Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “discovery channel”

No, I didn’t post yesterday. What’s it to ya’?

This is driving me crazy!!  Here it is summertime and I don’t have squat to post because my life seems to be in a perpetual holding pattern because of my ERO/EEOC case and the fact that nothing interesting has happened recently.  I’m also not in the mood to continue my biography at the moment because we’re getting to the parts that were really difficult to live through back then.  I’m not sure I want to bring them up to the surface again now.

I am finding it very interesting looking at the map that shows from where people who read my blog are.  The other day Australia took the lead.  So far today the Irish have a substantial lead over the Americans.  And what people are reading is even funnier.  My reviews of Combat Cash and Mythbusters seem to be the favorites.  Someone clicks on them almost every day.

So, yeah, I’m behind in my posting.  But when it’s hot and sticky outside and it makes the house all hot and sticky, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of the computer in the hottest room of my house and type some drivel that people may or may not read.  I’ve also got an appointment with my therapist today, so who knows what goofy crap will come up that will make for decent topics?

Still irritated at Mythbusters’ “Swinging Pirates” episode

I know it’s just a minor thing, but I really liked the effect in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie that showed the six pirates swinging in a ball made of bones and climbing their way to the top of the cliff and saving themselves.  The Mythbusters tried to recreate the myth that it could be done and messed it up.  Big time.  In my opinion anyway — I’m not a scientist.

They used metal to create the ball — good idea.  They had openings at the bottom of the ball large enough for them to crawl through — bad idea.  They used two cables to hold the ball above the ground — not accurate since in the movie it’s supposed to be a single vine.  But they did prove that they could climb up the “cliff” by having everyone help climb a cargo net on the side of a building.  They really should have replicated the actual conditions.  The two safety cables impeded the ability for the momentum to increase.

However, on the same episode, the Build Team made a pulse jet and had an expert come and show them an effective way to build one and how it should run.  I wonder how many WWII British survivors watched the episode and had bad memories afterwards?  The one their expert built sounded just like a V-1 flying bomb, also known as a “Buzz Bomb” or “Doodlebug” by the British who listened to them as they flew overhead before crashing and exploding.  And if you’ve never heard of the V-1 — go look it up.  They did lots of damage.

Now I’m going to watch the new episode for this week — any time you make a hot water heater explode on television is awesome.

More Mythbusters tonight

Tonight there will be a rerun of the “Duct Tape Island” episode of Mythbusters on Discovery Channel.  I’ve already written a review of it and it still gets lots of hits every day.  I keep seeing strange questions in the “Search Engine Terms” on my Stats page that refer readers to my blog.

IMPORTANT NOTE — If you’re looking for answers about something in the show but I don’t already have it in the body of the post, feel free to post a question in the Comments section!  Then I’ll let you know if I have any information about it and/or get the answer for you!  I don’t mind answering questions!!

The rerun of the popular episode will be right after the premiere of their “Men vs. Women” episode.  No idea how that one is going to turn out but I’m sure it will be interesting.  And controversial.  I know there’s a lot things considered easier for men that I’m able to do than most of the males I know.  And I know some guys who can do a lot of the “lady-type” things better than me (laundry, housekeeping, etc.).  If the episode is decent, I might post a review tomorrow.

That’s all for today.  It’s been cold and dreary outside so I’ve decided to curl up on the couch (yes, the cursed couch!) and let myself fall asleep.  Hasn’t happened yet.  Will have to change spaces before the shows air tonight.

100th Post!

I’m actually stunned I made it this far.  If this were a television show, they’d have a big cake and a special episode.  If this were a birthday, I’d get a letter from the Governor, Senators, and possibly even the President.  If this were an anniversary, it would be covered on all channels, both cable and network, in one way or another.

On the other hand, I always knew I’d get this far.  Yes, having ADD makes it difficult to keep myself focused and I can always find something else to do instead of sitting here and typing something.  However, also having OCD makes me get up and type at least a little something every day because I can’t stand the thought of having a date without a post.  That just wouldn’t be organized and I’d never forgive myself.  Of course, if the reason were something I couldn’t control — severe illness, natural disaster, death — then I could cope with it but would still be disappointed.

So, what have I done to make this event special?  Nothing, really.  I took a nice nap today.  I did the special effects makeup for my friend again.  I watched tonight’s episode of Mythbusters where they tried square wheels on a truck.  I think they needed a four-wheel drive truck, but no one asked me.  The episode of Unchained Reaction (theme = flight) is boring….again.  I don’t really see the show going for another season, but there’s already worse crap on TV so what do I know?

I’m looking forward to watching the National Geographic special with James Cameron about the Titanic.  Yes, I know it’s the 100th anniversary of the sinking.  Yes, I know the movie was hideously long and all you really needed was the last third of the movie where the ship hits the iceberg and the sinking.  There was a Broadway musical made about Titanic and I’ve never seen it.  I don’t think I will either because I can’t imagine what the songs would be.  “Glub, Glub, Glub!  This water is cold!” or “Are You Getting My SOS?”  Even Cameron said that his pitch for the movie was “Titanic plus Romeo and Juliet.”  I don’t remember teenage suicide in Titanic but  if you’re going to try to cram a love story into a disaster, it’s better to go big or go home.

Time to plant myself in front of the television and become one with the couch.  Let me rephrase that — become one with the loveseat.  The couch has already claimed its first victim of the night.  Better poke Husband so I’ll be able to hear the show without having it turned-up so much that it annoys the neighbors across town.

Discovery’s Mythbusters: Duct Tape Island and Unchained Reaction episode 2

Yeah, I know.  I should have posted my reviews last night but I was really busy and the whole fence thing had me miffed.  Today it wasn’t any better as I found my decorative fencing around my precious morel mushrooms moved (looks like it was kicked), but I digress.

Last night was Discovery Channel’s night for the new season of Mythbusters and for the second episode of Unchained Reaction.  One was slightly impressive while the other was educational but way too hokey to believe.

I’ll start with Mythbusters: Duct Tape Island — a one-hour episode featuring only Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as they attempt to survive on a desert island with only duct tape available to them.  I had a feeling the show was going to be silly because the announcer said they had “an endless supply” of it.  So, if you thought that the small pallet of duct tape that “washed-up” on the beach was all they had, think again.  And we all knew that they wouldn’t actually be in danger of starving or dehydrating because they had a camera crew with them.  It’s not like we’re watching Survivorman, y’all.

In the intro to the “story,” they show the outline of an island.  Anyone with basic U.S. geography skills would have immediately recognized the shape as the silhouette of Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands.  If you need more information, it’s the island where Honolulu and Pearl Harbor are located.  Oahu is definitely not deserted, but they were able to find a beach resort where they could film their show.

Oh, did I say “resort?”  Why, yes I did — and that’s an important thing to remember while reading the rest of this review (remember “Turtle Bay” and Lost).

So, the guys are “stranded” and have to figure out how to signal for help, find water, find food, make clothing, make a shelter, stay focused, and escape from the island.  Signaling for help was easy.  They created a huge “SOS” sign out of duct tape and rocks on the beach.  The down side to their attempt is that duct tape is gray and doesn’t reflect well when covered with sand, making it harder for someone overhead to see.

When they attempted to find water, they did stage a good explanation of how you can’t drink just any water you find lying around.  Jamie (the brains) and Adam (Captain ADD-man) were each given different tasks to find water.  Jamie used the shrink-wrap that covered the pallet of duct tape to make a solar still in order to collect water.  While it’s a good and scientific idea, a solar still would not make enough water for two people in a reasonable amount of time.  Evaporation and condensation takes a while and it wasn’t a plausible idea for them.  Adam, however, did find running fresh water and made a water-bag out of duct tape so he could return with potable water for them to enjoy.

Both of the guys created unique shoes using duct tape which made walking on the hot sand, grasses, and rocks more bearable.  Adam even made himself a hat since he is very susceptible to the rays of the sun on his fair skin, and so that people who are used to him wearing his Stetson while Jamie has his iconic beret (which was present) could tell them apart.

As for finding food, Jamie was rather ingenious and successful in spear fishing.  He used bamboo and wood shards to create a multi-pronged spear and even added a small duct tape retrieval string and marked the center of balance to make it easier for him to throw.  Once he got off the shore and into the water, he actually speared a small fish.  True, he’d need a lot more than that to feed both of them, but it was successful and fun to watch.  Adam, however, was running around in the jungle after feral chickens.  Realizing that he could not catch one on foot, he first tried a simple snare trap with duct tape “wire” (which didn’t work) and then made a net out of the duct tape with which to catch a passing chicken.  The first chicken “caught” escaped through a hole in the side but the second was successfully captured.  Then, Adam made the announcement that the chicken they would be seen eating in a later scene was store-bought and not the chicken he had just caught.  The part he didn’t explain is that feral chickens are protected as wildlife in Hawaii and cannot be captured without special permits/licenses.  And Jamie didn’t eat the fish he caught either.  Both sat on the beach with their duct tape bag of fried chicken and duct tape platter of raw tuna and discussed how proud they were of their hunting abilities.

Adam created a “permanent camp” out of duct tape with hammocks and even a small table and stools with a duct tape chess set (to help them stay focused).  It seemed odd that they’d try to make a “permanent camp” if they were trying to escape from the island, but it’s television and if you try to reason it out too much you’ll just give yourself a headache.  Jamie made himself a surfboard out of duct tape and took it for a quick float in the ocean (he wasn’t able to stand up on it).  Finally, the guys made an outrigger canoe that surprisingly weighed just over 100 pounds from bamboo and duct tape that carried them and their “6-week supply of rations” out into the ocean.  I was impressed that they were able to make it over the breaker waves without the boat twisting or sinking.  Jamie even noted that the only water he was having to bail was what Adam was sloshing into the boat with his poor rowing skills.  Finally, they “found land” and disembarked their canoe, only to find they were back on the same beach as before (cue comedic sound effects and rimshot).

And why wouldn’t they return to the same beach?  They never left it.  Well, except to sleep and eat and get refreshed before continuing the shooting for each of the seven days they were out there.  They did not sleep on their duct tape pads nor in their duct tape hammocks.  They stayed at the Turtle Bay Resort with the rest of the crew and used locations that were utilized in the filming of the show Lost.  That way, they knew where everything was and how easily to get their inventions built and useable.  In one of the outtakes Adam makes a comment that there are too many footprints in the sand for it to be a deserted island.  While it was fun to watch, it was quite disappointing to know that they weren’t really trying to survive at any point.  Sure, they showed how duct tape can work in many ways, but it still took all of the fun out of it.  I’m sure they did it that way because the insurance companies wouldn’t want Discovery losing two of their biggest stars.

And Discovery has used two of their biggest stars to hawk their new show Unchained Reaction.  I’m not sure how much of it really is/isn’t Adam and Jamie’s idea, but having them introduce the theme, pretending to watch the building of the chain-reaction gags, and then coming out to “judge” and announce the winner doesn’t really sell me that it’s their idea.  I wasn’t impressed with the premiere episode, but I thought I’d give the second one a chance.

In the “Fire and Ice” episode, a team of aerospace engineers went up against a team of special effects specialists.  They had to use fire and ice in their contraptions and had to have a minimum of five gags that would continuously set off the next as well as be innovative and entertaining.  Halfway through the build, Adam and Jamie “gave” each team a compact car that they had to incorporate into the middle of their machine and it all had to be completed within five days.

The aerospace engineers did some really neat things with the fire and ice and showing fire making steam and melted ice (water) conducting electricity after salt was added when it was tripped into a tank.  They even got the closest to a Rube Goldberg Machine concept because they stated that they wanted their machine to raise a flag at the end in a miniature moonscape diorama.  Sadly, the beginning of their machine didn’t work as planned but they did get the flag raised in the end, after nearly hitting Adam and Jamie and special guest judge Adam Sadowsky, president of Syyn Labs and creator of the Rube Goldberg machine for the OK Go video, with a rocket that flew across the room into a refrigerator to trigger the flag.

The special effects team didn’t get as technical but were a lot flashier with their contraption.  They used fire and ice in their gags as well as melting a huge block of ice in a cauldron of fire to turn a waterwheel underneath it to trigger another gag.  They had explosive results and it was a lot of fun to watch.  They won the contest because their machine worked and had no issues.

I think what I became the most tired of hearing throughout the show was how they were trying to impress Adam and Jamie.  It was always “Adam and Jamie would want” this and “Adam and Jamie think like” that but Adam and Jamie aren’t really in the show.  I’ll probably watch the next episode to see if the third time’s the charm on getting me to like it.  But at the moment, they could take Adam and Jamie out of it, make it about creating actual Rube Goldberg Machines (that have to complete a specific task) and it would be a lot more fun to watch.

Discovery’s “Unchained Reaction” premiere – Meh…

When I heard that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were going to “sponsor” a new show on Discovery Channel, I figured that it would be entertaining and educational, just like Mythbusters.  I knew it couldn’t possibly be as good as Mythbusters because the guys weren’t going to be in the show.  They just present the task for the episode and “watch” until it’s time to judge the efforts.

Unchained Reaction at first sounded like an awesome idea because everyone enjoys seeing Rube Goldberg machines and even the Mythbusters had created one for the holiday season one year and showed how hard it can be to get it to work correctly.  However, the official definition of a Rube Goldberg machine is that it’s an overly complex invention used to perform a simple operation.  If you’ve ever played the board game Mousetrap, you’ve used a Rube Goldberg machine.  Many cartoons throughout the years have shown Rube Goldberg machines for everything from waking a sleeping person to peeling a banana.  They’re fun to see and even more fun to try to create in your mind.  Youngest Son keeps telling me he wants to make one.  I discourage him only because (1) he doesn’t really have a task for it to perform and (2) I’m afraid of the damage it will cause my house.

The new show, however, doesn’t give the teams a specific task to perform.  There’s a theme for the program — such as heavy-versus-light and fire-and-ice — but no ending operation that has to be completed.  That would make sense on why they don’t refer to the contraptions that are built as Rube Goldberg machines.  The teams are given five days and the same materials with which to make their contraptions.  When I saw the previews, I thought they’d be competing to see which could complete the task in the most inventive way.  They are judged on their inventiveness, but without the common task at the end, it’s just not as thrilling.  Well, it’s not as thrilling to me, anyway.

Rube Goldberg machines have become more and more popular recently.  As mentioned above, the Mythbusters completed a very complex one for their show.  The band OK Go made a music video that incorporated a large Rube Goldberg machine that assisted in playing some of the music and giving the “big finale” at the end.  Some companies are even putting them into their commercials as entertainment and to stimulate consideration of their product, as if they could design one then their product must be just as ingenious.

However, watching two groups trying to sift through a pile of junk to create a “machine” which doesn’t perform an actual operation other than to have one gag trigger another isn’t quite as interesting.  In the premiere episode, they paired-off a group of electrical engineers and a movie set/prop construction team.  Right from the beginning it was obvious who was going to win.  The winning team had the advantage of practical building experience, a firm understanding of what Jamie and Adam wanted to see, and the ability to work together.  (Hope I didn’t spoil it for you if you didn’t see it.)

Maybe the next episode will be better.  But if they can’t get them to have a reason for the machines or at least show more of the building and less talking about what Adam and Jamie are “watching” (it’s SO obvious they’re not “tuning-in” via their laptop), then I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the whole series.  And that will be quite disappointing.

I’ll give it another shot next week.  For now, I’ll just look forward to the season premier of Mythbusters as they have their “Duct Tape Island” episode.

Discovery’s “Combat Cash” goes MIA tonight.

It’s Wednesday and I settled in for an interesting evening.  Two weeks ago this blog lit up after I said that Discovery’s Combat Cash was awful.  That’s not exactly what I said, but you can go back and read the original post for yourself.

I looked up when it would be on again and found that today was the next air date.  TV Guide said that I’d have to be ready to watch at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time.  Here are the descriptions of the episodes:

7 p.m. – Real GI Joe; 1795 Springfield Musket:  A 1795 Springfield musket is test fired; a rare GI Joe is sold; the guys meet a helicopter crew from the Vietnam War. New (CC)

7:30 p.m. – Hellcat Ammo; Flamethrowers:  Flamethrowers from WWII and the Vietnam War are used for a photo shoot; the guys search for ammo for a Hellcat tank. New (CC)

I started flipping channels to find something to watch until 7 p.m. and switched to Discovery a few minutes early so I could get settled-in with a snack.  The show advertised above as the 7 p.m. episode was ending!  What’s up with that??

So, I went to Discovery’s website and pulled-up the schedule for tonight.  Here’s what they advertised (times are Eastern Standard Time):

7 p.m. –  Hellcat Ammo/Flamethrowers TV-PG; Bob and Owen roll up their sleeves to search for WWII-era ammunition for a Hellcat tank. The owner offers them the bonus of getting to fire off some live rounds. Then the guys light up a special photo shoot with WWII and Vietnam War-era flamethrowers.

7:30 p.m. – Real GI Joe/1795 Springfield Musket TV-PG; Vintage Productions owner Bob and partner Owen connect passionate collectors with rare military items. They sell a very rare GI Joe and test fire a 1795 Springfield musket. But it’s their job for a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter crew that really strikes home.

I did get to see the guys test fire the Springfield musket and the video of the new owner placing it in his customized display which, when the musket is inserted, looks like a “life-sized” Combat Infantry Badge.  That’s actually pretty awesome.  A neat idea for displaying a nice firearm.

But that’s all I got to see!  TV Guide and the satellite guide say one thing; Discovery says something else.  TV Guide and the satellite say the episodes will rerun at midnight Central Standard Time.  Discovery says they’ll rerun at 1:30 a.m., 2 a.m., and 2:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, January 26th.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I do enjoy sleeping.  It’s one of my favorite activities.  And I function a LOT better when I have an average amount of it each day.  I’m not staying up until “0-Christ-Hundred” to watch a show that may or may not be worth watching.

So what’s up, Discovery??  I’ve already been getting emails and questions from friends/family if maybe the episodes weren’t aired when they were advertised because they didn’t want me to see it again.  While that’s flattering, I don’t believe my blog post would cause a full-scale schedule makeover.  But I still don’t understand why Discovery would change its schedule when it’s already been printed and programmed for one time and decide to air the episodes when people are not usually watching Discovery.  Do they want it to fail now?  Are they hoping only the diehard militaria fans will stay-up to watch it?  Do they hope that those who are usually up at those times will “appreciate” the show more than those who made sure their schedules were open to watch at the advertised times?

Shame on you, Discovery.  Shame, shame, shame.  I was actually looking forward to watching the episodes — and not just to be snarky about them.  I wanted to see if there was any improvement from the first two episodes and be able to comment positively on that.  I have no idea why anyone would want WWII-era ammunition for a Hellcat, so not having seen the episode I can only imagine that it’s an idiotic reason since ammunition does become unstable over time, but I don’t know and I’m not going to speculate.

I’ll wait and see if new episodes are forthcoming, but I’m beginning to seriously doubt it.  Especially since there’s an article on Discovery’s website saying “Combat Cash Finale” and dated today (January 25, 2012).

Oh well….at least I’ve got time to watch something else, and it sure as heck isn’t going to be Sons of Guns that they’ve decided to show in the scheduled time slot for Combat Cash.  If you thought I didn’t like Combat Cash, you don’t want to go into the deep waters of Sons of Guns.  Trust me.

Rednecks with money equals “American Stuffers”

And just when you think you’ve about seen it all on television, along comes something else that makes you wonder, “Who comes up with this stuff?”

Now, I must confess that I like a lot of different shows.  I don’t like soap operas (daytime or nighttime) and I certainly don’t like most sitcoms.  The majority of the time you’ll find my television tuned to History (even though they really don’t show many historical shows anymore), Discovery (absolutely love Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs), Science Channel (I really would love to own a store like Oddities and the things they find are awesome), or BBC America (Top Gear, Doctor Who — just a small sampling of the British shows I love).  If I can find something educational I’ll be more than happy to watch it over any tarted-up “reality show” where every other word has to be bleeped.  I used to enjoy Hell’s Kitchen but you can only listen to someone be so BLEEPingly BLEEP BLEEP without it getting really old.

So last night I sat down to surf the zillion channels available on satellite in the hopes of finding something, anything, worth watching.  Occasionally I’ll tune-in to Animal Planet.  I like their shows Dogs 101 and Cats 101 and occasionally they have a few others that might hold my interest.  I’d watch some of the animal rescue shows but then I’d just get upset seeing how people mistreat their pets and be in a crappy mood for the rest of the day.  And don’t get me started on Animal Hoarders — we can’t even have that show on because Youngest Son gets so angry at the people and cries when he sees the animals that can’t be saved.

Suddenly, a show started from which I could just not look away.  It wasn’t in a “that’s so incredibly awesome” sort of enrapturement as a “really bad car accident” kind of not being able to look away.  Their new show was starting — American Stuffers.

Now, if you’ve not heard of this show yet, I’d suggest you sit down before continuing because it is certainly not like any other reality show on television.  The Ross family of Romance, Arkansas, owns and runs Xtreme Taxidermy.  And when I say “family” I mean ALL of them.  Mrs. Ross is a school teacher, but Mr. Ross and their three sons get very hands-on with the preparation of animals to be stuffed.  There are also two other employees of the shop (one that showed-up one day with a roadkill deer on the back of his moped) and a veterinary student intern named Dixie who gets incredibly grossed-out by dead animals or the idea of having to touch them.  I think she needs to rethink her major!

Other than the standard taxidermy that is performed in their little shop north of Little Rock, Xtreme Taxidermy specializes in a very odd form of preservation.  They taxidermy pets.  And they don’t just skin them and put them on mounts like you do your prized deer or moose head.  The pets are freeze-dried so that they’ll last forever.

I’d already heard of freeze-drying animals, especially in the scientific community where specimens could be preserved.  If you had a two-headed pig or a set of conjoined lambs that didn’t survive, you could have a scientific group prepare them by freeze-drying so that they could be used in the classroom to explain biological anomalies.  Seeing a real, three-dimensional representation is much easier to learn from than a photo in a textbook or just trying to take someone’s word for it.

But pets?  Yes, there are pet cemeteries all around the United States where people pay a lot of money for their pets to be buried in elaborate caskets with ornate headstones.  I have Cody, my previous service dog, buried in the back yard with a plaque over the site.  The only reason we buried him is because we couldn’t do what we normally do when a pet dies — have them cremated.  No one in our area does that.  But in the past when a pet has finally gone to wait at the Rainbow Bridge, we’ve taken their body to the vet’s office to have them cremated and then sprinkled their ashes in places they loved to play or just lay in the sun in the backyard.  I had considered getting an urn to keep Cody’s ashes if we could have had him cremated, but it just wasn’t to be.

I totally understand how people are so attached to their pets.  Anyone who tries to brush-away your grieving by saying, “It was just a dog/cat/hamster/rabbit/etc.” has no idea how much a part of the family they become.  True, I can get another dog/cat/hamster/rabbit/etc., but it’s not going to be the same animal and it’s still not going to fill the void the recently deceased has left.  And don’t get me started on those who are trying to clone dead pets….

But freeze-drying a pet?  I love my pets and service dogs immensely, but I’m not so sure I’d want to have it staring at me for the rest of time.  Or even if you get it done with its eyes closed, it’s still going to be there and you can’t hug and cuddle it like a live pet.  Plus you have to dust it just like any other knick-knack in the house and heaven forbid you have company over and someone’s toddler decides to play with it and snaps off a body part.  Don’t laugh at that — there was an episode last night where after having a Chihuahua in their freezer for four years a family decided to have it freeze-dried along with another dog that had just recently passed away and their kid kept trying to play with them like dolls.  Even Mr. Ross said it would be a miracle if they got home with them intact or if he didn’t receive a phone call in the next two months because she’d snapped the head off of it.

Part of my family is from that northern-central/northeastern part of Arkansas.  I grew up in the Bootheel of Missouri.  We were rednecks and we knew it.  When I got a job as a newspaper editor in one of the “hill-country” counties just north of “Southeast Missouri-proper,” I knew I was a redneck.  They were hillbillies and darned proud of it.  They couldn’t understand me and vice versa.  It was almost a Deliverance-like experience that has shaped (and scarred) my life forever.  So when I watched the show, I understood their accents (even the one shop employee whom the network thought needed subtitles to understand), and I understood that hunting wild hogs or picking up a road-kill deer wasn’t something considered out of the ordinary.  Seeing a young girl coming into their shop to claim her oven-dried hog skull from her first kill didn’t faze me a bit.  Husband, however, was laughing himself silly because nothing seemed to shock me or appear disturbing in my opinion.

And then the lady with the racoon appeared.  I’ve had friends that have had all sorts of weird pets.  And, yes, I’ve seen the horrible tourist-trap taxidermies that have been done like the lizards that are supposed to be a mariachi band or the snakes posed as if they’re going to strike.  And, yes, I’ve even seen the ever-famous jackalopes.  But I’ve never known anyone to keep a racoon as a pet.  Those things are mean.  Really mean — as in “eat your neighbor’s small dogs or cats” mean.  This lady had a 40-pound racoon that she’d raised as a pet that had, sadly, become roadkill.  She wanted it mounted so she could always remember it.  I guess the large photo album she brought with her wasn’t enough.

When Mr. Ross went to the lady’s single-wide trailer to deliver the mount, she proudly showed the places where the racoon had chewed through cabinets and left a path of destruction through the home.  Of course it did!  It’s a wild animal!  But instead of spending money to repair or replace the damages, she gets the animal stuffed.  This is the part of the show where I’ve got issues.

I don’t want to assume bad things about anyone.  And I certainly have had my time (and probably will many additional times) where I couldn’t really afford to have or do the things I wanted and hard choices had to be made.  And when you’ve grown-up in that environment and in an area where it’s very prevalent, you try to remember where your priorities are.  Sure, an income tax refund seems like something that needs to be spent immediately — but I’m not freeze-drying a pet with it!

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’ve not been so traumatized by a pet’s death that I need to have it’s freeze-dried carcass taking up precious floor or shelf space and having it stare at me.  I had major surgery once and Youngest Son bought me a toy owl that had huge plastic eyes that I had to turn the thing away from me at night because it looked as if it was staring into my soul.  I certainly don’t want that from a 40-pound-or-more animal glaring at me.  And if it’s eyes are closed, then what’s the point of “having the pet there” where you can “interact” with it (as many of the customers said)?

I like the fact that the show is family-friendly and probably the harshest word you’ll hear would be “darn.”  But I do have to agree with Mrs. Ross — you bake hog skulls in my good oven and you’re gonna hear about it!

Preparing for battle tomorrow….

Today I’d planned to write something about it being the first Friday the 13th of the new year, but holy crap on a cracker!!  You guys are really into my post about Discovery Channel’s Combat Cash!  My hit-counts are going way up and I’ve had a few comments on the article, too.  I’m either the new speaker for the masses who agree with me that the show is not what it should/could be or I’m the new heretic that should be burned at the stake for daring to say that I didn’t like it and feel as if that’s an hour of my life I’ll never, ever get back.

Either way, it stands up under the Rules for this blog — I write only from the truth, even if it’s just the truth as I see it.  And everyone is free to agree or disagree or agree to disagree with me.  This is just a blog I started to help me process things going on in my head and I can’t help it if something sticks in my craw and the “shut-up filter” won’t activate while I’m typing.  So, thanks to those who’ve read and shared the post!  Thanks to those who’ve commented!  And thanks to those who want to continue this journey with me through the rest of the year.  Remember, insanity doesn’t run through my family — it saunters slowly and gets to know everyone before making itself at home!

So, kind of on the same topic of my Combat Cash rant, today Husband and I are preparing for the Battle of the Bulge reenactment tomorrow at Camp Clark outside Nevada, Missouri.  It’s not as large of an affair as the Conneaut, Ohio D-Day battle, but for those of us in the Midwest who want to have a fun weekend doing LARP (live-action role-playing) of Axis versus Allies it’s a great place to go.  Husband is currently packing the car with the militaria we plan to sell at the event from my website.  Just a note — if you are from California and are coming to the event, don’t tell anyone where you’re from because the word around the Midwest dealers is that now we can double or triple our prices because of that show and you’ll be more than willing to pay them.  I don’t plan on taking any modern-day militaria; just packing the WWII through Vietnam-era items that might be of interest to the reenactors.  Many of them will get tired or will have blown through their supply of blanks quickly and will want something to do, so we’re more than happy to sell them stuff at reasonable prices so they can brag to their friends/comrades/etc. what a deal they got or how they were lucky to find such an unusual item.

I’m in the process of making sure all of my uniform pieces are present and ready for inspection.  Yes, even though I’m a female and women didn’t have front-line positions in the military, I do WWII reenacting and have for many, many years.  And not just when I do Soviet where females were on the front-lines as snipers, tank crews, and many other positions.  I am the unit commander for the 35th Infantry Division, MP Platoon based out of Southern Missouri and Arkansas.  I do a male impression when there’s a tactical battle (no public audience) because I’m not content to sit on the sidelines and watch all the guys have fun running through the woods and “shooting” at each other.  I have to make sure my uniform is correct; my hair is cut short like the guys or pinned-up so that it meets the 10-foot “authenticity” rule; and I have to show and reshow people I’m just as qualified and in some cases more qualified to lead a unit into “battle.”  And as for the 10-foot “authenticity” rule, I pass it easily.  True, I’m heavier than most WWII recruits would have been and there’s always some smartass who makes a comment about the ampleness of my chestular region.  But, my uniform is usually more authentic (or at least reproduced more authentically) than many of the guys’ are.  Also, Husband and I have sent shockwaves through some of the German units who thought they witnessed two male reenactors kissing after a particularly tough scenario, only to find out that it was us greeting each other on the way back to the vehicles.  I’d say that counts as an “authenticity” pass.

This year, however, I probably won’t be on the “front lines” as much since Celeste, my service dog, will be coming with me.  Beaucerons were used in WWI and WWII by the Allies, so she’ll be the perfect “war dog” to take and intimidate the captured enemy soldiers into confessing their objectives (even though the most she’d do would be lick them if I let her).  She’s even getting excited about going somewhere because she sees me packing new leads and collars and a lot of extra food, water, treats, and her booties (to protect her pads) in her  personal bag.  Plus, she deserves “doggie time” and there will be ample time when the battle is raging somewhere else that she and I can toss a ball around and let herself enjoy playing in the sun.

Husband, however, has already jumped into “military mode.”  As a bit of history on him, he is a military veteran having served in both the Army and Air National Guard for over 28 years.  But when we get ready for WWII battles, you’d think he’d jumped-back in time and “Sergeant Husband” has stepped forward to organize a full mobilization.  He want to be sure to get to the “fuel depot” (to fill-up our 2001 Suzuki Esteem wagon since we no longer own a military vehicle).  He’s up at “Oh-Christ-Hundred Hours” making a list of everything that needs to be done and packed and the specific order in which it will be done so that he can stow the “manifest” to ensure everything makes it to the battle site and back home again.  Actually, I can’t complain — he saves me a LOT of time and worry about things because usually all I have to do the morning of the trip is wake up, take the dogs to go “walkies,” get dressed and enjoy the ride because everything’s packed and ready.  Even my ammunition clips are already loaded and waiting for me!

So, this is what I’ll be doing tomorrow.  I just wanted to be sure to clarify that in case I’m either too tired or too sore to type anything before tomorrow’s midnight deadline in keeping with the Rules of the blog.  But don’t worry — I’ll be sure to  have a great recap of what happens, especially for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.  It’s not a cheap hobby; it’s not an easy hobby; but it’s my hobby and it’s a LOT of fun!!!

Discovery’s “Combat Cash” is crap!

Reality TV is stupid.  It’s beyond stupid.  And it’s certainly not any reality I’m familiar with — actual or imaginary.

People have become hooked on watching other people do incredibly stupid things to get on television with the hopes of winning money, getting married, or just for their 15 minutes of fame.  And what passes for “reality” television these days is horrible.

Last night, I suffered through Discovery Channel’s latest “reality” show, Combat Cash.  I figured that someone, like myself, who is into militaria and World War II reenacting would enjoy a show about others who have the same interests and perhaps I might learn a thing or two.  I learned something alright….I learned that these guys are idiots.

Let’s go back a bit for those who aren’t personally familiar with who I am and what I do.  When I’m not working disasters with a certain governmental agency, I run an online military surplus retail store (you can find the website in my profile information).  Husband and I have collected, bought, sold, and traded military items from almost every major conflict and most of the major players in them.  We specialize in items from World War I to the Vietnam Conflict (although, every veteran and civilian I’ve ever met that was in Vietnam at that time said it sounded more like a war than a “conflict”).  Our main speciality is World War II GI (American) Military Police and the 35th Infantry Division.  We even attend World War II reenactments where, yes, we as fully-grown adults dress-up in uniforms (mostly reproductions since originals are hard to come by these days) and play “good-guy/bad-guy” with others dressed as Germans.  We attend as either US 35th Division MPs if it’s a Western Front event and as USSR NKVD if it’s an Eastern Front event.  Many of our friends portray British, Italian, German, GI, partisan, and Soviet and we have a good time running in the woods shooting blanks at each other just like kids used to do when playing “Cowboys and Indians” with their old cap guns and toy bow-and-arrow sets.  It’s pretty much the same, actually….except that the “guns” are actual military surplus and cost a LOT more than your average plastic six-shooter but the amount of squabbling over who did and didn’t get “killed” is still pretty much the same.

So, it’s pretty safe to say that we know what our items are and what they aren’t.  We’ve had to become adept at detecting the faked items from the real thing — and these days it’s getting harder and harder to do.  There are companies that not only make almost perfect copies of WWII German medals/awards, they even have reproduced the boxes in which they were originally presented!!  That’s one reason I won’t buy German militaria unless I can absolutely, without-a-doubt prove that it’s original.  Too many fakes out there for my wallet.  Sure, it’s great to buy reproduction items when you’re on a budget and need something for a collection to hold a place until you can get an authentic item or if you plan to run around in the woods and don’t want to take your incredibly expensive originals out to play.  But if you’re buying and selling items to make a profit and you don’t have a clue as to what is and isn’t real and how the fakes are fooling many, then you’re in big trouble.

I grudgingly sat down with Husband to watch the premiere episode of Combat Cash last night and laughed about how we’d been contacted months ago by “producers” saying that they worked with Discovery, TLC, and other big cable networks who wanted to do a reality show about military surplus collectors/dealers and if we would be interested.  First of all, this “request” came by email from someone I had no idea and couldn’t find information about who they were.  Secondly, why would I want to show where I purchase my inventory or how I get awesome deals on it??  It’s like announcing to the world, “Here’s how it’s done, so be sure to get there before I do because I don’t have the desire to actually make money anymore.  Oh, and while you’re at it, here’s where we live/work so you can see our collection and steal it from us.  M’kay?”

The first episode was awful.  Pure and simple — just awful.  As a matter of fact, I started live-posting on Facebook about it when I wasn’t either laughing myself silly or having a fit over something stupid said or done on the show.  I posted on my profile and our business’ page.  Here’s a sample:

“Watching the premiere episode of Discovery Channel’s ‘Combat Cash.’  OMG!!  These guys are idiots!  They say they know everyone in military collecting — well, we’ve never heard of them!  Getting ready to watch the episode that includes WWII reenactors.  This should be a fiasco!”

“Watching Discovery Channel’s new show ‘Combat Cash.”  The premiere episode was incredibly stupid.  Watching the second episode which is supposed to feature WWII reenactors.  They just said that ‘not many people have this kind of firepower (i.e. M1 Garands, MP40s, MG34s, etc.).’  No….not in southern California where they are they don’t!  They’re using the firearms to record sound effects for a WWII videogame that has dinosaurs as Hitler’s mechanized weapons.  We’ll maybe they at least won’t have someone yelling ‘Take your hit!’ like Medal of Honor: Underground had.  That is, if they don’t kill themselves — range safety seems nonexistent!”

“Okay….just to let everyone know, we saw the ‘Combat Cash’ guys sell an “original” M1 steel pot painted with medic insignia for $1250.  No, there’s not a decimal point missing out of that — they sold it for twelve hundred fifty dollars!!  Now everyone will believe ANY painted “WWII” helmet is worth at least that.  And they didn’t even prove that it was “original” (stamps, seams, etc.) that people who actually know their stuff would be sure to look for.  I feel sorry for the guys who bought it ’cause now their names are all over national TV!”

You get the idea.  And the show also featured them going to the annual Conneaut, Ohio D-Day reenactment.  Now, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend that even but I’ve heard it’s pretty awesome.  The last D-Day invasion I participated in was the 50th anniversary reenactment at Ft. Story, Virginia.  That was AWESOME!  But, I digress….

These yahoos they call “hosts” of the show started walking through the vendor area and were talking about how “Midwestern prices” are insanely low and how they could go in, buy a lot of stuff, and sell it for twice or three times what they paid to customers in California.  Oh, goody!!  They’re not only incompetent at identifying items or putting reasonable values on them, but now they’re insulting us who live/work in the Midwest by basically typecasting us as ignorant rednecks and hillbillies who are too stupid to know what things are “really” worth.

In the show, they make a point of saying that they’re very busy finding new items for their store and that the store is open by appointment only.  Who can make a living operating that way?  And they charged the videogame dudes $5000 to record sounds of weapons when they could have easily flown themselves to Knob Creek,  Kentucky for one of their Machine Gun Shoots and gotten all the effects they needed for a lot less than that!  The final straw for me was watching these goobers argue over whether or not to purchase a BSA paratrooper bicycle and watching the seller get really irritated at their squabbling.  It was finally decided that if one of the guys jumped out of a plane that they would buy it.  Huh???  It wasn’t even the seller offering to take the guy skydiving!!  Why would you settle a purchase argument by spending more money???

I hope this show either (1) goes off the air soon so that reputable militaria collectors/vendors like myself and many other companies we affiliate with will be able to continue selling items before the general public starts ranting “But on Combat Cash they offered a guy more!” or (2) that they find someone who actually knows what he/she is doing to educate these people that the whole militaria collecting world doesn’t revolve around what’s done in southern California.

But, I did notice one of the guys lost a rear sight on the M1 Carbine he borrowed for the D-Day battle.  I’ve got an original WWII one for sale!!  Maybe I’ll inflate my price on it, just so they’ll feel more comfortable!!

Post Navigation