Bull Riding Memory

September 30, 2014

Today I took a trip down memory lane and realized it’s been 25 years since the night I let my mouth overload my behind and talked my way into riding my first bull.

It all started one night in Bardstown, Kentucky.  Me and my buddy Carl were bareback bronc riders.  Our event was over so we were killing time trying to find out if a redheaded cowgirl preferred tall thin cowboys like him or short stocky ones like me.  We were giving her ample opportunity to make up her mind.

Well, the bull riding event came up and the first bull came out the shoot bucking like his life depended on it.  Carl said, “I just don’t think I could do that.”  I said “do what Carl?”  He said, “Ride a bull.”  To which I responded, “It’s mind over matter Carl.  If you don’t mind the bull don’t matter.”  That’s when he looked at the redhead on the fence, then nodded at me and said, “I want to see Gorilla Nuts here try it.”  Now I’d had a bit to drink and wasn’t really thinking about what I was saying or who I was saying it too.  Before I knew it I popped off with, “You bring a bull rope to New Albany and by God you’ll see it.”  New  Albany, Indiana was our next rodeo.  Carl never said a word.

The next Thursday night before the rodeo on Friday, I hurried home from work as fast as I could.  I went straight to the phone and called the stock contractor who put on the rodeos.  You see, there  were more cowboys that wanted to ride than there was stock to put them on.  So if you didn’t call quick you might not get to ride.  That’s why Carl and I had a deal with the stock contractor that whichever one of us called first could enter us both.  You can see where this is going can’t you?

I called and the stock contractors wife answered the phone.  “This is Jerry Orange calling to enter for the weekend,” I said.  She replied, “Jerry, Carl’s already called and entered for you.”  I swallowed  hard and asked, “How am I entered?”  She answered, “You’ve got a bareback bronc on Friday and bull on Saturday.”  When I didn’t say anything she asked me, “Is that OK?”  My voice cracked when I said, “Yeah.”  My stomach turned over and I thought I was going to be sick.  I started shaking so bad I almost dropped the phone.

Friday night I got to the New Albany fairgrounds and as I was coming through the gate, the couple selling the entry tickets told me the stock contractor wanted to see me.  I looked him up and he said he wanted me to ride the bronc and the bull both that night.  I told him to let me see if Carl brought a bull rope.  Sure enough, he brought the damned bull rope.  I was scared to death but there was no way in hell I was going to back down.  So I said I’d ride them both the same night.

I still hurt from that bareback ride.  That horse beat me half to death.  Then she flung me so high that I had a cup of coffee with the man in the moon before landing on my head at 45 degree angle with a twist.  I didn’t know it at the time but I was 1/16th of inch from my neck being broke.  I staggered to my feet and almost got run over by the pickup horse.  Carl saw that I was hurt so he jumped in the arena and led me to the fence.

Now my Mama and Daddy and my little sister happened to be in the stands watching that night.  My Dad came back behind the chutes to see if I was OK.  When he walked up I was standing beside Carl who had a beer in his hand.  They told me later that I repeated myself a few times but all I remember is looking at my Dad and saying, “I’m sorry Pop but I need this.”  Then I took Carl’s beer, turned it up and drank it all.  My father is a Southern Baptist Preacher.

The next thing I knew they were calling “Cowboy up!” for me to get on the bull.  Now I’d never even been on a mechanical bull.  The only bovine I ever rode before that bull was my Papaw’s Friendly Cow that he used to set me and my brother up on when we were little kids.  I told them I had no clue what I was doing so they all gathered around and talked me through it.  Daddy told me later that Mama cried when I climbed in the chute and got tied down.

I got tied down on this Black Angus bull with a bubble and a twist in my rope.  He laid down in the chute and when we got him back on his feet we re-tied my rope.  Dang if he didn’t lay down again.  This time I tried to go down with him so my rope wouldn’t come loose.  As soon as he came up I told the guy on the gate to “Let us out.”  He opened the gate and the bull spun out of the chute.  The world went into slow motion for a split second and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that at that moment in time I was exactly where I was supposed to be in the world.  It was THE most awesome feeling I’d ever known to that point in my life.  It was better than my first jump in Airborne School.  The bull made three jumps straight ahead then he ducked to the left and went back to the right.  I kept going left.  I hit the ground and the bull stomped my leg as he went after the clown.  My friends said I hit the ground and bounced back up on the arena fence like a rubber ball.

When the rodeo was over we all went to the dance hall, The Village Pub in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  I paid my cover at the door and a girl I knew came up to me and said, “Lisa saw you ride that bull tonight.  She wants you to come over to our table.”  Lisa was a very pretty blonde woman that I had been trying to go out with for months……………………………

Lean Six Sigma and a friend from Iraq

September 19, 2014

I don’t like to talk much about work on here but this week I attended a class on Lean Six Sigma.  It was a good class with useful information.  I’m looking forward to putting it to use at work, at home, and even in my writing and marketing.  I enjoyed the class and actually learned from it.

I want to stay positive so I will stay positive.  The news is full of bad news but I’ll point out something good.  I have a friend who I helped immigrate from Iraq to the U.S.  He is from Northern Iraq.  His mother and brothers are still there.  He told me this morning that they are safe.  Isis took over all the Christian villages but his.  I remember how when I was in Iraq he told me, “If you come to my village, you better know someone there or we won’t let you in.”  My friend is doing well in California with his wife.  I’m happy for him and his family.

Reflections on turning 50

September 12, 2014

I turned 50 years old this week. 50 seems like such a significant number. Why is that? I don’t feel much older today than I did when I was 40. My health is good. I have a good job. My wife and children love me. I’m doing well in my work and my writing.

So why is 50 such a big deal?

To tell the truth, I feel like I’ve finally come into my own. I’m content with who I am. I have no delusions good or bad about what I am capable of doing or not doing. I know my strengths and my weakness. I’m finally pursuing what I want to do. I love my writing. I’m not terribly fond of the marketing part of it but I’m self-published and that means the marketing is all on me. So just a word of warning, you are going to see and hear a lot about my writing in the future. It’s something I love and something that I intend to keep doing.

I’ve also become an NRA certified Basic Rifle and Pistol instructor. I’ve been teaching people to shoot for a long time. Now I have credentials to go with it and I hope to make a little extra money teaching the occasional class when I’m home.

I can’t say my life is perfect at the age of 50 but it’s looking pretty damned good. I’ve been blessed with good health in spite of the hazardous things I’ve done in my life. I have a great wife and five wonderful children.

So, I guess I’m at the half-way point in life. I’ve decided to live to be at least 100. The next 50 years should be a great ride. The last fifty have had their rough spots but I made it through by the grace of God. I’m sure when I die that my guardian angel will qualify for disability.  But I’m looking forward to the next 50 years to see what they bring.

Friends, books on sale, books coming soon

September 5, 2014

I had a great conversation today with an old friend from college who is now a New York lawyer.  The purpose of the call was to discuss a courtroom scene in my second book Texas Yankee: Honeymoon which is coming soon to Amazon and Kindle.  We started off on track but then got pleasantly sidetracked discussing how far we’ve both come in life since our college days.  We didn’t talk so much about finances and jobs but about learning who we both are and how we came to be the people we are.  We hadn’t talked in 20 plus years but it was like we picked up where we left off.  She is a wonderful person.  So we got back to the story and we will be discussing that courtroom scene again in a couple of weeks.

The cover for Texas Yankee: Honeymoon is complete and I’ve really happy with it.  Open Door Creative in Austin, Texas did a wonderful job for me at a very reasonable price.  If you have any graphic art work that needs doing, I highly recommend giving them a call.  Once the check is cashed and I have the whole packet in my hands I’ll post the cover.

In the meantime, Texas Yankee: Homecoming is currently on sale in the Kindle version on Amazon.com.  The starting price is 99 cents right now and will gradually go back up the original $3.99.  If you like action, adventure, a little drama, some humor, and some romance wrapped up in a Historically accurate package, I encourage you to check it out. 

http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Yankee-Homecoming-Jerry-Orange/dp/1478301791/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409930893&sr=8-1&keywords=Texas+Yankee%3A+Homecoming

Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free AND if you would like your kindle version autographed go to https://www.authorgraph.com/

Texas Yankee: Homecoming

September 2, 2014

Texas_Yankee_Cover_for_Kindle

Texas Yankee: Homecoming sold 200 copies in 9 months.  The sequel, Texas Yankee: Honeymoon will be out in a couple of months.

Texas Yankee: Homecoming
at https://www.createspace.com/3946621?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026
or
http://amazon.com/author/jerry_p_orange

Evolution of the .45-70 Cartridge

March 28, 2014

At the end of the American Civil War the U.S. Army had a huge surplus of muzzle loading .58 caliber Springfield rifles.  The war had taught the Army that metallic cartridges were better than the muzzle loading percussion arms.  So rather than scrap all those rifles, a gentleman by the name of Allen designed the Allen conversion to convert the muzzle loading percussion arms to breech loading cartridge arms.  The Allen conversion was what we call a trapdoor design which eventually led to the production of the Trapdoor Springfield rifle, but that is another story.  The original Allen conversions were chambered for a .58 caliber rimfire cartridge.  This cartridge had a rainbow trajectory with ballistics on the receiving end that was like getting hit with two .45 ACP rounds at once.  The Army wanted better ballistics in the form of a flatter shooting cartridge so they had the barrels on the .58 caliber guns brought down to .50 caliber using a sleeve.  The new cartridge was a .50-90 centerfire.  It used a .50 caliber bullet with 90 grains of black powder.  This cartridge was used in converted Springfield rifles for the Infantry and converted Sharps carbines for the Cavalry.  In the big Infantry rifle the cartridge wasn’t too bad to shoot but in the Sharps carbine it would almost knock the cavalryman shooting it off his horse with the recoil.  So in the interest of standardization the Army lowered the powder charge to 70 grains resulting in the .50-70 cartridge.  This seemed to be a more user friendly cartridge.  About 1873 the Army decided that they wanted a new standard arm and that the .45 caliber bullet would give a flatter trajectory than the .50 caliber and thus the .45-70 cartridge was developed and the .45-70 Trapdoor Springfield was adopted.  By today’s standards the .45-70 is big and slow.  By the standards of 1870’s it was quite the cartridge and it will still perform as well today as it did then.  Now you know the history of the .45-70 cartridge.

You can see more historical information on my Texas Yankee the Series Facebook page.

You can find my book Texas Yankee: Homecoming on Amazon or at the following link: https://www.createspace.com/3946621?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026

Thank you for checking out my blog,

Jerry P. Orange

Hello Stranger (an update on Jerry Orange)

March 23, 2014

It’s been a long time since I’ve added anything to this blog. For those who were following the blog I can only say life got in the way. It’s been busy and things have changed a lot for me. I’m still working in Afghanistan for DynCorp as the Operations Manager for the Project Management Office. I am not going to try and post something every day but my goal is to be fairly regular. I won’t post something just be posting. I hope you will enjoy the future posts.

So for a quick update on what’s been going on……
I spent a year as a Training Mentor for DynCorp. I thought when I took the job that I’d be working with the Afghans. It turned out to be working with the Coalition forces at the Headquarters where it didn’t matter if were a idiot or genius as long as you were an expert in PowerPoint. Not being an expert in PowerPoint, it was a long year. I met some good people though. I also met one bona-fide A-Hole who would glad hand you to your face and figuratively plunge a knife hilt deep between your ribs. I have the figurative scars to prove it.

On a positive note I published my first book, Texas Yankee: Homecoming on October 25, 2013. You can find it at;

https://www.createspace.com/3946621?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026
or
http://amazon.com/author/jerry_p_orange

So far there are over 1500 copies in circulation, 16 reviews on Amazon, 6 ratings and 2 reviews on Goodreads.com.

I also created a Facebook Page for my books. The page is Texas Yankee the Series. https://www.facebook.com/TexasYankeetheSeries

It’s good to be back.

Ode to Nerds

October 21, 2012

 

Ode to Nerds;

Nerds have advanced civilization from the beginning of time. While Generals, Armies, and sometimes Politicians or Clergymen get the most recognition in the history books we’d still be hunting our food with sticks if it wasn’t for nerds. I have this vision of the first nerd as he hardened the point of his wooden spear in the fire. I’m certain the Jock of the tribe made fun of him with something like “Og burn stick. He try cook slouth from inside out before kill. Ha Ha Og dummy poke out eye with burned stick.” But then when Og’s stick held it’s point while Jock’s point got soft, Jock hardened his stick in the fire too. Then Og the tribal nerd learns to nap flint and make spear points out of stone. Jock says, “Og big dummy. Make club with flat rock. Flat rock no bash head of bear.” Of course when Og kills the bear with the flint spear point and skins the bear with the flint knife Og doesn’t have to hunt anymore because all the other hunters trade their kill to Og for flint knives and spear points. Then Og hired other cavemen to nap flints for him to trade and became the first successful businessman.

So you’re probably wondering where this is all coming from or where it’s going. Well, here it is. In researching steamboat travel in the 1800’s for my second book in the Texas Yankee series it occurred to me that without nerds civilization as we know it would never have come to pass.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about from American History;

Louis and Clark were nerds. They were surveyors.

Sam Colt, Christian Sharp, and Tyler Henry were all nerds. They were engineers and mechanics.

John Fitch was the nerd who invented the first successful steamboat in the U.S.

Robert Fulton followed John Fitch’s lead and turned the steamboat into a commercial success. He also invented the first submarine.

Engineers and surveyors built the railroads.

I bet most of you didn’t know that Robert E. Lee developed the river ports of St. Louis Missouri by basically rerouting the shifting of the Mississippi River. Yes, Robert E. Lee one of the finest Generals in American history was a nerd.

So while the gun fighters and bad men get the attention of Hollywood, just remember that nerds conquered the American West with riverboats and railroads along with supplying the guns that “won the west”.

Today pop culture focuses on sports teams, singers, and actresses. Meanwhile the Michael Dell’s of the world make this very communication possible and easy enough that a guy like me who still shoots black powder pistols can effectively communicate with the world. I even met my wife on the internet. Thank you nerds.

To wrap this up I want to thank all my nerdy friends and give a virtual High-Five to all the nerds of the world. The person who picked on nerds in high school can’t compete with the fact that nerds put men on the moon and nerds have made the exploration of Mars possible. To all the young nerds out there, keep up the good work!

Adult Bullies

August 21, 2012

     I had lunch with an assistant site manager yesterday.  He’s young (under 40), retired NCO from the Army.  He’s fairly tall, lean, and muscular.  I expect ladies would think he’s good looking.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he has a very high opinion of himself. 

     However, none of that made any difference to me because he kept picking on another guy at the table for being short.  He kept it up constantly until he got off on the subject of jokes he had played on people who worked “for” him. 

     Two of the so-called jokes concerned people’s R&R’s.  When you work as a contractor in a war zone, R&R is no joking matter.  The A-hole actually approved one woman’s R&R but printed out a second copy of the form showing disapproved.  He thought it was funny to give the woman the disapproved R&R request all the while knowing that she’d already paid for her plane ticket as required by the company (dumb company policy to require a ticket purchase prior to R&R approval by the way).  So he left the disapproved form on her desk while she was gone and then forgot about it.  Later on in the day he saw her and she had the disapproved form in her hand.  She questioned him about it and he played it off like the disapproval was real for about 5 minutes.  Then as he was walking off he stopped and told her it was a joke.  He couldn’t understand why she got mad at him.  I told I’d have been mad too. 

     The other “joke” was when he told another woman that she wouldn’t be able to leave Kandahar for her R&R on time because there were no company flights leaving the day she was supposed to leave.  That woman almost bought a charter plane ticket from Kandahar to Dubai out of her own pocket when it wasn’t necessary before this guy told her he had only been joking.  He couldn’t figure out why she was mad either. 

     I came to the conclusion that this knot-head has never had someone knock him on his keester for doing this kind of mean stuff all in the name of “good fun.”  He’s just a bully who never got his lip busted for it and still continues the practices today because he’s in a position where the people know that to keep their jobs they need to keep their mouths shut.  Going to HR with it or smacking him in the mouth like he deserves would get them fired.  Knocking his teeth out would put a stop to it the quickest but we all want to keep our jobs and that would get us fired quickly.  Going to HR over it get you labeled  a trouble maker and you’d be at the top of the list for not getting your contract renewed. 

     I doubt that he will have an opportunity to mess with me because my job doesn’t fall under his purview.  But I’ve also told him that messing with me like that would make me mad too.  I didn’t laugh like some others at the table did.  I hope he got the point.  I guess it just goes to prove that even adults have bullies to deal with.  The stakes are higher when you have a family to support and the bully is in your company chain of command.  You have to decide for yourself how you’ll deal with it.  Sometimes the fight isn’t worth the cost.

     I know that the people who have really gone out of their way to mess with me in the 8 years I’ve been working LOGCAP Contracts have all met their fate with minimal assistance from me.  I don’t go out of my way to give people grief.  I’ve seen the hand of God work against those who’ve done me wrong over here.  It’s a pretty interesting thing to watch.  All I have to do is keep doing what is right and God takes care of the rest.  It hasn’t always happened in the time frame that I’d like to see it but it happens and when it does, it is much more effective than anything I could have done.

     I’m sure this bully will eventually get his comeuppance.  I say this not because he has messed with me personally but the people he messed with were Christians and you don’t mess with God’s people without it coming back around to get you.  This guy is fairly high up in the food chain and when he falls it will hurt.   So if you’re a Christian and you have someone like this guy in your life, just keep doing the right thing and it will all work out in God’s time.  

Conversation w/liberal about taxes/Obamacare for special needs/Texas Yankee coming soon

August 15, 2012

I promised a friend I’d update my blog so here goes.  I’m going to try and update it at least once a month in the future, maybe even once a week.  I’m burned out on politics and gun control for the moment but I’m sure I’ll recover.  I’ve been having an interesting conversation with a liberal on Senator John Albers Facebook page.  If you want to check it out here’s the link.  https://www.facebook.com/#!/john.albers/posts/4386549547504?notif_t=feed_comment_reply

I get pretty twisted about the abusiveness of our government and people wanting to take more of my money in taxes to support other peoples’ tattoos, gold teeth, and drug habits.  But that’s how the Democratic party has been buying votes for years.  I’ll get off that topic now before I get ticked off again.

Many of you have heard me talk about my wife Tracye telling me about Obamacare requiring and End of Life Plan for my daughter Madison.  I’ve been asked to document it.  So here it is.  The wording in the version that passed Congress has been changed to Advanced Care Planning.  Below you will find a link to the law itself followed by several citations and comments by Tracye and me.  Feel free to share the information.  The link is to the version that was actually passed into law. 

 http://housedocs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf

Notes to me from Tracye who found the End of Life Plan requirement for disabled people before the bill was passed; “Page 641 section 1233.  It has been reworded but it doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines.  They are calling it “voluntary advanced care planning” but you are only allowed to change it every five years and if you read through legalese, the “secretary” can still deny your doctors request to fulfill your directive.  They are also trying to make people think it’s only for the elderly but it pertains to both Medicare and SSI which if you didn’t make what you do, Madi would qualify for. “

Jerry’s note; I didn’t copy and paste everything into this because it would be too much.  The citations are there so you can read it for yourself if you want.  I will warn you that there are so many references to changes in tax codes, and other regulations that you’d have to research the Library of Congress for days to get to and read all the changes and additions to documents that are referenced in obamacare.  So below is what I was able to put together going back and forth through bureaucratic wording leading up to and in relation to End of Life Planning for the elderly and disabled.   It wasn’t easy to follow.

Page 9 GENERAL DEFINITIONS.—Except as otherwise provided, in this division:(1) ACCEPTABLE COVERAGE.—The term ‘‘acceptable coverage’’ has the meaning given such term in section 302(d)(2).  See page 159 for definition.

Page 129, section 240; Dissemination of Advance Care Planning Information (the revised nicer sounding version of End of Life Planning)

Page 196 Taxes on individuals not obtaining acceptable coverage

Page 203 MODEL GUIDELINES.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’.  Jerry’s note; This Secretary has a lot of discretion on what does and doesn’t get allowed in the Advance Care Planning.  The Secretary is also able to determine what constitutes acceptable coverage see page 304.  That could include in some cases a penalty or tax for not volunteering to do the Advance Care Planning.   

Page 300 OTHER COVERAGE.—Such other health benefits coverage as the Secretary, in coordination with the Health Choices Commissioner, recognizes for purposes of this subsection.

Page 304 ‘‘(6) NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.—The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55.

REGULATIONS.—The Secretary shall prescribe such regulations or other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section, including regulations or other guidance (developed in coordination with the Health Choices Commissioner) which provide— ‘‘(1) exemption from the tax imposed under subsection (a) in cases of de minimis lapses of acceptable coverage, and ‘‘(2) a waiver of the application of subsection (a) in cases of hardship, including a process for applying for such a waiver.’’.

Page 368 PART 3—TREATMENT OF SPECIAL NEEDS PLANS

Sec. 1176. Limitation on enrollment outside open enrollment period of individuals into chronic care specialized MA plans for special needs individuals.

sec. 1177. Extension of authority of special needs plans to restrict enrollment; service area moratorium for certain SNPs.

Page 545 PART 3—TREATMENT OF SPECIAL NEEDS PLANS

 SEC. 1176. LIMITATION ON ENROLLMENT OUTSIDE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD OF INDIVIDUALS INTO CHRONIC CARE SPECIALIZED MA PLANS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS INDIVIDUALS

Page 641 SEC. 1233. VOLUNTARY ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION. 

Jerry’s note; there it is and everything leading up to it.  Notice how much discretion the Secretary has in all of this.  Basically the Secretary can determine if you have to have this as part of your “acceptable coverage” or not as he/she deems necessary and penalize you if you don’t comply.   The whole obamacare plan has been rewritten to be voluntary with penalties and taxes for non-participation.  But the President said no new taxes with this plan didn’t he?  Read it and see how many times the tax code is amended, taxes are not treated as taxes, and penalties are accessed.  I suppose the “voluntary” nature of the wording got it passed.  If there are penalties for not playing is it really voluntary?  If a physician and the Secretary don’t agree with your choice of treatment when/if you do this Voluntary Advance Care Planning, there is nothing that says they have to sign off on your choices.  If they don’t you’re screwed. 

After scanning the rest of the bill it has become very apparent that The Secretary is going to be a very busy and powerful individual coming up with all the rules, regulations, policies, and determinations at his or her own discretion that the rest of will have to live by whether we like it or not.  This law even gets into putting food warnings and nutritional information on restaurant menus.  I don’t want one person or their appointees having that much control over my life.  The bureaucracy to do everything that these 1990 pages describes will have to be massive.

I’ve been working on getting my first book Texas Yankee self-published.  I tried the “traditional” route of finding an agent and the agent selling the book to a publisher.  What I discovered is that there is a whole industry wrapped around teaching you how to seduce an agent to read your book in the hopes that they will represent you.  So you can spend your time and money searching how to write a query letter, then you can spend more time and money searching for agents, then spend more time researching those agents and what they want in a query letter because none of them respond to the same stimuli.  After you’ve done all that you can send them all query letters in the specific formats they want giving them exactly what they ask for.  That is usually followed by a form letter, anywhere from two weeks to six months later, telling you that what you have doesn’t inspire them or isn’t what they’re looking for at this time, blah blah blah, good luck and keep trying.  Or you can buy books from successful self-publishers and do it yourself.  Either way is a gamble.  But after a many rejection letters while my friends who’ve read the story tell me it’s a good read and they want more, I decided that I’d rather spend more time writing more books than spend time researching and writing query letters.  So I’ll be self-publishing Texas Yankee; Homecoming very soon.  At the age of 48 I don’t have 20 years to wait on being “discovered.”  Patience has never been one of my strength anyway.  So for those of you who like a good historical novel set in the 1800s American West keep an eye out for Texas Yankee; Homecoming.  It’s coming soon.