Youthful Indiscretion

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As a Reminder:



From the Virtual Mirage Short Story Archive:


In an age of magic, when the pantheon of gods decreed the outcome of men’s lives; long before the arrival of the destroyers from Earth; Sorah sat by the edge of the amber ocean and tossed flowers over the cliff to appease Arok.

Pleasing Arok ensured the safe return of her father, a fisherman, who navigated the great expanse. After school, she returned home, kissed her mother, ate her snack, and gathered flowers.

Sometimes she gathered flowers first and ate her snack on the cliffs, watching the waves crash against the rocks below.

It was on one of those days while she ate her tispachi that the Storm-Bringer came. Her visage could not be mistaken for any other because a firebird sat atop her head and screamed. The firebird became her voice and it declared that Storm-Bringer was a jealous god. Offerings to Arok pacified the sea itself and the monsters who lurked beneath its surface, but Storm-Bringer caused the wind to blow and the sea to toss. Most ships that foundered fell prey to the tempests, and not to the monsters of the deep.

The firebird’s eyes grew beady and accusing, “Not once has Sorah made a genuine offering of blood.”

Sorah cowered beneath the awful, yet beautiful gaze of the Storm-Bringer and her terrible firebird.

“Storm-Bringer delights in offerings of blood and gore,” The firebird continued as the woman-god floated in the air, surrounded by dark clouds. “It shows devotion, while flowers merely show that you can pluck things from the Earth.”

Storm-Bringer lifted Sorah from the ground and the wind hoisted her over the lip of the cliff, then spinning her around and around until she rested on the sandy shore below, with the din of waves crashing on rocks, blasting water to foam all around her.

“I will sacrifice you to Arok, and in that way you will ensure your father’s safe return!” Storm-Bringer’s firebird spread its wings and as it prepared to incinerate Sorah, a huge whale burst up onto the shingle and swallowed Storm-Bringer and her firebird, whole.

Sarah jumped back in fear but the fish spoke with the voice Arok. “Do not fear, my child. The demon is contained so long as the gods live.”

* * *

Finding Earth-like planets had been the holy grail for millennia. The mission to the planet called Charm took thousands of years even traveling at near light speed. Probes proceeded with the principal mission but only by a few years so that the colonists might know what they were up against before they made planetfall. Once they broke containment in their hibernation chambers, the view of the new world took their breath away. It was all they had been promised and so much more.

Their journey and their sacrifice had been completely vindicated, unlike so many over the years to other worlds, which had ended with disappointment or mishap. The question of where to land in the world comprised almost completely by oceans, was decided quite early in the final planning phase. They would land on the ocean, near land.

Captain Randolph Smith claimed the honor of leading the first landing ship as was his right. He would claim the planet for Earth and as soon as the initial survey had been completed, the colonists would begin landing. The military would naturally subdue all opposition.

As the ship descended, a huge fish rose to the surface to greet it, but unfortunately, the engines caused the ocean around the landing site to boil, killing everything including the welcoming party.

The fish rolled to its side, quite dead, and another creature rose from within it – a near-human form with a bird of prey perched on its head. Her eyes flashed with vengeance and Fire ushered from the bird’s mouth! In response, a laser from the landing ship bored a three-inch hole through the center of Storm-Bringer, killing her dead as a stone.


Bullet Points: 

** CNN admits the “vast majority” of US money to Ukraine is going to American companies that are democrat party contributors. A massive transfer of wealth from our pockets to the wealthiest among us. Nothing more than a MASSIVE grift. It’s what keeps the Swamp alive.

** Claudio points to this article about intelligence failures in Gaza.

** CDRSAL asks if we should give Iran the war that it wants.

Nuke ’em until they glow and use their asses for runway lights?

**@TerryTheDude73 – I live in Indiana and was just at

which is a place I love. Sadly, I won’t shop there anymore because I went to buy a couple of AR magazines and was asked for ID. I wasn’t asked for identification just a week ago so I asked what do you need my identification for? I was told that these are illegal in Illinois to which I replied, but we are in Indiana. So this is a corporate policy, they act pro-Second Amendment, but they’re not, do with that what you want. They can wave American flags and play country music all they want but their corporate policy shows where they stand. Because fascist Illinois is unconstitutional I have to give up my papers? I don’t think so.

** From WAPO – KYIV — The cluttered car carrying a mother and her 12-year-old daughter seemed barely worth the attention of Russian security officials as it approached a border checkpoint. But the least conspicuous piece of luggage — a crate for a cat — was part of an elaborate, lethal plot. Ukrainian operatives had installed a hidden compartment in the pet carrier, according to security officials with knowledge of the operation, and used it to conceal components of a bomb…

** Ilhan Omar was rescued from a Kenyan refugee camp by America. She was elected as a member of Congress and the only thing she wants to do is hate and destabilize America. What that should tell us all is that allowing people to come here who hate America is not sustainable.

** “General Motors is abandoning a self-imposed target for the number of electric vehicles it aims to produce through the middle of next year because of softening consumer demand, a surprise move for a company that was an early mover in this space.

The Detroit automaker walked back the goal while reporting a healthy third-quarter profit, despite the hit from the continuing United Auto Workers strike.

The walkout, which began in mid-September, is now costing GM about $200 million a week.

GM planned to have produced 400,000 EVs over a roughly two-year stretch by the middle of next year, but has abandoned that goal.

Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson cited a slowdown in the market for battery-powered cars. Last week, the company said it would delay by one year the opening of an EV truck factory in suburban Detroit, among several recent signs that the burst of consumer interest in electrics over the past few years has faded.”


Another Shameless Plug: Hunting in the Shadows by Mike Watson

This is a non-fiction book of history. The events described here took place in Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation in the latter half of 1964 and in the Republic of Vietnam during that country’s fight for its very existence throughout 1965-1968. Malaysia, with the assistance of its allies, prevailed in the Confrontation. Unfortunately the Republic of Vietnam, after being abandoned by its allies, succumbed to a full sale Communist armored and infantry invasion in April 1975.

This is the story of an Australian Army officer who was seconded to support the efforts of the Republic of Vietnam in their clandestine war against the National Liberation Front. The story is told precisely as events unfolded without efforts to minimize or maximize. It’s a story of a brutal civil war, of a proxy war, of love, death, and revenge in a wartorn setting. Both the government of the Republic of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front (Viet Kong) engaged in systematic assassination as a matter of policy. Reading this book requires that you lens it in the context of people and events as they took place.

Thanks to those of you who reviewed this book. If you haven’t, please take the time to do it.


First the bugs, now this…


Identify the Aircraft



58 thoughts on “Youthful Indiscretion

      1. Actually it helped to confirm that what I thought was the correct aircraft did serve with the ROC air force.

  1. Stormbringer: “Do not fear, my child. The demon is contained so long as the gods live.” I just thought this needed to be said again, again. It’s a great Truth, as long as God lives…

  2. “would delay by one year the opening of an EV truck”
    The electric Silverado
    I spent a lot of time, as did my co-workers, on the launch of the program to blank and weld doors for that vehicle.
    We never expected large volume. I just made some changes that it seems will take a year to validate.

    1. It may be a really stupid question, but why not a HYBRID Silverado? You still have the problem of a very expensive battery wearing out and the need to drop that toxic ton of material into a landfill – but the presence of a gasoline or diesel engine solves the range and recharge problem.

        1. If you’re going to lease and you can forestall the battery replacement issue, it might be a good thing.

  3. “softening consumer demand” / “slowdown in the market” – Corporate-speak gobblygook for:

    No one wants our lousy expensive battery operated vehicles that can catch on fire and cost more to operate even when The Federal government push markets them onto We The People with subsidies paid for by other taxpayers under the guise “the sky is falling” when our K-Street lobbyists went down a blind ally.

      1. So long as we, the people, allow FEDGOV to print money without specie to back it, they can subsidize everything. We’re well beyond spending other people’s money.

    1. Bass Pro certainly didn’t learn anything from Dick’s corporate screw-up.

      BTW, whenever was a brand more aptly named than Dick’s?

      1. Never been a customer at Dick’s, never bought anything from them, never looked at their stuff online. And yet, for some reason, after their major goof started affecting their bottom line I started getting emails from them advertising what they had for sale. I flagged them all as trash/junk until my email engine started routing all their emails to the junk folder.

        1. Dick’s lost me when I compared prices with the competition long ago. Camping World is another no go.

          1. I was not a Bass Pro shopper because they rarely had what I wanted and I could do better elsewhere. This Stasi move (as with Dicks) simply means that it’s a dead, empty store to me.

          2. Yes, Bass Pro owns Cabelas.

            If I want a gun, I’ll go to my local gun stores, and because Gainesville, FL is a hive of leftist turd burglars, that means going to Pickett’s Weaponry in Newberry or going south on 301 to Harry Beckwith’s (owned now by Picketts but still Beckwith’s.)

            Bethwick’s is an old gun store, located on the same piece of property as the original owner’s home. One night some thugs ran into his store building with a car in order to steal and Harry lit the bastards up with full auto.

            Beckwiths is the only indoor range open to the public in Alachua County.

  4. war w/ iran? well on the one hand obamy n hillary were all in on trying to get us into a hot war with iran and failing that got us into syria, another manufactured conflict. so color me skeptical. …. on the second hand, why do we fear them so? we could flatten them and their proxies in a couple of days if we had the will….. personally, i’m fed up with the mullah’s horse hockey, and ergodan’s as well and i think its high time we quit being held hostage by them. smoke’m and let the jihadis come out in the open to avenge them so we can settle the islam problem once and for all……..on another front, mk ultra strikes again, this time in maine of all places. see what one guy w/ rifle can do? no wonder the dims fear it so…i notice most of the pro palestinian protesters are women. irony much?…there, i think i hit all of the key watch list words.

    1. I googled “usa percentage of oil from middle east”, which returns , which contains:

      In 2020, the United States became a net exporter of petroleum for the first time since at least 1949.
      About 12% of U.S. total petroleum imports and 12% of U.S. crude oil imports were from Persian Gulf countries in 2022.

      Please, Br’er Fox, don’ fling me in dat brier-patch of ignoring the Middle East!

      1. You’re missing the point. It’s not the volume of US imports. US/Canada can make that up. What will the London Fix be? What price will we pay?

      2. If the Middle East stops producing petroleum, why should we expect the price for replacement oil seen by the US to go up all that much? A strong argument would be ‘there is no reasonable replacement from elsewhere’, yet you agree there is.

        During the 2004 US financial turmoil, people in the US cut back and suddenly stopped going on vacation. That was a reduction in oil use by 10% or more, but nobody froze or starved. So a sudden removal of Middle Eastern oil with no replacement is not a huge deal.

        I believe the petrodollar arrangement, the Saudis only selling oil for dollars to non-US purchasers, which supports the dollar as reserve currency, has already been broken.

        I believe the advertised US dependence on the Middle East doing anything in particular: oil production, national boundaries, who is warring with who, is 100% a hoax.

        1. I never said that it wasn’t a hoax or a grift, but the price of oil would go up if we shut down the Gulf by bombing Iran into the Stone Age and wiping out their oil production.

        2. Go up by how much? 10%? That number matters in (what we would hope to be) the US national strategy.

        3. Besides, didn’t we already bomb the Middle East into reducing oil production under Shrub? Which didn’t produce a (Carl Sagan) Nuclear Winter? (Which was already disproven because WWII burning the European cities didn’t produce any effect in the direction of Nuclear Winter.)

  5. Mike W’s book was great!

    Iran: I am a lot more in favor of a punitive expedition than a war.

    We should sink their Navy, shoot down their Air Force, destroy their sea and air port facilities, mine their harbors, wipe out their petrochem infrastructure, and sink or sieze all their commercial shipping. I would say hit their cross-border road and rail infrastructure too, but that just gets fixed too soon.

    Oh, and we should wreck their nuke sites while we are at it, not that there’s any chance of a sane response like this.

    – Kle.

        1. That looked like “Wing Attack Plan R” (Dr. Strangelove) – which brings to mind a lot of unkind thoughts I’ve seen expressed recently about the US Vice President and her lack of skill sets. She is said to be able to suck-start a B-52 – all eight engines simultaneously. So there are things that she can do.

    1. “we should wreck their nuke sites while we are at it”

      How many of those might there be and how are they protected? What will the response be if Pakistan just sells them one of their functional weapons?

      1. Pakistan is a target of the Shiia. They sell their nukes to the Saudis to use against the Shiia.

  6. Mike W’s book was indeed a good read!

    Bass Pro Shops. Did go to a sporting goods store I usually frequent in Idaho yesterday and was told by one of the cashiers that as of last week they no longer sold guns to Washington or Montana residents. She said it was because their insurers would no longer insure them if they sold to residents of other states. Ammunition was not a problem though. Next time I am in MT I will check to see if there are any new restrictions in that state.

  7. Bass Pro Shop, Cabelas, etc. Interesting to walk around occasionally but I don’t spend money there. What I need can be found at the area ranch/farm stores for similar or lower prices. I do recognize most people aren’t grumpy old cheapskate men. Hey, it is a free country, knock yourself out.
    The area ranch/farm stores are strong 2nd Amendment supporters.

    1. Bass Pro now owns Cabela’s and the change in attitude/policies was immediate and not for the better. A couple years ago, the Wichita Cabela’s had a pistol on sale that I wanted bad. It had been unobtainable locally, so I sucked it up, drove the hour to get there and debased myself by spending money with those nimrods. Their checkout process for a gun purchase was a nightmare and took nearly as long as the drive over and back home! Never again.

      I will stop in once in a while to look at the hideously overpriced stuff in their Gun Library and for the entertainment value of listening to the Library attendants dishing out inaccurate answers to the customers.

      1. I have to reverse myself a little. The Bass part of Bass Pro Shop isn’t bad. They do have a good selection of sticks, lures, hooks, line, reels, etc. They’re okay with fly fishing gear, but I traditionally tie my flies at the place I’m going to fish that day based on the hatch. I will buy some machine-tied flies. The prices are high. Their archery is so-so, with prices being high. I’m trying to recall the place, maybe Mesa-Gilbert Bass Pro. I went in to order custom archery shafts for arrows, and the staff was worthless, so I just left—a waste of time.

        They’re substandard regarding firearms, prices are too high, and the help is incompetent in my experience.

      2. Ever ask interesting questions of the attendants? If you’re in the mood you can have fun watching their heads spin after hearing something not listed on their script kiddie cheat sheet.

        1. Point well taken, Frank, for sure there’s entertainment to be had but I don’t talk to them much.

      3. You can thank a man called Paul Singer for fucking over Cabela’s (and the town of Sidney, Nebraska that was it’s headquarters). But Cabela’s was small potatoes. Singer has such Big Dick Energy that he’s fucked entire nations, such as Peru.

        And, yes, Singer is most definitely one of Those People. It goes without saying that by “those people” I of course mean Harvard grads.

  8. In the People’s Republic of Oregon there was a sporting goods store called G.I. Joes. They even sold auto parts and hickory shirts. In 2007 they succumbed to the PC Mob and renamed as ” Joe’s”, only to survive a couple more years. After 50 + years of Iconic service in the N.W. they went chapter 11. Back in the 1900’s there was veneration for the business founders, free capitol market entrepreneurs, that succeeded. Les Schwab, Fred Meyer, and even the Veteran WW2 Army Air Corps Pilot who started ” Joe’s” in a Surplus tent.

    1. Not to forget Cal Worthington and his dog “Spot”. He started after a stint as a WWII pilot by selling his own car, using the money to buy two more, an never looked back. He was also an asshole.

      1. Cal Worthington was more of a circus performer IMHO, but he built a used car empire. He dominated television used car advertising when I was young. He acted like an asshole.

  9. Shredded chihuahua? It’s a terrible, horrific thought, but is it more terrible and more horrific than “eat ze bugs” or “long pork?” Who had that line in the last few days about, “do I eat the cockroach now or save it for later?” Is it worse than that?

  10. Western Surplus in Hawthorne, CA- a surplus store with boxes and crates and bins of real surplus stuff. Man, I loved that place. It even smelled real!
    I still have WWII-era web gear purchased there some fifty years ago.
    (Closed now, after some SLA unpleasantness.)

    Meanwhile, “sporting goods” stores that don’t even sell guns abound.

    1. I’m waiting for DR Jim to weigh in on Western Surplus, but I used to hang out there as a kid when I lived in Torrance.

      Most gun stores don’t hire people who know much about firearms.

      Hi-Tech Archery in Fullerton, California, was an exception to archery sales joints. They’re still around post-Covid, and I haven’t been there in some years – but they had a knowledgable staff who, while in the business of selling, also shot archery. So when you went in to talk trash, they could do it.

      One of my pet peeves is dive shops. This blog’s readership knows that I’ve been diving my whole life. When I was little, my Dad helped me make my first wet suit out of a sheet of neoprene (glued and taped). I used a fire extinguisher bottle, but in ’62, there weren’t a lot of options, and they worked. Anyway, having been a professional combat swimmer and sport scuba enthusiast, I know the difference between quality and crap. Rarely do you find somebody at a dive shop who has both oars in the water and some people are dangerous. They used to freak when I asked to see their filters before I’d let them fill my tanks. I’d show up with 80 lbs of ice in plastic sacks to ensure a “cold fill”. Once they knew me, it was different, but I had trouble breaking in dive shops and schooling their workers.

      1. Oh, yeah, I remember Western Surplus. Tons of amazing and arcane stuff. Major Surplus and Survival in Gardena was another one I went to, and also Union War Surplus in San Pedro. At one time they had barrels of inert rounds for 20MM auto cannons, and other genuine mil stuff. Up in Pasadena was C&H Sales who specialized in Aerospace surplus. Where I grew up, we had a place we just called the “War Surplus Store”. Got my first USAF N3-B parka there and was the envy of my friends when it dropped below zero.

        I’ve done some indoor tank SCUBA, but never any open water or lakes. Chilling your tank for max volume is a clever idea.

      2. Here in Gainesville we have Lloyd Bailey Sports. Lloyd is a big name in cave diving. Yes, he’s an asshole, but he’s a knowledgeable asshole. I’d buy dive stuff from him. From a regular sports store? Not so much.

      1. “It’s just money Bob.”

        (Norm Abrams to Bob Villa on This Old House when they discover a rotted sill needing full replacement which hammered the budget.)

        To which I’d add, “…when the taxpayers get to foot the bill with more inflationary printed largess.”

  11. There’s a lot say here but I’ll stick with this, your opening infographic steals the show. Stand by for re-post.

    Good work.

  12. Man, I miss real surplus stores. Not ‘surplus’ stores that sell new from China stuff, but real surplus.

    Then again, I miss being able to go to the local surplus shop at the local base and buy or bid on stuff.

    1. The “Surplus Property” stores for both Hughes Aircraft and Boeing were astounding. Kinda like visiting the Smithsonian.

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