Bill Wise, 1938- 2007

Pictured: Bill Wise and Floyd Mansell

My friend (and a personal hero) Bill Wise, of Harrington Delaware, died on the 24th of February. I wrote about him a bit here.

After breaking his neck in a surfing accident in 1965 he went on to live a life more adventurous than that of most people who have no problems. He never lost his sense of humor or his courage. He will be missed, not only by Rosalie and his kids but be all his many friends and fans. He was a constant inspiration and a reminder that we should live life to the fullest, as he did.

Below is his official obit.


BORN 9/22/38

Attended the University of Delaware. Achieved the rank of Specialist E-5 in the Delaware National Guard. Was employed by the U.S. Postal Service in Harrington. With Partner established one of the first surfboard shops on the East Coast in 1962 called The Eastern Surfer located in Harrington DE and Ocean City, MD and later in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Was instrumental with his wife in operating Likewise Bikini Shops in Ocean City, MD that fit and manufactured bathing suits of Hawaiian fabrics for their customers.

Mr. Wise was a lifelong sportsman. He was a charter member of the Diamond State Skin divers, a spear fishing and archeological dive group. He passionately participated in outdoor activities, especially hunting and fishing. A surfing accident in 1965 severely paralyzed him, wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. Mr. Wise was a member of the Delaware Maryland Paralyzed Veterans Association for more than 25 years. From 1979 through 1984 Mr. Wise served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Delaware Trapshooting Hall of Fame, and was a respected sporting firearms historian.

A writer and photographer, Mr. Wise’s work appeared in international periodicals, books and newspapers. He wrote weekly columns for the Milford (DE) Chronicle and The Beachcomber papers in Delaware and Maryland.

In 1996 Mr. Wise was inducted in the East Coast Surfing Legends Hall of Fame for his lifetime contributions to the sport of surfing. He was widely known in international sporting circles.

With a zest for life he traveled widely, flew gliders, swam with dolphins, and observed nature from a unique perspective.

Mr. Wise was preceded in death by his parents, Byron E. and Helen McKenna Wise.

He is survived by his wife Rosalie T., sons and spouses, Ben E. and Connie of Chestertown, MD, J. Eric and Linda K. of rural Henderson MD, Todd A. and Shelly C. and Christi and Ken Boots of Andrewville, DE, sisters, Luanne Wise of Slaughter Beach, DE and Lora McKenna of Philadelphia, PA. Nine Grandchildren; Parker, Grayson, Erika, Zachary, Jessica and Julia Wise, Harbour, Londin, and Kaden Boots.

Family and Friends may call from 10 a.m. to Noon Tuesday, February 27; with prayer service following at Melvin Funeral Home located at 15522 S. DuPont Highway, Harrington, DE 19952.

Burial will be private at Hollywood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Hunt of a Lifetime.

(6297 Buffalo Road
Harborcreek, PA 16421)

The Zumbo Flap

First, read Tam here for the background:

“On Friday evening, a gunwriter who was apparently tired of his 42-year career put his word processor in his mouth and pulled the trigger.”

Old hunting writer Jim Zumbo called semiauto rifles “terrorist guns”, and said they should be banned.

Dumb, and ignorant. As anyone who knows me knows, I disagree with Zumbo.

I do not support the 1994 “Assault” weapons ban. I am an NRA Life member. I own a Russki SKS.


In Gun Nut, his old friend Dave Petzal, WHILE DISAGREEING, posted a limited defense of his old friend. Last I looked, there were over 400 comments, most insulting. Here is a sample.

“I am honestly starting to believe that a lot of these hick hunter types are actually socialists who found a copy of Mao and would like to see America fade into socialist aristocracy.”

[“Hick socialist aristocrat” may be the most unlikely and oxymoronic combination of words I have ever seen.]

“FUDD [ie, hunter] ignorance is a DANGEROUS thing to firearm ownership.”


I agree with the commentators below.

“1. The last time I was around anything this vicious, my mother-in-law was going after the last beer at my wedding reception.
2. We don’t need enemies, we got each other.
3. Now I understand the Salem Witch Trials.
4. Could some one arrange a truce before the NRA convention in April? I have enough stress in my life.”


(On Petzal’s affection for .50 caliber Barrets): “So here’s Petzal, espousing something I disagreed with completely. I thought he was dead wrong. I thought it was a dangerous idea, treasonous even, a slap to the very core values of fair chase. I even tried to cajole him into debating it on his blog.

“What I didn’t do was suggest he commit suicide, or wish him a painful death, or post his address and phone number with the implication that someone should pay him a visit. I didn’t gleefully participate in the destruction of his livelihood and then dance on the smoking embers of what used to be his life while backslapping and high-fiving the rest of the mob.

“Nope, despite the fact that I thought on this particular subject his head was clearly ensconsed way up his ass, I spoke my piece and moved on.

“I agreed to disagree without threat of legal action or violence which is apparently a disappearing art in this viral age. Now it seems no one is satisfied with less than the complete silencing and utter destruction of any opposing views.

“The fanatics among us (and what else can you call them?) have taken what should have been just a few unthinking, destined-to-be-forgotten remarks from an admittedly ill-informed and apparently less-than-tactful hunting writer in the perigee of his career and turned them into some kind of twisted pogrom that has attracted the very kind of attention from the antis it never would have done…if all you vociferous dumbasses out there had just shrugged it off and gone on, like sane, rational people do.”


“This will not end well.”

Yes, I AM asking for civility.

John Derbyshire comments here,here, and here.

The money quote is from one of Derb’s readers: “One thing gun owners have learned the hard way is we got to stick together. The antigunners want to separate the hunters, from the pistol guys, from the Military rifle type guys– divide and conquer.”

Amen. We had best learn soon.

Doom and Gloom

American this time, and maybe too slight and early to blog. But I was reading James Lileks this morning and came to a mention of what Minneapolis grade school kids would like for us all.

“…the other day when I went to read a book in her [his daughter’s] class I noted the exhibit outside the classroom. The theme: “If I Were President.” It’s an interesting exercise; you can learn a lot about a kid if you give them Ultimate Power. Most of them wanted peace and no war and no hurting animals, and at least a third banned smoking.”

It IS the times– I guarantee my (and my classmates) responses would have been different in the Fifties.

I sort of want to go to live in Kazakhstan. And smoke. Camels. Now.

Dad’s B -17

Reid’s post below on the weather vane reminded me of a sketch he and Matt and other visitors have seen in my library.

In 1941 my father was a scholarship student at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. A year later he was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, a bombardier and navigator in a B17 flying over Germany. I believe he flew 26 missions.

Here is what you get when an art student flies bombers:

And here is the young lieutenant himself:

Update: my brother in law, who has researched my father’s military career, says:

“Joe actually flew 34 missions– 3 Aug, 44 to 11 Dec, 44– and lived to tell about it!”

Reid Moving Update

I told you all back in mid-December that Connie and I are moving to Denver and at that time gave our ETA as sometime in January. We made a house hunting trip in December but couldn’t come up with anything. In the subsequent weeks our attempts to continue looking were interrupted by the holidays, the pressure of some work assignments, and a series of extraordinarily bad storms in Colorado (ask Chas Clifton about them!).

We finally returned to Denver the first week of this month and have a contract on a house that we like. We are due to close on the house March 9. We are scheduled to pack and leave Santa Barbara on March 14.

As our office is at the south end of town (in the Denver Technological Center for those who know) we had been looking in the southeastern area. Our house is just south of the town of Parker. It’s on the high plains (6,270 ft.) and to my delight (not so much Connie’s) it’s located just east of a stream named Moonshine Gulch. The picture above is a view of Pike’s Peak from the new house.

Weather Vane

While house hunting in Colorado a couple of weeks ago, I saw this unique weather vane on a barn outside of the town of Parker.

A very realistic model of a B-17!

Tool Making Chimpanzees

We’ve know for quite a long while that chimpanzees use expedient tools – rocks to crack open things and twigs to pull termites out of mounds. But a new report on chimps in Senegal takes this to a whole new level.

Female chimps there have been observed making spears and using them to hunt bush babies. From the story:

“The chimps choose a branch, strip it of leaves and twigs, trim it down to a stable size and then chew the ends to a point. Then they use it to stab into holes where bush babies might be sleeping.”

Males never use the spears, only females and juvenile chimps.

“The observation that individuals hunting with tools include females and immature chimpanzees suggests that we should rethink traditional explanations for the evolution of such behavior in our own lineage ……………………The multiple steps taken by Fongoli chimpanzees in making tools to dispatch mammalian prey involve the kind of foresight and intellectual complexity that most likely typified early human relatives.”

Fascinating stuff and I can’t wait to read what feminist writers will make of this.