No, Really…

Yeah, I’m still down. Thought I might have to go back to the ER over the weekend, as literally almost could not swallow at all at one point. Taking acetaminophen like I’m on a Ranger Candy blitz and don’t want to admit to the doc how much I’m taking.

Contacting my GP and letting him know that if not better today, headed down to his clinic tomorrow. Think my landlord may have the same thing, as we are hacking and racking in stereo. I was assured last week I was not communicable, hope they are right. Really need to restock teas now as that’s a lot of what I’ve drunk since even room-temp water hurt.

More soon.

I’m Not Dead Yet :)

Just still dragging pretty badly. How bad? Four mugs of Russian Caravan tea this morning and still feel like a nap. Good news is that it didn’t take five minutes in the shower to get the right eye open this morning, but improvement is slower than I would like. Hate sore throats. Bleh. More soon.

Sorry About That

I was going to post yesterday, but ended up spending most of the day in the ER. I apparently caught the cold/bug going around, but being me it had to be different. Because of my meds and such, I’m not supposed to look at decongestants of any type or description (or grapefruit, still not sure about that). Sneezing, coughing, and a massive amount of sinus congestion that built and built.

Finding bloody mucus in my ear and mucus starting to come up into my eyes (sinuses looking for any way to relieve pressure), decided I might need to let the pros take a look. Given the lightning strike and all the interesting coronary stuff after, the pros agreed.

After x-rays, swabs of various types, a 12-lead, and a partridge in a pear tree, they said that yep, I have a cold or bug. No on strep, flu, covid, or anything else. 12-lead was almost perfectly textbook (yay), BP and such fantastic (112/72 I think), and the x-rays not only showed no bad problems in the lungs but continued good healing in the chest. Got two prescriptions I’ve got to go get in a few minutes, one for the cough and one for an eye ointment as they are now inflamed.

How bad was it? Well, this morning after about five minutes I got one eye open enough to get around, and literally had to get in the shower to get both eyes open via warm water dissolving goop. Joy. My eyes are so red I look like an extra in zombie or evil creature movie. This stuff can’t go away fast enough. Really am tempted to take one decongestant, but am being good for now. I was mostly good yesterday, though I will admit that knowing how to lower the patient-proof rails on the beds is a good skill to have. Hey, I needed my book and phone, and to go to the bathroom at a different point.

I’ve got to run this morning to get the prescriptions filled, then have an appointment related to the disability claim. Lots going on, some commentary and snark hopefully inbound soon. BTW, my take on the treaty and failed Sarmat launch are that Vladimir is saber rattling and in the process enjoyed a Khrushchev moment. Sarmat/Satan II has had issues, which is why it didn’t replace Satan I several years ago as planned.

More soon.

Jimmy Carter: A Prayer

Normally, if I can’t say anything good about a person, I try to just keep silent. As it is, I can actually say something good about Jimmy, the feckless peanut, though not as much as I might want.

Just as the shades of Pierce, (A) Johnson, and Arthur could look at Jimmy in thanks for taking on the mantle of worst President, Jimmy can look gratefully at Dementia Joe and the Biden Regency for taking that mantle for the next 100 years (I hope we get no one worse before then).

I was born and raised in Georgia, and very briefly was involved with Carter’s campaign while still in high school. I plead the folly of youth and ignorance, and came fairly quickly to embrace my friend Strawberry’s take of ‘We decided to share the joke that was Jimmy with the world. We had no idea you bastards would take it seriously.’

The man did more damage to our military than the enemy, at least up until Obama and now the Biden Regency took up that torch. What he did to intelligence still tends to make me drop into ‘salty language’ to be polite. The damage there was even more enormous. I’m not even going to get into national malaise and all the other joys of his administration. When you add in the fact that he is a rather vile and loathsome anti-semite who still misses no chance to hurt Israel, you sorta get the picture. Indeed, the joke is the elaborate state funeral he planned (and he has) is to take place in Gaza.

Thing is, if not for Gimme, we might not have had the Reagan Restoration as it happened. In many respects, he is responsible for Boss winning and winning big, elections and more.

Where I can give him some respect and praise is in his actions as an ex-President and his work with charity. His work with Habitat for Humanity and other good works set a bar that most haven’t even tried to meet. Too much of our political class is there for the photo op, to talk, take a cut, and to let others do the work. Jimmy waded in with hammer, saw, and did real work rather that the posturing so common today. Yes, he raised money and awareness, but genuinely seemed to enjoy the labor that went with it.

Here and overseas, he made a real difference. He got his hands not just dirty, but all of him and seemed to enjoy it very much. I have to respect that, and am glad it gives me something good to say about him as his time here grows short. As I hope others will do for me one day, I will pray for God to forgive him his sins and any other transgressions, I will pray for his soul, and I will give thanks that the charities involved will hopefully go on and continue to do good in the world. May his passing be peaceful and may God’s mercy be on all he leaves behind.

The Game Of Cat And Mouse

While politics is the world’s oldest profession (prostitution spun off from it as the second and more honest profession that actually provided real service for the money), a good case can be made for spying being the third oldest profession. Humans have done it since the beginning of civilization. That said, those who have done it were (and are) rarely seen as good people. Sometimes with very good reason. There’s a book or three in that statement.

I’ve written a bit before about Agent Farewell and his critical role in bringing down the Soviet Union. The game of cat and mouse, recruiting sources/operatives/etc. continues today, even though the U.S. really sort of sucks at it. Both recruiting and security/long-term operations. Our HUMINT efforts are nowhere near what they should be thanks to the feckless peanut. What little we do have? Between double agents and poor security, networks in China and elsewhere have been rolled up over the last few years.

Which brings me to two articles you should read. The first is from John Sexton at HotAir, and looks at a Russian penetration of German intelligence. The second is an article recommended to me on Twitter by Richard Lowe, that deals with the growing scandal of a top FBI agent who turned.

Keep in mind Russia has never stopped its efforts, and Chinese operations in the U.S. are positively staggering. The two articles linked are just the topmost tip of the iceberg.

Peace At Any Price

Earlier this week, the always excellent and interesting Baldilocks shared a thread on Twitter dealing with the perceptions and thoughts of a certain class of Russians in regards the war. The thread is well worth reading, as are some of the comments to her tweet and my retweet.

What was reported matches what I am seeing and hearing from that class, and from others. For all that one must support the war in public, or face draconian consequences, even in private it has a lot of support. As in a WAG on my part of better than fifty percent. Yes, there are segments that don’t support and are not thrilled with things, and they tend to fall more on ethnic lines from what I’m seeing. Overall, the war has a surprising strong, wide, and deep level of support within Russia. Not universal, but pretty darn significant.

Support for Vladimir remains quite high. This varies as one goes through demographics and ethnicities, but overall strong. Two areas where this may not be true are in what I call the political oligarchia: the politicians, power brokers, oligarchs, and wanna-be oligarchs who make up the upper levels of power. The old nomenklatura concept is dead and gone. In public, this upper level is very pro-Vladimir. In private, well, it’s still not clear to me if some of what is going on behind the scenes is simply preparation for his retirement or death, or if there is something more active going on. To be fair, there are days I’m not sure those playing the great game in Russia truly know themselves. The other area is the bottom of the demographics pile, which tends to be ‘yeah, support, whatever; none of them give a damn about us.’ That may be as close to a universal concept across cultures as anything.

An important point within this is the response of that educated class to the pushback by Ukraine, NATO, and others. Note the surprise, shock even, that Europe and others not only opposed the invasion, but that they are helping Ukraine (most of whom are sadly misled and should be welcoming the return of Russia) resist. That they would potentially gut their economies to do so. This is seen as bigotry and ignorance by that class of Russians. And by others within Russia, to be honest.

That plays almost perfectly into the great Russian paranoia that everyone is out to get them. That has been a hallmark of Rus/Slav psychology going back into ancient times. They have always been treacherously set upon by others, even as they were peacefully raping, murdering, and pillaging those that set upon them. Now, Russia does have a few legitimate times when they weren’t doing something like that at the time they were attacked, but I am overall reminded of a certain criminal class here in the U.S. that was never ‘doing nothing’ when “attacked” by those they were robbing, etc.

It also brings to the fore a concept that seems to continue to elude far too many: outside reactions and considerations were not and are not a factor of consideration. The war was not started with Western or other reaction in mind, other than that it was felt that the Biden Regency and others would just go along with it and not do anything of significance against it. Token reparations maybe, but that was it. Given that the Regency and the Meat Puppet seemed to be egging it on at one point, I can see how they thought that. But, that was only a fleeting thought to them and not even a serious point of consideration.

The dynamics that drove the decision to invade are almost entirely internal. They are based in culture, politics, and other areas that create the internal dynamics that are not understood and not even being considered by far too many outside of Russia. There is no path to peace without taking those dynamics, and the overwhelming support for the war and for creating a new Russkiy Mir, into consideration.

Therein lies the problem. Outside opinions and even responses do not matter to the large majority of the population of the Russian Federation. At best, such are seen as bigotry and an attack. At worst, they were not even a consideration. That holds true for the leadership as well. For all intents and purposes, the people of the Russian Federation live in a bubble, and the upper leadership lives in an even more dense and impenetrable bubble.

Stephen Green, who does some truly great coverage I do recommend reading, has two (sadly VIP) posts up, here and here, on “Putin’s Stupid and Unnecessary War.” By our standards, completely true and valid statements. The war is stupid, unnecessary, and even foolish. From a Russian societal perspective, however, it is extremely necessary and even overdue. Stephen asks a good question that I can see before it hits the paywall, about the military leadership should have known the military was not ready and should have prevented the war as a result.

Again, by our standards and culture, an obvious point. By the standards of Russian culture, however, invalid. Keep in mind the two bubbles already mentioned, as there are more. Vladimir sacked a lot of real generals a while back so that various apparatchiks, oligarchs, and wanna-be oligarchs could get in on the fun of what we would see as outright corruption. Russians today just see it as how business is done. Those that were smart cut officers in on the take, and smart officers made sure the men didn’t starve. As it was, the troops often looted items to sell on the black so they got pay, food, etc. Gundecking reports has a long and honorable tradition in Russia going back almost to the very earliest days. Yet more bubbles, and people who needed to know things didn’t. Given the lack of esteem given to the military these days, the general public and leadership really didn’t care if they starved or not, or what was happening to them. Or what would happen if they had to go to war.

It was only when war came, and some people got a cold douche of reality, that anything began to change. Part of that change was that a number of people in demographics and ethnicity that meant they would be called up to fight decided to beat feet. Quite a few citizens of the Russian Federation, and not just the government, consider them traitors to be dealt with later and who should never ever think of returning to the Rodina. Understand, your average citizen of the Russian Federation has no problem with people dying for the war and the cause of Russkiy Mir — so long as it’s not them. Marginalized groups or ethnicities? Who cares, it will improve the gene pool.

Nuclear war? Go for it. Our mighty Russian military will protect us while devastating our enemies. We have far more bombs and missiles than they do. We have far greater, more powerful, and more accurate defenses against missiles and other attacks.

That their nuclear and nuclear defense forces might be in a shape similar to their other weapons and stockpiles has penetrated few if any bubbles as far as I can tell. How many will work (on either side)? Who knows, and I’d really rather not find out. That said, I’m in the camp of 20 percent, i.e. an 80 percent failure rate. In light of this, I also highly recommend reading this from Sgt. Mom. Our own military is in many ways in no better shape. We are not capable of fighting a one front war for more than a few days (if that), much less a two-front war as we are supposed to be able to do.

Which leads us, finally, to the growing “peace at any price crowd.” I’m seeing it a lot on social media these days, and from some surprising quarters. As I noted in posts before, putting in place a cease fire or a forced peace as things stand will only guarantee a far worse war with far worse consequences later. Even one that gives Ukraine the Donbas and Russia the Crimea will result in the same. See this post and this post for some of the previous discussion on outcomes.

Right now, I do not see any easy, good outcomes. Far too much of what is being discussed and pushed is not in touch with the reality of Russian culture and internal dynamics, much less that of Ukraine. Anything that does not take such into consideration will fail. Spectacularly. Creating something viable, or at least make each step suck the least, requires strong, informed, and capable leadership. Looking at the Biden Regency, Castreaux, Macaroon, Charles/Sunak, Shultz, Vladimir, etc., yeah, right.

Prepare, pray, and hope for the best. It’s about all we truly can do right now.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Anyone From Rural Arizona?

I know the area where I would like to settle, but finding a place that is affordable, in a good location, and fits other criteria (medical) can take some help. Here are my current thoughts and if anyone can provide insights or help, let me know.

Ideally, I would love to be near Tombstone. Fell in love with the area last year. I’ve been primarily looking to the east (Sunsite, etc.) but am also willing to look west and north. But, there are some considerations.

I don’t want to be too close to Tucson, or rather where people fleeing Tucson are likely to flood. Sierra Vista is out as it is a nuclear target. Don’t want to be east or ESE of it because of fallout, also want to be 15 or more miles away. I don’t have to be in a town, rural works for me. I would love to be able to go off the grid as much as possible, will see.

In my dreams, I wish I could afford to buy some land and build something into the side of hill. In fact, if I could build into an old mine or cave, all the better. I’ve got an idea for building my “werewolf” house from the stories up against the side of a hill that I would love to make happen. Got an idea that if the engineers agree should make for a very energy efficient home. Have also thought of excavating, using containers, and making a semi-underground home.

Meantime, second level of ideal is to find something affordable, already built, that will work. Again, rural, particularly if in mountains/hills.

Third order is to find about anything, move, then look. Not the best use of resources, but it may be the best option.

Reason I’m asking if anyone reading is from rural Arizona is that the web is not ideal for finding the right place, or even a good one. Many sites are skewed towards expensive homes in towns because they make the most money that way. People in the area, however, know that ‘the old Thompson place’ out at the end of dead-end lane is vacant and the owner would like to rent or sell. I’m looking for that type of help as I can’t just pull up and go out there for a month or more right now just to look around.

So, anyone out there know of anything?

UPDATE I: Two things. I mentioned the expensive rental sites, but you also have some other postings on other sites. Just saw one where what looks like a nice enough place (bit close to the border) is listed at $1. If not a typo, wondering what the deal is. Yes, I have contacted to find out more.

Second, fair question on what I want to run by the engineers. Simple. If it can handle the loads, want to use native stone to form interior and exterior walls were I to get to build. Exterior do 1.5 to 2 feet, then 6″-8″ gap, then another 1.5 to 2 feet of stone. When wall almost complete, spray the gap with truck-bed liner, let set, then fill with low density thermal foam. Max thermal and excellent sound reduction as well. Based in part off some (very) northern European/Scandinavian wall designs from the 1700s and 1800s. For that and for the container idea, create a good roof that can handle the rains when they do happen, and cover that with overburden.

Book Review: In Defense Of The Second Amendment

There are books. Then there are books that truly do break new ground and dance a flamenco on the bloviating pontifications of pundits, media, and academia. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the literary equivalent of Jose Greco reducing a pile of bloviation to a layer about a nanometer thick.

photo of book/book cover
In Defense of the Second Amendment

In Defense of the Second Amendment is not your normal gun/gun rights book. It is a long-overdue breath of fresh air that take the false arguments and tropes of the anti-gun authoritarians, lists them, and then demolishes them one by one, fact by fact. It truly is a new take, and a much needed take that arms you to deal with those tropes and actions.

Unsurprisingly, Larry has created a fast moving, even fun, read with this book. While it is easy and enjoyable to read, it is in no way, shape, or form a lite read. The citations provided are extensive, well-sourced, and could occupy you for days, or even weeks if you truly get into them. It is meticulously researched, and it shows.

The book clearly benefits from Larry’s extensive experience with firearms and the Second Amendment. Unlike most corporate “journalists” Larry knows weapons, and in particular firearms, as well as the political process and the bureaucracy. I was unsurprised to read that when Larry offered to teach one of his courses for free to local media, none accepted the offer. For corporate media, ignorance is bliss. For those who defend and make full use of the Second Amendment, their ignorance is anything but bliss — but Larry has laid out a guide for dealing with that and more.

This book should be read and owned by anyone who supports the Second Amendment, or is on the fence about guns and gun control. I would highly recommend that if you have a friend or know someone who is on the fence, give them a copy of this book as a gift. While it will not guarantee they come out in favor of the Second, it will open eyes to the lies and manipulations in play. I would also recommend giving it as a gift to those who are opposed to guns. Not really expecting any conversions, but it has the potential to get this information out to a much wider audience. Who knows, the person might read and start to think a bit, and that’s a good thing.

Larry also lays out some what-to-dos that are very good. I’m already doing some of them, plan to add more as I can. This is not the time for inaction, but the time to start really working on the local level while enabling legal and other action.

In Defense of the Second Amendment is a book that will make you laugh; it will make you cuss; and, best and most of all, it will make you think. Be sure to give copies as gifts, because thinking can be contagious and this is an epidemic we need.


NOTE: I do not earn any commission or fee from this book or the publisher, and I bought this copy with my own money.

Preparedness Pays: Biltong Edition

Air drying meat done right is delicious, safe, and not all that hard. Done wrong, however, it can be sickening or even deadly. Just like home canning. There is risk in everything, the key is to finding what works and making use of best practices.

This post got started last week (I think) when I found out that Aldi is now carrying an American-made commercial version of biltong. For an American commercial product, it is surprisingly good. I shared the news elsewhere, and some nice discussions took place.

Biltong packages
Original and Smoked Biltong via Aldi

Biltong is often described as South African beef jerky. I get the comparison, but despite some similarities it is so much better than beef jerky and healthier (IMO) too. The closer link is to the air-dried cured/smoked meats of Central and Eastern Europe, which is no surprise since the Dutch knew of them and Dutch foods comprise a lot of the historical food of South Africa.

If you’ve ever had any of the Central/Eastern meats and sausages, you know what a treat they can be. Times like this I really miss the Ukrainian deli that used to be up in Lafayette. Not only good sausages, but also more than one variety of smoked/dried beef you could slice with ease. Tasty, shelf-stable, and never in any danger of hitting the sell-by date.

American beef jerky is made from sliced (far too often chopped, shaped, processed and formed) meat that is then cured in a mix that includes a lot of sugar and often other chemicals and preservatives. It is then dried over heat to some extent. While it can be quite tasty, it is often full of carbs, chemicals, and a bit chewy. If you make your own you can avoid a lot of issues, and frankly I’ve used Alton Brown’s furnace filter jerky recipe to good success. The hardest part of the recipe is finding paper filters these days.

Biltong is made from whole chunks of meat, usually carved off a silverside or other roast. Better the meat, the better the biltong. Think steaks for the chunks, as the roasts are often sliced about an inch thick. It is cured with vinegar (usually malt/brown or cider), spices added, then air-dried. The air drying is very much like dry aging beef: it is going to intensify the flavor of the meat, so it’s another reason to use good meat (no need to stick to just beef, as game, lamb, etc. work well).

Now, you can get quite fancy with things and there are those who are really into things, such as The Greedy Ferret. Then there’s this guy and this guy. They each have decent methods and you will get good product. That said, even though I want to try more of the Travel Gigolo’s recipes, I am going with the late Ben Kruger.

While known as an actor, he apparently had a real passion for historical food and did a number of videos looking at traditional cooking, most of it from the Dutch. Thankfully, that included his take on biltong.

How to make biltong Ben Kruger’s way

Particularly if I’m having to do an emergency batch to save meat because of a power outage, I want to use this recipe. Vinegar is a great cure, antimicrobial, and relatively inexpensive. Good cleaner. Good for pickling veggies and more. You really should have a fair bit on hand for emergencies. Honey, while not inexpensive, is another great antimicrobial cure. As an aside, honey buried in tombs in the BC have been found that are still quite good and edible. Just don’t feed any honey to small children.

As he points out, you can air dry it anywhere — the Biltonginator 3000 just speeds things up. Love that his grandfather hung it under the bed to air dry. That’s thinking outside the box. The 1/3 recipe is great and keeps things simple. As others have noted, you can (and should) play with proportions. Just don’t cut out your key antimicrobials.

Right now, I’m going to look into making my version of the Biltonginator (4000 model?) as it is very simple. Storage box, wooden dowels, and a muffin fan. If memory serves, you can even set up the fan to run off flashlight batteries and it will do so for a long time given the low draw. Very useful in an emergency.

Then, to make a good batch. Maybe add smoked paprika to a couple of the chunks, chipotle to a couple, and maybe used smoked salt in part of it. Oooh, maybe add some berbere or peri-peri to a couple. Thing is, have fun but be sure to make at least some “original” recipe as it is a very distinct (and tasty) flavor.

I love good jerky. If I have a choice, though, I will go for almost any variety of biltong or European dried beef hands down. The difference in flavor, tenderness, and healthiness makes that almost a no-brainer for me. My advice is try them out, see what you like, and go for it. Meantime, particularly in an emergency, biltong is your friend and a great way to save meat. Especially as it does have fat, and you are going to need that tasty, tasty, nutritious fat more than you may realize.


Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.