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Topics of Interest

US TDR-1 Drone Aircraft - World War 2


The Interstate TDR (captioned photo) was an early unmanned combat aerial vehicle — referred to at the time as an “assault drone” — developed by the Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corporation during the Second World War for use by the United States Navy.

In 1936, Lieutenant Commander Delmar S. Fahrney proposed that un-piloted, remotely controlled aircraft had potential for use by the US Navy in combat operations. Due to the limitations of the technology of the time, development of the “assault drone” project was given a low priority, but by the early 1940s the development of the radar altimeter and television made the project more feasible. About 200 of these aircraft were built.

Another similar project used by the US Army Air Force was also developed for use in the European theater. They loaded B-17 bombers with explosives and flew them remotely, into high value targets.


Union Island, Grenadines

It takes both time and money to do this sort of thing. Through my life, time and money were not interchangeable so no, I never did this. There were always more obligations, more people to please. But it would have been worth doing.  The closest I got was a sloop owned by the US Navy, equipped for special activities and I got a trip on it in the Caribbean once. But I was at work/busman’s holiday.


h/t Babylon Bee


Riding a motorcycle through North Africa, in the sand, in summer, with people shooting at me, sounds like a lot more work than it is worth.

I had two great uncles who served in North Africa with the US Army in World War Two (from Torch through Sicily and Italy) and both of them said that the Germans were a problem, but the locals in Africa, in so many ways, were worse.


Product Sensitivity

Now that people will no longer wear shirts made of cotton because black people and others picked cotton; No more Uncle Ben’s Rice; No more Aunt Jemimah Pancake Syrup; and the re-named Caucasian Jacks are going onto the shelves, there may be peace as people of color feel better about themselves. I’ve been looking for an “African Pelosi scarf” so that I can be more like the Democrat caucus and can hang with the brothers and be one of them, but they’re back-ordered. I’ll have to wait before I can go to the hood and kill a 44 oz Schlitz Malt Liquor can with my home boys…my new people.



The Russian re-tread (pun intended) has improvised slat-armor and is missing ERA on its turret. The reactive armor under the gun is devastating to friendly dismounted infantry who may be arrayed in front, screening for the tank


A US M18 Hellcat (modified locally)

It was surrendered by the Serbs to NATO during the Bosnia War, 1995. The engine deck was  replaced by the hood and radiator from a FAP-13 2.5-ton truck.

A normal, unmodified Hellcat tank destroyer.


Arizona Tactical

Maybe it’s better that Antifa stays in California.

Champagne Bolsheviks




The Bored Children of Elites

‘The counter culture exists in the country, but it was never a matter of the poor vs. the rich. We see idiot children of the American ruling class, Champagne Bolsheviks and the phony oppressed play Jacobite for a while until they return to graduate school in the fall.

‘Actual poor, oppressed masses of the world live in squalor, but they do not live in squalor by choice the way that we see in the “occupy movement” in its current evolution. Playing poor is the woke version of playing cowboys and Indians, but playing cowboys and Indians would make you a pariah, even if, like the infinitely progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren, you chose to be an Indian.’


CHAZ now Chopistan


Democrats, Bitterly Clinging to Power

In the era of Trump, black empowerment through economic prosperity threatens to upend the applecart that has kept them poor, ignorant, and voting Democrat reliably. The levers of power are threatened. The internal rot in America is exposed and that can’t happen.

What happens when people no longer need (or want) food stamps? What happens when people have jobs, and are self-empowered?

So— They busy themselves burning Black businesses and stoking the crime rates and creating unemployment, and creating all the misery that Leftwing policies have created ever since the Great Society started by bribing them into unemployment, divorce, bastardy and dependency. They say Black Lives Matter, but then take the police away, leaving those lives at the mercy of gangs and rioters.

These oh-so-virtuous panderers who say the Black Lives Matter want to virtue signal their virtue, and also signal their power over Blacks.

They want to play the Great White Savior to save the Blacks — from the very evils they themselves promote.

And when their victims act — what is their word? — uppity and the Blacks vote for Trump, why, then the Donkey governors and Donkey mayors tell the police to stand down, and the Donkey billionaires bus in the rioters, and burn everything Black lives have worked so hard to gain these last three years.

They say it is institutional racism. Really? What institutions?

Police forces under Dem administration control by public sector unions controlled by Dem billionaires? Businesses controlled by Dem billionaires? Silicon valley controlled by Dem billionaires? Sports teams controlled by Dem billionaires? Nightly news controlled by Dem billionaires? Trashy public schools controlled by public sector unions controlled by Dem billionaires?

Well, yes, maybe there is a point here. All these institutions are controlled by the same political party responsible for the Trail of Tears, the Confederacy, the KKK, Jim Crow.

Why are rioters burning and looting Black-owned businesses, killing Black security guards, driving away Black jobs from the Dem-controlled inner cities, turning Black neighborhood into helpless hellholes? Why?

Because anyone trapped in the inner city, betrayed by teachers unions into failing schools, betrayed by police unions into boglands of crime and lawlessness, betrayed by Great Society programs into a rubble-strewn wasteland of broken families and bastard children, will reliably vote corrupt politicians back into office.

Think about the situation that way and you’re on the pathway to understanding why all this is happening.

Vigilante Moon (part two)

Scene from: The Untouchables (1987), screenplay by David Mamet

Captioned photo credit:  The Untouchables (1987), screenplay by David Mamet

Story copyright © Larry Lambert, 2016-2020

This is a component of a fictional law-enforcement related story that I started in 2016 and it appeared on the blog back then. I’ve since spent some time fleshing it out into a novelette length in my spare time, but frankly, there hasn’t been much of that. It’s the journey of Police Sergeant Michael Francis Xavier Muldoon and his journey through the dystopian world of law enforcement, set sometime in the future.

I hope that you enjoy–

Vigilante Moon, continued

I supervise a foot beat because I’m inept at collecting. I’m simply not a very good earner, and neither are the guys and gals who work for me. The good earners gravitate to vice, narcotics, intelligence and traffic enforcement where the big money is raked in. The elite executive protection and Party Liaison squads who protect police commanders and Party officials and provide drivers and bodyguards to the great and near great don’t have to be good earners. They simply need to be brutal. In the past year we’ve seen slots in Party Liaison go to leading members of the Brotherhood of International Workers and the International Service Employees Union rather than to trained and vetted police officers. One sergeant’s billet in the Public Control Bureau went to a member of the National Transportation Worker’s Local 919 last month, but I think that he landed that because his father is an alderman in the Twenty-Fourth Ward.

I knew Halvard Drummond from when he worked as a shop steward at Reliable Trucking. He moved directly from an army officer’s slot to the shop steward job and now he continued his career path with the police department’s Civil Unrest Division. Such were the sacrifices required by the party.

I mentioned Drummond, because it finally clicked that he, Drummond, was the person who didn’t fit in, outside the window at the Indian Restaurant. He’d been dressed up to pass for a street vagrant, but it was Drummond. The only remaining question was why he was there.

“Dewey, I saw Howard Drummond outside just a minute ago.”

“Was he wearing his army captain’s uniform, his shop steward shirt or his police Gestapo outfit?”

“Neither. He was dressed up like a bum.”

Dewey said, “That’s odd, he’s the sort of guy who likes to let you know he’s there.”

I stepped out into the sunshine and looked around but I didn’t see Drummond. So, I walked out onto the street with my lunch wrapped in a tortilla forming a burrito, and ate as I watched. If you never wore a badge, you won’t know what I’m talking about. Civilians walk the streets or ride on trams and don’t pay attention to the people around them. All I’ve done is watch people and where a civilian wouldn’t see anything amiss, it stands out to a cop, particularly one who walks a beat. Drummond stood out as if he wore a neon sign.

Dewey followed me a moment later. “Do you think it was Drummond, or maybe a bum that looked like Drummond?”

I stared at Dewey.

“Okay, Michael Francis Xavier Muldoon, you’re never wrong about a thing like that.”

“That’s right, I’m not.”

I noticed another bum who looked out of place stood down the street, but it wasn’t Drummond. His eyes were fixed on the Third Interstate Bank building. I crossed the street and walked over to him, finishing my burrito with one last delicious mouthful, and gulping it down, said, “Step into my office.”

He looked up at me. Face well shaved, plump bordering on over-fed, dark eyes in a skull framed by a raggedy, hooded parka, gerry curls drifted out next to his face.

“Pull back the parka hood.” He complied and I saw hair styled with long, greasy ringlets.

Dewey followed me when I walked over. “What do you make of that?” He saw the same thing I did.

I pulled my electroshock blaster/stunner from its holder and twisted the charging handle. It gave off a low hum and vibrated as it powered up. You can say one thing for the Party. They like their troops to be well armed.  In addition to a conventional pistol, I carried the blaster, two conventional hand grenades, two stingball grenades, and a short sword with a sharp blade on one side and an entry blade for chopping doors down on the other. Oh, yeah, and the 245 Gonzales sap.

“Break out identification,” I ordered.

“Don’t have any,” the wealthy-looking man, slumming in low street clothing replied.

No bum would ever say that because failure to identify always ended badly for them. I put his age at somewhere between thirty and thirty-five. His eyes darted to me, then to Dewey, then back to mine. “If he wasn’t there, I’d take you, flatfoot.”

Dewey still walked like a police sergeant, talked and behaved like a police sergeant and kept his lion-colored hair hair spiked in what had become the police fashion.

What to do?

I did what anybody on the beat should do.  I fired a blaster round at him. Each blaster fired up to forty rounds called ‘bees’ that were about the size and shape of a large bumblebee. Each bee had a potent enough charge to put a horse or cow on the ground and into convulsions. They completely incapacitated a healthy human being. If the human being in question had health issues, it could be fatal.

It wasn’t fatal to the fake bum, because I only fired two bees, but it did put him into convulsions.  I hadn’t deactivated the bees and they continued to send a gazillion volts through him.  So he bucked and twitched, foamed at the mouth like a rabid dog and his bladder and intestines voided. Only then did I deactivate the bees.

Dewey walked back into his pawnshop once I handcuffed the bum. He watched from a distance because he’d done the same sort of thing himself countless times and knew that encapsulation was coming. When I keyed the microphone, it sent out a GPS signal with my precise coordinates. There are also GPS transponders that we’re supposed to wear, but none of those work.

I called for the Short Bus on the radio for a transport.  The armored three-ton “Short Bus”  (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) six-wheeled paddy wagon roared up while he was still twitching, though now handcuffed and searched.

Corporal Bruce (Blue Moon) Mooney worked for me and drove the armored car that was mine-proof, bullet-proof, grenade-proof, everything but idiot-proof.

“What ya got, Sarge?”

Mooney had a long, hang-dog, wrinkled face. He’d been on the job twenty longer than me and had a serious alcohol problem, which is why he drove the wagon. It was almost impossible to dent the Short Bus no matter what you hit, and he hit a lot of things when he was in his cups.

I handed Mooney what I found on the guy. “His name is Mark Fuller and he’s carrying army credentials, even though he’s out of uniform. He’s also got a small army issue handgun.”

Mooney bagged the ID and gun, then I handed him the magazine I’d taken from the pistol. “It’s one of those fancy pistols that only fires if the DNA of the trigger puller matches the chip in the weapon.”

“Exploding rounds.” Mooney marveled.

“That means he’s either a very good army imposter, a deserter or he’s a soldier here on the street out of uniform, wearing long, curly hair, with a yen to hurt a cop.”

“Did he try anything on you, Sarge?”

“He wanted to, but I blasted him for good measure before he got the chance.”

“Good thinking.”

“The word is ‘proactive’, Corporal.”

I helped Mooney lift Soldier Mark Fuller into the coffin on the back of the wagon. They aren’t real coffins. They look like metal coffins and we use them to transport incapacitated prisoners. It’s officially called encapsulation. You dump the prisoner in the coffin and it’s moved into position on top of the wagon by means of a hydraulic hoist.

Before the coffin snapped shut, Drummond walked up to me, dressed in his bum clothing.

“The damned blasters are effective.” Drummond observed dispassionately, “But you’ll have hell to pay.” Then he looked up at me, because I’m taller than he is.  “Yeah, they’re with me. They’re from the Federal Protective Police.”

The coffin lid snapped shut. Mooney toggled the hoist.

“Nobody told me about an operation in my district, Drummond. The rules call for me to be informed. If I’m not, I’m not responsible for any pre-emptive action I take.”

“The Protective Police can do more or less anything they want because they guard the Party’s elite.”

“He doesn’t have police identification. He has army identification, he’s out of uniform, and he may be a fancy fed, but he wasn’t blaster-proof was he?”

Drummond’s voice grew plaintive, “I said he was with me, Sergeant Muldoon.”

“How many times have you busted my chops, Drummond?”

The coffin clanked home on top of the wagon and the retaining latches engaged.

Drummond shrugged. “Fuck ‘em. Frankly, Muldoon I don’t care much about the guy. He treated me like a local.”

“You are a local,” I pointed out politely, “and so am I.”

“I was an army officer, a federal officer,” Drummond said somewhat wistfully.

“You’re a Party man. You do what the Party says, right?” Drummond looked at me hard and I saw for once that he wasn’t all together pleased with who he was. I filed it away and slapped the armored flanks of the wagon. Blue-black smoke belched from its smoke stacks as it powered up and lumbered from the curb into the street.

Lieutenant Rudolph Chang, even more of a lush than Corporal Mooney, served as the watch commander and my immediate boss for the South Side. Drummond called ahead so Chang was aware of something afoot, but neither he nor Drummond cracked the coffin with Soldier Mark Fuller, or whatever his real name was, still stuffed in it. In fact, Drummond was nowhere to be seen.

A couple of hours had passed since Mooney hoisted it onto the wagon. I didn’t like being called a flatfoot, so I let the situation mellow. I imagined that it was getting ripe in there – and hot. Oxygen ported into the coffins by way of ducting so unless he vomited and aspirated it, it was unlikely he’d die from asphyxiation while confined. But if he wasn’t dead, he’d be conscious and furious inside the coffin with his full trousers getting raunchier. The early coffins allowed prisoners to claw the lid from the inside, but these formed a tight seal and it was hell for people with the slightest hint of claustrophobia.

I met the lieutenant near the wagon. Mooney stood more or less to attention.

“Muldoon, what are you doing out there on my streets?” Chang asked. His Asiatic eyes were narrowed to even finer slits than they had been.

“Earning, Lieutenant Chang.”

A light went on in Chang’s more or less pickled mind and his eyes opened, hopeful. “What did you come up with, Muldoon?”

“Contraband alcoholic beverage, no tax stamps. A whole case of Tullimore Dew export grade.” Dewey gave me the case to bring in with me because he thought somebody was going to be upset about the electroshocked fed.

Chang pulled me aside by the arm, out of earshot from Corporal Mooney. “Where did you find it?”

“Not far from where I arrested this guy. I think maybe he’s an army deserter and had the stash.” Untaxed alcohol is a very serious crime as are all crimes where a Party stamp is required on goods.

“Someone is coming to collect the prisoner, but there is no need to indict a young soldier for that sort of indiscretion, is there?”

“For wanting a drink? Certainly not, Lieutenant Chang. Perhaps you could book the evidence, or destroy it. It’s not a task I want to delegate to Corporal Mooney because he’s a man given over to drink and might consume some of the contraband in the process of its destruction.”

“I agree to take charge of it. Where might it be?” Lieutenant Chang licked his lips involuntarily.

I handed the lieutenant the keys to my black Mariah, the armored cruiser that I drove – perquisite of a sergeant because of Party membership. “It’s in the back, under a blanket.”

Lieutenant Chang took the keys and that’s the last I saw of him on that shift. I found the keys to my car on his desk later that day.

“Drop the coffin, Mooney. Let’s see what we have inside.”

Mooney had the coffin half-way down when Captain Wilbur Drake walked up into the enclosed bay, called a sally port, that held the Short Bus. Two civilians in natty business suits followed him.  One short, the other taller than I am.

Drake had an anger problem as severe as Chang’s drinking problem. He always traveled with a full head of steam.

“I think you pissed off Captain Drake.” Mooney said to me.

“You’ve got a remarkable grasp of the fucking obvious, Blue Moon,” Captain Drake told Corporal Mooney. Drake is known for his remarkably acute hearing. Some credit that and that alone to his rise in the ranks to Captain. Others attribute his rapid promotion to a wife that didn’t hesitate to pleasure superior officers who had the power to recommend for promotion.

Drake talked a good game when he chewed me out, but he used to work for Dewey when he’d started on the department and as a result, I know where the skeletons are buried. I always took the reprimands with due humility, but knew that he knew, that there were limits. For the most part, he’d yell at me in public to let everyone know I didn’t enjoy any special privileges.

“One of these days, I’m going to grab you by the stacking swivel and shake the stupid out of you, Muldoon.”

“I’m a poor excuse for a sergeant, Captain Drake.”

Drake ordered, “Drop the goddamned coffin and let’s have a look at this—pride of the Federal Government.”

Mooney lowered the coffin to the concrete deck and toggled the release button. Air hissed and the retaining latches snapped open.

Agent Fuller sat up, forming a ninety-degree angle with his waist as the pivot point.  He sucked in a deep breath. My eyes began to water from the corrupt smell erupting from the coffin. Vomit, shit, piss and every other possible leakage from a human orifice each had their own peculiar offensive smell. When combined, the synergistic effect made me want to puke, but I didn’t.

“I’m gonna kill you cop!” Fuller croaked, looking up at me through puffy, red eyes.

The shorter of the two feds spoke up.

“Shut your cock holster, Fuller.”

Fuller closed his mouth as ordered.

I went away with the feds and Captain Drake while Mooney took a fire hose to Soldier Fuller, or whoever he really was, and the inside of the coffin. Thankfully, the interior of those coffins are designed to be washed and reused without much more than a fire hose blast.

The shorter Fed identified himself to me Erasimo Tambunga. Many of them take African-style names because it is the fashion and demonstrates their commitment to African heritage whether they are genuinely Africans, part African, or not. Soldier Fuller’s skin had a milk chocolate luster. Tambunga had skin black as anthracite, but it was a pigment enhancer that he’d taken. If you want to play to trends, you get a skin job.

“Fuller is a trench monkey, Sergeant Muldoon. I’m sorry if he caused you any trouble.” That sort of language coming from a fed constituted an ominous change in behavior. My guard snapped up though my face remained a mask of appreciation. “But he’s out there on the street on a special mission. Alderman Wlibur Quail is missing and we suspect foul play.”

“This is the first I’ve heard of that.”

Tambunga said, “I argued for letting the locals know but it’s a Party matter first when one of our leaders is unaccounted for.”

“Can I tell my men to be on the look-out, Agent Tambunga?”

“You can call me Erasimo, and yes I think that it’s time we put the word out that Alderman Quail may be the victim of foul play. As a police sergeant, you know that subversive elements remain in our model society no matter how well off the citizens are. There was even a serpent in Eden, Sergeant Muldoon.”

We created this worker’s paradise when we became Sheeople, and the greed of the common man overcame his willingness to work for the good of all. The myriad of labor unions and the Party itself formed a living, breathing thugocracy that existed to serve its own ends.  We were divided and then we were conquered by our own.

Ehigie, called Eggy, ran Rubin’s Deli, the Rubin family having moved on two decades previously. He hailed from Nigeria and didn’t talk much about his life there. Eggy didn’t talk much about anything. People rarely came to the deli because he served Nigerian food and there were very few Nigerians in the city.

Dewey thought that the local politics were foolish. Eggy didn’t talk to Silky Jackson, who ran Girls-Girls-Girls because Silky was a high yellow negro and Eggy’s skin was so black that very little light reflected, at least that’s how Dewey saw it. It turned out that the strip bar that Silky built near his dining establishment had offended Eggy’s sense of modesty. People misunderstood race to mean agenda.

As I mentioned, Nelson Begay ran an Indian restaurant – Not a restaurant serving East Indian food. Nelson served southwestern cuisine because he came from Gallup, New Mexico, not from Bombay or Calcutta.

And me? When Tambunga told me about the Wilbur Quail abduction, I became as alert as a mouse at a cat show. When had Wilbur been abducted? Marie Watts almost raped me after work a week ago, probing about what I knew about what. Marie was the station clearing barrel, and a tool of upper management. The term clearing barrel refers to the red, sand filled barrels used to verify that small arms are unloaded before turn in. Police officers preparing to turn in weapons line up and dry fire their rifles into the barrel. Some called her the ‘department groundsheet’. The presence and agenda of Marie Watts made me wearily contemplate some idiotic or malicious decisions by higher-ups. She never appeared unbidden. But maybe, just maybe it had something to do with Alderman Quail.

Advanced as we had once become, we were hurtling backwards into a new dark age. I saw it every day, felt it with every sunset and retrospective glance at the day before. In the story of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the main character, Hank Morgan, a mechanic in an arms manufacturing plant woke up one day in King Arthur’s England. He did everything that he could to advance the backwardness of the peasants and royalty alike, but in the end it all came to naught, as the people were forgetful and more comfortable in their ignorance. All of the advancements he made to the civilization in which he found himself were wasted, and there’s the nugget of truth for today’s civilization. Perhaps it had something to do with the end of reading as a pastime. People preferred to be force-fed trivia through video screens and pads. Electronic games replaced learning by offering endless entertainment.

I might be a police sergeant supervising a street squad, but I could read contraband books the same as everyone else. In fact, other than the job and a wife who generally ignored me, the books were all that I had.  They told an ancient story that repeated itself over and over again through the ages, and in a weird sense, told my story.

We put ourselves in the same place that the Roman Empire found itself. The people who built and forged the institutions that made the nation great had long been dead by the end. Men like Scipio couldn’t reach out and teach the later offspring about life and how to wage war. Adaptation to the police state and thugocracy that I myself perpetuated was easier than struggling to keep things strong. Values were replaced by emotion and unbounded greed. It had become greed, more than anything else that bound the society. Every institution in the country had become corrupt at the Party’s urging. We became slothful, and failed in our basic responsibility to the generations to follow. A nation built upon optimism and faith, which sloughs off its beliefs will descend into hedonism, decadence and fatalism. And some operative in police management sent Marie Watts, the clearing barrel, to me to seduce information out of me that I didn’t have. It’s simply how things were done now.

Of course, I knew who had Wilbur Quail on ice. Who else? John Dewey had authored a training course on planned political kidnapping, he had a secret room under the Third Interstate Bank and he sat on a pile of cash from the armored car heist. He had the motivation, the skill and the bankroll along with the natural vindictiveness that all police officers harbored toward the politicians who treated us like servants or pawns in their power struggles.


When the complete novelette, Vigilante Moon is available, there will be a notice on this blog.

Open Forum

A painting by Jackson Pollock

A reader from Bangkok suggested that we do an open forum Q and A on the blog, and I’m frankly reluctant. However he has something on his chest and wanted to throw spaghetti against the wall to see if it would stick.

I have questions such as “who is really buried in Grant’s Tomb”.

If I had been smarter, I’d have been Jackson Pollock. I’d have filled squirt bottles with pigment, would have splashed them on canvas and people would have paid me $4 million for an original “Larry” painting.  Maybe that ship hasn’t sailed. It is said that a fool and his money are soon parted. If any of you send me a cashier’s check for $1 million or better $1 million in Krugerand, I promise to send you TWO original LL paintings (while the supply lasts). They’re bound to double in price at some point.

Pollock was widely noticed for his technique of pouring or splashing liquid household paint onto a horizontal surface. That’s not quite the same as throwing spaghetti against the wall to see it if will stick, or tossing ideas out.

Jackson Pollock, a reclusive, volatile, drunk who died behind the wheel in 1956, was said to splash pigment during a drug induced orgy of frenetic dance. His work only became famous after he croaked – for it is often the case with artists.

If you’re going to participate in a Q and A there will be none of that behavior here.

The forum is now yours.


Legends and Consequences

Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) IR photo of Saturn


The True Cross

St. Helena

Until recently, I’d never actually heard of the True Cross legends, about how it was fashioned from wood that originally grew from a tree planted by a son of Adam and Eve and was made into a bridge crossed by the Queen of Sheba on her way to meet King Solomon who was scared of it and buried the timber until later it was dug up and made into a cross and used to crucify Jesus Christ and then hidden again so it could be found by medieval tourists (Constantine’s mother and entourage in 326).


Nearly as  Profound as finding the True Cross while on vacation… but also legendary…

The Duchess, definitely cooler than you are.

Dutchess Meghan Markle told her friends that her instinct to leave the UK ‘all makes sense’ now because she was ‘destined’ to help fight systemic racism in US – and she hasn’t ruled out a career in politics. She’s here to help and is willing to reach out to the racist curs in America to heal the divide. Meghan is willing to lead us. Please drop her a note of thanks. I don’t know where she and her cuckolded husband are living in LA, but you can send your letter to Buckingham Palace c/o Queen Elizabeth. I’m sure they’ll get it to her. And if you want to enclose a check (love gift), I know that it will be well spent.


Finding a Better Speed Bump


Free Falling


Taiwan’s Reach



I’m sitting in the den at the White Wolf mine, trying to blog.

Pink Floyd is on a continuous loop (the later stuff with Waters and Gilmour starting with Dark Side of the Moon – chopping some words out on Vigilante Moon), planning on taking the canoe out early to the Blue Ridge Reservoir for a paddle.  That’s my life these days. On the phone with lawyers and guys in China and guys in Mexico and then the phone becomes too much. Writing and blogging and what not at night. Except night is tomorrow in China, and that messing things up and the chi is destroyed for a while.

Vigilante Moon (part one)

Scene from: The Untouchables (1987), screenplay by David Mamet

Captioned photo credit:  The Untouchables (1987), screenplay by David Mamet

Copyright © 2016-2020, Larry Lambert, all rights reserved

This is a component of a fictional law-enforcement related story that I started in 2016 and it appeared on the blog back then. I’ve since spent some time fleshing it out into a novelette length in my spare time, but frankly, there hasn’t been much of that. It’s the journey of Police Sergeant Michael Francis Xavier Muldoon and his journey through the dystopian world of law enforcement, set sometime in the future.

I hope that you enjoy–

Vigilante Moon

Just because the curtain is drawn inside the bordello’s window doesn’t mean that you don’t know what’s going on inside.


The gas lamp sizzled to life in the corner of the damp basement. Black water condensed and dripped from a corner, pooled and then migrated to drain through a rusted grate in the floor. From there it slurped slowly into the sewer. John Dewey didn’t care because the basement offered him one thing he could get nowhere else. Genuine privacy.

Nobody else knew that the room existed beneath the vault of the aging First Interstate Bank. Well, not until he told me about it and I didn’t say a word to anyone else.

He surmised that it had been constructed as a furnace room for the dry goods store that Tavagleone & Sons ran back before Third Interstate Bank showed up and built a bank and then an office building on top of that at the conclusion of the Second World War. When they installed the depository, the contractor walled up the entrance and the presence of the hidden room passed from memory.

Dewey found it by accident seven decades later when the building superintendent hired him on to swamp the floor and maintain the hallways of the executive condos stacked twenty stories over the top of the bank. The stairway down had been turned into a broom closet and the air gently blowing through the wood slat wall at the back alerted him to something that wasn’t quite what it seemed. He pushed one plank out. Nails in damp wood resisted with an audible groan but they gave way with very little effort.  The space beyond, black as a crypt, had been left unseen by human eyes for nearly a century, but sets of tiny red rodent eyes reflected back when he shined his flashlight down the rotting stairway. It was damp, the result of a pipe in the process of falling apart, spraying a fine mist into the void.

For the next several weeks, he improved the stairs leading down, replacing rotten steps with new planks. He cleaned out the room itself to the extent he was able, and plumbed in a natural gas line from the main that led to the bank’s heating unit. The energy heated the dank room and provided weak light to a room that would otherwise have existed in eternal inky darkness. Dewey thought about stubbing in an electric line, but the place was wet enough and his skill at dealing with electricity inexpert enough that he knew would just as likely electrocute himself. John Dewey had some experience with water and electrical current, as will be explained fully.

The stairway led straight down, however, in his exploration, Dewey found a vent that led to the outside. He enlarged it, camouflaged the entrance, and then sealed off the top of the stairway thoroughly so that nobody else was likely to discover or duplicate his path.

After he completed the project he quit his night janitorial job and opened a small storefront pawnshop down the street between Girls-Girls-Girls, and Indian Food. Before it was a pawnshop, the place had been a dry cleaner owned by a succession of Korean proprietors. Inside it smelled strongly of perchloroethylene and the smell drifted into both Girls-Girls-Girls and the Indian food restaurant, though nothing could be done about it. John Dewey never seemed to care one way or the other about the smell. If he did, I never heard him comment and I never asked him.

On the day that seemed to start it all, I walked into Dewey’s Pawn and Loan wearing my uniform with my badge shined to a high luster, since I was on duty.

“Michael Francis Xavier Muldoon!” Dewey shouted from the back office, using my full name.

“Sergeant Muldoon to you, John Howard Dewey. How’s my favorite shylock?”

He came out of his den like a lion strutting on the veld with a precisely cut, gently spiked, mop of lion colored hair and a very closely trimmed beard. Dewey stood three or four inches shorter than me, which put him at about six feet. His face had an unremarkable cast. His nose might be a bit too long and his ears might have stood out slightly more than what one would consider perfect, but his eyes were bright blue with mirth and there were wrinkles that radiated out from the corners.

A large puddle of water filled the floor of the pawnshop, at least half an inch deep.

I looked around the small store. Everything he had taken in could be summed up in a single word. Junk. He took in junk and handed out money. Dewey didn’t have any family money of his own. He worked with me on the Police Department until the day came when they told him that he either joined the Party, or he’d be discharged with prejudice. Dewey lost his pension, his benefits, his career and his income that day because he didn’t join. I wasn’t as strong as Dewey. I had a wife and three children to support whereas he had three ex-wives who hated him and no ex-kids. I’m not offering it as an excuse. Dewey was the better man that day, as with most days.

With no income from the State, he took odd jobs and one day to the month after the big 7th Avenue armored car robbery, he opened his pawn and loan store. From that point on, he took in goods and handed out money to those in need. I made the connection but I don’t know that anyone else did. The detectives looked for members of a local mixed gang consisting of black males and Cambodian females, as the culprits because the only lead they were able to develop came from me. They weren’t ever able to positively connect the Thirtieth Street Mafistos with the robbery. What do I know? I’m the downtown walking beat supervisor on swing shift. I’m definitely not a trained investigator.

As usual, Dewey gave me an appraising glance and a wink, glancing toward the coffee pot. I nodded casually and he said, “I hope you don’t expect me to buy you a cup and pour it for you.”

My china mug with the Police Department’s logo on it sat next to the Silex where it always did. I toggled the handle and filled it to the brim. Even though sugar shortages meant that nobody had sugar, Dewey had not only sugar, but cubed sugar. I dropped a lump in the coffee and then, on second thought, added a second. Why not? Live large!

“If you want cream, it’s in the ice box,” he offered.

“Cream? I said that I’d take coffee with sugar, not pudding.”

“Whichever way you want, Michael.”

“How do you find cream these days, do you have a cow somewhere?”

“Ah,” Dewey said, giving me a sideways glance, “you just need to know where to get it and have to be willing to exchange a favor or two.”

I heard from my parents that there was a time when you could go to the public store and buy cream, or milk or even buttermilk, but that hadn’t been the case in my lifetime. Maybe a Party store for the very elite would stock a luxury item of that sort, but that class of goods had was denied to the rest.

“There are ham sandwiches with Switzerland cheese in the ice box too, on the black bread you like. I made them for you and your wife. Come by when your shift has ended and take them home.”

I shook my head. The nest thing he’d offer would be a beef steak.

“You spoil me, John Dewey.”

“Nonsense, the scarce items are the best and they are available at times.” The bread available to the public tasted a lot like sawdust sweepings and I suspected that it may have been more than half comprised of that very thing. As a Party member, I could go to the lowest class of store for officials but there was not often much on the shelves, and never real bread, cured meats, or the Switzerland cheese that John knew that I favored with my ham.

I sipped the coffee slowly, savoring its taste with the sugar.

The armored car had been carrying the Party’s squeeze, and though the reported amount was high, I expected that the actual numbers involved were not fully disclosed. I took another drink, and filled the mug again, adding a cube of sugar.

John Dewey picked up a push broom and started moving the water puddle toward a drain.

“Did you have trouble today, John?”

“Weren’t much trouble, Mike.”

I knew Dewey from the old days. He was a black-glove cop and he didn’t tolerate much misconduct on the part of people. Though he was a man of generally pleasant disposition, he could be mean as a cobra when crossed.

“Something I should know about?” I pulled out my 245 Gonzales Sap from the sap pocket of my trousers. Dewey and I were about the only officers who carried saps, and now he left the department it was only me. The younger officers favored electronic disablers, which I liked as well. A stun gun is effective, I guess, but I have always favored the sap. There is something about eight ounces of lead spring weighted inside a leather sheath.

“Just the usual thugs from the ISEU coming by to coerce me to become a union store.” John lifted his hands in supplication. “I told them I’m a one-man show and don’t need to join the union.”

The International Service Employees Union operated as the enforcement arm of the Party. When somebody got out of line, they usually ended up on the wrong side of bare-knuckle fighters from the ISEU.  I worried about Dewey when it came to the ISEU. The Party is polite on occasion, the ISEU isn’t ever. The Party screws you with paperwork and the ISEU busts in your head with a truncheon. I took note once again of the water on the floor and the heavy rubber boots that Dewey wore.

“Two guys come in here into my house and say that a one-man show like mine needs to hire some people from Local 5424 in order to make sure that all this inventory doesn’t walk away. They said it as if a man like me needs protection.”

“You’ve been able to keep an eye on things so far.” I said.

“That’s what I told those fellas.  And the big guy, a high yellow nigger who bounces for Willy’s Tavern part time—.”

“Freddy Dill,” I added, correctly identifying the guy.

“Yeah, that’s his name. Freddy. Anyway, Freddy tells me that I can’t live on past glory, and says that he and his buddy, who I’ve never seen before, are going to show me by example how easy it is to steal from me. The other guy has a handgun and he pulls up his shirt to show it to me.”

I slapped the sap I held in one hand into the palm of the other. There were some ISEU guys who were going to need some educating.

“Freddy comes around and grabs the register to punch the cash drawer open.”

I interrupted. “But none of them noticed the water on the floor?”

“They asked about that. I told them that I couldn’t afford a union plumber. But I didn’t say anything about a union electrician because who can afford one of them?”

“So Big Freddy Dill grabbed the register?”

“Yeah,” Dewey smiled. “He completed the circuit. 220 volts. And he couldn’t let go, so this other shifty looking guy tries to rescue him and he completes the circuit too. It will teach them to wear wingtips into my store when they should be wearing rubber boots.” Dewey laughed a wicked laugh. “I thought it would turn out to be an accidental death situation but both of them survived.”

“How long did they sizzle?”

“Big Freddy bit his tongue something horrible and I let him keep biting until the tip fell off. Then I thought it was time to rescue them but as you know, there is no way to do that unless you hit them with something non-conductive like a baseball bat and break the circuit.”

“You could have turned off the power.” I added dryly.

“Rules require a union member to do that. It’s organized labor’s prerogative.” Dewey said, quoting the spirit of the regulation.

“Of course.”

“So I saved them.”

“How long did it take?”

“I went for the bat, taking care not to injure myself, and found an old axe handle so I used that instead. One solid hit on Big Freddy broke him loose from the register.” Dewey smiled like a shark. “They always come in fours. There were two more guys next door in Girls-Girls-Girls shaking down Silky Jackson. They came over and asked what happened. I said that Freddy, he who now missed an inch-and-a-half of tongue, was kind enough to look into my electrical problem for me since he was a union member and ended up hurting himself and his friend.”

“They bought it?”

“Sure, I gave them the hundred that I told them I had promised Freddy if he’d fix my electrical. They palmed it and hauled away Freddy and his friend. They said they’d make sure Freddy got the cash. I believed them. I don’t know about you.”

I summarized, “Sounds like you were lucky to have union guys here to work on your electrical. I presume it’s fixed?”

Dewey affirmed, “Whatever they did must have fixed the problem—for now.”

“When did the water leak start?”

“When I saw the thugs go into the Indian restaurant next door.”

The Party had rules about naming businesses. If you were a Party member, you could give your business a fancy name. If not, you could only identify the service offered. All it said on the outside of Dewey’s pawn and loan was ‘Pawn & Loan”, written on the glass window. Likewise, the restaurant next door had ‘Indian Food’ written on the glass. It misled many people because they went in expecting curry or saffron rice. Nelson Begay didn’t serve that kind of food because Nelson and his wife are feather Indians, not red-dot Indians. Speaking of which, I told John, “I’m hungry for some of Nelson’s green chili stew and fry bread.”

I polished off the coffee, wiped out the cup and replaced it in is perch of honor, as Dewey grabbed a key to lock up the business.

Dewey and I have been eating Nelson and Mitzie Begay’s cooking for at least a decade and never tire of it. They hired a union cook years before. He never showed up for work. They pay him for not showing so the ISEU guys don’t bust up the place. It doesn’t keep them from trying to get him to hire another union worker who does a no-show. Nelson goes along to get along but he’s a solid guy. He has a small, private, pistol range in the basement of the store and only shoots when there is roadwork or a thunderstorm since firearms ownership is strictly forbidden for non-Party or non-union members. Dewey and I have a longstanding deal with Nelson and Mitzie. We don’t pay cash for food, but I bring ammunition. Nelson comes out way ahead because he trains the common people who can’t afford to buy themselves into the Party or the union, to shoot. Dewey sells pistols and I hand over the ammo that I take for free from the police department’s arsenal. This time I brought two boxes, twenty rounds each, of .357 Magnum riot control rounds.

When I handed Nelson the two boxes of pistol cartridges, back in the kitchen, he whistled low. “The Party authorized us to use magnum rounds with Teflon coating over a steel core for riot control because one bullet will go through two or three people, thus ultimately saving on the number of rounds we need to fire. Hollow points just take out one rioter and they feel it’s a waste.”

“Are you expecting a riot, Sergeant Mike?”

“I’m not, Nelson, but the Party lives in fear so they’ve been stocking up with these new revolver rounds in addition to all the other equipment we have.”

While we were talking in the kitchen, Dewey started eating a burrito in the front of the house. When I walked through the door to the front of the restaurant, I saw a person who did not ‘belong’ in the neighborhood through the glass.  He gave off a vibe that was not in keeping with people who lived and worked around there. The guy was vaguely familiar and I racked my brain to figure out where I’d seen him before.

Before I could investigate further, two guys from the Brotherhood of International Workers walked through the door of Nelson’s Indian Restaurant. The Brotherhood of International Workers is not to be confused with the ISEU. I knew both of them. Ivan Brock, a red haired man with fetal alcohol syndrome features who worked the docks as a stevedore until he moved up in the union and Greaser Morris, also a former longshoreman and even more of a thug than Ivan.

“Ivan, Greaser.” I said in a barely civil tone.

Ivan took in my police badge with its prominent emblem of the Progressive Party and then looked at the array of weapons I carried.

Greaser just said, “They call me Todd now, not Greaser. I don’t lube crane jacks anymore.”

I ignored them. “Freddie Dill and a new guy were by here not two hours ago. The ISEU beat the BIW yet again. You union guys need to get together on who you’re leaning on and when because you’re interfering with the lawful business of the Police Department.”

Ivan and Greaser were stupid, but they did understand the system. Sergeants and above belonged to the Party, which means the money they beat out of businesses was kicked up through the department with everyone taking a taste. From there the squeeze went to the Progressive Party’s Leadership. Union members, who interfered with the police, found themselves dropped from union rolls, forced to compete with the citizens, usually landing in jobs where labor was arduous and the compensation small. There were also recently enacted laws authorizing the police to shoot non-Party members who were interfering with “lawful business”, which meant squeeze. Both Greaser and Ivan knew that too. As Brotherhood union underlings, they did not belong to the party and were fair game. There was a pecking order in the labor unions and the BIW were bottom-feeders.

I pointed to the door and both Ivan and Greaser turned and left in search of more vulnerable prey.

Back in the days of credit cards, people came to rely on plastic over cash. Those days vanished with the political majority of the Progressive Party in the People’s Congress. Credit cards allowed one’s political rivals to count how much money went where.  They enacted a ‘fair tax’ in response to political pressure to do so, but quietly instituted the squeeze system because it netted them more profit without bothersome accountability to other politicians. I haven’t even seen a credit card in ten years, and there is scant need of them since all serious business entertains some form of barter and black market dealing. We live with it whether we like it or not. I’ve been told the Europeans still use credit cards but who knows if the reports are reliable? I haven’t seen a European in a decade either.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m as bad as the other Party guys because I didn’t have the guts that Dewey had to tell them to shove it. As much as I might beg to differ, you’re right.

I supervise a foot beat because I’m inept at collecting. I’m simply not a very good earner, and neither are the guys and gals who work for me. The good earners gravitate to vice, narcotics, intelligence and traffic enforcement where the big money is raked in. The elite executive protection and Party Liaison squads who protect police commanders and Party officials and provide drivers and bodyguards to the great and near great don’t have to be good earners. They simply need to be brutal. In the past year we’ve seen slots in Party Liaison go to leading members of the Brotherhood of International Workers and the International Service Employees Union rather than to trained and vetted police officers. One sergeant’s billet in the Public Control Bureau went to a member of the National Transportation Worker’s Local 919 last month, but I think that he landed that because his father is an alderman in the Twenty-Fourth Ward.


Continued tomorrow, Part 2, finishing the first chapter of Vigilante Moon

Checking In


Those Emotional Norks

The North Koreans haven’t stopped their long march just because there is rioting in the streets and looting of businesses in the distant USA.

There are two inter-Korean business zones near the border between the Koreas. The manufacturing was owned by South Koreans and Communist North Korea provided (slave) labor. That’s all shut down now. Border guard posts that had been removed under a tension reduction deal are going back up.

The North Korean decision to move troops to the now-shuttered industrial complexes at Kaesong and the Mount Kumgang tourist zone on the east coast were punctuated by the North Koreans demolishing the “cooperation center building”.

There was an underlying hope that South Korea would simply capitulate to the North and then they could move down and take charge and enjoy acquiring a wealthy, well-fed environment rather than the Hermit Kingdom where they live, and the population is continually on the brink of starvation.


The De-Fund the Police Movement

All this means is that if you call, screaming for help, the police will take their sweet time getting there and on arrival, after the suspect is long gone, they’ll take a report. Because there will be many fewer officers, they’ll be spread thin. Maybe they can get to you in a couple of days.

If the suspect is a member of a protected class, the DA will never file the case.

They are also saying that if you need protection, you need to look to yourself and yourself alone. I’m personally cool with that because it’s how I have always lived my life. I don’t know about the sheep, though.

I saw a piece on Fox News wherein Albuquerque City will be sending unarmed and unarmored social workers to 911 domestic disturbance calls instead of the police. When you consider that those events and traffic stops are where most police officers are killed, it will be interesting to see how it ends up over time. In the same piece, Albuquerque City officials are most concerned about non-inner city people reacting violently (inappropriate) toward violent inner city looters and criminals.

Identify the Movies and the Characters

Hint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW64tq30egw




A Fashion Idea

If you are going toward the pirate look a crow won’t work and it will have to be a parrot.  I’m not making the rules here, just interpreting them. And if you end up with bird crap on your shoulder, don’t blame me personally.


Arizona State Flag

>>More News from Communist China<<


Movie Poster

The now defunct Iran Nuclear Arms Deal

Firearms Sales are Selling Very Well

The Second Amendment won’t be an election argument this time around. If the police are going to be defunded, you’re on your own.

The Democrats are content with these arms sales. They feel that their new “Federal Police Force” will be able to seize them all. They’ll use expendable pawns. That’s the game.


I just heard a corndog referred to as a meat twinkie and it changed my perspective completely. Life feels differently somehow. (haha)



Do you ever put it on french fries? (asking for a friend who thinks that vinegar and catsup are not necessarily mutually exclusive)

“We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in…” but I don’t think that extends to how you eat french fries. It might, but I don’t think so.


Say the magic word (in 2020)

On Their Own

Atlanta PD Zone 2 during happier times.

In the Atlanta Police Department, Zones 4 and 6 saw all of the police officers walk off the job. Many in the four remaining zones left as well. 60% of the police department is comprised of black officers.

Atlanta PD

Good luck Atlanta, Georgia


Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E

Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E (Sd.Kfz.181) or Tiger I

Blogging about a tank, and not just any tank, but the venerable Tiger 1 is bound to meet with scrutiny from people who read this blog and are more thoroughly read on the subject than I am.

The marriage of the 8.8cm Kw.K. 36 L/56 gun in the turret. (This gun was derived from the 8.8cm Flak 18 and Flak 36 guns and delivered similar ballistic performance.) and the heavily armored chassis was the stuff of legend, but the Tiger 1 had weaknesses too. As with all tanks developed during wartime, it was subject to continual modifications, so taking a snapshot of a Tiger 1 and evaluating it requires care with the context.

The only Tiger 1 crewman I ever met lived in England. As a serving US Naval Officer, seconded to HM Royal Marine Commandos, mid-70’s, I met the man at a bakery where he worked. He married a pretty lady who owned the bakery and went to work there. He was not German, he was Hungarian. When the Russians invaded Hungary in 1956, he was fighting with the Free Hungarian Army (which Eisenhower betrayed) as a crewman in a Tiger Tank. He told the story that the Tiger was an excellent tank, and his tank knocked out over a dozen Russian T-34/85’s before they blew off a one of the Tiger’s tracks. He said it was a matter of time and the tank took several very hard hits, he had been knocked out and was hauled from the tank, injured. He was airlifted to Great Britain as a war refugee (while injured) and ended up meeting and marrying a British girl. So that was his story. He used the tank in a city environment where mobility wasn’t a significant issue, and many shots were made at point-blank range, so the Tiger’s excellent optics weren’t an issue either.

Although development of a heavy tank can be traced back to 1937, the Tiger itself is a product of the sudden encounter with the Soviet KV-1 and T-34 tanks after the invasion of the Soviet Union. The need to outclass these tanks was urgent, so several areas of development and testing had to be rushed or simply ignored. With a lot of heavy tank development already completed the Tiger was, in some ways, an accidental design.

During the Soviet 1943 Offensive, the impact of the Tiger was  felt when, despite operating not more than seven Tigers in the field at any time, they are credited with nearly a quarter of all Soviet tank losses, hardly surprising as the Soviet 76mm F-34 tank gun was unable to pierce even the side or rear armor on the Tiger.

The first large scale combat action for the Tiger I took place in July 1943, during Operation Citadel at Kursk, when 146 Tigers were used.

Russian, British and American medium tanks had very little chance of success against a Tiger 1 in an open battlefield. The gun was slow to traverse and the tank was relatively slow, but it could deliver punishing punches and could absorb significant damage and remain in the fight. The 8.8cm Kw.K. 36 L/56 gun firing an AP round could punch through the frontal armor of enemy tanks (where the armor was thickest).

The Tiger lacked sloped armor but that was rarely a problem.

Swarm tactics against tigers where half a dozen allied tanks attacked at once in a game of Russian roulette, reducing the range and hoping that one tank would make it close enough to deliver a fatal shot to the rear of the Tiger became the only tactic with a chance of success, however, if there were two or three Tigers operating together, the odds were slim.

They were expensive to produce. Would the Germans have been better off building more Panther (Panzer V, Ausf.D, etc.) medium tanks? Or was the mere presence of the heavy Tigers a psychological advantage that was worth nearly 2X the cost?

Armchair warriors re-fight the wars with the wisdom of hindsight, and can make their points and score their victories, but the Tiger 1 will go down as a significant war fighting machine in their age.

Times and Seasons


Fun with Photography



I have received a couple of e-mails asking me what the purpose of the Virtual Mirage Blog might be. I will attempt to answer the question. On the sidebar to the right, you will read:

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad, you’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad,” asked Alice?

“You must be,” said the cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

George Bernard Shaw, the famous British philosopher and author wrote,


“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”


Most people who end up returning here are unreasonable. The only thing that goes with the flow is a dead fish.

I hope that you enjoy the blog. “No law nor duty bade me fight, no public man, nor cheering crowd…etc.”


The Pedophile Prince


Sometimes you need to recall the Larger Picture

Food Preferences

I like meat cooked properly over an open fire. Don’t ask me why, I like it, but I do. City people never experience that so if you’re a city person, don’t worry about it. Open a can of tofu or something. Go buy a burger from McDonalds, or a fake taco from Taco Bell. Enjoy your perception of life.

Hints: (1) Watch the meat while it cooks or your friend’s dog will get it. (2) Don’t use parachute cord to wrap the meat because it melts. (3) baste the meat as you are moved to with garlic and herb butter. You should have prepared the rolled roast so it also bastes from the inside out. If you need more hints, e-mail LSP, he’s more of a chef and he has a dog that will just come up and steal the roast without remorse – or a steak – or a fried cherry pie.

I have an incurable love of olives, and when you blend them with fresh, crusty bread, and you make olive bread, I’m afraid that it is a potent (and delicious) drug.


Some people call it a wasteland. I call it close to home.

Mysterious Pluto

Pluto has a heart...

More here on Pluto

Whether you think that Pluto is a Kuyper Belt Object (or a planet) is your affair. Some feel that a mission to explore Pluto’s oceans should be a much higher priority than it is now. But if Pluto is to receive robotic landers, it will be beyond 2050 because of limited resources and the difficulties of putting a spacecraft on the ground – on Pluto.

The sand dunes of Pluto (scientists have determined) are comprised of methane granules that are blown into drifts by the wind on Pluto.

It’s an exotic place. I think that there is much to be learned.


Smiles and Tribulations


Even though the news lately has been dominated by inner city people who riot, loot and burn, Communist China has not gone away. The US news cycle, it seems, can only focus on one thing at a time…maybe there is a reason for that?


Pretend that you don’t see anything, he’s doing the best he can.

That’s a metaphor for what’s going on with the Communist Chinese situation on the world stage. Of course, I’ll explain.

President Donald Trump’s recent threat to penalize China and Hong Kong for Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law on its special administrative region could mark the beginning of a process to cut off access to US dollars.

While the composition of “the measures” from the United States remains unclear, most analysts do not expect the Trump administration to impose extreme sanctions against Chinese financial institutions which would cut them off outright from the US dollar payment system, which is underpinned by the Swift network. In addition, avoiding a full-blown financial war with China over Hong Kong would preserve the current phase one trade deal.

However, the US will begin to separate itself from the Communist Chinese supply chain over time, reducing financial and trade ties with China, gradually choking off the supply of US dollars in China.

Either China has to ensure that dollars keep flowing or the globalized dollar world excludes China, which is equivalent of putting a ‘bamboo curtain’ around the country.

Depending on the exact nature of the sanctions, they could force other international financial institutions to limit or even sever their relationships with these Chinese banks, cutting them off from much of the global US dollar market.

The sanction threats from the US over the national security law proposal in Hong Kong come on top of existing concerns that the nation may be running short of US dollars, which is still the primary choice for international trade, investment and payments.

The effect of the Chinese Plague created an acute need for US dollars in China to pay for its massive imports and payments on US dollar-denominated debt because of its sharply reduced ability to earn foreign exchange income through exports, tourism receipts and foreign direct investments. That led to China recording a negative current account balance – the difference between current receipts from abroad and current payments overseas – in the first quarter of 2020, the first deficit since 2018 when Washington began to balance trade with the communists.

For most of the last decade, China’s current account posted large surpluses, a key source of US dollars, but it fell to a deficit of US$29.7 billion in the first quarter, down from a surplus of US$40.5 billion at the end of 2019, making China a net exporter of US dollars.

China’s US dollar shortage may still worsen further as the US-China trade war moves ahead, with many analysts expecting China to shift to a near zero trade balance over the medium term.

That trade situation with Communist China will deteriorate as nations around the world begin to bring production of goods back home, securing a stronger domestic supply chain. It seems that nobody trusts the communists anymore. Not even the Europeans, who took massive Chinese bribes over the years.

Beijing is pinning on hopes that its domestic financial reforms will boost portfolio investments inflows into its capital markets, especially through the Stock Connect and Bond Connect schemes for foreign investors.

Beijing has relaxed its foreign ownership rules to lure foreign companies to remain connected. It may be working in the short term because of the greed factor. Last week, Credit Suisse week took control of its China securities joint venture, Credit Suisse Founder Securities. It joined US banks JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as Hong Kong’s HSBC, Switzerland’s UBS and Japan’s Nomura, as foreign majority owners of China-based securities firms.

Though the word is spoken very softly, the communists are pinning their future on the election of corrupt, creepy, senile old Joe Biden to the US presidency. The question isn’t only one of a Biden victory, but whether Joe will stay bought, and will his vice president/successor stay bought too.

At the end of May, Trump instructed a presidential working group of top financial regulators to study “differing practices of Chinese companies listed on US markets with the goal of protecting American investors”, particularly their practice of not complying with the auditing requirements for other listed companies. The comments followed his executive order in early May banning the main government pension fund from investing in Chinese stocks.

Another source of US dollars for China comes from the money raised by Chinese firms in the US. In total, Chinese firms have raised over US$1 trillion by listing their shares on US stock exchanges. A bill passed by the US Senate with broad bipartisan support would require Chinese firms to comply with US auditing requirements, as well as make disclosures about government shareholdings in their firms and members of the Communist Party in management positions, which could lead to delisting of Chinese firms that do not comply, potentially preventing other Chinese firms from pursuing initial public offerings in the US.

Over half  Communist China’s US$3.1 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves are held in US dollar dominated assets. BUT –

How long can China sustain its economy [amid a US dollar shortage] by cutting back on its imports and depend on self-reliance?

The reserves are maintained only because authorities are clamping down on outbound remittances through draconian capital controls on its citizens, which do not support China’s integration into a globalized, US dollar-dominated world.

The Bamboo Curtain is going up even with the continued participation of American and other banks as Communist China, an international pariah, has had its camouflage stripped from it and as its true intentions have been made obvious.

Rogers’ Rangers



Major Robert Rogers

“Never take a chance you don’t have to.”

The founder of the Rangers was an iconic personality whose full story won’t be told here. There are a number of excellent biographies and military campaign studies out there. I was recently reading about his second winter campaign.

Robert Rogers, an American serving with the British in British North America during Queen Anne’s War (also referred to as the French and Native American War and the Seven Years War), changed strategy and tactics that mimicked the tactics used by the locals. His troops operated under 28 Standing Orders. Misunderstood by many British Generals and held at arm’s length almost always, his operations are still studied to this day.

Rodgers didn’t end well. Because of his legal troubles in England, Robert Rogers didn’t personally experience major events in the  colonies that led to war. By 1775, a full blown revolution was almost inevitable and he returned to the Colonies, but things had changed. The Americans were as out of touch with Rogers as he was with them, looking upon him as the noted ranger leader and expecting him to behave as one; they were at a total loss to explain his drunken and licentious behavior. At that time, Rogers was perhaps suffering from the alcoholism that blighted his later life and led to the loss of his family, land, money, and friends.

It is unclear exactly what transpired between the revolutionary leaders and Rogers. Rogers was arrested by the local Committee of Safety as a possible spy and released on parole that he would not serve against the colonies.

He was offered a commission in the Revolutionary Army by the Continental Congress,  but declined on the grounds that he was a British officer. He later wrote to George Washington asking for a command, but instead Washington had him arrested.

After that things went downhill as he returned to the British fold. Washington’s fears that Rogers was a spy were vindicated when it was he who arrested Nathan Hale, who said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” before Hale was hanged.

He was a complicated man with an understanding of unconventional war on the American continent who was willing to put those ideas to the test during the French and Indian war. His personal problems overwhelmed him thereafter and he was unable to pick a side. He died a broken drunk in England.

His legacy lives on with the US Ranger Battalions, the Canadians, and with those who study history and unconventional warfare.

Then and Now

F-8E Crusader

Do You Remember

When there were Boy Scouts and there were rules against having homosexual scoutmasters, and pedophiles among the ranks of scouting leadership?

Do you remember when Cub Scouts were boys and not an experiment in mixed genders? And when boys could participate in a “boy-run organization” for the betterment of young men everywhere? And when boys could go camping and ‘be boys’?

I recall that too. Then the progressives destroyed it, the way they destroy EVERYTHING that they touch. I’m sure there was a lot of toasting and congratulations when the Boy Scouts went under, never to return. Liberals always hated Boy Scouting because it implied that “Boys” could have an organization. Yes there were also Girl Scouts, but they were never targeted for destruction.

And if you think that I’m grinding an axe, I am. I watch the progressive agenda unfold and there is only degradation and filth that follows in their wake.

Merl Haggard


I like the F-8 Crusader, I just do.

The Crusader has been somewhat eclipsed by other naval fighters but I still remember it, and in its day, the platform was very effective. No, it’s not an F-35C, but it was an effective foil to MiG’s in Vietnam.


Tales from CHAZ (link)

Daily Timewaster explores the Conflict Resolution Advisory Council in the independent nation of CHAZ. It’s worth a look.  I commented that the Eskimo community is not represented.  And there are a lot of Mexicans who live there. The La Familia Michoacan cartel has a significant presence in town. Where do the mandarins in CHAZ think that the meth and the fentanyl comes from? Why doesn’t the Cartel have a voice?


Cause and Effect

There will be a backlash to the looting, the burning, the vandalism, and the efforts to tear down the nation, but that backlash has historically been asymetrical. White people don’t burn down their own neighborhoods, or loot local businesses. That backlash may come at the ballot box, or it may come in some other indirect form. Some people aren’t interested in direct confrontation in the streets. They may simply prefer to express their opposition in a way that these protesters expect it least — businesses moving out, reluctance to hire, reluctance to visit a neighborhood, increased insurance rates that make doing business in a ghetto impossible, effectively abandoning a community. Not every wall that is built is physical and visible. But one way or another, the reaction is coming.



There was a time when “tranny” evoked an automobile transmission. Oh, how far we’ve strayed.


Proof against theft by this generation

Back to the Moon


SpaceX Starship (How SpaceX is Changing Starship to be Able to Land on the Moon), more than a capsule and a lander, and a dune buggy. I encourage you to read the article cited.

Project Artemis is well underway and absent other difficulties, will take Americans (and American allies) back to the moon in four years (2024). Part of the build out for the return to the moon (at some time more distant than four years from now) includes a Lunar space station.

Lunar ‘ground’ stations and a Lunar satellite network will have to eventually be profitable. Mining tritium and other mining efforts will have to offer a value greater than the infrastructure cost of putting them in place, and I’m skeptical that we can pull that off absent exploration breakthroughs. Small nuclear reactors in the general class being made by Rolls Royce could be lifted to the Moon. I realize that there is a current prohibition to lifting this sort of fission material into space, but I expect that this might be an exception if they want sufficient power at a permanent station.

The Theia Impact

Nearly half a century old belief that the Earth and Moon are composed of the same material has been proven false by a new study published last March (2020).

The Earth’s only natural satellite, the Moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. The most-accepted hypothesis among astronomers and space scientists is that the Moon was formed by the collision of two proto-planets, namely, Theia, a mars-size rock and the newly born Earth. A substantial part of the collision debris fused to form the Moon.

This theory of Moon formation came to be known as the Giant Impact Hypothesis. As per the hypothesis, the composition of the Moon must be a mixture of Theia and Earth. This was suggested to be false, by the samples taken from the Apollo Mission back in the 1970s. The analysis of these lunar samples revealed that the Moon and Earth have the same composition, due to similarity in the oxygen isotopes found within the rocks.

The latest study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, revealed that the Moon is indeed composed of different rock materials than Earth’s.

The scientists arrived at this conclusion after studying different rock compositions of the Moon taken from the deeper lunar mantle, around 30 miles beneath the Moon’s outer surface. The results suggest that the rocks from below the Moon’s surface have different oxygen isotope composition that the rocks on Earth. However, the ones on the surface were found to be similar to Earth’s rock.

“Our data suggest that samples derived from the deep lunar mantle, which are isotopically heavy compared to Earth, have isotopic compositions that are most representative of the proto- lunar impactor ‘Theia’,” according to the paper.

The findings indicate that the massive collision led to the exchange and mix of debris between the two celestial objects. While most of this debris deposited on the surface of the Moon, the remnants of Theia were deposited in the core-mantle of the lunar surface, soon after the collision.

This being the case, a more in depth exploration of the Lunar surface may be called for, and the minerals which may be mined including ‘rare earth’ could be of considerable value.

It’s a New Week

Sunrise on Mars - starting a new week there too


Honoring the First Blog Ever

Blogger Lives Matter.


How do you Cook your Brats?

Everyone seems to have a different method, with slightly different ingredients.


Family Album

A few photos of me, my daughter and grandsons fishing near the White Wolf Mine in the Arizona Highlands.

The total count was seven rainbow trout. Not a bad creel of fish.

Grandsons are asking son-in-law and daughter when they can come back. I count that as a successful trip.

It’s a long way from here to riots and looting or the Chinese Plague.


When I was a kid, we cooked with coal.


I know, I know, but if you HAD to pick just one


Too much Bike for me

I’ll stick with the Ducati Diavel, but this one is eye candy


Is The Alamo Next?

Do you remember?

Keith Wells commented on this blog yesterday, “I have heard that the antifa BLM terrorist are calling for the destruction of the Alamo.”  As it turns out I heard the same thing. And that spurred a text string with LSP at the compound in Hillsboro, TX. LSP believes that the Alamo is safe for now. Maybe? My faith in the will of the government to protect anything is wearing thin.

I would have said the same thing about the Lincoln Memorial three weeks ago, but the nation was clearly too weak to keep the Antifa/BLM thugs from defacing that. I also heard on the news that BLM is calling for the demolition of the Washington Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial in the District of Columbia. Would the Park Police take a knee and allow that to happen?

There doesn’t seem to be a line anymore. When I visited the Alamo, it was stressed to me that it’s sacred ground. How could I not agree? There is a lot that is sacred to Americans, there has been a lot of blood and treasure expended to build what we have dared to build in what once was a trackless wilderness. Mayors, governors and chiefs of police seem thrilled to cede those national icons to anarchists, misfits, freaks and the aggrieved.

Is there a line left where the agents of hidden enemies who would destroy America can’t cross? I wouldn’t have thought that Texas would remove the Ranger statue at the Dallas Airport, but they seemed very quick to do that, anxious not to offend criminals, arsonists and looters. I mean, it’s TEXAS. If anyone would stand up to the mob, you’d think that it would be Texas.

I understand that in small town America, ordinary men and women have turned back anarchists. They have done it a lot in Northern Arizona. Inner city criminals are invited politely to return to the rock that they crawled out from under in the Phoenix ghetto or in Tucson. And they do because they’re outnumbered by armed men and women who will not tolerate their behavior. It is those citizens, who stand in front of the police. It’s not a race thing. It’s a crime thing.

During the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, “rooftop Koreans” didn’t allow inner city looters to damage their businesses. There don’t seem to be many rooftop cowboys. Maybe they just let the insurance company handle it, knowing that the police are not inclined to intervene for fear of appearing “too tough” on the revolution.

Sunday Sermonette


Some things Serve to Perplex

Charlize Theron


It’s Still Not Too Late

To be Biden’s running mate.

Democrats with knowledge of the process said Biden’s search committee has narrowed the choices to as few as six serious contenders after initial interviews. Among the group still in contention: Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California, as well as Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser. Advisers have also looked closely at Florida Rep. Val Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, both of whom are black, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Latina. Hillary isn’t black enough, apparently, and being a lesbian doesn’t apparently check a ‘box’ anymore. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride.


The New Waiver


US Navy Base, Norfolk, Virginia

Your tax dollars at work.


It’s a good place for a trail breakfast – 14,336 feet elevation.

La Plata Peak, Colorado – overlooking the Roof of the Western World. I’m going to try and get back there this summer. Hopefully nothing gets in the way of that happening. Being in a place like this is a Sunday Sermonette all its own. The air is rare, dry and clear and you can see forever.


The Democrat Party is built on the concept of grievance and division. It’s the very opposite of  e pluribus unum (out of many, one).


Don’t Mess with Ma Deuce


You need to remove the windshield

I realize that advice is obvious, but if I didn’t write it here, y’all would have reminded me that was the next step. It’s not my Jeep. Mine is a beat up ’48 Willys with no windshield…

He Claims to be a Citizen

Legio III Gallica

This is a short bit of historical fiction, offered here on Virtual Mirage for your consideration and for your entertainment.

(Are you not entertained?)


SPQR – For the glory of the people and the Senate of Rome

He Claims to be a Citizen

It is at the end of the ‘hour of prayer’ at the Temple of Jerusalem and Marcus Drucillus, First Spear Centurion of the Third Gallica Legion has just dipped a large hunk of army bread into a bowl of garum, fermented fish sauce. The summer sun has been up for over three hours and though the day is not yet blazing hot, it soon will be. Marcus missed his morning meal because of administrative duties and allows himself this one brief luxury of bread, garum and army wine before he straps on his chainmail, helmet, takes up his vitis, a vine-stick that is his symbol of office, and makes his rounds.

The Shacharit is nothing that he pays attention to. The Jews have their rituals and the army has its own. Today it is coming to a close and for some reason unknown to him, a tumult of voices have been raised. The Jews, annoying at best, normally follow a predictable pattern and agitation on their part is almost always a cause for irritation on his part. In addition to his chainmail, he pulls on his lorica segmentata, armor and cinches it tight. Usually a show of polished armor and arms is enough for the Jews, but not always.

Leaving the centurion’s watch room, Marcus nearly runs into Claudius Lysias, his superior officer, and camp prefect, moving with two centurions, subordinate to him. “Oh, Marcus, good, you’re here. We must hurry.”

Two cohorts have been called up and forming outside, in the courtyard of Jersulem’s Antonia Fortress. The call to arms, which had been passed from man to man is now being announced by cornu.

The duty centurion reports to the Camp Prefect and to Marcus, “A riot has erupted at the Jew’s temple, all Jerusalem is in an uproar. A Jew from Cilicia was beaten in their temple and was then thrown out. The priests have shut the bronze doors to keep everyone out including us.”

“We have no place in their temple. Our mandate is to keep order, and to defend the honor of Rome.”

The crowd of angry Jews grows larger by the minute and the First Cohort, led by Marcus moves the crowd back, revealing a middle aged, bald, bearded man who has received a respectably sever beating. Marcus blows a whistle three times and the cohort forms a hollow square, shields up, gladius sheathed but ready.

Lysias approaches the edge of the hollow square and shouts out, demanding to know what the beaten man did. He is answered by a cacophony of voices, all saying something different.  He turns to Marcus, “bind him and take him back inside of Fortress Antonia and we shall see what he says.”

As the cohort moves back into the fortress, supported now by a second cohort, and soldiers manning scorpions on the walls, wound and loaded.

There are sixty steps from the temple courtyard to the Antonia gate. At the top of the gate, the prisoner, speaking Greek, asks if he may speak with Lysias, the commander. Lysias, like many Romans through the East is of Greek extraction. He is surprised that the prisoner speaks Greek.

“Where are you from?”

“Tarsus in Cilicia. I am Saul, a Cilician Jew who studied under Gamaliel, and in my time, I hunted Nazarenes under instructions from the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. But that changed on the Road to Damascus when I was on my way to collect more prisoners. Jesus of Nazareth appeared to me and told me to take his teachings to non-Jews.”

“You worship the Nailed God? Wasn’t he executed twenty-five years ago?”

“Yes, but he lives, for I saw him…may I speak to the people?”

“Very well, but make it brief.”

When Saul of Tarsus speaks from the top of the sixty steps, the crowd roared, “It is not fit that he should live.” They cast off their clothes and throw dust in the air to emphasize their point. It is a custom.

Lysias told Marcus, “Take him back into the fortress, strip him and have him beaten. There must be more to this.”

As the prisoner is being tied to a column with leather thongs, the flagellator ties, Saul, the prisoner asks Marcus whether it is lawful to whip a Roman citizen who has not been sentenced by a magistrate. Marcus motions Lysias over, “He says that he’s a citizen, sir.”

Apart from checking records in Tarsus there is no way to know whether the prisoner’s claim is true, but citizenship can be purchased. Lysias himself is a peregrine, who obtained his citizenship during the reign of Claudius, when the empress Valeria Massalina notoriously took bribes to arrange for her husband to grant citizenship to large numbers of people. Saul tells Lysias that he was born a citizen of Rome.

The next day, officers of the Roman garrison take Saul, who is also known by the Roman name, Paulus, to the Sanhedrin to determine what charges they might wish to lay against the prisoner.  The meeting turns into a heated argument between the Sadducees who do not believe in resurrection and the Pharisees, who do, and the Romans walk out, with their prisoner while the argument rages.

Murder plots and political outrage course through the town and Lysias decides to kick the matter upstairs and send Saul to Antonius Felix, Procurator of Judea at Caesarea to let him decide what to do with the potential citizen of Rome.

Two centuries of legionnaires, two centuries of auxiliary spearmen and seventy cavalrymen march from the fortress in the third Roman hour of the night as the summer sun sets. The heavy guard marches as far as Antipatris in the Judean Hills. The infantry returns to the fortress and the cavalry takes Saul to Caesarea.

Paulus/Saul is kept at Caesarea for a year. In 59 AD, he asserts his rights as a Roman to appeal directly to the emperor and is sent to Rome with other prisoners, accompanied by elements of the Third Gallica Legion. After surviving a shipwreck on the Maltese coast, prisoners and soldiers arrive in Rome in 60 AD. Paulus is released by Emperor Nero, only to be executed in Rome on other charges several years later.

See Acts, 21; 31