Friday, December 23, 2016

Self Defense, getting started and tips for basic street sense.

As a Martial Artist I have always been asked where to begin, what style is best and a plethora of other questions.

I realize it can be intimidating, by watching movies to YouTube there is a menagerie of styles and "Opinions" of what actually works best. Along with those experts come the inevitable demonstration showing just how easy it is to disarm someone, or of course crush them like a bug. These experts continue down in my opinion what is a dangerous dream of what it is actually like to have a street confrontation, most never have had. I trained at many different Martial Arts clubs and I can think of maybe one person in all those clubs who had ever been in a street fight, so how on earth would they really know what would work and what would not? Answer, they only have a theory, but they do have the tools to increase their odds of survival, which is why you are reading this, and looking into Martial Arts yourself.

I will say right off you should always do your best to avoid confrontation. I have hundreds of street fights under my belt, with that experience comes the realization that all but a couple were necessary, confrontations are easy to avoid for the most part.

Avoid eye contact, walk with purpose and simply ignore the chants. Try never to put yourself in a bad situation, stay in a lighted area if dark and of course stick where there are other people.

In the event something happens, do not expect help, odds are unless there is a Police Officer in the area nobody is coming to rescue you. I was in a bar room brawl once with quit literally the entire bar, despite things not going well for me, not a single person I was with, and they were all very well trained martial artists, came to my rescue. I survived simply by making sure my temples were covered as well as my throat. Always protect your critical areas, always.

Get a bright flashlight. We live in a great time when cheap blinding flashlights are available, even in the daylight one of these blasts of light can temporarily "Disable" an adversary allowing you to escape.

Situational awareness; Most people frequent the same area and route over and over again. You should take the time to make mental notes for escape routes as well as possible places someone may lurk in the shadows. This goes along with driving as well, be aware of having your window rolled down at a stop light or sign.
Be especially alert while shopping, many people are robbed/accosted while simply putting bags into their car! Take a minute, look around, if you have kids lock them inside the car before you unload your goods into the trunk.

Carry your keys so they protrude from either side of your middle finger, you can then punch someone and it will hurt like hell.

Imagine; Your Imagination is your best friend, and your worst enemy, for the sake of this article we will use it as your best friend. It is good if you Imagine horrible things happening, now imagine how you will get out of those horrible things.
I am someone nobody should ever watch a horror movie with, the entire movie all I can say is "Why did they not do this,. or this etc." this Is a lifetime of training myself to not only think differently from other people, but to imagine a way out of the worst possible scenario.

Strikes; In the event of a self defense situation you are not looking to "Bang it out" with the bad guy, you are looking to hopefully finish them quickly or to buy yourself some time to escape. Aim for the eyes, be it gouging or poking do not play fair, and do not quit, the eyes are painful as hell to have poked or gouged. Chop or punch to the throat and do not stop punching or chopping you always want to overwhelm your opponent. Go for the groin, kick punch an even grab and yank those toodles, the last will stop anyone right in their tracks as if they are a cartoon character. Stomp on their feet do anything you can think of to make that escape. If need be bite, scratch pull hair, pull ears. Fight as if it is your last breath, if it comes to this situation, it possibly could be.

Get a firearm, a concealed carry permit and get proper instruction on using it. This instruction goes well beyond the basic CCW one day classes, spend the extra money on an actual self defense/combat pistol class. Do not let the weapon simply collect dust in the closet after shooting it once, make a conscious effort ot go to the range several times a year. The more often you use the weapon, the more confident you will be if you ever do have to use it. Muscle memory is paramount be it hand to hand or using a weapon.

This leaves us with what art to actually take. While if you are in good shape a MMA class is arguably the best, the reality is you have a life to live and do not have the time, or energy to devote to a high intensity class, further you may not be a pillar of fitness yourself, so be realistic about your choice. While some styles are clearly better than others, go with whatever is closest, convenient and comfortable for you. Go ahead and meet the instructors, most places offer a free class, take it.
Anything is better than nothing, you will at least learn how to throw a punch or a kick so that puts you a huge step up over the average street thug. Keep in mind police only take a few hours of grappling and they can handle the bulk of street thugs, if you take a class often you will be way above that.
Most arts will offer a self defense class, I encourage you to take that class, while not everything they teach will be good, most of what they will teach you will help you out, especially in scenario presentation. Further it gives you confidence, and confidence is something people can read in body language.

Just like with firearms, the more you train the more confident you are. I would also like to say that a female friend, whom by her own admission is not athletic at all, has enrolled in Karate over the past few years with her daughter. The one thing she has gotten out of her Karate from sparring is the realization that unlike the movies, she was not going to curl up in a ball and cry when she actually did get hit in the face. She is now ready to test for her brown belt!

My step sister has kidney problems, she went from being on the verge of Dialysis to competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While she no longer competes, she still trains and loves it, she is also someone whom previously would not have been known for any athletic ability at all. I am beyond proud of them both.

In the end, remember what is between your ears is your absolute best weapon you can possibly use, always always keep your head.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

As America decends into the Rabbit hole, can we once again find our moral compass?

This election has been something of a shock for people on all sides. Rampant corruption is now not only acceptable, but the swamp seems to be filling up instead of being drained. Anti Multicultural views took precedent with women's rights being slapped in the face yet again and the Environment is no longer even a moderate consideration. It is going to indeed be a bad place to be a human being in the US and possibly the world for the immediate future.
Authoritarian regimes throughout the world reached out to Praise the Presidential Elect in his win, Democracy screamed as she fell into a hole.

The parallels to history in this election are staggering to say the least om regards to the President Elect and nearly all have horrible out comes. One can compare this election to 1935 and the NAZI party electing a mentally unstable puppet they hoped to control, or way back to Rome and Caligula and its gross excess.
Authoritarianism is very appealing to many as it pushes simple agendas which seem to matter. The Military takes precedent over all others, well at least on the surface, problems are solved with the broad sweep of a hand and the iron fist solves all.

The reality is quit different, with the exception of a hand full of rulers, historically the people always suffer under such nonsense as their rights, which is something democracy can slowly give them, are taken instantly away and not even considered.
In our current country we have the US constitution which has some Unique Rights, and some not so Unique, but it is the basis as to which all laws in the US must conform, it provides a strong system of balances and checks, to hopefully prevent an Authoritarian regime, never the less twice in our history it has been largely stuffed aside and we made it out ok.
The first time it was mostly ignored offering us a brighter future would be under the then new third party President Mr Abraham Lincoln. The end result of course we all know well, minorities despite being used explicitly as cannon fodder would finally gain recognition as not only human beings, but as US citizens.
The second time would be during the Great Depression as FDR again seemed to ignore the constitution with amazing popularity/ While history generally looks on him fondly, he had many dark, dark aspects which are largely ignored. Millions starved to death with those surviving finding their gold savings being confiscated for the "good of the nation" However FDR would do something which many hope trump would do, spur industry. That spurring of industry came at a price however, our environment. The earth took a huge price as we lived in excess for the next few decades, mining, logging and polluting with reckless abandon. Cooler heads would eventually prevail out of necessity as rivers quit literally burned, the Republican Party, in coercion with a rational Democrat who authored the National Environmental Protection Act, which gave way to what we now know as the EPA.

The current administration has a unusual chance to side step much of this as it sweeps all of congress and the presidency leaving all of Humanity in jeopardy. With a cruel sense of Irony, the very party who gave minorities their rights, now opposes them, the same party who gave us a country with laws promising us to have a future for our children, are now opposing that future all for the now.
That party is the Republican Party.
Rational seems to have gone out the window as they attack nearly everything our country should be embracing, science seems to be on hold yet again as we are told to take comfort in a collection of Biblical writings written centuries ago by people with the educational level of a modern 5 year old. Is that really the answer to save us?
Women seem to be now given no more care than they can provide on their backs or as angry propaganda mouth pieces for what is now being coined the alt right.
Minorities in general? Well they are now the undesirables, the very people apparently responsible for all our woes, the people this collection of Angry people want to purge from our country. I will give you a hint the last time this Ideal was elected in popular ideology within the world, that was 1935 in Germany. Faced with a desperate economic situation largely acquired by the treaty of Versailles the German people pointed fingers wit ha vengeance, and indeed the rest you know, or at least should know.

So what now? Where does this leave us?
Uncertainty as always.
Trump likely will be impeached for ethics violations within his first year, however where will this leave us as far too many of his dangerous followers have crawled out of the pits of oblivion ready to spread their vile.
Mind you I am not saying all people who voted for Trump are vile, they most certainly are not, but there is a minority element that represents everything dark this world should hope to never see again.
They are armed, which is the truly frightening thing, but so are the rest of us, can we avoid the confrontation?
Perhaps with a Moral compass and patience we can.
With more education not less we can overcome the immediate dim future and focus on our children.
Perhaps out of all of this we will remember what makes us America, what makes us all Human.
Despite the hate perpetuated by both parties, as it does dear reader come from both sides, people the world wide want one thing, so listen carefully to my rule.
People want anywhere you go to Fish Fuck and Eat.

I ask you dear reader to look out your window today, from your nice climate controlled environment and tell me that homeless lady pushing her sole belongings in shopping cart is responsible for your problems. I want you to walk into that convenience store and tell me the man brown man who speaks broken English and sways his head form side to side when he talks is the cause of your life's problems?
As you browse the shopping market I want you to take a good hard look at the produce, and the people who walked often hundreds of miles with the sole purpose of enduring torturous labor for meager earnings to feed themselves, and you. Are they the reason the job market is horrible? Do you really think a under educated brown person who barely speaks English is costing you a job? Do you honestly think he wants anything less than you?

Now I want you to look away from the world you see in your immediate life, and look carefully over the horizon. Over that horizon to the east are people who are being blown to oblivion in a desperate battle for resources and control, all so you can live in cheap excess. I want you to now look at your children, and tell them if you were in the same situation, you should not be taken in by another country offering a helping hand.

Now turn to the south as the sun reaches its peak, ask yourself if the deforestation, the lung of the world in the south is worth your conveniences?
I ask you to look deep into the future and ask what you want to leave as your legacy.
Is it hate? Is it gross excess? Or is it a rational future where we can all finally get on?

I know what I want for my children, I want that Moral Compass, not just the one that guides me, but the one that nags on your shoulder to take control.

Be the change, See the future.

Links for your consideration!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Five classes every American should be required to have.

I suppose I had a common Rural Childhood for the 70 and 80s. I spent a good amount of time participating in Civics minded organizations, particularly 4-H, Cub scouts and Weeblo. Going to such organizations gave me a sense of community involvement and civic pride. IT seems to me that the following generations did not have the exposure and it shows, we have a very Me society without much knowledge about your community and being involved in civics, which brings about my first class which we all should have, Civics.
If people took civics many questions would be answered as to the 'why do we have to do this and co exist" garble which I constantly hear now days. I think if civics is taught (which seems to be called indoctrinating by todays Radical right) overall society would be far better off.
In the end the ultimate is to be part of some sort of a club which not only teaches, but applies such lessons, but at this point I will take what I can get.

First Aid; You are driving along and come upon a traffic accident, it is late at night and just you, clearly the person within the car needs attention, so what do you do? Well the sad thing is more Americans really do not have an Idea how to properly handle such a situation, which is flat out dangerous for everyone involved. What makes it dangerous? Well for one you could injure someone by not only moving them when they are injured, but in the event you have to, how would you safely do so? How would you stop bleeding? Or of course how would you possibly revive the person? At some point in your life it is highly likely you will come upon a situation where you need to apply First Aid, be it a family member or a stranger, it is a class we all should have which would help answer the above questions.

Your constitutional Rights; This seems to be yet another area most people know almost nothing about, but all like to talk about their constitutional rights, well which ones? Sadly after hearing peoples comments regarding Colin Kaepernick or even Presidential Candidates speeches and policies, most people seem to have little Idea what their rights actually are, nor what they are even good for. A class in this area certainly would help out miles, perhaps even making people again most civic minded and more involved in Politics in the correct manner. Not giving up your rights is very important, lets stop it now before it is too late.

Firearms Safety; Whether or not you own a firearm or even intend to own one, does not exclude you from the likely probability you will at some point encounter one in your life, so it makes obvious sense you have at least a basic knowledge of weapons when you do encounter one. Firearms accidents account for thousands upon thousands of lives and injuries each year, well over 30k annually.
IF we had at least that basic required class, perhaps we could lower that number substantially. This coupled with especially civics means people will overall be more responsible with a firearm. I included a picture of one thing the NRA does right, firearms safety, I included a picture of their Eddie Eagle teaching a class. This is important as people on both sides seem to forget things this organization does well, more of this, less of the other.

Science; Apparently science is no longer taught in school, be it from climate change to basic common theories, Americans seem to be clueless as to the workings of the world. Perhaps if we had more knowledge in this area religious dogma would largely disappear. Perhaps there would be a we bit of hate and less emphasis on that Imaginary friend. Now mind you before you get all huffy, I have Imaginary friends too, I just use them for conversations with myself however :O
Maybe if we had more Science in our lives, we would focus on tackling important issues such as Pollution, Ocean and Space exploration. God knows I could have understood the science behind our Moon landing a bit earlier in my life. Hell even more knowledge on the science of Climate change, one way or another would have helped me too. It sure beats the attitude of "well scientists are not always right" nonsense, no they are not always right, but they do at least have an educated guess, which is more than many can say.

In the end if we have these five things, perhaps there would be less fighting amongst ourselves, and a bit more joining of arms to move forward for the betterment of Tomorrow. We at least have to start a conversation about what is important in our childrens future, now is as good a time as any.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A trip up Grassy Mountain to see a Landmark in Shambles.

I have not been up to the Lookout on Grassy Mountain for some time, but it has always been one of my favorite places. So when the opportunity presented itself this past week, I jumped on it.

We took the backroad up, a road which to my knowledge I have never traveled. The road was very rocky and unforgiven. Honestly it was so ridiculous in places I craved something I rarely do, big tires and a lift kit. Nope I did not get those extra bad places as I was too busy trying to keep metal from scraping :P

We took our time, even getting out in places to walk the road, to see how much farther we had.
Mind you, the road was not horrible, but it was bad enough I was a bit worried about a bent Rocker Panel or drive line.
We climbed, crawled and spun as we churned up the hillside, occasionally getting a glimpse of the wonderful view into the Pintlers, something every person on earth should get a chance to see.

We careened on up the road, finally stopping to call a friend who is six cans short of a six pack and mountain bikes up this ridiculously high road. I needed to see how much farther I was, I suspected not far but I had broken one of my cardinal rules on Gas, always going into the woods on a full tank, yet here I was hovering at the quarter of a tank, which is what I used to get this far :O
He would confirm that we indeed were not far, so we went forward. We were at the last bad spot so the final rocks to crawl over were all that was left to a spectacular view.

The Mountain itself lives up to its name, windswept and grassy. It was logged Barren during the days of the Anaconda Smelter and now suffers from some ridiculously high wind as a result. Since this lookout like most others no longer needed in the US is uncared for, I was a bit surprised to see it partially collapsed. I remember standing inside whne I was younger, able to Imagine what the lookouts saw for months at a time on their station.
It was sad but it is what it is. Like so many of Americas land marks, it has feel by the way side while Government Agencies pick and choose what to care for. |
It is indeed sad, as I would have loved for my Children to have had the same experience I did, to stand inside this, and other magnificent lookout towers and look upon incredible 360 degree panoramic views.

In the end, the person with me got to see what I had been pining about, and while he had previously tried to talk about going up here, he admitted even what was left was pretty damned cool.

We would make it out and back to town to get gas in the event you are wondering. I was really not worried provided I made it back to the highway anyhow. I had ran out of gas in the same area a long, long time ago, and using the doors of the truck as a sail we had.... well that is another story.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Freedom, it is time to talk about what it means, especially in the American sense.

We hear it all the time, over and over again how we are the "Land of the Free" but very few stop and think what that actually means.

It does not mean you are free in the Anarchy sense, it means we are a nation of laws, both for prosecution as well as protection, the later is often forgotten.

Here are the three primary areas of the word freedom, at least in the American sense for the first two, the later for the world.

I guess I shall start out with the first aspect of American Freedom which comes to mind, Free from the Rule of the British.
The founding fathers had lots of Grievances which were listed within the Declaration of Independence, with our casting off the chains of British Rule, we became "Free" from their rule.

Next which comes to mind is Free from Religion. Religion was a big sticking point in our founding fathers who were primarily Agnostic in their views. They strongly disliked being told how to worship, if indeed at all. We also know that at the time of our Revolution the bulk of the people were Atheist. This is actually known from Church records themselves, where Churches kept track of those "Heathens" who needed to be converted.

Last is arguably the most important, a voice of the people in the name of Democracy. As I stated earlier, the Declaration of Independence laid forth grievances against the British rule, having a say in how your government functioned as well as how it treated the people was arguably the crutch of the entire argument against the red coats. This was accomplished by giving the people a chance to vote for Representatives which could of course represent the people of said area in a manner they felt befitting.

There are of course other areas to cover, however all those are listed within your Constitution, which you all should take seriously.
I often see posts about "Well that judge got this wrong, and hands up follow orders" Sorry ,those are not arguing for freedom, they are arguing against it.

Please, please take the time to look into your rights, read your history and most importantly think about those issues of the time, and how they can relate to today.

In the end it comes down to the Golden Rule, "Do unto Others as you would have Done unto You" Being free from false judgment goes a long, long ways to prosperity.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Call for Socialized Medicine

In order to have a strong society one fundamental right needs to be addressed, and that is our health.
When a society is healthy it is able to pursue other goals, Science flourishes, commerce is strong, and the over all happiness and well being the norm.
I have made it clear that I am not a fan of Obamacare at all.
However the indication that thousands of people on a single day try to sign up for health insurance aught to tell everyone in government that people are tired of being treated like ass in this country.
Our Medical system is broke, broke to a point that I do not know if it can be repaired.
Corruption is rampant, greed the norm, and apathy common.
Yet the ACA does not address this, nor does anyone with the law seem intent on taking this on.
People in America are held hostage by our Medical system and indecision from our politicians.
We deserve to be treated like human beings, Nobody should go bankrupt because an insurance policy found an exemption. Nobody should be forced into bankruptcy because a medical community is charging bloated rates.
Its time for this country to look around and see what other western countries are doing right. Its time to make the absolute best medical system in the world, and to make ours the envy, not the joke which it currently is.
Many cry socialism when reading this, and they would be correct, I indeed am advocating it in this regard.
There are aspects of socialism which are good, we enjoy common roads, water ways and other things which make our life better, so why not, I ask you, why not where it matters he most?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Elitism, it does not need to exist.

I have always known it exists, but I tried to push it aside.
My first trip to the Philippines was arguably my first to true income disparity/class warfare where you simply could not hide it.
Mind you As I stated I know it exists but never to this extreme. So in 2007 I would find myself tossed right into the mix of elitism at its greatest, and I had no Idea it was coming.

I had been encouraged by my GF at the time to visit the Philippines version of SeaWorld, a little place called "Ocean Adventure Park" in Subic Bay. Going to the park was not something high on my list of things to do as I generally dislike being surrounded by people, hard to avoid in the Philippines to be honest.
So there I am, buying tickets and my GF gives me the big eyes and the "It is my dream to swim with Dolphins" statement. Now it was expensive, some 85 dollars per person to do this, and I am a frugal traveler so I tried my stance against, and of course lost as usually happens in the battle of men vs women. With a Grimace I coughed up the extra dough and into the park we went.

Mind you this ended up being an Amazing adventure, not only were there Dolphins involved, but False Killer Whales as well. I was thinking this would be a bit more fun as Dolphins in my mind are merely Pirate food :O, but whales are cool!

While we were getting ready there were two other White guys and their families. Of course it made sense only other whites would be able to do this as most Filipinos earn around a dollar to seven dollars a day, depending on if they live in the city or in the country.
They relaxed me a bit by telling me "We do this all the time, it is very fun for everyone" so that helped.
While we readied, we talked about our lives a bit. I mentioned I was self employed and had Heavy Equipment so was instantly one of the boys.
We laughed, had a grand time and off we went.
The adventure was amazing, We would get to hold onto the Whales fin as they swam us to a dock as well as do tricks with us, absolutely incredible.
We laughed, chatted it up and headed to the Photo Shack to get some CD pictures of our encounter.
Standing in the shack they started to make comments about the locals working there "Can you believe they cater to us for a dollar a day?"
"I know, pathetic isnt it?"
I am starting to boil, I am not one to put anyone down for working, especially those living in abject poverty who have to work for a mere pennies just to find a mea to survive upon.

So I say "Whats wrong with them working? They have little choice after all"

One of them says "Well it is just pathetic to have to do this kind of work"

Ohh I am getting miffed "Now hold on here" I say trying to be calm "I grew up on a small ranch and my first job can arguably be said was logging" I took a deep breath "I have washed dishes, toilets and anything else to make ends meet"

Surprised I am then asked how I got my business.

"Well" I replied slowly "I built it up with lots of long hours and hard work"

They looked perplexed "But how did you pay everything off?" They asked.

"Dedication and devotion, I focused on not giving away my money so it would give me an easier life"

That was it, end of the conversation, they refused to look at me again. I made sure to tip well and to as always, thank each and every worker there who had been part of a wonderful experience, which undoubtedly infuriated them even more.
Nothing new with me, I always, ALWAYS try to thank those who work the hardest, if I see you cleaning public Urinals I will thank you and truly mean it. You are making life liveable for the rest of us.

You see this is the problem, they born into wealth assumed all others who had to work for it are vile wretched beings. Not true, like anyone else they are still human beings, susceptible to a death just as everyone else. We do not get to choose the lives we are given, so why not take the time to treat each and every person like the Human being they are?
Maybe, just Maybe if we started treating each person like a living breathing creature who just wants to Fish Fuck and Eat like everyone else, we would be far, far better off with less conflict and hardships all the way around.

Just Maybe.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Robbed while traveling overseas, what to do?

For a reference for beginners or even seasoned travelers, please see here

One of the biggest fears while traveling abroad is the inevitable robbery.
Unfortunately movies and the news have people panicked over this event. While quit serious the odds of it being very nasty are slim, so here are some tips on how to handle such a situation.

Carry your money in various locations, all your money in one spot is asking for trouble. If you are traveling overland try to keep your important goods hidden, with your photos being uploaded to a cloud as often as possible.
I lost a camera to a pick pocket in Tabacco Philippines. Looking back it was quit blatant at their theft, at the time I could not figure out why someone would be bumping into me, common distraction. Nevertheless I lost my camera and pictures I of course can never replace. My camera was kept over my neck and shoulder in the supposed safe spot, so keep that in mind while traveling.

I like having two cameras, one cheaper one to point and shoot while a better one saved for special photos. The advantage of todays world is even a cheap digital camera or even your phone will get you a wonderful picture.

Getting a camera stolen sucks, but I just remind myself that 30 years ago a 36 exposure roll of film would be dragged out for days, if not months :P

Remember in the event you lose your money it is not the end of the world, you can still wire yourself money. I had to do this before, while embarrassing it worked very well.

Never flash anything and OD NOT wear expensive or any jewelry if possible. In the event you are robbed anything they see will be taken, and not in a nice way either.

Cooperate, do not try to be a hero, NOTHING you own, be it your camera, money, bike or car is worth your life.

Developing countries require a special kind of attention, do your homework before you leave. If a local tells you not to go someplace, listen and do not.
They want you to be safe, safe travelers mean more people coming to visit.

Odds are in any of these places you will make it home with a story, if you are dead then authorities have cause to look for the murderer, and one thing a thief does not want is the attention of the law, regardless of how corrupt they indeed may be.
IF you look for trouble in a developing nation and think you are going to go all Jason Statham on some bandits, you are sadly mistaken.
Being on the receiving end of a firearm is not a fine point in life, nor do you forget the taste of a blade. That krav maga class you took suddenly seems worthless, your arms feel like they have weights tied to them and you realize doing it wrong is indeed the end.

Keep your travel plans and especially times and dates quiet except to those who need to know. As mentioned bad guys visit travel forums as well. Not all the friendly people you meet and ask directions will keep it quiet. People in desperate situations are forced to do desperate things. While this is rare, this is why you need to be cautious. With that said I have had friendly locals guide me more than once, keep your wits about you.

Only fight if there is absolutely no other option and then do so as if it is to your last breath, as likely it will be at that point. That point would likely be in the event of a kidnapping or some other dire situation you probably will not ever face.

Even in the event you think it is a kidnapping, make sure you know what is up. I was taken into a caged Van again in the Philippines and it turned out these was a friendly local and a Bodyguard (literally) making sure we got to a safe spot. How did I end up there? Well with desperate starving people pulling at you in all directions you tend to go with the most friendly people. Once inside the van I realized it was a cage. I tried ot make myself valuable to be kept alive, fortunately that was not needed.
It is also common especially in latin america to take you and force you to use your cards at an ATM.

The Marines are not coming for you, just remember that.

Lets say they do, lets pretend you are someone important or with the right connections, most hostages are killed during a rescue attempt :(

Try not to go out at night.

Here is an example how quickly things can go wrong

Good job to those in the video, they made it home. Objects, money even your bike can be replaced.

Travel safe, be smart and you get to grow old and tell some kick ass stories.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Why you need to try everything you can, at least once

Growing up I was always one of those kids who had to do just about everything, and I did. My first memories are on the back of a horse, since we grew up on a small Ranch, this only made sense. With encouraging parents I went about doing just about everything I wanted. They bought me art supplies and I did lots and lots of drawing, which went from stick men to later drawing for a friend who wrote a comic.
I would take Piano lessons, play in recitals, go on to join Orchestra, played the Violin until Junior High when a Bass Player was needed and I would take that up as well.
I would go fishing, shooting, hunting and lots of bicycling. I got a Mini Bike early on which helped with my Motorcycle passion later on in life.
The Parents loved to travel so many of my early memories are traveling around in our old Delta 88 or Camping, lots and lots of Camping. I wrestled, took Gymnastics and built a car for racing, lots of swimming and snorkling.

When I was 18 I would sit down and figure out just how long it would take me to try new things, and I determined that if I won the lottery then and lived to be 84 I could not do it all.

I would continue trying new things, immersing myself into Martial arts where I did a bit of Kickboxing. That passion taking me to Europe where I would take a couple fights then spend the rest of my time traveling around on trains seeing all that I could see.

Id come home, get into Paintball, competed in that, took motorcycle track days and tried some medieval warfare for awhile. I got quads and played with those for a bit then A few years later I decided I wanted to learn to fly, I took a helicopter lesson followed up with fixed wing lessons. I would stop a few hours before I got my license not to do a lack of passion, but do to the only instructor close by being a total jerk. Later life just got in the way, I will hopefully finish it and I do not care how old I am when I do.

The swimming and snorkling would lead me to have the opportunity to Swim with Whale Sharks and free dive sunken ships in SE Asia.

Now I am sitting around having traveled a small chunk of the world with way too many hobbies than I can afford wondering why people do not try more things.

I work with a man who has a very good retirement income but insists on working as "I can only fish so much"

It seems this is a common thing I hear, "If I retire what would I do?"

I think it comes down to far to much focus on work and not enough living.

Plain and simple folks, you need to try things, and I mean lots of things, see what works and keep doing it. When you get bored try something new. Your only on this planet for a short time so may as well give it all a go. The alternative is sitting on the couch wondering what everything else is like. If you do not try things as you are living your life, by the time you finally do retire, you will not have that urge to attempt anything new.

Not me, I already tried lots and plan to try a lot more. Right now I got a drone and been tinkering with that, if I can get the move I want I plan to do some Drone Racing which I figure will be a good hobby to share with my kids, same as Cycling which is a huge part of my life right now. Since I have Mountain biked with a guy in his late 60s, I see no reason why I cannot keep doing that as well.

Go live and have no regrets.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The recent open carry laws are going to make things worse, not better, and a cry for Concealed Carry.

I have been trying to figure out how to word this one for a couple of weeks now, which is unusual for me as it usually only takes me about ten minutes to complete a Blog, but here goes.

Over the past few years there has been a huge push for open carry in public. With that push has came something which I never thought I would see, people walking around with not only a pistol strapped to their hip, but a semi automatic rifle in a single point sling hanging in front of them.
To make matters worse, these people are walking around with their hands griping the weapon with their finger lay alongside the trigger guard.

The aspect of this which is the most troubling is anyone actually thinking they are in such danger they need to walk around as if every single person is a potential enemy invader is indicative of someone with a very low IQ, which makes it even scarier.
These are people with some very dangerous fantasies, people who have fell for some repugnant fear mongering which has elevated a level of hatred in this country I have not seen in my lifetime.

As these people walk around "Exercising their" second Amendment rights, they make a hard job for police nearly impossible. Imagine being on a patrol with all the mass shootings going on and seeing some yayhoo walking down the road with an AR 15 strapped to him, what is he supposed to think?
First of all it is out of the ordinary, something they are trained to look for, second it presents someone who is most defiantly a possible threat.
Whether that person is or not at that time the police need to find out. Now you have a situation where a possible unknown shooter is being investigated, and the police rightfully so are a bit on edge. The vast, vast majority of the time the Police will find out said person is only "Exercising his constitutional right" and indeed not an immediate threat, nor likely one in the future. However that time with that stop has taken the officer away from his task of locating the bad guy, which after last nights killing of five officers in Dallas, makes his task all the harder.
Now that officer cannot simply look for someone with a firearm, now he/she has to look for anyone wanting to live out some bazaar fantasy, unreal.

Right now you may be cheering, or pissed, and I seriously hope both groups are reading this post right now, so with that I will delve into the Second Amendment real quick to clarify something important overlooked by both sides.

The Second Amendment reads "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed"

Both sides take this post literally, with the left placing the right in the hands of only the State, and the Right placing that statement in the hands of civilians. The Truth as always lays a bit in the middle with both somewhat correct.
First off it is nonsense to think that the Amendment was written to protect the governments right to have arms, do you really think that needs to be written in? Second it is nonsense to think that it refers to every Tom, Dick and Harry allowing them to carry a firearm, it does not.
Key words which need to be focused on are "Well Regulated Militia" This infers in every historical context that a trained GROUP of people shall hvae access to weapons for the purpose of defense. It states clearly that Militia should be REGULATED. SO that does not mean your right is to own any damned thing you want and to act in any manner you deem ok. SO lets continue with the trained and regulated aspect of this.
What in that statement do you think applies to Joe Cowboy who thinks walking down the road with an AR 15 at low ready is part of this statement?
It says regulated and trained. Thus far there are zero requirements in that regard for anyone purchasing a firearm, so I sure as hell do not want Joe Cowboy who saw a movie and passes the few legal requirements to own a firearm walking around the streets acting out his fantasy.

What I do want are actual trained people acting in a responsible manner which is where the CCW comes in.

When a policeman stops someone who has a CCW (Conceal Carry Weapon) several things happen, first off an announcement is made as the officer approaches the car. The Driver is to state he has a CCW and is armed, the officer now knows you are armed, but more importantly you took a higher step then most people. You have at the very least (Something I will cover in another blog) taken a safety course and more extensive back ground checks. He knows at that point that likely, you are not a threat. For this aspect alone it is a major win for both sides. I noticed being treated far differently from police after I gained my CCW in a very positive manner.

Having a CCW also keeps the firearm out of view and does not require the Police to stop you walking down the damned road wondering if you are a lunatic or not. It also keeps said people in public from panicking, which right now they should indeed be a bit on edge with anyone walking around openly armed. Ask yourself if you are a supporter of Armed Open Carry, how are other people supposed to know your intention? Are they magically supposed to read your mind?

In the end CCW only makes sense, it allows some basic training to be implemented, it takes away some burden from rightfully on edge police and quiets a panicked public.

Support it, and push for higher standards, all people should be allowed to carry, once they show they can do so in a safe and responsible manner to protect not only themselves, but everyone.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

When Climate Science meets reality, what happens?

There was a time when I believed any person who did not buy into the "Science" regarding Climate Change was the biggest idiot on the planet. Then I started doing some research and went almost completely 180, while I never denied Climate change, I simply doubted much of the science supporting it, now I am somewhere in the middle, here is an example of why.

Recently I attended a meeting for the Dept I work for. There was a room full of Scientists and those who support them and their efforts, myself included.
Lectures ensued and as those lectures proceeded, I realized just how fallible Science really is. Lecture after lecture showed its own bias, but the real scary part, was how much pressure came upon those who simply presented the facts, which were a bit contradictory to what the mainstream thought of Climate Science states. Those people were often forced to change their Science to agree with the common thoughts regarding the effects of Climate Change, despite their own findings finding evidence to the contrary.

So what are those findings that contradict Climate Science you ask?

Well, for one we hear daily how a variety of species will simply become extinct as our climate changes. We are bombarded with Images of starving dying polar bears, struggling to find ice shelves to verify these thoughts. What we do not hear is the picture of the Polar bear is likely just a picture of one going through its usual Molt. We also do not bother to think that the Polar Bear, like most Animals has EVOVLED to suit its environment.
Bam, there it is, full circle right back to a basic aspect of Science, Evolution and Natural Selection will determine the future of a species, not the climate in and of itself.

Will the Polar Bear cease to exist? Unlikely, it like other animals will have to adapt and find a new way of hunting or finding food. Being a bear that should not be much of a problem for it.

Another Animal which Climate Change advocates are pushing extinction with is the Wolverine. They predominantly use Snow Banks to make Dens in, they also are primarily a highland Animal, or so common thinking of the little know species is thought. So logically if they cannot Den and are highland animals, the will cease to exist, right?
The ground science on it is far less certain to the extinction aspect caused simply from climate change. As it turns out Wolverines have for some time also been using rock outcroppings, denning under logs and in other crevasse. So the likely hood of Wolverines going extinct is far less certain as they seem to be fairly adaptable.
It also is to note that recently a Northern Wyoming Wolverine traveled down to Colorado, then back up to North Dakota where it would meet its fate by the hands of a rancher protecting his livestock. The most important thing about this is it ended up in NORTH DAKOTA! Not a territory one would ever Imagine the wolverine would ever even try to survive. Regardless it did.
Clearly science is not as certain as mainstream notion pushes, which if anyone has ever read from some of the greatest scientists notions, that is exactly what we find, that Science changes and sometimes what is predicted, never comes true.

So where does this leave us? Well first off, I love Science, it is my preferred go to source and attitude for almost everything, but it does leave us knowing we should insert a bit of common sense, not panic, and think about what is really going on around us.

Undoubtedly climate change is happening and changing this planet profoundly, the Hows and Whys are not as Certain as much of this science is still very young./

Be skeptical and open minded my friends, and as the one Climate Scientist at my conference said "We are missing quit a few pieces, let us stick with what we know" Great Lecture and I enjoyed chatting with him after his speech. Take the time to ask questions yourself.

Some links for your consideration.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What I liked about Denmark

There has been lots of talk about Danmarks 100 percent or higher vehicle tax, this is my reply to those that would never think of living there.

I liked Danmark, everything is done and beautiful. The roads are great, trash is picked up and believe me after a night of partying they toss shit around like anywhere, by 9am the Elves must have magically appeared to clean up as I never saw anyone actually picking up the trash.

You can order a beer with your value meal, nobody freaks out if you have a drink on your lunch break at work or if you drive.

Great healthy food, you can eat out and not worry about a bad meal as they take immense pride in everything they do.

"free" medical so you break something you don't have to worry about filing bankruptcy.

Outstanding public transportation that runs n time.

Time off! You would crap yourself if you knew how much time off from work many Euros get in the summer.

Free college.

People dress with pride and dignity, are well read and educated with the typical person speaking four languages.

I really wished I had stayed, I thought firearms mattered, and to a point they do, but I would rather have a country that cares for each other and their infrastructure than the US where it's a struggle to get pot holes fixed or books in schools cause muricans do not want to prioritize paying higher taxes over having garbage they do not need but feel entitled to.

In my opinion as Americans we need a priority change, badly.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How not to be labeled a "Terrorist"

Yet another deplorable attack has happened, with only fortune dictating one casualty, the shooter has happened and the nation momentarily held its breath in anticipation of the Radical Islamic fundamentalist which was stopped. They would be told shortly it was simply a man with mental problems, all is ok, despite the man having a history of "Calling himself a Prophet of god"

This is not a even a little bit surprising to me, all be it very disappointing but it seems to be the norm, and why not?

Nearly weekly the Pope is cast on TV As the "Religious Leader of the world" his words placed on the TV and everyone from the common person, celebrity to political figure proclaim his greatness. The result? an extremely biased and bigoted system based on the classic ideology of familiarity so excuses are made.

Anyone, who has a belief in god seems to be incapable of a terrorist attack, Andrea Yates who killed her kids for god "Mental problem" woman who killed baby in Russia "Jihadist terrorist" be afraid, it is only a matter of time.

Shoot up a school, military complex or otherwise go ballistic, if you are a christian you were "misunderstood and now removed for the safety of America' Anyone else, including an atheist is quickly decried as horrible and their kind must be stopped, again a threat to the sanctity of the world.

Look this has to stop, had this been another "Muslim" we would all be facing the inventible calls for "Turning the Mideast to glass" never mind a good amount of Muslims do not even live in the Mideast, that like most facts regarding our "War" ON terrorism seem to be irrelevant.

I am ok with religion, be it the Spaghetti Monster, Christianity, Muslim or Comet loving, but when you start pushing your own "Culture" which is the history of the dominant religion of the world, I call foul.

It is time to stop, I hvae come to the realization that the west is indeed carrying on a holy war, it is nonsense and absolutely has to stop.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Movie the Revenent, an insult to those who pioneered the west.

I was stoked to see this, I have known the premise of this story for some time and as someone who grew up in the west as an outdoorsman I have been fascinated by the incredible life of Pioneers/ Trappers of the west.
Then I watched the movie.
To say it did these amazing men a disservice is a understatement. It Underscored the importance of Jim Bridger who would be a influence in the settling of the west, especially Montana, making he and other trappers look like bumbling scared morons, they were not. Most were Bi Lingual at least, as they had to negotiate with multiple tribes. Bridger like many trappers would go on to marry a Squaw, very common and helped with negotiating as well as even surviving in what could be a very hostile place. Jim was very influential in the history of the west, he was first credited with finding the Great Salt lake, and of course Founded Fort Bridger his Pioneering provided a future for others to follow.
It took the story of Glass himself, which little is actually known, blew it into something completely different and IMO destroyed it all following the classic "White men are Evil" hyperbole, then picking the usual bad guy our hero had to hunt down, and using the classic stick to support a corpse while the good guy waited in ambush. The actual story was mainly about not just being left to die, but having his rifle, which was sacred to Mountain Men, taken from him, Hugh wanted it back. Upon walking into a fort where Jim Bridger was, he was called "The Revenent" which in french implies back from the dead.
The nature and survival scenes were just as stomach churning for anyone who knows much of the wild. Gutting of the horse was absolutely ridiculously stupid, you do not gut an animal like that, the guts alone can way half the weight of an animal, crawling inside? Why, pine bows make a wonderful bed and cover. Not to mention if you had crawled inside an animal to survive and left your clothes outside, they would have been stiff with ice.
Leo learned to shoot a musket in this film, I guess this is a big deal, not exactly rocket science, however somewhere along the way nobody told those making the movie, nor the crowd watching it, they were single shot weapons, and incapable of the classic double shot leo managed time and time again to pull off.
Further the story itself happened in October, there were Maggots in his back so we know it was not anywhere near freezing, at least during the day for this to happen. Lets not forget it was not in the Rockies, but rather in the plains of South Dakota. I could live with these being wrong, the rest I could not.
I could go on, however I would encourage you to read up on the Amazing exploits of the old west pioneers.
As always, Hollywood seems detached from our history, and heritage.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Death Valley Super Bloom, cross one more off the bucket list.

Death Valley, the hottest place in North America is a unforgiving environment which has earned its name for good reason, it has not only the lowest point in North America at 284 below sea level, and holds the highest reliable recorded temperature ever recorded anywhere in the world at a rubber melting 134F!

I have been fascinated by this National Park for some time now. The myth of the sliding rocks of course always fascinated me, however the naturalist within me was beyond attracted to what is known as the "Super Bloom". I First heard of the Super Bloom over a decade ago during its last event. Scientists and visitors all over the world scramble to the valley to see this colorful event, when a normal dry unforgiving climate yields to the rains and up from the terra comes flowers where they simply do not belong. Given it is likely a once in a lifetime event for a person, I would have to go.

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days riding my motorcycle through this incredible valley and I had a magnificent time.
This time around I would be lucky enough to be visiting the Vegas area during the superbloom, nothing could keep me from seeing this magnificent event.

Recently I loaded up the familia for our quick trip through the valley. I would not be spending a lengthy stay, it would simply be a quick visceral for the senses to see something which we would have maybe a half dozen chances at best in our adult lifetime.

As we enter the park we are greeted by a mixture of yellow, green, purple and orange mostly along the side of the road.

Unfortunately I did not stop initially as I was hoping for even a greater explosion of colors as I entered the park.

There were waves of yellow, mixtures of orange within with a hint of purple here and there. Honestly had I not seen the park when absolutely no green, except that at the spring in Furnace Springs, I would probably not have thought much of it. However since I had seen it when seemingly nothing existed, I knew the splender I was indeed seeing.

We Traveled to Dantes Peak and saw hints of life here and there, but little as we climbed, with one exception, there was green, green should not exist in this environment, with the exception of the cacti that seems to thrive in often incredibly harsh places.
As always the View from the top was absolutely magnificent, and I may be mistaken, but it seemed as if the salt flats in BadWater basin were brighter than normal, perhaps not.
We would be told by an older gentleman that a trip to Beatty, would yield rows of flowers we so craved.

We would take his advice and follow the winding road down, stopping here and there to grab a quick picture.

We took the turn to Beatty, and wow were we greeted with splendor. As promised fields of yellow abounded, being past the peak of the bloom, I could only Imagine the grandeur of days already past.

From this point on, I stopped what seemed like every few feet to snap some photos, like a small child I ran here and there trying to catch the perfect photo. The bright sunlight made it hard to see the viewfinder, but I was confident I had grabbed photos to last a lifetime. I would discover as I came home the disappointment which too often came in the flim days, my pictures were less than fabulous, but would still be a reminder in years to come, of yet another chance of a lifetime grabbed.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Addressing the attacks on firearms protection and possession.

There has been a Leftist saying for awhile, that if you live someplace where you need a firearm, you should move.
Well first off, this is an acknowledgement that some people will indeed need a firearm.
It fails to notice the main point of possessing a firearm for defense, that is if indeed you need it, you need it RIGHT NOW!
IF you have a bad guy break into your house, or try to shake you down in a parking lot, its not like you can say "You know what, I have had it, we are out of here' At that moment, you are committed.
The bulk of crime in the US happens in poverty areas, those who live there probably do not want to be stuck in the hellish environment they are stuck in. It is not as if a poor person can simply move, to where? Jobs are in short supply in America, and it is not as if someone living on their own making just over minimum wage can save enough money to go anywhere.
Regardless, those people are stuck there, and deserve the right to defend themselves, if all good people leave, then what is left?
Here are a couple of examples of people who had to defend themselves while living in only what I would consider hell.
My heart truly goes out to this woman, who has already survived far to much at such a young age. Embedding is disabled for this video.


Argument "A firearm is meant to kill" Well not necessarily, I am fairly certain the first club was probably used to bash in another cavemans skull, however it would end up being used for many other things. Just as that first club was used in death, it would also be used to beat weeds, bring in food and defense.
I have many firearms, some I purchased for defense, but most I ended up buying for punching holes in paper, just as the vast, vast majority of firearms owners do. Competitive shooting is becoming extremely popular in the US, people who purchase those firearms, are not generally purchasing them simply to kill.

The next thing they like to do, is degrade the firearms owner. Hunters are Elmer Fudds, target shooters Wyatte Earp, self defense people paranoid low IQ trailer trash morons, no Compassion for the poor, and last we have the collector, who are nothing more than paranoid nutjobs waiting for the end of the world.
All are annoying to be honest and again, rarely ever true, let us put this all into perspective

Remember, there are around 90 million firearms owners in the US, however just under 14 million will go hunting each year who are over the age of 16. That means without a doubt the US hunters alone are the worlds largest Army! Absolutely amazing to be honest. So if we put this into perspective we realize the other 76 million are either just collectors, Target shooters or own for self defense, in reality probably a combination of all things, proving the Firearm is only a tool, I mean lets think about it, if 90 million firearms owners were as irresponsible and evil as the left would have you believe, they would have easily taken over the country and killed every living thing including each other by now.

There are some bad apples of course, however I have yet to see any regulation which would address this problem which is actually fairly simple to solve in all reality, my thoughts on how to stop mass shootings here.

Argument, "High capacity Magazines would reduce casualties" Well lets think about this here, the goal of this is not even to stop mass shootings, but to mitigate them, again not true in the slightest. Charles Whitman killed 12 people and wounded 32 people using a bolt action hunting rifle while perched atop a clock tower in 1966.

The Beltway Snipers quit literally terrorized the east coast for months, killing 17, while they used an Ar-15, that weapon could have been a single shot rifle. Remember, intent is the scariest thing of all this.
There have been several school shootings where non semi auto firearms were used, I would like to see mass shootings stop altogether, and I think we can stop them as I noted above.
Very good video addressing high capacity magazines.

Argument, women cannot defend themselves or will only have the gun used against them. Now this one really, really is disturbing, talk about misogyny. Women are very capable of defending themselves, not only has it happened in real world defensive situations, women have served very honorably with women now even being accepted into the Elite US Army Rangers.
Women are also the fastest growing segment into the competitive shooting sector, and are doing amazingly well.

Argument, firearms should not be allowed where alcohol is consumed. You know what, if you want to say you should not be allowed to be intoxicated while carrying a firearm, that would be fine, however again, the left attempts to hyperbole this and make it seem like all people in an establishment which has alcohol are there to get plowed, not at all. It is ridiculous that I should hvae to take off and leave my firearm which I am legally licensed to carry in my vehicle when I stop someplace to eat. Further what if something happens? Well let me present someone who lived through such a travesty in this exact situation.

Argument, "why do you need a firearm to defend yourself, are you not tough enough?" Absurd, so everyone should have to be a master in Martial Arts? As someone who is now in my fourties and having had my fair share of scraps, I have zero desire to go fisticuffs with some ass stain who broke into my house or threatened my or families well being in public. Street confrontations can be a dice roll, and while I encourage people to learn self defense, the reality is a firearm is a far, more realistic alternative, especially considering not all people are physically fit or physically able to defend themselves.

Argument" The Second Amendment was never meant for assault rifles" This is actually correct. The Second Amendment was never written for assault rifles, it was written with the term "Arms" which infers all manner of weapons. The founding fathers were actually very suspicious of a standing army and preferred the Idea of a small regular army with a Militia for back up, the greatest example of the use of private arms for defense of the country would be in the war of 1812, where big guns were used from those of private citizens, I mean cannon and even armed merchant ships.
Now primarily the Second Amendment as stated in modern times generally refers to the common citizen, so should they indeed have an assault rifle? Sure beyond what I stated above, the Musket at the time of the Revolutionary war was a cutting edge weapon of amazing devastation at the time, the assault rifle is without a doubt the modern equivalent of the brown bess musket capable of the then terrifying 4 rounds per minute.

Argument "Teenagers are not mentally capable of handling a firearm" Again, the left would have us believe that the typical teen around a firearm is a disaster waiting to happen, absolute nonsense. Probably for myself growing up in an area where pretty much every single "Kid" I knew had access to a firearm, it is easier for me to understand the nonsense of this argument. Teens do better when giving more responsibility, not less.
I would also argue that competitive shooting for kids get them an outlet, which also teaches them respect, firearms safety and a good demonstration of what a firearm is truly capable of. I would also like to point out that if a kid was focused on shooting competitively, they would have less time for trouble, and less money to spend on booze, alcohol drugs or other forms which could get them into trouble.

Can they defend themselves? Of course, but let us hope they will not have to, this is why they should be prepped and allowed access to where firearms are stored.

Argument "Firearms do not belong in schools" I would say that firearms safety should be taught in schools. In the event someone comes across a firearm they should know safe handling. Kids who are not exposed to firearms outside of schools will not have a understanding of what to do.
It also is to note that at one time, target shooting was allowed in schools. Someone who has ill intent will not give a crap, nor have they
thus far if a school is "firearms free" they target schools because they know it is easy pickings as those people are cowards.

Argument "Anyone can purchase a firearm" This is a Blatant lie, most of the checks the Democrats have been pushing for are already in place. In order for anyone to purchase a new firearm they must pass a Federal Background check. Anyone having a history of mental illness, felony, or convicted of drug use may not possess a firearm.

Private sales are different, however some states require one to register the used purchase of a firearm or to have a background check when doing so, I am for this, however I realize that it will do nothing to stop illegal purchases. Keep in mind that firearms are for the most part forbidden in France yet last year we saw a tragic shooting take place from radical fundamentalists, nothing I repeat no amount of control measures against the common man will prevent this.
It also is nonsense that there is a firearms loophole, that is completely incorrect, anyone again selling new firearms at a gun show must pass a background check. Again private sales are a bit different and varies state by state. Will a bad guy go to a firearms show to purchase a gun without a check? Possible but unlikely, prices at gun shows are usually bloated, those people are looking for cheap firearms with no recognition which they would get off the street where the weapons are usually stolen.

Argument "The NRA is a radical group" Absolute nonsense, while I do not agree with all the NRA does, or has done in the past it is the foremostorganization for teaching firearms safety for adults. It also is the primary organization for providing competitive shooting, which is what it originally was founded for, and later was dragged into the defending firearms rights decades ago. The NRA is far from perfect, but then again so is the ACLU which I also support.

Argument "Firearms Manufacturers should be held liable" Really? So should automobile manufacturers be held liable when their car is used to run someone down, or used as a getaway vehicle? What about knife manufacturers? Come on people, this is ridiculous. This however is an attempt to bankrupt the firearms industry, disgusting.

In the end it is important to remember that shortsightedness gets one no where. While the left certainly wants to restrict firearms ownership and in the end, completely eliminate it, they suffer from their own delusions as in another voice, they are concerned with a current Fascist Presidential candidate who may be in office soon. History shows us what could happen in such a situation, and I am willing to bet that those same people would be clamoring to defend themselves in the event the worst nightmare became a reality.
I seriously doubt we will have this problem with a Fascist Candidate as America has enough checks and balances, however it has happened in the past. Here is one many people do not think about.
In reality there should, and are limitations to how and what weapons we own, and who should have access, I am all for responsible firearms ownership, training, storage and back ground checks.

Balance people, why does it not exist?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A girl from abject poverty goes first world, part two

I previously wrote about my wifes journey from a developing country, their basic ways to here.
There were some unaswered questions so without writing a book, which I would rather do :P I will attempt to fill in some gaps.

As my wife says, she was poor, but not poor. Never was this more blatantly obvious than when she first came here and I tried to feed her some rice, which is of course the staple food for people in Poverty in much of the world and of Orientals everywhere.
I had run of the mill boxed rice, known to the common person as Uncle Bens. Upon eating this I was promptly informed this was unfit for human consumption, say what?
I would go to the store and buy a bag of rice, which she would then call poor people rice. Yea I know, apparently there are levels of poor people even in a Developing country, go figure. Her father would refuse to buy his family cheap rice, saying they were above eating badly, good for him.
I would have to take her with me rice shopping, there she would sniff bags of rice for the aroma, which apparently is important, as well as feeling the type of rice grains. Seems like some weird voodoo shit to me, but I am here to say the rice she picks out, does taste miles better.

Running water is of course something the west takes for granted, at the flip of our wrist we have water available at our whim within our house, hot and cold even!
Not so for the wife, who was raised without running water in her apparent mid level poverty home. Outside there was a spicket of running water, where she would fill up a big bucket of water. Mind you she would not fill it all the way full, their water bill just for that service was 10 dollars a month. Think about that for minute, the average American income is 35k a year with a sub 40 a month water bill, while the income in the Philippines is 400 dollars a year! No wonder they struggle
Later on they would have running water only in the kitchen as Mom would win the lottery, Literally! No not crazy insane lottery like you are thinking, but enough to get them a water line into the house.
Bathing as I mentioned before was far different for them, so a running shower/bathtub is not something they ever had. The wifes first experience with an actual bathtub would be while staying in a nice hotel when I was sick. Most decent hotels in the Philippines have at least a walk in shower, this one had a nice big bathtub as well. The wife wanted to try it so I let her have at it. A few minutes later I still heard the shower running so I went to see what was going on. The shower curtain was outside of the tub, water all over the floor and she was standing knee deep in water under the shower! I’m like this is not how it is done, you need to sit down and soak in the water after its filled.
I then went out into the room to watch some TV, a minute later she followed me out proudly proclaiming her real first bath was done. I explained to her in the future to soak in the tub until the water started to cool :P
It is not uncommon to see hand pump water sources still, nor is it uncommon to see someone packing whatever plastic containers they can find full of water taken from a spring or creek someplace, sometimes for miles back home, such as this kid packing water home using what can only be described as a butt board so he can roll down a hill that is insanely steep.

Microwave, this was an area I really lucked out in. An old friend had brought a wife over from the Philippines as well, she had trouble with the no metal rule in the microwave, and three microwaves later she got it.
Fortunately mine picked up on the Microwave right off, being fascinated by how easy it was to put food inside for safe storage away from flies. :O She still does not cook in it much, which I prefer, not a big microwave food fan myself, oh yea, no metal ever went into the use of this magical device. She never even tried to cook an egg, something my father tried for some time back when we got our first.

Education, this is a tough one but one they take seriously. Many kids cannot even afford pencils or notepads for school. Aid organizations help to supply kids with what they need, but that is a limited lucky few. Books are a serious shortage as well and computers in public school? Forget about it. In order to work most jobs, even fast food one must have a college degree. This is usually obtained from money sent back home from family working abroad. My wifes oldest aunt while working abroad in Japan would put three of her sisters through college as well as my Wife and her cousin, talk about selfless!
To overcome their shortage of educational material teachers will take workshops on how to be creative.
Schools often cannot afford a janitor, so kids are required to clean up after class, I think this is a wonderful Idea we should adopt in the west, Japan does this as well.

Shopping; There is no Walmart in the Philippines, nor in every country in the world :P Which is somewhat surprising as seeing American or western based food chains is actually quit common. Try to visit a mall without seeing Wendys, Pizza Hut, Mcdonalds etc is nearly impossible and sadly takes away from their magnificent traditional food traded for western slop. You will find something else which is very much lacking in Merican society today, small stores, they are everywhere. Malls there are busy bustling places filled with every kind of store you can Imagine, big boxed stores are less common than here and that really ads to the shopping experience. Women are usually cashiers as they are considered more responsible than men :P. Men will often simply work the floor, or ironically enough, will be the managers of stores, go figure.
Everyone wears a uniform in these places and it has always amazed me how someone could live in a small shack, yet come out with spotless clothes neatly pressed looking absolutely amazing.
Buying in bulk is not something which is common there, so when you make you way to a food mart, which is usually at the bottom of a mall (your big ones) you will buy bottled water individually as well as anything else.
Local grocery shopping is done in what is called Sari Sari stores, which are huts which sell a few oddities. Usually they have soda, soap, rice, toothbrush and well just Imagine what it was like at our corner stores when we were younger, cept cram it all into a tiny room and you have the Sari Sari store.

Next up, getting around, eating local food, and the challenges of finding modern conveniences in a near toilet paper free society.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A young lady from abject poverty goes first world.

For those of us in the western world, it is often impossible to associate with those less fortunate than ourselves. Often in a discussion I bring up that my other half came from abject poverty. I realize however that most people do not know what that means, so I shall do my best to give you an Idea with her story.

She had grown up in what we would call a hut, to her it was a house. The entire house was small, only the size of what we would consider a living room. In this living room sized house she would live with her four brothers and parents. They would all have their own rooms, well sort of, they were basically small closets just large enough for a blanket to lay on. My wife would stay in their actual living room, where she would sleep on a little bamboo bench about three foot long. There she would curl up night after night as she grew, sleeping on that little bamboo bench.
The house does have a kitchen, but no stove, in place of a stove is a mud oven which of course uses only wood. There is no refrigerator, but there is electricity, which of course is dim by our standards. They have a light bulb in the kitchen and living room, but that is all. There is also a TV and Stereo.
The bathroom just has a toilet which those of us in the west would consider child size, there is no seat over the toilet as they would squat and hover like a frog as my wife would put it. No toilet paper, as most of the world does not use such nonsense, instead they would use a bucket of water with a pale inside, the pale was used to splash upon their bum to clean it. The bucket is also where you would wash your hands, no soap :P

From the time I met her things were different, she would make sure I understood that her father was a good dad, as he always provided food and they always had clothes as well as a roof over their head. That sounds like something our grandparents would say,I guess at one point it rang true. Her father worked primarily in construction, a skilled tradesmen he could earn 2 dollars a day, and sometimes a bit more, which is actually pretty good considering most outside of the city only make 1.25 USD per day. He also would use his motorcycle as a cab, rain or shine he would be out looking for a fair.

She would walk with the other kids to school, sometimes in ankle deep mud during the rainy season. What makes this bad is sewage runs down gutters along the road, so if there is flooding, guess what happens.
The school does not have much, it is short on books and even pencils and paper to write on, so all the kids have to share. I would like you right now to stop and think what it would be like to have to share even a pencil when you attended school, let that sink in. The one part of their school I think is something the west should take up, the kids would have to clean after school, as the school of course could not afford a custodian.

Food is of course scarce, and something as a large American I cannot truly comprehend either.
Rice is of course their staple food, along with dried fish. If you have never seen dried fish you are not missing out on much. Just picture what a fish that has been laying out on a rock in the sun for a week would look like, and you now have dried fish.
Sometimes they are fortunate and get a little chicken too. Eating dogs is not something they do, it happens, but usually only from drunkards and drug users. Dogs are pets there, and the dogs get to eat the bones from the fish.
The wife would talk about having to chase a cat who had stole her fish. Now keep in mind that of she lost a meal that means she would not get to eat, unlike in the west where we can just go and grab something else, she never had that option. She was quick to point out however that she always had three meals a day, most were lucky to have one, and many never had a full meal. Although as a westerner I would challenge their Idea of a full meal.

Laundry is something else, and arguably one of the worst things you can imagine. A hard and aguarius task they would use a concrete slab to hand wash their laundry. There with a bar of soap and lots of scrubbing they would sit with others and chat as they washed away. As repulsive as this indeed is, I am here to say your clothes will never feel cleaner.

Ohh you think you have it all now don’t you? well almost, lets talk about bathing.
She would always talk about taking a bath to me, however as it turns out they do not have baths, not in our sense, nor in the sense of our great grandparents who at least had a big tub an bucket. In the Philippines they would only have a bucket and a pale again, not sure if its the same one used in the bathroom to be honest. Anyhow no separate room for this and bathing is done outside. The girls wear a shirt, and the men wear shorts, then out in the public, or sometimes behind a clothes line, they will bath, splashing the water from the bucket on themselves.

I think by now, you have a pretty good Idea what life is like, so without writing a entire book lets move into her transition to the western world.

Like most in Abject poverty she had never seen an Aeroplane in person, only on TV. Her first exposure would be flying to another island for her visa process, no it is not an easy thing, so consider that the next tie you talk about immigration. She would pack all of her belongings into a small back pack I had bought her, and off she would go.
Upon landing in Japan I would encourage her to find her next connecting gate immediately, she said she was hungry and would find it later. We are only chatting on the kindle I had bought her and I was of course anxious to say the least. Like most well travelled people the minute I landed I would always look for my next gate, then I would go and find something to eat, or maybe browse the shops, the fact she was not doing this was unconscionable! As it turns out she used google to see the layout of the airport, so knew where and how long it would take her to find her next gate. Your mind blown? Yea mine was too.
Ok so nothing more in this regard, now on to the ride home.

I would pick her up from the airport in a Newer Toyota Tundra, why is this significant? Well for two reasons, like most in abject poverty, she never got to ride in auto mobiles, other than their Jeepny which is a bus transport system I will explain in another blog. She would of course be blown away with the immense size of my truck, and the automatic windows, wow wee!

Now walking into my house was a bit striking for her of course, now mind you I live a solid Montana middle class, nothing fancy, just a nice old rustic home, which to her was huge. Learning to use the features within the house is where this entire story comes to.
I would have to show her right off how to use the stove, an electric stove of course so it does not get any easier than that. She was fascinated. THe washer and dryer? well all you do is place the clothes inside,dump a little bit of soap within, push the button and go have some lunch. Then the hard task of transferring clothes to the dryer came about, she was gob smacked.
The vacuum cleaner, woo wee, after two demonstrations on how to use this handy gadget I realized I was being hoodwinked into cleaning the house in its entirety uhgg!
What she really was interested in, would be the toaster, she was amazed that simply pushing a button was all that was required to cook bread.

And there you have it, the journey of a girl from abject poverty to modern amenities. I hope it makes you appreciate what you have even more. I really hope it gives you a better understanding of what two thirds of the world lives like.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A wheel gun is good enough

The debate always rages, what weapon is enough for you to defend yourself? Popular thinking go along two lines, the first being caliber selection, and the second is bullet capacity. Mind you I used to get into these arguments "Oh I need a big bullet to stop somoene" Well that is true, and then the "Oh I need lots of ammo so I do not run out" the later relies on the absolute most extreme circumstance, which is very very rare and only really popular in hollywood. Nevertheless, I fell for it.

So I started out carrying a full sized glock .45. I lugged the beast around all the time, and mind you, It was ok.
A few years later I decided I wanted a something smaller, a bit more versatile in the carry factor.
I fell upon simplicity in its utmost, and grabbed a snub nosed .38 special for a couple reasons, one it was small, could be carried concealed in more areas of my person, and last while the .38 has not proven to be the greatest man stopper ever, it was however a choice for hit men for years, as well as proven that people who have less bullets, tend to be more accurate and have a higher hit/kill ratio, so why not?

Do to its smaller size I would end up carrying it often, far more often than the big Glock. It would also be the pistol which would end up in the glove compartment and would be next to my bed more often than not. I loved the fact I did not have to worry about a spring weakening with time, jams or clearing the chamber of the semi auto each evening when I got home. It also had the added benefit of not mashing the bullet down in the shell with each time a bullet is a chamber, which of course can lead to dangerous high chamber pressures. So it just would be the one.

I did what I do with every firearm I own, I practiced, practiced and practiced. I would practice pulling it from every single location which I carried it, practicied hitting accurately, and practiced reloading it quickly. I found that I was able to reload the revolver as fast, or faster than most people who are attempting to change a magazine in their semi auto.

Years have passed and thankfully, never been used for its intended purpose of defense. In that time frame I learned something else, with the advent of Youtube I could watch vidoes of attacks, and I would find that almost always when someone pulled the trigger, the bad guy would most often run, sometimes after only a brief exchange of gunfire.

Gone was the myth of the perp who would not stop, gone was the need for a massive caliber able to blow a hole in the side of an elephant, and gone was the need for massive magazine capacity. While I understand the later may indeed be needed, let us be realistic, we are not carrying for combat, we are carrying for self defense against most likely petty thugs. Even if a worse case scenario of a mass shooter it still is more than enough as several shooters have been stoppped by civilian weapon holders usually without even having to fire a shot.
So yea, in the end a wheelgun is enough, it is in all reality all we need for for carry, and likely home defense.