Please Don’t Fling Me in that Brier-patch!

The culmination of one of the classes I’m currently taking is a formal debate on a current topic in public health. We were given a long list of topics to choose from, to rank our top four or five choices, as to what our interests would be for debate topics. From there, the professor was going to pick the top four and assign each of us to a topic and to a side of the topic (affirmative or negative). And she had warned us ahead of time…NO SWITCHING.

Needless to say, I ranked all of the topics to do with firearms as my top choices.

The list of topics and teams was handed out yesterday.

The topics are:
— Community programming and education should be increased to address overweight/obesity;
— School-based violence prevention programs should be used to prevent bullying;
— Texting and mobile phone use while driving should be banned; and
— Firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners should be restricted to reduce firearm deaths.

I’m on the team which is to debate on the negative of the firearms topic.

Please, please, don’t fling me in that brier-patch!

Categories: Firearms, Politics, School | Tags: , , | 1 Comment


It was a day when everything stopped.

I’ll never forget that morning, 14 years ago. Few things can bring the daily business in an ER to a screeching halt, but the pictures on the TV that morning did. Even the patients and their parents were glued to the TV screens in the rooms, minor (and some fairly major) complaints forgotten. Everyone horrified, near tears. It took several hours before things got back to normal, and even then, every TV was tuned to the news for the rest of that day and for several days after.

I don’t think the world is a better place today, despite all that the government keeps trying to do for (and to) us. I don’t think it’s safer. I don’t think tomorrow is brighter. I don’t spend every day obsessing over the future, but I do try to make plans for it, because I don’t think what’s coming is going to be pretty.

But I’ll never forget that morning and how everyone came together for a time.

Categories: Politics, Wonderings | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Be Careful Out There

I spent a good bit of this holiday weekend on the road. Between the BF’s car trouble and heading downstate for lunch with my parents today, I ran up several hundred miles on the interstate.

I have never seen so many police on the roads in such a short period of time. NEVER. Both in number and in type. I even saw state highway patrol sharing pass-throughs on the interstate with sheriff deputies and with local police, as if there weren’t enough places for them all to sit.

I know it’s a holiday weekend. I know they’re cracking down on drunk drivers. But 2pm on Friday? 10am on Labor Day? C’mon.

Even better was all of the drivers’ reactions to all of the police cars (and motorcycles!) on the roads. Every single cop sighted meant massive brake lights across the freeway, even if he had someone pulled over on the other side! I think the best was an obvious speed trap…4 Motor Carrier Enforcement SUVs (they’re a different color than the regular highway patrol cars), each one with an 18-wheeler pulled over, all in a line on the side of the road. Just about every single blessed car heading south slammed on his brakes.

The speed trap? On the northbound interstate.

Categories: Around Town, Humor | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Mandatory Gear

I have decided that there is something that I need to get to make my graduate school experience complete.


Given that the majority of my classes are online or via videoconference, I feel that attending classes in fluffy bunny slippers will make me smile and make my day complete when I have to be up at an ungodly early hour (for me) to participate in these classes.

And my feet will stay nice and toasty warm.

Categories: Humor, School | Tags: , | 1 Comment


Things have changed a lot since I went to college some *mumblety-mumble* years ago. Back then, I took a desktop IBM PC with an amber monochrome monitor, 2 of the 5.25″ floppy drives (no hard drive), a dot matrix printer, and no modem with me. It took a handcart to move it all. Now, it’s all laptops and tablets, lightweight and easy to carry.

Email from the program ahead of time said that we’d definitely need a laptop for classes, and that while either a PC or a Mac was ok, one of the required programs for Biostats was not compatible with Macs. I sort of made faces at that, as I’ve gone completely Apple in the past couple of years, but I pulled out an older PC laptop and got it all upgraded and ready for the first day of class…

Only to find out that the stats program does work on Macs. It’s just a little trickier to install, but once installed, it runs just fine. So I have everything running on both a PC and a Mac.

Come the first day of class, and everyone is linked in from home, listening to our Biostats prof go on. He starts showing us how to use the program R. Half of the class panics in the chat box because they couldn’t get it installed and working at all! He offered a few tips but said that he needed to continue the class (it’s recorded, so people could watch it again later) to at least get all of the info presented.

6 or 7 of us managed to set up a meeting time for yesterday to see if we couldn’t get R working on their computers. It ended up with me bouncing from chair to chair around a table, installing R on about 6 computers there (and then one more over the phone, because one of the campuses is downstate). We ended up with all but one of the computers working! And now everyone thinks I have some sort of magic computer-fu…

Categories: School | Tags: , | 1 Comment

First Day of School!

Ok, so sort of not really… But it was the first day of real content delivery.

The program that I’m in is for a Masters of Public Health. It is designed for working adults, for the most part, to allow them to obtain the degree while having a full-time job. The core courses (2 each semester for 3 semesters) are on Saturdays, and there is no expectation that we will all complete the degree at the same time. In fact, our class designation is by the start date, not the graduation date, so I’m part of “Class of 2015”.

The core courses, while being taught to all 30 of us together, are still very much mainly self-taught. The majority of the Saturdays are designated as “online”, meaning that the lectures are prerecorded and that I can listen to them at any point during the week. One class has a quiz (2-3 essay questions) due every Friday; the other has either homework or a quiz due once a week. Most everything is open book, but in order to get things done in the time constraints for the online quizzes and homework, you do have to have read the assignments. Self-motivation is going to be a big factor.

Electives will be different, as they’ll be regular grad school courses. My first one of those starts next week. It’s a regular classroom course, though I think a lot of my electives will end up being online courses, too. Easier to take courses at some of the further campuses when they’re online so I don’t end up driving hours and hours each semester.

Today’s class was one of the few “live” lectures, in that we logged in to a videoconference with the biostats prof. He had wanted everyone to have downloaded and installed a stats program so that he could spend half of the class teaching us how to use it, but about half of the class either didn’t have it downloaded or couldn’t get it installed. (Part of the problem is that it doesn’t play well with Macs, but there are work-arounds.) Several of us were typing in the chatbox with tips about how to get it working when one of the girls sent out a plea for “anyone who got this working on a mac, would you please be willing to sit down and show me how?”

Somehow, this ended up with me agreeing to meet with 6 or 7 classmates tomorrow afternoon to help them get their computers set up and squared away. Oh, well…best way to learn something is to teach it, right?

Categories: School | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Knock… Knock…

Wow… I still have a blog! Dunno if anyone’s still listening or not, but hi!

School has started. Finally. I’ve got to quit all of the running around and visiting friends and having fun blowing off responsibilities that I was doing all summer long (hey, why not? one last summer free of responsibility!) and buckle down now.

I’m taking 3 classes to start. Two of them are the “required” core courses that I’ll be taking in concert with everyone in my class; the other is an elective. Public health in general seems to be rather oriented towards social justice and the ideals espoused by the left. It’s going to be interesting to see how I fit in (or rather, how many ripples I stir in the pond).

On the first day, the program director wanted each of us to give an interesting fact about ourselves as we were introducing ourselves to the room. I chose to share that my hobby is long-range target shooting. I figured I might as well put that on the table, right up front. I’m pleased that no one shrieked or fainted. And when the girl next to me said that she has a 3rd degree black belt in judo, the program director said that she wasn’t going to be afraid with the two of us around. I’m thinking this maybe won’t be so bad after all.

Of course, then I open my biostats textbook, and right there in the introduction, the author starts using statistics about deaths from firearms in his very first example. *sighs* It’s going to be an interesting couple of years.

Categories: Humor, Long-term Goals, School | Tags: , | 4 Comments

BAG Day 2015

I was just a bit early with my BAG Day gun this year, but it seems to have become a tradition to stop at Big Green Sporting Store on the way home from NRAAM to see what they have in the way of guns. Last year, I found a S&W Performance Center 15-22 on the Clearance rack; got it for a very nice price.

This year, the BF and I got to BGSS just about 30 minutes before closing. I figured there was no way either one of us would find something in time to get the paperwork done before store closing, but looking at guns is never a waste of time, and even if there’s nothing pretty on the used long guns rack, there’s always the Library to peek into.

But I got stopped at the Clearance rack again this year. I’m a lefty, and left-handed bolt guns are hard to come by, at least without waiting months and months for a special order gun. Finding a lefty-bolt sitting on a rack anywhere makes me smile, and seeing one on the Clearance rack about made me dance. (Yes, right in the middle of BGSS!)

I ended up walking out with a Remington 700 in .30-06 (yet another new caliber for me) with the X-Mark Pro adjustable trigger (which does not need recall work) in a lefty-bolt for a very nice price. And I got the paperwork done and the rifle paid for just as the store closed!

Categories: Firearms, Vacation | Tags: , , | 4 Comments


I often joke that I always behave…that sometimes, I just behave badly.

Over the weekend, though, at the NRAAM, I was witness to one of the more egregious episodes of truly bad behavior that I’ve seen in a while. Most people seem to understand that they need to keep their clothes on in public situations, especially when removing them (either partially or completely) will reflect poorly not only on them but also on others, but it seems that there is at least one person who has not gotten that memo.

In the Press Room at NRAAM, I was sitting at one of the tables near the middle of the room when I looked up to see Robert Farago, from The Truth About Guns, stand up behind the table in the far back corner of the room. He lifted his shirt, unbuckled his belt, unzipped his jeans, and pulled his jeans about halfway down his hips. He then tucked his shirt in, pulled his jeans back up, zipped them up, and buckled his belt once again.

When confronted about this, he was unrepentant and didn’t seem to care that he had just partially exposed himself to a roomful of people. As a female, I was very offended by this, by his callous disregard for anyone else in the room at the time. As a blogger who is very much for gun rights and the 2nd Amendment, I was horrified by his actions; had there been anyone in the press room at the time who was looking for something to negative to write about, his choosing to act like that in public could have provided exactly what they were looking for. And as a member of the NRA, I was insulted that someone would be so ill-mannered as to do that in a room full of people.

Given who it was, however, I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised by his bad behavior and lack of concern for anyone other than himself. He certainly has a past history of misconduct in the blogging world, to the point of being boycotted by many bloggers. This latest little trick of his will certainly earn him no new friends.

Categories: Around Town, Firearms, Wonderings | Tags: , | 12 Comments

Slanted Viewpoints

One of the headlines in today’s The Tennessean reads “Big conventions, like NRA, can draw sex trafficking”.

I’m sorry…what?

The article states that the NRA is the biggest convention to come to Nashville, and that “…law enforcement officials have prepared for what some see as the scourge of such large, male-dominated gatherings. Sex trafficking.”

First of all, while the NRAAM may have more male members than women, it is not nearly so male-dominated as the uneducated might think. As I’ve wandered the floor over the past couple of days, I’ve seen men, women, and children in great numbers. I’ve seen babies who barely seemed old enough to be out in public, toddlers being pushed in strollers, kids eyeing the youth models of various shotguns and rifles, and teenagers strolling with their parents. I’ve seen single men and single women as well as couples, parents with their kids in all combinations, and people old enough to be my grandparents.

Now, might some of these people make choices that lead them to seek out paid sex workers? They might. But probably in no greater number than any other large convention, and likely in small number than some, given that there are so many families here.

The article even goes on to name multiple other large gatherings (the Super Bowl, the Republican National Convention, the SEC, and the Music City Bowl) where similar other precautions and interventions have been put into place in the various cities. There was no need to name the NRA in the headline.

Aside from the slanted viewpoint.

Categories: Around Town, Politics, Wonderings | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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