The Dreaded Australian Curse

Gentlest Reader: Shy Maiden or Once-Brave Lad,

‘Tis with a heavy heart that I type this post. Your blogger has stumbled upon a maniacal, Australian substance driving our good Sailors shrieking mad. The light in these once-great men’s, women’s eyes was captured, quick in a twirling butterfly net, and replaced with the tired, surrendering flicker of the dead. Cold, lifeless. Waiting for the soil, the shovelfuls of soil to pile, pile after pile, and worms, and even grass, with cemetery footstomps above. And then to hear your name, read with a sniffle, off yer own gravestone: Here lies a once good man. Done in by the dread that best be not uttered. Argggh. Argggh, indeed.

What, say ye, drove our sea-faring lot to such sirenesque despair?

Ah lads, fair maidens, gather ye yer senses, gird yer loins, should you still have any loin t’gird, and cluster ’round this blog for a tale o’woe and shrieking. Gnash your teeth at will, for your smiling days have numbers! And th’numbers, they match your fingers. On one hand. Not including thumbs. 4, 3, 2, 1, argggh. . .You are fingerless and dayless in the forever night. And you, with only nubs, fists to ward off all that bumps and whispers in the willows. . .

The hours of wine and roses, the minutes of milk and honey, they are dead. Our sad yarn, it begins in Australia, that land of petty thieves and knife-teethed warriors. Of nervous, dinkum kangaroos and foxtrotting wallabies.

Oh, how happy would I be to write that it ends there! That her devilish hand stayed put, clenched. But alas, her pestilance has been imported, and t’washed up on our fair, virgin shores. Cheaspeake Bay, San Diego, Norfolk folks, Bremerton, Groton, Jax, Galveston Bay, hey! The invasion is upon us, brothers and sisters, and we fight not back! Where is the waiting for the whites of her eyes? The fire at will? The nuts. The un-stuck on stupid?

What disease is this, what name does our doom harken too?

Acch, before I reveal the substance, ’tis best to relax a slight bit, dear reader. Shake out yer shoulders. Take yerself in a nice dipper of clean, new air. Breathe a nostril-ful, and then out. Ready? Gird ye yet once again.

Repeat after me: our enemy has a name. There are many enemies, but this enemy is mine. And she goes by the title of Musk Stick. Yes, yes: Musk Stick. Innocent name, no?

Well, ’twere not innocent in the slightest. Nay, neigh. Before my very red-veined eyes, I watched grown men reduced to unproductive, pre-pubescent boys with a mere, musky snifferful. One lean in and one quick inhalation and they were gone, years lost in naval training. My neck muscles throbbed, the veins in my very forehead pulsed, threatening to burst as fair lasses became less fair, less lassie.

I suppose the best way to whisper of our tale is to invite in the instigator. Ah, cast your eyes not upon her website! Ignore ye the plucky bear, named Digs the Digger. He proudly guards her blog, waiting and counting the hearts, souls he has scythed, harvested. Perhaps he toils as a digger, a plowman of the rib cavity, of the chest. And the owner of this gargoylish site counts page-views in hearts plucked free. Not unlike mayonnaise jars, vegemite tins in her cupboards. Argggh.

In the days of ol’ when-est a Sailor lost his last, unpolished marble, they t’were lashed to the mast to keep from throwing their body into the cruel, shark-infested seas. The ocean, she has no fickle. She takes and takes. Our best and brightest. And takes. Without thanks. And takes more. The sea, as I have known her, has no discern. Yea, have I groaned: Captain, she do take!

Back to our tale of Oz. So, our supposed blog innkeeper invited me to her site, to rest upon couches of wheat, chaff and stalks and grain alike. She served me great big mugs of grog, brought white-knuckled to my table so heavy were they. And t’when I were relaxed, tired from naval journeys, she started in on the musk. With soft incantations, intonations of words I knew me not. Argggh.

And even though I held, clutching in my innermost mind, that (almost) good men have been driven poor. Driven to bad indeed by this musk concoction.

Yet, I was powerless. She insisted. I did not say no. She insisted again. I did not fight. I did not wait me for the pale pallor of my enemies’ eyes. I surrendered not at first light, but at first night, before the very peeping of the infant sun. I had no backbone, guts, resolve. I did not utter nuts at my own Siege of Bastogne!

As if a gull, the musk sticks arrived on my shore, by my door, and me with a heady post-work allo! Once hale fellow, well met. Soon, very soon: frail fellow, soiled and wet. I tromped her in, the package, like a wayfarer, a good samaritan requiring a nightly pillow.

And off the next day, our innocent Ozzie musks with me, t’work. For your viewing pleasure, I present musk to you in all its gorgonesque beauty. Yea, the bag, livery yellow. Musk flavored sticks, colored pink. The same color as my heart, should I still have one beating. Next to our enemies, lying on my very cubicle table: a roll of life-savers. Life-savers, that American confection. That Benedict Arnold within our midst. And like a mallard decoy bobbing on some ducky lake, eucalyptus candy. Menthol and lungful and koala-like. Yes, poison. One more impish pill not to imbibe.

So I subjected my fellow and fellowette Navy professionals to said criminalish candy. And here is t’what I heard.

Her: I feel like I am at a night-club and some sweaty guy has leaned in too close and I just tasted his cologne.
Me: Hmm, something like Drakkar Noir?
Her: Yes (narrowing her eyes.)
Me: What, everyone’s smelt that stuff!

Him: Pink candy. Never. Well maybe a little taste. (One tiny nibble.) Absolutely disgusting. (Spitting it out.) What do you mean by bringing that crap here?!?

Him: (Looking at the Musk) You always bring in such interesting food, NavyOne. Why?
Me: (Thinking of these very pages, this blog) Oh (whistling.) No particular reason.

Him (a retired P-3 guy): Candy, let me bring it home for my children!
Me (gleeful, so gleeful): Yes, by all means do take (the dreaded curse off my stained hands.)
Next day
Him: I could not do it. (Hands me aforementioned, accursed confection.) I can’t give my kids this.
Me: (Head hung low, eyes bloodshot.) I understand.

I best end us there, shipmates. For perhaps yer jumpy tickers cannot take another round. Know this, the musky curse has arrived at our very shores and we are not stalwarted against it.

Pink has never been the color of evil, ’til now. Parents, guard ye yer wee ones, take cover from this pestilence. For musk sticks are on the prowl, searching fer your piker soul to keep. Hug yer children, sob into blankets, bite willow boughs in your gnashed teeth. For tonight, it may be your last. Or perhaps this tale has more tails? Argggh.

Paging All Bay Area Gun Experts

Doris Day as Calamity J
Buffalo B as Buffalo B

Attention all Calamity Janes!

Attention all Buffalo Bills!

A sister in the Bay Area (San Francisco, California) is in need of your expert shootin’ skills.

Bookworm from Bookworm Room wants to go hot at the range, but she lacks the proper instruction. Yes, she can go to a school or perhaps travel to the range alone. Even better: I can bleg my battle-hardened, brilliant readers. For a Bay Area Annie O or Wild Bill to hook a California blogger up with some instruction. Go here and read her comments below. Or peruse her own blogpost about her previous experiences. Did I mention that a big-time celebrity quoted her on his show?

Here is the thing: the first fifty bucks in ammo is on me. If you must dust off your ol’ MP-5 and put 200 rounds through it (to test your twitchy, arthritic trigger-finger), than so be it. I will pay for your shiny brass.

Even those Mark grenade launchers the Marines use, are fair game. I like the satisfying thunk they make when they fire off. It is a sound distinctly American, the thunk of freedom. Yes, if you must pop off some of those babies, by all means, go get some. On my nickel. . .(or hundreds of nickels. . .)

Eat this

One caveat: I must draw the line at RPG rounds. Real jihadis, not mellow ones, use them and I cannot under a good conscience bankroll your jihadi adventure.

Not that!

So let’s talk supply line and locale. As Sun Tzu once uttered: carefully guard your line of supplies. Then you will be able to fight with advantage. The Book’ster is in the North Bay, think Marinish. (Note to our USMC sistern: Marinish is not Marineish.) So to keep your supply line short, the North Bay locale would be ideal for your little O.K. Coralling. Okay?

Can you hook a gun newb up? Or, perhaps several folks can meet at the range?

Why am I doing this? Well, even though we have not met, Bookworm gave me the initial impetus to blog. I avoided it in the past because I am still active-duty. So this is a way to tip the scaly scales of life back to level.

Bruce - Swamp People
Sniper Ghillie Suit

Also, please be presentable. No: Oshkosh B’gosh overalls minus a t-shirt. Yes: sniper ghillie suit. Remember, Bookworm is a pillar of society. We are trying to encourage her to embrace the 2nd Amendment, not to noseplug it.

And if it were not already apparently obvious, San Fran Nando need not apply. She may be (maybe) a reader of this blog, but I must draw the line on putting friends around that woman when she is armed. In her own words: America must be a light to the world, not just a missile. Roger, Nancy. If that is how you feel, no range missiles for you!

PS Did I mention: the first half honey of ammo is on me?!?

PPS We can settle on a time that is convenient for all happy parties once you volunteer. (You, waving your Mississippi hand in the back of the classroom. Have you been listening? Bay Area. Book is not driving all the way to BF, Sippi no matter how many custom varmint rifles you want her to squeeze.)

PPPS Here is where I shamelessly link to a bunch of gun bloggers to get their attention. Hey guys, hey ladies, a little help?

PPPPS Darn that took a while. Alright, enough is enough. No more. (Okay, maybe a handful more. Did I leave anyone out? No. Good. . .)

PPPPPS I can’t emphasize enough how important Wounded Warriors is as a charity. Here is a gun blogger (Carteach0) who has a bleg of his own for them. (Hand Salute: Old NFO, who has yet another bleg for a worthwhile cause!) When it rains, it pours.

PPPPPPS Latest update here.

Links, From

Hippies and Pokeys Vaccinations, from a Bookworm.

Survival wire saw, from a blacksmith.

Marines and quiffing, from the Pharter Marine Corps Times.

Job creation in Alaska, from an Alaskan Reverend.

Paul Krugman, muppet, from an Alarming News source.

Sheer medical brilliance, from the Razor.

Boiling water, from a bike guy.

Les Paul, more gall, from a Rebel Yankee both.

More Links, from the Farm.

Fashion Models and a New York City Bike Messenger

I am tearing crosstown, eastward on Spring Street and my derailler is clicking at me. Like some lost snare drummer. I peer at it, shift up and then back. It stops rattlin’ and I race through Greene, and then Mercer Street. Broadway looms, I slow.

Was this where that guy got doored by a taxi? Them hacks are brutal in traffic, dodging lanes without signal, stopping on less than a dime, a nickel. I have run black rubber from my handlebars down the sides of two cabs at once. In a misplaced game of peanut butter and jelly. The cabbies, they played the bread and I was almost jam, the jelly. And the peanut buttah’. With me pounding on both vehicles at once with angry, gloved fists.

I push through Broadway. It is a long, fast street, that. Running diagonal from the upper-west through midtown and the White Way, alleycatting east to the canyons of Wall. From one corner of Union Square through the other. Yeah yeah, I know: it jogs north of Columbia. But not to this courier. Not to say nothing of East Broadway or West. Better watch yourself there, newbie messenger, or you’ll go to the wrong one. My delivery is on Centre Street. Or was it Lafayette?

As if on cue, a cab lurches to a stop before me. I swerve. Ask any courier about getting doored. Roll a pedestrian and the fall is soft, softer then meeting an anxious taxi door. From some oblivious, exiting passenger who I glare at. Sorry pedestrians, I don’t want to bum rush you’s either, but hack doors don’t move. Much.

I cut a hard right on Lafayette into the slipstream of a cargo truck. Of all my draft choices, trucks ain’t great. If I stay a little in front of his exhaust, I’m fine. And I don’t have to suck fumes. It provides me cover from my left flank. But I have to watch him turning right. In front of me. That would really hurt. Once. And then I would be all sprawled out. Asleep or an imitation of it.

That little triangle where Lafayette splits off to Centre appears off my left. I can’t see it, ‘cuz (remember) I am running with an elephant on my shoulder. I slow and suddenly know where my two drop-offs are. I’d been to this place before. A modeling agency for gangly girls.

I brake and my derailler clicks twice. The same snare. Click click. I pull up to a bent no-parking sign and flip my chain-lock off my handlebars. Just ahead, hunched over a blue newspaper rack, another cyclist struggles with his bike.

I throw my chin at him. In greeting. Mostly because I want to stare at his track bike. Or whatever they call those one-geared dealios some guys roll. This dude is not a messenger, but he is a dude. A hipster. The kind with new facial hair not invented yet. All retro and futuristic at the same time. His shirt says something ironic, sarcasm lost on me. I snap my lock shut and dig into my bag for my deliveries.

Outside, two girls stand smoking. The models have the same shape as their skinny mini cigarillos. As in none. You’ve come a long way, baby.

I hate to break this to you, but some models are not models. Not for beauty anyway. Not up close. Nervous stringy things they are. Maybe they know how to work the camera, but as I pass them, they look like egrets, all swept hair and bob-necked. Sorry girls, I have no egrets in saying it. . .

I walk through the lobby and pass a modely type who frowns at me. I see myself in a mirror, behind the front desk, and I frown at me too.

Old story: how they push up close to the walls of the elevators I enter, glistening from jamming down Broadway, cutting across 59th, ducking through Canal. It did not help that I was a sweater, as in one who sweats, not the wooly contraption. Even in the building that stole my heart, the Trade Center, they would push away. God bless ’em. All of them.

Two deliveries, I say to the secretary. She is not nervous, nor fidgety. And she looks normal, in size and temperament. Probably a model reject, but she smiles at me and I smile back. Thanks, she says, signing the slip with my sweaty pen.

Is my manager ready, one of the working girls asks her. She flairs her eyelids, the model, like a horse. The girls outside are fowl and this one is equine. What sort of zoo have I stumbled upon?

The secretary rolls her eyes at me, like we was tight, even though I don’t know her. Not yet, she replies to the model before turning to me. You stay safe, ai’ite?

You bet, I reply. And I step out of the office, out into the street. Towards the hipster still wrestling with the tricked cycle he probably just bought. I stop: I’ll hook this brotha up. His chain has jailbreaked and I crouch over it, trying to coax it back onto the gear. I got time, I just got an ai’ite from a receptionist. Almost nothing better.

Confessions of a NYC Bike Messenger (Part I) can be found here.

On Dogs, Man, and the Navy

When an unmarried man retires, divorces himself from the Navy, and takes off his uniform for the last time, he often loses something quiet.  It is subtle, this change, and those first years out of khaki, dress-blues can be troubling.  Mark Butterworth’s bookA Man with Three Great German Shepherds (and 1,000 Troy Ounces of Gold) writes of one such Sailor, Chief Warrant Officer Dan Martin.  Men of his rank come in two seasonings: salty and saltier.  And Dan excretes handfuls of both.

The Warrant is old-fashioned; he believes in propriety and respect.  Precisely when such admirable traits turned fuddy-duddy perplexes him.  Throughout the novel, while society’s moral fiber creaks and strains around him, Dan longs for simpler times, before punks and skateboarding and Pit Bulls.

As a naval officer, I know many of this old breed, hardworking and loyal.  Team players, but not glory hounds.  When Dan finally hangs it up, he faces the divorce mentioned above.  It is an honor to wear the uniform and to savor the dignity it confers.  But without it, he feels lost, adrift.  He ultimately fills the void two ways: with dogs and with gold.  Three beautiful German Shepherds, each with a personality of their own.  Plus gold, carefully purchased one sweaty coin at a time.

Read the rest at the American Thinker. . .

………………….Going Varsity

Game Face
Not a Game Face

Are you sitting down?

Do you have your toughest game face painted on?

The leadership here at the Mellow Jihadi has a very important announcement: we are going varsity.

To meet this goal, we are taking the links to our biggest posts down. Putting up a Greatest Hits Blogroll has a decidely Junior Varsity taint and we are nothing if not varsity at this site.

(Cue melodic navaly {Big Navy, not belly buttony} music.) As one of my bosses once whispered to me right before I took the stage to serve as the emcee, MC NavyOne, in a retirement ceremony:

LCDR Bossman: Now EnsignOne, don’t go and frig this up for us.
Me: Yes, sir!
LCDR Bossman: Go get ’em, Tiger.
Me: Rwwwwwr! (Tiger paw, clawing the air.)

In other news, all feline references will hearby be viewed as JV and will not be part of the new, tiger-blooded Mellow Jihadi. (Er, all posts following this entry will heed this direction.)(Also, per Navy instruction, any commenter at this site may still refer to me/my crack team/other commenters as Tiger.)(Varsity bay-bee, we it.)


Worms Roxanne, Worms

I like writing, I love words. To sit inside a sentence and wait for you, the reader, to stumble upon this thought, ah this is the life. Each paragraph is a tactical movement, a flank, an ambush. Each post, an operational commitment.

Back when I wore kid’s pants, in my late 7s (and early 8s), I was fascinated with language, with wrapping words around my tongue. I mishandled them more than not. Although: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

During these early years, I was scared of the word grape. The last four letters spelled rape and I knew this was a bad thing. But I did not know the reason. So, I avoided grapes for some time. I hated eggplant in all its purple oddity, but I knew with eggs and plants, at least I was safe. Strange, but true.

Whenst young, I stumbled across a dirty joke book. I found a phrase I did not recognize and I fell prone to shouting it in delicate social situations. It began with: two-timing. I was not popular with my family that year.

A great writer (whose name escapes me) once said that in reading a novel, you are breathing the breath of the writer. My addition: you are eating his last meal, too. I did not brush my teeth, I confess, before writing this post. And I had red cabbage and bratwurst, so enjoy. . .

The blogpost title was nicked from Roxanne, the seminal 1987 Steve Martin movie. If not familiar, get yourself to the nearest YouTube.

Meeting Colonel Chesty Puller, USMC

In keeping with the tradition of posting great military stories from readers, we have the following tale about Chesty Puller (courtesy of Sean):

About 5 years ago, I was with my wife’s grandmother outside of Starbucks. She asked about the WWII service of our next-door neighbor and I told her that our neighbor had been in the Army at a training facility for the entire war. Every time he volunteered for overseas duty, his CO would take him off the list, saying he was needed too badly in the states.

“Oh, ” she said. “It was just like that with my husband.” (My wife’s grandfather served in the Marines). “He was at Camp Lejume, and every time he volunteered to go overseas, his Colonel said that he needed him there and wouldn’t let him go. What was that Colonel’s name?”

There was a pause of about 20 seconds. My mind wandered. I assumed hers had as well, which wasn’t all that unusual, given that she was 85 years old.

I was about to change the subject when she said with conviction: “Puller. Colonel Puller.”

I choked on my coffee. “Betty, did he work for Chesty Puller?!?”

“Chesty! Yes, that’s what they called him. He had this deep, gravelly voice. . .” and she proceeded to imitate one of the legends of the Marine Corps: “Hello, Betty. Hello, Chesty.”

“Betty, you met Chesty Puller? You called him Chesty?”

“Oh, everyone was so afraid of him, but I wasn’t. I figured that I wasn’t in the Marines, so what could he do to me?” It was my turn to be speechless for a while. 20 years I’d known her, and she comes up with a I-met-Chesty-Puller story.

Thanks Sean for the great story. As usual folks, please feel free to email any great military tales!

I will end with this gem of a quote from the Marine legend: “Take me to the Brig. I want to see the real Marines. . .”

Fearsome Warriors and the Rest of You

Fearsome warriors and the rest of you,

Welcome to the latest edition of the Mellow Jihadi’s shareholder meeting. As cherished members of the board, it is with great pleasure that I announce the following: the state of this blog is strong. Barely suppressed chortling is up 6%! And mild annoyance has taken a significant dive, dropping nearly 3.5%.

We also have good news from the dividend front. Each and every one of you has received a secret surprise! (In addition to our double-digit growth rates.) To claim your prize, please walk over to your kitchen. Open the fridge. Root around on the bottom shelf. Find that jar of old pickles, slightly suspect Greek yogurt. That is our gift to you! A reminder of old food you thought you had thrown out. We can call it stimulus.

Let’s discuss fear. Ladies, gentlemen, and Army doggies, may I present this blog’s Top 2 Fears:

1. Posting an unfinished blog post. Are you a blogger? Have you ever, by mistake, posted a blog entry that was incomplete? It is a nagging concern of mine, so much so that I am very deliberate when I save each and every post. The save button is 2.5545 inches from the publish button. I know, I measured. Thanks WordPress. . .

2. Meeting someone I know here. This probably sounds weird, but I blog anonymously. And I have an irrational fear that someone I know might drop in.

Switching gears, let’s talk Top 4 Joys:

1. Seeing google auto-complete mellow jihadi. It was a pleasant surprise when google autocompletes your/my/our blog’s exotic name.

2. Meeting someone I know here. Despite 2 above, I think it would be fun if a friend, acquaintance, or frenemy showed up and commented.

3. Have two bloggers you have read for years visit your blog. Karol from the always Alarming News, who commented on the New Yawk bike post. And the genius Bookworm who chuckled about America’s 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st Sergeant’s shenanigans here.

4. Get expert help. Have a smart and tough (think Lois Lane meets Ivana/Ivanka Trump) blogger assist you in your/our maddening quest to stop a military charity scam.

Favorite Spam Comment:

1. Larry The Bird was superb about capturing hoops also aiding his baseball team into victory. I do most of the actual same thing except my basketball court definitely is in self help. Come browse, you could perhaps learn a challenge or two. (Larry The Bird? Did he play against Magic The Johnson?)

Top 3 Search Engine Queries:

1. Kill your 1st sgt. com (Yikes!)

2. Does saregant gunny wear a denture (Hmm, I wonder.)

3. French noses (Not again.)

Lastly, let’s talk numbers. Before I begin, let me state outright that I do not believe that the sun rises and sets on the Mellow Jihadi. I have not inked (more than 2) Mellow Jihadi tattoos. Still, I like (modest) success and you should also.

Thanks to some great Americans from the urban bike scene, and some equally great American gun owners, we have averaged more than 1000 page-views a day over the last week or so. But page-views can be deceiving, just read this TrogloPundit post on the topic. So below is a snapshot of unique visitors. Make with it what you will:

Unique (And Not So Unique) Readers of the Mellow Jihadi

And with that, the Mellow Jihadi’s shareholder meeting has come to its logical conclusion. Grab a bag of swag on your way out. High-five the doorman. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

Krav Maga and CrossFit Memories


These things I remember:

Having to wrestle with a guy who smelled of curry the day we were working ground escapes. Nice guy: way, way too much Pakistani food.

Being surprised at how hard this one tall lady punched. Being proud of her too. (Not in a condescending way, but in an atta way to go, grrrl kinda vibe.) Striking in Krav starts in the hips and the proper snap adds a lot of umph. She’d ’em snaps.

No being surprised that tattoos and big muscles do not always translate into power.

Not being surprised again that tattoos and biker goattees do not translate into fearlessness. Quite the opposite with one or two folks I used to work with.

Having to watch the little guys warily. It is the wiry dudes, who have been forced to scrap all of their lives, that tended to surprise me. With their treachery and cunning. The Offensive Line types, I could always see them coming. From a mile off. Or at the very least, a kilometer.

Listening with annoyance as an Army SFC made dumb comments while we did lunges with medicine balls in our CrossFit class. I had a ball that looked smaller than his. Still I passed him and he made a point when he finished to point out that I had a lighter ball. Um, not really, I replied. And I showed him my heavier, but smaller ball. He was silent. CrossFit brings out competitors.

Reacting with anger when a girl stepped back from a kick-shield I was striking and I punched out (over-extended) my elbow. I still feel it five years later. My fault, really.

Observing that a post on Krav Maga would not be complete without the Krav Maga Ensigns! Oooof-daaa. . .

Shooting 45s

I am not a gun gun guy, but I am a gun guy, and I like to amble, mosey over to the local firing line from time to time. I feel at home there, the range. And the little visit I’ma ’bout to describe, sticks in my mind as a good one.

First up to the line, the Sig Sauer 45. I forget the exact model, only that it was perfect. If you are gun enthusiast, and have more guns in your house than televisions, you comprende my drift. It sat in my hand as if built it for my paw. I have long fingers like spider legs and sometimes weapons don’t feel right.

Which brings me to my second pistola: the Glock, chambered also in 45. (All of the hand-cannons I shot that day were 45s. That range let you pop any caliber, calibre. As long as you stayed within the grouping, extra charges were minimal.) For some reason, the Glock did not feel right. The barrel had an odd slant to it. I won’t say anything more ‘cuz I know there are Glock-a-maniacs out there and my goal is to gain readers not to lose ’em.

Next up, the S&W in, you guessed it, 45. It was metallic (is that called nickel-plated?) and whereas the Siggy was perfection in feel, like a BMW 635, the Smith & Wesson was a four year-old Cadillac. Not quite a hoopty, but not a showcar either. Like a Caddy with the seat gangsa’ leaned and some Billy on the radio. (Billy Joel or Billy Ocean, either.)

The last handgun to the line was an Norinco 1911. I understand it probably costs a great deal less and probably has had a lot more rounds through it than the others. Probably. But still, it pinched, it pulled. A poor sportsman blames his equipment. Unless he shoots the Norinco and then he blames that. Don’t waste your time. If you really need a car analogy, think ’78 Pinto. In primer grey. And primer red. With wicker, rattan seats. Broken windows all around and no tail-lights, which is a ticketable offense. Capiche? I refuse to post of a picture of the offensive piece. Use your imagination or Google should you insist on viewing.

Curiously enough, it is the S&W which beckons me. You ever have a pistol do that to you? Minding my ownsome, my mind will flick to guns, and I can hear it whispering: NavyOne, come hither. Trigger-pull. Now. Put some lead down-range. My response: Sir, yes Sir! (Or Ma’am, yes Ma’am! Or Senator, yes Senator!)

PS Gun gun guys (or gun gun gals), advanced apologies for any blunder-headed greenfoot/tenderfoot/shoot-foot mistakes. If I misidentified any guns or posted the wrong picture, you can take it out on this blog. Go ahead and load up yer favorite weapon and aim it at the screen of your laptop, desktop, or tablet. Breathe, relax, aim, squeeze, shoot. Ahhhh, feel better?

The Gentle TSA Agent

In my mind, I’m goin’ to Carolina.

Wait, check that! Something is keeping. . .

Georgia on my mind.

Hmm. Location change, standby. I may be in a. . .

New York state of mind.

I just hope my baggage catches up with me.

(Whoah, TSA bruiser, be gentle. I hardly know you. Nevermind, we know each other now. Could you at least do a Mr. Miyagi and warm up those frozen hands of yours? Wax on, wax off, yikes. Sir, please don’t go there. I’m shy. Whoops, I meant ma’am, so sorry.)

Returning to a normal state of mind, this traveling is too stressful. . .

Paired: Lindsay Lohan and Jeremy Wade

Longfin Eel, Actor Extraordinaire Jeremy Wade, River Monsters

Dirty Laundry

Conan the Franciscan

Grin and Bear It

Genius Uncles: Milton (twice) and Heinlein

Literary Literally

Whiskey Tango Fiat

Deaf and Blind

Illogical Aliens

You’re Gonna Burn, You’re Gonna Learn

Lindsay Lohan, Eel Extraordinaire

 Salute to Brest, Salute to the Best

New York Strip, Gaza Strip

Bears and Lions

Not a Mellow Jihadi

Guam Clueless, Guam Dentist

Auto Motivators

Hungry Like the Wolf

To the Hobbits of Tripoli

Confessions of a New York City Bike Messenger

I am standing on the pedals of my 18-speed, riding towards Rockafella’ Centah, to go somewhere, to see someone, to pick something up. I pop a curb. Something caught. I catch. And I tumble forward and my bike stumbles with me. And I go from upright to the ground with no memory of the travel. I am lying on the sidewalk, dazed. For five seconds or five minutes and a guy passes me and looks.

Hey buddy, you need a hand, he asks, hardly stopping, because it is New York. But he talks to me and I think he is perhaps from out of town. Or maybe I can’t think straight, ‘cuz New Yorkers wear their heart on their sleeve. Underneath that watcha-want usually is a lemme-help.

No, I am fine. And he passes by without another word. Just fine, I say to his back, to no one.

I pull myself up and limp over to my bike. I fish for a quarter, because this is the 90s. I call dispatch from a payphone within mute earshot of my biff. I got dinged up. I wiped, I say to her, the hoarse girl I speak to all day long. Not too bad.  

Go home, my dispatcher says. She’s a former bike messenger. Rest. She knows the job. Fun and fast. Sweaty, windy. You had a good day. 18 packages.

I leave her and the phone and stand back up on my pedals. Not as tough as the last time I rode tall. But still I’m moving. And I pedal uptown. Slowly.

Because to get home, I gotta ride there. I can’t hop a cab. I gotta get get over the 59th Bridge through Long Island City to Astoria, Queens. But I don’t ride home. Not today all banged up. I roll my bike to the 7th Ave subway station. The one near Carnegie Hall.

Down the stairs and to the Queens N track: I don’t even wait. A subway screeches toward me, the air running before it anxiously clearing the way. The doors open, I let people in. And then I swing my bike inside. People give me space. Maybe because I am sweaty. Or that I got my right pants leg all hiked up. Not ‘cuz I’m a homeboy, but to keep the lube off my Adidas sweats. Black grease streaks my right calf. I look like a b-boy, whatever they are.

And the subway doors close and we enter a tunnel and I feel a stream of air whistling through the crack in the door. I’m tired and I can’t tell whether it’s hot or cold air, only that it’s different. The car shrieks and metal scrapes. And we clatta clatta clatta as we wind down along a long straightway before turning left and coming up into the dying light of a New York December.

I am tired and I don’t think about college six months behind me. Or the Navy, still in my future. Or 9/11, which has not painted my city, my adopted city. Yet.

I stand up. Out into the real air, I bump my bike down the stairs and ride it slowly towards my house. I rent in the Greek part of town, mostly because my brain lives in my stomach and gyros and souvlaki are my oxygen and water. And because I want the rest of my body to stick close to my brain and gut, those ruffians.

My bike lock falls off my handlebars (dammit) and I have to circle around to pick it up. If you need a good chain, get you the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Chain Lock. Yeah, Fahgettaboudit is right. That lock is one tough motha.

Some of the other messengers ride around with the Fahgettaboudit draped ’round their necks, like they was LL Cool J. I tried it once and I discovered I was not LL. It felt ridiculous, I felt ridiculous. Like an oxen or how an oxen should feel if he hadda larger brain.

I pick up the lock and wrap it across my handlebars. I pass Uncle George’s on the corner and even though I am trying to save money, I sloop up the sidewalk and lock my bike down with my Fahgettaboudit. Souvlaki, time to get some.

Part II here.