Monday, October 7, 2013

I Like Big Butts And I Cannot Lie.....Breasts too!

We decided to have a bunch of friends over on Sunday to watch the 49ers play the Texans on Sunday Night Football. Kathy & I are always game for an opportunity to entertain but if I get the opportunity to make it less work for her by doing a big part of the cooking, so much the better. In keeping with that and my desire to further hone my ability to run my new smoker I jumped at the chance to make some pulled pork sandwiches for the assembled crowd.

While I'm still working on trying to find the happy place with this cooker with respect to Low & Slow type cooking (~225deg range) I've quickly found the process for maintaining the cooker in the ~300-325deg range which is ideal for the "Hot & Fast" style of BBQ cookery which is gaining in popularity. Doing so allowed me to sleep in a bit on Sunday which I rarely shy away from and allowed me to get started at ~9am for a ~6hr cook instead of staying up all night for a ~13hr cook.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A New Smoker & A Quick Weeknight Cook

I'd been working with an old, inexpensive offset smoker for years. With a number of modifications I'd figured out how to get it to produce some pretty good BBQ. But, by virtue of it's cheap materials and how it was constructed it was horribly inefficient, it had seriously broad temperature variations in the cooking chamber, and it was very difficult to maintain reasonably consistent temperatures.  All of which should be expected of any of this sort of "Cheap Offset Smoker". See HERE for an detailed explanation as to why.

So decided to bite the bullet and purchase a quality offset smoker designed to run purely on wood or a "Stickburner" as they are called by the broad BBQ community. The type of smoker I was looking for had to be made of 1/4" thick steel, have reasonably consistent internal temps or a means of controlling/adjusting them and meet my expectations for quality workmanship. I'd considered a pellet smoker but decided that I rather enjoy the process of tending to the fire. Also of concern was the number of potential failure points in a pellet smoker what with electronic controls, motors, electric igniters etc. I shopped around, asked a bunch of questions on various forums and decided to purchase a 36" Lang Patio Model . It has just about the same total internal space as my previous smoker, but due to the consistent internal temps it has much more actual useable space. On the old cooker ~1/3 of the space was far too hot to use.

Most cookers in this category use tuning plates to control the internal temperature. The Lang however is a reverse flow design that provides the same result without having to adjust tuning plates relative to the temperature you wish to cook at. I was able to speak directly with the owner of the company, Ben Lang, who answered all of my questions and even made some custom modifications to the smoker that I wanted. The lead time from order to delivery was about 4wks and while the shipping wasn't cheap, it worked out to less than $1 per pound. I couldn't ship a pound of CA Apricots to Georgia for less than that. Every person I dealt with at Lang was really pleasant to deal with and they provided a very nicely constructed smoker at a price I felt good about.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Conspicuous Omission

On Wednesday September 4th in San Mateo, CA three men, Edwin Lee of Daly City, Brian Ma & Bunn Vo of San Jose forced their way into a home in a quiet residential area. They held the residents including a pregnant woman at gunpoint. At roughly 11:30pm a gunfight in the home erupted, the homeowner was shot but will survive his injuries. The "suspects" fled in an SUV and turned up at an East San Jose Hospital. Lee was injured in the shootout and is in custody along with Vo. Brian Ma was killed.

So what does this have to do with anything? Later this week CA Assembly Members Nancy Skinner of Berkeley and Rob Bonta of Alameda will hold a press conference in support of their asinine collection of Assembly Bills (AB-48, AB1131, AB180) which are 3 of 19 (down from ~50) such bills currently circulating Sacramento. They plan to speak and offer the podium as well to sympathetic members of Law Enforcement (read PD chiefs with political aspirations), "Community Leaders" and victims of "Gun Crime". Conspicuously absent from their agenda are individuals who have lawfully used a firearm in self defense.

Why? Well, we know why. Because their presence would confound the politicians agenda. Be it at the Federal, State or Local level, "Gun Control" advocates never, ever acknowledge those who lawfully defend their lives with a firearm nor allow their voice in the discussion.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Man Can Cook #24 - Boston Baked Peanuts

Full disclosure, this dish is not my idea but the recipe below is of my own creation. A few years ago my wife and I visited New Orleans and ate at a joint called "Cochon". This dish was served as a side and I made a point of figuring out how to make it for myself. It's not exactly the same as Cochon's but it's different and delicious.

Large Casserole Pan
Mixing Bowl

2lbs Boiled Peanuts (shelled & peeled)
1/2lb Quality Bacon (cut into 1/4"x1/2" lardon)
1 Medium Yellow Onion (julienne)
1/2c Molasses
1/3c Brown Sugar
2tsp Kosher Salt
1tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1/2tsp Dry Mustard
1Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
5-6pats Butter
Hot water
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper or a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce

Great Moments In Gun Control Analogies


Well honestly, the odds of something bad happening are just so slim. You really don't need a firearm to protect yourself or your home.


Really? Then I guess you don't need a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.

Every year in the United States ~20,000 people are killed or injured as a result of fire in the home. Every fire department I'm aware of advocates that people keep an extinguisher in their home.

Every year in the United States ~790,000 people are killed or injured as a result of violent crime. When the odds of injury or death are so much greater why is there not a similar, if not greater effort to encourage people to protect themselves from violence as they do from fire?

Man Can Cook #23 - The Italian BBQ Fatty

I recently stumbled over a forum dedicated to the art of BBQ called "The BBQ Brethren". It's a great community with a ton of individuals who are more than willing to share ideas and assist each other in creating the best BBQ they can. It was on that forum that I was introduced to the concept of "The BBQ Fatty". A BBQ Fatty is a roll of sausage, often stuffed with various other ingredients and sometimes even wrapped in bacon. The ultimate expression is the "Bacon Explosion" which is a woven mat of bacon surrounding a sausage loaf, stuffed with crumbled bacon and cheese.

This weekend I took a crack at my own BBQ Fatty and using some of the awesome Italian Peppers from my garden and Marinara made from last years tomatoes created an Italian version of the dish.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bullmastiff Rescue.....Closure...

I cannot describe the joy I'm feeling right now. In December of 2011 Dawn Hamilton and a massive group of dedicated volunteers undertook the daunting task of rescuing 27 Bullmastiffs from a horrible situation in Las Vegas, Nevada. The dogs were owned by a person who fancied himself a breeder but in reality was a bit of a hoarder and seriously neglected the feeding, veterinary care and socialization of the dogs. Many of the dogs had significant health issues due to the filth they were forced to live in. In some cases the dogs were 2nd or 3rd generation that hadn't received proper vaccinations. There were behavioral issues with many of the dogs due to isolation or improper socialization. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised by the American Bullmastiff Association to fund their care and transportation.

As of this week, the last of the 27 dogs has found a new "forever home". Rescue is so often stressful for those who put in the work, the time and money, but these are the joyous moments that make it all worthwhile. Jewlz adopted out the last of the Nevada surrender dogs a couple months ago. Boy, since renamed Bo, was with Jewlz over a year, but he is now in his forever home with Bob & Mary in Washington.

Jewlz has been a lifesaver for rescue many times over and when Ithe organization was slammed with the NV dogs, she and others in OR and WA stepped up and took several of the first 15 dogs into foster, so we could make room for the remaining dogs who still needed to be picked up.   Seeing these dogs get a second chance at a loving home and good life, is what its all about and without volunteers and fosters opening their homes and hearts to these dogs, it wouldn’t be successful.  Many of the dogs were rehomed in a matter of a few short weeks, others took longer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gear Reviews – In search of EDC perfection……

EDC or “Everyday Carry” knives take a number of different forms. For some it’s a tiny folder like your Grandpa’s old CASE, for others a more utilitarian instrument such as a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Tool, and for others still, more personal-defense oriented blades.

I was taught from a very young age that “if your pants are on, there should be a knife in the pocket”. Advice that served me well as a young man when I had occasion to rescue a Gentleman who was fishing upstream of me, lost his footing and fell into the river. His waders filled in an instant, the current quickly pulled him under and he was not strong enough to overcome the combined weight and pressure of the current. I was able to jump into the river, grab hold of him with one hand and with the other cut the shoulder straps on his waders and pull him out and to safety. Had I not had a knife on my person the man may have died that day.

When flying in the Coast Guard I carried two. The first and primary being a Leatherman tool and later a Gerber Multi-tool and also a “Rescue Blade” strapped to my survival vest that included a seat harness cutter a glass breaker point and a heavy chisel-point blade that could double as a pry-bar. Sadly, the latter device was used two times too many.

The most common uses for EDC blades are by no means as dramatic. Essentially it comes down to having a handy tool, on your person for innumerable tasks one encounters in daily life.

When one decides to begin to carry an EDC blade one quickly realizes that a single knife is not appropriate for every situation. What you carry on your person while working in the yard or fishing is not what you want when wearing a suit. Hence, most people have a number of different knives that they rotate through depending on what they are doing on any given day.

My current rotation is amongst the four knives shown below. From Left-to-Right, Spyderco Walker Zytel, Kershaw Whirlwind, CRKT Endorser and Kershaw Leek.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great Moments in Gun Control Analogies.......

Interesting how going 140mph in an M6 and shooting AR-15's are equally legal on a closed course yet M6's deal more death annually than do AR-15's each year in America, but M6's don't receive the same negative feedback that AR's do. "Support background checks on M6 drivers!" Wouldn't it be worth it if we could save just one child? to Colion Noir. Check out his blog and YouTube channel both are great.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Man Can Cook #22 - Cuban Porknography

If you know me personally or are simply a reader of this blog you should have come to the conclusion that I love pork in pretty much all forms. Over half of the cooking related posts here either have a pork product as an ingredient or are the primary focus of the dish. The pig is natures miracle beast and I dig it - Pulled Pork, Cured Hams, Charcuterie, Pork Sausage, Pork Ribs, Roast Pork, Pork Chops, Pork Loin, Bacon, oh my! - I love it all.

My absolute favorite is Kalua Pig. The Hawaiian method of cooking a whole pig in an Imu (pit in the ground) and over the years I’ve cooked a dozen or so by this method and if I can dredge up any decent photos I may do a post on that someday. But for this post, we’re talking about a different method.

Last weekend we cooked one of the dinners for an annual club event. We considered an Imu for Kalua Pig, but the location didn’t suit it so I decided to try something new and chose to cook the pig in a La Caja China. If you are unfamiliar with the device it is a metal lined plywood box with a tray on top that holds charcoal. The pigs (or other meats) are roasted inside the box by means of radiated heat from the coals above. 

Man Can Cook #21 - Red Beans & Rice.....for 70

Cooking a meal for 2-4 folks is one thing, doing it for a large crowd is quite another. Most recipes can be fairly easily multiplied up to the appropriate quantity. The problem, if you are feeding a large group often centers though on prep-time and cost.

Large parties are large work and you'd rather spend a bit of time at least enjoying the party as opposed to being exiled to the kitchen like Steve McQueen in imagine yourself as Steve McQueen too don't you? Of course you do.

The other factor is cost. When preparing a normal recipe for guests it's not a really big deal to spend a bit extra on top-shelf ingredients. Besides, you like to make things extra nice for guests. But when that recipe gets blown up 16x from original the costs can go up quickly.

Last weekend I cooked dinner for 70 at a party for a club that both Kathy and I are members of. The entree was a roast whole hog, but as a side dish I prepared a "New Orleans Style" Red Beans & Rice. I found a recipe to use as a framework then tweaked it here and there to keep the cost reasonable and still deliver a great dish for our friends.

Monday, July 8, 2013

In Search Of John Mueller......

As I've become more interested in BBQ I find myself seeking the unique. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and truly good BBQ is somewhere between rare and non-existent. Even excluding the rubbish served by the National chain restaurants most of what one does find trends toward the Kansas City style. The sweet/spicy, sticky, tomato & molasses based sauce is what most people associate with "BBQ" hence that is what most purveyors produce...especially in an area such as this where BBQ is scarce.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Our good friends Pam & Tom host an annual Spanish themed part at their beautiful home in Paso Robles. It's an awesome event. We get to make the leisurely drive south to Paso, do some wine tasting/buying and then enjoy a great party with a bunch of wonderful friends. The weather was gorgeous all weekend long and we had a spectacular time.

This year the ante was upped to 60 guests so the food got blasted into overdrive as well. A fantastic collection of tapas was created including; Spanish Tortilla (egg, potato & onion frittata with garlic aioli) by my darling wife Kathy & home made chorizo sauteed in Spanish wine by John.

Then for the finale, Mike, Vince, Tom and I each produced a Paella to share with the crowd. Just for laughs we decided to costume up like the encierros of Pamplona.

L-R Mike, Yours Truly, Vince & Tom....special thanks to Vince for masking my boiler.

Blast! Foiled By Facts Again!

In the wake of the shootings in Newtown CT the Obama Administration did what many populist political machines do. They attempted to capitalize on the tragedy to forward an agenda and in so doing convince those less given to critical thought that "The Government is doing Something to make them safer." You'll recall President Obama and Joe "Double-Barreled-Shotgun" Biden's dog & pony show complete with appropriately multicultural juvenile stage props wherein the President signed a series of Executive Orders related to gun control and gun violence.

Among those Executive Orders was the commissioning of a study on Gun Violence and the efficacy of various strategies to curtail it. Now if you are over 40 as I am, this should sound like a song you've heard before but we'll get to that in a minute. The first point I wish to touch on is the fact that you are likely NOT aware that the study is complete and has been published. One might be inclined to ask, "Well why have I not heard of this?".

You'd think that the Administration , armed with a raft of new info would be trotting in astride their white horses waving about the results of the study that they commissioned to support their effort to reduce gun crime/violence.Well, they would but for one teeny-tiny little thing........

The study in large part debunks the key elements of the "Gun Control as a means to curtail gun crime/violence" agenda.....well, that's awkward isn't it?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

High Alpine Hunting Prep, CA

Recently, a friend of mine and I began our preparation for this years deer season. The first step was to evaluate water and food levels in the area's we plan to hunt and look for signs of deer traffic. We spent a very long day at rather high altitude and despite the low snowpack this year found a fairly robust food and water supply in this location.

Beyond that, we simply had a great time exploring a very remote part of California.

Conifers at this altitude take a beating from wind and snow loading. These trees were quite stunted in height, but super thick at their base.

25hrs Of Thunderhill 2012 Photos

This post is so six months late. But here goes anyway......

In December of 2012 I once again had the good fortune to participate in the 25hrs Of Thunderhill in Willows, CA. This time I was invited to crew for Prototype Development Group and their home built Factory Five GTM-R. The team is owned/managed by Richard and Yvonne Migliori and if there is a kinder, more big hearted, more salt-of-the-earth couple on Earth, I've not yet met them. They both work for the public school system in Stockton California, Richard as a Vocational Studies teacher (his previous career was as a General Contractor) and Yvonne as the Director of Nutrition Services.

The GTM-R was built and is raced in honor of their late friend Dan Lawson who had purchased the car but was killed in a racing accident and was never able to complete it. In the six years the car has been finished it has continued to evolve, improve and become increasingly competitive at the 25hr race. Outside of the 25hr it has been very succsesful in the Western Endurance Racing Series with 58 podium finishes in 66 races.

Below are my favorite photos from the 2012 race and a bit of information here and there. As you'll see, the variety of cars in this race is pretty mind boggling. Everything from factory racers such as the 997 and TT-R, one-off prototypes like the GTM-R and RCR Eagle, purpose built tube-frame cars like the Panoz GT, club level racers such as Miata's and E-30 BMW's, and the occasional vintage car as well.

Pre-Race, the Prototype Development Group GTM-R

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Canoeing Iron Canyon Reservoir, Shasta County, CA

We had a pretty mild 2012/2013 winter in CA but the spring has been equally mild and kept the snow pack in the Sierras (limited as it is this year) from melting. All of a sudden in the end of April and 1st week of May the weather turned and the high-country began to give up its stored melt-water and the lakes began to fill.

Without actually having eyes on the lakes it’s difficult to ascertain when this begins to occur. You can try calling marinas, if they exist at the lake you are interested in, or you can try calling Ranger Stations, if you can get someone on the phone who has a pulse but neither of those methods are particularly reliable. I use an online resource provided by the California Data Exchange Center to track water levels in the lakes I am looking to visit (select the radio button for “Station ID/Name” and enter the name of the lake in question).

I’ve had my eye on Iron Canyon Reservoir for a couple of years now. Iron Canyon is in Eastern Shasta County and is rather remote. It’s a 25mi drive SE of Lake McCloud (which I visited last springCLICK HERE ) and 22mi North of the intersection of Big Bend Rd. & CA 299 (Intersection is 37mi East of Redding). The lake sits at 2,660’ altitude and was created in 1965 when PG&E erected an earthen dam impounding Iron Canyon Creek and feeds the James Black Powerhouse which incidentally is one of the larger hydroelectric plants in PG&E’s system. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lies, Damned Lies and (Gun Control) Statistics

Anyone who has been a sports fan for any length of time knows how statistics can be used to make a false argument about a player or to find “hidden value” in a player that by appearances might seem less attractive to a team. A great example of the former would be a Pitchers Win/Loss totals or in football, the Quarterback Rating. Neither of which by itself is a reliable metric of a player’s value. There are some examples of the latter found in modern “Advanced” statistics such as WAR, BABip etc that can show a player to be of greater or lesser value than he seems to the naked eye.

In sports as in many other areas of “debate” statistics can be very useful. Provided the data set is of sufficient size to provide a representative sample, provided the statistic actually measures what is being evaluated and provided the statistic is being accurately represented. Equally, statistics can be used to distort the truth - particularly if the above provisions are ignored or not met and that is the topic of this post.

The post Sandy Hook Gun Control debate rages on in many states but has thankfully due to cooler heads prevailing, lost steam at the National level. There were two widely repeated statistics used by the Anti-Second Amendment crowd that I’d like to discuss.

40% of all gun sales are completed without a background check.

90% of Americans (including gun owners) support background checks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

9 out of 10 Media Jerkoffs Agree, Jumping to Conclusions is Fun and Great Exercise!

After the Tucson shootings I wrote about the media’s propensity in the immediate wake of a shooting or act of terrorism to point speculative blame at specific groups as a means of politicizing that which is often simply the act of madmen.

The effort to immediately politicize these horrific acts is absolutely nauseating in and of itself. However, to politicize them as a means of using it to forward a particular political agenda borders on the misanthropic if not sociopathic. How many times do we need to have a catastrophic event co-opted to the gain of another before we collectively cry “ENOUGH”?

These absurd knee-jerk speculations offer a spectacular glimpse into their thought processes, biases and true beliefs as time and again when some wack-job goes off the deep end, members of various traditional and “New-Media” outlets have sought, openly and without apology to hang the act on those of a group they describe as “Right-Wing Extremists” or of having “Tea-Party"Affiliations. You can go to that post to read the list of recent instances of this occurring…’s long…very long...

You back? Starting to see the pattern?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Outdoor Gear Review - Kelty Coromell Sleeping Bag & Sea To Summit Dry Bag

All of my gear reviews are done through the prism of a guy who is into back country canoeing. With respect to gear this use case is similar to backpacking in that weight is of some concern, but because I'm placing my gear in portage bags in excess of 100 liters and transporting by canoe not backpack I can afford a bit more weight and a bit more bulk. This affords the luxury of a few niceties not available to the backpacker and a bit more comfort as well.

Many of the places I enjoy going on my solo trips are high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and I enjoy trips in the spring and fall when there are fewer folks around than in the middle of the Summer. As such I regularly experience night time temperatures that are beyond chilly and approaching downright cold and because the weather can change rapidly at high elevations it's always a good idea to be prepared for more weather than the bimbo on the 7-o-clock news has predicted.

I stumbled on a bag that suits my use case perfectly. The Kelty Coromell is a down bag that comes in a slightly roomier shape than the standard "mummy" type bags that are usually found for this temperature range. It's a +0deg down bag which is, quite frankly, warm enough for anything I'll be doing with a little extra warmth for unexpected weather, but the best part is the "semi-rectangular" shape. It provides the warmth and pack-ability of a down bag and a little extra wiggle room in case I want to...wiggle. The hood is removable if need be and has drawstrings to tighten the hood. There are two neck baffles with drawstrings (top/bottom), a full-length zipper and a chest pocket to stash your watch or flashlight for easy retrieval in a dark tent.

With this bag I've comfortably slept in temps as low as +28 degrees wearing nothing but my BVD's and a smile. I'm confident that it would remain comfortable down to it's +0deg rating although at that temperature I may need some polypropylene long underwear. I'm a fairly warm-blooded sleeper though and I do use a substantial inflatable pad so that may not be required. By using the adjustment drawstrings in the neck baffles and the hood I was able to easily modulate ventilation/insulation to a comfortable level. The footbox was perfectly toasty as well. Plenty of room to roll over on my side or position my arms and legs any way I liked. The bag didn't feel restrictive in the least.

The external material has, thus far, been quite durable and the inner material is comfortable on bare skin (some bags just aren't). The zippers are robust, snag-free and have generous pull tabs. I haven't experienced any "feather shedding" as can sometimes happen with down bags and because I store it uncompressed, the loft is just as good as new after two years.

The only gripe I have with the bag has nothing to do with the bag at all but with the compression sack that came with it. Throw it away. It's flippin useless.

I replaced the crap-tastic compression sack with a Sea To Summit 15 liter Compression Dry Sack (purchased at REI). It's a tight fit, but it works & compresses down to the size of a grapefruit taking up very little space in my pack and defends against a soaking wet sleeping bag should I experience the ignominy of dumping my canoe before I get to my destination.

I should add that this bag won't pack as small or be as light as a "traditional" down mummy type bag, but since this is for canoe trips, ultimate light weight and compactness is less of a priority.

Outdoor Gear Review - MSR Whisperlite Universal Stove

When Kathy and I go camping or on canoe trips we tend to bring some pretty spectacular food that requires a double burner stove and full-sized pots/pans. However, when I go out on my own I prefer the simplicity of freeze dried backpacking type meals from Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry. Both companies have a few items in their lineups that are just plain nasty, but for the most part they are pretty good, a few are downright great. When I'm by myself I'd rather spend my time exploring, fishing or taking photos as opposed to preparing complicated meals. I will occasionally fry up a fish, but that's as ambitious as I tend to get on solo trips.

I screwed around with a cheap single burner, coleman propane bottle powered stove for a while and though it worked okay for it's purpose, both it and the bottles were way too bulky, and it was fragile. I had to repair something on it after nearly every hit the bottom of a trash bin a year ago when I purchased an MSR Whisperlite Universal Stove.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Outdoor Gear Review - MSR Miniworks EX

Whether in a survival situation, a lengthy solo wilderness adventure or a simple weekend fishing or camping trip the one thing you cannot do without is water. For the weekend fishing or camping trip it's easy enough to bring sufficient water with you. However, weather changes fast in the back country and for any number of reasons people often get stranded far from help and that simple trip to your favorite trout stream could very well turn into a solo wilderness adventure and survival situation. Because of that it's always a good idea to have a means of treating water, in sufficient quantity to sustain yourself, for far longer than the scheduled duration of your trip.

There are of course a number of means of treating water and each has their benefits and drawbacks.
  • Boiling water - requires a collection and storage vessel and a stove (or fire) and a pot in which to boil the water
  • Treatment tablets or drops - Treats a limited amount of water, has a limited shelf life, often leaves a foul taste in the water
  • UV treatment pens - Will destroy bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Light weight and compact. Will not remove chemicals and toxins. Expensive and dependent on battery power

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The axe of facts vs the bulwark of misguided "conventional wisdom".

Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm has previously taught at Princeton University, Bentley College, Boston University, Northeastern University and Cambridge University.  She was also a Senior Advisor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Program, a Visiting Scholar at Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, and is a Bye Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge University.  

Her seventh book, Peter's War: A new England Slave Boy and the American Revolution,  published by Yale University Press is now available. Her essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe and other newspapers.  

She Recently appeared on PBS's "The Firing Line" with Kwame Holman and this diminutive, soft spoken woman delivered a more powerful, cutting argument in defense of the Second Amendment than the frothing Ted Nugent ever could.

[EDIT] I just watched this video for a second time. I am compelled to commend Mr. Holman for his work in this interview. It is an exceedingly rare thing in this day for a journalist to interview in such genial, non-confrontational, non-agenda driven manner particularly with respect to the polarizing nature of the topic under discussion. 

The vast majority of broadcast journalists could take a lesson from Mr. Holman. Congratulations sir. You are fair, and that is all we can ask of a journalist. A shame it has become such a rare trait. [/EDIT]

A Rookie At Spring Training

I have a number of friends who make annual pilgrimages to Arizona for Spring Training baseball. It’s something I’ve talked about doing for years but due to being busy at work, personal commitments and often excess procrastination I just never got around to making the arrangements. Before I knew it, Spring Training would be over and the Regular Baseball season had begun. This years Christmas present from my darling wife was a week-long trip to Arizona for Spring Training.  No more excuses, time to order a beer from your seat and PLAY BALL!

So, I thought I’d do a little piece on my trip from the perspective of the neophyte and share my experiences and hopefully inform others who, like myself, might be embarking on their first trip.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"For The Sake Of The Children" ...or other such prattle.

J.R Salzman is an Iraq War Veteran who wears a prosthetic right arm as a daily reminder of his commitment to his Nation. His arm was blown off in the line of duty, but his spirit and his commitment remain wholly intact. In addition to being a freelance writer he is, to this day as he was before his service and injury, a “Timber Sports” Athlete and holds multiple world titles in the sport of log rolling.

You might be asking why I bring up Mr. Salzman. Good question. I’ve been searching for a theme to use to tie together a number of thoughts into a single piece for about a week and Mr. Salzman provided the inspiration with a comment in his Twitter feed today:

It's easier to say "it's about the children" in the gun control debate than "stats and majority don’t support it, but let’s ban guns anyway." ~ J.R. Salzman

….and there you have it.

It has become commonplace for deceitful journalists, opportunistic politicians dancing on the graves of children and their uneducated, group-think prone supporters to parrot the specious claim that we must increase gun control ….”to protect the children”, or that we must restrict magazine capacity or ban certain types of firearms to increase public safety. In support of their crocodile-tear infused prattle they like to foist upon us “examples” such as the UK. A claim so easily debunked as to baffle anyone with two brain cells to rub together as to why it continues to be trotted out.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gun Laws and Gun Violence...what you think is probably wrong.

Freakanomics. A project of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner manages to piss people off on both sides of the political aisle by virtue of their goring the sacred cows of each with simple but uncomfortable facts, logic and numbers. If you haven't read their book, you ought to. Caution, uncomfortable truths contained therein.

Recently, on their American Public Media broadcast they went after the issue of the efficacy of Gun Laws and the potential impact of more restrictive additional laws. The podcast is about 30min long and well worth the listen.

LEVITT: I would just say that anyone with any sense looks at the current political climate, thinks about the kinds of proposals that are being made and accepts the fact that none of these proposals are going to have any real impact at all.

Which begs the question....

What then, is the REAL purpose of increased restrictions on lawful gun ownership if there is no demonstrable decrease in crime and violence?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joe Biden. Is he stupid or does he think you are?

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance greed and love of power. ~ PJ O’Rourke

VPOTUS Joe Biden and the guy responsible for Fast & Furious

As the gun control debate rages on, those who take the immoral stance of infringing the rights of the law abiding continue to reach for increasingly farcical analogies, specious and spurious arguments in favor of their indefensible position. To wit, Vice President Joe Biden who on Tuesday said the following:

…nobody needs an AR-15, especially women. If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun.

I said, Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here…walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. …. You don’t need an AR-15 – it’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun.

The mind fairly boggles at this. Biden is either one of the most colossally ignorant people in public office today (a pretty high bar) or this is an intentional effort to mislead people who he views as ignorant and stupid. Those really ARE the only options.

That question aside for now let’s look at the individual statements made here at face value:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Barrett Gambit Follow Up

Via Libertarian Conspirator blog:

Grassroots North Carolina has commenced an initiative to urge firearms manufacturers involved in the LE/MIL market to follow the lead of LaRue Tactical requesting that they not sell to State/Local entities that which cannot be sold to citizens in the same state. They've produced a sample letter format below and provided the email address for LE Sales Directors at the various manufacturers.

Dear Law Enforcement Sales Manager,

Recently New York rushed an ill-advised and unconstitutional law infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Other states are poised to write similar laws. I urge you to follow the lead of LaRue Tactical which has adopted this policy: If it can’t be sold to law-abiding citizens, it won’t be sold to state and local police agencies either.

There are 800,000 sworn police officers in the entire United States. The FBI reports a total of 2,495,440 NICS checks, and thus firearms sales, in January 2013 alone. Police sales are not your major business. It’s time for firearm manufacturers to send a clear message that you will not participate in the slow erosion of our Second Amendment rights.
(NICS numbers Source

The email address' to send the letter to are shown below:,,,,,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stats Chat

I've posted a few of this guys video's in the past....the follow ups are too good not to share.

All of his video's are available here: AmidsTheNoise

Friday, February 8, 2013

Malicious Compliance & The Barrett Gambit

Malicious compliance: When an individual intentionally inflicts harm by strictly following the orders of leadership or following the absolute letter of the law, knowing that compliance will cause a loss of some form resulting in damage to the manager's business or reputation, or a loss to an employee or subordinate. In effect, it is a form of sabotage used to harm leadership or used by leadership to harm subordinates. In short, complying with the outward form of orders or rules, while either allowing the result to reveal the flaws in the rules, or exploiting the flaws to sabotage the situation. 

In 2004, California enacted the ".50 BMG Regulation Act" which went into effect 01 January, 2005. The act effectively banned, for civilian use, rifles chambered in the .50 BMG Caliber. This is an ultra-rare, ultra-expensive highly esoteric caliber to be sure and one that is really used by the most serious of competitive shooting sports enthusiasts and, by virtue of it's ballistics characteristics by Police & Military. The legislature banned the round, and rifles chambered for it ostensibly due to "terrorist threat" despite the fact that there has never been a .50 BMG used in a terrorist attack against the US, and exactly ZERO crimes have been committed in the US, let alone California using the .50 BMG.

In response to the ban, Barrett Rifles CEO, Ronnie Barrett announced that his company would no longer sell or service any Barrett rifle owned by a California State or Municipal Law Enforcement agency or by the CA National Guard. A decision of conscience that no doubt cost his company significant revenue and market share but one he stands by to this day.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Go Read This NOW!

I've written a fair bit regarding the current assault on the Second Amendment over the last few weeks and I will likely continue to do so as things develop. I think though that it's important to view any subject from multiple points of view. To that end I want to share a piece from another blogger that I stumbled on this morning.

The link below will lead you to a brilliant, if a bit long, piece on gun rights written from a decidedly left leaning individual. It is long, but stick with it. Totally worth your time.

The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights

I have a few other pieces bookmarked that I'll link to below later tonight.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Grandma's Hands

In 1971 the legendary singer/songwriter Bill Withers released the song “Grandmas Hands”.

I was listening to the song over the weekend and a whole raft of memories of my Grandmother came rushing back. I wrote last year that I hadn’t yet figured out how to process her death and I still don’t think I have. But there have been small steps in that direction and they’ve come from a place I didn’t expect. Sports.

My Grandmother, Elanor Turretto, was an athlete as a young lady. She loved the game of tennis and played in High School and through her 20’s. I remember that she never missed watching Wimbledon, The US Open and thought the French Open was silly and that it was held in too high a regard given that the clay court was so different from the surface that players usually trained and played on.

She loved team sports too especially the 49ers and Giants.

I was in 1st or 2nd grade when I was surprised one morning at school by the appearance of my Grandmother at my classroom door. I don’t recall how she’d gotten them, probably from her boss at Tarlow’s Furriers in Santa Clara, but she had a pair of tickets for a “Businessman’s Special” at Candlestick. She was taking me to my first Baseball Game and it was to be a secret. It’s a secret we shared without anyone ever finding out until…well…now. So if either of my parents happen to read this, now you know.  

I remember every detail of the first game I ever listened to on the radio as chronicled ( HERE ) but I can't recall a single thing about this game. I have no idea who the opposing team was, who pitched or even if the Giants won. All I remember is how special it felt to be getting away with something by playing hookey with Grandma. I remember Grandma’s hands on the wheel of her 1968 Camaro (which I now own). I remember Grandma’s hands handing me my first ballpark hotdog. I remember Grandma’s hands zipping up my jacket against the chill at the park. I remember Grandmas’s hands holding mine as we dodged cars in the lot at Candlestick.

She was sitting in her wingback chair and I was sitting on the floor leaning against her knees in on a Sunday afternoon in 1982. With my entire family in the room, only she and I were paying attention to Vin Scully and Hank Stram calling a playoff game between the 49ers and Cowboys. Joe Montana rolled right, pump-faked and then slung the ball high and deep into the end zone and I remember, more than anything else the feeling of anticipation and anxiety being transmitted to me through Grandmas hands grasping my shoulders.

I was running off the field with the rest of the team after a game and I remember Grandma’s hands grabbing the sleeve of my jersey to congratulate me and the joy on her face when she’d watched me score my first touchdown in High School.

I remember Grandma’s hands touching mine as she told me how proud she was of me when I joined the Military.

I remember Grandma's hands touching my wife Kathy's the first time they met.

I remember Grandma’s hands in mine as she asked me to take care of Grandpa and did her best to comfort me just minutes before she passed away.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gun Laws and Polish Jokes

David Mamet is among my favorite playwrights and screenwriters and he is responsible for many of the best films of the last 30 or so years. "Glengarry Glen Ross" is the title you are probably most familiar with, but he also had his hand on such classics as "The Postman Always Rings Twice", "The Untouchables" (bad acting, great writing) and "The Winslow Boy".

I've mentioned David Mamet before on this blog making reference to his brilliant book "The Secret Knowledge" which chronicles his coming to, rather late in life, conservatism and the conflicts found in that relative to his personal background and the professional circles that he resides within. If you haven't read that book, I highly recommend it. It's fascinating even if you don't agree with his conclusions.

Mamet recently penned an essay on the topic of "Gun Control". As one might expect, it's pitch perfect and I'd like you to read it.

Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm


The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so. 

By David Mamet. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Simplifying Caliber Choices For The New Hunter

I don't do guest posts here often enough, I need to do a better job of seeking out contributions from people I respect on topics that interest me. Look for that more in the future....

The following is a guest post from Phil Maynard. Phil has helped me a number of times over the years to simplify some of the intricacies and see through much of the mythology with regard to shooting sports. Phil's handloads have taken game all over the US. He specializes in developing loads and calibrating optical drop correction systems for medium to long-range hunting. He is a data-mining geek with more spreadsheets than firearms. By weight.

At Phil's request I am stating that this piece is available for free use, reposting or printing with attribution to Phil Maynard of Montrose, PA.

                                                         Too Many Choices

There have been an incredible number of heated, passionate debates concerning the details of firearm selection for hunting. Caliber and sighting systems dominate, but every little feature has been analyzed ad-nauseam, often with such ferocity that one group will defend a feature or round as God's gift to mankind, while the other side denigrates it at completely, hopelessly inadequate for the task at hand.

How can such debates continue to rage?

The 49ers Harbaugh Transition....As viewed through the prisim of hindsight.

I was going to wait until the end of the 2012 49ers season to write this, but I've come to the realization that the record at the end of this year doesn't much matter to the conclusion of this piece so here it is......

With regard to the sports teams I follow, I’m a pretty pessimistic fella’. Growing up in the 70’s & 80’s as a fan of the San Francisco Giants will do that to you. Following the 49ers has as well provided long periods of bitter disappointment. They were largely hapless from 1973 to 1980 in the infancy of my fandom and again from 1998 to 2010 we endured another extended period of fecklessness with the exception of the 2001 & 2002 early playoff losses.

It was from this place of pessimism and bitterness that I wrote this piece ( CLICK HERE ) a couple of years ago. In that piece I made three core points about the transition into the “Harbaugh Era”.

  1. Jed York promised a broad search for the best GM he could find.
  2. That College coaches transitioning to the NFL have a poor track record and that Harbaugh had relatively little head coaching experience.
  3. That York & Baalke handled the negotiation with Harbaugh in a somewhat sloppy manner.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Maybe, just maybe the guns aren't the problem....

Despite the myriad of studies, Federal & State crime data and testimony from law enforcement indicating that additional restrictions on gun ownership does not significantly reduce crime and/or violence the easiest target when there is a tragic shooting is guns & gun ownership. It's more difficult to look at other causes for violence be they societal, medical/psychological or cultural because looking at those forces people to look at themselves and that's hard. Often, the right thing to do is the thing that is difficult to do and in this case it's the discussion of mental illness and prescription medications.

Unless you are a serious shooting sports enthusiast you probably don't know the name John Noveske. He was the owner of Noveske Rifleworks in Oregon. His company builds civilian spec Semi-Automatic rifles, Military & Police spec rifles and accessories for both. The company is highly respected in Law Enforcement and Military circles and among civilian shooting sports enthusiasts as extremely innovative and highly responsive to their customers. On January 4th of this year, Mr. Noveske died in a car accident. His last external communication to his friends and customers via his facebook page is posted below....

DISCLAIMER: This is second-hand information. There may be errors.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Letter to Senator Diane Feinstein....

My position on the Second Amendment should be well....abundantly clear. I respect and understand the feelings of those who elect not to exercise their natural right codified by said amendment. Further, I respect, but disagree with those who elect to cling to an interpretation of the Second Amendment contrary to that which is made abundantly clear by the writings of the framers. Regardless of your position, be it an originalist advocate of literal interpretation, one who stands unopposed but chooses not to avail themselves of the right, or one who takes a position in opposition to the Second Amendment you have a duty to make your position known to our elected officials.

Lest we forget, we are NOT subjects under rule. Our elected officials do not impose their will on us, they are to serve OUR will. So if you agree with my position and stand firmly with me on the side of a Madisonian interpretation of the 2nd, that's great! Now grab a pen or pull up your email program and write. If you don't agree with me.....I want you to do the exact same thing. Take part in the process and by doing so make a tiny step toward reclaiming OUR government from those on either side of the aisle who have subverted it (Hamilton) from us.

Posted with thanks to YouTube Channel owner "NutnFancy" for the framework.

Dear Senator Feinstein,

You and many of your fellow members of the legislature are shockingly considering gun legislation that will make criminals of millions of the citizens, breaching a trust long held. I urge you to reconsider this path, to stand for individual liberty and trust in the citizenry, just like our Constitution affirms, clearly outlines and which is supported chapter and verse by the writings of many of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist framers.

I urge you in the strongest terms possible to halt this path toward an AWB and vote against any other legislation that proposes registration and banning of so-called "Assault Weapons" or places further restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. These firearms are in THOUSANDS of households, held by good citizens, keeping the peace, and preserving their liberty. The percentage of criminal use of these guns is infinitesimal and statistically insignificant.

More importantly these proposed laws registering and banning this broad category of guns will have no affect on crime. You and I both KNOW this to be true. As we saw in the CT massacre, criminals and the dangerously mentally ill don’t obey laws. They will illegally obtain guns, ignore ALL laws, and in the end probably use any destructive device available to kill.

The fingerprinting, registration, and guaranteed future control of an owner of this type of firearm VIOLATES the Second Amendment. Represents a violation of your oath of office and is a glaring manifestation of an overreaching, out of control government...the very thing which our founders feared and wished to prevent.

This or other "assault weapons bans" will be unenforceable. In the end, only the criminals and the government will be armed. Is that what you want? In determining the course of this country this might be your most important vote ever. Firmly PRESERVE GUN OWNERS RIGHTS and accept no compromise. I will watch your vote with great interest and gratefully support you in any endeavor to defend of our Constitution.

Feel free to copy this and edit it as you see fit to send to Senator Feinstein or any other elected official.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


There's precious little of it going around these days. This cat has got it in spades.

There's a lot to chew on there, regardless of your point of view on guns/crime/violence. Question is, are you willing to THINK about it or have you let your emotions make your decisions for you?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why does the 2nd Amendment Exist At All?

I submit to you, by way of explanation the words of James Madison......most probably won't bother to read the whole thing.

Hint: It has nothing to do with hunting.