Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Bulletin from a Past Life!

If you'd like to read some of my work on country music from the Old Days, you now have a great opportunity!

THE COUNTRY MUSIC READER, assembled and annotated by Travis D. Stimeling, himself an author of note and Assistant Professor of Music History at West Virginia University, and published by the Oxford University Press features a long excerpt from my first book, THE OUTLAWS — REVOLUTION IN COUNTRY MUSIC, which has been out of print for, like, forever (and, ironically, still a 5-star Amazon book, based on reviews from the 2 people who read it! LOL!).

THE COUNTRY MUSIC READER is a great book for anyone interested in country music. Stimeling did a super job of sorting through TON of material...heck, it exhausted me just reading the footnotes! Two other essays I would strongly refer you to in THE READER are Aaron Latham's classic piece from Esquire, back when Esquire wasn't something one scrapes off one's cowboy boot, "The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy: America's Search for True Grit"...yes, it's better than the movie...of course, what isn't?...and Alanna Nash's long essay on Emmylou Harris, one of my favorite artist. Emmylou was NEVER easy to interview, and Alanna, who wrote for me when I ran Country Music Magazine, did a splendid job.

I have to say their is a certain weirdness when reading your old work. It's not that it has been so long none of it is even remotely familiar — which is true — rather, I can't summon up the mindset I had when I wrote the words. I do remember sitting in my bedroom "office" under my loft bed in my NYC Greenwich Village walk-up late at night, frantically sprinting toward the end of the 6-week deadline. I bought what I recall as a Remington knock-off of an IBM Selectric typewriter because I couldn't afford the Selectric. I got the Remington at some Canal Street dump where it had probably fallen off a truck. It was such a POS that I eventually threw it out of a second story window in the middle of the night. I remember carbon paper, swilling beer with Lester Bangs and and crazed trips to Nashville where I only had the money to stay in flophouse motels like the Loveless and spent all my quarters playing sweaty pinball all night long with what would prove to be a Who's Who of country music. BTW, that motel's legacy, the Loveless Dinner, still serves the best Southern food short of my long-departed grandmother. I eat there whenever I can.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Best Defense Against Vampires...

…garlic. Gotta go for the garlic. Today was a garlic-sort-of-cooking day. Yesterday my Sweetie and I bought and planted a couple of trees, which here at the Bunker involves digging great big rocks out a a soil/gravel/powdered granite mix that resembles concrete. Think pick axe and 6-foot rolled steel rod, used to dislodge or shatter rocks. Then we had to armor the trees against the deer, who carry shovels and bolt nippers. Really. I pray God the deer don't discover sawzalls.

So today we were all creaky and poppy this AM. Because it was such a spectacular day, though, we took Newt on a long hike on some trails that are less traveled. Apparently not less enough traveled, since I got a parking ticket. Can't say I have a lot of respect for park rangers —revenue collectors — anyway, so nothing lost. Clown show. Anyway, since I haven't unpacked my summer clothes and have only one pair of shorts, which has one of those sewn-in belts instead of just loops, I sucked it up and carried a Ruger LCR .38 and a speed loader of Corbon. I'm thinking I'm definitely going to shift to the LCR 9mm, which is a wee bit heavier than the LCR .38, but I don't have enough rounds through it to bring it into service yet.

I decided to do shrimp scampi for dinner. I have a great scampi recipe, but for last Thanksgiving we did a dish from The Stinking Rose, one of my favorite restaurants in San Fran...bagna calda, garlic slow-roasted in olive oil and a bit of butter, plus a bunch of anchovies. So I made bagna calda, transferred it to a skillet on the stovetop, and added shrimp, a little fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley, red peppers flakes (I always stock up when I'm in Santa Fe), a bit of Dead Sea salt infused with lemon (got it while I was there), and served it over rice.

Yeah, baby! We are 'way safe from vampires for another few days!!!

I made strawberry daiquiris for desert…which of the Undead do strawberries repel? Minor demons? Jersey Devils? Spring-Helled Jacks? The strawberries were fresh and sweet, but in truth I don't have as strong a handle on rum as I do with tequila and gin. Mixology is hard. I tend to default to Mount Gay Barbados rum, "Kill-Devil," which is sort of the Caribbean equivalent of lighter fluid. It has a soft spot in my heart from a stay in Barbados after my budding, albeit nitwit, career as a (small) war correspondent during the invasion of Grenada. Well, that's another story. Suffice to say that I had I realized how the country would go over the next 30 years I would have never turned over the stack of blank valid passports from various countries, needing only a name and a picture, I discovered to Army Intelligence. These days, you never know when you're going to need a different "you!"

The world was all tied together in some mysterious tangle of invisible web, single strands that reach impossible distances, glimpsed but rarely when the light caught them just right.

"The Green Ripper"
John D. MacDonald, 1980

I've been reading vintage John D. MacDonald lately. One of our commenters noted how JDM's 1980 Travis McGee novel THE GREEN RIPPER, which won the National Book Award, was amazingly prescient on the future of terrorism. I haven't read THE GREEN RIPPER since it came out, but I remembered it was the follow-up to THE EMPTY COPPER SEA, JDM's breakout novel in 1978. So I got THE EMPTY COPPER SEA to read first, then THE GREEN RIPPER.

I had forgotten that THE EMPTY COPPER SEA, despite it's upbeat ending, was one of the most depressing novels I've ever read. Travis McGee, MacDonald's "salvage consultant/beach bum" character, was burned out, reflecting on a life that no longer seemed worth it. Aside from the brilliant writing and, even today, the cutting edge observations on the human condition, Travis McGee exuded an air of weary exhaustion. Of course, in the way of JDM novels, he found the girl of his dreams, Gretel Howard, who dies under mysterious circumstances in the next book, THE GREEN RIPPER.

And oh yes, there will be blood.

THE EMPTY COPPER SEA was a formative novel for me because I was living in Florida and, like Mr. McGee I was taking my "retirement" a little bit at a time, in advance. I'd get a big writing gig, make a good fee, and head to the beach. I occasionally taught windsurfing, had a killer tan and ran a lot.

But the world is indeed all tied together in a mysterious tangle of invisible web, single strands that reach impossible distances, glimpsed but rarely when the light caught them just right. Fair to say I understand THE EMPTY COPPER SEA better now than when I read ti the first time. And THE GREEN RIPPER is amazing…when I read it the first time, I thought JDM was a little bit nuts. Boy, was I wrong!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Some Sober Weekend Thoughts

Read this:
The voice recordings from the doomed aircraft reveal that as the jet began its rapid descent, the passengers were quiet. There was probably some nervous laughter, confusion, a bit of comforting chatter with seatmates, followed by a brief period in which anxiety had not yet metastasized into terror. 
It was only near the end of the 8 minute plunge that everyone finally understood what was really happening. Only near the end when they began to scream. 
Like those passengers, a growing number of Americans feel a helpless dread as they come to the inescapable conclusion that our nation's decline is an act of choice rather than of chance.The choice of one man who is in full control of our 8 year plunge. 
A man who has locked everyone out.
I can only imagine how my friends in Israel must feel as we hurtle toward the abyss. William Krystal yesterday spent some time with Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the rapidly shrinking Free World, and wrote this:
But counting on prominent and wealthy Jewish liberals to speak up against their friends in the face of existential threats to the Jewish people has never been a good bet. Benzion Netanyahu saw this up close in June 1940, when mainstream American Jewish leaders boycotted his mentor Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s speech in New York when Jabotinsky sounded the alarm about what was happening in Europe. 
Now his son, Benjamin Netanyahu, is sounding the alarm about what is happening today. He has made the case, in my view irrefutably, that no friend of Israel can support the forthcoming deal with the Iranian regime. Nor is such a deal in any way in the broader American national interest. Yet a misguided American administration is on a path to choosing dishonor and setting the stage for future wars. It is up to American leaders in both parties and all walks of life to do their best to avert this outcome. And if it is left to Israel to act, the least Americans can do is support our democratic ally, just as the least Americans could honorably do in 1940 was support Britain as, in her finest hour, she stood and fought alone.
This is a more analytical article from Edward Morrissey at The Fiscal Times that helps explain our situation and puts it in context:
It has become abundantly clear that Obama wants a deal for the sake of claiming a foreign policy achievement, no matter what the cost, and no matter what it does to our allies, especially Israel. The situation is reminiscent of another confrontation between Western powers and an extremist dictatorship that professed its own destiny to rule the world, and where the dictator even wrote out his plans for world domination and practically begged everyone to read them. 
In both cases, Western leaders told themselves that the extremist rhetoric was only intended for domestic consumption. Also in both cases, they treated with contempt their allies whose very existence was threatened by the new hegemon, who kept breaking international agreements and stalling negotiations until the West appeased them by betraying those same allies -- even locking their democratic allies out of the negotiations. 
At least Neville Chamberlain learned his lesson after Munich, albeit far too late for the Czechoslovakians, Eastern Europe, and millions of Jews. Obama and Kerry seem determined to repeat those same mistakes. That can be described many ways, but smart power isn’t one of them.
I don't know…I do think if you're not worried you're not paying attention. I think we might talk a little bit about prepping this Wednesday…

and meanwhile, on the Home Front...

...from The New Yorker, America's arbiter of progressive thought, this "thoughtful" piece from the inestimable Lena Dunham titled, "Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?" Here's just a yummy sample:
13. He doesn’t tip.
14. And he never brings his wallet anywhere.
15. He came with me to therapy once and was restless and unexpressive.
16. When I go out of town on a business trip, he sleeps with a pair of my underwear.
I can just imagine the editors at The New Yorker rolling on their asses laughing when this came in! "Man, Lena really nailed it this time! Jews are like dogs!" Maybe glance around the swank New Yorker offices, make sure that none of the [fingers make quote marks in the air] "wrong" people are listening. After all, there's always been something…off-putting…about those Jews…their funny little hats and their crazy prehistoric diet rules…the way they lord it over those poor Palestinians…and they're so greedy…it's like those big noses only smell money! It's getting easier and easier to understand why our President doesn't want to deal with those…Jews...and that filthy little man who leads them.

Sadly, not everyone agrees with our progressive opinion-makers...
4. To dehumanize people, one of the first steps is to call them non-people or animals. The whole “Jew and Dog” thing, in my mind, is pretty played out. But Lena, you’re not the first one to think that the two should be addressed in the same piece, or equated to one another. You don’t even have to go as far back in time as Nazi Germany to find people equating Jewish people to dogs. I mean, look at this nice café in Belgium just last year that posted a sign saying, “Dogs are allowed in this establishment, but Jews are not, under any circumstances.” Also last year, a Turkish café in Istanbul posted a sign saying “Jew-dogs” are banned from entering. So all around the world, there are not-so-nice people who equate Jews and dogs. Welcome to their ranks, Lena. Are you proud to be there?
That's from Jordana Horn, who up until yesterday counted herself as a fan of Ms. Dunham. Never mind that…I'm sure Ms. Horn will come around…

Or else.

Dealing With Giant Rabbits

Newt the Beagle is outside trying to scare off a small pack of mule deer milling around my shooting bench. So far, Newt, who's tied on her cable run, has succeeded in moving the deer at least 2 or 3 feet. I'm sensing that the mulies don't see Newt as a particularly serious predator…so much for 13 Inches of Fury! Kinda sounds like the title of a 1970s-era porn film, does't it?

Anyway, there was a match on our schedule this weekend, but it's looking a little shaky. Without a match, I'll have a chance to start my evaluation of a not-yet-for-production handgun that has been here at the Bunker for a couple of weeks. Here's a hint…I've purchased the one I have already and have big plans for it!

Our THE BEST DEFENSE 1-hour special is now up on DRTV and Outdoor Channel's home site, so if you missed it Wednesday night you can catch up.

More when I dig my way into my office...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

GREAT TBD Streaming Event!!!

Man, the TBD end-of-season live streaming event on DRTV came off perfectly, thanks to Marshal Halloway, director Josh Hinkle, TBD producer Jeff Murray and the incredible crew of Winnercomm in Tulsa, not to mention my great cohosts Michael Janich and Mike Seeklander. Unfortunately, Marty Hayes had a previous commitment and couldn't join us.

Seriously, it was fun…more like a post-shoot bull session than a live show. The good news is that we'll be running the hour special on DRTV starting tomorrow. Fun fun fun!

BTW, my MPA 6.5 Creedmoor came in today! Alan Samuel and I were drooling over it when I went by Alan's Machine Gun Tours shop in Lakewood, CO. Still considering the glass...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The More Things Change...

…from the NYT, 21 November 1922, per Ed Driscoll:

"...I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past..."

— Patrick Henry, 1775

Mizzable Afternoon on the Range...

…35 mph wind, luckily blowing straight toward the target. I was shooting off my 50-yard bench, sighting in my Sweetie's 3-Gun Stag 3G competition rifle after refitting the now-repaired Swaro 1-6X in a Burris PEPR AR mount. Been a while since I shot this gun, and I've forgotten what a SWEET rifle this is! Of course me, the rifle, the scope and everything else is coated with a fine layer of dust from the wind. Yeech.

It being Tequila Tuesday, I decided to go for something a little different. Instead of my usual lemon juice, I went with a heavily lime juice combo (10 limes, 2 lemons squeezed). I combined that with one of my favorite tequilas, Milagro Blanco, mixed with equal parts Grand Marnier and Patron Citronge Lime. Be wary wary careful with the Patron Lime…it is crazy sweet and requires a gentle touch.

I decided to pair that with a sort of Spanish/Tuscan treatment with a couple of pieces of fresh swordfish steaks — seared, then gently cooked with onions, garlic, olives, tomatoes, parsley — and a side of stir fried bok choy. And my Sweetie's homemade Italian bread, of course!

Monday, March 23, 2015



HERE'S THE LINK FOR YOU TO SUBMIT QUESTION IN ADVANCE! Don't make them too complicated for me...

OMG! Not a Glock 43!!!

My Mcree's Precision/FNH TSR .308, with a 8-32X Burris Black Diamond scope I've been hoarding. Hope to get first shots this week!

Monday Catch-Up…Not About the G43!

I am, however, waiting with baited breath for first in-depth Internet evaluation of the G43 that reveals it's nothing but a cheap copy of the Kel-Tec P11…LOL!

 Here's a thread on guns and gangs from Reddit /r/guns…can speak to the veracity of any of it, but it is an interesting read:
Disclaimer: I am a former gangmember. I have no convictions, and am not a prohibited person. All my firearms are legally owned. This is just an expose.on how some sets work, but not all are alike. 
Now, lets get straight into it. Amongst the lower ranks of sets, the footsoldiers/YGs/other youngins; there are 3 ways to acquire guns. 
1) from other gangmembers. This is fairly straightforward. Sometimes they'll sell 'em, other times they'll trade 'em, and sometimes they'll loan 'em out. 
2) from pawn shops. Why pawn shops? They tend to be more discreet and less likely to kick you out if they think you bang. So send a young kid with a clean record to buy a new gun or two. Or get one of the girls to do it. 
3) steal 'em. This is either done when you know a house has unsecured guns, or if you stumble upon them during a knock-over. Usually stolen from extended family if you know they're there.
Am stunned, stunned I tell you, that gun shows aren't number one on this list!

Here's a must-read article from Nobel Prize-winner author V.S. Naipaul in The Daily Mail on how ISIS must be considered as the Fourth Reich:
Isis is dedicated to a contemporary holocaust. It has pledged itself to the murder of Shias, Jews, Christians, Copts, Yazidis and anyone it can, however fancifully, accuse of being a spy. It has wiped out the civilian populations of whole regions and towns. Isis could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich.
Read the whole thing, by all means.

While rooting around in the gun room searching for the 4198, which is still MIA, I did discover a few pounds of Hodgdon's Lil 'Gun, which I've used in the .500 Magnum w/heavy bullets. That should work spiffily for the .458 SOCOM!