Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Music Monday-The Mercy Seat

Johnny Cash is a Legend above legends. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame, but permanently banned from the Grand Ole Opry, you would be hard pressed to find a more iconic musician anywhere in history.

With a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Cash would see some amazing highs and very deep lows throughout his career. And what could have been a huge low towards the end of his career, actually turned out to be and amazing redirection. When the Nashville establishment no longer seemed to have an place for Cash, he found new direction with Rick Rubin of American-best known for their rap and hard rock records. The albums Cash did with Rubin pushed him to new limits, and were among the best of his entire career.

This week's Great Music comes from one of those albums. And while not written by Cash, he made this piece his own, to the point where I haven't found another version that really compares.

The Mercy Seat.

Interesting News Piece

Last night, after watching Jay Cutler and DA BEARS!!!! beat the Broncos, the late local news came on, and they had a story that blew me away.

Now, it is easy to find "stories" in the MSM that portray gun owners as right-wing wackos. But this particular piece I found to be very good, done by the local NBC affiliate about a USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) regional competition held this past Saturday.

The video is HERE.

Or to watch the whole newscast and see how the story was led into, go HERE. The story about the USPSA begins at 13:30.

The news station even linked to the USPSA site. Which I clicked on, and right there on the homepage, was another video from the local Fox station with a feature story about an area shooter preparing for the USPSA Steel Challenge. Watch that video HERE.

I guarnatee you would not see stories like this on a Chicago station.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The "Lion" sleeps tonight, forever.

The "Liberal Lion" or "Lion of the Senate" if you are the MSM, is dead.

In case you missed the headlines on EVERY SINGLE FREAKING MSM station, Sen. Edward Kennedy died last night, following a battle with brain cancer.

I have two thoughts on this.

1) Politically, good riddance. I am glad he is gone. It has been 47 years of Teddy. WAY overdue for a change. Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often and for the same reason.

2) I would not wish cancer on anyone except the most vile wastes of humanity, i.e. Osama bin Laden, Hugo Chavez. Aquavelvajad. I would NOT wish cancer on Ted Kennedy, or his family. Especially following the passing of the sister just a few weeks ago. The Kennedy family is in my prayers for their personal peace.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So many options

Well, I think I am taking the Stoeger back to Gander Mountain tomorrow after a meeting in Peoria. So today, I was surfing through the Gander Mountain site at some options to replace it.

Here's the list I am thinking about.

1. Marlin 39AS .22 lever action. I've always wanted a lever action, and like the function of the Marlin levers.

2. Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. I've thought about the Mini-14 for years. The only drawback-.223. Not really a big fan of the glorified .22.

3. Colt Single Action Army Revolver. The Peacemaker. 'nuf said.

4. Marlin 336 XLR lever action. The classic Marlin, with a laminated stock, stainless barrel and receiver, and chambered in the classic .30-30 Winchester.

5. Marlin 1895CB lever action. The first lever action I ever shot was chambered in the .45-70 Govt. and so is this.

6. H & R 1871 Buffalo Classic. Another .45-70 Govt. with a 32" barrel, single shot rifle. Just a classic for the high plains.

7. Winchester Model 70. Its a Winchester. What more do you need to know. I'm a Winchester whore. The first two guns I ever fired were Winchester, and they are American Classics.

8. Tikka T3 Hunter. Manufactured in Finland, no Tikka T3 leaves the factory without shooting a sub-1" group at 100 yards. Adjustable trigger pull with a simple Allen wrench. Amazing quality for a cheap price. And in .243, it is the perfect midwest rifle, coyote, deer, javelina, fox, whatever. And they are said to be very affordable..

Preparations for a return home

This is a video I shot last Wednesday, August 19, of preparations in Galva, IL for the return home of a group of Illinois National Guard Soldiers.

There are flags ever 50'-100' for about 2 miles from the National Guard Armory building all the way to the edge of town. More things were done the next morning, but I wasn't able to get footage of it or the actual return. I simply couldn't get away from work, even though Lord knows I tried.

The video really doesn't do justice to how impressive town was for that day.

God Bless American, and keep and protect our troops. Bring them all home safely.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The resolution that had been obtained, has been lost.

And I'm so mad I can't see straight.

Back in June, I talked about arriving at a resolution to a long running problem. I thought the issue was dead.

Until today. I finally took the new Stoeger out to use during some dog training. Since I wasn't actually shooting any birds, just trying to mix gunfire with retrieving, I was using 12 gauge poppers (a.k.a. blanks). But that shouldn't matter since a) the Stoeger Uplander does not up operate on recoil, and b) the problem was with the first barrel. Yes, ladies and gents, brand new shotgun that it took a year of bullshit to finally get to replace the malfunctioning gun, has the EXACT SAME PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I fired 10 or 12 rounds of blanks during training, and had two not fire.

Needless to say, I am slightly pissed.

So next time I go to Peoria, the shotgun goes back and I am going to get something different. I don't know if it will be another shotgun, a rifle, or a pistol. But it sure as hell ain't going to be a Stoeger Uplander.

Great Music Monday-It's America

I know, I know. My posting lately has pretty much sucked. I've just been rather uninspired.

But then last week, was a special day. August 20th, a group of American Hero's returned home (to the town where I live) from Afghanistan to a well earned Hero's Welcome. I have a video that I shot going through town the night before of the preparations being made by citizens, local groups, and the city. Once it is uploaded, I will post it here.

But their return got me thinking about all the reasons that America is a great country. The Soldiers are always #1. But there are several other great things to celebrate in this country.

Rodney Atkins captured the spirit of America really well in his song, "It's America."

Monday, August 3, 2009


I've been on a little bit of a hiatus for the last few weeks. Partly because I've been busy, partly because I've gone, and partly because I've just haven't felt like saying much.

So a little bit of catch-up.

July 11-18 was the Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous. A 15 hour drive. But worth the miles. There was a little bit of rain on Sunday evening, and Monday we had two wind storms come through. The first wind storm knocked down a teepee and a traders tent, a couple people got knocked on the head by poles, but nothing major.

Tuesday was probably the highlight of the week. Dragonfly, another friend from Northern Wisconsin, and I climbed to the top of the Grey Rocks formation at the North end of camp. I
don't the precise elevation, but it was probably 300-400 feet above camp.

Me and Dragonfly on the way to the summit

On the way to the top, we found this hot tub with a view. Except the water was only about 70 degrees.

Dragonfly by the world's greatest hot tub.

View from the top. Worth every step.

This is the rock face we went down. The picture doesn't really do it justice.

View from the South end of camp looking back to the Grey Rocks. We were at the absolute highest point on those rocks.

Another view from the South end of camp. Our route of travel started all the way to the far left side of the picture, up the long slope.

We left Friday morning and headed to the Museum of the Fur Trade. We were not even 10 minutes from camp, still running on the gravel road with the windows down, when suddenly, we hear the horrible hisssssssss of air rapidly escaping. Cut a tire. Bad. So we pulled into a lane to ranch and changed to the spare. After a short delay, we were back on the road.

The Museum of the Fur Trade was awesome. I was particularly interested in their feature exhibit on the voyagers. In particular, the 36' birchbark canoe. All in all, I took over 230 pictures.

After the museum, we took 2-lane highway to Sidney, Nebraska and Cabelas. Saturday we returned home.

Once I returned home, it was catch up at work. Lots of deliveries to run, contacts to make.

And a project that I agreed to prior to leaving for the RMNR. A good friend from the Quad Cities, who was my canoe partner two years ago on a 3 day Maquoketa River trip, is leaving tomorrow morning (Tuesday) on the MR340. A 340 mile canoe race down the Missiouri River from Kansas City to St. Charles. The boat he is racing in is a 30' Chinook style boat named "Its Woot." The 4 man crew were all members of the 200th Anniversary recreation of the Lewis and Clarke Corps of Discovery. Well, my friend wanted to use a canoe paddle that I built. So the last two weeks were dedicated to making this paddle perfect.

I think it turned out alright.
Full view.

Close up of the Welsh Dragon I hand painted on the blade, with my touchmark above.

And finally, I threw in a great little canoe trip down the Kishwaukee River this last Saturday with Contagion, Ktreva, Wes, Wil, Red, and Dragonfly.

No wonder I'm tired.

Now, more paddles to make, and archery match to plan, and Rendezvous season is about to go into full swing.

Oh, and early goose season is less than a month away.

Great Music Monday-Circle of Life

Sometimes great music can be found in unlikely places.

One of the greatest movie themes ever came from the animated classic, "The Lion King."

Elton John's "Circle of Life" is one of the greatest movie themes ever. 'Nuff said.