The Rifleman’s Creed

Ruger PC Carbine 19100

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will …

My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit …

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will …

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!

~Major General William H. Rupertus 1941’ish (USMC)

While my carbine isn’t a “rifle” (and carbine is pronounced car bean for anyone wondering), it is as close as I’ll probably get to one. Rifles have a longer barrel and tend to weigh a bit more. For someone as short as me, a carbine is just easier to handle. It also makes for a great home defense weapon without the kick of a shotgun. It is something that even Mrs B can use. It is also easily taken apart for portability. (a push of a button and twist of the barrel and voila, it fits in my backpack for hiking!)

Anyway, back to the Rifleman’s Creed. When I was picking up my gun the other month at the store, several of the men there were discussing the Rifleman’s Creed and one of the younger guys was enthusiastically and quite vociferously saying that it had been around since the Revolutionary War days (late 1700’s for you non-Americans). The owner of the shop ended up asking everyone in the store what they thought. I guessed World War One, as only a mass produced weapon can produce a line like “There are many like it, but this one is mine“. The shop owner guessed around the Korean War (1950) and there were guesses all over the place. It was quite an interesting little topic of discussion. Of course, after we’d all had our say, Mr Young and Vociferous looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered it was of the World War Two era.

I have already replaced the magazine well so it can accept glock mags. I’ve also bought several Glock17 33round mags.

Taking this fine piece of equipment apart, changing its guts and putting it back together again definitely falls under the “I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel” aspect. Removing a spacer in the buttstock also made this slightly more comfortable for me, as I don’t have space gorilla length arms. The next order of business is to get a sling for it and then either a red dot sight or an actual scope. Given my diabetes and how it affects my eyes, I’m leaning towards an actual scope. What good will a red dot sight do me if I can’t see the danged red dot at 25 yards? What I’d REALLY like is a suppressor so if I’m forced to use this as a home defense gun I won’t make myself deaf. Of course, a suppressor costs as much as the gun itself so that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

One of the main reasons I chose this gun over some of the others is because it uses 9mm ammo, the same as my Sig Sauer P938 pistol. The PC in the name (PC Carbine 19100) stands for Pistol Caliber.

Being able to use the same ammo for both my guns is a big deal for me. It makes buying, storing and using just that much easier. It is also cheap and one of the most common types of ammo, so availability is pretty decent. A gun won’t do anyone any good without the ammo to back it up. A rifleman must be aware of all aspects of his weapon, including the ammo. I feel like I’ve got that part down pat too.

That should wrap up this little ramble. Thanks for hanging in until the end.

Yotsuba&! Vol. 10 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 10
Series: Yotsuba&! #10
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Playtime

Yotsuba & Pancakes

Yotsuba & Jumbo

Yotsuba & the Electronics Store

Yotsuba & Home Appliances

Yotsuba & Lies

Yotsuba & the Re-encounter

My Thoughts:

5 stars. Bravo. Fun, fun, fun. I’m tired. So you get a picture and that’s that.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

The Great Muppet Caper is the second (as far as I can tell) in the Muppet movie franchise.

The basic plot is that twin reporters, Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear, miss a jewel heist happening right in front them, get fired and end up going to England to try to interview Lady Holiday and to recover her jewels, thus ensuring a triumphant return to their jobs.

The self-awareness of this film is even more deliberate, even sharper and more 4th wall breaking than in The Muppet Movie. I found it highly amusing at the beginning but by the end of the movie the charm of it had rubbed off and it felt overused, like a 3 day old sardine out of its tin. Ok, not that bad but it had definitely stopped being amusing by the end.

Once again, there were musical numbers out the wazoo. And once again, it was quite different from The Muppet Movie. Where I was humming, singing and tapping my metaphorical toe in the first movie, these numbers were much more group oriented, almost felt like broadway chorus songs. I didn’t find myself entranced by the music at all. Psychic Grandma wouldn’t have tried to convert any of these into belgian boom wave, not even into 7/92 tempo!

The silly, over the top, zany humor, situations and physical comedy were just the same however. Miss Piggy is as bipolar as ever between Bashful Debutante and Kungfu Queen. Fozzie is clueless, Gonzo is suicidal (in a very “I wonder what X would be like” rather than a depressed and anxious way) and Kermit is the glue that binds every character together. The human cast did an admirable job of playing to the Muppets but my goodness, they were even more shallow and ridiculous than Doc Hopper and his Frog Hunter in the first movie. The Love Triangle between the Jewel Thief, Kermit and Miss Piggy is as developed as a can of playdo and is used as an excuse to A: further the plot and B: make comments about it doing nothing but furthering the plot. I have to admit though, just thinking about it all still brings a smile to my face.

While this had some differences from the first movie that didn’t work for me, I still laughed and smiled while watching this. And since that is ALL I expect from this franchise, it’s a solid success. I guess my final verdict is a thumbs up.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 9 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 9
Series: Yotsuba&! #9
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Schedules

Yotsuba & Juralumin

Yotsuba & Coffee

Yotsuba & Barbecue

Yotsuba & Visitors

Yotsuba & Hot Air Balloons

Yotsuba & The Sky

My Thoughts:

Delightful and whimsical aptly sum this volume up. Yotsuba’s dad buys a coffee maker and there is a running gag of Yotsuba trying to get a cup of coffee over to the neighbors house and spilling it each time before making it.

This picture is from the chapter Juralumin, where Yotsuba’s dad is going to buy her a teddy bear, which in other panels she misprounces as beddy tear. I chose this one because Mrs B absolutely loves funny faces in manga. It’s one of the reasons she started reading Skipbeat! and is why we continue to buy the books as they come out, to support the manga-ka. Sparkly eyes are a particular killer 🙂

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tools of the Trade

In my post about the board game Doom, I talked about coloring up the miniatures used for it. At the time I was waiting until after Christmas to see if I got any of the supplies I’d asked for. Well, Christmas has come and gone and the tools I need have all arrived.

Because I Know Thyself, I know that painting is absolutely out of the question. It is too fiddly and detail oriented for me. I’m not even a broad stroke kind of guy! So I decided to try sharpie markers. Fine and Extra Fine in multiple colors should give me enough options to work with. No details here, just a man and his sharpies!

Mrs B knew I was going to get into this at some point and so for Christmas she got a few things that I know will come in handy. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about these until I opened them up, so she was just one step ahead of me. Kind of like Psychic Grandma, only much, Much, MUCH nicer. The glasses are magnifying glasses (160%) and have little lights on the side, that way I can keep my hands free while still being able to see what I need to. The regular magnifying glass is for when I need that Extra Boost of Vision.

And just so you can see what the end result is going to be, I’ve included 2 of the space marines. One is fully sharpie’d and the other has his boots, hands and weapon done. I haven’t decided what color to make his suit and base yet. They’re messy, not neat, not completely covered and I don’t care. They’re good enough for a game that I haven’t even played yet!

The Muppet Movie (1979)

Ahhhhh yeah! When I blogged about The Muppet Christmas Carol and posted a link over at Librarything, one of the people over there suggested I make 2021 The Year of the Muppets for the movies I watch. I liked that idea so much that I decided to act on it. This is the first installment of that plan.

A bit of background.

The Muppets tv show had been going strong for a couple of years and it was decided to leverage that into a big Hollywood movie. About Kermit going to Hollywood to make a movie and become famous. That sort of self-referential gag runs through this movie the entire time. It’s great. No knowledge of the tv show or the Muppets in general are needed to understand anything in this movie. While I am sure that having knowledge of the tv show would make this a stronger movie, a lack of knowledge doesn’t make it weaker (if you can follow that). This is an Origins story and as such each main Muppet character is introduced with their various quirks and personality traits on full display.

The gist of the movie is that Kermit is going to Hollywood to audition for a movie and along the way picks up a disparate crew of other Muppets and they all believe in themselves and sing and dance their way across the country. At the same time Doc Hopper, a fast food franchise owner, wants Kermit to do the commercials for his Frog Legs chain of restaurants. He’s chasing down Kermit and that ends with in a western style showdown in a deserted ghost town. Then the Muppets make it to Hollywood and get Orson Welles to give them “the standard Rich and Famous” contract. All this takes place AS a movie within the movie, with the muppets watching its debut in a private theatre. It is just genius. There is singing, there is muppet dancing, there are cameos from a lot of A-List actors, many of whom I have no idea who they are now, and there is a lot of feel good fun the entire time.

The movie opens with the 2 Grumpy Old Men (Statler and Waldorf) driving into the debut and making wisecracks about how bad it is going to be. It perfectly set the humorous tone for the movie. The movie ends with all the muppets hanging around the theatre and talking while the credits roll. It was like watching an after movie party of stars. From beginning to end, this felt consistent.

I found myself bobbing my head and singing along to the various songs. I was laughing and grinning the entire time as well. This was just a Good Time Movie that kids, adults and even fractious grumps could enjoy. I am quite happy that I bought this and plan on watching it again (although not writing about it). I can see this becoming a Happy Background Movie for me.

I would call this a complete success!

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 8 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 8
Series: Yotsuba&! #8
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Opposites

Yotsuba & the Restaurant

Yotsuba & the Cultural Festival

Yotsuba & the Typhoon

Yotsuba & Watching the House

Yotsuba & the Festival

Yotsuba & Acorns

My Thoughts:

I read this sunday. I was feeling tired, stressed out and sick (probably from stressing out) and reading this was like taking a huge horse tranquilizer. By the end of the volume I was totally chill. I had been debating about whether I wanted to read this feeling the way I was but am I glad I did.

The picture I included this time was from the Festival Chapter. Yotsuba is helping pull a shrine and they take a break so she and her dad and some others are looking at the other portable shrines when Yotsuba sees the sumo wrestler. I remember laughing my head off the first time I saw this page and man, it hasn’t stopped being funny to me. The manga-ka has totally caught that innocent yet bold spirit of being a 5 year old.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 7 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 7
Series: Yotsuba&! #7
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Telephones

Yotsuba & Respect for the Aged Day

Yotsuba & Fever

Yotsuba & Patissier

Yotsuba & Errands

Yotsuba & Taking Off

Yotsuba & The Ranch

My Thoughts:

Some of these chapters are longer than others. In Telephones, for example, Yotsuba spends the whole day playing string&cup telephone with the neighbors. It ends with a picture of Fuka (the 16/17 year old daughter) talking to Yotsuba’s dad through a window and her older college age sister walking in on her. The facial expressions are priceless and the manga-ka makes it crystal clear, without writing a word, that Asagi (the older sister) thinks shenanigans are going on. It’s just too funny.

Then you have chapters like Respect for the Aged Day where Yotsuba talks with her grandma on the phone for about 1 page.

The overarching theme for this book was visiting a farm. Yotsuba loves milk so much so her dad decides to take her to a farm. Jumbo is their transportation and Yotsuba’s Nemesis, Yando, invites himself along.

I’d like to talk about Yando for a minute. He doesn’t seem to get along with anybody so I’ve wondered how he’s stayed friends with Yotsuba’s dad. He and Jumbo definitely don’t get along and while Yotsuba’s dad is pretty laid back about him, Yando seems to try to push his buttons whenever he can. Maybe he’s just “one of those” friends? Whatever the case may be, and despite me not liking him, he does provide the necessary “edge” to this series.

The picture I’ve included this time was from the chapter where Fuka and her friend are practicing making cakes. They’re not happy with how it looks, so they let Yotsuba decorate it so they can tell their family it wasn’t them that decorated it. Yotsuba goes all out, hence her decision to include the last egg 😀

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 6 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookhype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 6
Series: Yotsuba&! #6
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Recycling

Yotsuba & The Bicycle

Yotsuba & Pottering Around

Yotsuba & Friday

Yotsuba & Milk

Yotsuba & Delivering

Yotsuba & The Bookshelf

My Thoughts:

My reading of Yotsuba has taken on a ritualistic aspect in my life. While these posts go up for Manga Monday, I read them the Saturday before. I wake up, peruse wordpress and deal with the various notifications and new posts. Then I start up Calibre, grab a Pina Colada Bang and sit down on the couch. I open my “Manga” review template in OpenOffice and begin reading.

I fill out each chapter heading in the template as I come to them in the manga and decide which picture I want to include. All the while I’m sipping on cold Bang and reading the antics of Yotsuba. It is soothing, relaxing and something I look forward too. Because I don’t do these every Monday the ritual doesn’t become over used and I can’t accidentally unleash Unspeakable Cosmic Horrors on an unsuspecting world. Of course, maybe a Yotsuba inspired Cosmic Horror wouldn’t be so bad?

Anyway, this volume centers around Yotsuba getting her first bicycle and her adventures. Some good, some bad. Yanda, the Arch Enemy, makes another appearance and Yotsuba enjoys eating her hamburger in his face while he has to make do with instant ramen.

One of the strengths of this manga are the supporting characters. I put this picture of her dad to show what kind of home life Yotsuba is growing up in. He’s super laid back and just is himself. At the same time he’s a very careful father. He’s one of the safety bungees that Yotsuba can bounce off of without ever knowing how close to danger she ever came. It is what you want in a parent.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992 Movie)

I reviewed the story/book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens back in ’13 and it is the basis for this movie. If you don’t know the basic premise of the story, please go read that or look it up on Wikipedia. This review will assume that the reader knows the basic plot to ACC.

First off, besides the Muppets, Michael Caine has the starring role as Ebenezer Scrooge. If a movie has Michael Caine in it, you know it’s going to be a good movie. While fringe nut job yobs might try to present evidence to the contrary, I simply ask my readers, who are you going to trust? Me, or some fringe nut job yob?
Michael Caine = you know you are getting a good movie.

On to the slightly more serious.

The singing. Muppets movies always have singing, whether the audience wants it or not. I’ve resigned myself to this fact and tried to not let it unduly influence me. Of course, just because Michael Caine is a good actor doesn’t mean he’s a good singer. He does take part in one song and I have to admit, he’s not terrible but I think things might have had a bit more glitz if they’d dubbed him over with Michael Jackson, who was still arguably the Prince of Pop in ’92. The message conveyed by the songs are as trite and shallow as you’d expect from a Disney production but really, if you read Dickens’ book, he’s not really that much deeper.
Oh yes, the Missing Song. In the theatres, there is an extra song that was subsequently cut out from all dvd/bluray releases. I personally didn’t miss it but if you’re a completionist, it is supposed to be included in the next “upgrade” to this movie. 4K I believe. Simply one more way for Disney to bend you over and make you think you like it. The picture below shows the type of propaganda Disney promulgates.

On to the good stuff.

If you are a fan of the Muppets and their zaniness, then this is a no-brainer to watch, even if Dickens isn’t your cup of tea. Between Fozziwig (a cute play on Fozzi’s name being used for that character) and his Rubber Chicken Factory to Gonzo playing Charles Dickens (and being distracted by every chicken that walks by) to Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy playing Bob & Mrs Cratchett, you get your fill. While a knowledge of the Muppets isn’t essential, knowing them as The Muppets gives an added dimension to the fun. An example would the single scene where Sam the Eagle is sending a young Scrooge off to his first place of business as an apprentice and rhapsodizes about the the beauty of business. Sam ends it with “…and that is the American Way!”. Gonzo whispers in his ear and Sam immediately says “…and that is the British Way!”. Which is really funny if you know that Sam is the proto-American Super Patriot as a Muppet.

The story proceeds at a rapid pace and almost feels like Scrooge changes for the sake of changing. However, this is in keeping with the original book and shouldn’t surprise anyone. Throw in that this movie was made for a juvenile audience and the pacing is perfectly in line with what out of touch Hollywood Directors think is appropriate for your child. Just don’t expect a deeply thoughtful, insightful and deeply philosophical movie and you should be just fine. You’re in this for the singing, dancing and laughs.

This gets a big fat thumbs up from me.