Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mission, by Larry Hunter

 Devin Hester, a great player,  is off the Bears for 2014, Sad to see him go
Well, it has been another season, and now the Bears besides letting Urlacher go at middle linebacker last year, now they have also let Devin Hester slip away. He's the guy who on special teams was tied for the most kickoff return touchdowns, ever. Those are spectacular because it is right when the other team is just starting play off by doing the kickoff to put the ball in play, and they are not expecting the first guy who touches it to come charging right back and get a touchdown. But Devin did. Just to tick off the Green Bay fans, I some time ago had my lady friend who was living in Wisconsin start wearing a Devin Hester Chicago Bears jersey, right in front of all the Packers fans. So I hope they think they know what they are doing, the Bears I mean. This happens when they don't want to pay a player a certain rate for the next year, maybe thinking he's too old now or something, even though he's half my age.

I have actually been working steady overtime in the 50s and 60s hours a week range ever since the last post about Urlacher, that is almost a year straight, and have not had even one day off since the sogenannte polar vortex rendered my car unable to start due to extreme cold, that was back January 7. I had no choice but to not work that day, but try to get the car to start. It was something like 45 below zero wind chill factor, with an actual reading 14 below as if it were out of the wind, which it wasn't. No dice till it got to 12 below. I have no idea what that would be in Celsius, but it is colder than a ^%$# 's (*&.

Accident, Their Fault
A week earlier on New Years' morning I was going from an overnight job New Years Eve directly to  the morning job in another town 16 miles away, yes that is a holiday double shift, that is my life, when some Bulgarian partiers from a New Years Eve party crashed into me, having run through a red light, while we were experiencing a blizzard which later turned out to have dropped 10-12 inches of snow on us. I managed to win the case, since they were at fault, and got thousands in repairs quite reasonably. I did not think I was particularly hurt, but with some things you can't really be sure right away, but have to wait and see. Also we now know for sure, a Smart car can defeat an SUV, and the wreck is survivable after all, at least with snow below to slide on.

Civil War
So since then, whatever I said I was doing before, I forgot about (it was Kolin) and have been reading heavily this year about the Civil War, which means that I should post on the other blog sometime soon. Trouble is I was still in the process there when I left off, of working on 1861, and what I have been reading about the most actually is for 1864. And last year the reading kick was on for 1862, even though by then it was 2013, so my 150th anniversary thing is all thrown out of gear, even though it is still now shortly before the anniversary of the final long showdown between Grant and Lee, which kicks off in May 2014.

Amazon Came Back On
After moaning and groaning for three years about how the governor had got us all kicked off Amazon, stymying my efforts to make very reasonable sales of books and so on that I talk about available here, as well as playing he-- with my raison d'etre. shortly before Christmas the Supreme Court ruled the governor's deal void, and we all were able to get back in after all, not that anyone was ready any more. A number of us gave up and died since then, or various other things happened. And then they finally decide it's been void all along. Very good, now ya tell us.

 So I was waiting for them to reply, when the accident happened, and it turns out they let me back in three months ago, but then said if I didn't sell anything for three months, I'd get kicked out again, anyway, for that now. And by the time they mentioned that, it was almost too late. By the time I read their email, maybe it already is too late.

And in any event I can't remember if I had put anywhere, or was still thinking about it, in which case the amazon through should still be working. I think it still is, so no wonder I hadn't sold anything, since I not only didn't tell anyone, but also hadn't even read it myself. I think I actually am still thinking about it, and had not taken any real action before forgetting about it again.

And I just read that after it may be too late, so I'll see if I can get something myself off here, and also off the other one. It always turns out to be an excellent deal and quick too, and with me I always see several other things I also could use.

The Mission, by Larry Hunter.

Now this past week I have been reading a novel titled The Mission, by Larry Hunter, who I have met personally, and I have had some discussions with him. He is a new reader over on the Civil War blog, Headquarters in the

He wrote a novel a few years ago which is the one I have been reading. I read one page from the middle a couple weeks ago, then set it aside, but I could tell it sounded good, in fact real good, from that particular page I had opened it to, since it had the bagman run off with the money from  the hotel room above Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the Kennedy assassination occurred.

But I have been really busy. These 65 hour weeks and 52 or 56 hour ones are partly daytime, partly nighttime, and an afternoon evening, so that for several days straight I have only eight hours to get from job A to job B, with little rest in between. That's bad enough to do that once, but I am doing it fully half the time, 3-4 times a week.

I see Larry on Sunday afternoon. We were discussing things like whether McClellan was really as bad as they say, etc, which is really more geared towards the other blog.

So finally I got started with pages one and two, and could tell he had succeeded in hooking me into the story from there. That was a good sign, but after all I had to be up to go to work like seven hours later, so I went to sleep anyway. I just finally got a chance to read yesterday, and I did not put the book down for a good six or seven hours, and again then only to sleep for work and also to save a little for later.  So in that marathon session, I read from page 3 to 165.

Yes, it is good. I'm not saying he is right about everything, necessarily, but it is certainly plausible enough, and some of it happens right on my very route home from work! And like with a movie, it is the story that pulls you in with a novel, it isn't set up as a documentary.

The whole book only runs 219 pages, so I still have about 55-60 more pages to read  to finish it. I have passed up the bagman part, and also now I understand what Larry's wife meant when she had asked him "Why did you do that?" about one certain part, but read on to where okay I understand. So check out his novel, The Mission, by Larry Hunter, and I think you'll enjoy it. There's plenty of action.

The shootout in Chapter II occurs about a mile from my house, in front of a church where I pass through the supposed line of fire five times a week! I have never had a shootemup action novel hit that quite close to home before, and also the author is a reader here now, so you can talk to him here. He's working on another one, this one came out in 2010 and is available through Amazon.

So anyway, I'll be finishing this book up soon, and see if any of my links will work for it or what. I'll also have to see about mentioning it on headquarters in the saddle, because I couldn't get Larry to remember Tabakskollegiummekelnborg, he just kept on asking what? What? I can't remember that, how do you speel that--what's the other one called then?

I probably would too.

*                 *                *

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chicago Bears Middle Linebacker Brian Urlacher Retires Today

Brian Urlacher has announced his retirement today in Chicago after 13 brilliant seasons with the Chicago Bears as the middle linebacker. His birthday is coming up this Saturday the 25th.

This is a great player, worthy of the many tributes going on today around here.

Photo: Off English wikipedia, q.v. (which see) Brian_Urlacher.jpg: Jauerback

Jeff Joniak is interviewing everybody he can find

I have been listening to sound bites gathered by Jeff Joniak on WBBM radio who is running around trying to talk to everybody.  At first Jeff was saying he had 11 forced fumbles, but has latterly corrected that to 12.

Charles Tillman just said he was a "great player, and a great friend,...a great leader, an awesome leader, and great guy." That's a lot of greats.

 Roosevelt Colvin just said he "always went to bat, never threw anybody under the bus, class act."

Other people are saying stuff too.

Here is an excerpt from the already updated wikipedia page including a quote from Devin Hester, where Devin was talking about the 2006 game with the Arizona Cardinals with an Incredible Hulk performance, by Urlacher, after that was the Super Bowl. 

 I had to work the day of the Super Bowl, even though it was my day off, but some lady from New York needed to be escorted and I had to get called in to do that just when the Super Bowl was about to start. She didn't even know it was the day of the Super Bowl. With the Bears in it!!!!!  It was so cold that day my moustaches froze solid, and the jets going into O'Hare sounded different in the sub-zero air, it has to be really cold to sound different like that. My truck barely started too. My day off. I blame my Civil War Correspondent for calling me in, I never should have answered the phone. Ah who cares, the TVs are better at work anyway. Je ne regrette rien.

Go to the link for more with highlights, stats and pics.

"The team continued their resurgence into the 2006 season, finishing with a record of 13–3. During the season, Urlacher had one of the best performances of his professional career against the Arizona Cardinals.[32] He helped the Bears overcome a 20-point deficit by recording 25 tackles and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown.[32] Teammate Devin Hester commented on Urlacher's performance, stating, "We watched the film and everybody was saying that he just turned into the Incredible Hulk the last four minutes of the game, just killing people and running over and tackling whoever had the ball."[33] The Bears won the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints, 39–14, but lost Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts, 29–17. Urlacher finished the season with 93 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was elected to the 2006 All-Pro Team and 2007 Pro Bowl, while also earning consideration for the League's Defensive Player of the Year award.[34]"

Here's the link to read more.    So hit it.

And Brian himself said, among other things, "I don't regret anything I've ever said or done, I know that much."

Well I haven't forgotten about that one Friday night date with Paris Hilton, wasn't that Las Vegas, about probably eleven or twelve years ago, and then on Sunday at high noon the Bears lost that day. I haven't forgotten, but I forgave it, even that day, I understand. I wouldn't really regret either. Probably just scurrilous rumors anyway.

If you want to hoot with the owls, you better be able to soar with the eagles in the morning.

So an Era has ended...
 It's a New Era Now and Time for Reflection and Renewed Resolution of Our Goals

That's great, he can say that along with Edith Piaf, l'incomparable.

Here are her lyrics with English alongside, I think they are worth reading. The Spanish translation transduccion en espanol is in the Uploader Comments.

I am reflecting on these past thirteen seasons, one of the main highlights has been seeing him up there in the middle of that Defense. In my world, it has mainly been thirteen years and in fact more than that  basically down the toilet slaving with Gee Four Ess, which was wacky. My only goal was to survive, and so far I'll give it that, although several times that looked dicey. And to see my gf naked. So I win.

But my achievements pale in comparison to Urlacher's. Even Oprah Winfrey has his jersey along with thousands of other people around here. My gf to be different has a Devin Hester one, in an orange, authentic of course. You could get NFL jerseys from or maybe someplace else. I think the Brent Farvra ones are still in the bargain bin, after everybody had to repurchase the Rogers ones a couple years ago.

*                  *                 *                   *                   *                    *                *                 *


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Austerlitz 1805 207th Anniversary Project

 207th Anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz 1805

Today is the 207th Anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, December 2. This was considered one of Napoleon's best in any list of his bloody masterpieces.

I have been working towards a new project because of the anniversary to use the small shipment of some 1500 new 3mm Napoleonic figures I ordered about a month ago, to make a very small miniature setup based on Austerlitz, as near as can be ascertained with the books I have on hand.

I don't intend to use more than about ten percent of those figures on this project, which is meant to be extremely compact, if not minimalist.

This post is only to update readers; I don't have really dramatic progress such as pics this time, for viewing, but have done the preparation research so I could start now, if I weren't writing this. To me that part is the more important part and always has been. The rest of the hobby is a good way to use the information. Other gamers I know are content to let someone else figure it all out, but I prefer to do that myself.

About Those 3mm Figures

They are very quick to paint up. The artillery I showed last time only had a few swipes of the brush and were pretty much ready to use, in maybe three minutes' work plus modest drying time, and the same applies to the other types. After just a few colors are applied they are about as good as they are going to get, except for any obvious slop-overs.

They are kind of tricky because they are so very small, on the one hand a very quick few strokes makes them more or less ready to go, but when you look closely especially with magnification you actually can see more details, that you are then tempted to try to paint. But the trouble is your finest brush will then look like a baseball bat under the magnification and it will appear to move ten feet when you try to even make the slightest move.

And then after all sorts of delays for corrections of seemingly massive slop-over, where even 1 millimeter equals two feet on the man, it turns out that when you set them on the table 1 foot from your eyes they are so small that you can hardly tell which are blue and which are gray. You also cannot see the slopovers that seemed so bad a minute ago.

Over at the 3mm group some have started to be posted as enthusiasts have been getting their pieces painted over the past couple of weeks, and I don't think their standard is much better than mine. People so far have been skipping details such as cuffs. If there is any way to get them on, they would look better with them, so I will soon see about that. On a 6mm figure that is what makes the uniform come to life in periods when they were used, but this is rather smaller than that, and is a very tiny area. I am curious to see whether tey will be visible even if done.

Painting has not been the holdup. Rules have been. And specifically which scale of representation to commit to before painting. I was talking about using 1 figure = 312.5 men a month ago. Now I have gone even further towards the far out there scale by going to 1 figure = 500 men.

At this scale a battalion of 500 men would be just one figure, and a whole army could easily deploy on an area the size of a mousepad. The ground scale is 1:50,000, which directly corresponds with military and other topographical maps, notably those used by NATO and others.

I have talked about this sort of arrangement before. I don't think anyone actually does it but me, as far as I can tell. If anyone else does try to play at a scale like this I would love to hear about it.

Talking About Austerlitz Books in This Section

There are two sets of rules that lend themselves to the army level of play that I have referred to here before.
One is Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun, by Paddy Griffith.

The next one is Charlie Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming.

Griffith has Army level rules in that book among other sets of rules, and Wesencraft has what he calls the Army Corps in Action rules. These last ones predate and resemble the systems of DBA closely.

Both of these books have been recently republished by John Curry, who is at

The problem I am having with these is that they are element-based, where the elements are all of some uniform size, so as to compare with one another one-on-one, whereas I am making units of the correct size, within the nearest 500 at least.So I can't just say a brigade is 2000 men; some may be but many are not. Uniform elements are not good enough for me, they'd seem a ghastly abstraction.

So I am probably going to see what I can use from these rules, once the figures are painted up, but at the same time I am about halfway through just making my own rules anyway, since the scale is radically different from what we normally see. At 1:50,000 scale, 20mm is 1000 meters. The huge expanse of Leipzig would be only about 20 inches of battlefield, and other battles would be smaller still.

But Austerlitz takes up a wide expanse, if one includes Brno (Bruenn) the nearby fortress town, and the map I am looking at takes in 24 km by 18 km, which is a pretty large area. That translates to about 14 by 19 inches, a foot to a foot and a half, and could easily be played on a coffee table sized area.

Also the armies are quite small at this scale, only around 150 figures or so on each side. They could all be assembled on the same mouse pad. So I think they will be ready soon, sometime this season. I have been figuring out how many to use,

Then another influence is the famous game with the greats of British and American wargaming who did Borodino at 1 figure = 500 men. That can be read about on the Vintage Wargaming blog (see Blogroll.)

So far I have been reading in Robert Goetz, 1805 Austerlitz: Napoleon and the Destruction of the Third Coalition, Greenhill Books, 2005. This book came out after the earlier Scott Bowden book on Austerlitz, that there was some controversy over because some critics were accusing Bowden of making citations he had not really researched properly. The consensus IIRC among the critics, if there was any consensus that is, was that he did read the French sources, and analyzed well from them, but probably not the Austrian and Russian ones, even though he cited them, so that was the basis of the criticism.

You could find these type arguments at TMP and at Amazon reviews, and maybe some of the other specifically Napoleonic sites, if you wanted to follow up on that.

And the Goetz book came out later, with another adjustment to the OB, which Bowden himself had been correcting in his book, from the received wisdom one quoted in Christopher Duffy's Austerlitz 1805 book much earlier, that one came out in 1977. Goetz comes up with about 82,000.

The idea is that Napoleon's Bulletin lied like a bulletin, and exaggerated the Allied army to 90,000, and did this to make the victory look even more amazing and great than it was, for propaganda value. So the modern revisionist might doubt that they were all present, and say there were many less than we thought, due to attrition, etc, and surely so many less that it is easier to see why they would lose.  But Goetz seems not quite so ready as some others to take away all the strength of the Allies, and gives some back, in a process of applying what is known and projected and guessed at.

I find this kind of adjustment to the OB fascinating to follow through different authors and books.

There is also an Osprey title, Campaign 101, by Ian Castle, Austerlitz 1805: The Fate of Empires, 2002, which I have been using. That one has some parts written by David Chandler. Now this is a replacement at Osprey for an earlier number actually written  by David Chandler, which I would like to get, even if some parts of the analysis may seem to be dated.

Another book I have here is a thicker one, not just on the battle but the whole war situation of 1805, in 700 pages, talking about the overall situation for 500 pages before arriving at the battle of Austerlitz. This one is by Frederick W. Kagan, The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe 1801-1805. So it takes in a wider picture and isn't only about the battle and military aspects. It puts a perspective on the situation though. There are readers' impressions of these books at TMP as well as at places like Amazon reviews.

Kagan has several unflattering footnotes aimed at Bowden and some at Duffy.

Trying Out Skimlinks on the Blog
Besides the fact that I have been using these books to come up with a painting plan, I am trying to do something completely different at the same time by citing their titles. With the Christmas season well underway I am trying to launch skimlinks on the blog as a belated replacement for amazon links, which I used to have here.

The governor of this state made a highly misguided tax deal (extreme increase) that caused all 9,000 amazon associates in Illinois to be kicked out, and become unemployed, over a year ago, reducing our income to zero. We have been near destitute since then, eating beans and rice sometimes to eke out an existence. Even my figures are now the size of rice grains themselves.

Skimlinks is a British-based, London, UK,  middleman company who themselves would serve as a non-Illinois amazon associate, that would allow me to resume the sales through them back to amazon, at least until I can get to a better state. They have a lot more than just amazon however, about 12,000 retailers, so it could be that if I mention things they may pop into links whether I planned it or not. So this post is also an experiment to see whether I can get the links working, and if not I will try making adjustments later, so the scene may change a bit, and that explains why. For example it may change much earlier links from a couple years ago. I don't know yet what it'll look like; if it gets too carried away I can reduce it.

When someone follows a link for a certain book, they are not committed to buying that or any book or other item, but can get whatever they then decide they do want after all. For instance once when I was talking about Wesencraft's book, the best customer was buying Civil War books unrelated to what I was talking about, but it was good anyway. I have also followed those links and found forty dollar books for two dollars, or even less, sometimes. It turns out to be a better deal than I could have imagined.

I might also consider adding google affiliate ads as well, the ones currently displayed off on the corners are called adsense, this would expand on that program.

Join skimlinks here: