Gunny’s Gear

All things must pass, to quote George Harrison, but I have to admit that I never thought that this would apply to Gunny R. Lee Ermey, R.I.P.

Anyway, his gun stuff and related items are being auctioned off (and thanks to all the Readers who sent me notice that this is happening).

In keeping with the eccentric nature of the man come a few interesting items, e.g.

(The drooling sound you hear in the background comes from Reader Mike Of The Dueling Pistols.)

Anyway, your job for the day is to scrutinize the list of items, and tell me which ONE (and only ONE) you’d like to own.  (Right-click on the pics to get a full description.)  Answers in Comments.

A Man’s Man

I was truly saddened to read of the death of Ted Dexter at the age of 86.  Very few Americans would know who he is, but allow me to make the introduction.

Over ten years, “Lord Ted” Dexter played cricket for England for 62 international Test matches, of which he was captain of the team for 30.  He scored thousands of runs, took dozens of wickets as a bowler, and after retiring from cricket went on as a team selector and chairman of the Marylebone Cricket Club (Lord’s).  Throughout his life, he was unfailingly helpful to young cricketers, always polite and ready with some good advice.

For most men, that would be enough.

He was also a scratch golfer, a pilot (who flew from the UK to Australia, and back), rode a motorcycle and once ran for Parliament.

He failed at the last — one of his few failures — but that leads me to tell a personal story about the man.

By running for Parliament in 1964, Ted missed the start of the England tour of South Africa, but he was back in the side in time for the Test at at the Wanderers cricket ground in Johannesburg, where an excited young boy of eight (that would be me) happened to be sitting in the stands with his dad one row back from the field, right at the point where Ted was fielding.

Of course, “Lord Ted” didn’t just stand there in the field;  he turned and bantered with the crowd, who responded delightedly.  He had a bright red stain on his white cricket trousers where he’d been polishing the cricket ball, and one wag in the crowd yelled, “What happened to your pants?”  Ted laughed and said, “It’s hot out here.”

Whereupon the same guy said, “Would you like a cold one, Uncle Ted?” and Dexter laughed and said, “Next over.”

When he came back to field in his earlier position, he walked right over to the boundary fence and said, “Where’s that cold one?”  Of course, someone popped a can of Castle Lager and handed it to him — whereupon Ted put his head back and drained the thing in one giant swallow, to tumultuous applause.  Needless to say, every time he came back to the boundary he was offered a fresh beer, but after one more he said, “Thanks, but I still have to bat later,” to much good-natured ribbing.  (“Maybe tomorrow, Ted;  you’re not going to get us all out today!”)

Oh, and to finish Ted Dexter’s story:  he was married to the same woman for over sixty years.  Nowadays, that’s considered quite a feat;  to a man like him, it would be quite unremarkable.


He was one of my boyhood heroes, and still is today.

R.I.P. Ted Dexter, OBE.

Missing Comfort

As any fule kno, I am partial to the occasional visit to a pub.  [pause to let laughter die down]

But  not just any pub.  I have strict rules for places which charge me far too much for the pleasure of indulging myself, because if I am going to be hit with a $7 (or more) tab for a single beer (!!!), the establishment had better offer me more than just a pint.  Here’s a short list of necessities:

Decent beer.  Any bar in the U.S. which doesn’t give me a choice of at least three British-ale equivalents won’t see me after a single awful American beer, and never again as well.  (Curiously, I find Mexico’s Negra Modelo  to be the closest thing to a decent ale, although I do have to pour it from glass to glass a few times to get rid of the appalling and excessive fizz.)  If they serve Fuller’s London Pride or Boddington’s, then we can be friends and they can be assured of a follow-up visit (or two, or three).  And if the beer isn’t up to snuff, they’d damn well better have a decent selection of single-malts or gins, or else it’s to the door I’ll be heading.

No loud music.  I’ve talked before about my hatred for this piece of modernism, whereby the acceptable noise of drunken people having a good time has to be drowned out by music — any kind of music, really, not just the revolting  thumpa-thumpa  of hip-hop — as though the background noise of simple conversation and occasional laughter are somehow incompatible with drinking pleasure.

Loud TV programs.  I can live with this if a.) it’s a “sports” bar or b.) there’s a big game being played (e.g. Bears vs. Packers or Chelsea vs. Arsenal).  But if I walk into a bar and there’s a large-screen TV showing ESPN’s SportsCenter (i.e. people talking about sport instead of playing it), I turn around and walk out.  Don’t even get me started if it’s CNN, Fox News or (gawd help us) Oprah Winfrey (I had to endure that once — client lunch, so I had no control — and it took me days to recover).

A foot-rail at the bar counter.  This may seem a strange one, but it’s a critical part of drinking that’s too often overlooked.  Note this otherwise-excellent setup (in a private house, withal):

But the Arrow Of Accusation points to the missing piece, and the whole pub is ruined by the glaring omission.

It’s a simple thing, really.  I (and many others) actually prefer to drink standing up, and especially around the bar counter, where space is at a premium.  It’s the one time I don’t mind being in a crowd, because I am in the company of people with a common goal, that of getting a good buzz on and enjoying life, and I far prefer a crowded bar to a nearly-empty one, which is depressing.  If one is enjoying the company of a lady, standing close to her bar stool makes the whole activity more intimate, too.  But if you’re going to stand, you must have a rail to rest a foot on, because otherwise you get tired of standing.  (I don’t know why that it, but it’s a fact nevertheless.)  Look at this place:

That picture simply screams out that I’ll be there till closing time, or later (don’t ask; I’m still banned from The Blue Cow which, needless to say, served about five excellent ales — all of which I sampled extensively —  and had a brass foot-rail).

Decent decor.  I hate modernist interior design, as all my Readers know well, but while I prefer the traditional pub style, it doesn’t have to be that.  Here’s the inside of the fantastic Randolph’s Bar at the Warwick Hotel in Manhattan:

…and yes of course it has a foot-rail at the counter.  And yes, I have been tossed out of that place too, several times, but always gently as I used to be a frequent guest there (hi, Carlo!).  On each of those occasions, the company was excellent and much disposed towards trying to finish all the Scotch in the place, but the atmosphere and decor did no harm to the attempt, either.

Here’s yet another of my favorite haunts, the Coq d’Or at the Drake Hotel in Chicago (where I do not have a tempestuous history, albeit not for lack of trying):

It’s a little hard to see (bottom left), but yes, there is a foot-rail, and it’s brass.

All this bar talk is making me thirsty.  And now, if you’ll excuse me, my post-birthday hangover needs a little TLC and that gin isn’t going to drink itself.

Excuses, Excuses

From a Reader:

“It seems like a lot of your articles are just an excuse to post pics of women.”

You mean I’m causing situations like this?

Okay, then.  I promise to post more pictures of guns and trucks ‘n stuff in future.  Like these:

(pics courtesy of these guys, who have the Right Stuff)

I live to please…

Hobby

I always knew there was a reason I liked this man:

He has long been known as a model railway enthusiast — even if at times he didn’t want to talk about it.
But now Sir Rod Stewart’s legendary layout — 26 years in the making — can be seen for the first time in all its finished glory.

…and it’s stunning.  Hie thee hence to see it.

I always wanted to do this, only my layout would have been an Alpine scene in Germany, circa 1900.  Back in the early 1990s, I even bought period-correct Fleischmann HO engines (three), half a dozen carriages, and built a couple of model houses (also period-correct).

Alas, life got in the way (i.e. divorce, lost the house and therefore the basement) and I never got to build it in.  But Rod did, and good for him.

Crossing America – 2019

Time to play this game again.

The Challenge:  You have the opportunity to go back in time, arriving on the east coast of North America circa  1650 in the early spring, and your goal is to cross the North American continent, taking as much time as you need.  When / if you reach the Pacific coastline, you’ll be transported back to the present day.  Your equipment for this journey will be as follows (taken back in the time capsule with you):

— enough provisions for the first five days’ travel
— a backpack containing some clothing essentials
— a winter coat, raincoat and boots
— waterproof sleeping bag
— an axe, and a small sharpening stone
— a box of 1,000 “strike anywhere” waterproof matches
— a portable water filtration system
— a topographic map of North America
— binoculars and a compass
— a current U.S. Army First Aid kit
ONE long gun (shotgun or rifle) and 800 rounds of ammo (but no scope;  and no interchangeable-barrel rifles like a Thompson Center Encore or Blaser;  drillings are acceptable, but you still only get 800 rounds of ammo, total)
ONE handgun (and 1,000 rounds)
— and THREE knives (which can include a multi-tool knife like a Leatherman).

Once there, you’ll be given a horse, a mule and a dog — but apart from that, you’re on your own.  Remember you’ll be traveling through deep woods, open prairie, desert and mountains.  You may encounter hostile Indian tribes and dangerous animals en route, which should be considered when you answer the following questions (and only these):

1.  What long gun would you take back in time with you?
2.  What handgun?
3.  What knives?

Unlike previous surveys, I’m not going to tabulate the answers;  just have at it in Comments.  Reasons need not be given, as the choices will pretty much speak for themselves.  If you must  justify your choices, keep it short (as I have with mine).


Kim’s choices:

Long:  Mauser M96 (Swedish) 6.5x55mm.  Flat-shooting, manageable recoil, super-reliable, and more accurate than I can shoot it, at any distance.

I’d probably add some kind of peep sight:

Handgun:  Ruger Redhawk Stainless in .357 Mag with a 5.5″ barrel and (new from Ruger!) 8-shot cylinder.  Indestructible, and in a pinch can be used for hunting.

Knives:  Fox 440 bush knife, Anza skinner and Swiss Army Champ (no explanations necessary):

Oh, and by the way, I’d take a sharpened roofing hammer instead of an actual axe:

All the above must assume that I would be forty years younger, and have better eyesight than I have now.  At my current age and rickety state, I might as well just give up and lie on the beach on the Atlantic shoreline, eating my provisions and waiting to die…

Over to you, in Comments.