Quick Thoughts On Sources

I probably need to flesh this out more, but after yesterday I want to get something up on sources I read/follow regularly.

First, I check my intel list on Twitter. Perfect, no; but, the sources in it tend to be good in their specific areas. I add and remove as needed, and am always looking for other good sources around the world. Suggestions welcome.

I do often pay close attention to the Institute for the Study of War. For news and analysis StrategyPage is a good read. When it comes to understanding the thought, philosophy, mores, and history behind Russia and its dealings with the world, read the works of Kamil Galeev. There are a few more, but this is a good start.

For analysis, commentary, and discussion, I do follow Stephen Green at Instapundit and Vodka Pundit as much as I can. Instapundit is a good read under any circumstances with excellent commentary and more by Glenn, Sarah, and others. I also follow the authors at Hot Air, as they too are a good group overall and offer a variety of perspectives.

There are others, of course, such as Commander Salamander for naval and more. Also glad to see the DiploMad back. Wish more of the early milblogs and similar were still up, pay attention to those that are.

Most of my other regular and semi-regular reads tend to be about writing, general politics, science, and such.

More soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Iran, Russia, Oh My

What an interesting start to the week. Sleet and snow, along with falling temps, are making the roads around here fun. Thinking I may put off the bus trip to the stores until tomorrow.

Over the weekend, Iran was apparently attacked. Some of the initial reports, which come from usually reliable sources, indicated multiple targets. There were unconfirmed reports of fighters launching and other delights all around the country. Right now, there is still a dearth of solid data and I find it interesting that even though the Iranian government admitted to multiple attacks Saturday night, they and some interesting segments of the corporate media are now focusing on one particular attack. Which according to them, failed.

If you believe the official take of the Iranian government on anything, please do let me know as I have a bridge for sale that you would find the perfect investment opportunity. That out of the way, there is reason to believe that around five sites were attacked. All are military targets. Beyond that, insufficient data. And, no, I don’t think the fire at the refinery was part of this.

I also strongly suspect that a lot of the bangs, booms, aircraft launches, and other things reported elsewhere were the result of the Iranians. They do seem to have quite the habit of doing such locally and nationally, and when you fire at targets without identifying them (or verifying they are even real), you get UIA 752 and/or a lot of bangs, booms, and other delights. After all, if you fire an arrow into the air, you know it’s coming back down to Earth somewhere.

As for who did it, there is a LOT of speculation. Iran, Russia, and Saudi corporate media have all accused the U.S. of doing it. We, of course, deny any involvement. Others have pointed at Israel, which is believed to have conducted a number of highly successful (and needed IMO) covert operations in Iran. Israel has never, of course, confirmed such operations. The Ukrainian government appeared to imply they did it in a social media post, which is interesting given that I had them as my WAG. They do have quite a vested interest in shutting down the flow of drones, missiles, and such to Russia.

WAG: Ukraine. Median: Israel. Mode: take your pick. You have a public that has been in revolt for months and would love to see the Mad Mullahs gone. You have a number of other countries and groups that also would like to see them gone. I found the initial reports that at least some drones had been launched from Azerbaijan to be most interesting given the attack on the Azerbaijan embassy in Tehran last Friday. There were reports the embassy evacuated Saturday night in the wake of the attack.

I would not be surprised if this turned out to be some sort of joint effort by two or three different entities. While Israel clearly has the capabilities needed for such an operation on its own, a good case can be made for two or more entities teaming up to combine resources and get them into Iran and/or Azerbaijan to launch.

Hopefully some better data will be coming out soon. Meantime, let’s take a quick look at Russia.

Military situation in terms of the war: Winter. Has momentum shifted one way or another? Winter. Who’s winning right now? Winter.

I don’t think Russia can win. I think Ukraine can still lose. A lot is going to depend on who gets it into one sock in terms of logistics, training, and innovation this winter. If you want good and continuing coverage of the war, check out Stephen Green at Instapundit and Vodka Pundit. If you want a more complete resource guide, let me know and I’ll see about updating the one I did a while back.

Internal Russian politics remains interesting. Keep in mind that both business and politics are blood sports in Russia, even where they don’t overlap. Is Vladimir having GRU 29155 suicide all those businessmen, oligarchs, and others around the world? No. If you are in business in Russia, you know and/or work with some not-nice people. You pay for the company you keep.

Rumors about Vladimir, his health, and his control abound. Health wise, about the only thing I haven’t heard is that he’s pregnant with Elvis’s love child. To be honest, if I were him, I’d start that rumor myself just because. Do I think he has a medical issue? Yes. What is a good question, and one to which I don’t have a reliable answer.

The biggest change is that people seem to be fairly openly jockeying for post-Vladimir position. There is always a normal amount of that going on at any time (and in any government to be honest), but this is fairly blatant. I’m increasingly thinking that the placement of the Pantsir systems on rooftops in Moscow is related to the internal struggles.

Moscow has extensive air and missile defenses. Even the Kremlin is rumored to have air defense. Yet, two Pantsir are placed where they can provide overlapping close-defense of the Kremlin. Why?

Ukraine has nothing on the books that can reach Moscow. Could they create a one-off or even several that could hit Moscow and the Kremlin? Yes. Outside of propaganda, why would they do it? I mean there is a serious risk that such a move could backfire on multiple levels. Keep in mind that the Kremlin is not a building. It is in fact several buildings and bunkers inside a brick fortress that houses them and rather extensive grounds. Pretty place, enjoyed the museum. To do significant damage would take large payloads and precision hits.


What if your target wasn’t a building? What if it was an individual. One who regularly travels into the Kremlin via the vehicle gate at the intersection of Serafimo and Manezh. Vehicles used are, of course, armored. That top armor, however, really wasn’t designed with with even quad-copter drones and modified grenades in mind, much less modern anti-tank loitering weapons.

Would taking out Vladimir or other leader/leaders substantially change the war for Ukraine? No. In fact, pretty much all the likely succession candidates are more hardline than Vladimir. All have committed in public to continuing the war.

So, who would benefit from taking out Vladimir or another party who is regularly at the Kremlin? Take a hard look at any or all of those jockeying for position and power right now. Take out your target, blame Ukraine, and fan the flames.

If I were Vladimir, in addition to some of the jammers/projectors being used to bring down larger drones, I’d look at hiring some skeet shooters for dealing with smaller drones and such. Perimeter detail just got even more interesting.

Finally, as for the WHO story that is freaking a lot of people out, I agree with Sarah’s take and remain concerned that Vladimir will attack all the nuclear plants to cause disaster. He’s flirted with it and tested a bit, and I still see that as more likely right now than him using his fancy briefcase. Are there circumstances where that changes? Yes. Once winter cedes the field, and major combat resumes, all bets are off. As we’ve talked before, however, we may be benefitting from the 20 percent factor. Here’s hoping we never find out for sure.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Good News, Maybe

Not long after I posted yesterday, I got a phone call from the SSA. Apparently, getting assistance from a congresscritter worked. In about fifteen minutes, we completed the process for me to retire.

This has been a process that has dragged out since September (actually, I think August but…). Because I am also filing for disability (getting hit by lightning sucketh mightily), I could not fill out the form online. For some reason, SSA disables functionality for a variety of reasons, including current/prior claims, even though they are doing pretty much nothing here in the office. In fact, my call was from the Birmingham office, not the Indianapolis office.

The hoops now jumped through, the next step is for the retirement to be filed (their end), me to be notified by mail, and hopefully no other steps crop up. Which means that with luck, and clicking my heels together three times while chanting there’s no place like home, by the end of February I will actually be retired and get my retirement pay.

I should be celebrating, but frankly I’m just tired. This has been a major time suck, frustration, and stress inducement. SSA has told the congresscritter that it is done, so it really should be done. Thing is, at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it. The letter confirming things is a step. I really won’t believe it until the first deposit hits the bank. Even then, I will probably be waiting for a shoe to drop given the experience.

I hope you all have a great weekend. May next week see a little more normality in terms of the blog and writing.


Things go. Our winter storm was not as bad as feared. I liked that while it was snowing I didn’t hurt too much. Today is back to pain, and typing while wearing the wrist brace is, er, interesting. Really want to go take a walk but the weather is not cooperating.

Almost got to use some of the prep yesterday, as while I watched a limb on some type of fir tree out back snapped and fell. The way it did it was fascinating, as it broke, swung back as it started down, and fell almost at the base of the tree folded up in two or three sections. Not sure how much officially fell, but since the ground wasn’t frozen (sorta warm for this time of year actually), we didn’t get a huge accumulation. Really only about 2-3 inches most places.

Still working on trying to get the car fixed, get any response out of SSA, and other fun stuff. Sorry for the delay, but hopefully back to meatier posts soon.

Oh, in regards those air defense units in Moscow making the news: Still not sure if they are for defense from Ukrainian attacks, or are for defense in the internal political strife. Either way, the Kremlin now has overlapping additional coverage in two directions. Am picking up rumors that other steps are being taken, which is interesting given the anti-air and anti-missile defenses already in place. The rumors would seem more in place if I heard Mathias Rust had gotten another pilot’s license. Then again, the Ukrainians have gotten rather deliciously creative in terms of UAVs and the like. If such is being planned, I’m not sure it is a good idea, to be polite. Really would prefer to be moved before WWIII starts.

More soon.

Prayer Request

Sadly, I learned this morning from the wonderful Chris Muir at DayByDay that Gerard Van Der Leun is in hospice. I ask you for prayers for him, for Neo, and all the others in his life — including his readers.

To the best of my memory, I never got to meet him in person. I remember how welcoming he was to people in the early days of the blogosphere. He encouraged, prodded, and yes poked the rest of us. The blogosphere benefitted from him, and the world is the richer for all he did as a writer and beyond.

For me, I ask God for mercy on him; for care, comfort, and guidance to those who care for him in the days to come; and, mercy and comfort to those he is about to leave behind. Godspeed Gerard! You did good and left a mark few can equal.

Winter Take II

Well, we are being warned of another winter storm, and this time I think we may get it based on my joints lighting up like a Christmas tree. Last time, the joints and body said not so much. This time, saying the opposite. Hope the body is wrong, to be honest, but not counting on it.

Yesterday, I walked a mile or so to go to a nearby Mexican grocery to pick up some hot sauce and a special type of chicharrones that is my keto/paleo version of pop corn. Good walk, if weather was better would love to do more. I was going to walk to the Aldi, which would be several miles there and back, but turns out the landlord is going to be going later so will go with him. As much as I need the exercise, I was NOT looking forward to some of the areas on that walk.

Meantime, other than a better means of emergency heating, I’m about as set as I can be. Will pick up a few things at Aldi in addition to essentials.

Still working car issues. I have a plan, and am moving out on it as best I can. I have a backup plan of sorts. Working on a GOTH plan as I can. A lot depends on donations, funding, and related. Some depends on finding better options. What will be, will be. Just have to have faith that that which is right will be.

Really had hoped to get back to some serious writing today, but the body has different plans. I didn’t sleep well last night because of the joint and other issues. To be honest, I hurt pretty badly right now. Hate being a WLB, but even with lots of Ranger candy, it’s sorta bad.

More soon, I hope.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Short Delay

I hope. Spending time this morning talking with my mechanic, chasing down the apparent unicorn that is good-transmission-work-at-reasonable-price, and doing other things towards eventually getting my car repaired. Would love to find a good “new” used vehicle, but prices are still ridiculous. More soon. If you are in Indy and know both a good transmission specialist and a tow truck that is reasonable, please do let me know. Thanks.

…It’s Another

Been debating about mentioning this, but think I need to. I said something the other day about the car acting not-funny. Turns out, the not-funny is the transmission, and Thursday I made it home even as a master warning message popped up. It has fluid according to the dipstick, but something is going very wrong there. Which greatly complicates life given lack of funds and the fact that my regular mechanic is a fair distance away. I think I can get it down there, but it is not guaranteed.

So, doing a lot of thinking as I don’t have a spare or an alternative right now. I also don’t have the funds. The right thing will happen, and if anyone knows someone who does transmission work here in Indy, is good, and reasonable, do let me know. Meantime, prayers are appreciated.

Preparedness Pays: Some Additional Thoughts On Weapons

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

In the last week or so, a number of interesting things have happened. We had the shooting in Texas (covered here, here, and here), we’ve had gun baby down in Beech Grove, and a rash of car break-ins (more than 50 in one neighborhood alone) around town. A far higher number of those than I care for involved stealing firearms that had been cached.

Now, I’ve talked a little bit about firearms, and even given advice on buying your first firearm, in my nuclear operations/war/preparedness posts. I’ve talked a bit about planning ahead in my Texas shooting posts. Today, I want to get into the concepts of preparedness for those who own and use weapons.

Quick aside: While I did leave lever-action firearms out of my first gun post, it was because sadly there are not very many available right now. I still miss my Marlin 336C in .35 Remington, a lot. Lever action has its advantages and disadvantages, and I do like them. Just want to get that out there.

While it may set off a certain type of Fudd, I’m very much for responsible gun ownership. For me, it means proper maintenance, proper storage, and reasonably proper carry. Most of all, it means planning ahead towards use and the aftermath to same. While most of my readers (particularly the regular readers) leave excellent comments, a couple of you worry me though you are no where near as bad as some who respond to Larry Correia (and Jack Wylder). Unless your home won’t burn and your dog is bulletproof, you really do need to care about the law and the ATF.

So let’s start with my top recommendations from buying your first firearm, and go from there. Honestly it doesn’t matter if it is your first or your one hundredth, you need to do a few things.

First, find someone who teaches a gun law class for your state (or other location if not in the USA). TAKE THE CLASS! LE is notoriously unsympathetic to your lack of knowledge. In point of fact, a major point of settled law is that ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you are going to break the law, do so with full knowledge of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and be prepared to take responsibility at need. That, by the way, does not mean lay down and take it in all cases. It can mean being prepared to challenge an unjust law or interpretation at need. Life does tend to go a lot better though when you know what you are getting into in advance. Also keep in mind that knowledge of the law and adherence to same in other cases/areas may (or may not) be a mitigating factor if you do have an issue. If you live in Indiana, check this class out. With all the changes to the law over the last few years, if I had the money I would be there.

Second, get training. Again, I can hear the bristling already and the cries of ‘I know what I’m doing.’ You have to be a complete and total idiot to not get training. Me, I’ve been lucky. My Dad was a marksmanship instructor for the USMC, and even shot competitions for them. I have a number of friends who have done fun and interesting things in life, and have been kind enough to share some of their training. I’ve also had formal training with the M-16 and issue pistol among others. The day I got to spend at Raidon Tactics still makes me smile. I’ve shot an amazing variety of weapons and am qualified on a number of them. Want to know something? What I don’t know about shooting and drills is orders of magnitude more than what I do know. You can never have enough training, and that little trick you pick up from someone at the range one day might prove to be a lifesaver. It is always a good investment. And, yes, after being hit by lightning some remedial training and more wouldn’t hurt. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if I hadn’t been hit either. Training always pays for itself.

Third, store your weapons safely. This is not just firearms, but edged and other weapons as well. I still get a chuckle thinking about the tale I heard of a little girl, about three I think, who not only got into a gated kitchen, but then MacGyvered a way up onto the counter and into where the knives were kept. Then back down and out where she went and proudly showed daddy her new possession. It wasn’t the reported ‘how the bleep did you get that’ reaction that makes me laugh, it is the reported ‘if she can do this now, I am so in trouble when she gets older’ reaction that makes me laugh.

The fact is, kids (of all ages) will find weapons and quite often play with them. For ones like our now infamous gun baby, it is understandable if terrifying. I was taught from an early age that firearms and edged items were not toys, but tools. Tools that if I handled without permission, supervision, and/or improperly my backside would be warmed. I even have a vague memory of my Dad pointing out that my cap gun he got me had parts in the barrel to keep it from shooting for real. Mostly true. For the older ones, while it is still often terrifying you do have more options for teaching. It may not be legal, but use of a tactical baton can be justified (IMO); and, under other circumstances smoking them for an hour or three can be quite satisfying. Besides, flutter kicks and the like build character as well as muscles.

If I owned any firearms, they would be stored as safely as circumstances allow. Does this mean a gun safe or such? It is a consideration, and I’ve actually looked at a small biometric drop-door safe as having something fire and water proof to hold important documents and the like is a good thing. If you do get a safe, do bolt it in place if possible. You can’t stop someone from stealing it, but you can make them work for it.

Vehicles are another issue. The problem is, if a thief is looking for weapons, the first two places they are going to check are the glovebox and under the driver’s seat. At least here in Indy, there appear to be a number of such thieves targeting cars near government buildings and elsewhere that ban firearms. Law abiding citizen disarms, goes in, and comes out to a burgled car. So, get creative and make them work for it if you have to do that. I knew of someone who got one of those small drop-door gun safes and had it bolted to the floor of the car under the driver’s seat.

I don’t know if it is true, but I’ve heard that the average car burglar is looking to be in and out in under a minute. Apparently the odds of being spotted/caught/etc. go up sharply after a minute. So, again, be creative and make them work for whatever they get.

Do plan ahead to reload at need. Factor that into your planning at home and elsewhere. That said, my personal take is that under most circumstances if you have to fire more than ten rounds you are either an idiot who does spray-and-pray, or you have just qualified as having an official Bad Day. There is a lot of data out there, and some if it is both amusing and telling. On the whole, most self-defense shootings appear to fall in the ten or less category. There is the old study of LE shootings that found an average of more than 20 shots fired at distances under 12 feet, with only one to three shots hitting target. Just me, but if there are lots of shots being fired and I had to reload, that reload is likely going to be fired mostly over my shoulder as I didi my fluffy fuzzy rump out of there. Please note that this does not apply to zombie or other apocalypses or societal breakdowns. Strictly talking self-defense.

Finally, if you are going to carry or otherwise be prepared to defend yourself and others, take time to think about the aftermath of so doing. There are going to be legal ramifications, social/media ramifications, psychological ramifications, and spiritual ramifications. Prepare as best you can for each. Have a lawyer or lawyers that you can call at need. Stay off social media and don’t talk to corporate media. There are books out there that talk about killing and the psychological aftermath be it combat or self-defense. Reminds me I need to finish one such so I can decide to recommend it or not. Finally, get what spiritual guidance you can in advance. Yes, there are a lot of preachers/priests/sky-pilots who will bleat about no kill under any circumstance, and I heartily recommend you avoid them. Change churches if need be. For all of them, however, there are a number of good preachers/priests/other who can and will help you prepare spiritually as best you can. They may even be able to recommend some books or other to get so you have them at need.

Earlier, I mentioned proper carry. Since this has already gone long, let me just say that, for the most part, tucking it into your waistband is not proper carry. Be a pro, use a holster so the weapon is there in place when you need it. I do even recommend pocket holsters, as they can and do help keep the weapon where you need it. If it comes out with it in an emergency, you can shoot through it at need. For those that use them, same applies to concealed carry handbags. There’s a maker here in Indiana that will replace the handbag for free if you have to shoot through it in a legitimate shoot.

Also, maintenance is a must. Yes, there are some guns that not only get dirty quick, they seem to like it. That said, be prepared to clean and even do minor repairs at need. I can be a bit odd sometimes about lubricants, as I don’t care for such to be sand and/or dirt/dust magnets when I’ve owned firearms. I’ve found a couple of things that worked for me, you need to find what works for you where you live or travel.

Final note on pocket carry. Back in the Old West, such as around Tombstone, the city people mostly did pocket carry. The Earps didn’t slap on gun belts before heading to the corral. Gun belts and holsters were used by the cowboys, that is the rural/country folk of the era. Cowboys also usually had only five rounds in the gun, as given the guns of the era it was not a great idea to have a live round under the hammer when bouncing around on horseback. In fact, it was a great way to shoot your own leg, and if you got the horse instead it tended to be a bit irritated with you, graze or no.

Thank You, Record

Wow. Yesterday set a new record for readership here at LaughingWolf. While it may have gone higher 18-20 years back, when I was a top 100/500 blog, yesterday saw better than 7,900 readers come in for this story, the second in a series on the Texas shooting. Several hundred of whom apparently read the linked stories and/or other posts. There were a number of good and interesting comments. Thank you to everyone who linked to it and drove that frenzy.

Thank you! I also want to take the time to thank my regular readers, all five of you (grin), who show up every day and make good and productive comments. Your comments often flesh out and add substantially to my posts. Thank you.

For those interested, the first story in the series is here and the third story in the series is here.

Today may be a little slow. Weather changes have me down, and I am also cooking after grabbing fresh boneless/skinless chicken breasts and fresh ground chuck on sale for $2.99/lb yesterday. Freezing one package of chuck, cooking one in a few, and the chicken has been in the oven for about three hours already at 250 degrees in a mix of roasted habanero salsa (with cilantro and key lime juice), green enchilada sauce, and lime juice. Tomorrow I make a batch of chicken enchiladas and one of beef.

More soon, and we will be getting back to preparedness/Preparedness Pays here soon. Unless the politicians do something more stupid than usual, or a major disaster happens, posting will be lite today.

Want to share a joke just for the grins of it: Headline: World’s largest meeting of prostitutes underway in Davos. Large number of sex workers in attendance as well.

If I do a philosophical post here soon, it will be on the topic of which is the oldest profession. Think I can make a case for politics being the oldest, with prostitution being the second and far more honorable profession.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.