that. In the meantime, enjoy the show. There's bound to be a train wreck sooner or later.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Entertainment Weekly

As The Queen will attest were she to take an interest in this blog after encouraging this outlet for my creativity, I am the last person you would ever want to ask about anything related to the entertainment industry. I could not care less which celebrity is being arrested for molesting doorknobs while driving under the influence of Chihuahua flatulence this week. I stepped off the "I give a flying flip at a rolling donut" pop culture bus sometime in the '90s and haven't really missed it. 

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy watching television and movies. I can normally identify major actors and their significant filmography without too much stuttering and "What's his name again?" I'm just not emotionally invested in the people or the goings on of Hollywood beyond the characters they portray. To borrow a phrase from another blogger (Jennifer...I think), just shut up and dance monkey.

So, for me to actually feel like something from the entertainment world is important enough to waste time and pixels to comment on should say something. The reason for this detour into gossip columnist territory is the Discovery show Sons of Guns. 

SOG ended last season with a cliff hanger.  The show's comic relief and heir apparent to the title of chief monkey, Kris Ford, was seen asking permission to date the boss' daughter, Stephanie. Without getting into the dynamic of fishing off the company pier for a moment or the attractiveness of Ms. Stephanie, let's examine the a) lack of gray matter between Kris' ears, or b) the size and composition of his family jewels. He asked his BOSS, a retired MARINE and maker of some serious WEAPONRY with access to untold acres of SWAMPLAND in which to HIDE a body, if he can date the BOSSman's daughter who is a gun nut in her own right. Either there is a "for rent" sign occupying the space inside Kris's skull or he has titanium armored, depleted uranium core cajones living in his boxers. 

After having watched all episodes of the show so far, I would have to say that Mr. Ford is not stupid. He may be insane and/or be a love sick puppy, but he has too many cool ideas to be a world class moron. That leaves....

At the end of last season, the bossman, Will Hayden, gave Kris a choice: the job or the girl. I have to admit that I've been waiting for the answer for several months now, and last night was the pay off. Kris, in what I think was an excellent display of respect and humility towards his boss/father of the girl, chose the girl. I don't care who you are, it takes guts to be ready and willing to walk out on a dream job in this economy. To do it for someone you care about, should tell that person and anyone else volumes about your priorities in life. 

I hope she appreciates it, and I wish them the best of luck dealing with the pressures of dating in the company pond and the fish bowl of national TV. I'll be watching.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Welcome New Follower - Part 41

This is becoming habit forming...and I like it. I received a comment from SciFiChick earlier today letting me know she had made the dubious decision to follow yours truly. Welcome, SciFiChick. I'd offer you some coffee, but I can't stand the stuff. Your options are bourbon or iced tea.

According to her Blogger profile, she is currently involved with four blogs all of which appear to be focused on the prepper movement. Is it really a movement or is really just something we should have all learned when we grew up but failed to because we were indoctrinated by public schools? I Digress. Her flagship appears to be Bacon and Eggs. With a title like that, what's not to like? Oh, and if that's not enough, her post for today is a recipe for Hillbilly Pie which I am going to have to try. I can't resist a good dessert recipe.

Anypie, go check her out. Since The Queen and I have been feeling the need to become more self sufficient here lately, I plan on watching SciFiChick's blog for more recipes and information on what I should have learned 30 years ago.

One Down, How Many To Go?

Well, as of 10:15 PM last night, my first semester of law school was done for better or worse. Now the wait for grades begins. Will he be allowed to take a second semester, or will he have his law school career tragically cut short by abysmal performances on the all or nothing finals? Stay tuned. Same Bat Channel. Same Bat

I have two words to say: KNOB CREEK.

Nine year old small batch bourbon in your backpack makes one very popular after an exam. Just sayin'

I never thought four hours would seem like too SHORT of a time for a final exam, but I and several others discovered that time is of no importance until it involves a law school final. I actually ran out of time on the Torts final and finished the criminal law final with only 15 minutes to spare. It felt more like 40 minutes instead of four hours it went by so fast.

Of the three classes they allowed us part timers to take, I feel the best about last night's final even though it was criminal law in which I have zero personal experience. As I told some of my class mates, I won't loose any points for not trying. I answered all the questions and made what I thought were solid efforts on both essay questions (one of which involved a jury instruction exercise for which I was out of town when it was covered in class).

The Torts final...well...who knew an open book, open outline test could be SO FRICKIN' hard? I answered all of the multiple choice questions and feel like I did fairly well there. I answered all but one of the nine short answer questions (the one I didn't answer should have been a full blown essay question). Unfortunately, I ran out of time during the dreaded essay question. It had a ton of issues to address, and I had spent way too much time in the short answer and MPC sections to cover it all. I had roughed in an outline, but I know I'm not getting full credit on that section.

c'est la vie

I really don't want to talk about my legal analysis, research and writing class.

In other news, the thing which I'm not discussing in detail yet should come to a final resolution sometime middle to late next week. I think. Gory details to follow when they become available.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome New Follower

Well, well. Three posts in one day. That hasn't happened in a while. 

The reason for the trifecta post of the day is to announce and welcome a new follower to the congregation. PISSED of The Feral Irishman has kindly decided to reciprocate my early decision to follow his blog. Welcome. We have a cookie recipe posted around here somewhere. 

He has the distinction of being the fortieth official follower. I'm not sure that means anything numerologically, but I thought I'd point it out anyway. 

At any rate, his blog tickled my funny bone a bit today. Your mileage may vary. Be aware, somethings posted there are marginally safe for work and probably very educational to small children and adolescent males. So, you have been warned.

Grumble, Grumble...

The Queen: Honey, I'm sorry to bother you, but I have a flat tire.

Me: Where are you? [location received...close by fortunately] Okay, I'll be there in a few minutes.

...frickin'...grumble, grumble...tire sized chunk of asphalt...$$*I&%$#$@!!...missing from the side of the road....grumble, grumble...and The Queen manages to hit it...[snort, spit] 50 miles per hour...D'oh....

Great. Just what we needed. I would have felt better about a nail or something like that because I keep a plug kit in the car.

Fortunately, The Queen was safe and close to home so that I could assist quickly. The bonus, see there is a silver lining, is that she was able to pull over in a very wide median cross over which gave me a safe place to work.

Sanity...Oh Sweet Fleeting Sanity

It might amuse you, my dear readers, to know that I had to take a full blown psychological assessment for reasons that will hopefully become more apparent in the near future when I am a little freer to discuss the reasons for same. In the meantime, I thought you might find parts of one of the assessment exercises interesting. I was asked to do a sentence completion exercise. I have no idea what insight this exercise gave them into my psyche, but apparently it didn't trip any major alarms.

Following are some of the more interesting questions/responses (set up in bold, completion responses normal):

  • If I were given complete and absolute freedom and the means to do it, I would restore a vintage DC-3 or PBY Catalina and fly it all over the world to visit places I’ve never been, learn about other cultures, do things I’ve never done and help as many people as I could along the way." 
  • The 4 traits in people I dislike most are a) dishonesty, b) bad table manners, c) stubborness, and d) abusiveness to other people or animals.
  • Most people don't know that they are blind to their own ignorance.
  • People in business generally want to stay in business.
  • Power is dangerous.
There was three pages of that kind of stuff not including the four or five other online assessments including advanced numerical reasoning (math geekery - which is greater? 1/59-1/95 or 1/37-1/73), pattern analysis (think Rohrshach ink blots meets Sesame Street "which one of these is most like the other"), personality inventories, etc. It was an evening of fun and self discovery for the whole family. Not did take the whole the office. It was like taking the GRE and LSAT all over again...with the full knowledge that someone was going to use the information to make a recommendation about my "suitability".

Missed dinner too.That made me a little grumpy the next morning (woke up with a headache) when I was supposed to meet with the head shrinker in person.

More to come hopefully in the next week or so.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick Update

I apologize for being a delinquent blogger here of late. It's been a busy several weeks here at Castle Erickson with work, school, studying and the false alarm foster child situation. Unfortunately, I think it's only going to get busier for the next couple of weeks. There is something afoot that I cannot discuss in detail yet; however, it involves a a pretty major potentially life changing decision. Discussions within the family about this issue have pretty much consumed the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

While I've been away, I seem to have attracted a few new followers. Several bloggers have a tradition of welcoming new followers to the fold so to speak which I think is admirable. I've tried to do that from time to time, but it has been a real long time and many followers ago since I did so. My intent has been to do another massive follower intro, and I even started working on it before law school started to get in the way. I'll try to get that finished here before the end of the year after finals are done and things stop being so crazy. 

In the mean time, I offer a heartfelt welcome to Warlock Sundance, Stephen, Duke, Modern Day Redneck, Hoss Boss and justcook. I appreciate you taking the time to follow me increasingly irregular postings. Hopefully, regular programming involving guns, law school, foster parenting and associated craziness will resume sometime in the near future. No promises. 

One last thing before I get back to studying for my "all or nothing" Torts final scheduled for tomorrow evening. I've been meaning to mention this for a while, but it keeps eluding my limited attention span. I had to spend the better part of a week working from the law library at school because AT&T managed to kill my DSL connection for an entire week. I noticed something during that time which had been poking around the edges of my consciousness. Despite the reputation attorneys have for being ruthless, unethical scavengers, law students are, at the same time, generous, helpful and entirely too trusting. The heartless and unethical part must come later. The scavenger part, however, is purely instinctual. 

Allow me to explain. I sat in the law library for over eight hours on at least two different days watching students leave laptops and books worth well over $1000 unattended (and the laptops unlocked) while they left to go get coffee, go to the bathroom or others for fifteen or even thirty minutes at a time. A dishonest person could have walked away with not only valuable stuff but a semester's worth of work had they been so inclined; however, I never once saw anyone so much as blink in the direction of someone else's stuff. Balance this with what appears to be the near universal and ravenous appetite of law students. Every group event or meeting at school involves free food. Not that I'm complaining. Usually it's pizza, but we've also had Chick-fil-a, In-And-Out Burgers, Pot Belly Sandwiches and others catered in. Any leftovers from these events are shamelessly scavenged by other students. If a student walks in and smells food, it's on like Donkey Kong. It's like chumming the waters for sharks.

Anyway, must go now. Back to studying.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pitter Patter

To The Child who God has selected for us:

I wanted to take a few minutes to write you a little letter telling you that The Queen and I are very anxious to meet you. We have been waiting a long time for you to come into our lives, and we so desperately want to get to know you and see you grow up with all the love and joy we can shower upon you. Don’t worry. We won’t smother you.

We thought last Thursday was going to be the day we would get to meet you when The Queen received a call from the nice lady at the agency about a little girl (not even three weeks old yet) who needed a home right away. It turned out to be a false alarm though. That little girl did not turn out to be you. She had three other siblings, and she was placed in a home that would take all four of them together. We were disappointed for moment because we were so very excited that we might be getting to meet you that day, but we quickly realized that we needed to continue patiently awaiting your arrival.

Mimi was disappointed she didn’t get to meet you too. I think she can’t wait to have another grandchild to spoil. We hadn’t told Oma or Opa yet. The Queen wants to surprise them with your arrival. Grandpa B. says he’s looking forward to meeting you. I’m sure he is, but I hope he’s a little more diligent about visiting you than he has been about visiting your cousins.

You may wonder why I am writing this letter to you and posting it here for the whole world to see even before you’ve set foot in our home. It’s entirely possible that you might not even have set foot in the world yet. I decided to write to you now so that you would know that you were loved and wanted even before we knew who you were.

We’ve spent a lot of time getting ready for your arrival. We had to take classes so that the State of Texas would license us as foster parents. The Queen spent a lot of time getting the house ready for your arrival. She’s cleaned and organized, removed a lot of clutter, shopped for clothes and sheets and stuff. I’ve helped some too, but I have to work and go to school which takes up a lot of time. Boooo!

Don’t worry though, I will find a way to make plenty of time for you. We have so many things to do together. There’s a whole world out there for us to experience together. The Queen and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Sasha, Boo, Numbnutt, J.G., Spanky and Filbert also can’t wait to give you warm, furry (or scaly as the case may be) and wet hugs and kisses. They will love to have someone small and energetic to play with. Especially Spanky. We think the little guy gets a little bored around here with all the older animals.

We hope you will arrive soon. We are patient, but we are also greedy. We want to spend as much time with you as possible.

With Love,

The Shepherd and The Queen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Faith Renewed

Here lately, in between classes and homework and work work and sleep, I've been spending a fair amount of time fantasizing about my next firearm purchase as I have The Queen convinced that my reword for successful completion of my first semester of law school is a new shooting iron for the stated purpose of becoming involved in some friendly shooting sports activities. Which, by way of brief update, I made a B+ on my second Legal Analysis, Research & Writing (LARW) class memo (good enough to be above the class average thank you very much). So, with great anticipation, I've been trying to narrow down the wish list to one (or, really, three at the very most...I promise) selection to add to the armory for fun and games.

My goal is to get involved in one (or all) of the pistol action shooting sports. There is a local club that puts on IDPA and USPSA matches at least once a month. Now, I am a total noob when it comes to shooting sports. Historically, I go to the range and shoot stuff. Going to the range to shoot stuff against the clock and possible actually have to move and think at the same time...should be interesting.

Anywho, a quick skim of links related to the aforementioned sports suggests there are varying schools of thought about the best choice of weapons for a beginner getting into the sports. Basically, pick any weapon you want and there's probably a cubbyhole to fit it. The polymers are the cheapest entry price point in the games with revolvers coming a close second. Cheap 1911s can be had for about the price of a good polymer gun, but who wants a cheap 1911 for competition?

So, there I am, perusing the gun manufacturer websites looking for the next Pistole de Shepherd and debating whether it should be a double action revolver (Ruger or Smith are the only contenders in either .357 or .45), polymer plastic fantastic (Smith M&P .45 is really the only contender here unless Ruger gets off their butt and puts out an SR45) or the venerable 1911. I had almost talked myself into getting a Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt (with the intent to get it customized for both .45 Colt and .45 ACP) because I really do like revolvers and shoot them fairly well. Then, I started second guessing that. The Ruger only has a 4" barrel or a 7+" barrel. My preference would be for a 5" barrel. Smith made the M325PD with a 5" barrel, but it was Scandium framed for light weight which equals abusive recoil in a .45 revolver. So, I just about gave up on the revolver idea for now and went back to cogitating the polymer pistols. I just can't bring myself to like Glocks. They are dead simple, reliable, rugged, etc., etc., and they are butt ugly. The Ruger SR pistols are down right sexy, but they don't make a .45 yet. That leaves the Smith M&P. Why Smith feels the need to limit them to 10 round mags I will never know, but they are a good looking pistol that feels right and even has a variety of options to choose from with respect to safety mechanisms. Not a bad choice for the price.

Then I see what North posted today.

I have to say, that one photo and especially the caption instantly renewed my faith in 1911s.

I must go to school now, but rest assured that I will now be noodling the nominations for best leading 1911 in an Erickson holster.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random Photos and Other Things

I've been away for a little while, but I'm back now. The Queen and I were away from the world for a while keeping the Feast of Tabernacles with our church. We really didn't want to come back. So, I thought I'd ease back into blogging with some randomness.

The end result of a game of "telephone" with several young children: "Pickles have farts."

Filbert the Fish keeps a close eye on Spanky McCloud.

Warm feet...cold floor.

Five year old on a zip line. Fearless little girl.

The Queen holding a contented passenger.

Word of warning...41 year old knees and ultimate frisbee in an unlit field marred by water runoff ruts at 10:30 at night are not a kosher combination.

The chili recipe I posted here is now an award winning chili recipe. It won first place out of eight entrants. Seven if you don't count the Indian stew entry. Six if you don't count the Yankee White Chicken Chili entry. Not bad considering I had to use a crock pot and a hotel kitchenette to make it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Half Way To The End of The Beginning

As of tonight, I am half way through my first semester of law school. Here are some thoughts and observations so far.
  1. I came across a news article posted on the wall in a hallway on campus discussing last year’s graduating class. According to the article, Texas Wesleyan graduated 68 law students last year. I don’t know how many people started with that class of graduates, but I do know my class started out with 225. If the enrollment rates have been consistent for the last several years which is likely, that translates to approximately a 70% attrition rate over the life of the program which is somewhat sobering to put it mildly. That figure doesn’t take into account how many either fail the bar exam or don’t even bother to take it. Why you would go all the way through law school and not take the bar exam is a mystery to me, but I know it happens.
  2. There are two students with the first name “Babak”. For all I know that may be their ethnic version of “Bob” or “Jim”. Still, in Texas, that strikes me as an interesting coincidence.
  3. I made a “B” on my first Legal Analysis, Research & Writing class memo. Considering the fact that I rushed it after having a major brain failure by erroneously thinking that I had an extra day to complete it leaving no time for proof reading or revision, I consider that a win.
  4. The final memo is due Tuesday. I will be sweating bullets this weekend while chained to my laptop cranking out what I hope will be “A+” material.
  5. If my vision survives all the reading, I will be surprised.
  6. Practice exams are at the end of October in the Torts and Criminal law classes which will give us about a month before the real thing to have a pant wetting, hysterical, nervous breakdown. One test = 100% of your grade plus or minus 15% at the professor’s discretion based on class participation. No pressure.
  7. I’ve been assured by several of my attorney business associates that it gets easier after this semester.
  8. I really think they are just saying that to make me feel better.
  9. I feel pretty confident that I have a reasonably good grasp on the concepts I need to know for my classes so far. At least, I haven’t had a “what the hell are you talking about” moment yet.
  10. I could be completely delusional on that last point.
  11. I had forgotten how much I hate commuting after working from home for several years now. I’ve been getting unpleasant reminders of why I hate commuting like freeways being shut down for construction at 10:00 at night which prevents me from getting home when I am already deliriously tired, hungry and need to study. Then there are the rush hour accidents that slow traffic to a crawl and make me late for class to the displeasure of my professor. Stupid gawkers.
  12. You know you are wore out when sitting in a bell tower with high powered rifle starts to make perfect sense AND other students agree with you. 
  13. Then you realize that you don't have time to consider acting on number 12. because your memo is due next Tuesday.
  14. The Queen remains very supportive and loving. She is a saint.
More updates as events warrant.

We're Not From The Government, But We Are Here To Help

This is one of my rare link back posts of something I think everyone needs to read. There's nothing I can add other than Reagan would be proud. This is the way it ought to be handled everywhere. Go. Read. Now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fun with Math and Guns…Part Whatever

In between paying attention in class, working to earn a living in this wonderful economy brought to us by a constitutional law professor’s flawed understanding of Keynesian economics and trying to get a few hours of sleep in, I’ve been spending a little time thinking about my firearms wish list. As most things based on desire as opposed to need, items on the list ebb and flow with the regularity of the tides.

Currently, there are 24 guns on the list from .22s all the way up to .45-70s. Only five of those are really, really must haves. I’d put a .50 BMG rifle on the list, but there is no way (even in fantasy land) for me to ever justify the price of poker for one of those beasts. Ditto for full auto playthings that cost more in ammo for one day at the range than most of the other guns on the list. If I ever do become even modestly wealthy, an MG42 would be lots of fun. Until then, I’ll stick to guns that don’t need a controlling interest in an ammo manufacturing company to shoot regularly.

Anyweapon, as part of this exercise in self delusion, I’ve been trying to really examine the relative benefits of each addition to the list including caliber, capacity, purpose, etc. You know…so that I can explain to The Queen why I really NEED to spend $1800 on a Sharp’s .45-70 because you never know when you need to hit a bucket (or a mounted Indian) from 1500 yards away.

Incidentally, I recently read an article written by someone who was asked to go out with a bunch of scientists to recreate Billy Dixon’s amazing shot ( Apparently, one foolish egg head bet that the Sharp’s .50-90 was incapable of making the shot. He lost the bet soundly. Based on the numbers reported, the Sharp’s was/is capable of making shots out past 3500 yards. I’d really like to see a U.S. Marine sniper lug one of those to the sandbox and take the sniper kill distance record back from the Canadians. That would be epic to see modern Barrett and MacMillan rifles bested by 140 year old technology. It would be even better to set up the shot Road Runner style. Paint a huge “X” on the ground with a hookah next to it and a little note written in Pashtu pasted to the hookah that says “smoke me”. The bullet would arrive while our intrepid terrorist tokes away on the hookah and you would hear the cartoon “hammer/anvil” sound when he drops.

So, anyway, I don’t know how many digressions that is, but we have strayed just a bit from my intended point. Bad writer. No donut. Emmmm….donut. [slobber, drool] Sorry. This is supposed to be about fun with numbers and guns. What I’m trying to talk about here is kinetic energy.

A bullet sitting in the chamber has a finite amount of potential energy stored in the mass of the bullet and the measure of gunpowder behind it. Once the primer is struck by the firing pin, that potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. Most people tend to focus on the amount of kinetic energy at the muzzle end of the barrel (creatively enough called muzzle energy) since kinetic energy begins to decrease the moment the projectile leaves the barrel due to a variety of factors including drag; however, the calculation is the same whether you are figuring muzzle energy, terminal energy or energy anywhere in between.

The calculation for energy is one half the mass of the bullet times its velocity squared. Since this is America, we still calculate the mass of the bullet in pounds which necessitates a little more mathemagical juggling since bullet weights are normally advertised in grains. There are 7000 grains in a pound. Since mass is the weight of the bullet divided by the force of gravity (which is about 32 feet per second more or less). The final energy calculation looks something like this:

Energy = (bullet weight in grains) x (velocity) x (velocity)
                2 x 7000 x 32 ft./sec./sec.

So, for example, a 230 grain bullet (a typical .45 ACP bullet weight) travelling at 1000 feet per second has an energy of 513.13 ft. lbs. 513 ft. lbs. of energy is a respectable number for a pistol round. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want to get shot by one.

Most fanboys and haters deeply invested in the caliber wars want to focus on magazine capacity (how many rounds of 9mm can you hold steady at arms length?), muzzle velocity (that .44 is awesome cooking along at warp 5) or bullet diameter (a .45 will never shrink to 9mm!). Others chant the mantra of bullet placement, bullet placement…. Well, duh. If you don’t hit something vital, you’re not going to do much more than poke a hole in your target.

Let’s throw the Holy Hand Grenade into the caliber wars here for a second and look at some muzzle energy figures for comparison. I must confess that the following figures come from elsewhere, but I cannot for the life of me remember where I found them as I would like to give them credit where credit is due. The information comes from what can only be described as a backyard experiment, albeit a thorough one, done with some folks with time, money, ammo and a Thompson Center Contender on their hands. The bought a bunch of barrels for the TC in common handgun calibers. Each barrel started out at 18 inches in length. They would shoot a string of 6 shots for each type of ammo and barrel length combination through a chronograph and record the results. They would then cut off an inch of length from the barrel, lather, rinse, repeat. The muzzle velocity figures would then be averaged and used to calculate an average muzzle energy for a given load and barrel combination. The test was by no means exhaustive of every single load offered for a given caliber as that would have involved even more expense that the considerable amount these people already expended in their efforts, but it was fairly representative nonetheless.

*****11/13/11 Update - I finally tracked down the link and bookmarked it. It's from Bullets By The Inch.*********

Without further adieu, here is a quick and dirty comparison of some common pistol calibers from the study’s results:

                              Low                                                       High
9mm                     295 ft.lbs. (147 gr./951 ft./sec.)             442 ft.lbs. (115 gr./ 1316 ft./sec.)
.38 Special           250 (110/1013)                                       315 (135/1027)
.357 Magnum      403 (110/1286)                                       633 (125/1511)
.40 S&W      355 (165/985)                                        545 (135/1350)
.45 ACP               338 (230/814)                                         504 (185/1109)

For apples to apples comparison, all the above velocity figures come from the 4 inch barrel. The low is the “worst” performing round for that category in terms of muzzle energy. The high represents the “best” muzzle energy figure. The bullet weight and muzzle velocity are the figures in parentheses above.

I can hear you already. “Yes, Shepherd. But what does it all mean?” Well, let’s start with the obvious. In a self defense context, you’re not going to stop a threat unless you can get a bullet to penetrate a vital area. Setting aside certain variables like bullet design that can affect penetration, the bottom line is that more energy means more penetration. The ideal configuration to maximize kinetic energy would be a fast, heavy bullet (can anyone say .50BMG? I thought you could). However, speed can make up for a lighter bullet. If you need proof of that, do the math on a 72 grain 5.56mm round moving along at 2850 feet per second (1305 ft.lbs.). I wouldn’t want to get shot by one of those either.

What’s the best round? It depends. Mainly on you and your preferences. A .38 will get the job done within certain limitations. So will a 9mm, so will a .40 and a .45. The fact is that a pistol round will be outperformed by a rifle round every time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut...

Sometimes you don't.
Almond Joy's got nuts.
Spanky McCloud don't.

Poor baby done been fixed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Look What The Humans Dragged In

When The Queen and I married almost 8 years ago, we merged households and blended menageries into one herd of two dogs and four cats. Over the years, we lost a few of cats and gained a dog. When The Queen's beloved Yakmaster was put to sleep earlier this year, we agreed that we would not "replace" him and would allow the current pack to dwindle to zero through attrition. The theory is that we would enjoy some time free from the responsibility of animals before, if ever, committing to the joy and pain of animal companionship. 

We were doing very well resisting temptation until this happened:

How did this happen to become sprawled on my kitchen floor you ask? I shall endeavor to tell you. I came home from school a couple of weeks ago, and The Queen said: "Would you like to go for a walk?" I debated the question for a few moments as: 1) I was tired, 2) I had a lot of studying to do, 3) I wanted to spend some quality time with The Queen, and 4) I really needed to get some exercise. Ultimately, the desire to go for a walk with The Queen won out, and off we strolled for a late evening wander around the neighborhood. 

I should, perhaps, mention here The Queen's uncanny knack for spotting furry animals. It's like Doug from the movie "Up": "Hi! My name is Queen Ginger. I love you. Will you be my...KITTY! Will you be my...RABBIT!"

Anymongrel, as we walked along one of the main roads through the neighborhood at the edge of a small park area, The Queen looks into the shadows and says "Kitty". Of course, we have to stop for a moment to say hello to the kitty. He looks young, about 4 to 5 months old, and thin. He was wearing no collar and seemed to be in overall good health. The Queen knocked on some of the doors nearby to see if anyone was missing a kitten, but no one claimed him. 

Well, neither of us was going to leave a cute and fluffy in the middle of a field with no visible food or water in the middle of the night next to a busy road. I walked back to the house, got a bag of cat food and returned with the car. The Queen got in with the kitten who promptly devoured the food I brought. 

We started debating about what to do with said kitten mindful of our promise not to add to the menagerie at this point. We posted our find on Facebook to see if anyone had an interest in a sweet, adorable, little guy. No takers. To make matters worse, he looks very close to a Russian Blue which is one of my all time favorite cat breeds. We think he might be a Nebelung which is a breed derived from the Russian Blue.

Of course, he had to have a sweet, gentle personality with a strong purr and a willingness to cuddle. 

And then there's the soft, silky fur.

Oh, and the face...

How can you resist a face like that?

So, it looks like we've been chosen to be the companion to this ball of cuteness and fluff. We have decided to name him Spanky McCloud. 

Welcome to the family you little rascal.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Old Wisdom

"State interference is an evil, where it cannot be shown to be a good. Universal insurance, if desired, can be better and more cheaply accomplished by private enterprise. " Oliver Wendel Holmes, The Common Law.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Firearms Handling and Shooting 101 – Lesson 1

I am feeling the need to shore up my gun blogger cred today. So, I thought I'd take a moment to share a little something I prepared for a friend who is interested in learning to shoot. Enjoy.

The Four Rules

1. All guns are loaded.
2. Never point the muzzle of a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
4. Know your target and what’s beyond it.

Memorize these four rules. They are the basis of all firearms safety. It is highly unlikely to the point of being statistically impossible to be hurt by or hurt someone else with a firearm when obeying the four rules. Further, there is no such thing as an “accidental discharge” when properly handling a modern firearm in accordance with the rules. More importantly, no matter how many safety features that are designed into a firearm, the most important safety feature a firearm can have is the trained mind of the person holding it.

Further explanation of the Rules:

  1. The longer version of Rule 1 is “Treat All Guns AS IF They Are Loaded.” Every time you pick up or are handed a firearm, you personally should check its chamber or cylinder to verify whether or not it is loaded before doing anything else with the firearm. If someone else is handing the firearm to you, it is not a matter of trust/distrust to verify that the firearm is unloaded. It is a signal to responsible shooters that you are not a fool who will waive a gun around indiscriminately, that you respect firearms as tools that must be handled mindfully in the same way that you would operate power tools and respect your life and the lives of others. Responsible gun owners/shooters EXPECT you to verify the condition (i.e. loaded versus unloaded) of the firearm. 
  2. Rule 2 is fairly straight forward. Bullets come out of the muzzle end of the barrel. They come out fast and have a lot of kinetic energy that they are just waiting to dump into something, anything in their way. So, don’t point the barrel at anything you don’t want a bullet to hit or go through. Such as your wife and child, your car’s engine, the neighbor’s house, etc. If you would like some examples of what bullets will do, go to: for plenty of examples with photos. 
  3. Rule 3 is also pretty straightforward. If your finger is on the trigger, Mr. Firearm is no one’s friend whether it’s loaded or not. If your finger is not on the trigger, the chances of a loaded firearm discharging are significantly reduced. Most modern firearms have been designed and tested such that you can literally hammer nails or tent stakes or small children with them and still not discharge; however, smart people follow the rules religiously and don’t tempt Murphy’s Law. 
  4. Rule 4 typically gives people the most fits. Once a bullet is fired, it does not stop until its kinetic energy is completely dissipated. Where and how that energy gets dissipated depends on several variables including bullet design, muzzle velocity, trajectory, target density, gravity, etc. For instance, a 230 grain .45 caliber bullet fired at 1000 feet per second (which is a typical bullet weight and speed for a 1911 style handgun) parallel to the ground at a shoulder height of 5 feet will travel approximately 156 feet before impacting the ground due to gravity assuming it hits nothing else in its path. If the bullet hits a rock at impact, it could ricochet in unpredictable directions with unknown consequences. That same bullet fired straight up at 90 degrees to the ground will climb to over 15,000 feet before coming back down. Big difference. For this reason, most firearms ranges have some sort of ballistically proven back stop material to safely dissipate the energy of a bullet and secondary measures to prevent you from inadvertently shooting someone in the next town. A huge pile of dirt works very well which is why it’s used almost exclusively at outdoor ranges. Concrete and/or ½ inch to inch thick steel works well with some caveats. Sheet metal doesn’t work too well which is why cars do not provide very effective cover in shootouts despite what Hollywood has portrayed.

Last thoughts on safety:

  1. Obey the rules and no one gets hurt.
  2. Disobeying the rules might get you shot and not necessarily by someone else.
  3. Do not fear the firearm. It is only a tool used to hit a target in the same way a saw is used to cut wood. They are neither good nor evil. They just are.
  4. If you are not sure, ask questions. There are no stupid questions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thought For The Day

To the sweet, young thing in my Torts class: I know you're young and you think you're sorta cute; but, please, for the love of all that is sacred: Don't wear hip huggers to class if you're going to forget to do a crack check after sitting down. Someone give me a penny or a spit wad or some plumbers putty...something...anything.  I'd go wash my eyes out now, but I'm pretty sure this is going to be a recurring event.