Thursday, October 31, 2013

5 Great Home Improvement Projects That Will Save You Money Without Sacrificing Quality

Home improvement projects are a given when you own your own property. No matter the size, age or location of your home, at one point or another you're going to run into an issue that needs to be addressed. Some of these repairs and replacements are a necessity to have your home continue to run at it's best, while others are simply design and style desires.

Home improvement projects are a given when you own your own property. No matter the size, age or location of your home, at one point or another you're going to run into an issue that needs to be addressed. Some of these repairs and replacements are a necessity to have your home continue to run at it's best, while others are simply design and style desires.

Saving money is always a good thing, but you also want to think about the old saying, "you get what you pay for". Cutting costs can work for you, if done right. That's why it's always important to figure out all the details of your upcoming home improvement project to decide on exactly what you can do without. Also take into account a few different contractors. Don't go with one company just because their price is lower; balance cost and quality to have the best result.

  • Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Kitchen remodeling is one of the most popular home improvement projects across the nation. Many homeowners grow tired of their outdated cooking space, and look for something brand new in their kitchen. While a full kitchen remodeling project is the best way to get the custom kitchen you've always wanted, they come with a pretty hefty price tag. Cabinet refacing is a great way to give your kitchen a beautiful new look without emptying your entire savings account. Since your kitchen cabinets take up a good amount of the visual space in your cooking area, when you change them, you change the whole room. A skilled kitchen cabinet refacing contractor will be able to give your cabinets a great new feel in the color and style that matches exactly what you have in mind. Combined with brand new hardware, you have a fresh new kitchen at a small fraction of the price!

  • Paint Your Home's Trim

Getting tired of what you see every time you pull into your driveway. Many homeowners get tired of the same old look of the exterior of their home. While painting the entire outside of your home will most certainly change that, it's not always the best option. You may have vinyl or aluminum siding which can be a pain to paint, and not to mention quite costly, or maybe you can't justify spending the money simply because you want a new look. Well, trim painting is a great solution. You're looking at spending less than $1,000 for just about any home, which most can stomach. When you change the color of your trim you can really give your entire home an amazing new look, by simply introducing a new accent color. Many professional painting contractors will be able to show you computer generated images of your home with just about any color trim you're looking for. This means you can see exactly what you're going to get before a single brush stroke is laid down. You can change your home's exterior quickly and cheaply with a new coat of paint on your trim.

  • Create A Good Relationship With a Local Handyman

These days who really has the time to be spending working around the house every weekend? Many homeowners are busy with children's activities, work, chores or simply relaxing, that they don't get to a majority of their minor home repair projects in a timely fashion. A skilled local handyman contractor will be able to complete all of your small repair, replacement and installation projects in a fraction of the time it would take your average do-it-yourselfer. Find a reliable and experienced handyman to work with and establish a great relationship. If a handyman contractor knows they have your business in the future they will be much more likely to give you discounts and better pricing on all of your home improvement needs. They will also be quite familiar with all of your home's inner workings, saving them time on projects that would normally take longer on a new home. This means on top of any repeat business discount you get, you will also save on the labor time charge.

  • Use Composite Flooring

Has the time come to replace your home's flooring? Whether it's a small section or your entire home, flooring projects can become expensive if you don't consider all of your options. Sure hardwood and tile floors are very aesthetically pleasing, but at a steep price. The same look can be had with composite flooring. With a feel and design which can mimic just about any material from stone to wood; composite flooring gives you the beauty you're looking for but at a price you can afford. A local flooring company or contractor should be able to provide you with samples of every type of composite flooring material. This means you'll be able to see exactly what goes with every room, giving you the peace of mind you deserve on your flooring project.

  • Have Your Gutters Cleaned Regularly

Sure your gutters are just little aluminum troughs attached to the top of your home, but they actually play a very important roll in protecting the rest of your home from the harmful effects of Mother Nature. Your gutter system safely routes water from your roof away from your home's vulnerable interior systems and foundation. When gutters fail you're sure to see roofing damage, wood rot and basement flooding. All of which aren't fun or cheap. The thing is many gutter problems are simply clogs. Leaves and debris collect in the gutters or downspout and prevent water from traveling their desired course. An experienced gutter cleaning contractor will be able to quickly un-clog any bad spots in your gutter system. This gets your gutters working like new and saves you the cost and headaches of major repair and replacement projects. Gutter systems also last much longer when they are cleaned on a regular basis.

These are just a few of the many ways to save on your home improvement projects without sacrificing on the quality of the job. When you take into account all of your options you will certainly find a solution which fits your budget and schedule. Just remember to compare a few quotes from local, reliable and trustworthy contractors before committing to a certain expert. You can use an online contractor referral site to find pre-screened contractors in your area, who provide absolutely free estimates on all of their services. Get started on your next project and use these cost saving tips to find a result you can afford.

This article was written by Aaron Klimchuk, the content manager for online home improvement resource BizziBid. This website provides it's visitors with information and tips on just about any residential or commercial home improvement project. They also match users with the most qualified home improvement contractors in their area.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


- Aeschylus

Appeared in the Twitter timeline today . . . . . . Flashback: ‘Most Dishonest Journalist Of Our Age’ Piers Morgan Fired For ‘Malicious’ Hoax Of Fake Iraqi Prisoner Abuse That Caused ‘So Much Damage’

An excellent example of Piers Morgans ability as a newspaper editor! He never thought to authenticate the story first!!


Monday, October 28, 2013


Whatever happened to Rick (Humphrey Bogart) after the end of Casablanca?

"Major Strasser has been shot! Round up the usual suspects!

"Louis, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

After Rick kills Major Strasser and they get Igrid Bergman and Paul Henreid onto that plane, Claude Rains tells him there's a Free French garrison down in Brazzaville maybe he could arrange safe-passage . . .



Its all smoke and mirrors with this Obamacare debacle.

The Fainting Lady a choreographed stunt? Watch the slowed video. Examined closely, the woman next to the fainter communicates with someone off screen, & then with the fainter. She does nothing to steady her friend.

Watch the entire clip. It was staged. Interesting that Obama turns around just when she happens to sway. He must have eyes in the back of his head. This woman needs Affordable Care now!!!

Special thanks VA Shepard


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Black Homeowners Guide to Avoiding the Latest Rip-offs and Scams

African American continue to experience the largest percentage of victims when it comes to scams, fraud and rip-offs. The scams cover everything from home repair, home mortgage, home improvement, auto repair and a host of other consumer issues. As the economy continues to tighten many predict this trend will grow as more companies and individuals grow more desperate to maintain company profits.

Most service and customer minded companies and individuals (including me) won't mind you checking them out. But the companies, contractors and agents who have spotty records, no license or have a shady pass will get nervous having someone check their background.

A recent government study also found African Americans not only the most victimized but also the least likely to research or check out a companies record before hiring them. Many companies and individuals take advantage of this little known fact and target African Americans. These shady companies and individuals tempt their victims with low prices, easy credit , or exaggerated promises to get their business. To avoid background checks they stress acting now or risk losing the low price, easy credit or other bonus or free offer promise.

One of the main reasons most people don't take the time to check out a company or individuals background come down to two reasons, based on research. Those two reasons is knowledge and convenience. Most people have only a vague idea of who to contact. Those knowing who to contact found it time consuming to write or call the right consumer protection agency.

With today's computer technology, the days of waiting on hold for your entire lunch break or worse is over. Many companies who make it their business to protect consumers continue to work feverishly to make it easy for consumers to check out companies, individuals and to lodge complaints.

Here's two organizations to contact to quickly check a business before you give them your money. Simply Google the organization to get their web address.

1. The Better Business Bureau

The BBB works as an arbitrator between consumer and companies

The BBB doesn't hold legal authority over companies (I'll discuss those later) it keeps complaint records on companies and charities, and issues fraud alerts.

The BBB also handles complaints on internet companies as well.

2. Your State Department of Consumer Affairs

State Department of Consumer Affairs covers consumer related businesses in your state. They offer the most popular scams currently in your state as well as scam protection tips. They offer quick and convenient online complaint forms and more.

One of the keys to protecting yourself and your wallet from scam artist or non-caring company is to get in the habit of quickly checking out companies or individuals you do business with. Remember the quality companies or individuals don't mind this. At the very least Google the company or person. You'll find the more you do it the easier it will be, like breathing.

In fact, you'll feel uncomfortable not checking out new companies you do business with. That's a good thing, because you're risk of victimization drops drastically.


Staff Sgt. Patrick H. Quinn, 26, of Quarryville, Pa., died Oct. 13, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when the enemy attacked his base with small arms fire.

He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson, Colorado.

His awards and decorations include four Army Commendation Medals, the Iraq Campaign Medal (with 2 Campaign Stars), Special Forces Tab, Parachutist Badge, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. Quinn was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with Campaign Star) and the NATO Medal.

He is survived by his wife and their three sons.

We pray for peace and guidance for your wife and three sons. We thank you for your service to our country. Never forgottoen . . .

SSG Quinn (3/10 SFGA). Less than a year out of the “Q”. There wasn’t a lot of information as to the battle that took place. I have to wonder if they are leaving Pineland with the same skills we did. I rode my HD as a Chapter 64 SFA representative escort (with 14 American Legion riders) for the funeral procession, wish there was something more I could have done. Quarryville and southern Lancaster County made me proud; there were all levels of LEA and fire trucks from as far away as Strasburg and they crossed ladders with a huge American at the major intersections. People stood on the side of the road and at the end of their driveways with flags and saluted the procession, to include the Amish.


Saturday, October 26, 2013


Went out to the mall today with the wife & kids. Mission: I'm seriously in need of some new threads, business casual. we came home empty handed from a shopping expedition to three stores in a large mall and another location. From here on out I guess I'm getting my clothing from military surplus stores, Cabela's and Tractor Supply . . . S.L.

Can anyone out there who understands fashion explain to me when did men's style's become so ghastly?

Something somewhere went seriously wrong with this society.

I feel sorry for the young men of this society, I honestly do. They must be confused ten million times worse than we were in the post-Vietnam trainwreck that was the 1970s. The only male role models that exude any kind of proper masculine traits exist in the Marvel Comics-inspired series of movies, and those are entirely science fiction and fantasy.

The tablecloth look is big for shirts. I wouldn't want to be seen in something like this at my own funeral.

Next time you watch the network news - if you can hold back the nausea long enough - look at what the anchors are wearing. Pinstripes have been big for a couple of years now, and they're wearing these god-awful striped ties in combo with them. Let me tell you how it is: pinstripes make you look like a mafioso, or worse, a mafia lawyer, and striped ties are ridiculous on anyone other than an English school kid. Wearing the two together is a crime against humanity, in my book.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Pinstripe suits with striped ties? Are people THAT DENSE?

The men's clothing I saw available out there in the shopping malls made me want to puke. I honestly believe that this is an indicator of the successful emasculation of this society by the feminist-driven Liberal machine.

Bottom line: We are in the midst of a global war against an insidious enemy whose stated goals are to kill each and every one of us - possibly sparing our women and children to keep as breeders and slaves. The lack of male role models in the media and the popular culture makes me wonder who will serve as this society's guardians and heroes? It's almost as if we deserve to lose this war.


Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Ways To Upgrade Your Home Garage

1) Automatic Garage Door Closer

If you have an automatic garage door opener, then why not an automatic garage door closer to go with it? I've had mine for several years now, and it continues to work flawlessly. The peace of mind alone is worth every single penny I spent. It's no secret that a garage door left open overnight, or while you're away during the day, is an open invitation to thieves of all sorts. With an automatic closer, you'll rest assured knowing your garage is secure. They're very easy to install with an existing opener, and typically, they can be programmed to close anywhere from two minutes to an hour after the door was opened. Additionally, they have a separate override button in case you want your garage door open for an extended period of time. Adding an automatic closer is one of the best things you can do for your garage.

2) Parking Guide

It's not uncommon to find an assortment of parking scratches and bruises in residential garages. One of the most popular remedies is the old tennis ball on a string hanging from the ceiling trick. This is a time tested remedy that works, but there are also modern solutions as well. Enter laser and proximity parking guides. Laser guides typically attach to the ceiling on or near the garage door opener. When the door is opened, the laser is activated and lights up a beam. All you have to do is line up the beam to a particular spot on your dashboard when your vehicle is already parked. Then, each time you pull in, let the preset beam show you where to stop. You can get just a single laser or a dual-laser depending on the needs of your garage. Proximity sensors, unlike lasers, mount on the wall you approach when you park in your garage. With these, you simply preset the distance between your bumper and the sensor. Then, as you approach, the sensor will tell you when to stop. Some models even act like a stoplight, with a yellow caution lamp, followed by a red stop lamp.

3) Floor Covering

Garage floor coverings are not only practical, but they really make a difference in the overall appearance of your garage. When talking about coverings, there are many different types including garage floor paint, epoxy, tiles, and mats. Paint is certainly the least expensive method, but also the highest maintenance method. Paint will protect and make your garage look much better, but you will have to add a new coat probably once a year. Epoxy is similar to paint, but it's thicker, and much more durable. It'll give your garage floor that showroom look you find in many dealerships. Epoxy will cost you more than paint, and you'll also have to do more preparation work, but the result will be worth the extra cost and effort. You can also opt for professional installation as most retailers offer the service. Garage floor tiles and mats are also options to consider. Tiles are typically 16 by 16 inches, and you can get them in a variety of colors. They interlock with each other to hold everything together, and they'll make your floor look absolutely incredible. Mats come in many different shapes and sizes to fit your needs. They're basically designed to contain automotive fluids, and all the muck your vehicle drags in with it.

4) Pegboard

Pegboard is nothing new to home garages. However, there are plenty of modern innovative shelves, hooks, bins, and containers that fit into pegboard. You can find these items at any home improvement center. You can use them for lawn and garden tools, household hardware, winter clothing, hand tools, etc. Pegboard is the most versatile type of organizer you can use. Basic pegboard is a little flimsy, but you can make it stronger by adding more supports when you mount it. You can also paint it to fit the theme of your garage. There are also other types of pegboard such as plastic and metal, which are available in different colors. Of course, they're a little more expensive, but they're also stronger, so you can use them to hold heavier items. No matter which type of pegboard you use, it'll help you control clutter which is one of the most common problems in residential garages.

5) Light Switch

Another way to modernize your garage is to upgrade the light switch with one that's illuminated when the lights are off. This eliminates fumbling around looking for the switch while leaning over, and holding the entry door open for enough light to find the switch. Even better, it's inexpensive and easy to do yourself. With basic knowledge of electricity, all you have to do is turn off the breaker that feeds the switch and wire up the new switch the same way. There are no additional wires to worry about. The end result is a mild orange glow that's easy to find in the dark. Another option is to add motion sensors to your garage lights so they come on as soon as you open the door. You can even get motion bases that screw into standard sockets. Once installed, all you have to do is screw in the light bulb as usual. This is a clever way to have motion activated lighting without having to do any wiring.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


It doesn't matter that Conservatives outnumber Liberals by two-thirds to one-third . . . it doesn't matter that Fox viewers and Rush Limbaugh listeners outnumber the combined audience of ABC - CBS - NBC - MSNBC - CNN . . . Obama was voted in by the people who watch American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, America's Got Talent, The Bachelorette, America's Top Model, and Project Runway . . . they have sawdust for brains and this clip proves it - S.L.

This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic . . .

Best part:

"..because the Solar Bears eat the Polar Bears eggs?"


The future of our Republic is in the hands of these maroons.

Makes me wanna puke.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will...

My rifle and I know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit...

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I have met & worked with several women warriors, and most of them I respect a great deal. There is a place for them in the continuum of conflict, to include within Special Operations units and intelligence organizations. To place women within Combat Arms units, however, is folly; nothing less than politically correct stupidity - S.L.



- Barret Tillman

Related: 8 Other Nations That Send Women to Combat
- National Geographic



"I will not disgrace the soldiers arms, 

nor abandon the comrade who stands at my side;
but whether alone or many, 

I will fight to defend things sacred and profane. 

I will hand down my country not lessened, 
but larger and better than I received it."

- Ancient Athenian Oath, written before Christ's birth.

Ways to Select Home Storage Organizers

When it comes to home storage organizers, everyone just needs assistance in choosing the best that will be suitable for your home needs. When it comes to organizing, everyone needs some kind of assistance. Even those who like to evenly space out their clothes, hangers, you still need some help to organize everything. In choosing home improvement organizers, you need to make it uniform looking. You will need to spend some time in doing a little research. A good place to start is through your local thrift store. With regards to expenditure, there are two directions to go, expensive or luxury organizer and discounted ones. Each of them contains advantages while others also contain disadvantages.

If you prefer for new and expensive or what you can call luxury organizer, you can be sure it will last a lifetime since most expensive home storage comes from the highest quality materials. But you also need to look for certain brands because there are some that just don't use enough amounts of materials which they need to use for a certain product. If you prefer for discounted home improvement organizers, you can easily make your organizing purposes although there are times, you can't be so sure with the effectiveness of the product. Its longevity is not always guaranteed because it comes with cheaper value which means the materials used by manufacturers are also cheap.

Buying something you can't live without doesn't always need to be expensive. Although you want assurance, you can look for so many things that can provide you with enough reason to choose them if you will only compare and make a thorough research on what you should buy. There are lots of ways to find organizers that can help you with your concern. You will be able to find magazines and online guide that will help you find things you need without spending thousands of dollars in it.

There are also review sites which you can find various designs of storage materials meant for home use. Through it, you will be able to find adequate quality drawers and closets you are looking for. You can go personally at the store to check for availability. There are times when a problem will arise such as drawers not opening, not closing properly, stock up sliding door and things like that. There are couple of times when you need to check on some parts to make sure your money is worth spending in these types of things.

Although there are stores that consist of service centres, you don't need to always engage with them since you can buy something that comes with high quality materials. Although they were able to provide you with help you need you still need to look for some known brands that usually offer home storage organizers at a reasonable amount since they can serve you for a longer time. There are also kits which you can buy and then assemble it yourself. It may be time consuming but it will provide you with a lasting service.

Monday, October 21, 2013


KOHIMA: No quarter was asked, and none was given - S.L.

The Battle of Kohima was the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive into India in 1944 in the Second World War. The battle was fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima in northeast India.

The battle took place in three stages. From 3 to 16 April, the Japanese attempted to capture Kohima ridge, a feature which dominated the road by which the besieged British and Indian troops of IV Corps at Imphal were supplied. By mid-April, the small British force at Kohima was relieved, and from 18 April to 13 May, British and Indian reinforcements counter-attacked to drive the Japanese from the positions they had captured.

The siege began on 6 April. The garrison was continually shelled and mortared, in many instances by Japanese using weapons and ammunition captured at Sangshak and from other depots, and was slowly driven into a small perimeter on Garrison Hill. They had artillery support from the main body of 161st Brigade, who were themselves cut off 2 miles away at Jotsoma, but, as at Sangshak, they were very short of drinking water. The water supply point was on GPT Ridge, which was captured by the Japanese on the first day of the siege. Some of its defenders were unable to retreat to other positions on the ridge and instead withdrew towards Dimapur. Canvas water tanks on FSD and at the Indian General Hospital had neither been filled nor dug in to protect them from fire. However, a small spring was discovered on the north side of Garrison Hill, but it could be reached only at night.

Some of the heaviest fighting took place at the north end of Kohima Ridge, around the Deputy Commissioner's bungalow and tennis court, in what became known as the Battle of the Tennis Court. The tennis court became a no man's land, with the Japanese and the defenders of Kohima dug in on opposite sides, so close to each other that grenades were thrown between the trenches. On the night of 17/18 April, the Japanese finally captured the DC's bungalow area. Other Japanese captured Kuki Picquet, cutting the garrison in two. The defenders' situation was desperate, but the Japanese did not follow up by attacking Garrison Hill, and when daylight broke, troops of 161st Indian Brigade arrived to relieve the garrison.

The medical dressing stations were exposed to Japanese fire, and wounded men were often hit again as they waited for treatment.

The Japanese abandoned the ridge at this point but continued to block the Kohima–Imphal road. From 16 May to 22 June, the British and Indian troops pursued the retreating Japanese and reopened the road. The battle ended on 22 June when British and Indian troops from Kohima and Imphal met at Milestone 109, ending the siege of Imphal.

Gurkhas advance up the Imphal Road.

The Tennis Court today.

When You Go Home,
Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow,
We gave Our Today.
- John Maxwell Edmonds [1875 - 1958]

Lots of VCs earned . . . we have to live for those who didn't, and make up for their loss.

That is one huge bill.


Sunday, October 20, 2013


The inscription on a Victoria Cross grave from 1933:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

- "Ode of Remembrance" from Laurence Binyon's poem, "For the Fallen", first published in The Times in September 1914.

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration that can be awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of Commonwealth countries armed forces. Yet all over the UK the graves and memorials to these men are under threat of loss. Victoria Cross Trust works to stop this happening.


o Understand the Operational Environment

o Recognize Political Implications

o Facilitate Inter-Agency Activities

o Engage the Threat Discriminately

o Consider Long-Term Effects

o Ensure Legitimacy and Credibility of Special Operations

o Anticipate and Control Psychological Effects

o Apply Capabilities Indirectly

o Develop Multiple Options

o Ensure Long-Term Sustainment

o Provide Sufficient Intelligence

o Balance Security and Synchronization

Saturday, October 19, 2013


A ragged, old, derelict shuffled into a down and dirty bar; stinking of whiskey, cigarettes and stale beer, his hands shook as he took the "Piano Player Wanted" sign from the window and handed it to the bartender.

"I'd like to apply for the job," he said. To the bartender's doubtful look, he went on. "I was an F-4 driver, flying off the Attack Carrier Oriskany back in 'Nam . . ."

". . . but when they retired the Phantom all the thrill was gone, and soon they cashed me in as well. So I learned how to play the piano at the Officer's Club for Happy Hour, and here I am."

The barkeep wasn't too sure about this down-and-out-looking old guy, but it had been quite a while since he had a piano player and business was falling off. So, why not give him a try.

The seedy pilot staggered his way over to the piano while several patrons snickered at the old man. By the time he was into his third bar of music, every voice was silenced.What followed was a rhapsody of soaring music unlike anything heard in the bar before. When he finished there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

The bartender took the old fighter pilot a beer and asked him the name of the song he had just played.

It's called "Drop your Skivvies, Baby, I'm Going Balls To The Walls For You." he said. After a long pull from the beer, leaving it empty, he said, "I wrote it myself."

The bartender and the crowd winced at the title, but the piano player just went on into a knee-slapping, hand-clapping bit of ragtime that had the place jumping. After he finished, the fighter pilot acknowledged the applause, downed a second proffered mug, and told the crowd the song was called, "Big Boobs Make My Afterburner Light."

He then launched into another mesmerizing song and everyone in the room was enthralled. He announced that it was the latest rendition of his song, "Spread 'em Wide Baby, It's Foggy Out Tonight and I Need To See The Centerline."

Then he excused himself and headed for the john.

When he came out the bartender went over to him and said, "Hey, fly boy, the job is yours; but, do you know your fly is open and your pecker is hanging out?"

"Know it?," the old fighter pilot replied, "Hell yeah I know it . . .

. . . I WROTE IT!"


Get Help From Your Local Home Improvement Or Kitchen Design Center For Your Next Project

A design center can help you get the best finishes, windows, and even doors for your new home or addition. Get the look and performance you deserve with help from these professionals.

Whether you're building a new construction home or you're embarking on a major home renovation project, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all of your options. Not only do you have to decide on the size and purpose of each room, you also have to select finishes. But when you have a professional home improvement contractor or design center on your side, these experts can guide you through the whole process, making sure you get the products, performance, and look that's right for you. Don't go it alone: get the help you need from the qualified specialists!

Home improvement as well as bathroom and kitchen design centers are fully stocked with all of the hardware, fixtures, and finishes you need to create a beautiful, practical space. But don't feel daunted by all of the options. Your design professional will listen to your performance and aesthetic requirements and then guide you to the options and products that suit your specifications and budget. Helping match you with beautiful hardware, finishes, and even windows or doors, design centers are a great way to look at all your options as well as get the design guidance you need.

Decorating your home is one thing--you can always select a different sofa when you get tired of your couch, but when it comes to things like window and door installation, it's important to get the right style the first time around!

Replacement windows can be expensive and tend to be a real hassle to install... However, with experienced window and door contractors helping you select the best options for your home, you can be confident that their quality as well as their appearance will keep you satisfied for years to come.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


My daughter interviewed me for a college writing assignment. My answers will probably open a can of worms on campus - S.L.

I love Old Glory, the Flag of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

I am an immigrant. I came to this country in 1981 with a suitcase in my hand, and I earned my citizenship the old-fashioned way: military service. Just like the days of the old Roman Empire.

I love this country. There is almost unlimited opportunity here. All you need is an idea and be willing to work real hard and you can be a millionaire. As I write I sit in my favorite room of my house - the Jungle Room - surrounded by the souvenirs and momentos of soldiering on five continents. I have seen people in places where no matter how hard they tried, no matter how hard they worked, they would never lift themselves from poverty and misery. The opportunities simply do not exist over there that we take for granted here in America.

The Jungle Room

I do alright for a retired NCO, we live pretty well and I'm not finished yet. I pointed out to my daughter that everything she sees in this place is because of the opportunities available in America, opportunities that simply do not exist in other countries. I love this country.

Not many people immigrate to the United States from Australia - the two countries are very similar and life there is good like it is here, but it is not the same. I believe a person should love their country, but this is not to be confused with the government running that country. I love Australia, but I saw a few things over there that didn't sit right with me.

In Australia I saw a man - a university professor - sentenced to three days in prison for the crime of refusing to vote. To me, this is a violation of freedom of speech. Pentridge Prison was one of the most notorious prisons in Australia - since closed - three days in that place was no joke.

I saw a man have his passport pulled and not be allowed to travel outside of Australia, because he was the leader of the Hare Krishnas. He wanted to travel to India to visit the Ashram. The authorities justification for restricting this man's movements was that they believed the Hare Krishna movement w as a threat to Australian society. So much for freedom of religion.

In 1997, the Australian government implemented draconian anti-gun laws. They rounded up millions of rifles, pistols and shotguns, cut them all in half and burned them. Overnight the Australian government disarmed their law-abiding citizenry; nowadays only criminals can possess firearms in Australia. Australians are forbidden the basic human right of arming themselves in self-defense.

In America we have a contract with the government - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights lists what citizens can do - our freedoms - and what the government cannot do to us. No other country has this. In every other country in the world, the government tells the people what they can and cannot do. We are the exception to this rule; this is what makes us exceptional. This is American Exceptionalism.

The Bill of Rights has ten amendments; the most important is the 2d Amendment, because it guarantees the other nine. Other than Israel, we are the only remaining country of all the developed, industrialized countries in the world where citizens are allowed to possess and carry weapons for self-defense, a basic human right.

What are my hopes for the next generation? I hope that they have a better life than I have had, and I've had it pretty good. I remind my kids of what the great President Reagan said, that freedom must be fought for and defended by every generation. I hope that the freedoms I have enjoyed and fought to defend are there for them. It seems we are losing freedom every day, inch by inch by an ever encroaching Federal government.

Do I feel that I am viewed as a stereotype? Yes, most certainly. We Green Berets joke about it amongst ourselves - they call us Snake Eaters and we embrace this because we do in fact eat snakes. We call ourselves knuckledragging Neanderthals because that is how we feel people perceive us; unsophisticated, brutish.

People see the Gadsden rattlesnake flag on the back of my car and they think I'm a racist political extremist of the TEA Party. This amuses me because I am in a bi-racial marriage, and how can I be an extremist when over 65% of the United States polls for TEA Party policies and sentiments? People would be surprised to know that most Green Berets are bilingual (I speak four languages), that we are of above average intelligence, with unique skills and extraordinary credentials.

Last weekend I went to Washington DC to participate in the Million Vet March on the Monuments. I went in uniform - multi-cam trousers, desert boots, an MIA/POW t-shirt and a Special Forces baseball cap - I couldn't find my beret. One of the cool things about being retired is you get to design your own uniform. I retired from the US Army five years ago and have never participated in any veteran activity before.

I am not a hero, but I served in the company of heroes.

It was an honor to serve in the greatest Army ever to march across a battlefield. I went down to the monuments to honor and respect the real heroes, the ones who didn't make it back.

This is my way of saying thank you to America.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


The High Standard HDM is a modified High Standard HD model semi-automatic target pistol equipped with an integral sound suppressor. Originally adopted by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, the pistol is still found in United States inventories, including that of the CIA, United States Marines, and Special Forces. Because of legal concerns during wartime, full metal jacketed .22 LR rounds were developed for this pistol.

During training with the Special Operations Executive, Violette Szabo (Virginia McKenna) test-fires a High Standard HDM, a pistol used by many other covert agents at the time.

The High Standard HDM is a conventional blowback-operated semi-automatic pistol fitted with an integral suppressor which decreases its report by more than 20 dB. This pistol design was originally delivered on January 20, 1944, and original contract models were blued with a Parkerized finish on the suppressor. Follow on models were completely Parkerized. Post World War II models produced for the CIA were also blued. The 10-round box magazine was interchangeable with that of the Colt Woodsman. The weapon has a frame mounted safety lever on the left in a similar position to the M1911A1 and Browning Hi-Power. The front sight is a fixed blade with a square notch fixed rear sight.

This weapon uses a heel-mounted magazine release. The weapon is effective at short ranges when the low energy of the round fired is taken into account. The design is simple and typical of the period in which it was designed. The HDM pistol was also manufactured in Argentina.

We used them during urban surveillance operations to shoot out street lights.


How To Plan A Room Makeover Correctly

The rooms people live in are often a reflection of their personality. It is important to carefully plan the makeover of a room in advance to achieve a look that tells a story. People spend most of their private time in a home so it's vital the rooms within it are welcoming and relaxing. There are a number of points to consider before starting a new project that all require a little forethought and planning.

Document it
An ideas board is often used by some of the top interior designers in the UK today. A cork noticeboard is ideal for the job as it can be used to pin ideas up and move them around freely. People should start the process by visiting furnishing stores and looking for ideas on the internet. Samples of fabric, wall coverings, curtains, flooring examples and anything else that may define a room should be attached to the board. It is always a good idea to ask family and friends for their input on the issue. This process may involve a few weeks of adding and removing ideas; however, it should come to a natural end once the designer is happy with the final selections. Wall coverings, furniture, curtains and accessories must be included to ensure the room is coordinated when the work is finished.

A blank canvas
The first job is usually to strip the room bare and clean it thoroughly. Window frames, doors, walls and floors should all be scrubbed clean. The best scenario to start a project with is a blank canvass with no clutter. Many professioanl interior designers start a room with a neutral colour scheme. This is a great way of creating the illusion of more space in smaller rooms; it also makes colour coordination much easier. Swathes of colour can then be added that don't clash with each other or completely take over the room. It is important to remember that the ideas board should be referred to but never used as the basis for a final design; ideas should evolve as the job progresses.

A splash of colour
The most effective use of colour is of often the most simple. Many people make the mistake of adding too many colours, fabrics and patterns. This can make the room look cluttered and cramped which is exactly what most designers want to avoid. Subtle colours should be a common feature throughout the room and the use of patterns should be done so sparingly. Decorating one wall with an attractive design can make a major focal point in the room without overdoing it.

Use the light
The majority of homeowners will want to create a feeling of space and light in a room. The best way to do this is by allowing as much natural light in as possible. Leaving a window without curtains can maximise the sunlight that floods the space during the summer months. The careful placement of mirrors may also create the image of space and light in rooms that are irregular in shape or on the small side. Storage units with mirrors at the back can help to create a sense of depth and add to the overall sense of space. A little experimentation may be required if the final position of mirrors is to be effective.

The real opportuntiy to personalise a room is through the careful placement of accessories. They should complement the overall colour-scheme and be textured to add some gravitas to the living space. Designers can really express themselves with the inclusion of oddly-shaped ornaments, lamps and candlesticks; such items can add a little quirkiness and stamp a person's taste all over a room.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


The Battle of Ganjgal in September of 2008 remains one of the deadliest in the Afghan war. Capt. William Swenson, U.S. Army, helped fend off an onslaught of insurgents, saved lives, coordinated a rescue, and braved gunfire to retrieve fallen soldiers and Marines. There were two Medals of Honor earned that day - S.L.

Capt. Swenson was presented the Medal today (Tuesday 15 October 2013) in a ceremony at the Whitehouse. Swenson’s path to the White House ceremony has been a rocky one. After he criticized his Army superiors for failing to provide enough air and artillery support, his medal nomination was delayed for years. Army officials said they lost his packet in the computer system for 19 months.

Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer - the other service member to receive the Medal for the Ganjgal battle - was not present at today's ceremony. Swenson has expressed skepticism about the accuracy of Meyer’s account of the battle.

Two other Marines, Ademola Fabayo and Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, who helped Swenson and Meyer in the rescue missions, attended Swenson’s ceremony. They both have received the Navy Cross for their actions.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Swenson said he accepted the Medal of Honor on behalf of the fellow soldiers and Marines with whom he fought, along with the family members of those who died.

“It does not really belong to me; it belongs to that event and the people I stood with,” he said of The Medal. “I’ll be thinking of everyone in that valley who gave more than could be expected of anybody.”

These are the exact words I have heard from other recipients of the Medal of Honor. It is remarkable how they all say the same thing.


Monday, October 14, 2013


A friend who is also a Brother is feeling blue . . . the kind of "self-doubt" introspection that plagues higher intellect type-A personalities like ourselves. He reached out to me for counsel, so I shared with him some philosophy that has served me through the ups and downs of my life & career. I share this with you now - S.L.

The world depends on people like you and me - we really do make the world go around - so there is no reason NOT to maintain a positive attitude! "Nil illegitimi carborundum" means "Don't let the bastards grind you down"!

People can smell fear and weakness! Do not take counsel of your fears, and never show weakness! Go about your endeavors knowing you will prevail, knowing the only difference between success and failure is a lot of hard work and conscious decision to be a winner versus a loser.

Fear and anxiety are a natural part of Life! Prior to entering battle, the Ancient Greeks contemplated the God of Fear - Phobos - knowing they would experience fear - to help them prevail in battle despite this natural emotion.

We all have our ups and downs - it is understandable that we become frustrated due to setbacks, illnesses or injuries, and anxiety is a result. Put up with the struggle. No one said Life was easy! Exercise helps a great deal - do something physical at least everyday, such as golf, or the gym. If exercise is difficult due to schedule or physical condition, then walk - it is the best exercise short of swimming - at least thirty minutes a day. The best kind of walk is walking with your dogs.

Keep in touch with your circles of friendship. Learn who the decision makers and the power brokers are in your organization and establish open lines of communication with them. Touch bases, early and often.

Our line of work (soldiering - intelligence - security consulting) is difficult on a marriage. Our families are important to us; they are the even keel in the stormy seas that we sail. Take as good care of your families as you would your weapons and equipment - they are as important to you as your rifle, rucksack and radio. More so, actually.

There are foods supplements that are good for mental acuity, memory and emotional stability. Learn what they are and take them every day.

You are an asset to any organization worth being a part of - keep doing what you're doing, communicate in all directions and keep your Higher informed of all key phases of every operation.

Find your champions within your organization – let them know your value, what you bring to the table and how your efforts assist them in their endeavors. They will communicate your value to the Big Dogs.



Sunday, October 13, 2013


. . . I thought I was going to take part in a political event, my first ever. When I got there I realized it wasn't about politics it was about respect to the Honored War Dead. In America we have a saying "Politics stops at the water's edge." This sentiment continues to our Fallen, of course. Let us take note who it is who always makes politics of the overseas security situation, and who has continually made politics of flag draped coffins and war memorials, right up to this week. - S.L.

I was so excited when I got to the World War II Memorial. The first Vet I encountered had a CIA baseball hat; I was wearing my Special Forces baseball hat. I said, "CIA! Alright!" He said, "SF! Alright!" and we shook hands. The spirit of Wild Bill Donovan was hovering overhead, no doubt.

Crossing against the light - Fight the Tyranny!

I am from the Pacific so I always enter the Memorial from the Pacific gate.

An opening prayer honoring WWII War Dead.

Old Glory and the US Army colors at the World War II Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in background. Take notice: there are no people on upper steps of the Lincoln Monument.

My favorite panel at the World War II Memorial: US Paratroopers over Normandy.

Things were hot at the Lincoln Memorial - these photos do not convey the tension of the standoff. The cops & Navy EOD displayed ultimate professionalism as a handful of rabble rousers hurled insults at them and attempted to work up the crowd.

I held back - in this struggle my role is not to be an activist; I am a secret agent - but I could have started a revolution today if I wanted to.

Over at the Vietnam Memorial - adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial - no barricades, just a couple of chick Park Rangers - and the crowds were respectful, quiet.

I always pay respect at the Korean War Memorial - chilling, almost depressing - somehow apropos for the Forgotten War.

"We remember you forever. With people of the Republic of Korea" - possibly our greatest allies in the world; right up there with the British, the Canadians and the Australians.

The World War I Memorial - "War to End All Wars" - dedicated Armistice Day (November 11th) 1931 - they had no idea World War II was 10 years away.

Tearing down the barricades at the World War II Memorial.

These people are rabble rousers - I distanced myself from them and watched the cops and the security overwatch. The cops broke contact - their instructions were clearly to avoid any kind of confrontation.

The Washington Monument with scaffolding - as an engineer I can tell you the only way to repair it properly is take it apart & rebuild it.

Now the Million March Truckers are all honking their horns like a herd of thundering elephants.

The General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial - possibly America's greatest General when you look at what he achieved, and his sublime humility - the first thing that came to my mind was: 'I wonder what a Confederate victory monument would've looked like?'

They don't make monuments like this anymore - I shudder to think what the GWOT memorial will (someday) look like.

My tour concluded - appropriately enough - at the Houses of High Mischief and Malfeasance.

"Government isn't the solution, government is the problem" - Ronald Reagan

I went to the Monuments today to respect the War Dead . . . they can no longer speak and so we speak for them . . .