Another sign of how much this blog has evolved since its initial days in 2003 is offered by the occasion of National Ammo Day 2005. This event is in its third year, even as Grim's Hall is.
Here are my rough thoughts, per year:
2003: "What a great idea! But, a hundred rounds? How will I afford it?"
2004: "I'm glad to support this idea. But, a hundred rounds? Where will I put it?"
2005: "Great idea. But, just a hundred rounds? I use that much every two weeks."
On the upside, my handgunnery has gotten a lot better. My "fliers" are still in the 8-ring, these days, even when I shoot one hand unsupported rapid-fire. That doesn't put me in "Gun Guy" or Doc's class, but it's a solid improvement over where I was a year ago.
Another sign of how much this blog has evolved since its initial days in 2003 is offered by the occasion of National Ammo Day 2005. This event is in its third year, even as Grim's Hall is.
The other day in the comments, Cassandra said:
If I ever blog for you, you are likely to be stuck with me you poor miserable... bas... oh. I can't swear here, can I? :) That's the biggest reason I haven't done so, so far.I assume she means that the biggest reason is that she doesn't want to make me regret asking her on, rather than that she can't swear. I did stop to think about the question, though.
I generally let people say whatever they want as long as it conforms to the comments policy. I myself don't generally curse -- although if you read through the 2003 archives, you'll see that wasn't always the case. I blame Sovay, with whom I've been fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time since 2004. Her influence has driven me to pursue virtue even in spite of myself, for which I am more grateful than I might have expected to be.
The comments policy at Grim's Hall is intended to keep the peace of the hall, not restrict the terms of debate. I'd like to make clear that you can say what you want here, so long as it adheres to the terms of the policy, which I adopted from the sadly-defunct Texas Mercury:
If you're looking for more guidance than that, I'll offer you the advice that Hank Williams Jr. gave to country music singers. I think it's a pretty good rule of thumb for gentlemen, Southern or otherwise:As we see it, modern society has all the important ideas of life exactly backwards: we are completely against the belief in sensitivity and tolerance in politics and raffish disregard in private life. The Texas Mercury is founded on the opposite principles- our idea is of tolerance and polite sensitivity in private life and ruthless truth in politics. Be nice to your neighbor. Be hell to his ideas.That stands, but I would like to clarify: hit & run attacks, whether they are on ideas or people, will be deleted. If you're a regular, you can say anything you want and expect to be treated kindly, personally, even if we beat your ideas to death.
No no, in country music you just dont use the f word;Two more pieces of business:
We've come along way but it's best if that ones not heard.
Oh, we had some hells and damns,
But we'd never say "B***h!", we say "Why, yes ma'am."
1) I'd like to take Eric's advice, and consider inviting some more co-bloggers to take up residence. Grim's Hall is a meadhall for warriors, so bloggers here ought to have an honest fighter's spirit. Beyond that, I'm open. Any regular reader may email me with suggestions. Just click on my name.
2) The trackback situation is sucking air. Haloscan reports more than half the time now that trackback pings are 'too far away' or 'don't appear to be valid.' Trackback is an important tool, though, and I hate to lose it. I'm thinking of swapping off to Movable Type or Expression Engine. Anyone with advice on that, feel free to email.
Jason van Steenwyk over at Countercolumn has just noticed that apparently the The Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), announced plans to eliminate annual congressional hearings for Veterans Service Organizations.
Like Jason, I have to wonder, If they dont' have the time for this, what are they spending their time doing?
I am so glad I'm an Indpendent. Because if I was a Republican, I would be so embarrassed at this I wouldn't have the words to express it.
The folks at Situational Awareness, have posted some 11 stories for Veteran's day. These are all collected from JED, the Journal of Electronic Defense.
11. Paul Goddard: Royal Air Force
10. Mike Gilroy: USAF
9. Patrick Cordingley: British Army
8. Allan Lamb: USAF
7. Pierre-Alain Antoine: French Air Force
6. Yitzhak Zoran: Israeli Navy
5. John Geragotelis: USN
4. Scott Vogt: USMC
3. Michal Fiszer: Polish Air Force
2. Michael Svejgaard: Danish Air Force
1. Roger Ihle: USAF
This post will stay at the top all day. I'll update it as more links appear.
The Commandant's official greetings. "Marines create stability in an unstable world."
The Secretary of the Navy sends his greetings.
Col. Jeff Bearor writes on the birthday.
Mackubin Thomas Owens offers a history lesson.
Doc Russia posts his tribute.
And here are the links to Grim's Hall's previous celebrations, from 2003, and 2004 (although apparently my graphic from last year has died).
Drinks at Tun's Tavern.
UPDATE: Here is Joel's post at Southern Appeal, which I missed at first because (in his eagerness) he posted it on the 9th of November. I assume we'll be seeing a movie review of The Sands of Iwo Jima from Joel later today.
Outside the Beltway has this roundup, although they are apparently under the impression that the Corps was founded in 1875.
BlackFive has a few words from Tun's Tavern.
Daniel's birthday wishes are up.
Froggy wishes a happy birthday to the Teufelhunden.
The above quote represents my favorite line from the movie The Sands of Iwo Jima. Those eight words, spoken by the character of Sgt Stryker as played by John Wayne, not only describe an inescapable truth about life they also accurately portray the no-non-sense, all business, blunt attitude of the ideal Marine NCO. That tuff attitude is what makes Marine Sergeants the backbone of the Marine Corps.
In the Spirit of full disclosure I must confess that The Sands of Iwo Jima has been one of my favorite movies since I first watched it as a little boy with my dad and my appreciation of the film has only increased over time. It is the classic 1940-50 American war movie. It is the story of a group of vastly different individuals that come together and learn to work as a team in order to accomplish a greater goal. Along the way they have to overcome obstacles both internal and external. They have to resolve personal conflicts both within themselves and with other members of the unit. All of this makes for a more dramatically fulfilling war movie than just about anything Hollywood has produced lately.
The story is narrated by PFC Peter Conway, played by John Agar. As the story progresses you learn that PFC Conway is the son of a senior Marine officer killed in combat. Furthermore, you find out that Conway and his father had a stormy relationship. This creates tension between him and Sgt Stryker who served with the elder Conway and thought he was one of the finest officers he had ever known. PFC Conway’s pretentious, no-it-all college attitude does not help matters.
Additional tension within the unit comes from the character of PFC Al Thomas, played by Forrest Tucker. PFC Thomas served with Sgt Stryker before in China. Sgt Stryker turned in him for an undisclosed infraction and kept him from getting promoted. Furthermore, Thomas lost the Marine Corps heavy-weight division boxing title match to Sgt Stryker. It is clear from the beginning that these two men do not like each other.
All of these tensions look as though they are going to come to head and end tragically. It doesn’t help that Sgt Stryker himself is struggling with a serious drinking problem and remorse over a failed marriage. However, through training and the crucible of combat the men overcome these problems and come together as a unit. They don’t initially understand Sgt Stryker’s uncompromising standards and demanding attitude until they realize that is exactly what was needed to teach them how to survive on the battlefield.
All of the above was often standard fare for war movies of that period. However, there are other things that make this movie more complex and superior to similar films. For instance, there is a persistent redemption theme throughout the movie. PFC Conway learns to get over his resentment of his father. Sgt Stryker stops wallowing in self pity and alcohol abuse. PFC Thomas, whose negligence in combat leads to the death and wounding of fellow Marines in the unit, overcomes his guilt and grief to ultimately become a strong Marine leader. All of this leaves the audience with a real uplifting feeling and demonstrates dramatically that while all of us fail it is the winners among us who don’t let those past failures prevent them from getting back up and trying again until they ultimately succeed.
I wish they still made movies like this.
In the Latest edition of the Marine Corps Gazette Col Jack Mathews, USMC (Ret) discuses which figures from American military history he believes would constitute the ideal “super squad.” The background for Col Mathews article is a picture commissioned by the Command and Staff College Class of 2005 depicting these different historical figures in the boat with General Washington during his crossing of the Delaware River.
The Squad is as follows:
BG Daniel Morgan
1st Fire Team
Col John Stark
LTC George Rogers Clark
Col Edward Hand
Col John Glover
2nd Fire Team
MG Andrew Jackson
LTG Ulysses S. Grant
MG William Tecumseh Sherman
LTG Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
3rd Fire Team
Col Joshua Chamberlain
ADM William “Bull” Halsey, Jr.
LtGen Lewis B. Puller
GEN George S. Patton
I think Col Mathews’ Super Squad represents an intriguing idea. One regularly hears theories about which collection of all-time great players would be on history’s greatest football or baseball team. Consequently, I think it is a good idea to spend a little time theorizing about whom from our military history would be in history’s greatest squad or platoon. Personally, I think Col Mathews’ squad has a few too many Yankees and not enough Marines. Additionally, I would have Made Andrew Jackson the squad leader.
In re: "Hey, Don't Laugh," below, our friend Cassandra sends an email:
Subject: President Bush may call up Marines to Aid France
FYI-- this press release just issued
President Bush has authorized the Joint Chiefs to begin drawing up a
battle plan to pull France's ass out of the fire again. Facing an
apparent overwhelming force of up to 400 pissed off teenagers, the President
doubts France's ability to hold off the little pissants. "Hell, if the last
two world wars are any indication, I would expect France to surrender
any day now", said Bush.
Joint Chiefs head, Gen. Peter Pace, warned the President that it might
be necessary to send up to 5 Marines to get things under control. The
general admitted that 5 Marines may be overkill but he wanted to get
this thing under control within 24 hours of arriving on scene. He stated he
was having a hard time finding even one male Marine to help those ingrates
out for a third time but thought that he could persuade a few female Marines
to do the job before they went on maternity leave.
President Bush advised Gen. Pace to get our Marines out of there as soon
as possible after order was restored. He also reminded Gen. Pace to make
sure the Marines did not take soap, razors, or deodorant with them.
The less they stand out the better....
If we're quoting the great writers of the age, here is Hitchens on Darfur:
Any critique of realism has to begin with a sober assessment of the horrors of peace. Everybody now wishes, or at least says they wish, that we had not made ourselves complicit spectators in Rwanda. But what if it had been decided to take action? Only one member state of the U.N. Security Council would have had the capacity to act with speed to deploy pre-emptive force (and that would have been very necessary, given the weight of the French state, and the French veto, on the side of the genocidaires). It is a certainty that at some stage, American troops would have had to open fire on the "Hutu Power" mobs and militias, actually killing people and very probably getting killed in return. Body bags would have been involved. It is not an absolute certainty that all detained members of those militias would have been treated with unfailing tenderness. It is probable that some of the military contractors would have overcharged, and that some locals would have engaged in profiteering and even in tribal politics. It is impossible that any child of any member of the Clinton administration would have been an enlisted soldier. But we never had to suffer any of these wrenching experiences, so that we can continue to wish, in some parallel Utopian universe, that we had done something instead of nothing.Well? The Left will say that it is Bush's fault, for being too busy in Iraq to stop the genocide. But how did they do at the same test? No better.
Or not exactly nothing. The United States ended up supporting the French military intervention in Rwanda, which was mounted in an attempt not to remove the genocidaires but to save them. Nonintervention does not mean that nothing happens. It means that something else happens. Our policy in Darfur has not just failed to rescue a stricken black African population: It has actually assisted the Sudanese Islamists in completing their policy of racist murder. Thank heaven that we are tough enough to bear the shame of this, and strong enough to forgive ourselves.
Amid new calls for a new realism, this ought to be sufficient rebuke. What is needed is not more realism, but more idealism; not more negotiation, but a readier hand on the sword. We cannot solve the world's problems, but we can disrupt janjaweed militias easily enough. Bombs are good enough for buying time, so that rebel forces can form to resist the genocide, so that the military of corrupt third-world states cannot aid their proxies. We can ship arms to the oppressed. At least we can make a fight out of it, even if we can't win it for them.
But this which we can do, we have not done. Instead, we allow the UN to continue to ban arms shipments to the oppressed within war zones; and our reliance on their negotiations and 'peace processes' cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Are we strong enough to forgive ourselves, as Hitches says we are?
His piece is here. The most chilling part of it is right at the end:
As to where Britain falls in this grim scenario, I noticed a few months ago that Telegraph readers had started closing their gloomier missives to me with the words, "Fortunately I won't live to see it" - a sign-off now so routine in my mailbag I assumed it was the British version of "Have a nice day".Mark thinks you will.
I know we're all busy, and most of us have quite a few expenses that keep us from pursuing certain hobbies. However, I've been thinking a bit lately about doing a "movie club" of sorts.
The general rules would be these:
1) Movies would be classics of film, available on VHS/DVD at most local stores. They ought to be either readily available at rental places, or for sale for less than $15 -- most readers, I think, could afford to spend $15 a month or so on a movie if they wished. It's the same as tickets for two at a new movie, but you'd be seeing something that has already proven itself over time.
2) We'd watch one or two movies a month, depending on how it works out.
3) Either I, or one of my co-bloggers if they sponsored it, would post a review of the movie to start discussion. We'd carry it on in the comments.
4) I'd like to aim at movies that capture classic American values, the kind of films that we'd like our children to grow up watching. To start with, I'd like to sponsor the John Wayne classic The Alamo.
Any interest in this among the readers?
Iraq the Model is taking the opportunity of the Paris riots to roll around on the floor in laughter:
I read this report about the Paris riots:The laughing is all in good fun, since down Iraq way my understanding is that the US military decided to permit each family to retain a Kalashnikov and a pistol for personal defense. Good on them! Having the tools is a big part of doing your duty as a citizen to maintain the common peace, and uphold the constitutional order.Faced with widespread lawlessness, some people in France have started defending their property. In Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris rocked by several nights of unrest, a community group has started patrolling local properties armed with…Here I was expecting shotguns, rifles or pistols to complete the sentence but then thought No, this is Europe and there must be laws against carrying firearms in public so I thought baseball bats would be the weapon of choice but again No I told myself; this is France they’re talking about and they don’t play baseball in France, so what did the community group carry to defend their property? "pepper spray and heavy flashlights" was the answer!! I don’t know how you see this but to me it feels like telling the rioters ‘come here and bring that piece of pizza, I have a pepper spray in my hand’ or ‘come and pose for a photo, I brought this excellent flashlight with me!’
However, if worst comes to worst, and you should find yourself in a situation where you've got a government like France or Maryland denying you your basic human rights, and on top of that barbarians torching your cities and cars, you can do worse than a flashlight and pepper spray. In fact, what really matters most is just the willingness to fight and die for what you believe -- the weapon you bring to bear is not unimportant, but it is far more important in a contest of professionals. With amateurs, the main thing is fighting spirit. A band of men determined to hold the line will hold it.
In the old days they used to say, "One Riot, One Ranger." It's not that different now. Give me five or ten men who will hold the line, and I expect you won't readily find the gangbangers or rioting band of punks to stand up to them. If that small band of men has rifles instead of flashlights, they can hold off anything short of an army.
The main thing is just to stand up. The main thing is to make up your mind, now, that the enemy won't burn your home or bring violence into your neighborhood. If you're committed to the fight, only the most professional of warriors will stand against you. Believe, and hold the line.
Froggy hated it and thought it was completely absurd.
Doc, on the other hand, thought it was the most accurate movie he'd ever seen about life as a USMC grunt.
UPDATE: Daniel, in addition to his comments below, also posted a review at his own site. It's broadly positive.
If this proves out, it is a huge story in the war against al Qaeda and its allied organization Jemaah Islamiyah. Indonesian police are reporting having killed Doctor Azahari, one of the masterminds of the Bali bombings and a leading figure in JI. More here.
This will, of course, produce another chaotic week for me -- but I don't mind. Well done.
The Virginia elections are now over, and I find that few of the candidates I voted for were elected to anything. It is possible that the Attorney General's race may yet be decided in favor of my candidate, but so far that remains to be seen. This has been my usual experience in elections, with only two exceptions that I can recall -- I was a Bush voter last year, and a Zell Miller voter during his gubernatorial days. (That is likely to produce two questions in the minds of readers, which are answered thus: I did not vote in the 2000 election at all, due to being in China and not being able to obtain an absentee ballot; and Zell was appointed rather than elected to the Senate.)
The Washington Post is interpreting the results as an anti-GOP movement in Northern Virginia (see here), and there is certainly something to that. I think that committed Republicans (of whom I am not one, being a Southern Democrat who occasionally votes Republican as circumstances warrant) did not feel they had much at stake this year, and didn't bother to get out and vote. Liberals, who seem to exist in Virginia only in the northern regions, have been drubbed in all the recent elections of any importance, and were spoiling for a victory of any sort. So, they got out in big numbers.
However, I think it's also important to note how minimal the stake really was this year. I have been a Kilgore supporter for nine months or a year, but only because of 2nd Amendment issues. In spite of the vicious campaign Kilgore ran against Kaine, the difference between the candidates wasn't great; the NRA endorsed Kilgore, but the even-more-committed Virginia Citizens' Defense League did not do so, and included pro-Kaine commentary in their newsletters in the runup to the election. For voters thinking of other issues, the difference was even less important; and Kaine was the scion of a popular governor.
Kilgore apparently believed his best card was Kaine's opposition to the death penalty. I think he misunderstood the issue. There are two reasons for opposing the death penalty, and only one of them is likely to spark opposition on the American Right. One reason, which will spark opposition, is to belong to the camp that says that the death penalty is "cruel or unusual" punishment. This annoys because the death penalty is a traditional part of American jurisprudence since the Founding. The claim that it is unconstitutional smacks of simply trying to redefine the Constitution to mean what you'd like it to mean without any concern for what it always has meant, a stance that will justly rouse opposition among many Americans.
Kaine's reason for opposing it is that he is a committed Catholic, and has devout religious beliefs that inform his opinion. That is going to win him respect among many on the Right, including most non-Catholics as well as Catholics. The American Right is generally well-disposed to people who are willing to let their faith inform their lives, especially when it causes them to take up positions that are obviously political disadvantages. I suspect that Kilgore's ad campaign -- which laughably invoked Hitler! -- did more damage to him than to Kaine.
Congratulations to the victors, both the ones I voted for and also the ones I did not. I wish them well in solving the problems of the Commonwealth, and restoring some of the political community that has been strained of late. I hope that the pleasure of victory will calm some of my more pricklish liberal neighbors, who have taken to staring angrily at anyone who habitually wears a cowboy hat (as I do myself). Really, folks: we're on your side, in spite of the occasional disagreements. It's more important that we're neighbors than that we disagree on this or that point of politics.
Greyhawk has a story he'd like you to read. It's pretty rare for Hawk to mail something like this out -- no reason he should, being one of the big fellahs. It's a piece written for Mudville by a guy who normally writes for the Boston Globe. The topic is the battle of la Drang, forty years ago.
MilBlogger Chuck Ziegenfuss, "on the mend in Kansas," wrote to a few other MilBloggers today to draw your attention to a couple of things. I'm passing along his email just as it turned up in my box, since that's what I gather he'd like.
Publicity StuntGlad to oblige. By the way, if you're interested in helping out with Valor-IT, the USMC team is taking donations here. I'm also adding the button to the sidebar for the next few days while the competition runs. I gather I'm a bit late to the party, for which I apologize; but between the recent wedding and the extra work generated by certain recent events out in my area of responsibility, I'm a little swamped.
Mkay... I dragged my drugged and temporarily one-handed body out of the hospital bed to tell ya'll about something most important.
Carren is gonna be on national TV (and live national TV at that) to let everyone know about Project Valour-IT. She will represent me (the nerd who thought of this project), and the many people who have made this project a success.
She is going to be on "Connected coast to coast" a show run by MSNBC. Don't know how long she'll be on, but for the love of god, please tune in, put your hands on the top of your TV, and talk to Jebus when the show is over. The show runs from 1200-1300 (noon to one fer ya civlians out there)(and that's eastern time) My beloved is supposed to be on around 1240, but I will rest assured that her looks, personality, and general charm will either get her on early, or the show will go into extra rounds like Rocky and the Big Ruskie in Rocky IV.
Here's how you can help. Send this to every one you know, post it on your blog, get them to post it on theirs. One side will say it's a failure of the gummint to not prvide this for the soldiers, others just see it as a way to help our brothers and sisters who have fallen but will be getting up. However they spin it, just get the word out.
There's less than 18 hours to game time, so let's get our blog on!
p.s. I met the Secrtary of the Army a few days ago. I don't remember most of our conversation (because pain killers do that to you, espcially at the level I'm taking them...think chevy chase (or was it Dan Akroyd?) in "Modern Problems". But I brought two things to his attention: 1. It's stupid and a waste of manpower to hold a medical review board for a guy who's lost a finger 2. I pitched Valour-IT to him. He thinks it's a great idea. He was pressed for time, so his aide took the info sheets we gave him and gave us his card...and told us to call if we don't hear anything about it in two weeks!
Thanks, by the way, to Eric for blogging so heavily over the weekend. I appreciate it.
Aaron is building a "deck of death" for bloggers. He's reserved the clubs suit for MilBlogs.
Froggy, who has asked for votes, is leading. I added Doc Russia's blog to the list. I doubt we can generate enough votes to get into the face cards, but I would appreciate folks voting for Doc. I think he runs a great place -- an honest, direct blog by a veteran that often explains how the warrior spirit plays itself out even in civilian life. It's easy to be a warrior in the Marines or the 101st Airborne, but how many continue not just to uphold but to live the ideals after?
Well, Doc does. If his blog doesn't prove it to you, how about this after-action report? Scroll down to the picture of him making a 300-yard shot, just right the first time.
Out of admiration for the man's writing and living, then, I'd like to propose that we all go over and see if we can't vote him a playing card.
I've returned from St. Paul, which was a very different city that I would have expected. I was very impressed with St. Paul's cathedral, for example, one of the finest of its type that I've ever seen. It was an architectural masterpiece, inside and out. It steals all the glory from the nearby State Capitol, which is also a grand dome but in the Federal style rather than in the traditional Gothic. The Gothic style has all the advantages, as I suppose is appropriate. The temples built to faith ought to be finer and more glorious than the ones built to government, even government by the People.
Besides the Glory of God, the cathedral contained monuments -- in the tradition of Catholicism -- to important saints and religious men. There was a stained glass window containing the heraldic arms of St. Pius X, which I was pleased to be able to recognize. In addition, there was a statue to the archbishop who'd constructed the place. He was from, and named, Ireland; and if I understood his biography correctly, he was a child during the great potato famine, then a military chaplain throughout the War Between the States, and then a churchman for the rest of his life. He began construction of the place in 1907, when he was already an old man, but lived long enough to see completion of it and give the first sermon there. Sounds like a fairly heroic life to me, one worthy of the honors bestowed upon it.
In addition to the cathedral, St. Paul proved to have a particularly excellent pub called Cork's, which was a reference to the county Cork in Ireland. The bar was quiet, the beer was excellent, the pool table was fast and the televisions were muted and tuned to the University of Tennessee football game, and the Professional Bull Riders' rodeo. Outstanding.
I'm afraid that's more or less all I had time to see, because the business that took me there occupied the rest of the weekend. Congratulations are in order to my new brother in law. They played "Georgia on My Mind" at the reception, so that my father could have appropriate music for a last dance with his daughter. I have only rarely seen the man so moved, or happy.
The Geek With a .45 has begun a new book. It's got a grand premise: a thousand years after 1776, America is triumphant:
A surprising number of us went back for the Millennium. Many went by proxy and virtual, but more than any would have ever expected loaded their precious meat into quantum shuttles, to blink into an orbit teeming with craft of every description, hailing from every corner of the explored galaxies. No one who arrived in person needed to ask the motive of the other. The urge to lay ones actual foot, claw or tentacle upon the ground where it all began was strong, to fill one's lungs with air breathed by the founders, the refounders, and all the magnificent generations who built and sustained and sometimes just barely preserved The Vision.Good luck with it, old son.
So. Dennis the Peasant has issues with Pajamas Media. And is mocking them unmercifully.
What I find curious about this, (beyond the snarkiness of it all), is how the medium of blogs lends itself to such stuff. I mean, a business deal gone sour results in better comedy than I see on most sit-coms these days.
This blog is supposedly a member of Pajamas Media, (Grim got profiled and all), but I myself have absolutely no idea how all that is working out, having declined any notion or offer of making money off this blogging thing.