Open Thread, Wednesday 31 July 2013



About GruntOfMonteCristo

Fearless and Devout Catholic Christian First, Loving Husband and Father Second, Pissed-Off Patriot Third, Rocket Engineer Dork Last.
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35 Responses to Open Thread, Wednesday 31 July 2013

  1. barnslayer says:

    Racist cracka-dile.

    • zmalfoy says:

      The boots would be stunning, though, don’t you think?

    • I think it’s actually an albino aligator, and quite possibly the same one as in this picture:

      If so, it’s home is the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, near the civil war fort where my great-great-grandfather was wounded in the foot during the battle of Fort Fisher.

      • I’m sure it’s the same alligator, but it’s harder to make “cracka” puns if you know it’s a gator. 😉 Thanks for the info, RP! That’s interesting about the aquarium and the battle involving your GGGF. North Carolina actually has some very good animal refuges, including one of the best zoos in the whole country, the NCZoo near Asheboro. We just visited it last year. It’s enormous.

        I also think it’s a cool coincidence that the Cape Fear area (Wilmington, Fort Fisher, Green Swamp, Frying Pan Shoals) is one of my old stomping grounds, having spent a lot of time there as a yoot, and also a couple weeks of time over the last 3 years. It’s a very historic and interesting place. As I write this, I’m peering over my computer at a shipwreck map of Frying Pan Shoals on the opposite wall. 🙂 Was your GGGF a defender or a fort stormer at Fort Fisher?

  2. solaratov says:

    How about a little MadOgre to start the day?

    500 Times
    Posted by MadOgre on 31 July 2013, 2:20 pm

    Growing up as a “Gun Guy”, remember hearing Instructors – especially LEO Instructors – always say that you need to practice your Draw 500 times with your gun and your holster. They would continue to preach this for years. 500 Times. 500 Draws. And if you changed your gun or your holster, or changed where you wore your holster, you had to start over. 500 times again.

    Later instructors were talking about “Muscle Memory”. Which is an incorrect term, but it illustrates the principle. Many people these days always like to point out that Muscles don’t have Memory. And as this has come about, the old idiom of 500 Draws has gone out the window. Why bother with the repetition if Muscles don’t remember? They say, “You are building a Habit, not a Memory. And you only need to do things 26 times to develop a habit.”

    I think because of this, something is lost. The Shaolin Monks practiced repetition like Machines. This reminds me of a story.

    A young boy in China left his poor village in the country to apply to become a monk at the famed Shaolin Temple. After the long and arduous journey he was turned away at the gates of the temple. Knowing that his perseverance and patience would be tested, he sat outside the gates. Days went by and then weeks until at last one of the older monks let him in. He was interviewed and tested by the senior monk and was finally accepted as a junior monk. He was elated, and when word got back to his village everyone there was elated. The Shaolin monks were famous for their skills at martial arts, and no one from any nearby village had ever been so honored as to be accepted at the temple.
    His first night at the temple the boy could hardly contain his excitement. He dreamed of learning fabulous sword forms and acrobatics…he couldn’t wait for his first lesson the next day. When the next day finally arrived, he was ordered by the chief instructor to carry a large wooden pail down the mountainside to a stream, fill it with water, and bring it back up to the temple. The boy did as instructed, but it was a huge struggle for him to drag the heavy bucket all the way back to the temple.
    When he arrived much of the water had splashed out. The instructor poured out the remaining water and ordered the boy to return, this time with the bucket full. The boy again filled the bucket and managed to get most of the water back to the temple.
    “Good,” said the instructor. “Now stand beside the bucket and with your palm slap the surface of the water. Repeat that until there is no water left.”
    The boy again did as instructed. He felt perhaps he was being punished for spilling the water, or further tested to see if he had the perseverance and discipline to train as a Shaolin monk. After just a few minutes his palm was red and burning from slapping the water but he continued until all the water was gone.
    “Good,” said the instructor. “Now go get another bucket of water and do it again.”
    This went on all day, and to the boy’s horror the next day, too. Then the next day, and the next… and soon weeks and months were going by and all the boy did was carry the big bucket of water and slap all the water out of it. Often the boy felt he was being made a fool of, sure that he had done something terribly wrong to make the instructor hate him so much. But there was no one to complain too – all the older monks were busy practicing their fancy spear forms and sword forms and acrobatics.
    After a year the Buddhist holidays arrived and the head monk called the young boy into his office.
    “Young man, you’ve been here for a year. Now I want you to take a break and visit your family for the holidays. I’ve notified them that you’re coming, and I’ll expect you back here in two weeks to resume your training.” When the villagers got word that the young Shaolin monk was returning they were overjoyed and decided to hold a big celebration in his honor. When the boy arrived at his village he discovered a huge banner over the main road welcoming him home, and he found that the villagers had roped off an area in the village square for a celebration in his honor. His pride at returning as a Shaolin monk quickly faded as he realized they wanted him to demonstrate his martial arts skills in the roped off area.
    He told the excited villagers that he preferred not to but they insisted and wouldn’t take no for an answer. The humiliation grew in the young boy. Indeed he had been made a fool of by the head instructor. In a whole year he hadn’t learned any martial arts at all. Now he was about to lose face in front of his entire village.
    The villagers dragged him to the head table and yelled and shouted and urged him to show them some real Shaolin kungfu. He stood motionless with tears welling in his eyes and his face reddening, ashamed to tell the villagers that he had learned nothing. Finally the frustration grew to be too much.
    “Leave me be,” screamed the boy as he slammed his hand down on the table. Everyone stood silent and wide-eyed for several moments… and then they all broke out into a loud applause. When he slammed his hand down, he had broken the thick stone table right in half!
    And then the boy and everyone in the village knew the power of the Shaolin.

    There is something to this story for us today. Patience in training is no longer the vogue. Few classes want to spend time in the actual repetitions required in many of our techniques. The Draw. The Speed Reload. The Malfunction Clearing. The Reholstering. I see few people at the Range ever just practice their draws and reloads. You don’t want to spend 200 to 800 dollars for a class from a big named trainer just to stand there and repeatedly draw and reload and reholster without firing a shot. But perhaps we should.
    Each one of these things requires massive amounts of repetition to develop into a smooth movement that you don’t have to think about it. It’s become a force of habit. Instructors used to say “500 Times”. How many times did the little Shaolin Boy slap the water?

    So many Shooters want to be so Ninja that they practice the “high speed, low drag” things and argue the merits of where to put your support hand on your rifle or where to position your thumbs. But they do not talk about how many times you need to practice the core fundamentals of your draw, punching out to the target, reloading, and reholstering. This stuff isn’t Ninja enough. No. It’s more Shaolin. We need to be more Shaolin. We need more patience. The more we learn, the more we know we need to learn more.

    A new student has his first private meeting with the master. The student asks, “Master, how long will it take me to learn your wonderful art?”
    The master gives some vague answer, so the student presses further.
    “Can’t you give me some idea of how long I will need to train?’
    To quiet the student, the master replies, “Ten years.”
    The student reflects on this a moment, and then says, “I’m very smart and talented, and I’m going to be the hardest working, most disciplined student you have ever had. In that case how long will it take?”
    The master replies, “Twenty years.”

    Never Stop Training.

  3. Spanish train driver was on the phone with a controller, doing paperwork, when crash occurred.–Train-driver-was-on-phone
    I think maybe these train operators need some different procedures.

  4. Bears friggin’ everywhere up in Alberta. Via Blazin Cat Fur.

    Also from BCF: The Swiss get more airtime.

    • barnslayer says:

      I’ve never seen a B-17 in flight. I walked through one (and a B-24) at the American Airpower Museum near us. They were a lot smaller than I expected.
      We were driving near the museum this weekend and saw this come in for a landing.

      • Cool Grumman warbird! I can never keep those straight, though. Hellcat, Bearcat… Meercat, Wombatcat? 😉

        • barnslayer says:

          North American T-6 trainer. Big greenhouse style canopy.
          Hellcat had smaller canopy and was a single seater (the T-6 Texan being a trainer would have two seats). Its canopy blended into the fuselage behind it.
          The Bearcat had a bubble canopy for greater visibility. Both F6f and F8f being Navy planes would have had folding wings for aircraft carrier duty.

          Grumman F6f Hellcat

          Grumman F8f Bearcat

          I couldn’t find a Wombatcat but found this flying Meerkat. Very little available data on this design.

      • You got me. For some reason, I keep mixing up the trainers. The T-6 Texan is way different than some of the others, so I should know better. I think I get confused because the new T-6 Texan II the AF and Navy uses doesn’t have a radial engine and has a bubble canopy and looks like the Beech T-34 Merlin, like this one my old man is getting pre-flighted for. Nice Meercat, BTW! I think that one was manufactured in Mexico.

        • barnslayer says:

          Great pic!

          • Thanks! I appreciate your excellent pics and info. With the price of avgas so high, it’s no wonder we don’t see many warbirds in the air these days. I’d sure like to see a P-40 now and then, but they’re pretty rare around here.

            • barnslayer says:

              AVG markings too! Back around college, me and the guys used to go to a Chinese restaurant to get the spicy stuff. The owner was from Nationalist China. He sat and told us stories of his childhood on the mainland during WW2. He saw Chennault’s Flying Tigers in action. I made him a model that looked just like your pic. He tied some string to it and hung it at the big mirror at the bar.

              • Very cool story! I made a similar P-40 model once, but it’s long gone. Maybe the Chinese guy still has your Flying Tiger hanging over his bar? That’s pretty big of you to make that for him. Can’t imagine what that must have been like to be a kid in China watching packs of Chennault’s P-40s growling by.

              • barnslayer says:

                Unfortunately, the plane went down in flames when the restaurant had a major fire. He reopened at a better location soon after. I didn’t know Chinese restaurants got hit by Jewish lightning.
                I built a couple of models for a history prof. in college. He was my favorite teacher of all time and I was getting A’s with him anyway. I made a him a 1/72 scale E-boat (the Germans called them S-boot…. Schnellboot.

                and one of these in 1/48th scale (painted his name on the side of the cockpit)

                I also did a trade. One of my Dad’s friends had a stack of Recognition magazines (printed by the war dept to assist in troops ID-ing planes ships and tanks). In return I made him a 1/35th scale Tiger tank in winter whitewash camo). All models were mounted on a finished wood base. That was how I got into woodworking.

              • Funny. I was just out in the shop last weekend trying to figure out whether to finish a roughed out oak base I’d started for an A-10 model. I bet you did better work than I did, and your history is better. I didn’t know the Germans had a version of PT boats! Did Schnellboot mean “quickboat?” Nice Corsair, too.

              • barnslayer says:

                Yep! They were a lot larger than our PT boats. I was always into military history especially the stuff (weapons, uniforms etc).

                Back then all I had was a hand saw. So I used pine scraps and hand sanded the whole thing. Eventually it was slick. Now, with power tools and sandpaper that goes to 2000, you can make the wood like glass without any finish at all. Depending on the type of cut, oak may be tough to get real smooth without a top coat… If that’s what your after. Remove the sawdust between each sanding step and throw out sandpaper once it starts feeling a little smoother. It’s very repetitious so you have to either be into it or turn on some music.

            • solaratov says:

              Right after WW2, my father was a squadron commander (P-40s) at Ramey Air Base in Puerto Rico. I often flew up to San Juan in the jump seat with him when he made rum runs for the squadron. Of course, that was the *old* Army Air Corps; when pilots got away with a lot more than these days.

              He also flew P-40s during the war, down in New Guinea.

              • barnslayer says:

                Your dad and mine probably walked a lot of the same turf. Mine started out in the 41st inf. div (Philippines) and New Guinea. At some point after being hospitalized with malaria he was reassigned to a hospital unit in New Guinea.

              • Was he 32nd AO Squadron in PR? They have a neat patch. 😀
                The only squadrons I could find at Ramey were bomber sqs, but they must have had air support. The 32nd, with the Warhawks, was at Ponce (in the south) and at Arecibo (up north), but neither one is that close to Ramey, so I guess it must have been a different squadron.

  5. Lavish Trips Abroad and Funding the Palestinian Authority
    “The sequester has ‘cost jobs,’ says President Obama, and ‘gutted investments in education and science and medical research.’ But somehow he’s earmarked $500 million for Hamas terrorists.
    “Circumventing Congress and with no fanfare, President Obama last week issued an executive order enabling him to send an additional $500 million directly to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — much of which you can bet will wind up going to the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization…..”
    “According to Obama, ‘it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of’ Congress’ legislative restrictions ‘in order to provide funds . .. to the Palestinian Authority.’ – Investor’s Business Daily

  6. Must-have tech toys.

    Including… Earl.
    Meet Earl, a revolutionary tablet engineered for the most extreme of outdoor situations. Built for survival, Earl works where today’s smart phones and tablets cannot. Style meets efficiency with Earl’s intuitive design, fusing Android 4.1 together with an energy sipping E-Ink screen and the latest in GPS, weather sensor, and radio communication technology. With Earl at your side, stay in control of your journey no matter where it takes you.

  7. solaratov says:

    Grab a couple of Kleenex and watch…….

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