31 December 2008

Just a wish...

Here's wishing both of my readers a happy New Year, from the crew of HMS Privateer

28 December 2008

From a brother of another mother...

Ok... one of my BACA brothers sent me this the other day. I don't think it really needs any preamble.


America The Beautiful

America the beautiful, Government steals thy God from Thee
America the beautiful, mind control used on you and me.
America the beautiful, where the terrorists all roam Free,
Elected, from sea to shining sea.

America the beautiful, where the corporations live
America the beautiful, home where special interests give
America the beautiful, where congress will abuse the citizen
And say the means justifies the end.

America the beautiful, our borders are opened wide
America the beautiful, where evil doesn’t have to hide
America, the beautiful, where tyranny and corruption abide
Our Bill of Rights greedily pushed aside.

America the beautiful, for the people and by the people
America the beautiful, our politicians praised for being deceitful
America the beautiful, elected to a false catherdral
Patriotism requires more than kneeling ‘neath that steeple

America the beautiful, this country belongs to us
America the beautiful, not the people who abuse our trust
America the beautiful, the time has come to readjust
And take our country back from the unethical and the unjust.

Jason "Slytly Deranged" Carroll

27 December 2008

Dipping into the sewers...

Now, as a general rule, I like to stay away from politics here. I argue about it pretty much everywhere else, so I try to keep this lil' corner clear.

Then I catch something like this, and all bets are off. Some snipits...

Caroline Kennedy said she was "surprised and dismayed" by her own voting record, after failing to cast her pick for the very Senate seat she now hopes to take over.

Anyone else having trouble wrapping their head around "dismayed at her own record"?

Kennedy offered no excuses for why she failed to vote in a number of elections since registering in New York City in 1988, including in 1994 when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was up for re-election as the state's senior senator.

She had gotten into Unca Teddy's secret stash?

"I was really surprised and dismayed by my voting record," she told the Associated Press. "I'm glad it's been brought to my attention."

Wait a sec: she's glad it's been brought to her attention? She didn't realize she wasn't voting? Isn't that kinda like not realizing you're not breathing?

In her first sit-down interview since she emerged as a Senate hopeful, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy said she has always pondered jumping into politics, but waited for the right moment.

Could I suggest maybe waiting a lil' longer, and doing it after you can keep track of what you're doing?

And the sad part is, she probably WILL get the seat...

23 December 2008

Christmas Traditions

Everyone's got their holiday traditions. Maybe it's Christmas Eve at the grandparents', or an eggnog toast before bed. Some have established rules for when gifts are exchanged, or who goes where, or what-have-you. In our family, the traditions have always been fairly simple...

First off, I have NEVER had either turkey or ham for Christmas or Eve: it has ALWAYS been lasagne. With mom being Italian, it made sense. Christmas Eve was "catch-as-catch-can", finding whatever for food while mom went to Mass (dad and I were forbidden: putting either of us in a church on a solmen occassion was a recipe for disaster). Then Christmas day, we'd load the pan (a turkey roasting pan) full of Italian goodness into the oven right away in the morning, so that it'd be ready for people to gorge themselves later that evening.

Second thing I remember was gifts. In our family, THE important factor wasn't the cost, or the usefullness, or even the thought: it was the size of the package. Which sounds bad, until you realize the gift itself was secondary to the amount of ammunition the wrapping paper provided. Yes, everyone (including my mother) would end up in a wrapping paper fight. Usually, we'd still be finding balls of paper in July.

The last "tradition", you could say, was mom's habit of inviting ANYONE we knew that didn't have a full schedule that day. To illustrate: my first year in the Navy, she invited the base commander from RTC Great Lakes, as well as my Company Commander from boot.

And so our Christmas went. With the advent of Spoon, things changed just a little: Christmas Eve would be at her parents (which is where we'd also exchange gifts, and have the war), with Christmas Day at my mine. Understand here, the only thing different on either day was the location: the cast of characters was pretty much the same.

After a couople of years like this, mom passed: Christmas that year fairly well sucked. As in "large rocks off the seafloor". But we've soldiered on. Last year, dad and Spoon revived the tradition of lasagne...

What's this all leading up to? Well, this year (actually, while I'm typing this), *I* get to make the thing. I'm pretty good at sauce (which is simmering less than five feet from where I sit), but the rest is unknown territory.

Hopefully, it'ss turn out ok. If it doesn't, I'm blaming my mom-in-law (she's supposed to help with the actual construction). I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

Oh, yeah. If you're in the Manitowoc area, you COULD always pop in: the tradition of inviting all-and-sundry to dinner is still there...

The strangest things you learn...

So Spoon and I were watching some drivel in History about holiday foods. One topic that came up was the ubiquitous fruitcake ("the Rodney Dangerfield of the food world"). In amongst all the usual stuff (created in X, were handed out to women in England, blah blah blah), was an interesting lil' tidbit:

According to some guide or other, fruitcake has the same consistency as mahogany.

I looked at Spoon, smiled, and asked if she'd like fruitcake grip panels for her Kimber.

Oh... Squeaker? If you're reading this, how about a nice fruitcake handled knife for your F&I stuff?

19 December 2008

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot?

From Better and Better, we hear about a woman in PA who is being charged with animal cruelty.

What did she do? She's (if I understand correctly) giving kitten piercings, and marketing them as "goth kittys"...

Ok, I'll agree that popping a ring in a kitten's ear isn't the most "humane" idea anybody's ever thought up. But it's worse than a parent doing the same to their 1 year old daughter... how?

More to the point: if we can go after this woman, for something so frelling minor, how can we explain all the ones that slip through the cracks?


If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I'm VERY active in the fight against child abuse. A case was brought to my attention in nearby Appleton. Several children, raised by parents that social services describe as "hopeless". And yet, as dysfunctional as this family is, the children are left in the care of the "hopeless" parents.


So... let me make sure I understand things. We'll knowingly leave children in a living situation that basically guarantees more dysfunctional lives, but we'll "rescue" kittens from someone doing the exact same thing many parents do without repercussion?

Sorry folks, but I am at a complete loss...

18 December 2008


So... today we FINALLY got intrawebs access at our new berthing. This has been something of am irritation to us: we'd occasionally catch the public access wifi, but it was spotty at best, and only worked with my ladpot. We HAD scheduled an install, which we had to cancel to pick up 2 new cars (yes: both Spoon & I had to replace our vehicles at the same time. Talk about suckage).

So... plans were made, money set aside, and we were told the installer would be here "between 10am and noon". Guy called us at 0955, and was the most awesome installer I've ever seen: made sure we had signal, helped set up to make sure the net worked, even advised against the "self install pack" because it adds needless software to your machine. Finally got out of here at 1210 or so.

Which was good: my chapter VP was getting access installed today too, and called me for help. Now, keep in mind that this is the same company here. At her berthing, the guy made sure the cable had signal, handed her the modem and self install pack, and told her "follow the instructions" and left. The modem he handed her had the wrong transformer, and she had ZERO idea how to set the damn thing up anyway.

Two employees, from the same company. But WOW, what a difference in attitude!

15 December 2008

On self defense

Jay G connects two posts by other bloggers: go forth and read. If you're interested in self defense (whether armed or not), this is all relevant.

The first post (by the illustrious Law Dog), is about the equipment issue. Unfortunately, far too many people look at everything as an "equipment problem", when far more often it's a training or mindset problem. Personally, I follow the Marine concept: "Be polite. Be civil. And have a plan to kill anyone you meet"*.

The second post, by Breda, talks more about mindset. And as Jay points out, 99 times out of 100, just projecting that you will NOT accept incivility will work. For that one time though, you'd better have the training and mindset to back up your projection...

Yes, when you first meet me, I'm detailing in my mind how to remove you from existence as quickly as possible should the need arise...

14 December 2008

Stolen shamelessly...

From Voodoo Medicine Man:

To my family physician, my lawyer, my friends, and all others to whom it may concern:

I, Strings, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my LIVING WILL. If the time comes when I can no longer take part in decisions of my own future, let this statement stand as an expression of my wishes and directions while I am still of sound mind.

If I suddenly begin to take an unexplained turn for the worse, before any drastic or irreversible decisions are made, it is my desire that someone first check to make sure my attending physician is not Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Should my attending medical personnel determine that an organ transplant is necessary, it is my expressed wish that, if at all possible, the baboon be of the same faith as me.

If a kind soul takes it upon themself to read aloud to me, it is my fervent wish, as it was during my non-incapacitated life, that they skip directly to the dirty parts of the book, and then read those passages over and over and over again.

It is my expressed want that no family member, friend or acquaintance shall enter my hospital room bearing one of those tacky "Get Well Soon" helium balloons. Likewise, any get well card sporting Garfield the Cat shall immediately be returned to its sender.

I wish my TV set off whenever "Oprah" or “The View” are on.

If at all possible, I prefer "Depends" over "Serenity."

I would prefer that my visitors leave their small children home if all the kids are going to do is stare at me and play with my toes.

When it comes time to change my Foley catheter, I would prefer a nurse with untreated Parkinson’s disease perform the procedure while singing "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" to me.

At no time, even on the occasion of my birthday, do I desire to have a party hat placed on my head.

While I am not morally or ethically opposed to so-called “life sustaining equipment," I am vehemently opposed to the concept of hooking up such machinery to "The Clapper."

I agree to sponge baths only if given by a member of the opposite sex. Several members of the opposite sex at once is certainly acceptable and, in fact, preferred. Ditto for any "therapeutic Jacuzzis" that may be prescribed.

Please kill anybody trying to enroll me in Wii-Hab or similar nonsense.

It is my strong desire that in any and all elections that may take place, my absentee ballot be marked for the individual running opposite Barney Frank.

In the unfortunate event that the time comes to donate my vital organs, it is my wish that in all donations, a receipt be obtained for tax purposes. Also, do not give my organs to anybody associated with the IRS or the United States Postal Service—let those bastards die a slow and painful death.

No Jello or Ensure. Margaritas with Patron Tequila (preferably the Grand Platinum variety) will be acceptable.

When it comes time for me to give up the ghost, make sure the embalmer leaves a smile on my face.

This statement is made after careful consideration and is in accordance with my strong convictions and beliefs I want the wishes and directions here expressed carried out to the extent permitted by law.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal to this my LIVING WILL on this the 14th day of December, 2008.

11 December 2008

In the market...

Wanted to buy or steal: one used time machine. Must be able to make small jaunt of 24 hours backwards: forward not needed. If you can help, please call...

I have roughly 72 hours worth of BS to fit into the 48 hours of the weekend. If I suddenly go silent, it's probably due to my head exploding...

My post about lies: to an audience of one.

I'd like to make something of an apology to one of my readers. My post about lies, while absolutely true, could be seen as a bit harsh given the surrounding circumstances. and I figured that posting this might help the situation.

If you didn't feel slighted by that post, you might want to skip the rest of this one. Not that I mind who reads it, but it's intended audience is one person.


You didn't lie, but you also didn't communicate. Hopefully, I've set things as right as I can now: we won't be having any misunderstandings.

I DO stand by that letter, and what we talked about after you read it. And I DO wish you nothing but the best. Feel free to call if you want, or need me for anything. In the meantime, I'll not pester you.

Just for the record...

When you're involved in a group that has regularly scheduled monthly meetings for it's local chapter (the second saturday of the month), and the parent group has the locals host the annual Holiday Party the week before, you MIGHT want to suggest that the local people also hold their meeting at the same time...

did the Holiday Party/State BoD meeting last saturday. Now I have to go BACK to Milwaukee for their chapter meeting THIS saturday. As if I wasn't feeling ragged around the edges already...

10 December 2008

Just Because...

Ok, it's been done on several others' blogs. No, I wasn't tagged, nor will I tag anyone...

100 things I've done - items I have done are in bold.

1. Started your own blog. Ummm... srsly?
2. Slept under the stars. Yeppers
3. Played in a band. For a lil' bit in high school (we talk about getting things started again, Spoon and I)
4. Visited Hawaii. WestPac...
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Almost every damn day...
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Taught myself most of what I know about lost wax work...
15. Adopted a child. Counting BACA "Adoptions" here
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked. Both done it, and picked 'em up...
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise. Heh... does WestPac count?
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. If you count a rock wall
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain. Painful memory now... :(
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching. Used to see 'em from ship occassionally
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. Yep... running away from a sorority girl
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Heh, heh, heh. I hadn't realized that the 'Potomus would go that fast...
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. Does a column in a magazine count?
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible. LONG ago...
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

09 December 2008

Climate change and a new article

Ok... the next cocksmoker who says anything to me about how humans are causing global warming is getting anally violated with a large chainsaw. I'm just sayin'...

Spent a couple hours digging the cars out of a pile of "global warming". Are NOT happy.

And I'd like to go on record to state that changing 4 tires in the middle of a snowstorm sucks big boulders off the seafloor.


In better news: OCC had made a chopper for Manitowoc Cranes, which is now on display at a local store. And it looks like I'm going to get to do a write-up on it for the mag! THAT should be fun!

07 December 2008

There are some things I can't stand...

Everyone has a pet peeve: something that drives them absolutely wild. For me, probably THE biggest issue is lying.

Now, I understand some lies: we all lie to the cops, and suchlike. But to needlessly lie to someone you're close to... that's the epitome of low, and shows a complete lack of regard for the person being lied to.

Any relationship, from the barest of friendships to lovers, requires trust: you have GOT to trust that whoever's in the relationship with you will be honest. When that trust gets violated, it's problematic at best. Yes, there are times when the whole truth isn't a good idea: we've all been there. But usually the truth is better. And a needless lie, for the sole sake of not "being the bad guy"? Nope... doesn't pass muster.

I've been having... problems, lately. It's made my posting sporadic and depressing. That will be changing, from now. Not to say everything will be sunlight and roses, but the personal issues have pretty much solved themselves.

I'm sure some here have some clue what I'm talking about, specifically. I ask them to not say anything, in comments or email. Suffice it to say that I got hurt, and now I'm getting better. 'Nuf said.

Give me a day or two, and we'll get back to regular posting (I promise).

On a side note: maybe against my better judgement, I've given Spoon (my "first mate") access to post here. Not sure how often she will, but I figured "What the Hell". When she posts, please be gentle... ;)

06 December 2008

One of THOSE days... :(

Ever have one of those days? You know: where you just do NOT want to get out of bed?

I'm having one now. Unfortunately, I never even GOT to bed...

Tonight is the board of directors meeting for BACA Wisconsin. I have NO choice but to attend, since I run the show. Unfortunately, I get to deal with personal issues, idiots, and now frigging SNOW. If there IS some form of divinity, They're getting a hell of a lot of fun out of me right now!

Begining to feel like all I have to say is depressing. Sheesh!

04 December 2008


Someone, please, just shoot me now!

Personal troubles... magazine having issues (no pun intended), BACA members (and whole chapters) getting messed up...

Pretty please, shoot me now?

Amen, brother!

Posted by JayG here.

I've mentioned my irritation with the whole "sheepdog" thing: this post exemplifies why.

Yes... honest citizens carrying concealed makes for a safer community. And I understand the concept that crooks don't know who's armed, so they're less likely to make an attack. But that whole "sheep/wolves/sheepdogs" thing strikes of people looking for trouble... and that doesn't help our cause.

Yes, most people are "sheep". Yes, there are "wolves" out there that prey on them. And of course, there are the "sheepdogs" (which is how I see the police). Me? I'm the badger off to the side, shaking my head at the whole mess...

29 November 2008

What IS an "American"?

This thread over at Armed Polite Society got me to thinking. Y'all know, this is NEVER a good thing!

Anywho... I'd like to pose a question to anyone reading this. It may seem like a simple question, but I think the answers you'd get out on the street might surprise you.

The question? "What IS an American?".

Not talking about a legal definition. What do YOU think would be the defining characteristics that say "Joe is an American"? Every nationality has something: what's ours?

After some responses, I'll address my thoughts on it. I'd like to see what others think...

25 November 2008

The Tale of the Hondapotomus

Ok… you’ve all heard me mention my bike, the illustrious Hondapotomus. You’ve heard me curse it, and all the troubles I’ve had with it. You’ve read the stories of all the places it’s taken me. And you’ve seen the pics of it resting in the ditch after my lil’ accident. Maybe now, it’s time for me to tell it’s story (so far)…

After I had been riding for a couple years, Spoon decided she wanted to actually have her own bike. I was, at the time, looking at upgrading from the Kaw, since it’s kinda on the small side. So the plan was hatched: I get a bigger bike, and Spoon takes the Kaw (which she, Squeaker, and many others have learned to ride on)…

A friend had a bike for sale, and I wanted it. Actually, I desperately wanted ANY new ride: I developed a serious case of new bike fever. Unfortunately, my friend sold the one he had available before I could come up with the dough. Actually, I got the money roughly a week after he had sold it. So I had a grand, and a SERIOUS jones for a new scoot…

I started checking the classifieds, for ANY bike in that price range. And a guy in Valders had listed a ’76 Goldwing for around $1100. I made contact, looked it over (through rose-coloured glasses), and talked him down to $900. After I got it home, I started finding the problems…

First off, the stereo wouldn’t work right. I pulled it out, finding that it’s power supply was via an ungrounded extension cord, and that one of the speakers didn’t even have wires. Then we decided to check fluid levels: we were good until we got to the front brake reservoir: it was filled with transmission fluid (which I, mechanically declined as I am, recognized as a bad thing right away)…

So… a little electric work, clear the front brake lines, and we should be good to go. Drove it over to the DMV, and got a plate. We’re on the road!

But wait: a friend of mine wanted to take it for a spin. He was gone for less than ten minutes when he called: it wouldn’t go anymore. It was still running, but it wasn’t moving. Seems the universal joint on the drive shaft had broken.

Trailer it home, take it apart, and start looking for a replacement. The local Honda dealer could get one for a couple hundred: the local salvage yard had one for $100. Let’s hear it for used parts! But the joy was short lived: no, it didn’t break again, but we should have taken video of the process: could’ve won some money. But hey… we’re on the road again, right?

Nope. Wasn’t more than a month later, and the temp gauge went stratospheric after the bike warmed up a bit. Which was odd: the engine was still comfortable to touch, but the gauge was claiming that it was hot enough to melt rock. And the fan was NOT kicking on. Off to the shop, where THEY couldn’t figure it out either. But the handy mechanic took care of the problem: he hooked the fan up to a toggle: under 45mph, turn fan on. Over 45, turn fan off. Right AT 45? Flip it on and off constantly. But we’re good now, right?

Well… for a little while. See, the starter switch (the “make it go” button) was having… issues. And one day, shortly into the next riding season, it too gave up the ghost.

By this point, motorcycle repair via 12 ga rifled slug was sounding VERY attractive. But I came up with a novel solution: I pulled the wires out, ran ‘em into the fairing, and hooked up a simple toggle switch (to this day, that’s how you start the beast). NOW, we’re good to go… right?

For the most part, yes: until a few months ago. See, the back tire was getting, well, let’s say, “long in the tooth”. And EVERYBODY has taken great joy in pointing out that they TOLD me not to ride it without changing that tire. But, me being me, I went ahead.

And promptly had a blow-out at 75. I’ve already talked about this, so we don’t need to go into details.

So then I spent a couple days trying to get the Beast back up: check the rim, replace the back tire and tube, come up with a new system for tail light and tag. And, for the most part, she’s back on the road. Of course, the electrical decided to cause some more troubles: had everything working fine, shut the bike off, started it back up, and everything on the ass end went crazy. But it served through the rest of this season.

Before next season, I’ll be replacing the old girl with either a Harley Tour Glide, or a Triumph T-Bird (depends on what I find). The ‘Potomus? She’s being passed on to my VP and her hubby-to-be.

So… that’s the story of my love/hate relationship with a bike that’s almost as old as I am. Have to admit, she’s been a learning experience!

13 November 2008

To quote Law Dog:

Sweet Shivering Shiva! When did I get enough interest generated to find 15K hits?

Wow... the intertubes must be VERY dull lately!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! (V2)

OK... we're undergoing some refitting here aboard the Privateer. Nothing TOO major...

Hopefully, the changes will result in more content for the three of you... ;)

12 November 2008

Gearing up for BACA National

Well... looks like it's that time again: registration for the BACA National Convention has started.

I'll be in St Louis MO from 14 Jan through 18 Jan. Kinda busy during the days, but anyone in the area is welcome to contact me and make arrangements to meet up in the evenings.

Squeaker will be with me, as will Tact (and of course, all my other brothers and sisters). Should be a hoot!

04 November 2008

Election Liveblogging from Wisconsin

Ok… live from Manitowoc County Republican Headquarters!

Starting this shortly after Ohio got called by Fox for Obama. The current mood is “we’re screwed”. Gotta love that possitive attitude!


Roughly 2130: talk here is about how to endure an Obama Presidency. Always want to laugh at the folks that talk about revolution at these times: like Joe Sixpack is going to revolt so long as there’s Monday Night Football…


Side note: I have GOT to remember not to wear my colors at these things. BACA’s not supposed to have any political affiliation…


Ok… somebody explain to me how they can call a state one way or another with less than 10% or the precincts reporting?


Just a little comparison: last cycle, I spent time at the Republican Headquarters. Then, it was a larger space with a LOT more people. This time, we’re in a smaller space… and it’s almost empty. Kinda sad, actually…


WAY too much doom 'n' gloom. So Obama is winning. All that REALLY means is that conservatives go from being in charge to being the loyal opposition. C'mon folks... presidents come and go...


Fox just declared the election for Obama: current time is 2202...


And it looks like folks here have given up: closing down the shop...

Suffering Electile Disfunction

Yes, I voted: walked over to City Hall, and cast my ballot for Beelzebub. Hopefully, he and the lady can pull enough electoral votes to defeat Asmodeus tonight.

Maybe I'll head down to the local Republican headquarters, to catch the results...

28 October 2008


Yep... there's been a few changes here on the Privateer, pretty much all for the good. Unfortunately, that makes for light posting...

First off, we're in new berthing: Spoon and I moved out of where we were (which I'm going to say as little about as possible) into a new apartment. Not completely moved in yet: we've been remodeling as we go. Should be finished within the first couple weeks of November.

We've also managed to pick up a pair of new long boats for non-riding weather: Spoon's in a nice Honda Accord (the "mom-mobile"), while I've regressed and picked up a '92 Eclipse (affectionately called "Bitchy", and wearing a "ticket-me-red" wrapper). No word yet on a new bike: going to be looking this winter, since I want to start the riding season on a new scoot.

BACA goes well: FINALLY bringing this state into compliance. Granted, there's been some kicking and screaming, but we're getting there.

Work's going... if my partner & I can ever get rid of the owner, we're sitting on a gold mine. Unfortunately, the owner wants us t dig thew mine with sandbox shovels.

Staying out of the political stuff: just want it frelling over. Been installing restraints and such in the handbasket, so maybe the trip down will be a lil' safer...

More later...

30 September 2008

Experiments with Open Carry: rd 1

Ok... so, a couple weeks ago, I decided to start experimenting with open carry. Now in Wisconsin, OC is perfectly legal, but heavily frowned on. Not to mention difficult, since having a loaded gun in a vehicle is considered "improper transport of a firearm"...

Anywho... Spoon & I normally go for a walk every night: good exercise, and good for discussion. Couple Sundays ago, I added my S&W model 19 to my belt, along with a couple speedloaders (I refuse to carry a gun without reloads). So y'all understand, I wore it at roughly 11 o'clock, so it was right there in front of Gawd and ever'body.

Now, for anyone who has paid attention to the "debate" about open carry, you should be expecting a story of my arrest and subsequent charges of "Endangering the Public", "Disturbing the Peace", or other similar misdeeds. Unfortunately, I would have to file such a story under "fiction".

Even though I made a point of talking to a couple officers, NOTHING HAPPENED. Honestly, I don't think anyone (at all) noticed the revolver on my hip. For four nights running.

When my shoulder improves (do NOT want to deal with any issues until my right clavicle is again "bone" instead of "pieces"), I think I'll switch over to the pearl grips (yeah, go ahead and laugh: they're comfortable) and try the experiment again. If that doesn't get a response after a week, I think I'll just have to start calling BS on the "dangers of OC"...

27 September 2008

current events

I had a great series of posts I was gonna run about the supposed evils of open carry, and my experiment therein: spent a good portion of the last week OCing my .357. Unfortunately, that has to be put on hold.

Was getting ready to regale y'all with the joys of moving into the new apartment. Although the move's gonna happen, I'm not gonna be all that involved in it.

Today, while playing in a charity capture the flag tournament, I went ass-over-teakettle. Resulting in one of the cleanest broken clavicles ever seen.

Hopefully, I'll be speaking to a surgeon this week about getting screwed. But it looks like the riding season is over for me this year.

Posting will continue to be light: this one-handed stuff sucks. But I'll try and keep y'all updated...

18 September 2008

Not a good day

Shortly after I started dating Spoon, a cat got left at her mother's house. He was a tuxedo, and fairly friendly. He'd already been "broken" and declawed. We had no idea why he was abandoned. But he latched on to Spoon like velcro, and we called him Squee.

That was 12 + years ago. Everywhere we've gone, Squee has been with us: mothering the other cats, pestering Spoon, and just generally being one of the better cats we've had.

Today, due to complications in removing fibrous cists a couple months back, we had to have this animal, Spoon's companion for almost as long as I've been around, put to sleep. While she was at work, I held her boy as he died.

Going to be a bit before there are any more happy thoughts. Will be postihng pictures sometime in the next day or two...

16 September 2008

The "sheepdogs" thing

Ok... I think most of y'all have heard this one. Goes like this:

"Most people are sheep: unable to defend themselves from the wolves. But some people are sheepdogs: armed just like the wolves, but there to protect the sheep. Unfortunately, the sheep can't tell the difference between the two: they see predator teeth, and equate the sheepdogs with the wolves, treating them with the same fear. But the only reason they're safe is the sheepdogs are willing to defend them".

There are a bunch of variations on this, most being passed on as "my father told me..." type stories. And they get brought up ANY time someone questions the intelligence of concealed carry for law-abiding citizens.

Now, so y'all understand: I'm a lobbyist for CCW here in Wisconsin. I support it enough that I have spent a fair amount of time busting my ass to try and bring us in line with the rest of the country. And I'M getting tired of the "sheepdog" thing.

Look... it may seem selfish, but my only reason for wanting to be able to legally carry a self-defense tool is to protect me and mine. Would I intervene if I saw someone being attacked? Most likely. But that is NOT why I would carry.

A CCW permit is not a "super hero license". All it is, really, is a way for the government to collect money on your decision to protect yourself to the best of your ability. The "sheepdog" folks (with the exception of those in law enforcement), come across as looking for trouble: something those of us fighting for the right to carry do NOT need.

Ok... I'm done ranting.

13 September 2008

Why do it?

Probably THE biggest question I get asked about BACA is "Why do you do it?". People hear about all the sacrifices that members make, how far we're willing to go to help our kids, and they can't help but ask "Why?".

Check out Sabra's post here. I read these stories, and think "There goes another one I could have helped". It's a powerful motivation to help.

And the REALLY scary part? The stories she tells in that post aren't the worst that happens, even here in the US. Google "domestic human trafficking", but be warned you might get nightmares.

That's why I do what I do.

05 September 2008

Expanding on my last post...


So... one case we're working on kinda blew up: perp got out (they keep postponing the trial), and immediately made contact with the victim. Went to jail again, and got out again after a few days. We went Level II (means we mounted a guard rotation on the victim's house) for a couple days, until perp-boy went away again. Fun times!

The mag is goin' well... for the most part. I'm now the associate editor, and it looks like I'm going to be taking over full Editorship: the layout guy and I are going to buy out the owner. We've finally gotten tired of having out time wasted by the guy: spent a full week, waiting for the owner to bring us the material for the last issue. Good things ahead on THAT front!

There've been the usual run of small personal problems too. But they're more in the nature of minor irritations.

So... more to come soon!

03 September 2008

Life explodes

Well... things have gotten interesting again. Can't go into detail: let's just say it should be interesting. I'll post more as things develop.

Oh... didn't get the Harley... :(

13 August 2008

Eye-opening experience

Ok... so let me set the stage for this a bit.

For those who couldn't tell from the few photos, Sarah has a trach tube. This is from a house fire when she was 16. One of the things she told me about when we met was a "burn camp" she went to, that helped her overcome the emotional trauma the fire caused.

Ok... seems there's a local HOG chapter that does what they call a "Hearts on Fire" run out to the camp every year. They do a couple fundraisers, but the highlight for them (and for a bunch of the kids) was tonight: the ride out (there were 100 bikes for this year) to visit the kids.

I'll get the pics up in a couple days. Was WELL worth being up and running for 12 hours on this alone to cover the event!

11 August 2008

Hmmm... another magazine?

Hey... would the two of you think worse of me if I started writing for another magazine?

Seems I might have an offer, from (of all places) Kink magazine. Wouldn't interfere with my current gig, would mean more money, and possibly even more job offers.

Here's a site that shows a couple covers: not sure if I'd be able to do this or not.

So... what say y'all.

09 August 2008

A call-out to those of you who ride...

Hey all...

Seems Chris, Crystal's husband over at Boobs, Injuries, and Dr Pepper has a small problem:

Crystal won't let him get a scoot.

I think maybe we all need to email her, and help her see the error of her ways. Thankfully, she does NOT have my mailing address...

Go here, and let her know that motorcycles aren't dangerous! Let's help our brother out here...

Problems in NH

Via Tam, we get this. poor Marko, dealing with such a heinous crime!

Read the comments: they carry a class 3 beverage alert!

05 August 2008

It's not the years, it's the miles...

So... been doing quite a bit of travel this season, what with the new gig an' all. Decided to see how much distance I've covered in the saddle so far: came out to a little over 2300 miles. Gonna be a 3-4k season easy. And that's only if I DON'T do any major roadtripping after getting the new bike.

Always fun though, to be talking to some RUB on his sparkly new HD, and have him giving me shit about my scoot. The look on their face when you ask them how many miles they've logged, and their total since they started riding doesn't equal what you've done this season (so far)...

03 August 2008

Not something I would normally go for...

I consider Larry Correia a friend. When he opened FBMG, I passed out handfuls of business cards at BACA National to anyone from Utah. Spoon, Squeaker and I all proudly wear MHI patches on our colors. And, when the money is FINALLY there, I'll be sending Spoon out to him to pick out her SMG. But this one takes the cake...

Folks, my mother also suffered from breast cancer. She beat it, but I'd REALLY rather no other woman ever has to go through that. So the Privateer will be pooling some money, and buying some tickets this week. Heck... we might even win! I'm sure Spoon would love a pink rifle!

The tickets are $5 a piece. Surely y'all can each afford a five spot to help save the boobies?

29 July 2008

New happenings aboard

Well now... haven't updated recently. Need to correct that...

Have a few folks showing an interest in joining the crew. But we're using a long interview process: don't want anyone jumping ship again...

Speaking of which: our old crewmember seems to have decided asking for help is ok to do. So... "Capn' Strings" trades his hat, and becomes "Dr Bill". Yes, I'm a sucker: sue me.

In other news, the magazine is getting better and better. THat'll be changing: they've made me Associate Editor (no jokes about me editing asses: they've already been made).

And my first mate and I are looking into getting a new longboat: the 'Potomus is nice and all, but we need something a lil' more reliable. Have a guy in the area that's selling an HD Tour Glide for silly cheap: now, to just get the money-lenders to see things our way...

That's about all we have happening right now. Maybe I'll get something snarky up soon...

21 July 2008

Hope y'all will pardon me while I geek out...

Spoon just informed me that they're doing a movie version of the Watchmen. Since this is just about one of THE best graphic novels ever made, I HAD to go check the trailer.

Go here, trailer is on the top. Oh My Frelling Gawds: I think I'm going to need to change my kilt!

If the actual movie is even half as good as the trailer, I'll be in throes of ecstacy!

Holy Hannah!

I just scrolled down, and caught sight of my counter (don't really look down there often).

Jumpin' Jeebus on a pogo stick! When the Hell did I clear 10K?

Maybe I should pay more attention to that little ego-stroker...

Reincarnation DOES happen!

Law Dog has just adopted one of our old cats: reborn, but this story is our old kitty Suki* in spades!

Mr Dog, you have my heartfelt sympathies in agreeing to take care of a four-footed, cute, bandsaw

*"Suki" was short for "Succubus": she'd lure you in with her charms, then attempt to eat you

15 July 2008

Computer woes

Ok, maybe someone can help me out here...

I'm running Win XP, with the latest version of Firefox. Every once in awhile, on Yahoo or MySpace (and once at Schlock Mercenary), Firefox committed seppuku and shut down. When it starts happening, I can foget about checking whatever site I was trying to view.

Anybody have a suggestion?

reaffirming my faith in humanity...

Given some of the stuff I've seen and dealt with, I tend to get a... jaded... view of humanity. To be blunt, I've had cops tell me that I shouldn't be so pessimistic of the actions and intentions of my fellow h.sapiens.

But when you deal with the absolute dregs (and you do NOT get lower than child abusers), it gets hard to believe that people can be good. Then you read something like this.

I would LOVE to see the video of the cops arriving.

Getting ideas from elsewhere

Was just reading over at the Pervocracy, and had to make some comments on the "Cosmo Girl" thing.

Are there REALLY women out there that gullible to fall for this stuff? I mean, come ON...ou'

And the part that really scares me is that guys will read this, to get clues how to act. Funny... I'm not all that great a catch, but something tells me that I would probably blow a "Cosmo Girl's" mind in a relationship. and I'm willing to bet there are a few others that would, too (Cranky Prof's hubby leaps to mind).

Guys... want to "win the girl"? Try being an honest human being. Girls... same advice to you. Makes for much better relationships...

14 July 2008

And manning the aft/starboard guns...

Isn't life just a funny thing?

Don't want to say too much, and jinx things. But there have been several offers for additional crew aboard the Privateer, despite the fact Spoon and I weren't really looking all that seriously.

I'm sure there will be more to report on this in the somewhat near future!

10 July 2008

Expanding on the column thing...

Ok... my column isn't "about" anything in particular. It's just my random observations as we go along. For some reason, the publisher likes how I write...

I was thinking of "Musings from the Open Road", for multiple reasons. First off, I write a LOT of the pieces while away from home (hence "from the Open Road"). Second, they ARE random thoughts ("Musings"). Third, I got my name because of all the instruments I play (which ties back into "muse")...

So... make sense? Or do y'all think I'm nuts?

Wait... that's a given. Is the idea nuts?

09 July 2008

Need y'all's help...

Ok... so part of my job at the magazine is writing a column. The last two issues (June & July) haven't had any kind of title, other than the actual piece. So... I need to come up with a name for the silly thing.

That's where I need input.

I was thinking of "Musings from the Road", or something like that. But I'm just not sure. So why don't the three of you see what you can come up with? ;)

07 July 2008

And life just keeps getting better...

Just got off the phone with one of my adoptees: seems another of said adoptees got in a bike wreck saturday, totaling his Harley. I found out tonight, in an email.

Ye gawds, what the hell is next? If y'all need me, I'll be chacking the horizon for the locusts!

06 July 2008

Hooray! The weekend's over!

Well, made it through another 4th of July weekend with my sanity intact... somehow.

Was supposed to be grabbing a couple people from Illinois (my new lil' sis Fluke, and my boss' new girl Yvette) to bring up here in Thursday. Since I HATE day-tripping to Illinois, I thought "Cool! There's this new friend that wants to meet and spend time with me, I'll crash by her". Plans were made...

Then canceled. Another friend of hers needed her for an emergency. So I ended up crashing at Squeaker's.

Maybe not the best choice on the planet. But it beat sleeping on the bike in the rain.

Got up at 03:30 on Thursday, and taking her to work. Spent LOADS of time tooling around northern Illinois, until Yvette finally called to say she was done with work: at 2130...

I didn't get to bed until 0530 on Friday. Then had all the fun of the 4th to look forward to!

Lessons learned: have multiple options for crash space. Don't offer to give rides from Chicago (I HATE that town!). And, if you're likely to be up for over 24 hours, with lots of riding, take a nap at some point in there!

29 June 2008

Relationship lessons

You know, I'm a pretty good councellor: I listen well, and give pretty good advice. Usually, when someone tells me they're going through a break-up, I tell them to cut the ties completely. I didn't follow my own advice with Squeaker, and I just got reminded why it's a good idea...

Don't misunderstand: I've been wanting her back. But I had pulled back, trying to give her space for her new relationship to work. Tonight, I sent her a text (related to work), and found out she was drinking: in her words, "to bring her problems to the surface".

Now, I don't know 'bout any of y'all, but that sounds (to me) like someone who could maybe use a little help, who's in pain. And I can't see someone in pain without trying to help.

I'm an idiot that way.

So... I spend about an hour, hour 'n' a half talking to her, via texts. She mentioned how "nobody can help me, not even myself", which sounded (to me) like she was giving up on herself. So I kinda hammered on that for awhile. And she responded with "I'm not giving up! I'm his"...

To me, this sounded like she thought the entire time I spent trying to help, was only an effort to "win her back". Made me feel like a complete idiot.

I could've been spending the time with Spoon. Or working. Or stabbing myself in the testicles with a rusty icepick. Instead, I was trying to help. And I got my emotional ass handed to me for my troubles.

Fuck that!

Up to this point, there was a part of me that really wanted her to come back. To try and make things work. That part just got locked away by the rest of my mind, in a deep dark hole. Kinda the way society used to deal with the mentally handicapped, which is kinda what that part of my brain is...

I know she occassionally reads this blog. And maybe, she hopes things can be cleaned up. Honestly, I don't trust her anymore. And without trust, there can't be love...

So folks, let this be a lesson: when someone leaves you for another, cut them out of your life as completely as possible. Maybe, at a later date, things can be revisited. But if you don't make that clean break, you're in for a world of hurt...

26 June 2008

Sometimes, a distraction is enough...

Well... things have been going well the last few days.

Spoon lost her job selling shoes (LOOONG story: she got screwed). And she turned around, and got two others. One doing outside sales (which she may or may not keep), and she's also doing home care.

I had a dry spell for two years: couldn't even get a call telling me to go pound sand. Now I've got this job with the magazine, and I just got a call for an interview for a position at the Maritime Museum. Wouldn't be much: fairly low pay, but it would be extra money (and I love history anyway)...

The personal life still has it's issues, but I've met some cool people to help distract me. Spoon, of course, is still here: don't think I COULD get rid of her. And we've met a couple REALLY cool people through a new website called "Biker or Not". One of whom, we'll be meeting in realspace this weekend. Not only is this young lady fairly cool (AND hot, and a good distraction), she's got a friend that might just be interested in carrying my jewelry. So LOTS of good comes from that connection!

Even better: there's another position at the library here in town, that I'm in the running for. This one is making LOTS of money, and has an awesome benefits package. And, theoretically, I could do all three jobs (thereby getting us to new mooring sooner)...

Oh... and speaking of my jewelry? There's a shop here in town that wants to carry it: I'll be picking up a bunch of my stuff from my sis, and bringing it home. Things are just looking up all over!

25 June 2008

Linking to others again.

Read a bit of this at Marko's, but Lab Rat pretty much says it all...


Was talking with my partner Dub the other day, and discussing the whole concept of "family".

See, Dub's old school: you stand by your family, even the one's you're not related to. And you stand by them come Hell or high water, backing their play. you may not agree with their chosen course, but you're there to help.

Oddly enough, that's how I was raised: you stand by your family. Of course, I was also raised that, when someone proves that they really AREN'T family, you boot 'em to the curb with the rest of the trash. Conversely, when someone demonstrates that they'll be there, you adopt 'em (usually over their violent protests).

Some here may know a bit about my family situation: I divorced almost all my original brothers and sisters, trading 'em in on better models (actually, Dub is in that "new & better" category). You would not BELIEVE some of the folks I've adopted over the years.

There's Fluke: a good friend of our ex girlfriend: she's always been there for Squeaker, and she's DEFINATELY been there for me over the last few weeks.

There's Dub: whom I had only met a couple times, but was able to pour my heart out to when things blew. And who's problems I've heard quite a bit. But we still back each-other

There's our Jules: another girl that I'm in love with (despite her getting ready to marry an actual nice guy). She hadn't done more than talk to me on the phone a few times when mom died: when I stepped out of the house to make the necessary calls, I called her first. And her immediate response, upon hearing of mom's passing? "Do you need me up there?"...

There's Turk, one of my oldest brothers. That boy and I have a LOOOONG history (some of which, I'm not sure the statute of limitations has run out on yet). The man who stood up with me at my wedding, keeping me from running out on on The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me (you DID know that this is the job of the groomsmen, right?).

There's Skip (some on the boards know him as Bedlamite). Remember the phrase "friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies"? Yeah...

There's AJ: a woman without whom, I would be dead today. When my career in Unca Sugar's Yacht Club went pear-shaped, she was the person who kept me from shuffling off this mortal coil.

And then there are the inlaws.

Remember the old cartoons, featuring the "House of Tomorrow"? How the mother-in-law was always getting offed in some way? Yeah... wouldn't suggest trying that with my Nancy-mom: dad and I would probably be tripping over each-other to do damage to the offending party. When mom was sick, Nancy would drive a half-hour one way every day to take care of her ('cause she hated mom so much, you know). Christmas was always done like many others: Spoon and I would go to her parents on Christmas Eve, and my parents on Christmas Day. Trick is, it'd be the same group of people at both locations: my parents would come out for Eve, and her family would come out for Day. There may be a few different additions here & there, but it was one ginormus family, not two seperates...

There are loads of others, but I think you get the drift: the people you meet in life, that you end up leaning on most (and acting as a crutch yourself when needed). The people that, if you honestly got down to it, probably know you better than you know yourself (and yet are there for you, despite that).

So Dub and I got to talking about this, going on until Spoon got home from her new job. And it made me think of some of y'all on here, and comments on some of my recent posts.

I'd like to thank y'all. There was a time not all that long ago, where I was ready to throw in the towel and just say "fuck it!". I was afraid of posting some of what's gone on (and is going on) in my life, because I was afraid there would be general condemnation. Instead, y'all saw someone in pain, and reached out.

You've almost restored my faith in humanity, folks. Good job! Y'all go get yourselves a cookie.

And if you're ever going to be in NE Wisconsin, let me know: I kinda owe you one anyway.

23 June 2008

Just realized

That I never mentioned another lil' earth-shaker that happened recently.

My beloved Hondapotomus, in a pique of discontent at not having it's rear tire changed in a timely manner, decided to teach me a life lesson while traveling at 75 miles per hour.

Yes folks: you understood that right: I had a rear blow-out at 75mph. I honestly attribute my still being present to someone watching over my heathen ass.

I'm fine. The bike's mostly fine (still have to tweak the wiring a bit). But there was a Hell of an epiphany that day (story will be in the July issue of Freedom Roads)...

12 June 2008

Frelling weather!

So... Spoon and I are sitting here at Manitowoc Coffee, surfing the net and enjoying the ambience, when the sirens start goin' off: seems we have a tornado warning. Of course, I'm sitting next to the big picture window, making the staff nervous as they herd the kids down to the basement...

I don't think there's been a tornado hit Manitowoc in recorded history. I can see the sky quite clearly: it's a nice dark blue-grey, not any sort of pea-soup green. And ever'body's acting like the end of the world is neigh.

Sheesh... some people. Get a lil' rain, wind, and the possibility of sudden violent death, and they start to panic!

11 June 2008

Sunday School

First off, thanks to everyone for their good wishes: I was half expecting to be telling a bunch of people where to go. I'm doing fine: a bit confused, but fine. Putting things down here has helped.

Now, let's get back to fun for a bit!


Spoon suggested y’all might find this lil’ story interesting. See, I haven’t ALWAYS been pagan: used to be a Christian. Went to Sunday School ‘n’ everything. But I always had an… odd… reaction to things I was taught. Like the day we learned about Adam & Eve.

The teacher spent a LOOONG time explaining the story to us, in words that your average five-year-old could understand. Afterwards, she asked us if we understood what the story meant.

Me, being of a somewhat literal mind (but still eager to please), raised my hand to answer the question. Now, I know she wanted something about avoiding temptation, and resisting the Devil, an’ all that jazz. But like I said, I was very literal minded.

She looked at me (granted, with some trepidation), and said “Strings? What does the story teach you?”. And I responded, with all the dignity a five-year-old can muster:

“Never accept an apple from a naked lady!”

To this day, no matter how beautiful she is or how much I love the lady in question, I will NOT accept an apple offered by a naked woman. Guess the lesson stuck, huh?

10 June 2008

Changes aboard the Privateer...

Ok... I'm in a fairly good place emotionally right now, so I'll bare my life for y'all.

I had mentioned some "crew changes" aboard the Privateer. Maybe I should go into a little more detail. Just remember, y'all asked me to share: judge, and you'll get told where to go...

For those who haven't figured it out from previous posts, I'm polyamorous: literally, "many loves". I'm fairly devoted to my wife, Spoon, but there are other women that share my soul (if you will). One is in Mississippi (Jules), engaged to a nice guy and just had a child (which we will be doing our best to spoil). The other (Squeaker) has been living in Waukegan, and has been sharing our life almost as another wife... until just recently.

Seems she found herself another guy, and fell in love: on the phone. Needless to say, I've been going through a rollercoaster of hurt and confusion. Spoon, being nice to look at (but none too bright) has been a complete trooper: there was a reason I married her, and she's been reminding me of it constantly. As per normal, adversity just makes our relationship grow stronger...

So there y'all go: looks like the Privateer is losing a crew member. There may (at some point) be another addition: I know one of my new co-workers has been a true brother through this: he's been having his own troubles, and we've been commiserating quite a bit. And Spoon and I may one day find someone who wants to share our life: we'll see. For now though, our crew is down one... :(

Now where'd I put the rum?

08 June 2008

Sorry for the light posting

Hey folks, sorry for the extreme lack of posts. Things have been… interesting… here aboard the Privateer. We’re looking at new berthing, possibly some new crew, and maybe even a new voyage (we HAVE been at this dock for a long time).

For those who don’t get the nautical references: we may be moving to new digs soon, some people may be leaving our lives, others may be coming in, and new developments are opening new avenues to explore in our lives.

One of the new things is the new banner link: that’s where I now work, both as advertising sales and as writer (several pieces already published). It’ll either work out as the greatest job possible for me, or it’ll crash & burn spectacularly. Only time will tell.

Keep checking back (both of you): there will be more content here. Right now, things are very fluid, and difficult for me to write about. As they solidify, I’ll let y’all know.

18 May 2008

Arm and train them!

Interesting lil' discussion going on in the comments on Marko's latest.

Not going into the whole argument of "gay marriage" here right now: maybe in the next day or two. However, one person made a comment that needs to be addressed:

William the Coroner Says:

The only problem I see with the whole ‘incest’ thing is the power differential based on age. Several pervs have claimed that father-daughter incest is acceptable (usually the guy, of course), when the situation started before the age of consent and continued.

How to adequately protect the folks in society that need protection without crossing the line is a problem I do not know how to adequately answer.

To which there's a reply:

MarkHB Says:


Teach ‘em and arm ‘em. Did I miss something?

See, this doesn't work.

If you've been reading me for any length of time, you've heard mention of a case from WAY out of my normal TO, which involved a lady who had been abused by her father since she was 4 (she's 20 now). The father was even continuing the abuse while the girl was away at college: he'd pick her up on a friday, and take her to a hotel room (we will NOT go into some of the allegations: some who read me have feelings). This girl had been taught basically from the time she could form rational thought that what was happening to her was fine, that her father's actions were normal.

What good would "arming and training" her have done?

Those of us who are armed have to recognize one major component of the self defense issue: mindset. Giving a weapon and training to a person who is going to be unwilling to use it, does no good. In the "incest" situation outlined above, this would be the case: the girl would have no inclination (unless removed from the situation and given MASSIVE counseling) to use force against her abuser, as she sees her abuser's actions as acceptable.

Which, of course, leaves the question of how DO we protect the vulnerable members of our society adequately? Unfortunately, I don't have an ultimate answer, and must continue using stop-gap measures...

15 May 2008

Whatever happened to lil' frilly dresses?

From Malkin, via Rachel.

Wow... nothing like setting thing up to guarantee more business for BACA!

When will folks go back to letting their kids BE kids, instead of miniature versions of their slutty selves? Don't get me wrong: there are some women out there that can pull off the "hooker look" without looking like complete trash: carriage is everything. But there's no way pre-pubescent girls should be wearing stilettos and leather pants!

A few years back, I was working a job doing network cabling in schools. I distinctly remember hearing one middle-school girl telling a friend "If he wants it, he gonna get it!". I also remember thinking "My gawds, what ARE we teaching these kids?"...

We're bombarding kids with the idea that sex is everything, nonstop. What is our society going to look like in 10 years, when these kids hit high school? Worse, what's it going to look like when these girls are voting, and SHAPING society?

What the hell ever happened to the frilly lil' dresses girls used to wear? And what's next: little boys dressed as Carlos the Gigolo, in leather pants and a silk shirt open to his crotch?

14 May 2008

Finding out my rock isn't the deepest...

So I read off this post to Spoon. Her perfect response?

"There was an earthquake in China?"

Sometimes, I forget that my rock isn't the one furthest from life. This is one of those times.

We REALLY have to get out more, or something.

Serenity leaving the world in ten minutes!

Via Mr Fixit, we get the Serenity Character Quiz!

Your results:
You are Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)

Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
River (Stowaway)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
Dependable and trustworthy.
You love your significant other and
you are a tough cookie when in a conflict.

Click here to take the "Which Serenity character are you?" quiz...

Huh... I would've thought Jayne or Mal, not Zoe. I'm not THAT much of a stone cold...


07 May 2008

Do you carry a gun?

If you do, you should read (and live by) the rules found here.

The only thing I would add is, if you're legal to draw, you're already legal to be shooting. Cops can get away with "STOP OR I'LL SHOOT!", armed "civilians" can't (usually)...

05 May 2008

diving into muddy water

Now, I don't normally comment on politics. Reason being, there are LOADS of bloggers out there who do a MUCH better job of it: my voice would be a feeble echo. But this, caught via Tam, kinda raises my hackles.

In a town dealing with all kinds of corruption, they single out a disabled vet for pointing his finger. and their justification of having him arrested and facing charges?

She said the village had no choice but to take seriously Kachka's gestures during the March 13 meeting in light of recent shootings at Northern Illinois University and in St. Louis, where a disgruntled resident shot and killed several city employees during a zoning meeting.

Ok, let me get this straight: a man pointing his finger (in whatever way) is now grounds for criminal charges, because of a couple shootings? Excuse me?

Honestly, if a member of the city council here in Manitowoc were to make the same allegations, I'd expect them to receive actual incoming. and it would CERTAINLY be their last term in office!

03 May 2008


Stealing (again) from Marko, wondering about the idea of anonymity on the web...

I suppose "Strings" is something of a psuedonym: it certainly isn't what my mother called me at any point. But it fairly well IS who I am: anyone in BACA who knows me, knows "Strings", not "Bill". Same with most of the biker community. Heck, even the people I work with know me better as "Strings".

But there's that big question: do I post behind a psuedonym to protect myself. No... I'm not difficult to find. Besides, those who would wish me harm (most of whom are in prison right now), can fairly easily figure out how to locate me: my chapter's meetings are open to the public, and fairly well posted.

No... I'm not hiding: anyone interested, I'll give my real name. Quick word though: I don't Google all that well... ;)

01 May 2008


This post over at Marko's place reminded me of a rant I've needed to go on...

Now, I don't mind folks that are sincere in their faith, or wish to share it: it's a natural human response to tell folks about things we find that are good. And trust me, I appreciate when one of the "God Fearing" folks tries to save my heathen soul: I know that they're just doing what they think is best. But there are a couple problems with some of these people.

First off, the door-to-door sales. Y'all need to find another hobby: the rest of society spends a fair amount of time thinking of ways to irritate/embarrass/frighten (if not outright hurt) you folks. You need to get the hint: people don't really appreciate being interrupted in their daily activities to be preached at (and some of y'all REALLY need to learn to be less pushy: more on that in a bit). Even the polite lil' old guy that stopped here at the Privateer last spring offended the hell out of me, with his asking "Is there anything I can do to help?" when he was informed that this was a pagan household...

The other group (although there's a fair amount of overlap) are the "know what's best for you" crowd. They seem to be basically religious hysterics, and they do more harm than they know. From the nosy neighbor who is CONSTANTLY on you about your faith, to the folks outside of the gaming conventions wanting to tell us about how "Jesus died on the cross to save us from the Hell we deserve!"*, these folks seem to be everywhere.

And they always seem drawn to me. One of my sisters is one, and it seems one of my sis-in-laws is, as well.

People, it's great to share your faith, but be respectful of other people: when someone says "That's enough, I don't want to hear any more", y'all need to shut up. That doesn't mean you've "won" the discussion, or that your audience can't refute you, it most likely means that your audience is tired of hearing about your brand of whatever faith (and I've seen 'em in EVERY religion). Personally, when I'm tired of hearing someone's voice, but they refuse to quiet down, I start to feel somewhat homicidal: NOT the best way of winning a convert.

*yes, that's an actual quote from a street preacher at GenCon. GREAT sales pitch!

The Dawn of a New Era

So... up to now, I've been tied to the computer at home, stuck in the household library. But with the new job comes new tools...

In order to better sell advertising (and do some writing while away from home), I broke down and purchased a laptop. Currently, I'm sitting in a coffee shop, letting y'all know that Strings is unbound!

I know... y'all don't care. To me, this is something of a big deal.


Speaking of the job: check out Freedom Roads. Site's only just started, but there should be more content there soon!

30 April 2008

Book Meme

Since ALL the cool kids are doing it, I'll give the Book Meme a try. Goes like this:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Pick up the nearest book. While I'm sitting in the fracking household library! Hmmm... that would mean either the weapons/military shelf, or the religions shelf...

Page 123 is Chapter 14: Nine Configurations and Two Questions (Passages from the T'ung Tien). So we go to page 124. Our last three (of eight) sentences:

"Therefore in battle formation they are not firm, when they engage in battle they are not victorious. We should assemble the people and gather the masses; collect the foodstuffs, livestock, and cloth; defend the walled cities and prepare to defend the passes; and dispatch light troops to sever their supply routes. If they are not able to provoke us into battle; their provisions fail to arrive; and there's nothing in the countryside that they can plunder, their Three Armies will be in difficulty."

From The Complete Art of War: Sun Tzu & Sun Pin, translated by Ralph D. Sawyer

Anybody I'd tag has already done it...

21 April 2008

Sorry 'bout the light posting...

It's Child abuse Awareness Month, so I'm up to my eyes in stuff to do. Thankfully, only one more weekend... :D


Job goes well: I've even managed to sell a couple contracts without having the first issue in hand (that comes next week at the latest). So I have hopes that this will work out well...


Joined a new group: US Forces Veteren Riders. Not just bikers, it's a group dedicated to helping vets locally. Seems like something good to do in my off time...

10 April 2008

Bloody frelling...

So... good time for a bad week.

Our April kick-off party went well, except for coming up $100 short of our expences. First time we've LOST money on an event. Of course, not having ads up until a week and a half beforehand probably didn't help...

I had mentioned that we had a case coming up: went in for the pre-trial meeting between the DA and our girl. And yep... the trial's been postponed again. Getting tired of this ballgame...

Good news is, we got our state returns, and I should be getting a few more contracts signed over the weekend. So maybe I CAN make a decent go of this job...

03 April 2008

And now, we let damnation begin

Everybody recovered from their April Fool's Day?

Good. I'm sure the damage was fun to fix.

April 1st has been "problematic" for a couple years now. This year, I've gone from planning the "Weekend from Hell" to dealing with the "Month from Hell". Let's see what's going on:

05 April: our Second Annual Child Abuse Awareness Month Kick-off Party. Which, since others had problems, *I* got to do all the organizing for...

16&17 April: we have a court case with two of our kids. Not only have to organize MY people, but I'm organizing folks from out of state

26 April: that's the 100 Mile Ride, as required by BACA National.

26 April: Family Fun Day at the zoo, in conjunction with DHS.

26 & 27 April: the Ant Hill Mob Bike Show.

On top of all this stuff, the magazine I'm working for has their first issue due out in May. Meaning I'm gonna be bustin' my hump this month, without much to show for it (I work on commission, and not many businesses want to buy advertising in a magazine that isn't out yet).

Anyone I can talk into putting me out of their misery?


In other news: Spoon's cat pulled through the surgery just fine. However, he's got this HUGE incision on his side, which means we have to be extra careful of him. Which resulted in me being told, as I typed the above: "Love is letting your cat hork on your crotch, and not knocking him to the floor". Odd... I don't think she'd let ME do that...

02 April 2008

No, I'm not going abegging

Ok... having noticed that several folks have a "donate" button on their blogs, I thought I'd try it. However, I'm not going to ask my readers to fund my nicotine habit.

Instead, you can (if you like what we're doing) donate to BACA directly from my blog! Now how cool is that?

Remember: every dime that comes in will go to helping abused kids.

30 March 2008

Shamelessly stolen from Marko...

Who stole it from Tam, who stole it from someone else...

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

Odd... only one mocha today.

And four Cokes...

And some chocolate...


27 March 2008

Da Cuss o Meter

Heh... found via Tam, who got it from Marko (both in the blogroll)...

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

Wow... who fucking knew?

26 March 2008

Ok folks... time to step up.

Hey everyone!

A lil' while ago, I posted this gem. It's been picked up by AD, and hopefully spread a bit farther.

This goes WAY beyond some cash to help the kids: this would qualify as national exposure for BACA during Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Go. Vote. Pass it on to your friends and family!

25 March 2008

A Just and Sane World

Law Dog hits one out of the park with this post.

I know most of my readers have probably already read it. But it needs to be spread far and wide.

To add insult to injury, the perp shares my fucking last name. Never thought someone could make me ashamed of being a Hilton.

22 March 2008

ego massage should be done with a chain mace

Via Bitter at the Bitch Girls, we get this.

To soothe the bruised egos of educators and children in lackluster schools, Massachusetts officials are now pushing for kinder, gentler euphemisms for failure.

Now, I don't mean to go on a rant here. But if someone is failing at whatever their job is, you say "Hey: you're failing". If I'm not selling ad space, i expect a call from my boss pointing out that I'm not succeeding at my job. If this state's BACA chapters get way out of line, I expect a call from National asking what the problem is. What I do NOT expect (and would piss me off) would be either one coming up with some sugar-coated term for "failure".

Here's a REALLY novel idea: when one of these schools isn't performing up to snuff, call 'em on it. Identify what the problems are, and attack those problems.

Oh hey... looks like one of the students, who sits on the board, had that idea:

Zachary Tsetsos, a senior at Oxford High School and the only student on the board, said he finds the debate frivolous.

"Why are we spending time on this?," said the 17-year-old. "I don't want to tiptoe around the issue. I'm not concerned about what title we give these schools. Let's work on fixing them."

Want to massage the tender egos of failing students, and the teachers/administrators who are partly responsible? Haw about using a chain mace, or a hickory switch, or any of a number of similar "motivational tools" that have proven effective over the years.

Ye gawds... and these are the folks shaping the minds of future leaders?

The things you see overseas...

This post by Guitargirl RN reminded me of a couple Thailand stories...

First off was the girl I kept company with while there on liberty. We had gone back to her place, and she gave me the quick tour... mentioning that I "don't want to open that door". What I saw was similar to the picture at the above post...

A few nights later, we're in a bar. I stumble my way to the head, and plant myself in front of one of the urinals. Turning to my right, I see a cockroach, standing at the next urinal. He smiles and says "Hey".

I gave up drinking for a LONG time after that.

what... y'all expected something serious?

21 March 2008


Just got word that one of my old gaming buddies died.

Donnie was a former SEAL, and a hell of a guy. I wasn't as close to him as some others (my roomie is basically useless at the moment: Don was part friend part father figure to him). Crazy, as one might expect, but a fun crazy.

Looks like the afterlife just got another person to guard the walls (not to mention chase the women, and otherwise raise Caine). He'll be sorely missed.

How can I help?

I get asked that question alot, when folks see my patch: "That's a great idea! How can i help out?". Of course, they usually don't stick around when they find out it's actual work.

Now, we have a way y'all can help a Chapter without doing much of anything.

1. Go to www.ktbs.com
2. Type in keyword "give" (upper right side of page)
3. Search the List of non-profits registered for the competition for "BACA, River Cities Chapter"
4. To "vote" for us, you just post a favorable comment about us.
5. The 5 charities with the most comments will be finalists and everyone will get to vote again, but only between these 5 charities.

Now, you have to register with their site, but it isn't all that difficult.

Here's the link direct to the river Cities Chapter entry. Go ahead, hit it, and hit it hard...

16 March 2008

News of the sick & perverted

Ran across this...

I have to ask... how can someone look at a DOG and become sexually aroused? Worse yet, it's not some fruffy dog, but a rottweiler.

I mean, seriously: isn't that right up there with molesting grizzlies, tigers, or wolverines?

15 March 2008

Here's one to make you feel silly

From the bane of my existence Skip, we get this.

Check it out. Let me know how many of y'all

a) get the count right

b) miss the lil' extra bit

12 March 2008

Steering HMS Privateer into the rocks

But only fer a sec.

Heller oral arguments are less than a week away. This has a chance of being one of THE most important USSC decisions handed down in our lifetime.

Anybody want to take odds of them offering a decision that stands up like overcooked noodles?

Ok... back for open waters for this pirate (for now)...

Worth thousands of words

I'd say this picture speaks for itself (shamelessly stolen from Boots and Sabres:

Can we please have less nanny BS, now?

09 March 2008


Ok, try this: type "methadone" into the search function of blogger. Read some of what you find.

Don't worry, I'll still be here. Go. Read.

Ok... got all that?

For those who need it Spoon fed: GuitarGirlRN posted something about a man on methadone, who was stealing stuff out of his ER room. In said post, she called the thief a "methadonian". And she's come under fire for it.

I didn't read ALL the comments, but here are a couple choice ones:

Chava: "Your description of your patient as a "Methadonian" is rude and perpetuates the stigma that patients on methadone have to live with each and every day of their lives"

Anonymous: "Methadone patients do NOT get a high or euphoria off their medication"

Enylear (posted as Anonymous): "And was it an emergency? Yeah, you walk a day in our shoes without a dise and then tell me it wasnt an emergency. It is very much an emergent situation when we arent able to get our prescribed dose. Where do you go for that?"

Just so y'all understand: my roomie Ray is on methadone for chronic back pain (as in, she has a fused fucking spine). I mentioned the term "methadonian" to her, and she giggled at it.

Regarding the "you can't get high": Ray was on a bigger dose at first. Barred from work for a week, while her system adjusted to this new chemical in her system. There were a couple times we caught her sitting there drooling on herself (literally). She cut her dose herself, because she didn't like "being high all the time".

Oh... Enylear? Ray goes without her dose quite often: we'll all be out, and she won't be able to take it (usually because she's forgotten her drugs). It's actually gotten to the point where I'll probably be carrying a couple doses for her. But she doesn't go screaming to the ER. She soldiers the fuck on, until she can get home (given the stuff we do with BACA, that might be a couple days).

Now, I know everyone's different, and reacts to different stimuli in different ways. But this bullshit of of jumping on someone for venting on their own fucking blog is just WAY too far out there.

What's next: someone going to jump me for expressing exasperation at mothers during the preliminary contact call and interview for BACA?

Get a life, people. If you don't like what someone says in their corner of the intarwebz, then don't fucking go there!

27 February 2008

Adding to the blogroll...

And another addition to the blogroll: y'all need to head over and check out the Cave Troll.

Nice guy, some funny stuff, and a fairly good writer.

BTW: I've heard rumors that BACA is getting prepped to open in SA. Just sos ya know... ;)

25 February 2008

Adventures in Cat/Vet interactions

This post over at Atomic Nerds reminded me of one of the cats that have had me over the years.

I was working for dad, and we one day saw this TINY ball of grey fur come wandering down the sidewalk. That particular day, dad had tossed some chicken bones outside (for whatever feral cat might chance by), and one of the shop cats (Spike: 25 lbs of phenomenal feline power with a itty-bitty-kitty voice) was sunning himself. Anyway, this lil' ball of fluff wanders along, smells the bones, and beelines: she didn't notice Spike until she was already gnawing, at which point she did the "puff up an' look mean" trick.

Spike's response, as near as we could tell, was to think "Junior, I could eat you"

Well, dad hears this growling, and investigates. Being the cold-hearted animal hater he is, he immediately decides we have to try and catch the lil' bugger, so it has a chance of survival.

Que blown workday as we lower the overhead door to JUST enough for a kitten, set out something that smells good, and lay in wait. For three hours. Before calling it a day, and heading home.

Itty-Bitty Kitty: 1
Adult Male Humans: 0

Next day, I arrive, and dad bellows "Get through the door quick! Don't want him getting away!". Like I said: animal hater.

Not good with sexual differentiation, either.

We got HER tamed down a bit (amazing what you can do with things like chicken, roast beef, and turkey). At first, we christened her "Snowball" ("She looks like a Chicago snowball"). There was the memorable day that we lost another hour of productivity, because she didn't head for the back room when we started the machines after lunch (Itty-Bitty Kitty: 2, Adult Male Humans: 0). But we noticed that she, well... had an oil leak.

Not sure how else to describe it: she marked her territory the same way an old Harley does: she'd stop for a bit, sit down, and leave a small black puddle. This requires immediate professional attention (especially since I'm not sure a: where the dipstick is on a cat, b: what the capacity is, nor c: how to locate the drain plug). So... off to the vet!

Let's not discuss trying to catch her to TAKE her to the vet (Itty-Bitty Kitty: 3, Adult Male Humans: 0).

We get her to the vet, and everything goes fine: somehow, the vet fixed the leak, and got her cleaned up. We found out she was white.

Couldn't spend all that time and money, then stick her back in that dingy shop, so Spoon and I took her in. After the first night, we renamed her. Went something like this:

Itty-Bitty Kitty: "Love me!"
Me: "OK" *picks up cat, begins rubbing*
IBK: "Ok, that's enough now" *proceeds to remove arm at the shoulder*

I looked at Spoon and, between the screams, casually mention "she's a succubus! She lures you in with her feminine charms, then tries to eat you!". And the name stuck: Succubus, or Suki for short.

Fast forward several weeks.

We had a heat wave hit, and a house with ZERO AC. The rest of the menagerie had the sense to head for the basement (I think the python was overheard muttering about "damned humidity"). But not Suki.

Que frantic run for the vet, with a listless and slack kitty. I thought for sure I was going to be digging a grave.

We get to the vet, and the techs all smile "Oh... it's Snowball!". I suddenly realize that things are going to go rodeo.

"No, her name's Suki. Short for Succubus". I even explain the story, and show them the stitches from re-attaching the arm.

They scoff. Silly humans.

I'd like to take a minute, and explain something about this vet: she's GOOD. Deals with all KINDS of "problem animals". I'm pretty sure that, if I had a rabid wolverine that I wanted treated, she'd deal with it and never bat an eye.

The only phrase I hear from the exam room is "We'll just draw some blood real quick". This was followed by the sound of Hell's Gates being thrown open...

They had scoffed. Silly humans.

When it was all said and done, it took three techs to draw blood on a cat that would JUST overflow my cupped hands. I mean, I have pistols that weigh more than this cat did. Three techs.

When they came out, the one girl just looked at me mournfully, muttering something about rabid wolverines. The vet herself apologized for doubting my rename.

She died a few years later. Near as we can tell, she had been weaned (or rather, abandoned) WAY too early, causing problems in her digestive tract. When she got sick that last time, we took her to a different vet. Mom-in-law visited her the next day (Suki let her KNOW what she thought of being abandoned there), and she seemed to be improving. That night, she died.

Still miss her. DO appreciate getting to keep all my limbs though.

Here's Suki (we also dubbed her the Sock Monster: with her coloring, she could completely disappear into a dryer full of socks).


Politics, Liberty, and Safety

"Poly", meaning "many"
and "Tic", meaning "small blood-sucking creature"

So... we're down to a choice between McCain and Hilbama*. Oh, hooray.

I can be raped by a 12 foot pole, or... raped by a 12 foot pole with lube.

Nice choice.

Loads of MUCH better writers are weighing in one the "big choice" we have coming in November. Some are saying "Vote for the lesser evil", some are saying "we're getting the shaft either way".

I fall into the latter category. And I have some VERY good company.

Both sides want me to trade my Liberty for perceived safety. I think Ole Ben had the right idea there: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

"Liberty" and "Safety" can easily be seen as mutually exclusive concepts. "Liberty" (or, better, "Freedom") only truly exists where you can enter into potentially dangerous situations. In order to be "Safe", you MUST give up basic freedoms: most of the bill of rights is full of "dangerous" things. And the tyrants always tells us that, by sacrificing these freedoms, we'll be "safer".

I don't know about those reading this blog. Me? I prefer to have my guns, be able to say whatever the hell I want, ride my motorcycle naked, and accept the danger my freedom brings me. I don't ask for the government to take care of me should my choices cause me problems, and in return all I ask is to be left alone to live my life as I see fit.

Apparently, that is actually too much to ask.

* I'm not being "snarky" here. At this point, either Hillary or Obama could win the Socialism Left candidacy

When I voted the other day in the primary, I voted for Fred. Yes, he had already left the race. I don't care: he at least came close to representing what I believe.

In November, I'm not sure how I'll vote: might just write Fred in again. I will NOT, however, vote for "Socialism Left" nor "Socialism Right". Yes, I know the rhetoric: "If you don't vote for the Republicans, the evil Democrats will take your guns!".

Wow... some REALLY poor observers we have out there.

In the 2000 election circus, the Dems had a commercial. Don't know who the yahoo on the screen was, but his comment was telling: "If George W Bush wins the election, the NRA will have an office in the White House". Didn't really help the Dem bid for the Presidency.

But LOTS of people missed the real importance. G W Bush DID win the election. And what was that office used for? Ordering pizza?

Either side wants my vote, they need to offer something more than lip service. Something more than flirting. I need to be "courted" in a somewhat tangible way.

Start returning my freedoms. Then, maybe, we'll talk.