Busted !!!!!

From Alert Reader Ray G in Colorado:

Hi Kim,

I know you’re a grammar nazi. Don’t know if you want any feedback on your own English usage. But anyway, it’s “to wit”, not “to whit”. You can look it up…

To say that I was confounded by this gentle rebuke is to make an understatement on the scale of “Kelly Brook has decent boobs”…

…because Ray is absolutely right:  it is “to wit” and not “to whit”.  And I have no idea why I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.

So what to do?  Of course, I went back into my archives and corrected as many of those malfeasances as I could find (thank you, Winston Smith).  And here’s the reference to the above understatement:

You may consider that penance for my mea maxima culpa.

And by the way:  thank you, Ray — and anyone can correct me, at any time, if you think I’ve screwed up in similar fashion.

Well, That Wasn’t Any Fun

Last night I suddenly developed the most excruciating pain in my lower abdomen.  Came out of nowhere:  one minute I’m searching for pics of Carol Vorderman’s extensive superstructure, the next I’m doubled up on the couch and moaning like a Democrat forced to sing the National Anthem.

So did I go to the ER?  Silly rabbits, I’m a MAN — of course I didn’t wimp out and seek medical attention.

Now before anyone starts yelling at me — especially those Readers of the Female Persuasion — lemme ask y’all this:

What if it had just been gas, somehow bottled up and unable to be released?  You’d feel like a proper Charlie if the ER doc were to look at your CAT scan, shake his head sorrowfully and say, “Take two Gas-X and call me in the morning”, with the unspoken corollary:  “What a total pussy.”  That was not going to happen.  So I waited overnight.

However, by this morning the symptoms had not abated — got worse, actually —  so I girded up my loins and went off to the local Doc-In-The-Box to get a CAT scan.  But the nearest one had closed down for good.  So I went to another one close to the apartment, and they were open but — their CAT scan machine was broken.

By this time, the combination of frustration plus pain in my gut — I was driving bent over like a Florida geezer — made me say “Fukkit!” and so I ended up at GlobalMegaHealthCorp LLC, at the other end of Plano, FFS.  I went in promptly at 9.15am, was seen promptly at 11.15am, had the CAT scan promptly at 2.30pm, and was on my way to CVS promptly at 4.05pm.

Which is why I always try to go the the little ER clinics for visits of this nature:  in, scanned, diagnosed, prescribed and out in generally less than 90 minutes.  If they’re a little busy.

Anyway, I suppose you want to know why I’m still doubled over in pain, waiting for the Blessed Medications to kick in?

Diverticulitis (non-complicated), treated with Cipro and some other antibiotic.  According to Doc Russia (who diagnosed me correctly over the phone while I was waiting in the ER room), I should feel better by tomorrow.

Let’s hope.  In the meantime, I’m debating whether to pop a Tylenol-3 (the one with codeine) to help me get through the night.

Of course, I’m also counting my blessings.  This pain could have pointed to something really foul like a hiatal hernia, appendicitis (even though I’m too old for that shit) or the Evil Cousin of diverticulitis, a perforated bowel (which can seriously fuck up your weekend picnic plans).  Not to mention all the other shit down there that can creep up on Olde Pharttes and kill us like a smackeroo-blurdy.  That part of the body is like a WWII German minefield, with stuff just waiting to kill you.  But it wasn’t any of that.

Oh, and one small piece of other news:  my weight has gone down from 265 to 240, in just under two months.  My goal:  Army weight (205-210), or maybe even less if I can stick with it.  Here’s me, in approved SADF browns, circa 1977:

So there’s that, which is good.

The Kindle Affair – Update

In the end, I decided to forgo the stupid Kindle reader altogether and just download the Kindle app onto my laptop.

Which I did, and discovered that I have whole host of books still in my account (left over from my last foray into Kindleville, in the land of Amazonia).

Also, for those who are new to these pages or weren’t paying attention, may I humbly draw your attention to my previously-published works:

Vienna DaysFamily FortunesCreative LicensePrime TargetSigning New England

I am grinding my way ever so slowly through the sequel to Family Fortunes (which I may just creatively entitle “Family Fortunes Part II” because I can’t think of a decent riff on “Family _____”, mostly because the story takes place during the Boer War and WWI).

Also in the hopper is Skeleton Coast, a nearly-completed story of German South-West Africa in 1910, and Budapest Evenings, a story about a plot to assassinate the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary in 1900.

Annoyingly, all my creativity in writing the above occurs in my pre-waking hours in the morning, but by the time I’ve woken up, showered, made coffee and read my email, most has tragically disappeared from my creaking brain, leaving only scattered remnants behind.

I shall persevere.  Try to contain your excitement.


The immortal line from the late and much-missed Dennis Farina comes to mind (speaking to some Brits when they throw some unintelligible wordslush at him):

“You guys invented the language;  why don’t you fucking speak it?”

Here’s the explanation of the accents behind the language, the accents ranked, and then an explanation of some of the slang.

In terms of difficulty, there are only three that I find absolutely incomprehensible (in order):  Glasgow, Geordie (Newcastle/Sunderland) and Liverpool.

For the record, when I’m in Britishland I tend to speak Public (a.k.a. private) School Pronunciation — after I’ve been there a while and lost my slightly-Americanized/Texas accent.

But I fail, and while I am well-spoken, my native Johannesburg wins by two lengths.

Idle Thoughts

As one gets along in years, and comes to the realization that one’s time on Earth is not only limited, but foreseeable in terms of its ending, certain idle thoughts come to mind.  In my case, of course, this resolves itself inevitably into a list — in this case, loosely defined as follows:

Assuming that my health would remain more or less as it is, what would be the things I would get now that would last me the rest of my life, and give me pleasure in the use thereof?

For the sake of argument, let me also assume that I’d pare down all the crap I currently possess — sell almost all of it, really — and would have only the things on this list to keep me amused.  Unlike my  normal flights of fantasy, this would not involve a lottery win, so economics will play a part.  It’s a tough question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot, so to speak, and start with the easiest ones.

Car —  almost without question, the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF:

…because it combines fun, performance, fuel economy and reliability in equal measure and compromise.  As for space, the only cargo [sic]  I’d carry would be New Wife, or my guns to the range, or groceries back from the supermarket, and for the latter two, even the Miata’s little trunk would be adequate (long-gun cases could be carried in the front).  The top comes down for the occasional en plein air  experience, and I would be perfectly happy to tour the country in it as well.  Color is irrelevant, although I kinda like the gunmetal blue as pictured, for obvious reasons.  And speaking of gunmetal:

Rifle — it’s a tough one, but to me the Miata of rifles is the Marlin 336 in .30-30 (with a scope because of my shitty eyesight):

Light, handy, reliable, enough punch for most situations, acceptable recoil and the ammo is pretty much ubiquitous in the U.S.A.  Realistically, I’m never going to have to make any long shots, and the lever action works quickly enough for those (shall we say) social  occasions.

Plinker Rifle — this is an even tougher choice, but I’d choose the Ruger 10-22:

I don’t think I need to explain or justify this choice, do I?

Now on to the handguns:

Self-defense — no choice;  my Springfield 1911 in .45 ACP:

Once again, no explanation is necessary.

Revolver — this is a little more difficult, but I think I’d pick the (new) Colt Python 6″ in .357 Mag:

Why the new one?  Why not?  It’s new, it’s a Python, and every gunsmith I’ve spoken to on the topic says the action is far better than the old one’s, and will likely be more reliable.  Of course, I’d prefer it in Colt’s original Royal Blue, but them’s the breaks.

Plinker Handgun — easy enough choice, here: the Browning Buckmark:

Best trigger of any .22 handgun (possibly of any handgun, period), and very reliable.  I’ve owned several, and never had a bad experience with any of them.  We’re talking hours and hours of plinking fun.

Finally on guns, a shotgun, mostly for clays — I’m going to go with something a little more indulgent, i.e. the Chapuis Chasseur Classic in 20ga:

It’s different enough — not part of the Beretta / Browning / Remington / Winchester matrix, and not insanely priced like the premiums — and of course the side-by-side barrels are mandatory.  (I have a 20ga SxS already, but I keep it at Free Market Towers, for obvious reasons.  The Chapuis would be my domestic  gun.)

That’s enough guns.  On to other stuff.

Camera — I’ve done the large SLR thing, and I don’t need that anymore.  My current criteria, based on years of travel, are that the camera be small enough to fit into a coat pocket, and must take AA batteries.  Hence, the Canon Powershot SX100 IS:

I’ve owned this little sucker for well over a decade, and have no quibbles — except that when shooting in low-light situations, you absolutely have to pop it onto a tripod because its lens stabilization is not that great.  Fortunately, I have a mini tripod which travels with the Canon, and fits into the other coat pocket.  (My backup camera — a Nikon Coolpix 4300 — is much better in this regard, but it only takes Nikon’s rechargeable battery which means you have to be close to a power source to recharge it — the reason I replaced it with the Canon.  Like .30-30 and .22 LR, AA batteries are ubiquitous.)

Books — I couldn’t trim my library down any more than I already have, and it’s creeping up again (to the consternation of New Wife, who reminds me constantly that we barely have enough room extant).  Still, I intend to read and re-read several non-classic books for the rest of my life, most notably John Sandford’s Prey and Virgil Flowers novels, as well as any derivatives thereof.  Also P.G. Wodehouse, of whose works I have many, and various Ken Follett novels as well.  It’s all about the style when it comes to novels, and I love all the above in equal measure.  Of non-fiction — history — books we shall not speak.

Binoculars — I don’t use them often, but I always travel with a pair, this being my Steiner AX830 (8×30):

…and while these do okay, especially for their size, I really need something a little more powerful (10x or more, with a tripod mount if necessary, because size is not really a problem).  All suggestions are welcome.

Watch — for me, the thought of having only one watch is akin to having only one gun:  almost a fate worse than death, but if I’m going to have a couple of watches to see out my shift, they’re not going to be automatic, nor need batteries.  Hence, the Longines Master and the Tissot Heritage (depending on whether I need a black- or white face):

Nice big numbers to accommodate my (did I already say?) crappy eyes.  The Longines is twice the price of the Tissot, but still under the magic $1,000 mark.  Both are wonderfully rugged and acceptably accurate.

Music — forget about it.  My music library is quite adequate, not to say extensive, and unless I were forced to sell all of it, I could see my days out with the collected works of Valentina Lisitsa and Genesis (and maybe my Beatles boxed set).

I’m trying to think of what else qualifies under the question at the top, but other than perhaps knives (of which I have many, and just can’t think of any I’d even think of buying today), none come to mind.

As with all exercises of this genre, feel free to participate in Comments.  I look forward to your thoughts, as always.