Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is it a Platinumed Golden Anniversary?

250 years ago, history was changed forever.  Arthur Guinness signed the lease on the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland.  And more importantly got the water rights on the property. 

The lease terms?

100 pounds down, and 45 pounds per year, for 9,000 years. 

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

And so today, We all must raise a glass to Arthur. 


h/t to Blackfive.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Music Monday-Bringing Mary Home

I haven't posted one of these for a few weeks.  My heart just wasn't in it.  But tonight seemed like a good night to get back in the swing.

When I started rendezvousing in 1998, one of the greatest things about it was sitting around a fire listening to music (this is not to say that there isn't still good music, because there is, but I am now part of the performance instead of just a wide-eyed kid wishing I could be that good).

I remember one night in particular at the Galesburg Heritage Days Rendezvous around 1999.  We were still camping West of the main pavillion and on Saturday night, there was a good group sitting around doing music.  Somebody asked Rod and Ollie to do an old Smiley Bates tune, Bringing Mary Home.

The song is the story of man driving down a lonely road when he see a girl in a formal dress along the side of the road.  The driver stops to pick up the girl and take her to her home.  They drive down the road and the girls tells the man to pull into a driveway.  But when he stops the car, the girl is gone.  He goes up to the house.  He tells her the story and the woman smiled, and told how her daughter had been killed 13 years ago, and every year, someone brought Mary home.

The story is loosely based on a Chicago area legend and one of the most famous ghost stories in the country.  The story of Resurrection Mary.

This song is still one of my favorites and every time I hear it I am taken back to that rendezvous where I first heard it, and then I picture myself on the dark, dusty, lonely road and bringing Mary home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm beginning to really question what kind of hunting dog Omar the Wunderpuppy is really going to become.

Case in point, yesterday (Saturday).

I headed down to Gobbler's Knob Hunting Reserve between Canton and Banner, with 3 purposes.  Number 1: Clean the clubhouse for next weekend's test.  Number 2: Help anybody that showed up in their preparations for the test.  Number 3: Put out some birds to work Omar on and see if I could get him to connect all the elements, point, bird flushes, shot, and retrieve. 

2 chapter members showed up to prepare for their text nest week.  Both are running Natural Ability, both dogs are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, both dogs are from the same litter, but the owners did not know each other until last month at another training day. 

Primarily, both of those owners wanted to work on the track portion.  So they got a couple of pheasants and one of the more experienced members of the chapter and I set the birds out.  One dog did a really great job, the other didn't do terrible, but it fell short of good.  All in all, I think they will do alright.  The only thing that matters is that the owner is happy with the performance and uses the test as an opportunity to evaluate where they need to focus training.

The other person there had his German Shorthaired Pointer which he is trying to get to become more steady.  The dog points very nicely, but as soon as you make a step, she wants to break in on the bird.  He worked the dog on three or four birds.

Finally, I wanted to get birds in front of Omar and get him ready for hunting season. He has a good strong point, and does a nice job of retrieving when we train at home, but at the last training day, we would point but I couldn't get him to follow up with a retrieve to hand.  He just didn't seem interested then. 

Not a problem yesterday.  I put out 6 chukar partridge, in 2 differnt set-ups.  The results were spectacular.  On the last bird, I had one of the other guys take some photos for me.

Omar, pointing the bird.

Another of Omar on point.

On Point.  Can you tell where the bird is?

The circle in the center of the picture is around a blaze orange clothespin.  This marks the location of the bird launcher.  It is about 30' in front of Omar.

I'm moving in to flush the bird.

After the flush, taking down the bird. 

And a retrieve to hand.
The great thing about this is the way Omar reacts.  If you notice in the pictures after I move in and the bird has been flushed, Omar is still standing in the same location.  When the bird is shot, he STILL didn't move.  Finally, just as the bird hit the ground, Omar broke from his point and moved in on the dead bird, which he retrieved to hand.

Man, that was FUN!

So do you think he is going to be a decent bird dog?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Tribute

Today, proper honor was bestowed on one of the greatest American Hero's to grace this country.

SFC Jared C. Monti, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006.  Today, his parents accepted his very deserved Medal of Honor.

Words cannot express the extreme grattitude that we all should feel towards Sgt. Monti.  He is one of the greatest heros this country has ever known.

This is a video of the presentation Ceremony, this afternoon.  Caution, it may cause you to get choked up. 

Thank you to MCQ at BlackFive for originally posting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Respect is Gone

Well, it is official.

Any waining shreds of respect I had for the United States House of Representatives is completely gone.  Zilch.  Nada. Nil. None. Goose egg.

Currently, there is a major debate on how to reform health care.  We are still fighting a war in Afghanistan.  The economy, at best, is reaching for the rim of bowl of the crapper that it has fallen into.  And the nut jobs in charge in the House of Representatives felt it was more prudent to take a day on OUR DIME to bitch about Rep. Joe Wilson's comment during the boring dronings of the POTUS last week.

What the hell are these idiots thinking?  I mean really, WTF. 

Yes, Rep. Wilson's comments were in poor taste and a breech of decorum, but in the heat of the moment, after Obama just got done calling almost every Republican in the room a liar, Wilson let his emotion loose.  He apologized to the POTUS within an hour of the end of the speech, which Obama accepted.  The issued should have ended right there. 

But no. 

The Dems had to play party politics and flex their muscles and beat the dead and rotting horse for a week.  Now, they've gone and caused the carcas to explode and their face is covered with the disgusting carrion. 

And then, to ice the intestinel slime that has covered them, Barbara Lee (D-California) and James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) have the audacity to suggest that Wilson's comment was somehow motivated by race.  Good God in heaven, please give me the strength to keep from vomiting.

Get it through your freaking heads-just because Obama is black, does not mean that everyone who opposes him is a racist.  It wouldn't matter if Obama was black, white, red, yellow, or purple with pink polka dots, it is his policy positions that make my blood boil.  And quite frankly, I am sick and tired of the racism towards people like me. 

Rep. Joe Wilson is right to stick to his guns and not issue a second apology.  And the Dems should be rebuked for the wasting OUR MONEY on this bullshit.  Rebuked at the ballot box. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11 Reflections

It has been said that members of my parents generation will never forget where they were when they heard President Kennedy was shot.

And for my generation, it is the attack of September 11, 2001.

I was a Freshman in college at Black Hawk College's East Campus.  That morning, I took my very first college test in a U.S. History class.  Once the test was over, I went out to a commons area to prepare for my Speech class.  I had been sitting for a couple of minutes and opened up my book bag  when a woman walked in and said that a plane had hit the WTC and Pentagon, and another was headed for the White House.  I sat there, dumbstruck for a minute.  Not sure I had heard her right.  I packed my bag and proceeded to the student center where over 100 people were gathered around a 27" TV watching Aaron Brown on ABC with the towers burning over his shoulder.  Some people whispered quietly, but most were just silent.  As I stood there, I muttered under my breath "bin Laden."

That afternoon, the local newspaper editor took an eerie photo.  Jet trails.  7 of them.  In lines across the sky.  By that time of the day, there was only one plane in the air, Air Force One.  Bush was flying from Nebraska back to the East Coast and fly right over my town.

The only feelings I remember feeling that day are surprise that it happend, sorrow for those lost, and a deep burning anger against those who had perpetrated the heinousness.

And now, 8 years later, I am sitting here tonight, listening to Alan Jackson who did such an elegant job of containing the confusion I think we all experienced.  The History Channel is running video footage of the attack.  Tonight, I think it is affecting me more than it did 8 years ago.  Maybe it was shock on that day.  But it is also stirring my anger and resolve that we WILL prevail.  We MUST prevail.

But today is also a day for great celebration in my town. Another group of American Hero's returned from Afghanistan this morning.  They have been deployed for a year.  This is the second homecoming in just over 3 weeks.  And it is appropriate that tonight is also Homecoming at the high school.  There is local news coverage of the homecoming HERE, the coverage begins at 2:33.

It is because of hero's like these, that I can right this blog, and that we have gone over 2,900 days without another attack on our soil.

Baxter Black, the great American cowboy poet, really puts the right perspective on today and every single day.

Thanks to Michael Bane for the Baxter Black video.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Defender's Creed

I read this this morning in the weekly e-mail from the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association) and thought it bore repeating again and again.  I may print it and frame it to put on the wall.

The Defender's Creed
By: John Farnam

I accept and understand that human predators exist. Criminal or terrorist, they take advantage of our civilized society to prey upon the weak. They represent evil and must be confronted and defeated.

I believe that self-defense is a moral imperative, and that illegitimate force and illegal violence must be met with righteous indignation and superior violence.

I will not rely on others for the security of myself, my family and my community.

I proudly proclaim that I run with a like-minded pack. I do not amble through life with the mind-numbed herd.

I will train with my chosen weapons, maintain them and carry them in a condition of readiness at all times.

I will be mentally prepared and physically equipped to effectively respond to an attack or emergency.

I will constantly test myself against realistic standards to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I will turn weakness into strength.

I will seek to learn new skills and techniques, and then teach what I have learned to other members of the pack.

Be it with firearm or blade, empty hand or blunt object, I will hit my enemies hard, fast and true.

I will live a quiet and unobtrusive life, but I will develop and retain the capacity for swift and decisive violence.

I recognize that I am the modern equivalent of the traditional Minuteman, and that I may be called to service at any time against heavily armed enemies. I will respond effectively.

I accept that I am a pariah among some of my countrymen, and a quaint anachronism to others. I will not hold their ignorance against them.

I will win, or die trying.

I swear this creed before God, my family and my fellow citizens.

John Farnam is an internationally acclaimed firearms instructor, and the author of three books and numerous articles. Please visit his website: