Sunday, January 29, 2012
The American Legion China Post No. 1, one of the oldest American Legion Posts in the World. It is the only Post operating in exile in the American Legion, as well as, the only Post nominally headquartered in a Communist country.
They write in the Historical info about this post ; " We call ourselves The Soldiers of Fortune Post. No, we are not soldiers of fortune in the sense of being mercenaries with no allegiance but to money. We are patriots who follow their convictions wherever they may take us - whose strong love of country may lead us to faraway places to work and fight to keep our own country free or to aid others in their quest for freedom".
This reminds me of some words from Winston Churchill; "A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality."
Appropriate even though Churchill was "Half American and all British" (as he was fond of saying.)
I have always wanted to be a member of this post but cant seem to locate another member to sponsor me. Oh well!, But, if there is anyone out there in cyber space interested in helping me become a member of this great organization please feel free to contact me.
You can check out their website at : http://www.chinapost1.org/index.htm
For all of the info you seek. In addition, I have posted some historical info about China post 1 for your reading pleasure. Taken from their website.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Following is Part I of a brief Pictorial History of our Post which covers the period 1919-1959. It can in no way give the complete story nor credit to all those who have made this Post so great. We have divided the history into two parts so we could properly research and prepare the whole story as accurately as possible. We hope to publish Part II covering the period 1960-1988 within the next 6-8 months. In addition, we hope to add to the history each year with stories and pictures of others who have helped us become the Post we are today.
Each and every member of our Post - both past and present - is part of its history and an important part of what we are, what we have done, and what we hope to do. We call ourselves The Soldiers of Fortune Post. No, we are not soldiers of fortune in the sense of being mercenaries with no allegiance but to money. We are patriots who follow their convictions wherever they may take us - whose strong love of country may lead us to faraway places to work and fight to keep our own country free or to aid others in their quest for freedom. May we never forget who we are, nor what we stand for!
The Post was formed in 1919, one year after the "great war" and was chartered by the American Legion on 20 April, 1920. It was the first and only American Legion Post in China at that time and our original name was General Fredrick Townsend Ward Post No. 1, China.
OUR ORIGINAL NAMESAKE:
Very little has been written about General Frederick Townsend Ward, possibly because while he was fighting in China against the Taipings in the 1860's, the United States was embroiled in its own civil war. Also later, Major Charles George "Chinese" Gordon would recieve much of the credit for defeating the Taipings.
Although Ward was born in Massachusetts, he ran away to sea at seventeen and by the time he reached China had already soldiered with Garibaldi in Italy and Austria, with the French in Crimea and was involved in William Walker's 1850 attempt to found a "Yankee State" in Nicaragua. In China, he found the Taipings were using religion to mask their looting and rebellion against the Manchus. It was said of the Taipings, "Wherever they go, they plunder and destroy. Civilization and even animal life seem to disappear before them, and their march may be tracked by bodies of murdered peasants and the ruined habitations which they leave behind." Frederick Townsend Ward contracted with the Manchus to capture the designated Taiping city strongholds and led his "Ever Victorious Army" to numerous victories against staggering odds.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Back in the 1980s, I was a late 20s something smart ass, who was still living under the illusion of invincibility.
I had served in the U.S. Army for several years, worked as a Cop, Been a Hunting guide, a bike messenger, a ranch manager and several other jobs, so , I though I knew everything.
It wasn't until 1986 , when I was bumming and drifting around SE Asia, and Bangkok in particular, that I wandered into Lucys Tiger den Bar.
Now, Im not much on bars but , I felt at home in this place and began to talk with some of the older “Gentlemen” who haunted this establishment.
The owner “Tiger” Rydberg was a salty old dog as were many of the other patrons of this place. Lots of WW2, Korean war, and Vietnam vets. All manner of Pilots, Oil field workers, Mercenaries, and general roustabouts called this bar “home”. Myself Included. I met many colorful individuals there which guided me on my current path as a no good drifter bum.
There really inst much out there on the net about Tigers bar. Its a shame too because this is actually a piece of American history by proxy.
I have included below a copy of a story written by, Richard Ehrlich about Lucy's Tiger den Bar. Im pretty sure you will like it.
In his story Ehrlich writes “Tiger is the last of a rugged breed” , I would have to disagree with that. There are many Rugged and colorful characters out there who, like myself enjoy wandering around the world. Guys Like Jimmy Reser, Lee Head, Wil Rhys Davies, and Many others.
Anyhoo, see you on the trail!
Tomahawk – Scouts Out!
War and Peace in Lucy's Tiger Den
by Richard S. Ehrlich
BANGKOK, Thailand -- A Western mercenary is talking with an American Vietnam veteran at the bar.
"The Burmese government is using phosphorous bombs!" the ex-soldier tells the mercenary.
"The rebels never seen nothing like phosphorous bombs before!"
The beefy mercenary, is not excited.
He stares at his glass of beer and complains, "I've been waiting two weeks in the hotel for that damned telephone call.
"Doing nothing except drinking, sleeping and sweating. I can't keep waiting there forever."
Their cryptic conversation drops to low tones while they discuss a vague plot to help guerrillas inside Burma.
Someone punches a coin into the jukebox and Al Jolson begins wailing: "M-A-M-M-Y..."
Upstairs, a Western diplomat is chatting with a few friends about a special bar girl's beauty.
An American construction worker wants to know if any new U.S. football games are available to watch on the bar's video which is showing "The Deer Hunter" for the millionth time.
And, if you listen hard enough, you can hear Alban "Tiger" Rydberg's gravelly voice telling a buddy a raunchy joke.
Born in 1916, Tiger is drinking water and serving "hobo beans" bacon, French bread and onions at the bar.
Tiger is the last of a rugged breed.
This bar, which he's named "Lucy's Tiger Den," is a meeting place for "every present and former soldier, flyer, oilie, construction stiff, merc, ironmonger, cowboy, pipe layer or deep-sea diver" passing through Thailand, according to one loyal customer.
By now Bangkok's mid-morning sweltering heat has inspired most people at the bar to opt for another cool drink rather than face the sweaty outside world.
Tiger is under a bright spotlight across the barroom, in a wheelchair because the one leg was recently amputated. Diabetes.
But Tiger, one his first day back from the hospital, bravely hollers to his cronies, "I want to get me an authentic pirate's peg leg, a black eye patch and a parrot on my shoulder to shit all down my shirt!"
He started the day as he usually does -- opening the bar at 10 a.m. and personally greeting people as soon as they enter the door.
Tiger's a humble man.
"I once told a priest, 'As rotten as I am, I might make purgatory'," he drawls in his gravelly voice, half Bogart, half sandpaper.
Looking like Walter Mathau with his baggy, lined hangdog expression, Tiger is helping his bar girls prepare for "Hobo Night."
Most Fridays he lays out plenty of beef stew and salad. All you can eat. Free.
As soon as he's sure things are going smoothly, he starts praising the old-fashioned, American-style, sit-down shoeshine stand which he installed yesterday next to the jukebox.
The shoeshine stand is huge -- a customer is supposed to sit in the chair atop a platform while the shiner scurries around below polishing an extended foot.
But hardly anyone has asked for a buffing yet. Tiger doesn't care.
He says he bought it because it's sort of a work of art.
"This is the first shoeshine stand in Thailand," he boasts in an interview. "It's really a conversation piece.
"I wanted a good-looking babe to shake her butt and shake her titties while shining shoes."
He gazes at the empty shoeshine stand, lost in his fantasy until someone asks for a drink and Tiger decides to make sure won't have to ask twice.
Tiger came to Thailand the hard way.
Born in California, he suffered the Depression and hammered his way out by pounding steel bolts on construction sites scattered throughout, Chad, East Pakistan, Canada and the United States.
In 1971 he went to East Pakistan building bridges in the sweltering jungles.
He first came to here to Bangkok in 1982, "workin' iron."
He helped build Bangkok's airforce base after running out of work in Vietnam's Danang and Saigon.
"I put up hangars in 1983 in this city, out there past the perimeter road," he says.
"When I came out to here again in 1988, I got drunk for 54 days straight and somewhere in the middle of it I married me a local woman, Lucy, and when I sobered up I decided to go into the bar business."
His guiding philosophy was bestowed by his ol' pal Vern Engals way back in 1937.
"Vern Engals told me a bar should have sawdust on the floor, cold beer in the box and none of those empty liquor bottles on the shelf, but instead stock plenty of booze.
"Keep a lot of loose change in the drawer and if somebody's got a check to cash, then cash it if you can.
"I'll treat anybody as good as they'll let me. I can tell an s.o.b. as soon as they come in the door of my bar.
"When some guy comes in with a chip on his shoulder and mouthing off, I run him out before he'll get a drink. Nobody here has got anything to prove."
Tiger also doesn't like any "anti-American assholes" barging in, or, for that matter, anyone who insists on expounding leftist views on any subject.
Tiger and his buddies are staunchly right-wing.
Hundreds of photos cover the walls, displaying pictures of pals, Tiger's mementos, plaques, and an American Legion plaque.
Ask him the story of his life and he'll begin by telling you a tale about "Shorty Moran, the first bartender I ever got a drink over the counter from.
"That was in Jamestown, California, where I was born, three-and-a-half miles from Sonara.
"You could fall out the backdoor of any of the bootleg joints, fall into a fight and wake up in a hard rock jail full of whores.
"Shorty Moran would pour half a glass of moonshine whiskey, drink it down and puke it up in the sink. He died drinking.
"What a funeral that was. The whores, pimps, cowboys and rounders all showed up. My dad run a lot of cattle in the Sierras and he knew them all.
"My dad wasn't a politician, he made them. But a banker put us out of business."
Suddenly, the telephone rings and Tiger's bar girls start handing out a round of free drinks for everyone.
"Someone just phoned from Manila and says he's coming to Bangkok in a few days," Tiger explains.
"He phoned just to buy a round of drinks for everyone, and to charge it to his bill."
No one else in the bar knows the generous caller from the Philippines, but everyone cheers Manila as the jukebox blares Merle Haggard.
Tiger sells Soldier of Fortune magazine at the door and still receives his personal copy of "Ironworkers" newsletter.
Tiger's bar also hosted in 1984 the first overseas reunion of American Legion Post Number One, now functioning in exile.
The bash was a huge success -- everyone felt right at home and spent the evening meeting old friends and talking war.
Founded in Shanghai around 1920, the post was ousted by the Japanese in World War II and later by communist Chinese.
Dedicated to soldiers of fortune, the post is the only one the American Legion allows foreign and non-military people to join.
Its 2,400 members include spies, veterans, construction workers and others who have fought for America's foreign policies.
Though he's never been ordered to serve in the military, living has been rough for Tiger. Just look at his scars.
"I got third-degree burns on my right arm and hand from rolling over the Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor in 1943," he explains, referring to a salvage operation which left whitish marks on his skin.
"Then in this country I got tropical sprue, it's a microscopic infection. I still suffer."
One of his favorite jokes is printed on the back of his calling card, stacked up on the bar:
"What do you get when you cross a prostitute with an elephant?
"A 2,000 pound whore who fucks for peanuts and remembers you forever!"
"A lot of guys say I should have a bunch of young girls in here," he says, gesturing towards waitresses who are at least pushing 30.
"But if I did that, this bar wouldn't be no more different than any of any other places."
Surveying the night's crowded atmosphere, he stretches his face into a satisfied, end-of-a-long-day smile, idly scratches his leg's amputated stump and drawls: "I run this bar the way I used to run out of my way to get to one like it."
Copyright by Richard S. Ehrlich 1986.
I have been meaning to do a post on these guys for a while now. My good friend Joe Garza reminded me of them just today. I have always been interested in non military combat units like this , the flying tigers, military contractors etc.
These guys flew small plans in hot areas , most wore blue jeans and a cammo shirt of some type - probably tiger stripe. Wore a survival vest and packed a revolver.
I have attached below a little info taken from the ravens website at :
Please feel free to go there and check 'er out yourself.
see you on the trail.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
The Ravens in Laos:
During the course of American history, there have been many covert military operations. None, however, reached the scope or intensity of the war in Laos during the Viet Nam era. The backbone of this war were the Ravens-Forward Air Controllers (FACs) who flew small, slow propeller driven airplanes. The mission of the Ravens was to support indigenous forces in Laos in their fight against invading forces from North Vietnam.
The Ravens were all volunteers who had previous experience as FACs in South Viet Nam. Due to international treaties, the Ravens were "divorced" from the USAF. They wore only civilian clothes, and operated out of generally small fields at different sites in the Kingdom of Laos. They had cover stories to explain their presence in Laos, but I don't think anyone believed the stories other than USAF headquarters types. Most Ravens knew little or nothing about what they were volunteering for, other than it was classified, exciting, and was far removed from the bureaucratic battles and political rules of engagement in South Viet Nam.
The Ravens used three different airplanes to accomplish their mission: the small, light O-1 observation aircraft, armed only with white phosphorous smoke rockets; the heavier, slightly faster U-17 (Cessna 185), with the same armament, but longer range and loiter time. Some Ravens got to check out in the "Cadillac"-the T-28. This was heaven for a Raven-bombs, napalm, high explosive rockets, and 50 caliber machine guns for strafe. Now, you didn't have to wait for jets when you had a fast-moving target. The common denominator was that they all flew low, slow, and were highly vulnerable to ground fire.
The missions were as varied as the personalities of the Ravens. Some carried a "backseater"-a local who translated, talked to ground troops, and helped locate targets. Others were essentially deep interdiction missions-aimed at stemming the flow of troops and supplies into this neutral country. Some were basic visual reconnaissance looking for targets. Many were "troops in contact"-providing life-saving tactical air strikes in support of ground troops being fired upon.
Much has been written about the Ravens. The definitive work is probably "The Ravens" by Christopher Robbins, which is described later. After years of interviews and studies, he has painted a fairly accurate picture of one part of the Raven story. Some other comments are listed below. For a detailed story of the Ravens, order the book!
Comments on the Ravens:
The Ravens were a group of elite pilots who flew the Cessna O-1 Bird Dogs in Laos during the Southeast Asian Conflict. In slow, low flying aircraft the Ravens' job was to find the target, order up fighter-bombers, mark the target accurately with smoke rockets, control the operation and stay over the target to make a bomb damage assessment. The name Ravens became a symbol of intelligence gathering and aerial control of ground combat.
They went to war in blue jeans, T-shirts, and sometimes cowboy hats. It was a symbol of their disdain for the conventional, "bureaucratic" military. They were the Ravens, fighting a secret air war in the jungles of Laos, almost forgotten by everyone.
The pilots, known as Ravens, are unique because they were among some 130 Air Force pilots who volunteered to risk their lives to fly highly dangerous covert missions in unarmed single engine Cessna O-1s. They were part of what was known as the Steve Canyon program, which was created in 1966... Their job as FACs was to locate and call in airstrikes against the North Vietnamese during its occupation of Laos... They (the enemy) knew that if they shot down a fighter there would be more fighters coming. So, they shot down the air controllers.
It was dangerous because you were flying a prop airplane, low over the jungle, looking for the enemy. And if you found him and they didn't shoot you down, then they were going to get blown away. Christopher Robbins said some 30% of the unit died from combat injuries.
Locked away in classified archives until now... They...suffered the highest casualty rate in the Indochina war. Their deeds were the stuff of whispered legends. The pilots who flew the fighter-bombers to enemy targets knew them as the Ravens.
On occasion they went trolling; skimming the treetops above enemy positions in the hopes of drawing fire... The elite group of men, part adventurers/ part patriots, who flew some of the most bizarre missions of the Viet Nam war. They were a small group (their ranks were never more than 22 at any one time) performing a hazardous mission.
The best and the brightest, the craziest and the bravest Americans served in Laos, none braver than the men who flew in Combat as FACs known as Ravens...braving bad weather, tricky terrain, combat fatigue, poor maintenance, and occasional assassination teams to get the job done... To give you some sense of the size of the war in Laos, the United States dropped 1.6 million tons of bombs there- more than the 1.36 million tons it dropped on Germany during World War II.
Friday, January 27, 2012
I have to travel to Bangkok, Thailand in a few days to see about getting Mam a visa and take care of some other business.
Kaho San road in Bangkok is normally one place I avoid like the plague. Why? - far too many foreigners there. I dont travel to an exotic place like Thailand to hang out with a bunch of people from my own country. I never understood why folks like to do that.
Anyhoo, the one good thing I have experienced at Khao San road is that they have a small used gear vendor there. Apparently a lot of hippy back packers pawn there gear to this guy for weed or food money then never pick it up..
Its a good thing because if you dig through the pile of gear you can usually find some decent gear. I happen to be in the market for a bigger backpack so Ill look there on Khao San road, then get the hell outta there as soon as possible.
For any of you folks out there that might be traveling to Thailand and want to experience Khao San road here is a little info from wikipedia about it.
Tomahawk – scouts out!
Bangkok/Khao San Road:
Khao San Road (Thai: ถนนข้าวสาร) is a small road located about a block from the Chao Phraya River at the northern side of Rattanakosin. Backpackers and budget travellers are drawn here by some of the cheapest accommodation and travel deals in Thailand. This article also deals with the wider Banglamphu area that hosts a few interesting temples, as well as lots more places to stay and eat.
The syllable "khao" is pronounced similarly to the English word "cow", but since the late 1990s, backpackers have often been mispronouncing it as "coe" (perhaps confusing it with "koh", meaning "island", which in itself is incorrect and should be an abrupt "goh"; perhaps influenced by the book/movie The Beach). Please help re-introduce the correct pronunciation into the backpacker community by pronouncing it properly.
The word khao san itself means milled rice and is an attribution to the historical role of this street in the rice trade. The first business to open on Khao San Road was a small hotel aimed at serving civil servants from the provinces who came to Bangkok on business. The hotel was followed by Sor Thambhakdi, a shop selling monks' accessories. Four similar businesses moved in after, and Khao San became known as a "religious road".
Word soon spread about the easy lifestyle and friendliness of the locals. Friends told friends, and before long, the owner of the house started to charge 20 baht for food and lodging. The first commercial guest house, called Bonny, opened in 1982 with six small bedrooms.
Today, there's a lot more than six small bedrooms on offer. In the span of just a couple of blocks, there are bars, food stalls, restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, internet cafes, money changing booths, ATMs, shoe stores, massage parlours, tailors, travel agencies, laundry, boxing gyms, optometrists, endless warrens of suspiciously discounted designer clothes and, oh, rooms for the night.
The chaos has spilled over to the entire area, including Soi Rambuttri, which features little bars and restaurants that are starting to spill out onto the pavement; Phra Athit Road, with its colonial-style mansions and riverside hotels; and Sam Sen Road, a quiet neighbourhood with cosy guest houses and vegetarian restaurants. It is indeed a tourist destination, although it is also a little unsafe at night and instances of mugging and pick-pocketing do occur.
Bangkok Tourist Information Office, 17/1 Phra Athit Rd (under the Phra Pin Klao Bridge), ☎ +66 2 225-7612(-4), . 09:00-19:00 daily. It's a good idea to stop by the tourist office for some maps of the city. You can also get hotel and dining addresses here or ask any other questions you may have.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Lately,I have been wandering around My neighborhood here in Kuwait and began to notice many examples of a compass motif on buildings, fences and sidewalks. This made me wonder if there is any type of significance to the compass in Arab history - nope, at least I didnt find any info on it.
I have always liked the Compass Rosette design. I have one that was made for me by my friend Evelyn. One of these days Ill add it to the quilt Im making.
Included here are 3 examples of Compass motifs. There are many more around I just figured more pics would be redundant.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
A compass is a navigational instrument that measures directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth. The frame of reference defines the four cardinal directions (or points) – north, south, east, and west. Intermediate directions are also defined. Usually, a diagram called a compass rose, which shows the directions (with their names usually abbreviated to initials), is marked on the compass. When the compass is in use, the rose is aligned with the real directions in the frame of reference, so, for example, the "N" mark on the rose really points to the north. Frequently, in addition to the rose or sometimes instead of it, angle markings in degrees are shown on the compass. North corresponds to zero degrees, and the angles increase clockwise, so east is 90 degrees, south is 180, and west is 270. These numbers allow the compass to show azimuths or bearings, which are commonly stated in this notation.
There are two widely used and radically different types of compass. The magnetic compass contains a magnet that interacts with the earth's magnetic field and aligns itself to point to the magnetic poles. The gyro compass (sometimes spelled with a hyphen, or as one word) contains a rapidly spinning wheel whose rotation interacts dynamically with the rotation of the earth so as to make the wheel precess, losing energy to friction until its axis of rotation is parallel with the earth's.
The magnetic compass was invented during the Chinese Han Dynasty between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD, and was used for navigation by the 11th century.The compass was introduced to medieval Europe 150 years later, where the dry compass was invented around 1300.This was supplanted in the early 20th century by the liquid-filled magnetic compass.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
My good friend "Trailhawk" in the Philippines wrote this story about an experience he had many moons ago. I think you will like it.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Once Upon a Time in the Sierra Madre:
By Jing Lavilles de Egurrola AKA "Trailhawk"
I STOOD NAKED with 499 other “captives” on a cold and windy early morning of January 1989. My time in Tanay, Rizal is winding out in about two weeks. Infront of us are our sets of fatigue uniforms and combat boots piled high like a mountain on a road junction at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
I am assigned as pathfinder and I am issued a compass to lead 100 people back to Camp Capinpin during the escape and evasion phase. At a given signal, we are going to break free from our “holding area” in a deep valley and recover our clothes up here. I don't think I could do that in utter confusion. But I marked where my uniforms lay and I don't have to go far. I have to think fast.
Up ahead is a clump of grass surviving in the middle of the road going down to that valley. It is almost shoulder high and I believe no one could imagine that it could hide a big guy in there. But first, I would retrieve what my grandfather taught me many years ago: to sit still like a rock and harness my mind to confuse the “enemy” before I could reunite with my uniform and boots.
Then a rifle shot cracked in the air and everyone stampeded down the road. I ran with the other “captives” and crouched low when I ran past the grass. Stealthily, I eased back into its protection. More shots were heard and more footsteps came hurrying down until there were no more. Then silence.
I bent my head between my knees, closed my eyes and willed my mind to go blank. I heard nothing except the wind and crunch of heavy boots and one of the “enemy” came close. Then the grass danced before a strong breeze and it is reassuring.
I could feel an “enemy” standing just a meter beside me unmindful of my presence. Warm exhaled air lightly touched my skin pores as it is carried by the breeze but I am a rock today and I am invisible. Discovery meant hard butt strokes from an Armalite or from an M14 and indescribable disgrace.
The “enemy” took three steps forward and I heard a loud metallic action as a round is loaded into the firing chamber. Then a burst of gunfire is fired into the air. Warm empty brass shells landed on my head and my back. Another burst is fired again. The “enemy” gave last-minute instructions and I could understand it clearly well.
Once the transport trucks leave, I opened my eyes. I looked around the surroundings and cautiously approach the mound of uniforms in a wide circle and found my boots and my army fatigues. By the time I was tying up the shoe lace for my last shoe, the first “captive” arrived, followed by another until all 499 milled around the mound. Everyone were grabbing for himself clothes and shoes, fitting this and that.
I just could not believe two guys fighting over the same shirt and a sleeve almost got separated. Elbows flew. Raised agitated voices rang in the cold morning. Wrong pairs of shoes scattered everywhere. Pants seesawed back and forth. Discipline learned the hard way evaporated. It took almost an hour before the crowd settled down and donned their uniforms in the best way they can.
I regrouped my 100 and I stifled a laugh at their appearance. Each group is on its own and we are five in all. Then the whole 500 traveled as if it is one group and that is insane. I decide to break away for I know the “enemy” will be waiting and laughing. From here to the camp are “enemy” checkpoints and discovery meant physical humiliation.
Half of my group questioned my logic and it is torn apart. I am left with fellow “captives” from the Visayas and Mindanao regions, to include my Moslem brothers. My ragtag group evaded several checkpoints over a land that I am not familiar with. I led them by studying the terrain and chose where my route would take with a characteristic cunning taught by grandpa.
My group arrived first at half past noon inside Camp Capinpin undetected and I reported to my training officer. Half of my command is found missing during headcount and I bore the brunt of the punishment but that is nothing compared to the ignominy of being “recaptured” at the checkpoints which the rest were, several times.
Really, it is nothing for I found solace in the fact that I have outwitted the veteran Scout Rangers at their own game and turf.
~Jing de Egurrola aka The Trailhawk
Since I have been working in Kuwait, I have had very little time to cook the foods I enjoy eating and making. So, I have been taking my meals at an Egyptian placed called "Gad", its pretty good stuff with Stone oven pizzas, shiskababs, all manner of grilled veggies etc on the menu. But my personal favorite is a dish called "Kushari" - which consists of rice, pasta, lentils, onions, chick peas all covered in a hot sauce. Pretty tasty.
A large order to go is about $3.75 American, or 1 Kuwati Dinar, not bad for a large volume of food. This Dish is not only tasty but very filling. It sits on your stomach like a sack of stones but, its a meal that is packed with energy and will stick to your ribs.
I have posted the recipe and a bit about the dishes history. If you get around to making it I hope you enjoy this food as much as I do.
Right now, Im going to polish of this food then smoke a decent Cuban cigar, followed by a cup of Indian style tea.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Kushari was originally a poor man's dish, but nowadays kushari is enjoyed by all strata of society. Variously spelled koshari, kosheri, koushari or koshary.
Rice -- 1 cup
Macaroni pasta -- 1 cup
Lentils -- 1 cup
Oil -- 2 tablespoons
Onion, chopped finely -- 1
Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes -- 2 cups
Pepper flakes -- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper -- to taste
Oil for frying
Onion, sliced thinly -- 1
Salt and pepper -- to taste
1.Cook the rice and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until done, about 20 minutes. Cook the macaroni according to package directions, or until al dente. Simmer the lentils and 2 cups of water in a covered pot until tender, 30-45 minutes.
2.While the rice, pasta and lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and wilted, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and pepper flakes, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, add a little water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3.Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Add the sliced onions and fry until they turn brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
4.Place the rice, macaroni and lentils in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir together gently with a fork. Portion the mixture into individual bowls and spoon some tomato sauce over each portion. Top with crispy fried onions and serve hot or at room temperature.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I started reading this book last night. I was able to down load it from one of the sites online. I have read "The Patriots" by Rawles and found it to be a pretty good Novel, but certainly nothing to rave about. What I like about this current rawles work is that he talks about "Haji", Afghanistan, and a few other things Im familiar with.I dont believe Rawles has ever been "Down range" but he certainly seemed to have done his research for this book.
One of the thing I liked the most is that in the first few pages of the book he has posted my favorite Jeff cooper quote;
“Weapons compound man’s power to achieve; they amplify the capabilities of both the good man and the bad, and to exactly the same degree, having no will of their own. Thus we must regard them as servants, not masters—and good servants to good men. Without them, man is diminished, and his opportunities to fulfill his destiny are lessened. An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.”
~Col. Jeff Cooper
Kinda Cool. Anyhoo, Id recommend this book for all of you adventurers out there in cyber space.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
WHAT IF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT ENDED TOMORROW?
The America we are accustomed to is no more. Practically overnight the stock market has plummeted, hyperinflation has crippled commerce, and the fragile chains of supply and high-technology infrastructure have fallen. The power grids are down. Brutal rioting and looting grip every major city. The volatile era known as “the Crunch” has begun, and this new period in our history will leave no one untouched. In this unfamiliar environment, only a handful of individuals are equipped to survive.
Andrew Laine, a resourceful young U.S. Army officer stationed overseas in Afghanistan, wants nothing more than to return home to Bloomfield, New Mexico. With the world in turmoil and all air and sea traffic to America suspended, Laine must rely on his own ingenuity and the help of good Samaritans to reach his family. Andrew will do whatever it takes to make it home to his fiancée, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
Major Ian Doyle is a U.S. Air Force pilot sta-tioned in Arizona with his wife, Blanca. Their young daughter, Linda, is trapped in the North- eastern riots. Three teenage orphans, Shadrach, Reuben, and Matthew Phelps, have no choice but to set out on their own when their orphanage closes at the beginning of the Crunch. Then there is Ignacio Garcia, the ruthless leader of the criminal gang called La Fuerza, who will stop at nothing to amass an army capable of razing the countryside. And over everything looms the threat of a provisional government, determined to take over America and destroy the freedoms upon which it was built. The world of Survivors is a terrifyingly familiar one. Rawles has written a novel so close to the truth, readers will forget it’s fiction. If everything you thought you knew suddenly fell apart, would you survive?
Meet the Author
Former U.S. Army intelligence officer and survivalist James Wesley, Rawles is a well-known survival lecturer and author. Rawles is the editor of SurvivalBlog.com—the nation's most popular blog on family preparedness. He lives in an undisclosed location west of the Rockies. He is the author of the bestselling Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse and a nonfiction survival guide, How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.
Read an Excerpt:
Urgency and Exigency
FOB Wolverine, Task Force Duke, Zabul Province, Afghanistan October, the First Year
Andy was awoken by the sound of mortars. His many months in Afghanistan had taught him the difference in sound between outgoing and incoming mortars and various artillery. These were distant mortars, so he knew that it wasn’t friendly fire. Andy already had Operation Enduring Freedom camouflage pattern (OCP) pants and interceptor body armor (IBA) on, and was snatching up his M4 carbine and helmet when the take-shelter warning siren sounded. He popped out the door of his containerized housing unit (CHU) and jumped down into the entrance of the heavily sandbagged shelter, just a few steps away. Moments later the two lieutenants from the CHU next door piled in behind him. One of them took the precaution of scanning with a flashlight the floor and walls of the shelter for scorpions. He found just one and stomped it without comment.
The mortar rounds started to come in, with a succession of sharp blasts that shook the ground. There were about twenty impacts, arriving in a span of ten seconds. They could see the flashes of the explosions reflected on the wall opposite the doorway. The closest round impacted about one hundred feet away—close enough that shock waves could be felt.
As the rounds came in, Andy Laine said a silent prayer. He knew that only a direct hit would endanger him, but it was still unnerving, since he had less than a month left in-country.
“That may be all she wrote, sir,” said one of the lieutenants dryly.
Laine agreed. “You’re probably right. Just another shoot-’n’-scoot deal.”
At the far side of the forward operating base (FOB), they could hear the echoed commands from the Arty boys, and then the deep-throated crumps of outgoing mortars. They sounded like big 4.2-inch mortars, just three rounds. Andy marveled at how quickly the counter-battery radar team could pinpoint the insurgents’ firing location and direct return fire. Less than a minute after the enemy rounds impacted, the reply was sent, no doubt with considerable precision. It was no wonder that the mortar duels with the jihadis had become less frequent in recent months.
As they waited for the all-clear horn, Andy leaned against the sandbag wall and stretched his calf muscles, more out of habit than because of any stiffness. At six feet two inches, with a runner’s physique, he weighed just 180 pounds, and prided himself on his flexibility. When doing physical training (PT) with his units in garrison, he was always among the most limber.
The next morning, along with dozens of his fellow Fobbits, Laine did a bit of gawking at the damage done by the mortars. It actually wasn’t much. One round had shredded the corner of a CHU and another perforated a tent with dozens of small holes—the largest about three inches across. All the rest of the mortar impacts had no effect, leaving only black marks on the ground and some scattered shrapnel. A couple of the newbies to the FOB posed for pictures in front of the damaged CHU. “So what? Big deal,” Andy muttered to himself as he walked to the company headquarters.
At thirty-one years old, Andrew Laine was the typical lean and fit U.S. Army captain. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. His first had been to Iraq. On this new deployment, his assignment was “branch immaterial.” Although he was branched Ordnance Corps, he was assigned as a staff officer in a Stryker battalion, an infantry unit equipped with sixteen-ton wheeled armored personnel carriers (APCs). With the heavy manpower requirements of ongoing deployments to Afghanistan, it was not unusual for officers to get assignments outside of their usual career path. “The needs of the Army” was the reason often cited when making these assignments.
Andy and his older brother Lars had grown up in the shadow of their late father, Robie Laine, a Finnish-born Army officer who retired as a full colonel. Their father earned his U.S. citizenship by joining the U.S. Army, and eventually retired to a small horse ranch near Bloomfield, New Mexico. Robie had been raised on a farm and was convinced that he should retire on a farm. Their late mother was an American of mostly Swedish ancestry. She had died of breast cancer when the boys were in high school.
Following the mortar barrage, Andy spent a frustrating ten-hour day of pushing paper for the battalion, which was greatly complicated by the process of the unit’s upcoming redeployment to Germany. That afternoon, Andy chatted with Larry Echanis, the battalion S-1, the staff officer in charge of personnel. Echanis had been Laine’s martial arts sparring partner for the past several months. He had taught Andy some Hwa Rang Do katas, and Andy reciprocated, teaching Larry his mixed martial arts moves.
Their battalion (or “squadron,” in Stryker parlance) was a forward deployed part of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Vilseck, Germany. The incoming squadron was a sister unit in the same regiment, and also part of Task Force Duke. But Andy’s squadron was headed back to Germany, in a regularly scheduled unit rotation.
Laine and Echanis had been discussing events back home. Lately, the war effort had been taking a backseat to tumultuous economic events emanating from New York City and the world’s other financial centers. Larry Echanis seemed worried but was trying to be upbeat. He asked, “You think that this’ll blow over, right?”
Laine put on a glum face. “At this point, there’s no way. The whole system is breaking down. The global credit market is frozen, the sovereign debt problems have blown up past the GDP levels for most countries, and the derivatives have totally imploded. We’re in a world of hurt. I think there’ll be some major riots and looting soon.”
Echanis bit his lip. “Well, that won’t be a big deal for my family. Most of them live in eastern Oregon. Have you ever been through Ontario, Oregon? It’s out in the middle of nowhere. The disruption will be in the big cities. Our town is three hundred miles from Portland, and more than three hundred and fifty from Seattle as the crow flies.”
Laine shook his head. “I wish it was that simple. Sure, the riots will be in the big cities. The metro areas will be death traps. The suburbs will be only marginally safer. But you got to realize that these days even the small towns are dependent on long chains of supply. When the eighteen-wheelers stop rolling, everyone is gonna be hurting. It will definitely be safer out in the boonies. But you should tell your family to stock up on every scrap of food they can find. They need to get out of dollars and into canned goods right away.”
“You really think it’ll get that bad?”
Laine answered soberly, “I’m afraid it will. Does your family live in town or out on a ranch?”
“Used to be ranchers. All in town now, but we’re Basques, so we still know how to live the old-fashioned way. My mom used to cook a lot of our meals in a dutch oven. I didn’t even know how fast food tasted until I went off to college. There’s no comparison to my mom’s cooking.”
“Well, with those skills, and living where they do, they’ll probably ride the storm out pretty safely.”
The conversation left Andy feeling uneasy about his plans for leaving active duty. Strapping on his MOLLE vest to leave his desk at the battalion headquarters, Andy turned to Echanis to say, “Well, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. I’m going to stop by my CHU and grab a duffel bag and then I’m off to the Haji-mart.”
It was 90 degrees but felt even hotter, since Andy was wearing IBA and had the weight of an M4 carbine slung across his back, a PRC-148 radio, and numerous MOLLE magazine pouches. The only concession to being in a relatively safe area was that he was wearing a boonie hat instead of a MICH helmet.
As Captain Laine walked past the guards manning the HESCO barriers at the FOB’s main gate, he read the signs on the Haji market windows just across the road. They proclaimed: “Very Best PriceS,” “DVD,” and “Custtom TailoreR.” As he walked in the door, the smell of the market hit Andy like a hammer. It was an odd mix of Turkish tobacco smoke, incense, kerosene, sweat, and overcooked lamb. It certainly didn’t smell like the exchange store back at the FOB. Aside from the hint of JP8 jet fuel, which was a presence everywhere in the FOB, the exchange smelled just like any retail store in America: hardly any smell at all—almost antiseptic. In contrast, Ali’s store reeked. An aging Italian-made air conditioner was roaring above the door but not keeping up. It was perhaps 10 degrees cooler inside than outside.
Nabil Jassim Ali gave his usual “Salaam, salaam, Mr. Colonel” greeting. The portly and balding Pashtuni flashed his yellowed, crooked teeth. He called all the American soldiers “Colonel,” even the privates. It still made Andy laugh every time he heard it.
Eyeing the empty duffel bag slung over Laine’s shoulder, Ali chortled. “Perhaps you are wanting to buy plentiful numbers of thingings, Mr. Colonel?” Laine nodded. Ali waved him in and added, “The store I am closing in a few minutes, but for you, Colonel, I am willing to be late.”
“You always have the best deals, Mr. Ali,” Andy said with a smile.
“Do you have afghanis? The American dollar not so good, today. It is slipping off another five percent.”
“Down five percent in one week?” Andy asked.
“In one day, Colonel,” Ali replied seriously. “Soon, I think, I take no more American money.”
“Don’t worry, sir. I have plenty of afghanis.” His front pocket indeed bulged with a huge wad of cash: a mix of afghanis, dollars, and a few euros. In the bottom of his pocket he also felt the weight of eighteen American Eagle one-ounce silver coins in plastic sleeves.
Ali’s store had the usual “Haji-mart” merchandise. There were cigarettes, pirated CDs and DVDs, imitation designer sunglasses, magazines (mostly in Arabic), cheap Chinese knives and ersatz Leatherman tools, candy, sunflower seeds, sodas and sports drinks, jerky, chewing gum, and assorted trinkets.
There were three young Stryker troops already in the store when Captain Laine arrived. When he passed them in the dimly lit narrow aisles, they each acknowledged him with a hushed “High speed, sir!” That was the newly arrived battalion’s unofficial motto. But Andy was accustomed to hearing it at a much higher volume inside the FOB.
Laine sorted through packets of jerky, settling mostly on the teriyaki flavor, piling up a large stack in the crook of his left arm. The three enlisted soldiers completed their purchases, buying the usual Fobbit food: energy bars, packets of salty chips, and Coca-Colas that came in cans with both English and Arabic markings.
After the three soldiers left the store, Laine stacked the packets of jerky on the counter. Then he walked back to the shelf to get a second armload. This, too, he stacked on the counter. Ali smiled. “Perhaps you are wanting to buy all of my jer-kee?” he asked. Laine chuckled, and replied, “Well, not all of it; just most of it.”
Next he went to stock up on batteries. He ignored the Egyptian bargain brand—of dubious quality—and selected a dozen four-packs of Energizer AA batteries, being careful to pick the ones with the latest expiration dates. While Laine was sorting battery packages, Ali locked the front door and turned the “OPEN” sign around.
Laine stacked the batteries in a couple of piles next to the jerky on the counter, then his gaze shifted to Ali’s permanent smile. After a pause, Laine asked, “I’ve heard that you sell some other, ah, unusual merchandise that you keep in back.” He pointed to the doorway to the back room, which among other things served as a kitchen and bedroom.
“Sir, I have none alcohol. It is forbidden.”
“No, no. That is not what I meant. I’ve heard that you have some more expensive merchandise, like watches, some good optics, and guns.”
Ali’s smile got bigger than usual and he nodded. “One moment, Mr. Colonel,” he said, then disappeared into the back room.
Ali returned lugging a large suitcase, and Laine knew that he’d struck pay dirt. This was where the rumor mill at the FOB said the shopkeeper reputedly kept “the good stuff.”
Ali gently slid the heavy suitcase onto the store counter, unfastened the latches, and spun it around. He opened it to display a large assortment of new and used wristwatches, digital cameras, film cameras, binoculars, assorted boxes of ammunition, and a few pistol holsters.
Laine and Ali spent the next five minutes haggling over the price of a pair of rubber-armored Nikon 7x30 compact binoculars. They finally settled on a figure that seemed high to Andy, but he assented, realizing the prices would surely be double that in less than a month, perhaps in just a few days.
Laine paid for the jerky, batteries, and binoculars, nearly depleting his wad of afghanis. Eyeing the boxes of ammo, he said: “I see you have some nine-millimeter ammunition here. Do you have any pistols in that caliber?”
Ali frowned. “Yes, Colonel, I do, but you are cannot be afford them. Prices are—what is it they say—‘escalating.’ For a pistol, a good one, we are conversing of $5,000, American.”
“What if I paid you in silver, uhh, lujain coins? Lujain?”
“Ahhh! Lujain! This works for me. In Kabul, silver closed today at eighty-three American dollars for one ounce. In London it was eighty-one dollars.” Andy nodded. The man certainly knew his markets.
Mr. Ali turned and again walked to the back room. Laine heard the sounds of boxes being shifted and restacked. Soon the store owner returned with another suitcase that looked even older than the first. He put it on the counter, flipped the latches, and swung it open. Captain Laine let out a slight gasp when he saw the contents. The suitcase was crammed full of pistols, revolvers, holsters, and magazines.
Andy sorted through the guns. He saw older Afghan Army–issue Tokarevs, a few ancient revolvers that looked either Belgian or German, and a couple of Egyptian Helwan pistols. One revolver immediately seemed suspect. It was a Pakistani copy of a Webley .38 revolver. Looking closely at the gun, he saw that it was peppered with fake proof mark stampings and was erroneously stamped “WELBEY.” That made Andy laugh.
Seeing Andy’s expression, the storekeeper noted: “The guns from Peshawar, they are not so good.”
Andy replied, “Now, that’s an understatement!” He didn’t trust their metallurgy and mechanical tolerances any more than he did their spelling.
Putting the revolver down, Andy noticed that there were several plastic Glock Model 19 magazines but no Glock pistols.
“Do you have any Glocks?”
“Sorry, Mr. Colonel, but none of those I have. Those guns of Glock sell very quick, when I am getting one.”
Then Andy spotted a pistol in a well-made holster that looked different from the others. Withdrawing it from the holster, Andy was pleased to see a SIG P228 9mm pistol in nearly new condition. It looked just like the U.S. Army–issue P228s that the CID agents carried, except that it wasn’t stamped “U.S. PROPERTY.”
“This is my most nice of my pistols. You are liking it?”
The moment that he saw the SIG, Andy knew that he was going to buy it. The moment felt portentous somehow. He nodded and said, “Yes, I do like it.” He knew that it was against regulations to bring any weapon home from the OEF theater of operations.
Andy rummaged through the suitcase and found six spare SIG P226 series magazines, including two thirteen-rounders, three fifteen-rounders, and just one scarce magazine of twenty-round capacity. He took a few minutes to closely inspect both the gun and the magazines. The pistol had no rust pitting and just a bit of finish wear at the muzzle. Locking back the slide, he examined the bore, holding a slip of paper behind the barrel to act as a reflector. Cupping his hand over the rear sight and holding the back end of the pistol nearly to his face, he could see the faint glow of tritium dots. He muttered to himself, “Eleven-point-two-year half-life.” The magazines were genuine SIG Sauer made—with the distinctive zigzag seam on the back—and they, too, looked nearly new.
Setting the holstered pistol and the four magazines next to his previous purchases, he said, “This will do.”
“I will sell you this ZIG with just of only one magazine for thirty ounces of silver, and one ounce more for each magazine more.”
Laine shook his head and answered: “No, no, no. That is too much. My offer is eight ounces, and I want you to include these magazines.”
“This is an insult to my family. Shall my children starve and beg in the street? I am not a fool. But for you, as good and honorable officer, I will make a price of twenty ounces, with those extra magazines including.”
“No, make it twelve.”
Ali shook his head. “Eighteen ounces.”
Andy countered, “Nope. Fifteen.”
“Sixteen,” Ali snapped back.
Andy replied firmly, “Done!” They shook hands. Andy counted out sixteen of the American eagles, all still packaged in two-coin “flip” plastic sleeves. Ali took the time to scrutinize the pairs of coins closely, removing several of them from their sleeves. He looked satisfied.
“You are needing of amma-unitions?”
“No, thanks, I’ve got plenty. Nine-mil is standard for the Army.”
Andy spent a few more minutes rummaging through the suitcases, selecting a pair of magazine pouches that had obviously been made for different double-column pistol magazines but fit the standard SIG magazines—a tight fit, but they would do. Each pouch held a pair of magazines. The two pouches cost $220 in the increasingly worthless greenbacks.
Starting with the holstered pistol at the bottom, Andy filled the duffel bag with his purchases and again shook hands with Ali.
It was nearing sunset, and the temperature outside was down to 80 degrees. Ali unbarred the door, and they exchanged “Salaamu alaikum” (Go in peace) good-byes. Andy wondered how peaceful things would be in the near future. “Not very,” he muttered to himself, as he shouldered the duffel bag.
© 2011 James Rawles
The book "Guns of the South" is a pretty good read. Just wanted to throw it out there for those interested.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
The story deals with a group of time-traveling Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging members from 2014, led by Andries Rhoodie, who wish to alter the outcome of the Civil War and, as a result, ensure the success of their own cause in the future. In order to do this, they provide General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and General Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee with a large number of AK-47s. To all but a few Confederate leaders, who are told the truth, they are known as "Rivington men" after the (fictional) North Carolina town where they set up their base.
The Confederacy, starting to reel towards defeat in the late winter of 1864, welcomes the guns and other supplies. The armies of the Confederacy are trained in their use, and when the opposed armies break camp to fight the Battle of the Wilderness, there is an overwhelming Confederate victory rather than the inconclusive result in our timeline. Lee's army defeats the Union again near Bealeton, Maryland, crosses the Potomac River, and in a daring night battle, captures Washington, DC. With parallel successes by Confederate troops on other fronts, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln has little choice but to sign an armistice, agreeing to the withdrawal of Union troops, and negotiations to determine a final border.
These negotiations are conducted by three commissioners per side. C.S. President Jefferson Davis appoints Vice President Alexander Stephens, Secretary of State Judah Benjamin and General Lee. President Lincoln appoints Secretary of State William H. Seward, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Major General Benjamin Butler.
During these negotiations, the Confederacy abandons claims to West Virginia and Maryland, while the United States cedes the Indian Territory, with Kentucky and Missouri to hold state-wide referendum votes to determine which nation they will join. These are to be supervised by an Election Commissioner from each side. Lee is appointed by Davis while Lincoln appoints General Ulysses S. Grant. Also, each side appoints 500 Election Observers per state.
After the completion of the negotiations, voting, and political conversation — during which a minor incident occurs where two members of the AWB are caught by Union Election Observers attempting to smuggle AK-47s into the disputed states — referenda are held. Kentucky chooses to join the Confederacy while Missouri chooses to remain with the Union. General Lee returns to his duties in Virginia with the hope of finally settling down with his family, including his ailing wife, at their home, Arlington House, for the remainder of their days.
Such is not to be. President Davis makes clear his wish that Lee be the next man to hold the position. In fact his appointing Lee as one of the Peace Commissioners and then Election Commissioner was, in part, to keep his name in front of the electorate. The AWB, whose goal from the beginning had been to maintain the Confederacy as a bastion of Black oppression, feel that Lee is too soft on the question of slavery and rally behind General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a member of the Confederate cavalry, in the hopes of electing him to office. A slave trader himself, Forrest is believed to be the perfect man for the job of maintaining the standard of white supremacy.
The election is hotly contested, both men heroes of the recent War and filled with charisma, but Lee emerges the victor despite the introduction of 20th and 21st century campaigning techniques by the AWB to bolster Forrest's one-note campaign to preserve slavery in the South. Several of the states which voted for Forrest begin to call for secession from the Confederacy and the creation of their own nation, echoing the original Southern secession after the election of Lincoln to the Union's presidency. However, Forrest feels that such an action would be nothing short of petulance and concedes defeat, offering his personal service in the Confederate Army if any states do attempt to secede.
Lee is presented with a stolen book from the future, The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War, proving that the Rivington men lied about the catastrophes which they claimed lay in wait for the South if it lost the war. He confronts Rhoodie. The AWB has no chance of influence over Lee, and, at the presidential inauguration, several of its members attempt to assassinate Lee. They attack now-President Lee armed with Uzis and shielded with kevlar (or a similar material) vests (both still a mystery to the Confederacy) and manage to kill a number of prominent Confederates, including Lee's newly-inaugurated Vice President Albert Gallatin Brown and General Jubal Early. Lee survives the attempt on his life by nothing more than pure luck, though his wife, Mary is killed. The AWB forces in Richmond are attacked, and, after a fierce battle, are finally defeated. Their offices contain many items from the 21st century that are a mystery to the soldiers who discover them— gas-powered electrical generators, fluorescent lighting, and a Macintosh computer—but most importantly contains dozens of historical texts that reveal not only the AWB's true intentions, but that they had twisted the historical facts so as to present the South's defeat as far worse than it actually was. All of these are contained in a secure area at the AWB headquarters in Richmond, behind a safe-like door which the Confederates lack the technology to defeat, but eventually "outflank" (Instead of breaking down the door, they break through an outer wall of the building).
After the capture of the AWB's Richmond offices, Lee presents before the Confederate leadership all the historical documents that the men from the future used to inform themselves of the events of the present time. With the view of hindsight, which is always 20/20, they see how the issue of slavery is near-universally reviled in the future and that, where they had hoped to be vindicated for their actions by their descendants, almost the entire world viewed the Civil War and Southern Secession to be nothing more than a crime against humanity itself. With this new information, Congress is more inclined to agree to Lee's plan to pass a bill for gradual emancipation of its entire slave population. The bill itself was modeled after a proposed act of legislation in slave-holding Brazil, though the real bill was not proposed until years after the setting of the novel, and Turtledove has conceded that it is, indeed, anachronistic.
Lee orders the Confederate army against the AWB. However, the AWB have managed to secure control over an area around Rivington, due largely to elements of their advanced technology which they have not shared with Lee's men (including mines, mortars, walkie-talkies, flak jackets, and so-called "endless repeaters", in reality belt-fed machine guns that prevented any form of massed advance on the AWB lines), and they manage to successfully repel all Confederate attempts to retake their territory. With the AWB resupplied from the future, the conflict appears to be a stalemate. With a newly reinstated Forrest in command, it is a brilliant strategy by Lt. Colonel Henry Pleasants, a former Union officer who remained in the South after he had been captured during the War, that finally allows the Confederates to breach the AWB perimeter. The Confederate forces manage to overcome the AWB's superior technology through sheer numbers and determination. The AWB combatants are eventually defeated, and those who are unable to escape in their time machine are captured. Rhoodie surrenders, but is killed by one of his slaves in retaliation for severe mistreatment. Most of the Rivington men kept their slaves under deplorable conditions and, despite years of tradition which demand the slave be put to death, even the Confederate soldiers believe Rhoodie deserved what he got, quickly ordering the slave to flee the area.
The surviving AWB members are held in a Confederate prison under constant guard. While all face a sentence of death, proceedings are on indefinite stay so long as those willing to cooperate assist in bridging the gaps in the information presented in the historical texts and technological items recovered following the AWB's defeat. Although some gaps would prove almost impossible to fill due to numerous generations of technological advancements—1870s technology would be far too immature to attempt to repair a 21st century computer at the component level, for example—most of the AWB survivors agree to cooperate.
A minor effect - but very important to Lee himself - is the introduction if nitroglycerine from the future, helping to stave off Lee's heart disease and ensure him a longer life than he had in our history.
The book does not continue beyond 1870. The ending gives the impression that later relations between the Confederacy and the US, as well as between Whites and Blacks in the Confederacy itself, would be considerably better than in Turtedove's unrelated Southern Victory timeline, which proceeds from a different Point of Departure and does not involve a time-travelling incursion from the future.
Im not a big fan of this actor but the film looks like it might be worth a watch!
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Posted by pathfindertom at 1:50 AM
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
“A prudent man foreseeth evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
For a while now,I have planned on doing a blog post about what some folks like to call the "Grey man". I kinda pride myself on being the "Grey man" because I like to blend in when Im traveling around the world.
Depending on the venue,I rarely ever wear the types of clothing(5.11,Blackhawk,etc.) or carry the types of back packs or man purses(Blackhawk,Maxpedition,etc.)that a lot of my fellow contractors do.I don't walk around wearing a huge watch with all the bells and whistles on it. Nor do I wear a multi tool, logos of any type,or military clothing. I try to perpetuate the look of a vacationing Old teacher rather than that of a hippy backpacker, or out of work mercenary.
I do own that stuff though and will use it when operational on a FOB or remote location etc.
People, especially younger folks tend to forget that the only thing you can assume about a broken down old man is THAT HE IS a SURVIVOR.
As the "Grey Man" living and working/traveling all around the world ,I do carry, concealed on my person(in my "possum pouch"),several items which I call my escape kit. These items are;
1. plastic hand cuff key.
2. 3' of kevlar string - great for sawing through flex cuffs.
3. a small "Button" SAS compass - kind of expensive but worth it.
4. Hand cuff shim
5. my Swiss army knife with a scissors and saw
6. sometimes my lock pick set(I'm a certified locksmith).
The string, cuff key, button compass, and brass shim are easily hidden in my personal clothing every day.
Im toying with the idea of buying a small ceramic blade also but just have not found one of suitable size for my purposes.
I liken the "Grey Man" to the American Opossum,visible but not paid much attention too, fierce if need be, able to blend in to urban or wild environments,able to play dead(and live to fight another day),has hidden places to keep things on his(its) person. And Their specialized biology, flexible diet and reproductive strategy make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions.
Not at all Unlike the "Grey Man". If I had to pick an animal to be like Id choose the Opossum because of its versatility.
While surfing the net looking for pictures etc. to use for the post I stumbled on to this post by "Habcan" on the western rifle shooters blog at:
I probably could have written something better but, Im feeling lazy today and "Habcan" expresses the description of the "Grey man" pretty well. The blog seems to have some good stuff on it also.
Anyhoo, check it out if you feel like it.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
The Grey Man
The latest from Habcan:
The Grey Man is always invisible in plain sight.
The Grey Man is totally aware of his environs, his own capabilities or lack thereof, his weaponry and his levels of competence with that weaponry. He constantly strives to improve upon both his capabilities and competence. In public, he is always respectful, even to the point of obsequiousness if the situation calls for it. He always appears to be just a little confused by what is happening around him, while in reality he is alertly doing a tactical assessment.
The Grey Man NEVER draws attention to himself by word, dress, action, or mannerism. The Young Grey Man is dismissed as a wimp, the Older as a doddering old fool. The Grey Man derives great inner satisfaction from having this portrayal of himself accepted by all he meets, for it means he is succeeding in his disguise of his actual persona.
The Grey Man is a private man. He practices with his weaponry in private, or only with his fellow Grey Men, always in a secluded location. If he must resort to use of a public facility, he schedules his practice for times when he is likely to be the only one there. At such times he would probably wear bright clothing, to be remembered only as ‘that guy in the red jacket and sunglasses’, a quite different person from his usual persona. If right-handed, he would always occupy the leftmost station on a NRA bulls eye pistol range, with his back to an observer, or the rightmost one for riflery or combat pistol practice. He would not have his name emblazoned on clothing or equipment, nor would he have any noteworthy affiliation proclaimed on his cap. “He’s just a guy. Comes every Wednesday morning for his coffee break. Always pays cash.”
The Grey Man does not drive a pink Cadillac with steer horns on the hood, NOR does he drive the biggest mutherin’ 4X4-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles BOV in the lot. The older his vehicle is, the rustier, the less likely it is to draw attention (or to be stolen, for that matter). This vehicle is, under its exterior, scrupulously maintained and in excellent running order. If pulled over by authority on the basis of appearance, it can be shown to meet or exceed all requirements under licensing laws, and an obsequious co-operative manner precludes a search under the seats. The Grey Man does not speed on the highway: cruise control is his friend. So is the Highway Patrol: he waves to any he sees. If he travels the same route constantly, at the same times, The Grey Man becomes a ‘fixture’ and can be dismissed from conscious observation.
It helps the Survivor to build up this persona of The Grey Man gradually and over time. The anti-gun sheeple neighbors will quickly rat out the ‘Patriot’ who is always loudly declaiming about his ‘Rights’ and ‘what will happen if they try to take my guns’. The Grey Man goes far out of his way never to offend anyone, imitating the duck which appears calm on the surface of his pond whilst paddling like hell under the surface.
Be seen as conservative in all you do. A Survivor is a Grey Man, and that little old grey man alone over there in the corner is probably a Survivor!
And that young guy next to him? Just another wimp? Or are they both watching each other’s backs?
Making the other guy waste precious time in assessing the situation is a big part of staying alive. Practice being grey now, while there's time to build your skills.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Has anyone out there ever seen or used one of these Kamal navigation devices?? If so drop me a line and let me know how it works and how effective they are. I might just have to make one. Until looking up info on Arab Dhows I had never heard of this type of Navigation tool.
I think it is about as cool as the sun compass used by the vikings and then centuries later by the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) in the deserts of Libya in WW2.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
A kamal is a celestial navigation device that determines latitude. The invention of the kamal allowed for the earliest known latitude sailing, and was thus the earliest step towards the use of quantitative methods in navigation. It originated with Arab navigators of the late 9th century, and was employed in the Indian Ocean from the 10th century. It was adopted by Indian navigators soon after, and then adopted by Chinese navigators some time before the 16th century.
The kamal consists of a rectangular wooden card about 2 by 1 inches (5.1 by 2.5 cm), to which a string with several equally spaced knots is attached through a hole in the middle of the card. The kamal is used by placing one end of the string in the teeth while the other end is held away from the body roughly parallel to the ground. The card is then moved along the string, positioned so the lower edge is even with the horizon, and the upper edge is occluding a target star, typically Polaris because its angle to the horizon does not change with longitude or time. The angle can then be measured by counting the number of knots from the teeth to the card, or a particular knot can be tied into the string if traveling to a known latitude.
The knots were typically tied to measure angles of one finger-width. When held at arm's length, the width of a finger measures an angle that remains fairly similar from person to person. This was widely used (and still is today) for rough angle measurements, an angle known as issabah in Arabic, or a chih in Chinese. By modern measure, this is about 1 degree, 36 minutes, and 25 seconds, or just over 1.5 degrees.
Due to the limited width of the card, the kamal was only really useful for measuring Polaris in equatorial latitudes, which perhaps explains why it was not common in Europe. For these higher-latitude needs somewhat more complex devices based on the same principle were used, notably the cross-staff and backstaff.
The kamal is still a tool recommended for use in sea kayaking.In such an application, it can be used for estimating distances to land.
Around this time (of the Discoveries) the Arabs were using a very ingenious instrument in the Mediterranean Sea that allowed them to know latitude. It was called al-kamal – the guiding line. It was simply a small wooden board with a notch made on top and in the middle of it and a piece of string that was attached to the centre of the board; it could only be operated at night. To find where they were, an operator would adjust the distance of the piece of wood closer or farther away from his eyes in order to have the bottom of the plank levelled with the horizon and the North Star placed inside the notch. The operator would then tie a knot in the string on the point where it touched his nose, and a celestial location was then marked. There were no angles to measure and record or complicated mathematical formulas to consider. From then on the navigator knew that every time the horizon was leveled with the bottom of the board, the North Star was inside the notch, and the distance measured in the string was the same as marked, he was in a place that had the same latitude as the one where he had made those measurements. Portugal had to wait for Vasco da Gama to bring it from India on the first voyage he made there in 1498.
I had some time to kill so I walked over to the Kuwait science center to check out the Arab Sailing Dhow exhibit.
The exhibit consists of several original Arab Dhows of different sizes moored in a small enclosure. I especially liked the largest of these vessels, apparently it was built in 1938 by the famous Arab Shipright AliAbdul-Rashoul, for Mohammad Al-Ghanim and sailed the coastal waters until 1994 when it was purchased by the Kuwait historical society for this exhibit.
One of the things I found interesting was the Cooking hearth(see picture) which was housed in a small shed in the bow of the ship. From where I was standing, I could see a concrete like hearth , a large cooking pot and a large kettle for boiling water to make coffee or tea.
This set me to thinking about the cook and the challenges he must have faces trying to feed a crew of men on a rough sea.
Viewing these vessels, I could almost imagine myself standing on the burning deck , or working in the rigging as the beautiful old ship plied its was around the gulf. Those classic days of the Arab fishing/sailing Dhows are - from what some say "Gone forever". But I have seen a few Dhows on the water when I go jogging on the corneiche, for me, it is good to know that this part of our human history has not been lost or forgotten.
I have included a bit of info on Dhows for those interested.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Dhow (Arabic,داو) is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. Some historians believe the dhow was invented by Arabs but this is disputed by some others. Dhows typically weigh 300 to 500 tons, and have a long, thin hull design. They are trading vessels primarily used to carry heavy items, like fruit, fresh water or merchandises, along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and East Africa. Larger dhows have crews of approximately thirty people, while smaller dhows typically have crews of around twelve.
Even to the present day, dhows make commercial journeys between the Persian Gulf and East Africa using sails as their only means of propulsion. Their cargo is mostly dates and fish to East Africa and mangrove timber to the lands in the Persian Gulf. They often sail south with the monsoon in winter or early spring, and back again to Arabia in late spring or early summer.
Some scholars claim that the sambuk, a type of Dhow, may be derived from the Portuguese caravel.
Traditionally Yemeni Hadhrami people, as well as Omanis, came to Beypore, Kerala, India along the centuries in order to build Dhows. The reasons were the availability of good timber in the forests of Kerala, the availability of good coir rope and also the presence of skilled carpenters specialized in ship building. Formerly the sheathing planks of a dhow's hull were held together by coconut rope instead of nails. Beypore Dhows are known as 'Uru' in Malayalam, the local language of Kerala. Settlers from Yemen, later known as 'Baramis', are still active in Uru business in Kerala.
Captain Alan Villiers (1903 – 1982) documented the days of sailing trade in the Indian Ocean by sailing on dhows between 1938 and 1939 taking numerous photographs and publishing books on the subject of dhow navigation.
For celestial navigation, dhow sailors have traditionally used the kamal. This observation device determines latitude by finding the angle of the Pole Star above the horizon.
Types of dhow:
Baghlah (بغلة) - From the Arabic language word for "mule". A heavy ship, the traditional deep-sea dhow.
Baqarah or baggarah (بقارة) - From the Arabic word for "cow". Old type of small dhow similar to the Battil.
Barijah - Small dhow.
Battil (بتيل) - featured long stems topped by large, club-shaped stem heads.
Badan - a smaller vessel requiring a shallow draft.
Boum (بوم) or dhangi - a large-sized dhow with a stern that is tapering in shape and a more symmetrical overall structure. The Arab boom has a very high prow, which is trimmed in the Indian version.
Ghanjah (غنجه) or kotiya - a large vessel, similar to the Baghlah, with a curved stem and a sloping, ornately carved transom.
Jahazi or jihazi. A fishing or trading dhow with a broad hull similar to the Jalibut, common in Lamu Island and the coast of Oman. It is also used in Bahrain for the pearl industry.
Jalibut or jelbut (جالبوت)- A small to medium-sized dhow. It is the modern version of the shu'ai with a shorter prow stem piece. Most jalibuts are fitted with engines.
Pattamar, a type of Indian dhow.
Sambuk or sambuq (سنبوك) - The largest type of Dhow seen in the Persian Gulf today. It has a characteristic keel design, with a sharp curve right below the top of the prow. It has been one of the most successful dhows in history.
Shu'ai (شوعي)- Medium-sized dhow. Formerly the most common dhow in the Persian Gulf used for fishing as well as for coastal trade.
Zaruq - Small dhow, slightly larger than a barijah.
The term "dhow" is sometimes also applied to certain smaller lateen-sail rigged boats traditionally used in the Red Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf area, as well as in the Indian Ocean from Madagascar to the Bay of Bengal. These include the feluccas used in Egypt, Sudan and Iraq, and the Dhoni used in the Maldives, as well as the tranki, ghrab and ghalafah.All these vessels have common elements with the dhow. In East African countries such as Kenya the Swahili word used for dhow is "jahazi".
Saturday, January 7, 2012
I was wandering around Salmiya, Kuwait today and stumbled upon a billboard that advertized "Gurkha" Brand Cigars.Never seen that brand before , so I decided to check them out.
After a short search I was able to locate the "Big Smoke" Cigar store but it was closed. I did a bit of window shopping and noticed several types of Cuban cigars and many high end accessories for the Cigar smoking consumer.
Im hoping to go back and buy a couple of the "Gurkha" Brand Cigars and give them a try.
In the mean time you can check out the Big Smoke website at; www.http://bigsmokekw.com/
its kinda cool, you might like it.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Friday, January 6, 2012
"Greek George" as his American counterparts called him was a Camel driver for the U.S. Army Camel Corps experiment. He was Hired at the same time as "Hi Jolly" and came to the USA on the ship USS Supply. He appears to be an interesting character. It makes me wonder how a Greek citizen came to be living in Smyrna,Turkey working as a camel herder - there has got to be an adventurous story in the somewhere.
I couldnt find much about the man or his fellow Camel Drivers except "Hi Jolly". Please take a look at the info below and feel free to drop me a line if you find anything additional about the Camel corps or any of the men.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Yiorgos (Greek George) Caralambo (? - September 2, 1913) was a camel driver hired by US Army in 1856 for the Camel Corps experiment in the Southwest. The camels were to be tested for use in transportation across the "Great American Desert."
Caralambo, who was of Greek ancestry, was living in Smyrna, Turkey, when he was selected for the Camel Corps. The American government hired eight camel drivers from Asia Minor to tend for the animals.Caralambo and the other camel drivers arrived at the Port of Indianola in Lavaca County, Texas with their animals on the USS Supply.In Steven Dean Pastis' article "Go West Greek George," the eight men are identified: Caralambo, Hadji Ali (later known as Philip Tedro), Mimico Teodora (Mico), Hadjiatis Yannaco (Long Tom), Anastasio Coralli (Short Tom), Michelo Georgios, Yanni IIIato and Giorgios Costi.
The United States had purchased a total of 33 camels: 3 in Tunis, 9 in Egypt, and 21 in Smyrna. The Camel Corps hauled supplies to build the Butterfield Overland Stage Route from St. Louis, Missouri to Los Angeles. The route was completed by September 1858.
Through his service in the Camel Corps, Greek George met Major Henry Hancock, a Harvard trained lawyer and wealthy Los Angeles landowner. Hancock was so impressed by Caralambo's dedication that he wanted to employ him privately to drive camels carrying mail along the Butterfield Route. Hancock allowed Greek George to build a farmhouse with stables to house the dromedaries in the northwest part of Rancho La Brea, in present-day West Hollywood. The plan fell through when the Army disbanded the Camel Corps in 1862. Greek George was forced to turn the camels into the wild; they roamed the area for at least thirty years afterwards.
Greek George remained at Rancho La Brea well into the 1870s, taking care of Major Hancock's cattle and horses. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1867 and changed his name to George Allen.
On May 5, 1874, Tiburcio Vasquez, the most notorious of the Mexican banditos to terrorize California in the 1870s and 1880s, was captured while hiding out in a shack behind the home of Caralambos, known to locals as "Greek George". Vasquez, who terrorized Southern California for over twenty-three years, frequently used Greek George's farmhouse as one of his numerous hideouts. Someone informed on Vasquez, possibly Greek George himself, enticed by the $15,000 reward. However, others claim it was a relative of Vasquez, angry because the outlaw had had an affair with the relative's niece. A posse led by Sheriff Albert Johnson rode from Los Angeles to Greek George's residence. The site is in present day West Hollywood, thought to be near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and King's Road.
Caralambos later moved to Montebello, California and died near Mission Vieja San Gabriel in 1913.