Friday, July 30, 2004

Friday Round Up

The news is saturated with Kerry's speech and Britain's liberal media is lapping up his speech. Thank God the man's not running for office here. One pundit did admit however that Bush looks like winning. I'll bet the reporter didn't want to hear that. Ha!

Kerry keeps on about rebuilding his alliances (with France I presume) but no one has thought to ask him what he'd do if it was in America's best interests to act (say, by taking out Iran's nuclear capability) and the UN/France thought that taking action was a bad idea- is he going to stay loyal to his "allies" or to the country he leads (and do exactly what George Bush has done)? Maybe he can't answer because he'd have to say that Bush was right?

This looks like an interesting concept- so long as it's surrounded by a swarm of fighter protection; this is one aircraft you definitely do not want to have shot down.

This story did the rounds yesterday but it made me think- when I was in military training we were told that humans have a much greater capacity for exertion than they believe; the point was made that when an animal is in danger it can literally run itself to death. Most humans will give up long before that when things get merely uncomfortable. When recruits are trained the general level of fitness grows to be much the same- after a certain point, it's mental toughness that takes over. That's what sorts the men from the boys.
The same thing applies in the gym- take a few moments before starting your workout to get in the right frame of mind- get psyched up and it can make all the difference.

At last, NATO has agreed to send troops to help train the Iraqis but, yet again, France spits out its dummy and demands that they don't come under US control. I wonder what Kerry and the Ambulance Chaser will have to say about this? The war has been won, power handed over to the Iraqis and now NATO is helping train the troops. Is there anything left for Kerry to criticise Bush for?

Here's a little good news coming out of the Middle East. I'm sure a hell of a lot of Muslim men are appalled by this. Let's hope it's the start of a trend.

Check out this- part of a series of images of the French Jewish immigrants to Israel- this girl's comments are quite telling: "In Paris there is anti-Semitism, but it's not like Sharon says. It comes from the Arab immigrants in France... The Arabs over there are scarier than the Arabs here."

Tomorrow I'll hopefully post another weapons selection- long arms this time. In the meantime, does anyone know of an AR upper similar to the new HK M4 update- i.e. with a gas piston? Does such a thing exist? Surely there's a market for a more reliable AR rifle?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Daily Dose

On Monday I increased my row distance to 2500- and did 2000m of that faster than my friday workout. Today I was feeling a bit discontented with my regime. Used to be a 2000m row was something I did towards the end of an hour long cardio workout. Today I added another 500m and I'm pleased to say that I did all 3000m at an okay pace. My goal right now is to do 5000m rows as the norm.

 I'm feeling a bit drained at the moment and the news seems to be saturated by the DNC- even the BBC is covering it with glowing praise and interviewing people without any even remotely tough questions. If I hear "war hero" John Kerry one more time I may have to kick in my TV- not a single journalist has asked about his anti-war activities after Nam.  The NRO has a good article on the DNC here. Sounds like a lot of liberals in this country too. What happened to rational thought? Can these monkeys not learn any more than "Bush is bad"? Also, check out the Kerry Spot for some details of his flip-flopping in a new video.

Oh yeah, that deranged lunatic Mike Al-Moore was let loose at the convention. Maybe he's getting the same medication Gore's on?

I see too that the Islamic terrorists don't mind mosques being bombed- they've just targeted one themselves in Afghanistan. Will the "moderate" muslims that we hear about so often come out and condemn the Taliban-terrorists? Will the liberal media be outraged by the event? I seem to remember them getting all worked up any time the US even went near a mosque in Iraq. I won't hold my breath.

More bad news for Britain's armed forces. During the invasion of Iraq there was a great hue and cry about the lack of equipment- my brother served there and he told us they didn't even get rations, they had to be given those by the US troops. The moment the invasion was over the whole mess was forgotten. Typical.

Finally, here's some cool news for any computer geeks out there.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The "Irish" Problem

I first heard of Ted Kennedy years ago when he was on a visit to Northern Ireland- he confronted a British soldier out on the street and demanded of him, "Why don't you go home?"
 The soldier replied, "This is my home."
 What Kennedy didn't get is that Northern Ireland hasn't been invaded by the British, it isn't occupied- the majority of the citizens are unionists and consider ourselves British- that is, we want to remain a part of the United Kingdom, the same way that the English, the Scots and the Welsh are.
 The IRA aren't freedom fighters- they aren't fighting for freedom of religion, or the right to vote, or anything like that- if a citizen from N. Ireland doesn't want a British passport, he can get an Irish one from the South; they're a murdering gang which has carried out a thirty year bombing campaign and is involved in most every organised crime here- drugs, extortion, smuggling. It takes money to fund terrorism and this is how they make it.
 To give an example of how things work here now, when a person applies for a job here they have to fill out a form giving their religion and/or the primary school they attended- to mark them as Prostestant or Catholic. There's postive discrimination here you see, and a certain number of employees have to be from one or the other community. This is especially true of the police which has traditionally been dominated by Protestants. The fact that a Catholic who attempted to join would have been ostracised by his community and targeted for murder by the IRA not so long ago doesn't matter. Last year a man attempted to join the police (which has also had to be renamed from the Royal Ulster Constabulary to N. Ireland Police Service- the Royal is offensive apparently and their history of sacrifice fighting terrorism means nothing to politicians)- he came from a family of policemen and was qualified to be a cop- but he wasn't allowed to join because he had a tattoo of the Ulster flag on his arm- and this was considered offensive and bigoted, not representaive of the community he'd be policing.
 Let me repeat that- he had his national flag tattooed on his arm and this was enough to have him rejected to serve as a police officer. Think about that for a second.
 I can't imagine a candidate being rejected from any police department in America for having a stars and stripes tattoo right now, but how long will that situation last? Right now, illegal immigrants cannot be arrested and deported for breaking the law (sanctuary laws I believe they're called?). Maybe soon it will be considered offensive to illegal immigrants and the ACLU will step in, because the potential police officer doesn't represent the community he's policing. Maybe it could happen in Berkeley? San Francisco? Maybe in a few years certain communities will demand that they be governed, not by the laws of the land, but by sharia? Maybe they'll want Muslim cops only to patrol because Christian cops or athiest cops won't represent their community and their beliefs?
What happened here folks was that our leaders rolled over and gave up the fight against terrorism and now we're having to pay the price by pandering to their every whim and behind it all is the threat of a return to violence if they don't get their way. Don't let it happen to you too.

The Folly of Appeasement

This was news yesterday over here but I was so enraged and disgusted that I'm only getting to it now. This is what happens when you appease terrorists- a man found guilty of the murder of a soldier- he was shot in the head as he left work- has been sentenced to life, but is expected to be released within months, possibly as few as two.

The British government capitulated to the IRA- the Good Friday Agreement was supposed to help bring peace to the country, but under its terms members of a terrorist organisation, in prison for their crimes, would all be released early. What did the IRA do to earn this? Well, they didn't disarm as you might expect- that would be a fairly obvious part of a peace deal, no? Instead, they offered to put their weapons beyond their reach. Now, no one has any idea of how many weapons they have in the first place, and this 'putting beyond reach' has been done in secret, watched over by an independent observer- but the IRA refuses to disarm completely, because whenever negotiations fail they can always speed things along by a quick return to their indiscriminate terrorist campaign. For a few years the population here went along with the deal, everyone was sick and tired of the killing, but it got us nowhere. Sinn Fein/IRA- they are one and the same- has a goal and they refuse to budge. In return for not killing anyone they expect- and have gotten- a major reduction in British troops here (we're park of the UK and the majority of the population considers themselves British by the way- we are NOT Irish here- the troops were here to protect the population), they've had their people put on committees which over-watch police activity and they have government paid jobs.

Our devolved government was disbanded some time ago because Sinn Fein/IRA were using their political office to spy and gather intelligence. Since then the main Unionist party (the group that represents the largest part of the population, in favour of our union with the United Kingdom) has lost its majority and been replaced by the Democratic Unionist Party, who all along have refused to sit down and talk with armed terrorists- their position has always been that guns do not belong in politics. Right now, I'll bet that a lot of people wish that they'd always voted DUP.

Not only is this murdering scum going to walk, but our society is already filled with those found guilty of shootings, bombings, kneecappings and all the other crime that goes with terrorism here. And the terrorists are still armed.

Appeasement doesn't work. Don't forget.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Weight Training for Strength

For those of you looking to do some weights, but not wanting to get into the whole "exercise every muscle" routine, the very best thing you can do is go back to basics.

The workout is very simple- bench press, squat and deadlift. These three lifts are enough to work your whole body. Those who train for strength (as opposed to body builders) tend to do these lifts only. Their triceps, deltoids, etc are just as developed as the body builders. What's hard about this is that these three basics can put a big strain on your body, but if you want a quick, easy-to-learn workout it's hard to beat. And when you're getting started, keep the weights well within your limits. Don't push too hard on these- concentrate on technique. If you're a beginner, one set of each will suffice to get you going. Keep the weights light and work in the 12 repetition range. Take your time, go through the motion of the lift fairly slowly, and keep it that way until you've mastered the technique. Go here for some tips on the deadlift.

Because there's not much to this, it's a good place to start and you can add it in to the end of your normal gym workout. When you've advanced a little you can switch over to doing three sets (I always include one set of light weights to warm up with and then do my three 'proper' sets) and gradually add on weight. Because these are compound exercises they work more than just the main muscle targeted and so you'll hopefully see muscle growth all over. Also, these exercises are fantastic for improving your strength, not just the size of your muscles. As always, take care and get advice from the gym staff on proper form- you'll not only save yourself from possible injury but you'll get much more benefit.

Tour de France etc

Light posting today- one of my kids thought that it'd be a good idea to stay awake until 4:00a.m. Not good, I need all the beauty sleep I can get.
 Good news is that Lance Armstrong has not only won the Tour de France again but beaten the long time 5 wins total max. I'm pleased with this for a couple of reasons- first off, it's always good when a record that seems impoossible to beat is broken. Second, I'm a big fan of Lance. Third, he's an American and the French must be so pissed that their coveted race has been won by the USA.
 France's behaviour this past year or so- with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan- has been appalling. On a side note, John Kerry keeps going on about how Bush has wrecked America's relationship with her 'allies'. France and Germany are just two countries whose importance in world matters might have been important a hundred years ago but which are now very much minor players. Why on earth does he place so much value in them? The UK lives right next door to France and we don't value their opinion much at all- Britain hasn't agonised over the war in Iraq because France wasn't there. That's a non-issue here. The majority of the anti-war movement in Britain is anti-war because they're left-wing peaceniks- they aren't that concerned about UN approval or France and Germany sitting on the sidelines- that's not the point for them. They're just anti-war (and anti-Bush too. What is it with that?).
 If someone suggested here that we shouldn't do something because France didn't like it, it would probably gain universal support for just that reason. Despite EU politicians cosy relationship with one another, the British people aren't that fond of Europe. That little stretch of water between here and France makes a hell of a difference.
 So why do so many in America worry about what France thinks? I don't get it. Being 'Old Europe' doesn't mean much at the start of the 21st century and they haven't behaved very much like the allies of America for a long time. Right now they're busy suckering the British people into the loss of their sovereignty in an attempt to create a European superstate and gravy train for already overpaid politicians. France and Germany only care about what's best for them- and why not? The USA should care what's best for itself, not what's best for the rest of the world. Bush went to war, it seems to me, to crush a threat to America, regardless of its effect on his political career. From where I'm sitting he did the best thing for the United States. What's best for Germany and France shouldn't- and didn't- enter into it. Bravo, I say.
 Getting back to the point- man, can I get sidetracked easily- if Lance decides not to race the Tour next year, here's hoping that Tyler Hamilton wins. Let's have a decade or so of American domination of this race and see how they like that!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Gym Cardio Workout

While weights are a faster way to lose fat (the extra muscle burns calories even when you're resting) there is definitely a place for cardio in your workout routine. No point in being strong if your heart and lungs aren't in tip top shape too. If you're following a weight training program you'll want to limit your cardio workout so that you don't burn away that valuable muscle. When I was in fully fledged weight lifting mode I'd limit my cardio to some stationary cycling before a workout. If your gym has a rowing machine too that's a good one- it hits all the major muscles. Keep the settings light if you're a weight lifter, you'll not want to break down too much muscle. If you're only using weights occasionally (and I have a little workout for that coming soon too John) and doing more cardio, I'd recommend using a variety of equipment (if you're using a gym). A good way to work it is figure out how much time you have in the gym and then split is evenly between exercise machines- step, treadmill, elliptical, row, bike, etc. Leave a little time at the end for some ab work. Sit ups are okay, but crunches are more effective at hitting your abdominals. Three sets of twenty five is good. Another good workout is to get a slant board and do sit ups. Do one normal sit up and then do one where you twist your left elbow to right knee and then another with right elbow to left knee. These three count as one in this workout. A set of twenty five is a good way to strengthen your waist. I'd always say to leave you abs to the end of the workout because they help stabilise your back and if they are fatigued you might be more likely to injure your back. Trust me, you do not want to have a bad back.

Most of your cardio training should be done at a level where you can still speak if needed- you shouldn't be too out of breath. Heart Rate Monitors are a great investment here- they can be programmed to tell you the optimum rate of work to do. The best way to increase your VO2 max (basically the amount of oxygen your body can use) is to do interval training. Warm up on your cardio equipment of choice- I find a bike is good for this but anything will do- then exercise as hard as you can for a set time (I'd do a minute). Go flat out, full effort. Then go real easy for a minute to get your breath back. If you really need more time take it, but try not to do a rest section for more than two minutes. Then repeat. This is hard, hard work and if you're just starting back at training, train sensibly for a month at least before attemtping this. Get a bit of a base behind you (check with a docotor first!) before attempting this. Do as many repetitions as you can manage- if it's only two don't worry. Interval training should only be done once a week. Give yourself time to adapt. You can do your interval training on different gym equipment to work your whole body or you can stick to the same thing each time depending on your personal preferences- afterall, this is to improve your cardiovascular system not your strength.

Weight Training

Here's the work out (read the last post for more details):

Day One: Back and Triceps
Wide Grip Pull Up (grab a bar with an overhand grip and pull up until your chest touches the bar- I sometimes attached a weight belt to make it harder)
V-Grip Pulldown (Lat Machine with the V-grip attachment- pull right down to nipple level on your chest)
Wide Grip Pulldown (Lat Machine with bar attachment- pull down to the top of your chest- just like a pull up)
Seated Row (Cable Machine with a V-grip attachment- sit down and make like you're on a rowing machine only you're using your body not your legs to row)
Shrug (Barbell- grab a bar, shoulder width grip and shrug your shoulders up towards your ears- don't pull up with your arms, just your shoulders)
Lying French Press (EZ Curl Bar- lie on your back on a bench with an ez curl bar in your hands arms straight and pointing almost straight up at the ceiling- bend your arms so that your hands are coming down towards the top of your head- get someone to spot you because this one is also called a 'skull cracker'- and then bring your arms to start position)
Tri-Pushdown (Cable Machine- start with your arms bent, hands in front of chest and then press them down, straightening your arms. Repeat.)
Roman Chair (if your gym has one- otherwise lie flat on the ground face down and then lift your upper body up- you'll feel it working the base of your back)

Day Two: Chest and Shoulders
Bench Press (Barbell)
Dumbell Incline Press (Angle the bench up and do a press with a dumbell in either hand)
Crossover (Cable Machine- stand in the cable machine, knees slightly bent and leaning slightly forward, back straight, with a grip in each hand and then cross your hands in front of your body)
Shoulder Press (Shoulder Press machine- ideally- or sit on the end of a bench with a bar in your hands across the tops of your shoulders- push it straight up and down in front of your head, not behind- that's a bit hard on your shoulder joints)
Upright Row (EZ Curl Bar- stand with an EZ curl bar held in front of you, arms straight down. Pull the bar straight up until it nearly touches your chin)
Dips (As with the pull ups I sometime attached weights- do normal ones first until you can do at least 3 sets of 12)

Day Three: Biceps and Legs
Cable Curl (Just a dumbell curl only using a cable machine)
Supinated Dumbell Curl (start with a dumbell in either hand, hands at your sides, palms facing in towards your body. Do a curl and as you lift your hands slowly rotate them so that your palms are facing your shoulders at the end of the curl. Reverse the motion as you lower the weight)
Leg Extension (Machine)
Leg Press (or squats)
Calf Raise (Machine- or put a bar across your shoulders and lift yourself up on tip toes)
Romanian Deadlift (A Romanian deadlift is where you stand with your knees unlocked and do a deadlift. Keep your back straight and at the bottom of the movement the bar should be just below your knees- it'll vary depending on how flexible your back is. Be careful with this one and make sure someone shows you the proper technique- form is more important than weight).

Working Out

I'm going to post some training advice- some for John- and detail some of the programs I've used in the past. First off, it's going to be weight training. As always, check with a doctor before beginning a program and always use proper form when lifting weights- lifting properly is more important than lifting lots! Any good gym will have staff that will be able to instruct you in the proper technique. And don't forget to warm up before exercising.

I used to train Mon/Wed/Fri with the whole weekend off to recover. Three days a week and an hour in the gym is plenty when doing weights. Much more than an hour and you're doing too much. I always ate a high protein diet and cut out booze when training- I found eating four times a day was necessary. If you need to take some protein drinks- Maximuscle make the best supplements I've ever used and they also offer some great training advice- their website is worth a browse. They also make the products used by a lot of guys in the Marines and Paras in the UK. It was the fittest guy in my troop that put me onto their products. For any weight training newbies, try and train for about three months or so with your only supplement being protein drinks (if you need them)- you'll be making enough gains in the early days anyway and shouldn't need creatine, etc.

To begin with train in the 3 sets of 12 repetitions range. If you haven't done weights before I can virtually guarantee you'll be aching after your workouts, but keep with it; soon you'll be longing for the days when you could train so hard your muscles ached! Don't go too heavy too soon, because you'll just end up injured. Remember your form- don't cheat! Once you've settled in a bit you have two choices- keep your reps high (up to 15-20) and light, or go heavy and bring them down to 3 sets of 8. My usual routine was to go with 8 reps and then try to do more. When I could do twelve of a particular exercise I'd up the weight and go back down to 8 reps.
Work out to follow....

News on the XM8

I'm a big fan of HK and the XM8 assault rifle looks to be an outstanding bit of kit by all accounts- so it's not good news that funding has been delayed. Having said that, HK also makes a product improved M4- why not go ahead with production of these M4 uppers (and a full length M16) and deploy that instead? One of the plus features of the XM8 is the ability to change the weapon length at the troop level to make it more mission specific- you can do exactly the same with the M16 by changing the upper. Surely it would be cheaper for the US Army to only purchase uppers rather than entirely new weapons- and all the retraining that it entails?

Sure, the XM8 in 6.8mm would be a cool weapon, but why not make a more effective 5.56mm round and stick with the M16 platform (HK have also developed a more reliable magazine for the weapon and the Marines have just bought a number of M16A4s)? Not so long ago it was reported that ammunition production was being ramped up- so I can't see 6.8mm being adopted any time soon. Wouldn't it be easier to develop a round with better terminal ballistics (I'm sure Black Hills could run something up) and then use up the existing supplies of 5.56mm in training, keeping the good stuff for issue to combat troops?

For more on the XM8 check out the always good Murdoc Online.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Another pointless Hollywood remake

I just came across this and am appalled not only by the fact that the original movie is only seven years old, but that Hollywood has seen fit to re-cast the taxi driver as Queen Latifah. Based on this I think we can say goodbye to the original Luc Besson idea of a supercharged taxi in high-speed chases.

French cinema is not something I'm a big fan of but Taxi was a great movie. Remaking it like this is just so stupid. Is Hollywood entirely out of ideas? Can they not find writers who want to make new films? There was no need for this film to be made, just as there was no need for Ringu to be remade into The Ring. There are loads of great Japanese and Korean movies (especially horror and action) available right now on DVD- I say, go see them now before Hollywood butchers them with pointless, talentless remakes.


Gun Selection 2- Concealed Carry

Now, as I've said before, much of my weapons knowledge is down to extensive reading on the subject- I'm the firearms equivalent of an armchair quarterback. For what its worth here's a short list of concealed carry weapons (and its great to see that CCW laws in the States have led to a decrease in crime).

My first choice would be a .45ACP. That's the easy part. The hard bit is actually selecting a platform. If a revolver is preferred then there are two obvious choices- Smith and Wesson's Model 625-10 or the excellent Taurus M455. Both are equipped with a 2" barrel making them concealable enough and while either would be a good choice, personally the six shot Smith edges out the 5-shot Taurus. The barrel of the S&W also seems a little shorter than it actually is (and gives it a pretty distinctive look) because it extends back in through the frame. Either would take a bit of practice to shoot fast because a full power .45 load in a package that small would be a bit of a handful- and getting that second shot on target rapidly is essential in a defensive situation.

If a semi-auto is preferred then my two choices would come down to either a Kimber Pro Carry II or a Para-Ordnance Carry 12. The Para has a slightly shorter barrel but it also come with a 10-shot mag (and two pre-ban 12 shots). The Kimber on the other hand can only take 7. Another plus for the Para is the bobbed hammer and lack of a grip safety extension. For my taste, the LDA Para would probably win the day. In a .45ACP, the five extra rounds would probably never be required- but there's a certain peace of mind that having them there would bring. That's two down (well, really it's four but I really like guns, okay?).

Next up is the .38 Spl. Even in this day and age of high capacity, sub-compact semi-autos there is still most definitely a place for a snub nosed .38 revolver. While I do think the Smith and Wesson 642 with Crimson Trace laser grips is a nice package, I'd rather go for the Taurus CIA Model 851. With its shrouded hammer it still allows for a single action shot (maybe that's just something that appeals to me because of the target shooting I've done) and Crimson Trace do a set of laser grips for Taurus small frame revolvers too. +P ammo for the .38 is effective enough for most any situation.

Next up, a semi-auto that's small enough for concealed carry in lighter clothing and which is also suitable for the fairer sex- I'm thinking of my other half here. While the old Walther PPK is a logical choice I'm not a huge fan of the .380ACP and would feel more comfortable with the full size 9mm. This is a round that has gotten a lot of criticism, especially when the M9 became the choice of the US Army, but those days are long past. Modern 9mm ammo is much more effective now than it was at the start of the '90s and it's a round that I would happily depend on. There is also a fantastic platform for it in the little Kahr PM9. Just read this. That says it better than I could and Kahr have a great reputation for reliable weapons.

My last choice is also for a tiny gun- but one even smaller than the Kahr. It's North American Arms Guardian in .32NAA. It's tiny, has a capacity of six, can be fitted with XS tritium sights and seems to function very reliably. While such a tiny gun (even with Cor-bon ammo) wouldn't be my first choice to carry, there are going to be times when packing a .45 or similar just isn't practical. Enter the Guardian. With twice the muzzle energy of a .32ACP, its still a very, very compact package and would suit either half of a couple as a defensive firearm. Better to have a little gun than no gun at all. And check out the accessories page for a set of lovely cocobolo grips to dress it up in.

Friday, July 23, 2004


Did another session on the Concept 2 today. Improved my 2000m time by 13 seconds- 2 minutes 40 seconds. Really felt my triceps burning towards the end. Now I've got the weekend off I'm going to slip in some more press up work- just a few sets spread throughout the day- and lay off the squat thrusts.

Hopefully listing some of my workouts online here will encourage me to persevere with this new regime. My other half has also started rowing too and knowing that she's working hard is also urging me on. I don't want her to get better than me and show me up!

Trojan Virus

Got another PC infected with a virus today- a backdoor.trojan. Thing is, the system had anti-virus software and a firewall. It was compromised by coolwebsearch- first sign is your home page resetting to that site. The virus resides in the registry too which means that Norton can't delete it.
 In addition to anti-virus and firewall software (with the settings on 'high') I'd recommend installing Lavasoft Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy. Both programs are free and the latest Spybot has a nifty "immunize" feature to add a little more security. Also make sure to run both of these occasionally and to make sure that your anti-virus is updated.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

American Hostage's Head Found

The head of murdered hostage Paul Johnson has been found in Saudi Arabia after a raid on the house of an Al Qaeda chief. It was being kept in the freezer. His body has still not been recovered. Among the weapons recovered was a anti-aircraft SAM-7.

The enemy we face is simply despicable.

Here's hoping the Saudi government keeps up the pressure on Al Qaeda.

More Defence Cuts

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has announced that Britain's armed forces are to be cut once more. Our already over-stretched service will be reduced in manpower by 10% with the Army losing 1500 men over the next few years.

To start with I think Hoon should have resigned long ago, especially after the death of a soldier who gave his body-armour to an infantryman and was subsequently shot himself- had he still been wearing his armour he would have survived. Our troops were sent into harm's way without the necessary equipment and that is negligence on the part of the government. Now, with Britain involved in what looks like the start of a long war against Islamofascism he has decided to cut our troops further. This would be all well and good if Britain was only to send troops to one war at a time, but what happens when conflict breaks out in more than one spot? Each of the Royal Marines three Commandos comprises only 700 men each. The Parachute Regiment has three battalions but at any one time there are only enough men to field two full battalions. The Army is being reduced by four infantry battalions and will see a reduction of seven Challenger 2 squadrons (aren't tanks fairly essential to an operation like the invasion of Iraq?). The SAS and SBS have apparently seen a flood of troops leaving recently as they seek high-paid private contractor jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The RAF is due to lose one whole squadron of Tornadoes and four ground defence regiments (because lately we haven't had much of an air threat- too bad if we go up against an enemy like Argentina again, and who could have predicted that?), with a reduction in manpower of 7,500 by 2008.

Hoon also goes on about network enabled capability as one of the justifications for this reduction, but the mature phase of the programme is not expected until 2020-2030. Given the usual state of military technology programmes, another 5 or ten years on top of that might be optimistic.

I've got to say that I'm fairly alarmed by all this. We're at war and we're having our forces reduced even further? It's madness and it's worse that these decisions are being taken at a time when our national security is being threatened by an enemy with a worldwide capability. It's about time politicians stopped basing their defence plans on the last war fought. Next time it might not be like Iraq- and next time we might be fighting on multiple fronts. Just how is Britain supposed to cope?

"Isn't he taking his most reckless step so far: cutting tanks and ships and aircraft to make immediate savings whilst making vague promises that new weapons will be delivered at some point in the dim and distant future" said Nicholas Soames, Conservative spokesman for the armed forces.

Starship Troopers

Got this quote in the daily IMDB email for their movie of the day-

Paul Verhoeven started his career making documentaries for the Royal Dutch Navy, and he nearly ended it with Starship Troopers, a flop that ridiculed the American military. Fetishizing the fascistic nature of the film, Troopers centers on jockish Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien); his girlfriend, Carmen (Denise Richards); tomboy Dizzy (Dina Meyer); and brainy Carl (Neil Patrick Harris). All high school graduates are given an ultimatum: sign up for military service or forfeit your right to become a citizen -- status which enables you to have any sort of future.
The quartet enlists together, then they are ranked by their aptitude and assigned accordingly (though Dizzy volunteers for the infantry unit to which Rico is assigned). At the peak of their training, war with Klendathu, a planet inhabited by menacing bugs bent on destroying all humans, breaks out, and the children are sent into a battle for which they are unprepared. Right down to the faux interactive menus (asking if you'd like to know more), Verhoeven's design is a high-tech Go Army ad, and with a style poached from network television, sensational newsflashes interrupt the narrative. Somehow, after the beautiful disaster that was Showgirls, Verhoeven secured nearly $100 million dollars to bring Troopers to life. If it was intended to simply polarize audiences, then Troopers was a success. Its pro-military fireworks rallied some, yet others celebrated it as sublime parody... while select critics were sent into a rage. Washington Post critic (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Stephen Hunter called it a film that presupposes Nazism, writing, "It's spiritually Nazi, psychologically Nazi. It comes directly out of the Nazi imagination, and is set in the Nazi universe." - Arno Kazarian

I'm a big fan of Starship Troopers, the book and the movie, and I just cannot see how the Nazi comparisons come through- and I seem to recall hearing a lot of that at the time. Now, it's been a while since I saw the film but I seem to remember that Johnny's father was not a citizen and opposed his entering the military, but he seemed to be rather well off. Maybe these critics were so alarmed by the idea of having to earn their rights rather than have them handed to them?
Whatever, it's time to break out the DVD and have another watch. Now, if only they would make a film that accurately depicted the book!

Exercise Update

Having been at my basic press up/squat thrust workout for the past few weeks and with my back in half decent shape (that'll be a different story when the warm weather starts to fade) I began to row again this week. Using the expensive but built-like-a-tank Concept 2 rower I was able to do 2000m in 8 minutes 53 seconds. Not a great time but unlike my first workout on Monday I was able to stand up straight when I finished today and, as yet, I'm not hobbling around like a hunchback 90 year old- maybe in an hour or two when my joints realise what's happened to them.

The Concept 2 rower is fantastic- the best bit of gym equipment I've used (excluding weights machine of course). My sports background is cycling and weight training. I love doing weights but with my back injury that's out the window at the moment and a stationary bike is painful too. It's more than just a (literal) pain in the butt. With the Tour on right now and Lance Armstrong doing so well, I'd love to be out on the bike. Anyway, if anyone is looking for a good bit of kit to exercise with they'd be hard pressed to beat the Concept 2- and rowing is a great form of exercise.

Reading List

This may or may not become a regular feature. It's a list of the books I'm currently reading. I almost always have more than one book on the go at any one time because I'm fickle, easily distracted and quite possibly have a very short attention span.
 Here it is:

1. Guns and Ammo- okay technically it's not a book but I always seem to be a month behind the current issue and consequently there's always some part of it I have to read at any given time.
2. Combat Handguns- again, a magazine, and one into which I delve now and then. I usually read it cover to cover but one article at a time, depending on what takes my fancy.
3. The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern. I read one or two of these years ago when I was still at school and recently resolved to work my way through the series. About to begin book 7. Long way to go...
4. The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert Bakker. Part of my whole dinosaur/Pellucidar obsession. A very good and he's very convincing, everything he says sounds so reasonable- I'm going to have to find someone with opposing ideas.
5. Journey to the Underground World by Lin Carter. A Pellucidar pastiche which isn't really a patch on ERB but I'm ploughing through it anyway and will probably read the rest of the series that follows. What's not to like about a story that pits men against dinosaurs?
6. Handgun Hunting by Mark Hampton. Very easy to read and well illustrated. I'm reading it by how interested I am in the subject matter. The section on hunting boar was first to go as this is something I would love to try- hunting hogs with a handgun. And this book is going for about $2.20 on Amazon. Bargain.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Firearms Selection Part 1

Mike Adams has written a pretty good article recommending first guns to buy and it's inspired me to list the weapons I'd buy. Guns are very much down to individual taste and, given my relative lack of experience, my opinions are based not on experience but on my extensive reading. My own weapons handling involves .22LR target guns, the SA80, the M16, a Colt Dragoon revolver, a lovely old Martini-Henry rifle, the Lee-Enfield and the AK-47. I've handled one or two other guns in my time but not so much that it's worth mentioning. Because I'm a guy and naturally inclined towards collecting things I'm going to try and limit this to five weapons in each 'section'.
My first set of recommendations is for home defence weapons. I hear that there are a lot of .357 magnum revolvers available second hand because this is one of the first purchases people tend to make- and they regret going with the magnum. Even so, the .357 is versatile enough- .38 spl, .38 +p or .357 magnum. There's enough range there that I think it's a worthwhile inclusion. Also a revolver is easy to use and a tad more dependable than a semi-auto. While I've got to say that the Colt Python is a lovely looking gun, personally I'd go for a Ruger. Everything about Ruger screams rugged reliability and the model I'd choose is the rather stunning low glare stainless GP-100 (KGP-141TG). Very nice.
 My second choice is also for a handgun, and this time a semi-auto- in the classic .45 ACP calibre. I'm a big fan of the 1911 pistol and it's arguably one of the best gun designs ever. Nearly a hundred years after its introduction US troops are still using it. I can't think of another weapon from that period still being used in combat. Sadly, my experience of using a 1911 is nil, something I hope to correct ASAP. Selecting a 1911 therefore is not easy, but from what I've read my choice would have to be a Kimber. Others come close- Para-Ordnance and Springfield especially- but the Kimber would pip them to the post, in particular the Custom TLE/RL II. That build in light rail would be very handy in a home defence situation. Every time I read about Kimber their guns seem to function flawlessly and with great accuracy. What else could you ask for?
 While a sturdy handgun is all well and good, there's definitely a place for a scattergun in home defence scenarios. Shotguns are not an area of expertise for me at all, but having looked at the options available I'm inclined towards the Benelli Nova Pump Tactical. The tritium ghost ring sights are a nice touch and at around $300 there are a hell of a lot cheaper than my second choice- a Wilson Combat Standard Model.
 There's also a place for a short rifle or carbine when it comes to defending the home, although thought must be paid to over-penetration. For that reason one of my selections is the .30 cal M1 carbine. While the cartridge isn't super-powered with the proper bullet it'd certainly be effective enough- and the clip holds 15 rounds. The M1 carbine is short, handy and light- and in military service has proved to be reliable.
 Finally, I'd go for a weapon in the same calibre as the GP-100- .357 magnum- a Marlin lever action. With 10 round capacity there's enough firepower there for virtually all situations and it's another time proven design. The rifle will also help tame the recoil of the .357 magnum round. Pair it up with the Ruger revolver and these two would make a perfect set for a couple to defend themselves with.
 Anyway, for what it's worth, these are my selections for this category. Any one of them alone would be a good choice, but personally I'd go for a handgun and a long gun. Narrowing it down would be another matter- a 1911 and an M1 or the Ruger and Marlin? I've no experience with shotguns and so it would be last on my list, but it would definitely be there.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Gun crime in the UK

While browsing I came across this article from the BBC which states that since the Dunblane massacre and the subsequent knee-jerk blanket ban on handguns (and semi-auto rifles over .22LR) gun crime in the UK has doubled.
 Looking at the figures here we can see that between 98/99 the crimes resulting in injury rose from 846 to 2,179 in 2002/03. That's a bit more than a doubling. It's only when air weapons are included (and there was a recent spate of injuries involving teenagers last year which caught the media's attention) that we can see a figure which nearly doubles. The same is said when we look at crimes in which firearms were the principal weapon- from 13,874 in '97/'98 to 24,070 in 2002/3.
 Now that Tony Blair is facing a new election in which crime will play a major role he's having to promise to do something about rising violent crime in general. This is the same man who claimed he would be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime". He's been in power for seven years now and crime continues to rise. I can almost guarantee that if handguns were still legal right now, he'd be calling for them to be outlawed.
 The latest anti-crime initiative is the 155th to be announced since the 2001 general election. If you look here you'll see that the crime figures seem good- overall crime stable, domestic burglary down, vandalism down- but this means little when you look at the violent crime figures- they're all up. Right now, Blair says that it's time for an end to the "1960s liberal consensus on law"but part of his plan isn't tougher sentencing, it's to extend electronic tagging for "the 50,000 most prolific repeat offenders who commit one in ten crimes. Shouldn' t these people be behind bars and not at liberty? Blair is right when he says that British citizens want "rules, order and proper behaviour"- he's wrong when he thinks that we don't want seriously repeat offenders to be at large in society. I for one want them locked up securely.
 Unlike America we have no right to defend our property or ourselves- if British citizens do this we are criminals and are prosecuted as such (and when these cases do occur, it often seems like the defender is treated and sentenced more harshly than the criminal).
 In a coastal here in N. Ireland there was a big problem with underage drinkers and crime- vandalism, burglaries, etc. The solution wasn't to have more police patrol the streets after dark, it was to issue "anti-social behaviour orders".  These are basically good behaviour bonds- break them and you could face a stiff jail term, but the problem is, these orders are themselves only issued as a last resort. The youth in question then has more opportunities to break the law and get caught before he faces a severe sentence.  Of course, youth workers don't want the kids to be punished at all- it's contextual you see.
 In my own home town a house was robbed in broad daylight by a gang armed with knives. They beat and threatened a couple, knocking the man's wife to the ground and kicking her, robbed them and then fled. The couple lived quite close to my own parents and the gang had committed enough crimes that the police felt the need to go door to door in the area warning people to be on the look out for anything out of the ordinary. My own parents own three fairly boisterous dogs which act as a noisy deterrent to anyone approaching their property, but if this gang had chosen to rob them- what could they do? My father is an ex-military man, a one time Regimental Sergeant Major who has had years of experience in training soldiers to shoot. He's never broken the law in his life. He not only cannot own a handgun, but in the current climate, couldn't defend himself with it in any case. Not in the UK.
 About a year ago not far from the village where I live, an elderly man made a regular visit to the country home of his equally elderly friend. While he was there a gang broke in to rob the remote home and beat the man to death. They have never been caught.
 I've got to say that I live in a relatively quiet part of the country. For myself and my acquaintances, crime isn't a major factor in our lives. Most of us spend more time complaining about being robbed at the petrol pumps by government fuel taxes (we pay roughly $5.50 a gallon compared to America's $2). Even so, when crimes does hit, it can be violent and sometimes fatal. In the UK, we not only have to worry about the criminal threatening our wellbeing and perhaps our lives- we have to worry about what will happen to us if we defend ourselves.
 When I was a single guy I didn't think much about this- if someone attacked me I would fight right back. Now I have a partner and two small children and I worry constantly about their well-being. I also worry that, being unarmed by the government, I may not be able to protect them against a gang of thugs. I'm in a rural area and the old, small village police stations have virtually all been closed in the past decade- if police help is required it's now about 15 minutes away instead of two.
 So here's a thought for Blair if he wants to sort out the crime problem- change the law to allow people to defend their life, their property and their families- and give us the ability to defend ourselves, repeal the handgun ban. I'm planning on writing to the opposition party with this suggestion and if I ever get a response I'll post it here.

Back up

Speaking of damaged computers, don't forget to regularly back up your data. DVD-RW are so cheap now that there's no excuse really. I used to get really annoyed trying to back up all the junk in My Documents to CDs, but I got a cheap Asus DVD-RW from Overclockers UK (and blank media is just as inexpensive) recently.

Not only can I now fit all my ebooks on one disc (yay!), but creating back-up copies of DVDs is just as easy. This used to be a fairly complicated procedure but not any more; just use 1 Click DVD. It really couldn't get any easier (just don't forget to also download DVD43 too). The DVD-copy software is about $50 but it's well worth it. I totally recommend it. The only glitch I've found, if you could call it that, is that I need to shut down and restart my old, slow PC (you don't want to know) after doing one copy and before doing another. Even with cheap blanks (Datawrite from Overclockers) I haven't made any coasters since I started using 1Click.

Good stuff.

Computers again

There not only seems to be a flurry of virus infections hitting PCs lately (I've got a couple more friend's machine to fix today) but its also that time of year when a lot of systems seem to get hit by power surges. Maybe this is just a Northern Ireland thing, but usually around the height of summer I come across a lot of machines that get fried- and in most cases the power supply doesn't contain the damage. If you don't have one fitted, get a surge protector. I've seen too many machines get fried- motherboards, hard drives, everything.
Play it safe.

Al-Qaeda Virus

Looks like an al-qaeda sympathiser has created a virus which 'hibernates' to avoid detection by anti-virus software.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Battle of Thermopylae

Just a quick note to any fans of the Spartans (molon labe anyone?)- Zack Snyder is due to direct a movie version of the Frank Miller graphic novel 300.

Hope he does as good a job with this as he did with DOTD.

George Romero

I'm a big horror movie fan, and I have a soft spot for zombie films, even though an awful lot of them are really quite bad. Recently I had the pleasure of seeing three great zombie films- Versus, Shaun of the Dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake. I had very low expectations for the latter film but Johnny Cash started playing over the opening titles and it proved to be the first of many good things. A remake of a classic that didn't suck. I was impressed. I now hear that George Romero is making the fourth of his "Dead" movies- Land of the Dead. Now, I'm not so sure about the zombie evolution thing, but this could be a great film. Fingers crossed Romero can still cut it.

BTW, Ryuichi Kitamura is a fantastic director- Azumi rocks too, if you like over-the-top sword fighting action (and who doesn't?). If you get the chance to see any of his films, please do so- you won't be disappointed.

After Action Report

I found this site in my bookmarks- I'd almost forgotten about it. It's a fairly comprehensive review of weapons performance in Iraq, along with recommendations. It's a very interesting read.

Of note to me was the assessment of the SAW and this:
Redesign the current weapon system or develop a suitable replacement for this weapon system. That took me by surprise, especially considering that its now been adopted by the Royal Marines- I'm hoping to get some feedback from some mates still in the Corps about their experience with it.

Anyone out there have any problems with the M249? Maybe issuing the 7.62mm M48 MOD
is the way to go here? Or 100 round Beta-C drum mags for a heavy barrel M16? Any thoughts on the subject?

Friday, July 16, 2004

Michael Moore-on

Let's get one thing straight- I can't stand Michael Moore. I first saw Bowling For Columbine a year or so ago and I was enraged the whole time it was on the TV. It wasn't just that I didn't agree with his arguments, or that I knew of the lies and distortions he'd included in the movie (though I was quick to find out), it was the whole premise of the movie- why these kids went on a rampage. Moore blames the media for portraying blacks as violent criminals, the NRA (and includes a particularly disgusting animated sequence equating them with the KKK), the military-industrial complex and...well, everyone but those who should be blamed- the two kids. It was Klebold and Harris who pulled the trigger. It was all down to them, not society, not the NRA, no one else but them. If Moore really was that interested in finding out why two high school kids killed so many people why didn't he make a film about that? Why not investigate them and their backgrounds? Instead we get a couple of minutes of them and then it's on to Moore's own agenda. It seems as if he doesn't give a damn about the victims of Columbine. He'd rather use them as a soapbox to preach his own message.

As for F9/11, why didn't Moore (if he loves America as much as he says- which I seriously doubt) make a film about the terrorists who committed the act? Why didn't he document the rise of Al Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism? Why not expose the danger that faces his country and the western world today? Why not look into their shadowy world, instead of concocting a wafer thin, obviously false conspiracy theory? Why does he have to try and blame his own government for the acts of murderous terrorists? Maybe its because, as he said on his own website only days after 9/11, that the cause of 9/11 is not Islamic jihad but poverty. Yep, that's right- Moore didn't want Bush to go to war over the murder of over 3000 innocent people, he wanted America to raise the rest of the world out of poverty. That's the United States responsibility, is it? Maybe Moore really thinks that people aren't responsible for their actions- it's all America's fault. He argues the case that American society caused Klebold and Harris to murder their peers, and also that it's America's fault that they didn't make other countries as successful as themselves. I guess that must mean that Mike donates all of his millions to charity? He doesn't spend it on a luxury apartment in Manhattan? He does? While children starve? Who would have thought that he could be so hypocritical?

Michael Moore must really hate America. He's the most popular propagandist of his time and yet he makes movies
attacking America. Why doesn't he make an inspirational, positive film about the USA? Why not tell the world how proud he is to live in the freest society in the world, which has not only enabled him to become a millionaire but also to criticise the very system that made him that way? Why doesn't he highlight the benefits of the War on Terror so far- the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq from regimes which did not provide the freedoms Moore takes for granted? Maybe it's because he really does hate America- after American citizens were brutally murdered and mutilated he called the terrorists in Iraq Minutemen, comparing them to those who fought and died for American freedom. He called for American soldiers to die so that "God and the Iraqi people might forgive America". That doesn't sound like a patriot to me. Calling Americans (I'm assuming he includes himself too) the dumbest people on the planet doesn't quite sound like someone proud of their nation either.

Politicians in America have recently responded to certain criticisms by claiming that their patriotism is being called into question. I think it's high time Michael Moore's patriotism was called into question. Let's see how he responds to that. Has he ever said anything remotely positive about his nation?

Computer Safety

I've just finished repairing a family friend's laptop- it was infected with six viruses and a load of spyware. Please do not surf the internet without protection people. Free programmes can be found here:

  • Avast anti-virus,
  • AVG anti-virus
  • Zone Alarm Firewall
  • Stay safe out there.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2004


    I live in Northern Ireland which has the toughest gun laws of the United Kingdom- while on the mainland you can legally buy airguns and even CO2 guns, here I need a Firearms Certificate (that's right, it's illegal for me to own an airgun without government approval). The gun laws are tight here because of the terrorist problem (which has not been solved by capitulating to them and letting them into local government-surprise surprise: the British government is tough on terrorism sometimes, but at other times they cave in to a decades long campaign of terror) but they haven't stopped the IRA and UVF (etc etc) from getting their hands on AKs, .50 cal sniper rifles, or even RPGs. Strangely enough, the terrorists don't obey the laws round here.
    Now the British government doesn't trust its citizens to own handguns at all (thanks to one lunatic). Recently the Brocock type of CO2 gun (gas contained within the cartridge) was also made illegal. Owners had two choices; either hand the guns in to the police without any form of compensation, or apply for a firearms certificate (and if you were turned down, the gun is confiscated, again without any form of compensation). The Brococks were banned because in some cases they could be adapted to fire live ammunition. This was already illegal, but Blair et al decided to go ahead and ban the guns anyway. As they have been legal to own (not in Northern Ireland I might add) no one has any idea how many have been sold or to who. To top it all, there was virtually no news of the ban- unless you belonged to a gun club or regularly read the gun press. If you haven't heard the news, tough luck. The sentence for an illegally held weapon is 5 years imprisonment. Ignorance is not an excuse.

    I have a keen interest in firearms and when I was younger would occasionally go shooting with my father (.22 target pistol). I loved it and when I joined the Marines I loved shooting there too and, in fact, earned my Marksman's Badge- despite the training (but that's another post). At the moment I am unarmed, which is a state the government is quite happy about. If I were entirely defenseless and never lifted my hand to protect my self or my family, the government would be even happier. While in the States a man has a right to defend himself, here in the UK we are generally prosecuted. Fair? Absolutely not, and a Labour MP referred to people as 'bastards' when they proposed he implement a law advocating the right to defend your property. This pretty much sums up our socialist government's viewpoint on the rights of the individual to protect himself.

    Personally, I'm pretty much disgusted with the whole affair. Even if I did own a gun, by law it has to be kept in a secure safe (the police can come into your home to approve the safe). So if I needed to defend myself I'd be out of luck. If I did, for example, lift a broom and hit an intruder with that, I'm positive I'd be looking at spending a night, and maybe many more, in the cells. Not an ideal situation to be in.

    Anyway, I'm getting away from the point. What I'd like to do is ask an American liberal/democrat/leftist (choose your own term) what exactly it is about your Bill of Rights that you don't understand? If anyone wants to ask John Kerry too, please feel free. I'd love to hear what he has to say. For those not in the know here are the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment II

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Now, I know that 1st Amendment rights are taken very seriously by the left. When criticized over his recent Hollywood fundraiser, Kerry claimed everyone there had the right to say what they wanted. Not that that was what he was being asked, but there you go- an example. It seems pretty clear too- no law abridging freedom of speech, or of the press. Straightforward, no way you could get confused about that surely?

    Now, as for the second amendment, it seems even clearer; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. There is absolutely no way you can mistake that- and yet the gun-grabbers in the States seem to think that means they can actually infringe on the rights of individuals to own firearms. Maybe it's because I'm not an American (yet) that I don't get this- am I missing something?

    Set aside, for the moment, the AWB (isn't that infringing on the right to keep and bear arms?). Anti-gun types will argue (and this seems to be the most common one I hear) that the Bill of Rights didn't mean assault rifles or sniper rifles- you don't need that to hunt. You don't need a Smith and Wesson .500 magnum. You don't need a weapon that can defeat the type of armour worn by police. On the campaign trail John Kerry has been quick to claim that he's a hunter- heck, he even used a shotgun- and that he's for responsible gun laws. He also claims that he's never needed to go hunting with an AK-47. Well, I don't recall the second amendment mentioning that people need to be armed to go hunting. It actually says- "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State". How do you go from that to hunting? You can't. And if the Bill of Rights is talking about a militia then surely it should be armed with the weapons of war (i.e. assault rifles). Fully automatic weapons were banned in the thirties (unless you can get a Class III license- please do correct me if I'm wrong on any of this). An assault rifle, by definition, is an intermediate calibre weapon capable of selective fire. Okay, I'm back to the AWB already. Oops. Now, these have already been made illegal in the United States. The AWB simply bans combinations of features which have no bearing whatsoever on the effectiveness of a weapon- pistol grips, flash suppressors. It's a fairly pointless law. You can still buy an AK or an AR-15 in the USA if you want, you just can't get one with a flash suppressor. Oh my, people must be sleeping safer in their beds at night knowing that flash suppressors have been taken off the streets!
    Well, the amendment clearly doesn't mention hunting, so banning weapons not involved in hunting makes absolutely no sense.
    The second major argument I hear is that the Founding Fathers only meant muskets and the like, simple single-shot black powder weapons. They didn't want citizens armed with AK-47s, or with dangerous high capacity nine millimetre semi-autos. Really? I don't see anything in the second amendment which states that no further technological progress is allowed, or even that only long arms are allowed over handguns. No mention of magazine capacity, or of calibre or of action. Nothing, nada, zip. But if you want to argue like that (ignoring what's been plainly stated)- they didn't say anything about TV, the radio or the internet in the first amendment either. Shall we start a campaign to ban them, to have them strictly regulated and licensed? Does that sound fair? Or does it sound like an infringement of your rights? Does it sound like the sort of thing that a corrupt and totalitarian government might do? Well, exactly. Exactly why no one tries to ban freedom of speech. And exactly why no one should try and ban a certain type of firearm. Can't you see the parallels here? Isn't this obvious? Am I the only one that this seems clear to? What's wrong with these people? Let's not forget, America is only free because it was armed.

    If there are any Americans reading this (or just anyone) please let me know what you think. And guys, keep fighting the gun-grabbers- I don't want to come over there and find that all I can buy is some damned pellet gun. I want my Ruger Bisley .45 Colt. Mmmm, maybe I'll post a list of my 'wants'?

    PS There are no links in this article (yet) to refer my sources- that may be updated later- but I've got a nine week old girl and I just don't have the time to do it right now.

    Sunday, July 11, 2004

    US Election

    Although I am not a citizen of the United States (yet- I'm still in the UK for now) I am following the election closely for the simple reason that whatever happens there will have a profound effect on the rest of the world.
    John F**king Kerry's plan to "police" terrorism rather than fight tooth and nail against it means that the war against terror will be lost. This man seems to have no soul, no morals and certainly not the balls of George Bush- quite why Dubya is so reviled around the world I simply don't understand- and his capitulation to terrorism will have a detrimental effect on all the free world. This isn't an issue he can flip-flop on to appease whatever groups he's speaking to (and even if he wasn't doing this, I'd have serious doubts about anyone who called Yasser Arafat a statesman). Unless he hasn't noticed, we're at war- western civilization against Islamic jihad. Islamic terrorists aren't pissed at George Bush, they're pissed at the whole of the free world and right now America is our best hope of winning this war. Most of Europe seems to have rolled over and given up and without Bush in the White House I have serious doubts about Blair's ability to stay the course.

    For the sake of all the free world, I hope to God that Bush trounces Kerry this November.


    A number of years ago I injured my back pretty badly and I've been struggling with it ever since.

    At the moment I'm trying to lose a few pounds, strengthen my back and generally try and feel a bit better. Because of my injury there are limits to what I can do but I'm trying my hardest to keep going.

    My workout at the moment is basic in the extreme and, to anyone who has any kind of active existence this will seem ridiculous, is fairly hard work. Bear in mind, I've been sedentary for about a year and a half now.

    Here it is- press ups and bastards, or as they're sometimes known, squat thrusts. To do a squat thrust stand up, feet fairly close together, hands by sides. Now bend your legs and put your hands on either sides of your feet, kick back with both feet (so that you're in a press up position), then bring your feet back to the starting position and then stand up. It sounds easy but if you do them as fast as you can they tend to get a bit harder- hence the name, bastards.
    As I said, I'm not fit at all, so I started with ten. Then 15 and then 20 and then do them for a minute, and then do three sets of 1 minute. Take your time to build up. If this is the sort of workout you need to do, start slow and go easy. Don't hurt yourself. It's a small thing to do and takes very little time (remember to warm up first and to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regime, I cannot be held responsible for any injuries incurred, etc.) but I've noticed my legs getting stronger in a very short time.
    As for press ups there are four types I do- hands directly below my shoulders, keeping elbows in tight to the body during the press up motion; wide grip, SEAL press ups and tricep press ups. The latter two are just the names I use for 'em. Here's how to do 'em:

    SEAL press ups. Start in a standard press up position, hands wide apart. Now bring your feet forward a few feet and stick your butt in the air so that your body forms an upsidedown V. Bend your arms and as your face comes towards the ground push your head forward, as if you're pushing it beneath a fence (does that make sense?). Then reverse. These are pretty hard when you first star them but they're really good for your upper back.
    Triceps press ups are even harder. To begin, get down in a press up position but bring your hands together so that your thumbs and forefingers form a triangle shape (stick your thumbs out from your hands) and place them right below your breastbone. When you bend your arms your chest should just about touch your hands and you'll feel your triceps doing all the work. I love these.

    Anyway, that's pretty basic workout- I spread them out throughout the day, doing a set here and there. Start easy, do what you can and take every other day off if you're just starting to exercise. One set of each and build up from what you can do, adding to it when you can. I like to increase in jumps of five, but doing another one each time is fine too.

    This isn't going to turn you into Superman, but it'll give you a good basic strength. I'm just beginning to sort myself out, but in a month's time I'll add to this. Give it a go, see how it feels.

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