Monday, September 29, 2008

Turning To The Dark Side

The Democrat Party likes to style itself as "the Party of Jefferson." They must mean the Jefferson from the tv show "All in the Family," 'cause they sure don't mean the very libertarian President Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was an advocate of the principles of freedom to which the Constitution's Bill of Rights refer.

One once was guardedly able to point to the First Amendment and say that Democrats were champions of free speech.

Not any more.

In a press release from Matt Blunt, Guber of Missouri, the evil B Hussein Obama is using Missouri law enforcement to threaten, intimidate and prosecute critics of him and his campaign. See another story here.

Seems some (perceptive) individuals are criticizing the Messiah. He doesn't like it.

Heads must roll.

He's recruiting a number of Missouri's leftist minor officials to determine truth as the Obama sees it and, on discovering anything that doesn't please His Eminence, intimidate and/or prosecute blasphemers.

There's a difference between the arrogance of an achiever and the false arrogance of a posturing peacock who's never been involved in either a leadership position or a productive enterprise of any kind and who has been a life-long parasite.

Even as US Senator, his greatest distinction has been campaigning for President throughout his first (and, one hopes, only) term , and voting "present" for most issues on the rare occasions when he deigns to actually appear in his alleged place of work.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of reasons to stop this moocher from achieving a stranglehold over the greatest nation in history, fading though it may be, and all of them are valid. If Obama becomes President of the United States, we'll all be longing for those wonderful, sun-filled days of the Great Depression.

What I truly wonder is, why Missouri? Why not Stalag California? What am I, chopped liver?

Tip of the old, battered fedora to Kent C for the photo.

Here comes the New Boss, same as the Old Boss.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Blue Bayou

During a lunchtime conversation on the jobsite one day last week, some of the chatter reminded me of the several trips I made to a little town in the Louisiana Bayoux.

It started in Navy Engineman school in the Great Lakes training facility in Waukegan, Ill. I met another Engineman, Julius was his name, and we became fast friends. Eventually, when we finished the school, we received our orders and went on leave before going on to our ships.

When my leave was about half over, I rode my thumb down to New Orleans. I used to brag that I could consistently beat the Greyhounds by means of hitchhiking because, well.....I could. I checked it several times. Once, a New Jersey Trooper told me that if I was caught hitchhiking again in the state, he'd arrest me, so I took a bus. Several miles outside the New Jersey line, I got off the bus and stuck out my thumb. I got to Grand Forks a full six hours earlier than I would have by taking the bus all the way.

But, I digress. Julius picked me up at the truck stop from which I phoned, and we drove southwest into the bayou country. The first thing he did was drive around town showing me the high points. There was an ordinary-looking small-town downtown, generally kind of run-down looking because of the constant humidity and high rainfall. Colorful fast-food stores were absent, as the early few hadn't yet reached down into the bayou country. Residences varied from southern mansions to shanties as depicted in the beginning of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

There was a distinct and separate "colored" side of town, where the black people lived. Remember, this was 1962--prior to most of the equal rights marching, and etc. Blacks and whites mingled in the streets, blacks worked in stores and other jobs, but there was almost no interracial socializing and there were separate but not equal schools, parks and bathrooms and even separate public drinking fountains.

We went to Julius' folks house and met his parents. We had a delightful crayfish bisque for dinner--something very new for a North Dakota meat and potatoes kid. It started a lifelong love for Cajun-style cuisine I haven't ever gotten over.

The best was yet to come: Julius took me over to pick up his girlfriend, and then to another house at which he stopped and introduced me to the most delightful girl I'd yet met. Florette Pernicieri was her name. She was only fourteen (I was 18), but she was one of those girls you know would do well in a beauty pageant. In fact, she did, as she wrote me later on while I was at sea.

I still sort of melt from the sound of the voice of a Southern/Cajun accent coming from a beautiful woman.

One of the neighbors, as Flo showed me as we hung out together, lived near the edge of the swamp. He had an enclosure in his back yard, which contained a large number of alligators in a water-filled pit. He raised them commercially for their meat and skins.

We went to a diner where I was introduced to chicory coffee, and to a movie. Had a great time, even though Lutcher, Louisiana rolled up its sidewalks even earlier than did Grand Forks. Don't let anybody ever tell you that making out with a truly beautiful girl isn't great!

I had a few days before I had to be in Jacksonville, so Florette and I stuck together even closer than Julius and I, though the four of us spent evenings together.

When Julius and I left for our ships, I found that it was very easy to hitchhike from there to Jacksonville. I returned to Lutcher on many weekend liberties over the next several months. I finally let it go when I realized that her overwhelming motivation was to have me take her away from there. She didn't like the small town and wanted out.

I wasn't going to either marry her or otherwise set her up in Jacksonville, so I finally said goodbye. Not without some regrets, she was a delight in many ways and I missed her for a long time. I wonder if she ever made it.

Rambling off to memory lane.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California
Giving A Debate Away

I usually find that I can't stand to listen to politicians talk for more than a few seconds. I'm continuing, usually in vain, to hope they'll make their points quickly so I can change the channel. The current exceptions to this include Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin (so far), with whom I disagree profoundly on many premises. Newt Gingrich is very clever, has a good sense of humor and is consistent within the confines of his flawed principles. Palin is cute, has a very refreshing sincerity and has a delightful "Fargo" accent. We'll see what the Republican handlers do to destroy that!

That (about Palin) might sound a mite demeaning, but I'm just referring to listening to her speak, not the content of what she says. I'm sure I'll have more of substance to say about the content of her speeches very soon.

I watched/listened to the debate yesterday in spite of all that. My comments are very predicatable, in that the debate (using the term very loosely) taught me nothing I didn't already know: With every new Presidential Campaign, our choices get closer and closer together. More and more bland, yet more and more able to affect our lives negatively.

More and more like Mr Thompson of the novel, Atlas Shrugged.

Mr McCain gave the debate away with his very first utterances, as he decried and condemned the greed of bankers, financiers and Wall Street traders and called for prosecutions (persecution?) and punishment, showing that he equates seeking profit with criminality. He partially redeemed himself on a couple of occasions, but never fully washed away the stink of anti-capitalism from his presentation.

Mr Obama, for his part, spoke with more consistency within the confines of his basic premises. Again, they were all wrong, but he came off with a bit more believability than did McCain. Obama was very careful not to let us in on the extent of his planned socialistic programs, but made it very clear that he is for bigger, more restrictive government and that he's a major policy maker in the War on Productivity.

He wants to rob the productive and, after a small rakeoff--say, 50%--give to the non-productive.

McCain is, too, but has a different gang that he wants to bring into the Castle Court, while the rest of us are slaving away on our subsistence farms. Allow me to suggest reading the L Neil Smith novel Pallas, which describes the Greely Utopian Memorial Project in admirable detail, and the Frank Herbert novel Hellstrom's Hive, which admirably (and frighteningly) describes the socialist ideal, to which both of these candidates subscribe, though they won't admit it, and might not even fully realize it.

McCain wants to continue building the ultimate security state, in which everyone is under surveillance all the time, everything that's not mandatory is prohibited and the military is king.

One of the aspects of this debate that stood out even more than its content, was the fact that every time McCain offered a specific criticism of an Obama policy or an item of his meager record, Obama would, right then and there, interrupt in his own, usually disingenuously, defense. He cut into McCain's time repeatedly and unapologetically, and worse, Jim Lehrer, the alleged moderator, let him do it. At one point, Lehrer relented slightly and said he'd have to balance the time--I don't know if he ever did.

I silently felt as if I should give a bit of a cheer, the first of a couple of times as McCain actually interrupted Obama.

In summary, I don't think I actually learned anything new from this debate. They still seem to be what I've thought they were from the beginning: Obama a cloaked Marxist, McCain a largely unpredictable middle-of-the-roader. Both with the intent of increasing government's role interfering with the lives of the "productive class."

Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Condemnation of a Small Town

The "California" section of the Sept 23, 2008 issue of the LA Times happened to be lying 'pon the butt gaskets in the reading room of our construction office. I succumbed. I regret it. Above the fold I found Steve Lopez' column--Nowhere exposure: visiting Wasilla, Alaska. I wrote an entry about one of his columns last year--about an airhead Beverly hills woman distraught that she didn't dream that coyotes would actually enter her Benedict Canyon property and kill the little dog she left outside in the yard.

That column was funny. It cleverly pointed out the complete empty-headedness of many cloistered residents of el Pueblo de Los Angeles. This column is very different.

I'm not sure exactly what facet of Ms Sarah Palin inflames the sensibilities of socialist newswriters, but the lady sure has something!

This time, it wasn't Ms Palin who was attacked (directly), it was the town of which she was mayor, prior to her election as Guber of the state of Alaska.

The first thing Lopez attacks, after complaining about having to stop for a moose crossing the road, is that Wasilla isn't the "quaint mountain village" he expected. It has a Wal-mart, a Target, a Lowes and the normal variety of fast food emporia. "They paved paradise...." he fairly sobs.

He thought he found "downtown" when he saw a "row of frontier-style buildings." "But," he laments, "it was just a Knott's Berry Farm-style facade...." housing mundane, ordinary small businesses, including a (shudder) gun shop.

Well, Mr Lopez, as you might have noticed, driving from Anchorage to Wasilla--a very short distance--it'd be more accurate to have observed that Wasilla is actually more of a suburb (like San Fernando or El Monte) than a "quaint mountain village." It seems that it was too much for him to take, that Alaska is no longer a 19th-century wilderness, despite all the stunningly beautiful vistas and its huge size.

Most of its productive class have regular jobs or own businesses. They drive cars and many have personal aircraft, if they must travel the state a lot. They have a far more sophisticated view of their life on the land, their relationships with the wilderness and the wildlife and their own independence than do most residents of el Pueblo de Los Angeles.

Lopez turns to the people of the town of Wasilla. According to his column, he spoke to four of them--One who told him that "This is Main Street." One who's running for Palin's old job as Mayor--who likes Palin. One who is an enthusiastic Palin partisan in whose store they sell a bumper sticker "I Thinc Im Gunna Vote Four Oboma Cuz Thems Hollywood Peoples Like Him." And finally, a "progressive" socialist who gives a left-distorted critique of Palin's religious views. Guess who gets the most sympathetic treatment.......

I'm a mite concerned about Palin's religious views, too. I'm also concerned about Obama's religious views--which seem to change every time he dumps one of his lifelong mentors. I'd prefer that the Presidential candidates have no religious views, or at the very least, never let the public know what they are.

Well, Steve Lopez is a columnist, not (here at least) a hard news writer. He can have whatever views he wants, and write about them. What I'd like to see though, is for him to research Sarah Palin--that he actually and honestly knows something about her--and then comment on her politics, her actual religious views (if he must), her record and the reasons why he agrees or disagrees with her, than trash her home town and its residents because they aren't what he wanted them to be.

I hesitate to place most of the LA Times on the bottom of Rosie's (my parrot) cage, for fear she'll develop neuroses.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Freddie And Fanny Were Lovers.....

Now that the largest, most complex house of cards has collapsed, all of Washington, as well as the mainstream news media, is a) pointing fingers into space trying to avoid blaming those who caused the mess and b) proclaiming that the solution is MS, PhD (more of the same, piled higher and deeper). To protect the guilty, and to avoid having to deal with the real cause of the fiasco, the only proposal all seem to agree 'pon is to force productive Americans to foot the bill.

Thus continues the War on Productivity on the national level.

Nobody is suggesting making a list of all the Congressthieves, politically connected appointees and idle heirs, and, yes, especially the Presidents and Vice Presidents who have been in office and otherwise involved with the creation and corruption of these organizations (and I use the term very loosely), and emptying their bank accounts, pension funds, stock portfolios and selling their homes and other real estate holdings to pay for this mess.

They should be. That's much more nearly just than sticking it to innocent working individuals.

Much of the money in the accounts of the Washington thieving class are the ill-gotten gains from this very scam. Not to mention that the entire con scheme was financed by the taxes of the productive class.

I'm no economist, but I've read a little on the subject. A real economist (not one of the obfuscation economists of Washington DC, Sacramento and other outlaw hideouts), but someone who understands von Mises, Hazlitt, and their contemporaries and heirs can give far better answers than I.

I think, though, that most of them will agree with the following: We need the Federal Reserve abolished. The dollar must be attached with full convertibility to gold, silver, or some other suitable commodity. Senseless regulations must be lifted and individuals must take responsibility for their actions. There must be no involvement of government in banking, entrepreneurship and commerce.

Government must be barred (no pun) from entering areas in which it has no knowledge or expertise, and in which dishonest and unearned money can be skimmed. Government's only proper job is to protect the rights of all individuals and, by insinuating itself into areas in which it can do only harm, it's actually working to damage those rights and indeed, to destroy them.

If Americans don't act to rein the government in very soon, America will soon be over. In the 1930's, America had reserves to help pay for the economic problems government created. Today, we have none. We're borrowing our way out of problems, and the debt is huge. The paper is held by unfriendly governments, and it's just a matter of time before they call in the debt.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, September 18, 2008

....As Long As Only We Get To Use Them....

Yellowstone National Park is a huge place. Its footprint comprises a very large bite out or the northwest corner of Wyoming, along with appreciable bits of Montana and Idaho. It's a beautiful place, and one which very few people would not like to visit and spend some time.

It's even more beautiful in winter, in my opinion, but kind of hard to travel around in during that time of the year. Oh, I suppose they keep the paved roads open most of the time. Some people like to wander away from the paved roads.

Today, the Los Angeles Times, socialist-oriented little brother to the New York Times, has an editorial about this. Seems US Judge Emmet G Sullivan has unilaterally banned all snowmobile use within the borders of the park.

Both the Bush Administration and, more importantly, the state of Wyoming want access for up to 700 snowmobiles at a time within the park. I have no idea why the limit, but Judge Sullivan, who probably lives in Washington DC, has in his infinite wisdom, decided the number should be zero. For, you guessed it, environmental reasons.

A snowmobile leaves no footprint that won't disappear with the next snow, or with the spring thaw. Snowmobiles emit exhaust gasses, but then so do you. And so does your car as you zip along the highway. So do the bears, wolves, elk, squirrels and any other critters you can name that live there. For that matter, so do the trees and grasses, etc.

We could discuss the noise they make, but that too, is one more annoyance of many.

The overwhelming factor is that every one of us pays for the maintenance of that park. The park exists for the enjoyment of everyone. The park doesn't exist merely for the enjoyment of one Judge Sullivan--nor to satisfy the twisted sensibilities of a few pointy-headed algorians.

The solution, of course, is for the land to be sold in reasonable parcels to interested members of the public. It's well known that private owners take far better care of their own property than do government bureaucrats and the drones they employ to keep unapproved Americans off what is now their jointly-held land. It's also well known that the managers of the parks are not doing a job taking care of them. Too often, there are fires that are made far worse because heavy underbrush is allowed to remain to become fuel for wildfires. Private owners would not let that happen.

We need to get these lands out of the untrustworthy hands of an uncaring, incapable government, and out of the sway of corrupt officials like Judge Sullivan.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sacrificing Our Young People

Yesterday, I had a particularly long drive home, and during part of it, I listened to the Hugh Hewitt radio show. I didn't get to hear much of it because, I had to change the radio station to keep from denting the dash with my fist.

Hewitt was interviewing someone connected with John McCain's campaign (whose name I didn't catch) about the differences between McCain and Obama. The above link is to Hewitt's transcripts page, 'pon which I'm hoping that a transcript will appear in the next day or two. I guardedly agreed with much of what this gentleman was saying until the point I'll now describe.

The interview turned to the war, the differences between the way McCain and Obama would handle it, the difficulties between the President and Congress, etc. It was in this part of the discussion when this gentleman uttered words much like the following: We must be careful how we sacrifice our young people. I was livid.

How we sacrifice our young people? Not wishing to alienate my readers of tender sensibilities, I won't write the string of George Carlin-approved epithets that are now going through my head, just remembering this utterance.

This points out one of the fatal flaws of today's conservatives: they aren't individualists. They, like their leftist brethren (who happen to have a more internally consistent--though thoroughly wrong--philosophy) are pragmatists. They'll do whatever it takes to put out the immediate fire, even if it means extinguishing it with the last of our drinking water.

"We" shouldn't be sacrificing anyone. If you, sir, want to sacrifice yourself for any reason or for no reason, you have my blessing. I don't think any of our marines, soldiers, airmen or sailors join their favorite branch with the thought of self sacrifice. They join for several different reasons, not the least of which is to defend the various and several United States of America.

They depend 'pon their officers to devise strategies and make intelligent decisions in sending them into battles that they can win and that will be instrumental in helping the effort. It's treasonous when the political and military hierarchy sends soldiers into battles to serve the unConstitutional ends of politicians. That's the kind of crap over which our ancestors fought the War for Independence from the British Crown.

I plan to attempt to learn the name of this philosophically challenged individual over the next day or two, but that's not crucial. There are many like him, in and out of elective office, and they tend to cluster in places of political power. They deserve to be removed from civilized society, by way of a sudden exit from a flying aircraft without benefit of a parachute.

War is the Health of the State.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Second War Century

Right now I'm watching (listening to) a Rachel Maddow special on MSNBC. I really don't think that much of Maddow, who is pretty far on the socialist side. Her guest was Chris Matthews, of Hardball fame. I like Matthews a little better, but not much. His love for B Hussein Obama borders on the neurotic.

He was giving a monologue on the reaction of the Bush Administration (and the people of the US) to the destruction of the World Trade Center by mad-dog fascist muslims.

He described Bush's speech a couple of days after the attack, and the fact of Americans' near-unanimous agreement and resolve to bring the planners and financiers of this atrocity to justice, quickly and decisively. The military was quickly mobilized and prepared for action. They were sent to Afghanistan to find Osama bin Llama and all those who follow and protect him.

Matthews continued that, he didn't know exactly how and when, but a neocon cabal led by Cheney, Rove and Ashcroft, perhaps others, swerved the effort into Iraq for ideological reasons still not completely known.

According to Matthews, this act destroyed the trust of many in the Bush Presidency and split the nation.

Matthews' comments ended there, and I have to say that I generally agree with this view. While I certainly will never call Saddam Hussein anything better than a completely evil and despicable dictator, there are many completely evil and despicable dictators on the planet. Why him?

Meanwhile, bin Llama remains relaxing in his villa in the South of France, issuing orders by encrypted email to his lieutenants around the world and enjoying blonde women kidnapped from Stockholm, cuba libres and blt sandwiches.

Every now and then, another bomb goes off somewhere in the world, more often than not in Baghdad, and kills a few people. Bin Llama chuckles.

The one Bushian phrase that rings out, before the body cavity searches in airports, before the wiretapping without a need for a warrant, before the installation of video cameras just about everywhere, before the proliferation of quasi-military police departments in just about every city--even in Mayberry, I'll wager--and before handbag searches everywhere crowds gather, is the one he uttered in one of his early post 9/11 speeches to the effect that the "War on Terror" is likely to last a very long time.

I think he and his cronies are doing their best to make sure it does.

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What The Second Amendment Really Means

This video is really worth a look. Or two.

Tip of the battered gray fedora to Chuck Muth. Also, to TWC and MK for their assistance.

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California
On Being Neighborly

On the Bill O'Reilly show, in his interview with B Hussein Obama, O'Reilly asked (not a direct quote), how is your "tax the rich" proposal not a means of redistributing wealth? The Democrat candidate replied: “If I am sitting pretty, and you’ve got a waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips, and I can afford it and she can’t — what’s the big deal for me to say, ‘I’m going to pay a little bit more.’ That is neighborliness.”

Before I go any farther, allow me to note another observation about the mannerisms of "He whose middle name shall not be mentioned." We hear a lot about Obama's wondrous speaking ability, which he demonstrates every time he has a script. Whenever Obama doesn't have a script, his speech is halting, full of ums and uhs, misspoken phrases and hasty corrections, etc. Why does he do that, one might ask. Bill Clinton did the same thing. Here's why they do that: They know they can't say what they really think, so they're desperately trying to figure out what they think their audience wants to hear.

That's also why their statements vary greatly from one audience to another, and why they have to continually revise what they say, and try to explain what they really meant when they insult a certain segment of the voting public.

Now, to my main thesis. In the first place, the above quote is not an answer to O'Reilly's question. If Obama has one consistency, it's his failure to answer a question as asked. I've never heard him give a direct answer.

One thing he does, however -s say words to the effect of, "As I've been saying for the past two years...." then proceeds to revise something he's said in the past, to fit the current situation.

Let's take a quick look at the "answer" he actually gave.

If one is well off, one might very well go to restaurants often. 'Tis the nature of the economy that most waitresses don't earn a lot of money.

Some actually do, if they're good waitresses, in tips, but that's not noticed by our not-very-experienced candidate--I suspect he's a cheap tipper.

Since he has no experience with giving waitresses tips according to their ability to help give him a happy dining experience, he doesn't put two and two together. He seems to think that, rather than giving the waitress a well-deserved tip, he wants to force all of us to give her the tip by taxing us and giving her a government check. I guess. The answer, as I've implied, isn't very clear.

Suffice it to say, that the quote strongly suggests that Obama wants somebody else to give the tip.

Cheap is as cheap does.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Graying of the Freeways

You might think this entry is about the lack of maintenance given to the country's freeways since their construction between the 1950's and today. Well, 'tis true enough that, in their haste to hand out vast sums of money to those who don't feel like working, and to hand out even more money to artists who construct hideous, useless structures they call objets d'art in front of government buildings and in atria and foyers of these same buildings, and to hand out money for greater and grander offices within those buildings, the highways are getting the short shrift. Politicians need these grand offices to create the edicts that cause us to have to take three to five times as long as it should to get to our lousy metal desk-furnished soft cubicles. And to wreck our cars in the potholes that happen when it rains, that there's no money left over to fix. But that's not what this rant is about, at all.

Have you ever notices, while creeping slowly along these selfsame freeways, that most of the cars thereon are gray? Almost all of them.

In the mornings I usually commute in the dark, in relatively light traffic, at normal freeway speeds. In the afternoon, on the other hand, I drive in the afternoon light, at speeds that range from a slow creep to maybe 50mph, for part of the way, if I'm lucky. Plenty of time to observe the cars around me, to observe some of their incredibly bad driving habits and to occasionally check out the odd blonde talking illegally on her cell phone.

To observe the drivers of convertibles with the tops down but the side windows up (!?) and with those silly girlie screens behind their heads so they don't have to contend with the stray current of moving air that might cause a stir in their $400 coifs.

But, most of the cars are gray. Gray cars driven by gray people. Gray, for my current purpose, includes everything from the purest silver to, but not including, black. It also includes grayish brown, grayish beige and grayish blue--and remember, they don't call it olive drab because the color is electric.

I don't think, even though it hadn't occurred to me until relatively recently, that I've ever owned a gray car. The closest was my 1975 Olds convertible, which was a kind of off-white. It also almost always had its top and all of it's side windows down unless it was raining. It doesn't rain often in the southern third of the Stalag.

Oh, yeah, my 1937 Olds hotrod was sprayed with gray primer, but only in anticipation of a deep candy burgundy paint job it would've gotten had I not sold it.

Why would anyone buy a gray car? There sure are a lot of them. Perhaps it's a herd thing. Conformity. Fitting in. A sign of a conforming society.

Perhaps it's camouflage. Pavement is gray. Blending in with your surroundings.

I think that I shall never see/
A baby blue SUV/
A car the color of the sky/
Or the blue of a baby's eye.

When I decide to buy another car, I'm going to look for paisley.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, September 01, 2008

Remembering Elmer Keith

In the late 1960-s and early 1970's, in California's pre-Stalag years, my interest in firearms soared along with both my abilities as a geotechnical technician and my earning ability. Suddenly, I had enough money to indulge in hobbies and intellectual pursuits. I've always been a reader, and gobble up books one after another. I stumbled 'pon Ayn Rand in 1966, and still read Atlas Shrugged about every eighteen months and I read books and articles by Rand's intellectual heirs in between times--along with numerous novels, etc.

Meanwhile, my interest in firearms increased in direct proportion to my ability to buy them. I owned well over two dozen different firearms between 1970 and 1975, including a Springfield 1903-A3 for which I hand carved a sport riflestock with a Buck knife, wood files and sandpaper. I owned three different .44 magnum handguns--one of which was Pasadena's own Automag .44, which I dearly wish I'd hung onto--and a few weapons I still have.

I used to hand load my own cartridges (I still have the gear, but haven't set it up) and I visited the old Silverado Canyon Range at least once a week. Once, I shot side by side with Gunny, the range's master, he with an accurized Colt 1911-A1 .45, and me with a Ruger .44 magnum Super Blackhawk. We shot at two-foot diameter steel plates hanged from chains, at 300 yards. He averaged five hits out of seven, I averaged three for six. It felt good to lose that way, to that great a shooter.

One of the men whom I consider a mentor, even though we've never met, is Mr Elmer Keith. Born in Missouri in 1899, he grew up in Montana, Idaho and eastern Oregon in a time when that area was still part of the Wild West. He became an avid and successful big game hunter, developing numerous new cartridges and bullets for both rifles and handguns, and thus was instrumental in the development of many of the sporting and defense weapons popular today.

Mr Keith was an avid writer, penning books on handgun use and writing a monthly column for Guns & Ammo Magazine from the 1960's into the 1970's. I read his Gun Notes columns regularly for many years, and began to develop my shooting philosophy thereby. Other mentors were Col Jeff Cooper, and Massad Ayoob. Ayoob still writes for a number of periodicals and has several books on handgun self defense. He also conducts handgun training through his Lethal Force Institute.

Keith was the one who started it all. His experiences and opinions on hunting and handgun handling, including his advocacy of handgun hunting, helped my to develop my abilities and some of my choices in weapons purchasing. Even though he passed away twenty-four years ago, I still I still remember, and miss his Gun Notes columns.

Gun control means hitting your target.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California