Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 Alafia River Rendezvous Recap

The whole trip started two weeks ago-after a record cold night. The National Weather Service registered an official temperature of -29. The trip was delayed by me about an hour. I came out of the house to the truck to find a low tire. Crap. So I had to make a trip up town to get the tire checked. The guys at the garage pulled the tire off and checked it out, finding a screw in the treads passing air. Unfortunately, they had to actually pull the tire off the rim. Crap. After an hour delay, I was re-hooked to the trailer and heading out. I met the 5 geriatrics in Douglas, IL where w loaded up the trailer and van. When we pulled out of The Man From Ohio's driveway it was -17. But we were headed South. It had to get warmer, right? Right?

Let me explain my travel arrangements. We had two vehicles. My truck with topper. Gear loaded in the topper, and canoe on top of the truck. Behind the truck a clown cargo trailer, full of gear. A minivan loaded with gear. The passengers: Me, and 5 geriatrics. I'm 26. The next youngest guy in the group was 58, and the oldest right about 70. Several of the other passenger are part of an group of geriatrics called the "Grey dogs." The Grey Dogs have 3 travelling rules.
1. Never pass up an opportunity to piss
2. Never trust a fart. Even if you know it's a fart.
3. Never wast a hard-on; even if your alone.

After 200 miles on the road, I hit a little SNAFU. With the canoe on top of the truck and the trailer, my truck was only getting between 8 and 9 miles/gallon. Max fuel range of 220-240 miles. But, when traveling with geriatrics, they have bladders the size of nickles and making it 200 miles between stops is pushing it.

23 hours later, we arrived in Plant City, Florida at the house of one of the Jerks so we could change into rendezvous clothes. The Jerks were up to their usual task of making Bloody Mary Mix-about 100 quarts. But the bastards didn't share. Not even a single drink. Once changed and groceries bought, we headed into camp. As we registered, it was 90 degrees warmer that the low the night prior to our departure. We headed into camp where a couple other Illinois River Scum already had a place claimed.

I unlocked the trailer and it exploded like a clown car. We had a pile of gear that stretched for over 50 feet: two tents, an awnings, a store, 3 tables, a set of shelves, 5 cots, 8 bedrolls, 15 guns, 4 bows, a couple dozen arrows, countless knives, axes and tomahawks, 10 chairs, a double braizier on legs, a set of fire irons, 4 skillets, 5 pots of various sizes, 4 coolers, 6 bow staves, a wood stove, stove pipe, a shower, 20 boxes, 6 beaver pelts, a 16' canoe, 4 canoe paddles, 20 pairs of shoes/moccasins, 10 cases of beer, 36 blankets, and 5 walking sticks.

We set up camp and got down to the important business of catching up with friends and consuming large and varied quantities of alcoholic beverages.

Sunday was more quality time with friends.

Monday started the archery competition. Which is shot in a swamp. In Florida. Where a few bad steps into an area you shouldn't be can cause you to no longer be the top of the food chain. The course of fire is 20 shots, all 3-d targets. There are shots from a standing horse swinging log, under a log, a squirrel on a rope, swinging turkey, standing on top of a 10" diameter stump, and a running bear. A very cool course. And the competition is a 3-day aggregate. And then Thursday is a Fred Bear match, where wounding shots count negative. I shot for 4 days.

Monday night, the North American Fraternal Order of the Beaver had a meeting, where 3 new brothers took the degree.

Tuesday was the Highland Games. I didn't make it up to watch any of the games, but was sitting at breakfast and watched the Parade of Tartans. Quite frankly, it was very disappointing, with only about 20 people marching and in their kilts. Hell, even one of the Piper's was just in tartan knee britches. I did not kilt up this year. And for reference Cameron: it is not crossdressing. It is not a skirt-it's a KILT. If I'd have worn something under it, THEN it would be a skirt.

Wednesday night was the ceili. I went up and did a few shanties and such. There was quite a bit of good music. I happened to end up sitting next to a good man I met last year. He is the only person at an event I have ever met who actually has a wooden peg leg. They call him Lucky Dave. After about my third piece, he leaned over and mentioned how much he enjoyed what I was doing and that we need more of it at events (in reference to me doing period correct music) and that he could tell that everything I did was with heart. It made my night.

Wednesday night was also the record cold. We had a pan of water, about 8" in diameter and 2.5" deep that was frozen SOLID on Thursday morning. Real temperature was 19. I've never seen so many Southernercicles. All the Florida and Georgia boys were miserable.

Thursday night, Joey Hall of Father, Son, and Friends was playing across the way from our camp so I went over there and listened for a couple of hours, until all the players ended up with frozen fingers.

Friday night was the Red Breast Society meeting. The Red Breast Society was born at the 2007 Alafia when a bottle of Red Breast Irish Whiskey and a jar of pickled peaches were brought out and drunken debauchery followd. I have pictures of men feeding fruit to women who is not their wife, of women feeding other women fruit, the bottle of whiskey down several different shirts, women down to the knuckles of fingers of men not their husbands, divers looking for dropped fruit, etc. While I am not a member of the Red Breast Society, I have attended all of their meetings and tend to just sit back and watch the proceedings. Although, this year I did get in on the pickled apples and the Apple Pie Tittie Shots. After the Society Meeting concluded, some Florida friends asked me to escort a couple of young ladies back to their camp. As the good gentleman, I did. Just for some perspective, this is a 1,200 camp rendezvous. We were in the Southwest corner of camp. The ladies tent was in the Northeast corner. On the way, we got sidetracked at Pawney's Pleasure Palace. Lots of people, music, remnants of the 200 lbs of shrimp boiled earlier, and liquor. The ladies and I ended up standing around there for over two hours. It didn't register at the time, but I think one of them asked if I wanted to go sit down in some open chairs and neck. I finally ended up crawling into my blankets about 1:30 and I had to be up at 5:00 to go get the truck so we could pack and leave.

Saturday morning arrived way too early. I actually had to turn on my cell phone and set an alarm. About 6:00am myself and a couple other guys went out to get trucks. Luckily, one of our ONW Brothers had joined us for the week, and he has a handicapped tag and was parked at the main gate, saving us the mile walk to the back of the parking lot. Which left us with only the task of fitting everything back into the trailer. At least the canoe sold.

The drive back seemed to drag on forever. Saturday night, we were 20 miles West of Chattanooga, TN and got hotel rooms for a sleep in a bed and shower.

Sunday, we rolled into home about 5:30pm and were welcomed to The Man From Ohio's daughter's house, where she had a good meal of mashed potates and chicken and noodles prepared for us. We got everything unloaded and I was back to the house and done bringing in my stuff from the truck by 9:30.

Some things I learned:
1. I am not cut out to be a grey dog. Yet.
2. When I get on the road, I really want to rack up miles, and it is just not possible when you have to stop every 200 miles.
3. I have to fight very hard to hold back my urge to kill when a stop is made that doesn't take care of at least 2 of the 3 F's (Food, Fuel, and taking care of Farts). i.e. If somebody needs to piss, don't stop at a rest area, go to a gas station or restaraunt. When stopping for fuel, make sure everyone makes a pass through the pisser.
4. When trying to make milage, sit down meals are the bain of my existance.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting the Hell Outa Dodge

Leaving in the morning for Florida for the Alafia River Rendezvous. Even Florida is in the grips of extreme cold.

But anything has got to be better than these current lows. The forecast lows for Florida are about 30 degrees when me and the 5 geriatrics arrive. A 50 degree temperature swing.

Back the 25th. There will probably be pictures. But don't count on another kilt-modeling.

A Historical Perspective

I have talked before about my deep respect for President George W. Bush and that I think history will judge the work he did as President very differently than he is judged today.

That is why I found this article so interesting. While driving Omar the Wundepuppy up North today, I was listening to Mike Gallagher and he read this article by Andrew Roberts from The Daily Telegraph in England. Roberts is a highly respected historian.

The text is below.

History will show that George W Bush was right

The American lady who called to see if I would appear on her radio programme was specific. "We're setting up a debate," she said sweetly, "and we want to know from your perspective as a historian whether George W Bush was the worst president of the 20th century, or might he be the worst president in American history?"

George W Bush
George W Bush's supposed lack of intellect will be seen to be a myth Photo: AP

"I think he's a good president," I told her, which seemed to dumbfound her, and wreck my chances of appearing on her show.

In the avalanche of abuse and ridicule that we are witnessing in the media assessments of President Bush's legacy, there are factors that need to be borne in mind if we are to come to a judgment that is not warped by the kind of partisan hysteria that has characterised this issue on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first is that history, by looking at the key facts rather than being distracted by the loud ambient noise of the
24-hour news cycle, will probably hand down a far more positive judgment on Mr Bush's presidency than the immediate, knee-jerk loathing of the American and European elites.

At the time of 9/11, which will forever rightly be regarded as the defining moment of the presidency, history will look in vain for anyone predicting that the Americans murdered that day would be the very last ones to die at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in the US from that day to this.

The decisions taken by Mr Bush in the immediate aftermath of that ghastly moment will be pored over by historians for the rest of our lifetimes. One thing they will doubtless conclude is that the measures he took to lock down America's borders, scrutinise travellers to and from the United States, eavesdrop upon terrorist suspects, work closely with international intelligence agencies and take the war to the enemy has foiled dozens, perhaps scores of would-be murderous attacks on America. There are Americans alive today who would not be if it had not been for the passing of the Patriot Act. There are 3,000 people who would have died in the August 2005 airline conspiracy if it had not been for the superb inter-agency co-operation demanded by Bush
after 9/11.

The next factor that will be seen in its proper historical context in years to come will be the true reasons for invading Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in April 2003. The conspiracy theories believed by many (generally, but not always) stupid people – that it was "all about oil", or the securing of contracts for the US-based Halliburton corporation, etc – will slip into the obscurity from which they should never have emerged had it not been for comedian-filmmakers such as Michael Moore.

Instead, the obvious fact that there was a good case for invading Iraq based on 14 spurned UN resolutions, massive human rights abuses and unfinished business following the interrupted invasion of 1991 will be recalled.

Similarly, the cold light of history will absolve Bush of the worst conspiracy-theory accusation: that he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. History will show that, in common with the rest of his administration, the British Government, Saddam's own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA, everyone assumed that a murderous dictator does not voluntarily destroy the WMD arsenal he has used against his own people. And if he does, he does not then expel the UN weapons inspectorate looking for proof of it, as he did in 1998 and again in 2001.

Mr Bush assumed that the Coalition forces would find mass graves, torture chambers, evidence for the gross abuse of the UN's food-for-oil programme, but also WMDs. He was right about each but the last, and history will place him in the mainstream of Western, Eastern and Arab thinking on the matter.

History will probably, assuming it is researched and written objectively, congratulate Mr Bush on the fact that whereas in 2000 Libya was an active and vicious member of what he was accurately to describe as an "axis of evil" of rogue states willing to employ terrorism to gain its ends, four years later Colonel Gaddafi's WMD programme was sitting behind glass in a museum in Oakridge, Tennessee.

With his characteristic openness and at times almost self-defeating honesty, Mr Bush has been the first to acknowledge his mistakes – for example, tardiness over Hurricane Katrina – but there are some he made not because he was a ranting Right-winger, but because he was too keen to win bipartisan support. The invasion of Iraq should probably have taken place months earlier, but was held up by the attempt to find support from UN security council members, such as Jacques Chirac's France, that had ties to Iraq and hostility towards the Anglo-Americans.

History will also take Mr Bush's verbal fumbling into account, reminding us that Ronald Reagan also mis-spoke regularly, but was still a fine president. The first
MBA president, who had a higher grade-point average at Yale than John Kerry, Mr Bush's supposed lack of intellect will be seen to be a myth once the papers in his Presidential Library in the Southern Methodist University in Dallas are available.

Films such as Oliver Stone's W, which portray him as a spitting, oafish frat boy who eats with his mouth open and is rude to servants, will be revealed by the diaries and correspondence of those around him to be absurd travesties, of this charming, interesting, beautifully mannered history buff who, were he not the most powerful man in the world, would be a fine person to have as a pal.

Instead of Al Franken, history will listen to Bob Geldof praising Mr Bush's efforts over Aids and malaria in Africa; or to Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, who told him last week: "The people of India deeply love you." And certainly to the women of Afghanistan thanking him for saving them from Taliban abuse, degradation and tyranny.

When Abu Ghraib is mentioned, history will remind us that it was the Bush Administration that imprisoned those responsible for the horrors. When water-boarding is brought up, we will see that it was only used on three suspects, one of whom was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda's chief of operational planning, who divulged vast amounts of information that saved hundreds of innocent lives. When extraordinary renditions are queried, historians will ask how else the world's most dangerous terrorists should have been transported. On scheduled flights?

The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people, will initially be blamed on Bush, but the perspective of time will show that the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started with the deregulation of the Clinton era. Instead Bush's very
un-ideological but vast rescue package of $700 billion (£480 billion) might well be seen as lessening the impact of the squeeze, and putting America in position to be the first country out of recession, helped along by his huge tax-cut packages since 2000.

Sneered at for being "simplistic" in his reaction to 9/11, Bush's visceral responses to the attacks of a fascistic, totalitarian death cult will be seen as having been substantially the right ones.

Mistakes are made in every war, but when virtually the entire military, diplomatic and political establishment in the West opposed it, Bush insisted on the surge in Iraq that has been seen to have brought the war around, and set Iraq on the right path. Today its GDP is 30 per cent higher than under Saddam, and it is free of a brutal dictator and his rapist sons.

The number of American troops killed during the eight years of the War against Terror has been fewer than those slain capturing two islands in the Second World War, and in Britain we have lost fewer soldiers than on a normal weekend on the Western Front. As for civilians, there have been fewer Iraqis killed since the invasion than in 20 conflicts since the Second World War.

Iraq has been a victory for the US-led coalition, a fact that the Bush-haters will have to deal with when perspective finally – perhaps years from now – lends objectivity to this fine man's record.

Andrew Roberts's 'Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West' is published by Penguin


It is Fucking Cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Calling for all-time record lows tonight. The local school has been closed for two days, and if they weren't having teacher's institute tomorrow, probably would be closed. We didn't send trucks out to run routes today. I had to drive to Rockford this afternoon to drop Omar the Wunderpuppy off at the kennel for boarding while I am in Florida next week. The highest temp I saw all day was -9. Six seconds outside and the snotcicles have formed.

Where the hell is Al Gore and his globull warming. Maybe we can set Gore on fire for a little warmth. Just watch out for the flashpoint.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Important Message

I saw this video over at Contagion's and it is a very powerful piece about the results of the British Handgun Ban.

The last 20 seconds have a very important message for Americans that we all need to take to heart.

We must always be vigilant and never yielding, for we must never allow ourselves to live in fear, and with the words so often used by Charlton Heston:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Join the Resistance

I spend a lot of time in the vehicle. And while I love music and listen to a LOT of it, I frequently need a change. So I kick on the AM radio and listen to conservative talk radio.

My station of choice is 560 WIND out of Chicago. The morning starts with John Howell and Cisco Codo-who are local hosts and talk about Illinois and Chicago politics, along with national stuff. Then Dennis Miller is live for 3 hours, then 2 hours of Mike Gallagher, and finally 3 hours of Michael Medved takes me till 5:00. After 5, the station get too staticy to be able to listen. I have even bee known to listen to these guys via internet streaming radio while at my desk.

Anyway, Mike Gallagher (who is probably my favorite of the 3 syndicated shows) has been running adds about joining the resistance. has an online petition they are collecting signatures on to present to President-Elect Obama.

The Resistance States:
As an American citizen, while I will show respect to President-elect Obama, I oppose the far-Left and socialistic elements that comprise the centerpiece of his agenda. I recognize that it will take a patriotic and resilient Citizen Resistance to block implementation of this agenda and I join with others who oppose these threats to our liberties.

Specifically, I Resist:

Socialistic wealth redistribution including any and all tax increases and big-government welfare programs. Silencing conservatives through the Fairness Doctrine and other efforts that restrict free speech.
Open border anarchy including amnesty for illegal aliens and promotion of multi-nation “unions”. Government-run health care that weakens our system and imposes more tax burdens on citizens.
Weakening of our military through rapid pullback from Iraq, defunding our troops and overall disarmament. Social liberalism including radical pro-abortion agenda, the end of marriage and the homosexual agenda.
Liberal court activism that undermines faith, family and liberties while expanding government control. Post-American globalismthat diminishes our global role and threatens our national sovereignty.
Environmental extremism, the CO2 tax,
undermining coal and nuclear, and bans on
Weakening the 2nd Amendment through unconstitutional gun laws that take away or penalize us for owning firearms and our right to defend our family, our property, and ourselves.
I signed the petition. I hope you will, too. Go to and sign and share with your friends.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Great Music Monday-I Can Only Imagine

First, Confessions.

#1. Yes, I am aware that my posting has been light recently. Even thought the Motley Crew have all returned home, several other things have kept me busy and I don't expect it to change this week. And next week will be no posting since I will be on vacation.

#2. While preparing tonight's GMM, I had the horrible realization that last week's GMM was a repeat. That is what I get for trying to blog too late at night. Forgive me please.

Now, on to the new music.

I haven't talked about it on here much, but I am a devout Christian. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it is very important to me. But I don't try and shove it down other people's throats.

Part of my faith is spent in contemplation of Paradise. That place I will go when I come to the end of life's toilsome journey, and from my nerveless grasp shall drop forever the working tools of life.

And that is what this week's song is about. "I can only imagine." This great song is performed by the group Mercy Me and transcends genre. Last year while driving to Southern Illinois for a goose hunting trip, I put in a cd I had burned with this song on it and one of the other guys in the truck mentioned how much he liked this song, and the only stuff I ever heard him listen to was hard rock.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Great Music Monday-Last Ten Years

Although this song is a couple of years old, it is still a poignant look back over how far we have come in such a short time.

"Last Ten Years (Superman)" by Kenny Rogers is a look back over the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Christopher Reeves (Superman) all left for eternal rest. Cellular telephones came to a huge prominence. The attacks of 9/11. And so much more.

Kenny Rogers - The Last Ten Years
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As always, please leave comments and suggestions.