Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Serenity Trailer #2 Is Up!!

I'm Just Shivering With Antici........pation!

Fellow Firefly Addicts!

The new trailer for Serenity is posted! Go check it out! Some repeats from the first trailer, but lots of new stuff as well. There's still no sign of Shepherd Book, which is troubling, but I'll take a Book-less Firefly movie over a shortsightedly-cancelled series any day!

Go have a peek! (Quicktime required!)

For those unsure what I'm raving about, go to your favorite movie outlet and start renting the series. You really ought to buy it, it's not but $30 or so to get the whole shebang on DVD.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Return Of The Booze Reviews

Where We Thrill In The Spill Of The Swill

My buddy Zibig and I drop by a local convenience store looking for a bit of liquid refreshment this evening. I had scoped out this store earlier, and noticed they had a world-class selection of godawful brewed beverages. Naturally, I had to lure Zibig in there so we could dare each other into sampling the worst stuff the beer trade had to offer.

We were not disappointed! There's truly some nasty hooch available out there.

Zibig availed himself of a huge bottle of Mickey's Malt Liquor. I've had Mickey's way too many times in the past, and the added attraction of having it served in a bottle the size of a WWII torpedo held no thrills for me. So, I left him to guzzle that one, and I went with a collection of smaller, yet no less pungent offerings.

First out of the gate was a 16 oz can of the pride of Milwaukee, Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you're looking for a cheap beer without any character, this is your baby. You'd best guzzle it fresh out of the ice chest, 'cause as soon as it starts to warm up, there's a somewhat skunky aroma that starts to waft up. Now, if this was bottled beer that had maybe sat in the sunlight, I could understand a bit of skunkiness. Out of a can, though?

Mediocre yet drinkable beer, boys & girls. El Capitan gives it only 4 pulltabs.

Next up was a local offering, a tall can of Lone Star. Oddly enough, Lone Star is now owned by the Pabst Brewing Company, which also owns Pearl beer. I haven't seen a can of Texas Pride in a long time, so it looks like all of the cheap Texas beer is now provided by Yankee brewers. Well, that explains why it sucks so bad. If you want a decent Texas brew, ya gotta go with a Shiner.

It's hard to describe just how bad this can of Lone Star was. Regional pride notwithstanding, I can honestly say I'd rather drink a can of Coors Light than try Lone Star again. It's a disgrace to the state's image, and the brewers should all have their heads on spikes outside the Alamo's walls. Pure, unadulterated horsepiss.

El Capitan gives it two pulltabs, and that's only because a dead mouse didn't roll out of the can into his mouth. They get an extra pulltab for good exterminators.

Next, to complete the Blue Velvet duo of beers, I went with a can of Heineken.

For the record, it was a hell of a lot better than the previous two, but it's still not what I consider to be a great beer. IMHO, Heineken is a beer calculated to be as inoffensive as possible in order to appeal to the widest audience. There's hardly a lick of hops in this brew, and it's almost sweet to the taste. Add to that a hefty price tag, and you get a beer custom made for hipsters who don't really like beer, but want to be seen drinking an import.

Frankly, I was bored with it after the 3rd sip. Give me an India Pale Ale any day over this kiddie crap.

Six pulltabs, but it really only deserves five. It gets the extra pulltab for coming in a big keg-shaped can that seemed to hold the cold better than a Foster's "oilcan".

The last one has to be seen to be believed. Every so often I'll buy some of the 'flavored malt beverages', just to see what they taste like. Most of 'em are pretty bad, but every so often one will surprise you by tasting OK. This was not one of those times...

When I saw the bottle on the way out, I knew I had to drop $1.39 on this beast. Here's the bottle in all its glory:

Heh. Pink Dragon! If the name doesn't get ya, the neon pink color will! I looked up their website, and rapidly discovered I'm NOT their target audience with this drink. I'm too male and too pale, which might explain why I thought this tasted like sweat from a pig's tail.

Supposedly, it's a 'exotic tropical/citrus blend'. Hmmm, I thought it tasted more like overly-sweet pink lemonade that someone had poured three ounces of rubbing alcohol into.

Not good, folks. Pass this one by! Go with the Smirnoff Ice if you want a frou-frou drink. Three pulltabs and a shot of bourbon to wash out the cloying taste.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more Booze Reviews, but don't hold your breath or anything!

Another Mildly Effed Up Weekend

Trust Your Feelings, Luke!

Well, I shoulda gone with my gut instinct. Instead, I tried to do the right thing, and got slightly bent over again.

I passed up a chance at taking a three hour drive and going to a pig roast with a couple of local bloggers. (and in Texas, anyone within a 3 hour drive is local!) My sister and BIL were going to come into town and stay the night, bringing the munchkin with 'em. I haven't seen them in a while, so I ditch plans to run out to New Braunfels so I can spend some quality time with the family.

'Cept the family ain't spending time with me. They're off like a shot on their own errands, and heading back to Austin tonight. I got to spend a little time with the cute poopgeyser, but not nearly enough. So, I'm out one BBQ with Dash & Zip, and out one evening making googly eyes at my nephew and blowing on his tummy. Damn.

It's not a complete bust. Zibig and I rounded up my parents and we went out for a Chinese food dinner, then back to my place with an armload of cheap booze and a couple of episodes of Blackadder. We'll probably go shooting tomorrow if it doesn't pour down rain.

Well, I knew birthdays sucked more as you got older. Life's harsh, so buy a helmet.

Maturity Is So Overrated!

Another Special (Recycled) Message Just For Me

OK, Everyone sing along!

Thank ya! Thank ya ver' much! The official El Capitan age is now somewhere between 29 and 55.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #24

Your Weekly Update On All Things That Go Bang

Here it is, courtesy of Russ at Boxing Alcibiades!

Death Row Groupies?

This Is Some Ignunt-Ass, Effed-Up $hit!

Gee, Momma! When I grow up, can I be a Death Row groupie??

What kind of idiot aspires to have a relationship with someone who has already killed their wife and kid? You'd think that a little warning signal might go off and say "Hey, dimwit! If this guy ever gets out, you're gonna be next!"

What brought this on? Well, I'm seeing what's on Malkin's site today, and run across this gem. It seems that convicted murderer Scott Peterson has his own cheering section. At first I chalked it up to the routine over-consumption of Labatt's and Molson, but it seems these Canucks are serious about their silliness.

I'm actually familiar with the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty due to their fawning over one of our local boys who decided to liquidate his family in a particularly brutal manner for a $600,000 inheritance. He, too maintained a herd of airheads that just *knew* that he was being railroaded by The Man. Well, I should say he had them in his corner right up to the time they strapped him to a gurney. I suppose they found another murderous shitheel to worship by the time Bob cooled to room temperature.

In this particular case, I'm pretty certain the State of Texas gave the right guy the 50cc Send-Off. Read it from their point of view here. See, my buddy Zibig and I knew this guy going through high school. Hell, I sat next to him through most of high school band. He was an odd bird, given to sullen silences and pissy attitudes. Not that those things made him a murderer, but when you know both of the parties involved really well, you're pretty damn sure that it wasn't a frame-up by his accomplice. Hell, the accomplice couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions were on the heel. So, I'm sure he did it. As in, beyond a reasonable doubt sure!

I guess there's just a certain type of person out there that insists that grass is red and the sky is green, no matter what evidence is shoved in their laps. Lump 'em in with the Flat-Earthers, the Apollo Conspiracy dolts and the global warming nutbags. Just bloody ignunt!

You Stop Laughing Right Meow!

Do Ya See Me Eating Mice???

Watch and see, this stunt is what I'll probably be most famous for in my entire life.

It appears the Cat Treat Taste Test is making the rounds of Live Journal. Again. I coulda gone to the movies that day, but Noooooo!!!!!

For my next trick, maybe I'll go to the pet store and sample all the guppies.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Barrel Change? Opinions Sought!

No Use Pissing Into The Wind If I Don't Have To...

I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers today about the custom rifle I just acquired. It was interesting for two reasons:

A) there's actually someone else here in this guv'mint building that's not terrified by the thought of armed citizens (this guy served in the Marines), and

B) It's a damned good idea that I had previously considered and discarded.

My co-worker was a bit baffled by my insistence on retaining such an obscure caliber on the Mauser, no matter how much a laser-quick tackdriver that caliber was. He didn't quite agree with the economics of setting up for reloading for one or two rifle cartridges, and challenged me to sit down and run the numbers.

Here's the argument: By keeping the rifle in .257 Ackley Improved, I'm pretty much consigning myself to having to invest in a fairly sizable reloading setup. Though I intend on reloading .45 Long Colt for economic reasons as opposed to scarcity reasons, there's a big difference in the ease of reloading pistol cartridges versus rifle cartridges. Heck, as far as .45 Long Colt is concerned, as long as you have the right powder charge and the bullet doesn't poke out the end of the cylinder when you load it, that dog's gonna bark when you drop the hammer. (Yeah, I'm making it sound easier than it is, but let's be honest, it's not THAT hard to do!)

Rifle cartridges, however, require case resizing, neck trimming, precise bullet seating, and are generally 8 times as finicky.

So, to reload for .257 Ackley Improved, (and eventually 7mm Mauser and 8mm Mauser...) I'm gonna need easily $500 worth of materials. Sure, I can scrimp here & there, but by the time you add up case tumblers & media, a good single-stage press, dies, trimmers, lubers, powder, trays, primers, decappers, bullets, powder scale and dippers, yadda yadda yadda, I've dropped a lot of coin.

OTOH, I can send the action to Krieger, Shilen, Pac-Nor or a host of other barrelsmiths, give them the taper dimensions of the existing barrel so the new one will fit the stock, and for $300 to $450 have a barrel put on in a caliber that's available off-the-shelf. I like the 7mm-08, but .308's even easier to find and buy in large amounts for comparatively little $$$.

Rockhauler's father had his own reasons for barreling the action in .257 Ackley Improved, and I don't have a clue what those reasons were. I'd like to think he'd rather see me getting a lot of use out of the rifle than going insane trying to scare up brass casings just to load the beast. (.257 Roberts, the parent cartridge, ain't all that common, either!)

I'm gonna need to talk to Rockhauler before I make a final decision, but when I read the 300 rounds per day suggested requirement for the NOR match in October, I nearly coughed up my skull. There's just no way to scare up that many .257 Ackley Improved rounds by October 2010!

So, whaddya think? Remain unique & obscure and face an uphill climb, or go along with the herd and maybe save some time and money?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Any Card Players Out There?

No Sharks, Creeps, or Saps Allowed!

I miss my card game. I had a semi-regular poker game when I lived up in Dallas. We met every so often for a friendly game, everyone bringing some booze, cigars and a pocketful of cash. I usually supplied some munchies and sodas, and left out a tip jar to cover expenses.

It was just kitchen-table card playing, really. Nickel, Dime, Quarter limits, with a 25 cent ante and dollar max raise. Enough money to keep people's mind on the game, but not so much that a bad night at the table meant the kids went hungry.

I'm a bit hesitant to bring this up now, with poker being the hot fad of the moment, and complete morons claiming to be the next Amarillo Slim. Still, I like nothing better than watching the flop on a hand of Hold 'Em, and bluffing the crap out of the table holding nothing more than a low pair.

I thought about looking for a game at the last two blogfests, and even had my chips and cards with me, but neither weekend was really suitable without prior planning for the game.

So, here's notice! I want a decent card game at the next blogmeet, and sooner if possible! We can adjust pot limits to let everyone in, from all-powerful media moguls like Zippo, or enormous contractor conglomerates like Dash all the way down to the poorest churchmouse. I sometimes use my "travel" chips (small ones, all one color and value), and we can set the chip price at 10 cents apiece, so a $5 buy-in gets you a pretty good game. I think most folks can afford that.

Oh, if at any point during the game, you ask "So, does this beat that?", I will probably fling a cigar butt in your general direction! You are warned!

Some Days, I Simply Hate My Job!

And I Ain't Even Been In It A Year Yet...

Some days it's just not worth getting out of bed.

Hizzoner's Orcish legions have been apparently mistreating a small yet extremely vocal segment of the community, and naturally the whole stinking mess lands in my lap. Rather than call me up and let me get to work on the problem, however, the self-appointed community spokesman decides better service will be received if they instead consult with their district Nazgûl, the muckrakers, and the Grand Poobah of this department. Since shit rolls downhill, and this one started way at the top, before I even get a hint that there's an issue, a gigantimous shitball completely engulfs me as soon as I step off the elevator this morning.

Look, I've got news for ya, Sparky McWhine. I'm gonna do my job in the correct manner regardless of who you felt the need to gripe to. I'm not particularly impressed by your tame Nazgûl. She's running for re-election in 4 months, and it ain't likely she'll be back, so having her office blast me with emails and phone calls fills me with no terror.

I might even drag my feet a little, just to piss you off. You knew perfectly well who to come to with this issue, Sparky, but chose to ignore channels in favor of making a big splash. Well, all your claims of wanting to "build a better working relationship" just proved to be false. I'll jump & hustle for my friends, Sparks, but if you're going to be working against me, I'm afraid this project may get delayed for an indefinite period while we "consult with Legal" until, say... 2007?

Hmmmm. Suddenly I wish I had the power to order an emergency street replacement right in front of Sparky's driveway. Maybe in a few more years.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Two New Rifles

Now I Need A Gun Safe!

As promised in this post, here's the details on the two latest additions to the El Capitan Arsenal.

It just wouldn't be typical in my über-weird life for a pair of mundane firearms to show up. Where many people would much prefer to have a Marlin lever-action .30-30 and a Winchester Model 70 deer rifle in .308 instead of these odd birds, I kinda groove on the fact that these particular rifles aren't seen every day. Sure, it's going to take some extra effort to keep them in sufficient supplies of ammo, but I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Sunday night, I asked my friend Zibig to grab either one to take a look at it. He said, "I'll go with the older one" and reached for the autoloader. He was only off by 40 years or so! (To give him partial credit, only the receiver on the bolt-action was older!)

Zibig picked up this gem first:

It's an FN49, also known across the pond as the 'SAFN', made by Fabrique Nationale in Herstal, Belgium. These were made in several calibers, mostly .30-06 and 8mm Mauser, but this one was one of the 8000 or so made under contract in 1950-51 for the nation of Venezuela. Venezuela just had to be different, and requested these in 7mm Mauser caliber, probably to use up all the stocks of ammo purchased for their WWI-vintage Mauser bolt-actions so popular in Latin America. The rifle holds 10 rounds, and is fed via 5-round stripper clips into the top. That magazine is removeable, but not for reloading purposes.

The FN49's a heavy beast, weighing in at almost 10 pounds unloaded. That extra weight will soak up recoil, though, which is convenient. It doesn't point as naturally as an M1 Garand, but is nimble enough for what I intend to use it for, which is punching holes in paper and perhaps the occasional javelina. Maybe a carload of rioting looters. Who knows?

It needed a good thorough cleaning, as it probably spent a good 10 years in storage without so much as a smidgen of TLC. Fortunately, it's a workhorse military rifle, and designed for much worse punishment! The stock could probably use a refinish, since there's a few dings and gouges, but I like the old dark wood. It's not oozing cosmoline, so as far as I'm concerned, it can stay as is.

I had no clue how to begin disassembly, but a little online research set me straight, and it's actually easier than many modern rifles. All you really need is a loaded cartridge for the gas regulator and magazine release, and a screwdriver for the barrel band/sling swivel and the rest almost falls apart. The only difficult section to put back together was the receiver cover, since you need about 5 hands to keep the recoil spring tucked into place as you slip the cover on.

It's good to go as it stands now, though I would like to get at least 500 rounds of decent ammo and really wring it out and see what it can do. I suspect if I look hard, I can probably scare up a proper bayonet and really put the scare on the javelinas!

Kim du Toit reviewed this particular model of FN49 a few weeks ago, and expressed a desire to own one. I thought that for once I had beaten him to the score, and could maybe generate some rifle-envy from him, instead of the other way around as is so often the case!
Ol' Kim, however, is very much the wily hunter! He managed to find one (albeit severely modified) and had it in his house before I got mine home! Well, good on ya, Señor du Toit! We'll have to have a head to head 7mm match before too long!

If the FN49 is the workhorse of the duo, then the other is most definitely the thoroughbred! Here's a peek: (and I apologize for the poor picture quality, I was running on dead camera batteries and did the best I could!)

This one's a custom bolt-action rifle, built around a vintage Mauser action mated to a custom barrel and fancy walnut burl stock. The picture just doesn't do it justice! The action is from a 1908 pattern Mauser manufactured by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) somewhere in the 1908-1913 era in Obendorf, Germany. Despite its advancing years, the action is just about perfect. The manufacturer and arsenal stampings and Brazilian crest are as sharp as those on a brand new rifle.

The stock is only about 95% complete, and lacks a good deal of sanding around the comb & grip area before it'll be ready for finishing. It's a fairly nice piece of walnut, and I'm thinking a hand-rubbed oil finish (actually, a mix of beeswax, turpentine and either tung oil or boiled linseed oil) will look really sharp. I need to get busy on the stock, as it's already dried out more than is good for it. It's got that hollow sound that wood gets when the moisture level dips real low, and I've spotted a tiny crack in the spacer between the magazine well and the trigger slot that's probably a result of the drying. The crack will be easily fixed, but getting the stock finished will be a priority in the next few weeks.

After gripping the heavy-duty stocks on the FN-49 and my VZ24, the grip on this one feels impossibly slim. Also, with the lack of anything but a blued finish on the slim barrel, (i.e. no front sights, bayonet lugs, flash hiders) it handles like a dream. It comes quite naturally to the proper spot on my shoulder, and is light enough to carry all day.

How I carry it is a problem, though. It's not drilled for sling swivels, nor is there any checkering done. I'm more than a bit reluctant to do anything to interfere with viewing the really nice grain of the burl walnut, so I probably won't have any sharp checkering done, though a bit of basketweave along the sides might look nice. Sooner or later I'll have to have a sling, though, so I'll keep an eye out for the flush-mount sling sockets that'll blend into the stock.

The caliber? Well, there's the rub. It's not available on the shelves at Walmart, that's for damn sure!

It's chambered for .257 Ackley Improved, a respected though fairly obscure wildcat round. Here's what one looks like:

Way back in the day, a Colorado gunsmith named P.O. Ackley modified a bunch of standard cartridges by straightening case walls and altering the shoulder angle, mostly to squeeze more powder inside. The result is higher velocities and improved ballistics. The .257 Ackley Improved starts life as a standard .257 Roberts round which you chamber and fire, thereby fire-forming the brass cartridge case to fit the chamber walls. Afterwards, you save up all that brass, acquire a set of .257 Ackley Improved loading dies, and commence to rolling your own ammo.

This gun is just itching to drop antelope at 500 yards up in the Panhandle. Whether I'm up to the task remains to be seen!

I'll get some proper pics posted soon!

World's Ugliest Dog

This Thing'll Give You Nightmares!

Click This Link if you dare! We're not responsible if you have the urge to claw your eyes out of your skull afterwards!


Monday, July 25, 2005

Weekend Update

This Won't Be As Funny as SNL's Version...

OK, it took an entire day of gun-cleaning and napping to get to the point where I could take an objective look at the weekend's activities and post a relatively honest post about it all. Last night was just too close to the heat of yesterday's 4 hour return drive sans air conditioning to have enough of the happy memories push their way to the surface.

Note to self: Next time you have some spare cash, blow off the 4-Star hotel, fix the Caddy's AC and stay in a cheap motel!

Overall, the weekend was fun, but fun in the manner of a high-school hum job from a girl with braces. You still enjoyed it, but there were a few painful snags along the way.

The ride up there was uneventful, and check-in at the Worthington was quick and efficient. I have to say, I can get used to valet parking! I had a quick shower to get rid of the road grime and cool down, then poured a healthy slug of rum to prepare for the evening's activities as I listened to the Russ Martin show on the radio. As juvenile and idiotic as his show can often be, it's one of the things I really miss about living in D/FW.

Rockhauler dropped by the hotel, and we shot the breeze for quite a while before heading over to Arlington. The Ft. Worth freeways have seen quite a bit of improvement, and as a result we got there early enough to take a tour of my old homestead. From 1990 to 1998 I lived on Davis Dr. in Arlington, about 2/3 of a mile from the UTA campus. The old casa now under new management, but hasn't changed a whole lot. I envy their addition of central air conditioning!

The actual festivities began at J Gilligan's, where back in my college days I spent at least as many semester hours in there as I did in lecture halls. The Irish Nachos still kick ass!

The other birthday person Jenni was already there with her hubby and Country Shelli. Shelli's a hoot! She's probably all of 90 pounds soaking wet (which I'd kinda like to see, to be honest...) but that gal's from way out there where the owl hoots and the coyote hollers, and she knows her way around a barroom! She don't take no guff from even a grizzly bear!

So, Rockhauler and I are jawin' with the three already there, and slowly the crowd begins to arrive. And there I hit the weekend's first snag. See, with the exception of Rockhauler, everyone that shows up is one of Jenni's crowd. Oh, sure, out of the 15 or so of her crew that appeared throughout the weekend, I know a couple of them pretty well, and quite few of them casually, but they're still really her clan, not mine. So, it was a bit of a kick in the nads that there was only one person on my side of the aisle. Great for the ego, lemme tell ya...

In their defense, I did get phone calls from Kosher Red that night and Andy the next afternoon with their apologies. Also, I didn't do a lot of promotional work, just the notice on the blog, but still... No effin' sign of Zippo, Snake, Briggs & Stratton, Butch, Swan, Man-Ray, the Deanster, or Opera-Man. No emails, no phone calls, just a big ol' 404 Not Found. Fuck.

We did the pubcrawl, and I managed to have a good time regardless. Jenni has a good write-up here, so I'll let her tell the tale. I will add that the Good Times has become a refuge for the more... erm... masculine women in Arlington, and I'd surely like to know what secret aphrodisiac they put in their drinks to make one of their male clique (a hag fag?) fucked up enough to hit on me. Well, he coulda been legally blind, I suppose.

The best dive bars of the night, IMHO, were the first and the last. Sunshine would have been cooler if it had been, well, cooler! Pack that many alkies in that small a place and it heats up quick. I will say that I'm glad we went there, 'cause I got turned on to a new band on the jukebox that's perfect for drunken carousing. They're a Boston crew called the Dropkick Murphys, and are what the Chieftains might have become had they been bar-brawling street punks!

We followed the time-honored tradition of dosing ourselves with pancakes on top of all that booze when the bars shut down. We met at the nearest IHOP, and had the whole thing paid for by Jenni's DJ pal Ty. Thanks, dude!

Next day I got up at the crack of noon and moseyed up to Rockhauler's House O' Beagle. We chowed at a Mexican joint, then headed north up I-35 to the Redneck Mecca of Cabela's. Naturally, Rockhauler and I fit right in. If it had anything to do with outdoor sports, they have it in stock, and were selling it to one of the 50,000 people that were crowding the aisles. Snag #2 - I'm sweating out all that alcohol from last night and it's so hot & crowded in there I'm feeling kinda woozy. So, we didn't see everything. We checked out the taxidermy exhibits, the aquarium, and the Gun Library (slobber drool drool...) before departing for another gun stockpile.

We met Rockhauler's brother over in Bedford to pick up a couple of rifles that have been slated to spend some time down here for quite a while. Since the actual transfer required a combination of a) El Capitan in D/FW, and b) Rockhauler and his brother both available, it has been a comedy of errors to actually complete the deal. We got it done, though, and I've now got a couple of new boomsticks in the arsenal. One's on 'permanent loan', but the other is a combination bday/xmas present that's one of the nicest gifts I've ever received. It was one of Rockhauler's father's project guns that he hadn't finished before he died, and I'm looking forward to finishing it up. It's going to need quite a bit of work, but I'll get my own father into the project, and have a finished piece that will be an heirloom for both our families. I'll post more on the guns tomorrow.

Afterwards, we saw shitty movie #1. If you ever have the urge to rent the recent 'Punisher' movie (and *boy* is it aptly named!), just flog yourself with carpet tack strips for 2 hours instead.

Finally, on to the Ridgmar Movie Tavern for a midnight showing of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. It's a bit unfair to call it shitty movie #2, considering all the weekend nights in high school I spent hollering at the screen with fellow RHPS addicts, but it's definitely something from way back in my youth. This night was "Pirate Night", dubbed so by the horde of fanatical youngsters that act out the show every week and seem to have control of the theater. I bought a party pack full of all the crap you throw around the theater at certain parts of the movie, which in turn entitled me to some pirate swag to go along with it. I spent most of my time hurling things, both verbal abuse and objects, at the cast, since they annoyed me on a cellular level. I can see being devoted to a religion, a person or a political cause, but their degree of worship of this B-movie just kind of creeped me out a little.

It was fun, though. We had a large enough posse that we could be obnoxious as hell, and they couldn't do much about it. Call it the Old Rocky Crew vs. the Young Rocky Crew. There's no doubt we were doing the Time Warp when these kiddoes were still an itch in Daddy's trousers. They had more energy, but we were much wittier!

Jenni has a good post up with pictures, so go check it out! Yar!!

Sunday was just one big ugly snag. The plan (which was all kinds of flexible) was to go to Dallas and have lunch with Kosher Red and whoever else felt like showing up, then head over to Andy's to make goo-goo faces at baby Anwen. For whatever reason, numerous messages to Andy's phone went unanswered, as did some earlier emails asking about visitation hours. No responses or invites came from any other quarter, either. So, with the entirety of Dallas County showing complete lack of interest in my presence, I called Kosher Red to apologize for deep-sixing lunch, and just drove home.

Naturally, as I write this I'm feeling like I shouldn't be angry at people having their own lives to deal with, but for Christ's sake, a phone call giving me even the lamest of beg-offs costs you 2 minutes and doesn't leave me feeling like a leper.

So, a mixed success, but still a good time overall. Big thanks are due to Jenni and her posse, as well as the Clan Rockhauler for going out of their way to make my weekend a good one. Jenni and her beau will be down here over Labor Day, and we'll tear this town a new one!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Skiing, Anyone?

Just for the record, here's what happens to your daily visitor stats when you host a Blog Carnival, then as an encore, you disappear for 4 days.

It's been an interesting weekend. Here's a preliminary box score:

Shitty movies - 2
Dive Bars - 7
Scotch on the rocks - 6
Gin & Tonics - 3
Slurpees - 0
Babies - 0
Redheads - 0
Rednecks - Like the stars in the sky
Pirates - Dozens
Exposed pirate wench flesh - More than sufficient
Rifles - 2
Heat exhaustion - 0 - "Missed it by *that* much!"
Pillows - 6
Chili Dogs - 3

More tomorrow. Right now, I gotta crash.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I Had To Find Time For This Post!

Spats, Your 15 Minutes Of Fame Are Starting Now!

I've been reading daily for about as long as I can remember. At least 8 years, if not 9. I have to say, I NEVER expected to see someone I've met as the subject du jour, much less having my own picture shown as an added bonus.

Apparently, Lord Spatula, one of the attendees at the last two Texas BlogFests, has been having a bit of a tiff with another blogger. I don't know what the particulars are, but it's apparently a pissing match of gigantomous proportions.

Anyway, I'm not going to go into great detail. You can read all about it from the other guy's POV at this site. Spats will probably ignore it, but you never know.


Birthday Weekend! Light Posting Alert

Go Read Wizbang or LGF For A While!

OK, one last time.... Come join the Jenni & Cap birthday pubcrawl! We meet at J. Gilligans (Abram & Pecan? well, near there, anyway) in Arlington, TX tomorrow night at 8 pm for dinner and from there we head out to the dive bars along Division st. You DFW bloggers that read this blog (and we both know who you are!) are welcome to show up and partake in as much or as little frivolity as you can handle.

As always, I'll be in the brown Caddy and wearing my El Capitan hat, and it's not really bragging when I say that I really stand out in a crowd.

OK, now the bad news.

Lots of stuff on my plate today trying to get ready for a 4 day weekend. I had a couple of ideas for blogposts, but no time to work 'em up into something suitable, so rather than put out a half-ass product, I'll just put this thing on ice for the weekend. I'll try and repost the piece I wrote for Andy's blog when he was getting carved on, but I'm not going to be within arm's reach of a computer until Monday. I'll have PLENTY to say then, so drop by next week!

Adios, y'all. Wish my liver luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How To Annoy El Capitan

It's Not All That Difficult, Really.

Here's an example of someone with absolutely the best of intentions, and even though I know they mean well, it still just chaps my hide.

I post a quick no-frills death notice for James Doohan, comment on the show that made him famous, and add a personal anecdote.

Then, someone comes along and drops a comment that just twists my BVDs in a knot. Here's the comment:
Mr. Doohan was a soldier and hit the beach on D-Day. So his acting career was the SECOND best achievement of his life.
Look, I know you meant well, Staghounds, but that's some serious cojones to presume to correct me on a matter in which nothing non-factual was said!

I'll argue your premise, too. While I respect Mr. Doohan's service, and am well aware that he caught 6 bullets as part of the Juno Beach landing force, he was on the beach as an active participant for less than a day, one of hundreds of thousands participating in Operation Overlord.

Contrast that to over 30 years of playing Montgomery Scott, arguably making a far greater impact on society overall than he did as an artillery lieutenant.

Either way, it's not for Staghounds nor myself to say what his greatest achievement is. The only one who can make that call is Doohan, and for all we know, he might list his children as his best achievement.

Look, if I post something that's factually incorrect, call me on it. To make a statement like yours, though, is a serious presumption on your part, and kind of misses the point of my post as well.

RIP Montgomery Scott, Beamed Up For Eternity

Are They Sure He's Not Just Looped In The Transporter Pattern Buffer?

Damn. Another one of the original Trek crew gone.

I just read that James Doohan died today at the age of 85, as a result of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. "Scotty" was one of the reasons that I liked Trek so much, and I was very pleased with his reappearance in the ST:TNG episode 'Relics'.

My all time favorite Scotty moment was in the original series episode 'Day Of The Dove', where all the phasers got turned into swords, and the Starfleet crew fought it out against Klingons using only cold steel. The look on Scotty's face when he found a proper basket-hilted claymore in the armory was priceless!

Adios, Mr. Doohan, we'll miss you!

Thanks For The Boost!

I Oughta Do That More Often!

The surge of hits from last Friday's Carnival of Cordite is tailing off. Though I try to blog for the sake of blogging, (blog gratia bloggus?) I'd be lying if I said that seeing all those warm bodies perusing through the archives of Baboon Pirates didn't make me wag my tail with joy.

I even managed to rise up into the ranks of the Marauding Marsupials in the TTLB ecosphere. That won't last, but while it does, I'm enjoying this new pouch that you get issued. It's pretty handy for car key and cell phone storage.

I did not get the Instalanche I was kinda hoping for, proving yet again that the Puppy Puree-er assigns his links with an inscrutability that no one can figure out. Perhaps he, like so many other linkers to the Carnival, couldn't quite reconcile the name of this blog with the content. Hmmmm... no one bats an eye at Scrappleface or Little Green Footballs, but Baboon Pirates is just too "out there" for you? I gotta wonder.

Anyway, enough bitching on what was intended as a happy post! Thanks again to Gullyborg for the opportunity, and I'd love to do it again sometime! I might even buy some server space so I can start hosting jpegs again!

Muchas Gracias, y'all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

El Capitan's Fashion Tips

I May Have A New Career Here...

OK, I am not really a fashion-conscious person. I have never watched an episode of 'Queer Eye For The Straight Guy', and the whole "metrosexual" trend kind of creeps me out. Normally all I require of my clothing is that it cover my expanding epidermis, and be reasonably clean and neat. Beyond that, I don't really pay attention to haute couture.

However, due to societal osmosis, or possibly my daily visit to The Manolo, I have begun to notice certain fashion faux pas that really need addressing. Some things are obvious even to the novice fashion observer. F'rinstance, if you are female, and starting to develop the chunkroll about the midsection, the tube top and/or camisole are no longer viable options for outdoor wear. For guys who sprout the bear pelt on back and shoulders, you lose your license to wear in public both tank tops and wifebeater undershirts. These simple rules are necessary for a harmonious and eye-pleasing society.

Other fashion errors are harder to spot, but for some reason I'm starting to pick up on them more and more. Here's a few I've seen lately, mostly on the METRO commuter buses:

If you are the young woman who unfortunately carries a few extra pounds and due to round cheeks and bulbous chin has a distressing resemblance to Mrs. Doubtfire, do NOT compound the similarity by wearing the granny-print dresses and the round-lensed eyeglasses! You need the dark slacks, the oval glasses and the snazzy blouses to adjust your image from frump to "Yeah, I'm big, but I look GOOD!"

If you are the young professional man taking your first job downtown, kudos to you for having the foresight to buy the $500 suit and the Johnston & Murphy wingtips. You almost look sharp! You completely blew the image, though, by attaching that $4.99 rayon tie to the ensemble.
Silk ties are expensive, but if you treat them well and do not douse them in your soup, they will last many years. For an Asst. Manager at Long John Silvers, yeah, a cheap tie will suffice. If you wear the Corporate Armor, though, spending less than $50 on a tie does you a disservice.

For the wimmens... I am not sure of the name of the fingernail polish style where the nail beds are painted in a clear gloss, and the nail tips are done in white. This is the "French Manicure", perhaps? OK, this looks good on your fingers, but you must NOT do this to your toes. It makes you look like you have not trimmed your toenails in months, and have huge talons hanging over the edge of your otherwise stylish sandals. Make this guy happy, and just paint 'em fire engine red.

If you are actively performing a clogging dance, then clogs are OK as footwear. At no other time are they acceptable. Ditto for Birkenstocks, unless you are at a Grateful Dead show, or shopping at Whole Foods Market. If you are still wearing those horrible "earth shoes", let me be the first to congratulate you for walking like a Holstein heifer since 1977.

I'm sure I'll think of more later. Perhaps ideas on which articles of clothing are most useful in concealing your .45 auto while at the beach.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Toothaches Suck

That'll Learn Me To Get Addicted to LifeSavers

Unintended Consequences. Probably ought to be the title of my life's story.

I've got this tooth giving me shit right now, and it's probably gonna have to come out. No worries, it's not one of the ones up front, just one of my my wayward wisdom teeth that chose to slide into a jaw that had almost, but not quite, enough room to hold them. As a result, both my top wisdom molars jut at a slight angle into my cheeks, both maybe 10 degrees off of true. No big deal. At least at first, anyway. It took about 2 weeks of mild discomfort before the cheeks got used to their new neighbors, and brushing the outboard tooth surface was always an issue, since there was so little clearance between tooth, jawbone and cheek.

Let's add in another variable. A medication I'm taking has as a side effect a dry cough. It's one of those intermittent things that crops up about two or three times a day, usually when you're in a meeting with some of Hizzoner's Nazgul. So, to avoid looking and sounding like a tuberculosis patient, I got in the habit of having peppermint Life Savers on hand at all times to get something trickling down my esophagus and quiet the tickle.

Fast forward a year, and now it looks like candy causes cavities after all. Big effin' cavities. I can run a finger back there, and actually dip a fingertip into the hole right by where I used to tuck the Life Savers. Of course, when I do this, I hit the tooth pulp, which immediately makes me want to twist my head around like Regan MacNeil in 'The Exorcist' because of the searing pain.

Last night I only got about 2 hours of sleep, and that due to copious amounts of scotch and rum. Every 15 minutes or so, I'd take a slash out of the bottle, swish the liquor around the affected area, and then, not being one to waste good hooch, swallow afterwards. I killed both bottles over the span of 8 hours, and they fortunately had less than 1/4 left in each one, otherwise I'd have a hangover on top of everything else.

The odd thing is, I woke up feeling fine. Hell, I feel fine right now. I can feel the tickle, though, that will soon grow into a throb, which will slowly escalate into a hot poker being jabbed in my gums. Then it will slowly fade out and begin again. The pain cycle seems to run in 2-3 hour circuits. I'm just about out of Advil, so this afternoon could be miserable until I can get to a drug store.

Damn, I hate dentists, but I've got to go. Something tells me that continued application of distilled spirits to numb out the tooth is going to seriously detract from my next performance review.

This had better *NOT* screw with my weekend plans. I've already got an 8 a.m. doctors appt. on Friday, and I had hoped to be on the road to D/FW by 9 a.m. afterwards. We shall see...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ammo Question

Go Ahead! Ask Mr. Wizard!

A commenter in the Carnival of Cordite post asked the following question, and it's good enough to spread some knowledge around.
I am a newbie to the world of self defense. Recently had a burglary of my home while we were in it. We are now handgun owners. Can anyone tell me if "Glazer rounds" are as effective as the owner of the local gunstore told me they were? The wife is using a Bersa .380, I am using a Ruger Super Blackhawk in the .44 Magnum.

Cor-Bon's Glaser rounds are essentially a copper jacket filled with birdshot and sealed with epoxy. They are designed as non-penetrator rounds, in that they shatter once they hit something solid, be it a sheetrock wall or a shithead burglar. Without going into the physics topics of projectiles such as sectional density and energy transfer, I'll just say that they work exactly as designed. They hit hard, and they don't punch all the way through 3 or 4 walls like a solid bullet might.

My only real beef with Glasers is their exorbitant cost. You need to practice with the *exact* ammo you plan on using for self defense. No use practicing with el cheapo ball ammo, and find out in a crunch that Glasers tend to shoot 4" high at 10 yards. Putting 50 Glaser rounds through that Ruger, (about the bare minimum I'd recommend for proficiency) is going to cost you around $170 based on the avg. price of $20 a package of 6 rounds. Add in the cost for the Bersa, and you're up to $320, enough for a new gun.

My opinion? Trade in that huge hogleg on a 12 gauge pump shotgun and a secondhand .357 Mag. You can put .38 special rounds in a .357, and it makes practicing a lot easier, both on your hands and on your wallet. It's quicker to reload, too. .44 Mags are great if you've been around the block a few times, but in a new shooter they almost always give you an inadvertent flinch just before firing, and that kills accuracy.

Shotguns are hard to beat as a home defense tool, especially when using #7 birdshot loads. That load won't go into the house next door, and staring down that big tube takes the fight out of most anybody.

My personal preference for goblin-shooting ammo? I use Winchester Silvertip hollow-points in .45 ACP in my 1911A1. I'm in a brick house, so any misses (other than through a window) won't go very far. It's about $15 for a box of 20. I also like Federal Hydra-Shok ammo, but it's hard to find, and a little more expensive.

Good luck! Hope this helps!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Music Request

I was asked in the comments section of this post to list the songs on my AC/DC mix CD.

I'm nothing if not accommodating! Here it is:

Highway to Hell
Hard As A Rock
For Those About to Rock
Who Made Who
Riff Raff
Have A Drink On Me
You Shook Me All Night Long
Whole Lotta Rosie
Guns For Hire
It's A Long Way To The Top
Hell's Bells
Shoot To Thrill
Shot Of Love
Back In Black

The Razor's Edge
The Razor's Edge
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
For Those About To Rock
Who Made Who
Back In Black
Back In Black
Let There Be Rock
Flick Of The Switch
Back In Black
Back In Black
The Razor's Edge
Back In Black

No, I wasn't BS'ing about all those different versions of 'Highway To Hell', either. Those artists are: (in no particular order) Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Maroon 5, Nashville Pussy, Tiny Tim, Red Star Belgrade, Quiet Riot, Phish, Patty, Iced Earth, Hayseed Dixie and OC/DC. No, not makin' copies for anyone. You can thank Apple's DRM locks for that!

I Am *SO* Going To Regret This...

You'd Think I'd Learn After The Last 37 Birthdays...

OK, room at the Worthington is reserved, time-off request is in, stock of painkillers and antacids replenished, and attorney's cell # tattooed on arm. I think I've got everything I need for a weekend of drinking and carousing.

Next Friday night, my little chickadees! J. Gilligan's in Arlington, TX @ 8 pm to start, and we hit every dive bar up & down Division afterwards. If anyone's still standing after 2 am, it's off to the posh downtown hotel to break into my emergency travel booze kit, ride the luggage carts up and down the halls, and leave butt-prints on the plate glass elevator windows.

Or, we'll just pass out. Either one is OK with me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Carnival Of Cordite # 22

Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Carnival of Cordite!

First, a big thanks to Gullyborg for letting me put my fingerprints all over his shiny Carnival and even fire off a round or two.

This is going to be somewhat of a low impact Carnival, in that I'm completely out of server space and hotlinking is a no-no. So, there won't be any pics posted this week. Lo siento!

So without further ado, off we go!

Shootin' Paper - Range Reports

Risawn of Incoherent Ramblings starts off the show this week with a range report all the way from Kosovo. She's showing off a G36 and an HK pistola that she got to try out courtesy of some wandering German troops. Turn that popper right side up, Risawn! Ain't no gangstas in the US Army!

Next up is PawPaw, showing off the results of an extremely accurate Savage .22, and a .30-30 that's almost as good. He's one of the Chronograph Corps members, which makes me wonder if you have to be a professional gunwriter, grandfather or AARP member to purchase one. I've just never seen anyone not in one of those three categories that owns and uses one!

Bill at The Freeholder finally gets back to the range now that the clouds have parted, and he tells us all about his 3-gun shoot. He also gets a chance to look over a firearms collection, and finds some keepers.

CrimeDog, my Parrothead buddy-that-I-ain't-met-yet out of Arizona has a couple of good stories to tell. First up is the requisite tale of oldsters giving youngsters their comeuppance!
Next, he tells us about card tricks and discovering what 'flash in the pan' really means! Good stuff, Crimedog! Now, when are ya gonna move to Texas?

Jerry The Geek is next up with his report on the 9th annual Single Stack Championship. It's the 2nd half of a longer range report started here. Great post, Jerry! I loved the "No Yuppie Guns" t-shirt!

Mr. Completely rings in with a collection of posts. The first is a fascinating look at the Cowboy Fast Draw World Championships. I had no idea such an event existed! I just assumed these things worked themselves out on a dusty street at high noon. Next is some info on the next series of postal matches. For the record, a postal match is not seeing who can go apeshit and kill the most co-workers! It's where you shoot a designated target with a certain caliber at a set distance, then mail in the results to a judge. Sounds like a lot of fun!

AnalogKid is in cahoots with Mr. Completely in the postal match idea. Where Mr. Completely is running the pistol version, AnalogKid is handling the long gun version. He's also got the first contest setup here! Your targets are due to the judge by July 25th! Get busy!

Shootin' Goblins - Armed Citizenry

Pete Drum brings us a tale of an inept criminal who attempts to rob a liquor store armed with a unreasonable facsimile of a handgun. OK, once more so those in the cheap seats can hear me. The first rule of a gunfight is..... BRING A GUN!!! Pete is a contributor to the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog, which keeps track of the mutants removed from the gene pool via armed citizens.

He doesn't know he's contributing this week, but I had to have a link to Kim du Toit's site. He's a daily read for me, and should be for you, too! Here's the link to his tally of Righteous Shootings. The Dead Goblin Count stands at 101!

Shootin' The Breeze - General Discussion

NOTR at ROFASix brings us yet another example of timeless wisdom from those paragons of intelligence and virtue, the United Nations. Ick. I need to go wash my hands after typing that name... Go check it out. It's a good example of how stealthy the gun grabbers are becoming.

Jerry the Geek chimes in again with a case of the media changing tactics again. Yeah, Jerry, it's annoying, but I've found if I just assume anything the MSM says regarding guns is aimed at the eventual banning of said guns, I'm rarely wrong!

Ken at It Comes In Pints? hasn't done nearly enough gunblogging lately, so I'm happy to see he's rectifying the situation! He brings us a review of the Mythbusters show on the Discovery Channel where they look at how well bullets work when shot at underwater targets.

Commander Zero gets a post in about better parts for your Remington 870 shotgun as well as AR muzzle brakes. Post submitted by Kit of Forever Vain.

SayUncle weighs in with the latest outrage from the idjits at the BATF. He starts here with general info, and continues here with an update. Bottom line? Get those FAL and AK receivers NOW!

Daniel of Daniel's Political Musings reveals the typical gun-fearing policies of local governmental entities. I'm subject to this same bit of nonsense myself, but if I ever did decide to carry concealed, my ID badge lets me bypass all the metal detectors, so what's the freakin' point of having a rule??

From Shakey Pete's Shootin' Shack, we get an outstanding piece detailing everything you'd ever want to know about primers. It's, in Pete's words, a primer on primers. Go check it out! If you're not careful, you just might learn something!

Donna at Pajama Pundits combines the Carnival of Cordite and the Carnival of Recipes, and stirs up a collection of handloading recipes that are tasty and sure to be crowd pleasers! Go take a look, but you probably ought not to lick the bowl afterwards...

Bruce at MassBackwards and Chris at The Anarchangel win the "Flood The CofC Mailbox" prize for most posts submitted! This is a good thing! I'm glad to see so much gunny goodness being floated out onto the web!

From Bruce, we get:

Pinheaded Police Chief!
Dimwitted Douchewads!
Assault Boxcutters!
Proof Bruce Needs to Move to Texas!
Needed: One pistol!

From Chris comes four good posts:
Critiquing Saint Browning? Blasphemy! (Well, he has a good point...)
Gutting the ATFE
Chris Is Envious Of Kevin, Too!
He's Not An Addict. Really!

Read 'em all! They're worth your time!

Shootin' Irons - Gun Pics & Reviews

Movie Actor & Ferret Wrangler Cowboy Blob asked a good question this week. How many .22 pistols does a man need? I am suddenly reminded of the old MTV commercials... "Too much is never enough!"

Mr Completely sneaks into the lineup again with his own .22 tale to tell. I'm not a huge fan of High Standard .22 pistols, but I gotta admit they're all kinds of accurate. Also, pay attention to his disassembly instructions and save yourself some grief later!

Cutter decided to do a little carving on one of his pistols. I can't fault his reasoning, and the workmanship's good, but I can't help thinking I'd have bought a replacement hammer to play with, and left the original in the box in case I ever sold the gun. (I'm assuming the 2nd hammer shown is off his other GP100!)
He's got some other goodies posted. Don't miss the CZ-75 with the bayonet mount!

Kevin of The Smallest Minority has no idea he's been 'volunteered' to participate this week, but he's another of my favorites, so I had to include this piece about his latest acquisition. Damn fine choice!

James at Hell In A Handbasket brings us pics and a writeup of a trio of vintage bolties he's got in his collection: a Krag, a Mauser (in 7mm!) and a Springfield '03. Excellent examples, James!

James also nominated a couple of posts by Swen of A Coyote at the Dog Show. Swen hails from Wyoming, and his site's full of great photos of the scenery up there. His gun-related post for this Carnival are a look at his spiffed-up 1911A1 (Love those grips!) and also a peek at his usual carry piece when he's out cruising the badlands. Yup, Elmer would approve, I think!

AnalogKid had one more piece this week, a look at his new family member, Darth Vader. My first thought was that he'd acquired a Benelli Super 90, but a closer look revealed a Remington 1187 and a lot of aftermarket add-ons. Bet that one's a lot of fun to shoot! He's got an EOtech sight on it, and it appears from the target he posted that he can drop a slug through the eyeball of his choice at 50 yards!

From The Countertop Chronicles comes the obligatory "Chicks With Guns" pic. With these kind of pics, you usually get bikini babes toting AKs and AR clones, so a relatively demure shot with a bolt action is really nice! Oh, the 2nd pic link in the post is NOT safe for work. And kinda crass, IMHO. Your mileage may vary.

H2SO4 of Sulfuric Attitude slipped in under the wire with a last minute post on the EAA Windicator. Seems like a good pistol, but 'Windicator' has to be the Lamest. Name. Ever!

Firehand of Irons In The Fire also got his posts in a bit on the late side, but as a professional dawdler and global-class procrastinator, I'm nothing if not forgiving towards others of my type!
Here's his take on the SMLE No.1 MkIII, A good day shooting at the range, and some thoughts on Whither Britain Goest.

That's it for the submitted posts! On to the discussion topic:

This week's Carnival of Cordite discussion takes a turn for the macabre. Imagine it's 2010, and your worst nightmares have come true. Hillary Clinton has the Presidency, and the Dems have both the Senate and the House locked up vote-wise. The Hildebeest gets on national TV, flanked by Pelosi, Boxer, Schumer, and the rest of the Knucklehead Crew, and she makes a chilling statement. "Mr. and Mrs. America, private ownership of any type of firearm is now outlawed by Executive Order. Turn 'em all in!"

What do ya do, hotshot? What do you do? The comments lobby is open...

Thanks for dropping by, y'all! Come back anytime!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Go Read My Guest Blog!

'Cause They're Ain't Likely To Be Anything Else Here Today!

My guest post (and my first whack at guestblogging!) is up over at Andy's Blog. He's in surgery today having his neck carved on, so think some happy thoughts, go get a fresh cup of coffee, and have yourselves a good read.

I'll likely repost it here at Baboon Pirates over the weekend, but I want him to have lots of traffic to come back to when he gets out of the hospital.

Go Check It Out!

Those Super-Intelligent Government Types

I Miss The Private Sector...

Next time you feel the urge to let the government solve all your problems, 'cause they only hire the best & the brightest, just think about this little episode:
I just went down to the break room to get my morning dose of Diet Dr Pepper. A 20-year veteran of this governmental entity took the opportunity to lecture me in all seriousness on the origins of Dr Pepper. I bet you didn't know that Dr Pepper was an Italian invention, created from cherry juice and called Pepe del Medico! Then, those sneaky Yanks copied the recipe and flooded the market.

You learn something every day... Guess I better go back to the Dr Pepper museum in Waco, TX and let them know they need to do some revising!

Sigh... Charles Alderton is no doubt rolling in his grave.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Albums You Need In The Car

More Musical Musings

I got an email regarding submission guidelines for the next Carnival Of The Vanities, hosted by this guy. I'd never been to his blog before, and I almost clicked the back button when the next post down from the top was a baseball post. Nothing against baseball as a game, but baseball blogs just weird me out for some reason. Posting ERA stats on a blog? For that level of excitement, you might as well measure the cc's of your 'issue' on a wanking blog, IMHO. Just not my cuppa tea.

His second post down from the top struck me as pretty good, though. I, too, have several albums that are an indispensible on road trips.

So, here's another meme to take part in, if you so desire. What albums can you not drive 100+ miles without having in the car?

El Capitan's Road Music:

1) Soundtrack to 'Heavy Metal' - There's so much good stuff here, this ought to be mandatory issue in every car CD or tape deck. You've got Black Sabbath raging, Cheap Trick bopping, Devo working, Donald Fagen grooving, Grand Funk Railroad puffing, even Stevie Nicks doing a little twirling. Makes that long stretch of I-45 between Centerville and Fairfield just fly by!

2) 'You Had To Be There' by Jimmy Buffett - Bubba's live album from the '70s, back before he fell in love with overproduced Caribbean party songs. Every Buffett concert should be this good. Recorded at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, it's a perfect album to drive to, especially after a couple of doses of the one-hitter. Not that I've ever done that, mind you!

3) 'The Road To Ensenada' by Lyle Lovett - I've already gushed about this album somewhere on this blog, so I won't go overboard here. Suffice it to say that it's my favorite Lovett album by a huge margin.

4) 'Skeletons From The Closet' by the Grateful Dead - OK, it's a Greatest Hits album, but it's a damn good one. This one's perfect for driving, since there's none of their 15 minute long noodling jam-sessions to make you drowse off. Also, is there a better pair of sing-along songs than "Sugar Magnolia" or "Friend of the Devil"?

5) 'Secret World Live' by Peter Gabriel - From the 'Us' album concert tour, it's a collection of Gabriel's music with a worldwide guest artist list. Don't miss Paula Cole's backing vocals. The 10 minute version of "In Your Eyes" is fantastic. I liked this one so much, I even got the videotape! Can't quite figure out how to play it in the car, though.

Bonus: My AC/DC mix CD - Might as well call this one AM/EX, as in "Don't Leave Home Without It!" I've pulled my favorite 17 AC/DC songs into one mix album, and it's just about the rocking-est CD ever! About 1/2 Bon Scott era, 1/2 Brian Johnson era, it's got all the goodies.
I've also got a CD with 14 different versions of AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" by 12 different bands, but that's a tale for another time!

El Grande Dia Shittia

They Can't All Be Winners...

First, I see that the "freedom fighters" are targeting the usual military objectives, this time a pile of kids getting free candy. Oh, yes, the Religion Of Peace. Lots of little tiny bloody pieces is more like it. No effin' excuse for that one, you evil pig-fucking piles of dog vomit. To (mis)quote Admiral Halsey, "In the future, Wahhabism will be practiced only in Hell."

Second, the shuttle launch got scrubbed. This pales in comparison to the above story, being more of an annoyance than an outrage. Still, I had high hopes we'd get the space program back on track this afternoon.

Third, the rain's coming down like a cow pissing on a flat rock, and my umbrella is safe & sound in the trunk of the Caddy. About 100 yards from the nice covered Park & Ride shelter. Nothing like a wet El Capitan to really add spice to the afternoon.

At least I've got an ID badge now. I had to go through the metal detector twice today, and the rocket scientists operating the bag Xray were just certain my AA flashlight batteries were shotgun shells. They even made me open up the light. You would think just turning it on would have sufficed.

Well, tomorrow I'll have the magic badge, and can sidestep all that nonsense, gleefully carrying whatever I want to past the security checkpoint. Yeah, I feel much safer now. After all, who's more likely to bring in a weapon, a random nutcase, or one of 24,000 disgruntled employees?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cell Phones, ID Badges and Conan the Barbarian

Yes, There's A Point To All This. I'll Get To It Eventually.

Y'know, all I ever needed to know in life, I learned from watching Conan the Barbarian.

'Frinstance... What is best in life?
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women!

What do you do say when IslamoFascists blow up your city?
Infidel Defilers. They shall all drown in lakes of blood.

What do we know about Scientology?
Two or three years ago it was just another snake cult.

What do you say while standing outside the Kennedy Compound?
Do you know what horrors lie beyond these walls?

What's the deal with John Kerry?
He's evil; a sorcerer who can summon demons. His followers' only purpose is to die in his service. Thousands of them.

And of course, when you need a spot of luck...
The spirits of this place exact a heavy price.

All this, of course, is my long drawn-out way of leading into a story. See, I lost my cell phone over the weekend. I was absolutely sure that I'd left it at this Mexican food restaurant, since I had dug through my car, my carryall bag and my house without finding it. The restaurant people swore they didn't find it, and I was contemplating having to buy a new phone.

My intellect being what it is, I didn't even think about calling my cellphone until this afternoon. I assumed someone would answer it, if the battery was still charged and there was still money left in the account after their repeated and lengthy calls to Oaxaca or Gitmo or even Phobos.

Imagine my surprise when my carryall bag started ringing. After digging through the damn thing a dozen times, didn't I just find that phone in the one zippered pocket that I never put anything in. Jeebus only knows how the phone got in there. I blame the underpants gnomes.

I should have remembered my Conan lessons, though, and sacrificed something to the Lost & Found gods. Y'know, gone to the Coke machine and put in a dollar and left without pushing a button. Dropped one of my emergency stash of Pop-Tart packages in the break room for some lucky person to find.

But nooooooo...... I had to feel all smug about finding the phone. Well, after getting over feeling stupid for not finding it earlier.

I received my due comeuppance. The spirits of the workplace exact a heavy price. Upon reaching my Park & Ride this evening, I look down at my ID badge lanyard around my neck, and I'm short one ID badge.


Sigh. It's off to the Security Shop tomorrow to be bitched at for being careless and have $15 dollars extracted from my wallet in order to get a new one.


Break Out The Ammo Cans!

In addition to guest-blogging at Andy's blog, I'm also hosting the 22nd edition of the Carnival Of Cordite on Friday!

I don't think I'll have it up until late Friday afternoon or evening, but I'll try to do as much advance work as I can. I want to try and do a decent job so I don't look like a complete noob, so you might see a drop-off in posting here over the next few days as I concentrate on those tasks.

Then again, I might just go ahead with even more dick & fart jokes. You never know.

Send all your gun-blogging stories to c a r n i v a l o f c o r d i t e A T h o t m a i l D O T c o m, or use Conservative Cat's Carnival Submission Page and I'll do my best to squeeze them all in. I will warn y'all in advance that I'm completely out of server space on one ISP account, and have less than 3 MB left on the other one, so I might be light on graphics. If you don't mind me hotlinking to your site to post your pics along with your COC submission, you might include that permission in your email.

Damn... I just remembered I need a discussion topic for the carnival. So much to blog! So little time!!


Break Out The GOP Banner Ads!

My friend Andy is going under the knife this Thursday, and he's allowing a few of his regular readers to guest-blog in his absence.

I'll be posting something on his blog this Thursday, and maybe Saturday as well. As much as I'd like to write a long screed about the evils of socialism that converts everyone who reads it into an anarcho-capitalist, odds are I'll probably just end up posting a few dick & fart jokes.

LC Beth will also be guest-blogging at Andy's site this week, so even though our regular readers tend to be on the right side of the political aisle, and Andy's a pagan liberal who constantly wears a kilt without having the excuse of also owning a bagpipe, drop by and see what we're up to!

Monday, July 11, 2005

More Lyrics Fun

Those Shameless Bastards...

As one who prefers the Stones to the Beatles, and as someone who doesn't worship at the Altar of Lenin Lennon & McCartney, I didn't cough up my skull when Nike used 'Revolution' for a commercial way back when. In fact, I really didn't see what all the fuss was about.

I did raise an eyebrow when Mick & Keef let Bill Gates use 'Start Me Up' to launch Win95, but I've always been of the opinion that musicians are in it for the money, so more power to 'em if they get a windfall. Sure, there's always those musicians that claim "I just want to change the world a little through my music", but I notice they still charge admission for their shows.

I will admit to a twinge of regret when I heard commercials featuring Led Zeppelin, Ozzy, and a bunch of 80's hair bands. Still, there's no reason they shouldn't profit from their creativity.

I railed up a storm a while back either here or on an email about Carnival Cruise Lines using legendary punk rocker and heroin addict Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life' to shill their family friendly cruises. Not quite the role model they ought to be promoting, IMHO. No problem with him selling it, but you really question the judgement of the creative director of the ads.

Now, for today's edition of WTFWYT concerning song licensing....

Featuring our special guest Boston Market!!

Boston Market is "upscale" fast food. They sell ham, roasted chicken and meatloaf as main courses. Now, apparently, they also sell strips of dead cow. I learned this via a TV commercial which was using the Rev. Horton Heat's song 'Eat Steak'.

As a longtime RHH fan, I think 'Psychobilly Freakout' might fit Boston Market better, especially after encountering the cretins that usually work behind the counter there. To be charitable, though, listening to the 1st verse it seems like a pretty good fit for the commercial:

Eat steak, eat steak eat a big ol' steer
Eat steak, eat steak do we have one dear?
Eat beef, eat beef it's a mighty good food
It's a grade A meal when I'm in the mood.
The verse they left out, though, really needed to be in the commercial, if for no other reason than to infuriate the PETA idiots.

Look at all the cows in the slaughterhouse yard
Gotta hit 'em in the head, gotta hit 'em real hard
First you gotta clean 'em then the butcher cuts 'em up
Throws it on a scale throws an eyeball in a cup
Mmmmmm! Just makes ya HUNGRY, don't it??

Next, we'll probably see RJ Reynolds license Sir Mix-A-Lot's 'I Like Big Butts' to sell jumbo-sized cigarettes.

The El Capitan/Jenni Mutual Birthday PubCrawl

'Because Dive Bars Aren't Just For Rummies Anymore!

I've been sorta drag-assing on announcing this, because I'm just in that 'eh' mood lately. My birthday shindig was originally going to be in New Orleans, as a part of the blogmeet there, but I wussied out on that trip, and used a pre-existing invite from Jenni as my excuse for bailing on the Big Easy.

Back in late winter/early spring, I got to spend an afternoon with my pal Jenni and her hubby Barry when I was in DFW for my grandmother's funeral. We talked about everything under the sun, so in retrospect I'm not too surprised that 4 months later I had completely forgotten that we had agreed to spend our birthdays trolling the dive bars up & down Division St. in Arlington.

So, when she reminded me of my obligation, I reset my itinerary for DFW, and now I'm inviting you!

Here's the plan...

We meet on Friday night, July 22, in Arlington, TX about 8 in the p.m. at J. Gilligan's on Abram St. We have huge platters of Irish Nachos and poultry digits to fortify us for the evening, then we head over to Division and Collins, turn left into the first bar on the south side, and spend the rest of the evening sampling the wares all the way down to Green Oaks Rd., then go to the north side of Division and work our way back. Bonus points will be given to the first person to hurl on the front steps of the Ott Cribbs Public Safety Center at Division and Cooper and not be arrested.

If you miss us at J. Gilligan's, just head up & down Division until you see my brown Fleetwood parked outside some sleazy dive, and head on in.

I'm sure there's a lot more mature ways to flip over to year #38, but why the hell should I start acting mature at this age? I've never felt the need to before!

C'mon out, y'all. At least drop by for dinner. This should be a blast, and if Rockhauler doesn't get my hotel reservation arranged, you'll get to see me sleep in the back of the Caddy behind some bar!

Email me with questions/comments/complaints.

Gun Show Update

'Cause I Just Felt That You're Dying to Know

Had a good time on Sunday with Zibig & the Cisco Kid out in Pasadena. It's a part of Houston I never get to (nor do I really wish to...) unless there's something like a gun show to drag me over there.

We met at Casa del Capitan bright & early, then drove out to refinery-ville. You might have heard of the BP refinery explosion in that neck of the woods. There's so much oil & coal shipping and petrochemical activity over there that I get nervous everytime Zibig drops a cigarette butt for fear that the entire county will explode. I mentioned to the others that I didn't even want to contemplate the level of carcinogens in the area.

After getting bent over for parking and admittance at the other two gun show venues in town, the Pasadena Convention Center was a nice change. No charge for parking, and you even parked in the same zip code as the building.

The usual suspects were there, Doc's Guns, T's Ammo, the Left Handed Bolt Action Collecting Society. OK, I'm kidding about the last one.

Prices were good on old surplus rifles, and there were just piles of Yugo SKS's at dirt cheap rates. Lots of the Izmash Arsenal AK sporters for around 300 clams. I saw a really nice Swiss K31 that I just had to have, but this wasn't a gun-purchasing show for me.

One guy had a stack of Walther P-38s, but they were the aluminum-framed versions made in the 50's and called by another name. Only $275, as I recall.

I was SOL on finding the SKS gas tube scope mount and the factory 10-rd mag, but eBay took care of those that afternoon. I did find one guy selling Greek 8mm surplus ammo, but I have no idea how long he'd had it out of the crate. I'll end up mail ordering that from Ammoman or AIM surplus.

I did find the 8mm stripper clips. I can only use two of them, since I only have 10 shootable rounds on hand! I've got another 10 rounds, but they're WWII Kraut ammo with the Wehrmacht headstamps, and those are collectables, not shooters.

I did get lucky in my usual purchase of a sharp pointy thing. Instead of a pricy Cold Steel or CRKT folder, I lucked upon a bayonet and scabbard for the BRNO VZ-24. It was only $25! The bayonet handle is quite worn, and the scabbard hasn't seen a polish in 60 years, but the blade is in good shape. I didn't really need one, but that's what gun shows are all about, buying stuff you don't need, but can't pass up! I spent the evening occasionally poking the cat with the bayonet while screaming "Töten Sie die Katze!!", which amused me to no end, and kind of annoyed her. I did leave the scabbard on, so there's no cat blood all over the place, for you cat-o-philes that were about to pass out from shock. She got a double ration of kitty-treats and a bellyrub after her torture session, so she's forgiven me.

Next gun show is in August, I think. Zibig's got me thinking about an AK, but it might be time to start looking for an M1 carbine. They're just too handy to not own one!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

"Hey, That Reminds Me Of..."

"Wait... No, It Doesn't. Never Mind."

Thanks to all who posted such nice comments about my 1000 word Take Two tale. I'm flattered by the comparisons to Rudyard Kipling, who I count as one of my favorite authors. Though I have a copy of his collected works within arm's reach of the iMac, I have to confess that he was the furthest author from my mind when I wrote the piece.

I got bitten by the Africa bug at a very early age. I read a condensed version of a Peter Hathaway Capstick lion story in Reader's Digest when I was probably no more than 7 or 8 years old, and it set the hook for a long-term Africana addiction. From there, it was short hop to the books of Robert Ruark, Daniel Carney, Wilbur Smith, "Karamojo" Bell, Ernest Hemingway and especially P.H. Capstick. He's always been my favorite, and it was he who I was (quite blatantly!) imitating in the Take Two effort. Capstick was a Yank who spent many years in Africa as a professional hunter, or, as he called it, a 'Professional Small Boy". He wrote columns for men's sporting and adventure magazines before turning out books on hunting, African legends and his own experiences.

It pains me to report that he's issued his last book almost a decade ago, when he passed over into the Happy Hunting Grounds in 1996. It's a damned shame, as he would have made an excellent blogger.

Do your kids or husband/wife (or yourself!) a favor and buy them a copy of Capstick's Death In A Dark Continent. You won't be disappointed!

Gun Show! Gonna Spend A Wad Of Cash!

Because Saving Money Is For Cautious People

I'm off to the High Caliber gun show at the Pasadena Convention Center tomorrow morning with Zibig and the Cisco Kid. God only knows what we will find there. I kind of prefer the smaller shows as opposed to the huge ones held at Reliant Center or the GRBCC because they're cheaper for the vendors, which means we'll get more kitchen-table dealers looking to move inventory, and more variety of who shows up. You also don't have to pay to park way out in BFE.

I'm not a fan of the booths full of Beanie Babies, cheap jewelry and schlock art, but in the words of an unnamed gun dealer, "It gives the little woman something to do!" No doubt there are many women just all atwitter over that Neanderthalesque phrase. My only answer for you is to step up to the plate and start selling guns & accessories instead of that other crap. Should the shit ever hit the fan, all that fooferaw is instantly worthless, and guns will be worth their weight in gold. Something to think about, anyway.

I'm really not going to buy a gun this time. I promise! I've got to save my shekels for the Dallas trip in 2 weeks, and I'm looking to get a gun safe before I bring any more into the house. I'm out of lockable case space.

So, with any luck, I'll find the following tomorrow:

Surplus 7.92x57 ammo (8mm Mauser), hopefully non-corrosive.
Plenty of 8mm stripper clips
8mm Snap-cap
Sling for the BRNO rifle
Gas-tube scope mount for an SKS
10 rd. fixed mag for SKS
Some sharp pointy steel object
and, of course, a big bag o' beef jerky.

Drop by if you're in the area. I'll have my El Capitan hat on, and we're there probably 10:30 to 1-ish. $6 to get in, free parking.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Take Two

The Idea: Let several bloggers test out their writing chops by going 1000 words on a given scenario.

The Instigator: This feisty wench.

The Scenario: In the early hours of morning a man wakes in a cold sweat. Disoriented, he reaches for something in the darkness. He thinks he hears something, but is unsure if it is from his dreams...

The Result:

Waking to the sound of hyena jaws crunching femur bones is never
pleasant.  It helped that they weren't *my* femur bones, but 'twas
still quite unnerving.  At first I was sure I was dreaming of my
brother and I breaking empty bottles behind Uncle Sid's tavern back
home.  The maniacal whooping of these filthy scavengers, though
similar to Kip's braying laugh, differed enough to raise me out of my
fevered stupor.

Taking stock of my situation, I was still tied up in a crotch of a
leadwood tree, the now-flaccid water bag lashed tightly to my belt.
Judging by the sweat still pouring off me, the fever hadn't completely
broken. Since I wasn't dead, I took it as a sign that I might just be

It was near dawn, judging from the pale glimmer of gray beginning to
creep in through the leafy canopy.  I struggled to reach the water
bag, but quit when I realized that only a mouthful or two of brackish
water remained within.

Blackwater fever is something I wouldn't wish on a Mohammedan.  It
starts off like the malaria attacks you've had for years, so you order
your bearers to make camp, you lay out the bottles of quinine and gin,
then send your tracker for plenty of water and you endure the chills
and shakes for as long as necessary.  You'll get better, or you'll
perish.  If it's blackwater fever and not malaria, though, smart money
is bet on "perish".

When my lead tracker Merciful helped me roll out of my hammock to pass
water on the third day, that poxy Ndebele boy serving as kitchen toto
saw the dreaded black stream and raced to tell the porters.  It took
but half a day before the swine decided I was already a dead man, and
that it was only fair to divvy up all the supplies and the ivory of 8
weeks hunting in lieu of future wages.  Merciful, faithful to the end,
tried to keep them from taking my personal gear and got a panga to the
skull for his troubles.  Fear of sickness kept them away from me, so I
managed to retain the Rigby, the waterbag and the trekking pack, even
my revolver. The last item suprised me. A genuine Colt's pistol would
set a man up with a kraal, several wives, and a hell of a lot of
cattle. I'm not sure why they didn't risk taking it.   I vaguely
recalled waving it at the mutinous bastards, but it could as easily
been my John Thomas I brandished in the fever's grip.

How I managed to make it up this tree still puzzled me, considering I
was weak as a kitten. The fear of being gnawed upon like my former
tracker must have been a powerful motivator.  After a day or so up
here, my crotch ached most terribly, both from the tree branch
underneath and the rawness of the skin where my waste had dried after
I'd voided myself while still clothed.  I shifted position as best I
could, but I was far too weak to do more than that.

Below, the fisi had finished with their grisly breakfast and were
starting to drift towards the river.  I was feeling the first
stirrings of hunger since the attack began, tempered somewhat by my
weakness and the sight of poor Merciful's scattered bones.
I had several sticks of biltong in my pack, but water was the
immediate concern.  It would take a couple of hours for the hyenas to
clear the area.  As weak as I was, I didn't need them nosing about
while I crawled to the river to refill the waterbag.  Was I standing
tall and walking strong, they'd give me a wide berth, but consummate
scavengers that they were, my illness would be a clear invitation to
test the odds.

My head pounded something fierce, and I had little to remedy the ache.
All the gin had headed towards Bulawayo and Points South atop the
heads of the departing porters, and I had but a pinch of morphia
powder in my pack.  Best to save that for later.  No use trying to
climb down a tree while gripped in poppy euphoria.

Ah!  I still had cigarettes in my vest pocket!  They wouldn't help the
situation, but one certainly couldn't hurt.  I fumbled open the case,
managed to withdraw a Caporal and get it in my lips, then swapped case
for matchsafe and thumbed a Swan Vesta to life.

I then froze as the match flare reflected a pair of yellow eyes in an
acacia tree not 20 yards away.  Though I desperately wanted to shake
out the match and pretend I'd seen nothing, I forced myself to light
the cigarette and make no sudden motions.  Death by fever might just
not be my method of leaving this mortal coil, it seemed.

In these parts, he's called Nyalubwe.  Southeast towards the coast he
goes by Chui. The chaps at the Royal Museum call him Panthera pardus.
I call him roughly 160 pounds of male leopard within leaping distance.
Bloody hell…

This bugger must have lain there all night watching me.  The hyenas
were so wrapped up in polishing off Merciful that they didn't catch
the cat scent.  For the leopard to tarry this long was odd.   Perhaps
the lure of having your breakfast already dragged up a tree appealed
to him.  It's hard to say with a leopard, really.

The Rigby is hanging by its strap just out of reach.  My skinning
knife is tucked away deep in my kit bag.  As much as I'd like to punch
that cat's ticket with a 400 grain soft point slug, it'll be the
revolver, then my bare hands.

He's going to leap as soon as I start to move.  I've often wondered if
I'd stayed in the States if I could have made a decent quick-draw
gunfighter.  Guess now I'll find out if I'm fast enough.

Waiting on you, Chui.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Balcony

When Culture Gets That Tangy Taste

Sheila posted a good review of the Jean Genet play 'The Balcony' on her blog the other day. It brought back a rush of memories for me, since I hadn't really thought about that play in well over a decade.

For a suburban boy growing up in Houston, Texas, stageplays are not what you'd consider a standard form of entertainment. I was more likely to be found headbanging to Def Leppard and Van Halen, smoking doobies out behind the tennis court bleachers, or sneaking into R-rated movies.

Sure, my folks would drag me down to Miller Outdoor Theater to watch 'The Music Man', or 'Annie Get Your Gun' in an effort to inject some culture in my veins, and I'd have a pretty good time there, though I'd NEVER admit it to my parents. Later, I'd get a good dose of Shakespeare in high school, and had friends either acting in the yearly school musicals or playing in the orchestra, so I got a smattering of Gilbert & Sullivan and Rogers & Hammerstein. My girlfriend, who was a lot hipper to culture than I was, even bought us tickets to a couple of plays, 'Death Of A Salesman', and 'The Odd Couple' (where I sorely missed Jack Klugman's version of Oscar Madison).

Still, plays were never the Next Big Thing for me. The roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd never really inspired me, in spite of the smattering of acting I did as an offshoot of the Speech & Debate squad activities.

Aside from repeated viewings of Greater Tuna (which might be the hands-down funniest Texas export since H. Ross Perot) the only theaters I frequented for years were movie theaters.

In '88 or '89, I had a friend named Denise who was a costume designer at Rice U., and we'd been present as she worked up costume after costume for this play they were putting on. I'd never heard of it, nor the author, and honestly had no desire to drag myself away from the bong to go see it. Nevertheless, on opening night, armed with a couple of "to go" joints, my buddy "RedWood" and I moseyed over to the theater to see what our friend Denise had done.

We sit down, the lights darken, and the music begins. They've selected something freaky by Laurie Anderson for the lead-in and lead-out to each scene. It's eerie.

Then, of course, you have the 'The Balcony' itself, which is not easy to describe. In fact, I'll let Sheila do it for me.

Go read her post. I'll wait.

Good, huh? (Her review, I mean! The play might not be your cup of java...)

Now, considering my relative lack of theater savvy, and general cultural deficiencies, this play blew me away. For the first time, I really recognized the power the theater could have to carry ideas, change perceptions, and generally mindfuck people. It was more personal than a movie, it went far beyond what TV could do. The audience's reactions are going to subtly manipulate the actor's performances, making each show different.

It was eye-opening. I'm not sure 'The Balcony' is even near the top of my list of favorites. It's just a bit too bizarre for me to be fully comfortable with, but it has a special place in my memories. I still don't see as many plays as I should, but now I at least make the effort to be aware of what's playing around town.