All About Guns Well I thought it was neat!

Secret Restoration: HISTORIC CANNON from the Spanish-American War

Well I thought it was neat!

Nice dog!

Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom War Well I thought it was neat!

The Life & Times of Belisarius (History Abridged)

Well I thought it was neat!


Dabbs made this little handcrafted wooden model tank as a gift for a friend,
and truly extraordinary man, who crewed these things during the war.


They’re pretty much all gone now. When I was a kid, the country was blanketed with a thin patina of World War II veterans. They sold cars, ran service stations and populated local government. Making sweeping generalizations, they were responsible, industrious and selfless. They had seen so much pain and suffering they just wanted to make the world a better place. We are all beneficiaries of that today.

I both loved and hated working at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. The hours were long, and the patients were just crazy sick. However, I hit that sweet spot when the old WWII guys populated the place. That bit I absolutely loved. Every time I had a free minute, I just found a door ajar with the lights on, plopped myself down in a handy chair, and said, “Tell me a story.”

I have dozens, but this one guy became a proper friend. His name was Powell Mahaffey. He died at age 95 after a rich, long, productive life of blessing people. I don’t think he’d mind my using his real name.


War Stories


Mahaffey was a tanker. He landed shortly after D-Day and fought all the way until the end of the war in Europe. Along the way, he had five Shermans shot out from under him. He was the only member of his original crew to survive the war. I cannot imagine how that must have felt. If you have seen the movie “Fury,” it was probably something like that — only worse.

He didn’t talk much about the bad stuff. Like most of those awesome old guys, he’d just get a twinkle in his eyes and relate the mischievous or funny tales. That’s the way the human animal is wired. It helps us survive in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

To my recollection, Mahaffey didn’t drink. However, booze back in the war zone was the universal currency. It could be bartered for anything, and it would serve as a welcome diversion in a world gone insane. He said one day, he and his crew happened upon a warehouse full of cognac in some bombed-out little town in Belgium. Appreciating the unique opportunity, they pulled their M4 tank up outside the building and began stacking crates of liquor on the back engine deck. While they were feverishly working, a German kubelwagen with three Wehrmacht soldiers happened to cruise by. All involved grabbed their weapons in a frenzy. The German vehicle passed within feet of the American tank before disappearing around the corner, and nobody fired a shot. Gobsmacked by the sheer weirdness of that exchange, his crew beat feet, their tank now stacked high with pilfered spirits.

Later that day, Mahaffey’s tank was cruising along a forgotten Belgian road when, out of the clear blue sky, a single 60mm mortar round impacted on the back engine deck. For those unfamiliar, mortars are fairly imprecise indirect fire weapons. They are designed to be fired en masse against area targets to saturate a space with fire, not to strike moving targets with surgical precision. Though the explosion did not damage the tank, it utterly obliterated the stolen cognac. He told me he felt that was a sign from God that he shouldn’t drink alcohol or steal other people’s booze. In the grand scheme, he felt it was a cheap lesson.


Powell Mahaffey immediately recognized the case of
cognac stacked on the back engine deck.

A Mark of Friendship


Mahaffey and his delightful wife lived in the same little town as did we. Once we got him tuned up and discharged from the hospital, he sought me out and had my family over for dinner. We had a simply wonderful time. I made him a present in appreciation.

Back before I did so much writing, I lived in my workshop. I have a lot of nervous energy and have to be doing something productive all the time, or my brain will explode. Yeah, my wife is indeed an exceptionally longsuffering lass. One of my favorite pastimes was building wooden models.

I made tanks, ships, airplanes and helicopters. Plastic models are way more detailed, but mine were crafted by hand and customized to the situation and the recipient. When I made one for somebody, I typically made them in pairs and kept one for myself. That’s where my copy of Mahaffey’s Sherman came from.

The tank is cut from 2×4 white pine. I shaped the components on a sanding wheel improvised out of an old lawnmower chassis. The tracks are formed from strips of black sewing elastic. It is an M4A1 with the stubby 75mm gun patterned after the one Mahaffey described as his favorite of the five he crewed. On the back, I took a little block of wood and sunk half a dozen nails in two rows of three. When I gave him the tank, he recognized that immediately as a case of cognac.

All About Guns Ammo Well I thought it was neat!

Shooting Whitney Phoenix Rifles in .38 Rim Fire & .40-50 Sharps Bottle Neck

Art Well I thought it was neat!

Assyrian dog figurines with names carved on them, 650 BC

“Expeller of evil” (mušēṣu lemnūti) with white pigment and red spots “Catcher of the enemy” (kāšid ayyāb) with red pigment “Don’t think, bite!” (ē tamtallik epuš pāka) with white pigment “Biter of his foe!” (munaššiku gārîšu) with turquoise pigment “Loud is his bark!” (dan rigiššu) with black pigment

Well I thought it was neat!

If Women Had The Same Rights As Guns

Useful Shit Well I thought it was neat!



There are some surprising parallels between the National Socialists
and certain modern American institutions.


How many of you have had a great experience with your health insurance company? Who here can say that their health insurance company is altruistic, easy to contact and forever has their best interest at heart? Just a quick show of hands. Take your time. I’ll wait.

You should never type while angry. That’s sage advice, to be sure. However, I’m about to, with malice and aforethought, intentionally ignore it.

I’m going to give you a peek behind the curtain that surrounds the modern practice of medicine in America. While all jobs have their administrative headaches, these are mine. If anyone gets their feelings hurt, then I hate it for you.

As part of some truly diabolical medical research, the Nazis forced certain Jews in the death camps to fill out a questionnaire while standing at a podium. The form was of a prescribed length and asked a bunch of mundane demographic questions. After the forms were completed, the Germans just threw them away. They didn’t care one whit about the information. It was simply that to fill out the forms, you had to stand still for a set period of time while a powerful x-ray emitter built into the podium irradiated your groin.

The point was not to gather information. The point was to bombard these poor unfortunates with high-intensity x-rays in hopes of creating a quick and convenient way of sterilizing large numbers of people without their knowledge. Needless to say, that didn’t work. Such a scheme seems about par for the course for the Nazis, the absolute scum of the earth. Now hold that thought …


Many modern medications are expensive. There are a lot of reasons
for this, some of which could be easily addressed with a little political will.
However, creating artificial impediments to good health care seems
counterproductive to me.

PA is a Four-Letter Word


Forgive my bias, but from my perspective, it seems that your health insurance company doesn’t much care whether you live or die. They would sell your kidneys on eBay if they thought they could get a decent rate of return.

There are times that literally half of my professional day is spent worshipping at the profane altar of modern electronic medical records, all the while trying to placate the dark gods of plaintiff’s attorneys and health insurance companies. To wit …

Insurance companies have done a splendid job of shaping my prescribing practices toward cheap generic drugs. In fact, we no longer see drug reps at my clinic simply because I am sick of fighting insurance companies to get them to pay for any drug that costs more than about a nickel a month. As a result, when I prescribe an expensive branded medication, it is always because I already can’t divine a cheaper alternative.

Now, health insurance companies could just explain to the patient in straightforward prose that they will only cover cheap meds and that anything else is the patient’s responsibility. However, that’s not how they do it. They just demand a PA.

In medical parlance, PA stands for prior authorization. I have no idea who ever thought this was a good idea. Satan, the Lord of Darkness, would be my guess.

The online PA clearing house is called, like consolidating this diabolical monster into a single digital location is somehow doing me a favor. I have to log in and then work through a series of online menus begging the insurance company to approve a patient’s medications. Sometimes they demand to know everything that has been tried before and failed. These are things that only the patient knows, and they’ve already gone back home. I don’t have time to do these stupid things until late at night when the rest of the day’s work is done.

The one I did yesterday, by contrast, only had me laboriously enter the name, address, phone number, and sundry other mundane information about my clinic, all stuff that is available automatically from dozens of sites online. They didn’t ask anything about my patient or his history. All this just takes time.

On a slow day, I’ll see 20 patients. A stupid busy day flirts with 40. Spending 10 minutes verifying my address online so some insurance company will cover Eliquis (a fairly safe but expensive blood thinner) for an 82-year-old woman who honestly cannot manage her own coumadin (a fairly dangerous but cheap blood thinner) is time I just don’t have. And, just like the Nazis, that is the point. If they can put enough artificial impediments in my way, maybe I’ll just give up. The patient won’t get the medicines they need, but taking care of sick people is my problem, not theirs.

Some medicines are just stupidly expensive. I get it. I really do. Somebody has to pay for all those obscene billboards adorning every goat trail in America. You know the ones I’m talking about. There will be some two-story grinning ape in a suit alongside stuff like “1-800-SUE-ANYTHING-THAT-BREATHES. We work hard to get you more.”

Nobody wants to see insurance executives sitting on the side of the road holding signs that say, “Will frivolously waste your time for food.” Actually, never mind. Upon further introspection, that might be kind of cool.

All About Guns Well I thought it was neat!

Always good solid rules!

War Well I thought it was neat!

Escort Carriers – When You Need a Lot of Carriers Fast