Saturday, October 20, 2012

You can run, but you'll only die tired

I have to admit, I like snipers, most snipers, not the D.C. sniper though. I like true-life stories about military snipers (Carlos Hathcock, Vasily Zaitsev of “Enemy at the Gates” fame, and Simo “The White Death” Hayha, who offed a confirmed 705 Ruskies in less than 100 days). I like fictional books featuring snipers: Stephen Hunter’s Bob Lee Swagger books. And I'm fascinated by current stories about snipers like this in Syria:
In Aleppo, people tread carefully. Signs hang off walls saying: “Beware — snipers!” People shout conversations across deserted streets. Throughout much of the city’s old quarter, at every small intersection and across every open space, people sprint. Like a deadly pinball arcade, snipers’ bullets ricochet through the narrow streets, bouncing off the walls and ground. Neighborhoods are made up of “sniper alleys.”

Since practically the beginning of the conflict, snipers have been one of the defining characteristics of the Syrian uprising. The opposition says the government first used them against peaceful anti-regime demonstrators in the uprising’s initial stages. But as the civil conflict has sharpened, both sides are employing the renegade sharpshooters. Maya Nasser, a correspondent for Iran’s Press TV, is thought to have been killed by a rebel sniper in Damascus.

It’s impossible to get a reliable count of the number of snipers in Aleppo, but all sides agree that there are more shooters than ever operating in the city. The opposition claims that the increase is due to an influx of foreign snipers fighting in support of the government troops.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Esprit d’escalier

This happens to me a lot. Charles Krauthammer mentions in his column in the Washington Post the term: Esprit d’escalier (“wit of the staircase”) - the French term for the devastating riposte that one should have given at dinner but comes up with only on the way out at the bottom of the staircase.

Only in South Dakota ...

School board bans hunting near Sturgis high school
“Evidently, hunting has taken place for a long time on our property at the high school campus,” (the superintendent) said. “It is my understanding that the majority is archery hunting, but there is also shotgun hunting of deer. All school lands must be a weapons-free zone. Our insurance company said we probably never should have been allowing it in the first place and that we need to change it immediately. This is not a reaction based on inappropriate action by the bow hunters. It just isn’t prudent to have a hunting facility adjacent to the high school.”

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I would tend to agree

From Gabriel Malor at the Ace of Spades blog, comes this comment regarding a couple mothers whose KIA sons have been caught up in the presidential melee:
Dear Mom, if I should happen to die in such a way as to make the national news, do not talk to reporters. I mean, that's true all the time -- never talk to reporters -- but all the other kids in heaven are definitely going to make fun of me if my mom is defending me all the time. Oh, and if I happen to go to the other place, I'll send hellhounds after any reporter that bugs my mother. Yeah, hellhounds.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hoity-toities becoming one with nature … and shooting it!

Tomorrow is opening day of pheasant hunting season for youth in South Dakota. They get first crack at the birds before adult hunters from around the world arrive on the third Saturday of October to put a real dent in the pheasant population. I will be taking the 15-year-old fruit of my loins down to our favorite corn field about 45 minutes from here. It’s a little trade out we have with a rancher where we go down in the spring and help him brand calves and he lets us come down and tromp through his fields in the fall. It’s been good for my boy, Luke, to work the cattle, sweat like a horse, get kicked in the shins by 300-pound calves, and be covered in manure, all for the opportunity to shoot some pheasants. Makes them taste that much better, as if they needed any enhancing. It seems that this generations-old tradition in South Dakota is catching on with some of those you might not traditionally equate with blood-and-guts bullet blasters. The New York Times takes a look at this New Breed of Hunter.
Who is the most famous hunter in America? If you’re over 30, the first names that come to mind are probably Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent or Dick Cheney. If you’re under 30, the answer is easier. The most famous hunter in America is Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook.
For what it’s worth, The Nuge hunts adjacent to our little honey hole in the southwest corner of South Dakota. I’ve talked to him, and if you think his God Bless America/Second Amendment Loving personality is some show-biz shtick, you’d be wrong. If you watch his hunting show, that’s the way he really is. If you see him in concert, that’s the way he really is. He is a wild man, and I really like him. I would like to see a pay-per-view event where Ted Nugent and Mark Zuckerberg hunt pheasant or, better yet, antelope together in southwest South Dakota. I’m guessing their politics don’t jive, but sometimes the love of a 12-guage shotgun or a .243 rifle in the clean Dakota air will heal all wounds, except for those in the animal you eventually put in the crock pot.