Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holy Crap...

...they're multiplying.

I have created blogspawn #1.

Frequent commenter and good friend Jim E has gone off and got himself his own blog.

He claims it is gonna be about hunting and stories from the road. He's got a couple of posts up about his success during deer season this year along with a story on hunting ethics and herd management.

So go visit the Jim Engstrom Blog and share the wealth.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Music Monday-Miss Sarajevo

Just barely getting this in on Monday.

This just seemed like a good piece for tonight. Passengers (U2 with Brian Eno) with Luciano Pavarotti.

From Wikipedia:

Original Soundtracks 1 is an album of songs based mostly on non-existent films; however, "Miss Sarajevo" is one of four tracks from the album that are based on real films. The film Miss Sarajevo is a documentary by Bill Carter about a beauty pageant held in the midst of war-torn Yugoslavia. The winner was a 17 year old blonde girl called Inela Nogić. Carter traveled to Sarajevo in the winter of 1993 to offer humanitarian aid and quickly found himself in the heart of the conflict. He lived for six months in a burnt out office building, subsisting on baby food and whatever water he could find in the rivers and sewers and delivering food and medicine to those in need.

Carter originally contacted U2 while they were on their Zoo TV Tour to show audiences the real people involved, feeling that the western media was ignoring the human aspect of the war. The band arranged for several satellite link-ups where Carter gave the locals — who had been cut off from communication with the rest of Europe for about a year and a half at this point — an opportunity to be heard before stadiums of thousands. The link-ups were brief and unedited.

"The idea was simple, instead of doing what the news does, which is entertain you, I wanted to do something that the news rarely does, make a person care about the issue...I wanted young people in Europe to see the people in the war, I didn't want them to see politicians or religious leaders or military spokesmen."

—Bill Carter, [1]

Carter had his camera sent to him from his home in California so he could film the documentary (which was produced by Bono) with the same goal of exposing people to the individuals living through the war. "The war is just a backdrop, it could be any war, the point is the vitality of the human spirit to survive, [to] laugh, to love, and to move on, that is something we will be addressing always."

The song protests the war in Bosnia, criticizing the international community for its inability to stop the war or help those affected by it. It was the only single released from the album. Its video combines clips from Bill Carter's documentary with footage from the Passengers' first performance of the song at the 1995 "Pavarotti and Friends" concert in Modena. Clips from the documentary contain striking imagery, such as a shot of beauty pageant contestants holding up a banner with the words "DON'T LET THEM KILL US," as seen on the single's artwork.

Sarajevo PopMart Tour performance

In addition to the "Pavarotti and Friends" performance, the song was played once on U2's 1997 PopMart Tour in Sarajevo with Brian Eno. U2 was the first band able to host a concert in the city since the end of the war, and the band was very pleased to be present there at the time. As per the Sarajevans' request, the show was not a benefit concert, and the band performed just as they did in any other city on the tour. The actual winner of the Miss Sarajevo pageant, Inela Nogic, was present at that show, and was escorted to the concert with the band themselves. Bono lost his voice during the concert, and unfortunately messed up during the performance of "Miss Sarajevo," and said afterwards, "Sarajevo, this song was written for you. I hope you like it, because we can't fucking play it."[2] In reference to the performance, Larry Mullen Jr. said, "That [was] an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. And if I had to spend 20 years in the band just to play that show, and have done that, I think it would have been worthwhile."[3]

Let us remember as we prepare to begin a new year, that we are blessed to live in this country. Even with all our problems. Reflect on your life, and the lives of our American Heroes. The men and women who stand ready to give the last full measure of devotion. And reflect on those who live in countries torn by war and strife.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Light Duty

Posting may be light this next week to 10 days. Between work this week, New Year's, Ft. Obie Winter Camp next weekend and the Motley Crew Reunion, most of my time at the computer will be spent playing Call of Duty and consuming beer while smoking cigars.

Of course, there will be Standing, preceded by ritualistic pissing. Laughing at random stupidity like Hoorch and Sand. More beer. Shoosting.

The Motley Crew L to R: Omar Squatch, Lunchbox, Rendog, Dink, and Petey
enjoying cigars on our viaduct.

A couple more of the Motley Crew.

Looking at we, the Motley Crew, on OUR viaduct.
We have slain the horrible Viaduct Troll.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy To The World...

...the Lord is come.

Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room.

And heaven and nature sing.

Merry Christmas to you all. It is a great day. Behold, unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

It has been a great Christmas. Last night, I went to Christmas Eve services with the family. Mom and Dad were singing in the choir and playing in the bell choir. The evening opened with a family brass band. A Father, 2 sons, son-in-law, 4 grand kids. 1 Tuba (son-in-law), 3 trombones (father, son, granddaughter), 4 trumpets (3 grandkids, 1 son) and the son who played trumpet also played trombone on one song. Absolutely spectacular. Then, the church music director did an amazing piece on the new organ that was just installed earlier this year. The entire service was great and ended with the candlelight singing of Silent Night.

This morning, I was able to sleep in. Since the only family around this year is those of us in town, it was originally going to be just the parents and grandmothers. But yesterday we had the idea to invite some friends who didn't have plans to be with their family's yet. What was going to be a dinner for 5, turned into 10.

After everyone had headed home, the family opened the presents to each other. It is a great way to spend Christmas. The only thing to make it better would have been more family being able to come.

A little Christmas Music.
Joy to the World-Mannheim Steamroller

Joy to the World-Michael Bolton

Hallelujah Chorus-From Handel's "Messiah." Performed by the Bethany College Choir

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Great Music Christmas-Old City Bar

How can a song about a bar be Christmas?

Simple, when Trans-Siberian Orchestra does it.

This great piece captures the spirit of Christmas. Some old men sitting in an old bar below a neon light on Christmas Eve. A child comes in and ask if they know that a lost girl is sitting outside below the streetlight. The bartender asks the child how they know the girl is lost. He replies simply, "I've noticed if one could be home, they'd be already there."

The bartender steps out taking all the cash from the register and follows the child to the girl. He talks to the girl, calls a cab and sends her to the airport, and after she leaves, the bartenders hands are empty.

The spirit of Christmas is in giving. The pure and simple joy of putting a smile on someone's face. It doesn't need to be expensive. It doesn't need to even cost money. It is simply seeing the joy on the face of a child, or a friend, or a sweetheart when they behold the love you have shown. Yes, the giving, not the receiving is the Joy of Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Christmas Albums

Saw this story on Yahoo! tonight, and found it interesting.

While Elvis has the highest sales of a Christmas album in history, only two groups make several appearances on the top 40 list.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra with all three of their Christmas Albums (Christmas Eve and Other Stories-18, The Christmas Attic-40, and The Lost Christmas Eve-38).

Mannheim Steamroller hits the list 4 times (Christmas Extraordinaire-20, Christmas in the Aire-12, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas-4, A Fresh Aire Christmas-3).

Just thought I would share this for the last minute shoppers looking for good music. Any of these albums would be good for anybody on your list.

Great Music Monday-O Holy Night

This week's Great Music Monday is one of the greatest Christmas Carols of all time. Originally composed in 1847 by Adolphe Adams to a French poem, it has become a timeless classic that is beautiful whether sung by amateur or professional.

"O Holy Night" is a recounting of the birth of Jesus and celebrates the Holy night.

An interesting piece of history, "O Holy Night" was performed on violin in by Reginald Fessenden on December 24, 1906. Reginald Fessenden was a Canadian Inventor who broadcast the first AM radio program on that Christmas Eve, thus making "O Holy Night" the first song to ever be played on the radio.

Tonight, I am posting some of my favorite versions. The ones I feel are the most powerful renditions of this amazing song.

First, is one of the earliest versions I remember and the one that really made me fall in love with the song. It is performed by Country Music Star John Berry

Next, is one of the most amazing voices in modern music. No matter whether he is singing an Italian Opera, a Broadway Classic, or a Christmas Song, Josh Groban has a seemingly effortless power in his voice that transcends genre's.

Finally, going back to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their great Christmas Opera on DVD, "The Ghosts of Christmas Eve" we find TSO teamed up with West End London and Broadway Tony Award Winning Legend Michael Crawford. Crawford is most noted for his portrayls in "Phantom of the Opera" but has done many other productions.

All of these rendetions are spectacular and can move the soul.

As a side note. I will probably be posting Great Music for Christmas every day this week, as we come to the end of the Advent season and celebrate the arrival of the Savior.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My kind of Christmas

Pretty accurate.

Your Christmas is Most Like: Miracle on 34th Street

Sweet and caring, Christmas is about helping for you.

While Santa may not exist, you try to share his spirit.

A note to my friends...

...who live in Rockford, IL.

Please MOVE!!!

When this is the mentality of the police and you live in a state that refuses to recognize the need to be able to protect ourselves, it is time to get the hell out of Dodge.

Regardless of the motive, [Sgt. Sam} Pobjecky advises robbery victims not to put up a struggle.

“Anytime someone demands money from you, you should not resist in any way, especially if they produce a weapon,” he said. “If they are violent enough to carry a weapon, they are certainly violent enough to use it.”

Here's an idea: Take your own personal protection seriously. Learn to protect yourself. Refuse to be a victim and send the goblins to hell.

h/t to Thirdpower at Days of our Trailers*.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Music Monday-This Christmas Day

I am still on a high from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert Saturday night. If you haven't ever been to one of their shows, you really need to go. I don't care if you are not a rock music fan or whatever, theirs is music that transcends age and genre. My grandmothers who are both in the 80's have gone to show with me and enjoyed it.

This week's Great Music Monday comes from TSO's dvd production "Ghosts of Christmas Eve."

The video opens on a girl (Allie Sheridan) asleep in an abandoned theater as the lights from a small Christmas tree go out. As she opens her journal she finds someone (a Christmas Angel?) has left her a ticket home, some cash, and a handwritten note that simply says "Upon this night it is never too late." Enter Ossie Davis, the narrator, who tells us that our actions can have a huge impact on others. And thus we find a father, far away, reflecting in the light of others kindness.

The father is Tommy Farese, who sang this same song at the concert Saturday night.

Very powerful stuff. If you haven't ever seen the dvd, you need to get it. I still get chills when I watch it. It should be a Christmas classic in every home.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beautiful Sight

I had a package delivered the other day. It is a thing of beauty. So I had to share.

It is something that I don't talk about much on here (or probably ever), but I am a bit of a cigar aficionado. When I was in college, where some people experiment with drugs, I experimented with the finer things in life. There was a little tobacco shop in town and I happened in one day. On the shelf of their walk-in humidor, was a box of cigars in glass tubes. A sticker in the corner of the lid of the box said "Rated 90 in Cigar Aficionado." So I bought a couple. They were fantastic.

I bought several more during my time in college and would also try several other cigars.

After graduation, I continued to occasionally enjoy fine cigars but very few shops I went to carried the particular brand I had grown fond of.

I did find a continuous source of them through a catalog, finally.

Fast forward to this year. I have been serving as the Bourgeois of the ONW Company for the last year and in February, I will finish my term at our annual winter camp. Along with that, over Christmas, I have some friends coming in from out of state. And when friends gather, there is nothing better than catching up over good cigars.

So in preparation of these events, I went searching for the original brand that I found.

Normally, I found these in boxes of 5 cigars. But in my searching, I found a box of 20! Jackpot. So I just wanted to share the pleasure of fine cigars with you.

I present, Carlos Torano Reserva Selecta.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interesting Meeting

One of the things I love about doing sales as a part of my job is the chance to get out and meet people.

I like to think I am a "people person." Most of the time. At least I have the gift of gab.

Today, I got to meet someone really interesting.

It is no secret that I like to hunt and do frequently. The first time I ever hunted it was for pheasant and I was so young all I got to carry was a BB Gun and to shoot field mice in the snow the day after Thanksgiving in probably 1993.

As I grew up, I would usually hunt coyotes several times a year with my dear late friend, Otha and his son.

When I hit college, I started hunting birds more. I was a member of the Sportsmen's Club on the campus which shot trap every week and 2-4 times a year we would go to a pay-to-hunt club that would release birds for us.

And then one of the most influential people in my hunting life. One of my pledge brothers in my Fraternity on campus was an avid waterfowl hunter. He and I became fast friends and would spend lots of time talking about hunting. He started sharing stories of an annual hunting trip he took with some other guys from the Frat and a couple other local guys to Southern Illinois to goose hunt on the edge of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. The more we talked, the more interested I became. Finally, one day he could tell that I was really interested and asked if I would be interested in go on the trip, too. I jumped at the opportunity.

The weather for the trip sucked. High temps the three days we hunted were 64, 70, and 66 in the middle of January. Our group shot 5 geese the first day, 1 the second day, and none the third day. But we had a great time, what we can remember. I was hooked.

I came back to college and within 2 weeks I had bought an new Benelli Nova Pump Shotgun chambered for 3-1/2" Super-Mag 12-gauge and covered in Wetland's Camo.

And then I wanted to get a good goose call. I wanted a short reed versus a flute call as the short reed tends to have better sound that carries farther. I checked out the selection at Farm King and saw a Mick Lacy Chinook Short Reed Goose Call where the package said it blew easy and it was an acrylic call (cast acrylic, not turned, but still acrylic) for about $30.

Took it home and followed the directions. I sucked.

Finally, after a couple of months, I decided that I was going to have to try something easier. So I got a Mick Lacy Black Magic Flute Call.

Anywho. Over the next couple of years, I worked and worked and worked until I finally figured out how to blow a short reed. I actually had to buy a different short reed call, a Primos Honky Tonk with the instructional DVD. But I could call with a short reed.

Fast forward to today. Literally. The thing about Mick Lacy Game Calls is, their headquarters are in Princeville, Illinois. I happened to be in Princeville today and saw a sign for Mick Lacy Game Calls. So I wheeled the truck into the parking lot and walked in. Inside, there is a little black lab to greet me and an older gentleman. I introduce myself and he welcomes me to the shop. He asks me if I am a hunter. Of course. So he hands me a catalog and says to take a look at it, as he needs to go take care of something quickly. I flip through the catalog and see a picture of Mick Lacy. Wait a second. That is the guy I just talked to. He comes back and I say, "You're Mick?"


I introduce myself and he asks what kind of hunting I do. I tell him and that I have a couple of his calls. He walks over to the shelf and pulls out a couple of differnt calls and hands them to me.

"Give these a try" he says.

I do. They sound great.

We talk some more. He shows me some other calls.

All in all, it was a really cool conversation. I told him I would be back. He replied, "Any time."

So, I have decided that all of my calls in the future will be Mick Lacy calls. There is just something about meeting the guy who builds 'em that I really appreciate.

If you are ever in the area, stop in and meet Mick. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Torture Test

Caleb of Call Me Ahab posted a link to a really cool blog series.

At pistoltraining.com, they ran a feature for 7 months they called "M&P Monday" as they ran a torture test on the Smith and Wesson M&P9 9mm pistol.

62,333 rounds later, the gun had a breakage that caused lawyers to stop the test.

Go read the series. It is a heck of a testament.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Great Music Monday-There's A New Kid In Town

This week's Great Music Monday for Christmas is an amazing piece written by the late Keith Whitley.

"There's A New Kid In Town" is a song about the wise men who came from the East in search of the new King.

A simple tune that doesn't need lots of music. One guitar and a voice can make this song one of the most beautiful and meaningful you can hear all season.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a video of Whitley performing this song, and I think he performs it the best of any version I have heard.

But I did find a few videos that do the song justice. The first is the recorded version of Billy Gilman.

Second, is the only known recording (according to the description on YouTube) of the Oak Ridge Boys performing the song with the late Steve Sanders performing lead vocals (during the time when William Lee Golden wasn't part of the group).

Finally, is a recording of a duet of Alan Jackson and Keith Whitley performing the song with Jackson on leads. After the Whitley solo version, probably my favorite.

God Jul.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Turkey Shoot Videos

When I talked about the new header photo, it was requested that I post some of the other stuff from the shoot.

Well, I got my videos uploaded last night an have posted them below.

First. is the longest video. It starts with a guy having a problem getting his Brown Bess to fire, followed by Doc shooting his elk rifle, followed by The Man From Ohio and finally the Village Idiot hitting a target.

Second, is another video of the Village Idiot taking a shot and missing.

Finally, is Doc taking another shot with his certified elk killing rifle. I've seen the pictures of the elk and seen the roundball that killed it.

Some photos. Click on the photo for a larger view.

This is the photo right after the header shot was taken.

Second, it the firing line, just for some perspective on attendees.

These next two shots are just lucky captures just after ignition. Notice the orange flame from the muzzle.

Finally, is a shot of good friend Wil, just as he is about to fire his Brown Bess.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and videos.

Dumbest Holiday EVER!!!!!!

What makes a Holiday?

Think about the big 6 (the ones almost every company in the U.S observes). New Year's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

New Year's Day-probably the dumbest primary holiday of the year. More pagan than the others, it celebrates the end of the old calender and the start of new one.

Memorial Day. Traditionally, it is a day to remember those who have given the last full measure of devotion to the Country.

Independence Day. Celebrating the day a large group of slave owners who didn't want to pay their taxes told King George to fuck off. It would be 5 years of bloody fighting and 13-1/2 years before the current U.S. Constitution was put to paper. But if they hadn't, we would still be British subjects.

Labor Day. A day to celebrate the working men and women. Those who make the country strong.

Thanksgiving. A day set aside to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives.

Christmas. A christian holiday set on a day to go against a pagan ritual. It celebrates the birth of the savior of mankind. The commercialization of it is a crime.

Some of the other important holidays that are observed.
Veteran's Day. Originally called Armistice Day, it was first a day to remember the end of World War I. Today, we honor all those who have served in out military.

Columbus Day. Honoring the second (at least) man to "Discover" America. And he never even made it to the continent itself.

Washington's Birthday. Honoring the leader of the Continental Army and the first President under the current Constitution.

Lincoln's Birthday. 16th President. First Assassinated President. Preserved the Union.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday. A man who fought for equality for all. A real inspirational figure. A man who wanted his children not judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

And for all these real holidays and observances. They have been cheapened. You see, Perry County, Alabama has passed a new holiday for their employees.

Barack Obama Day.


So much for judging on the content of the character.

Barack Obama has done a grand total of...


Let's take a look at his national office history. Elected to the United States Senate in 2004 after the Chicago Tribune sued to get his opponent's (Jack Ryan) divorce proceedings made public. The contents involved some details of kinky sex with his WIFE. Obama arrives in Washington in 2005 to assume his seat. 2007, he declares candidacy for President of the United States after promising several times that he was not going to run. 4 years of a 6 year term, and 2 of those 4 have been no service because he was too busy running a campaign. Seriously, what has he done that is noteworthy, other than win one election.

How does this qualify for holiday? What about Gerald Ford Day? Harry Truman Day? Stephen Douglas Day? Chester A. Arthur Day? Woodrow Wilson Day? Buzz Aldrin Day? Jim Bridger Day?

This has to rank in with the dumbest ideas of all time. If I lived in Perry County, I would show up for work anyway just to fight the stupidity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Obviously, Omar the wunderpuppy has more sense than I.

Yesterday and today, I was delivering curbside recycling totes in a town where my company is preparing to start an new program. 239 totes in two days. The company CEO (Dad) assembled and I delivered. This puts my total of carts delivered somewhere in the 1500 range since the last week of August.

Anywho, I mentioned Sunday that it snowed here. Roads=CRAP. Interstate was clear, but most other roads had a least some problems. Roads in the town where I was delivering suuuccckkkkkeeeeddddd. Several times I had to put the truck in 4-wheel drive. For some reason fishtailing while trying to start moving up a hill with a trailer on is not such a great thing.

While I have been up doing these deliveries, Omar has gone up with me. Yesterday he spent most of the time in the truck with me. Today, I tied him out to the semi trailer we were assembling totes for a few hours.

I got back to the trailer for my third load of the day just as today's snow started to fall. In a matter of a couple minutes, visibilty was reduced to 1/4 mile. Me: Out in the snow, getting soaked as the snow covers me. Omar: went underneath the semi trailer and sat down, out of the snow, and watched me with a puzzled look on his face.

After I got the trailer loaded, since dad was going to go deliver a few other totes, I put Omar back in his kennel in the truck. Me: In and out of the cab, dumping snow on myself, hot and cold. Omar: sleeping in the kennel.

Lucky Dog.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Header Photo

You've probably already noticed the new picture in the header.

It is not me shooting (actually, it is The Man From Ohio), but it is a photo I took last weekend at the Fort Obie Turkey Shoot. If you notice in the pan, the sparks falling. The frizzen is not visible as it is traveling forward. I am amazed I got this shot.

There are a couple of others for the shoot where you can actually see the flame coming out the end of the barrel.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Closing Time



Look forward to your book(s).


The blogosphere is a a little dimmer this week, with the closing of the The Other Side.

Great Music Monday-Wexford Carol

There is no beating around the bush. I LOVE Christmas. From the Advent season all the way through. The anticipation of the greatest gift ever given. I love the evergreens and what they symbolize. The joy and peace is simply amazing.

So, whether you like it or not (this is my blog after all), from now until Christmas and maybe for a week or two after, GMM will be dedicated to the sounds of Christmas-and not the commercialized Christmas, but the true meaning of Christmas. You may hear some of your seasonal favorites, or maybe some that are new to you.

That is how this weeks selection is for me. I had heard of the Wexford Carol before, but don't ever recall hearing it. Then, the other night I was cruising YouTube for Christmas music and happened to play a video of Méav Ní Mhaolchatha (pronounced MAYV- Knee-Wheel-kha-ha) of Celtic Woman performing this Carol. I was completely blown away. The carol is the story of the Nativity and to hear Méav sing, it is as if you are the sheperds in the fields and hearing the song of the Angels when they appeared in the night proclaiming "Fear Not."