Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Got "the Smile" on Saturday

This is what happiness looks like
You know that irrepressible smile that a first time shooter gets when they break their first clay target? It's roughly 50% pride and 50% pure joy. You know the look I'm talking about?

Yeah, I got that last Saturday.

I took a non gun-owner friend of mine out to Live Oaks Sportsman's Club over the weekend, and we did some basic shotgun shooting. He had never fired a shotgun before, so we waked through safety and some basics first. After that, we started on just a straight, softly outgoing target. We got a very nice break on his third shot.

And I got that smile.

After a dusting that easy bird got to be fairly routine, my new shooter joked about shooting with a mirror (Annie Oakley Style). At that point, I realized that I had successfully built up his confidence up enough, so I took him over to a skeet field and showed him how it's not quite so easy when you start adding angles into the mix.

We had some fun over there, and turned quite a few pieces of clay into smaller pieces of clay. I absolutely love taking new shooters out. Seeing that smile is great.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

“It’s hard to argue that opposing marriage equality is a central tenet of Christianity when majorities of Christian voters support same-sex marriage.”

Says Sally Kohn, writing in The Daily Beast.

Whoa! Same-sex marriage and government's role in it aside, when did the central tenets of Christianity become determined by poll results? Did I miss a meeting where the Pope decided that Christianity's tenets would just be whatever the poll numbers showed most Christians wanted to go with?

I'm pretty sure Moses didn't take poll of all the Israelites when he came down off Mt. Sinai and saw them worshiping the golden calf.

You know, I read these kinds of pieces, and it's obvious that the kulturkampf war is over on this issue. However, unsatisfied with claiming the field, the victors are now in full "mop-up" duty, going around and humiliating and shooting the survivors on the other side.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Counsel Table or Podium?

Hercules and the Umpire poses this question to trial lawyers.

Personally, I like the counsel table if I'm questioning my own witness (direct examination), as I want the finder of fact looking at the witness, not me.

On cross examination, I move around a little more, as I want to draw the focus to my leading questions as opposed to the answers from the witness. I also like to stand between the witness and their counsel during my cross examination. This usually happens after I give a document to a witness. I approach, and then don't go all the way back to my table.

So I guess my answer to "table or podium" is the depends.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Top Five All-Time BBQ Joints (So Far)

Some ribs of my own making. (click image for higher quality picture)
I was inspired to do this post since Brad informed me that he was going to serve Memphis-style BBQ at his political re-education camps. With that, I kind of figured: How bad could re-education be?

Anyway, it got me thinking about my favorite BBQ places. These are my top five. I'm not saying they are in this particular order. All I'm saying is that these are the top five places that I've been to. If your favorite BBQ place isn't on here, then it's either a place that I've been to and not in the top five, or I haven't been there.

I've been told that I make some pretty good BBQ ribs and pulled pork, so I (very humbly) feel like I have a good palate for what constitutes good BBQ.

If one of your favorite places isn't on the list let me know! I'd be happy for you to drop some BBQ knowledge on me and recommend some places to try. I really haven't done BBQ in North Carolina that often, hence the lack of North Carolina's representation on this list. That's a glaring problem that I should fix soon. Anyway, here's my top five:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kate Middleton Open Thread

Good morning, campers. I'll be out of pocket most of the day, so I'm leaving the Duchess of Cambridge in charge while I'm gone.

Kate Middleton with what is probably a Holland and Holland 20 gauge side by side.
She'll be taking names.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Kickin' Pickin'

Swing by my Fig Columbia blog page and comment for the chance to win a free ticket to a pig pickin' this Sunday. Remember, you have to comment over there to be eligible.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I've Started Shelby Foote's "Civil War"

Shelby Foote - Southern Man of Letters

Now that I've finished a biography of Douglas MacArthur, I've decided to take the plunge into Shelby Foote's three volume history of the Civil War. (Sorry Admiral Nimitz, you'll have to wait.)

To be fair I'm not reading it. My conscience compels me to admit that I'm not reading it in the strict sense. I'm listening to it as an audio-book. Yes, I feel a little twinge of guilt for not actually reading the book, but I don't feel that guilty.

Actually, I feel so little guilt that I actually have a complaint about the audio-book - the reader's voice is not that good. The reader's voice is tinny and flatly accented (no accent at all), sounding more like a computer than an actual person. This is such a shame, since Foote had a wonderful low, gravely Southern accent that just curled up on you like a sleepy cat  looking for a warm place to rest.

In learning a tiny bit about Foote himself, I have come across some wonderful anecdotes about his life and quotes from him about writing and life in general. One of my favorite anecdotes is as follows:
A story I’ve heard, possibly apocryphal, has it that Shelby Foote and William Faulkner once made a pilgrimage together to the battlefields of Shiloh, in Tennessee. It was a Sunday morning, but along the way they were able to score some moonshine from a fellow they spotted having his shoes shined, Faulkner’s logic being that any man having his shoes shined was likely to know where to find some whiskey. By the time they’d reached the battlefield’s famed Peach Orchard, they were loose enough to want to reenact the great cavalry charge on their own, sabers drawn in their minds. That’s how to drink like a Southerner.
I hope that's a true story.

What Every President Liked To Drink

Here's a sampling, a tasting, if you will:
John Adams
Adams loved alcohol, starting almost every morning with a hard cider. Then porter beer, rum and copious amounts of Madeira.
Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy liked Mint Juleps and used them to entice his cabinet to come play tennis with him at the White House. He used fresh mint from the White House garden:
10 to 12 fresh mint leaves “muddled” with a splash of water and a sugar cube
2 or 3 oz. of rye whiskey
¼ oz. of brandy
Sprig or two of fresh mint as a garnish
Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ loved Scotch whiskey and enjoyed driving (at high speeds) around his Texas ranch while drinking it out of a plastic cup.
I'm only going to quote three, because four would be too much. Everything in moderation, right?

If you feel like consuming more, you can see the whole list here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An Autumn Weekend in Williamsburg, VA

William & Mary in 1902 (it hasn't changed much since then)

I'm spending the weekend in Williamsburg, VA. Autumn is absolutely wonderful in Virginia. Enjoy the weekend, y'all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The CDC Guy Isn't Filling Me With Confidence

Sorry for the lack of blog content lately, it's been a bit busy at work.

But how about that Ebola? Between the CDC telling us it's all going to be fine and people getting infected, it's not really inspiring much confidence.

"I think there are two different parts of that equation," he continued. "The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no."

"Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you," he said.

So let me get this straight. I can't get Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus who has Ebola. Great. Got it. I feel safe. But immediately afterwards, this guys says that if I have Ebola, I shouldn't ride on the bus because I might give it to someone. Wait, what? I thought we were all good with Ebola people riding the bus. How does that work? You can't catch Ebola on the bus, but you can give someone Ebola on the bus?

Now, I'm kind of making fun of him here, because I see what he's trying to do. However, he's making his point in a horrible way. In the first part, he's saying that your likelihood of getting Ebola from riding the bus is really low, because it's highly unlikely that anyone on the bus has Ebola.

However, in the next part, he's talking about someone who actually has Ebola shouldn't ride the bus. Well, duh. Obviously. But that's apples and oranges. And it's kind of just a stupid way to say "Don't get all worried about this Ebola thing". But here's the problem: I don't think anyone would worry about Ebola very much if we all felt like the guys at the CDC were really worried about it on our behalf. However, that's not really the vibe they're sending out. The CDC guy keeps sending out the "This Is No Big Deal" vibe to me, and they keep screwing up the protocols.

Over at Brad's blog-o-rama the other day, Brad mentioned how in Tom Clancy's books, there were always competent and diligent professionals who were combating the bad guys - specifically in the situation where bad guys use Ebola against the US as a weapon.

I don't think that the current guy in charge of the CDC fits that mold. He just seems so reactive and passive. He's not an assertive kind of guy that I feel confident is going to do all the things necessary to really contain this disease in an aggressive manner. He seems mostly concerned with PR.

Which I'm sure really worries the Ebola virus.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Even Gun Control Supporters Have Guns

Maher then looked at Affleck and said, "I mean, you have guns." To which Affleck responded, "I do." The audience grew quiet for a second and then roused up when Maher said, "So do I, and for that exact reason." Maher added: "I'm not disarming unilaterally."  

-Ben Affleck and Bill Maher on Owning Guns (Real Time With Bill Maher October 3rd)
Huh. Kind of funny how that works, ain't it?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wow, this week has flown by.

It's almost Friday.

AG Wilson Asks SC Supreme Court to Address Issue of Same Sex Marriage In South Carolina

UPDATE: The SC Supreme Court has issued an order, which basically stays all SC probate courts from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the federal court litigation is resolved. The status quo ante of no same-sex marriage will remain in place.

If you're following the same-sex marriage news these days, you've seen a lot of action in South Carolina this week.

First, on Monday, the United States Supreme Court decided not to hear a case that involved same-sex marriage, with the implication being that SCOTUS wasn't going to overturn a decision banning same-sex marriage. Everyone basically interpreted this to mean that SCOTUS wasn't going to support any ban on same-sex marriages.

Accordingly, on Wednesday the Charleston County Probate Court started accepting applications for marriage licences to same-sex couples. Note, this is different than actually granting the marriage license, but it's tantamount to doing so.

Also on Wednesday, there was a rally at the SC Statehouse to support what the Charleston County Probate Court was doing. At the rally, the supporters of same sex marriage encouraged same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses throughout the state of South Carolina. Additionally, the group called on Alan Wilson to simply do nothing and not file any action to enforce the provision in our State Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

However, Alan Wilson decided that he was going to ask the SC Supreme Court to resolve this issue. His filing is here. [PDF]

I think that's the right move by Alan Wilson. We have a law. In fact, it's part of our State Constitution. We can't just ignore it without a court formally declaring it to be invalid. If you go read the petition that Wilson filed, that's basically what he's saying.
"Moreover, a public official may not refuse to follow State law because 'he thought the law unconstitutional.' It is, instead, his or her duty to 'follow it until judicially declared invalid.' Trustees of Wofford College v. Burnett, 209 S.C. 92, 104-5, 395 S.E.2d 155 (1946).
This is about the rule of law and legal process. We can't just have Probate Judges in each county deciding if they are or are not going to follow the law. Once the law is ruled unconstitutional, which it will be, then the Probate Courts can issue licences - not before.

Alan Wilson is doing the right thing by filing this petition.

You can't skip steps.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gator Hunting Postgame Analysis and Photo

As I previously mentioned, I went on an alligator hunt this past Friday night. Here's the money-shot:

Five foot alligator just after being harvested near Walterboro, SC
Gator-hunting is a pretty active kind of hunt. You're not just sitting there waiting for a gator to come along. Your actually out hunting for them, as in actively prowling through the marsh looking for them. It's not like deer hunting where you just sit and wait for a deer to walk out in front of you.

Basically, you have to find the gator, hook the gator, let him fight a little so he's tired out, then get him in close to the boat so you can dispatch him with a shot to the head in a coup de grace.

Oh, and gators are kinda tough. This one, after being shot in the head and having his spinal column severed with a knife, still was wiggling his tail and moving his feet thirty minutes later. Point being, gators are really tough animals. It's no surprise that they've been around since the dinosaur times without evolving very much.

If you're a hunter, and you ever get the rare chance to go gator hunting, don't pass it up. I'll be looking for some good gator recipes now.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Beer, Battle Flags, and Gators

Lots of things to do today , but I have to throw some meat at you jackals. Accordingly, I'm going to link myself to this awesome article about the Hunter-Gatherer that I did for Fig.

In other news, the Democratic candidate for Governor has taken a strong stand on the Confederate Flag. (SPOILER ALERT: He's against it.) Mostly, I am fine to take the flag down. It's not an issue at the top of my Important Issues List, but then again, everyone's not me. I can hear some of y'all now: Thank god for that.

I'll be going alligator hunting tomorrow evening, so right now the issue on top of my Important Issues list is to make sure that I don't end up getting eaten by a big gator down in the ACE Basin.

Hopefully, I'll have some good pictures for y'all afterwards.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Northeast US has lost 40% of its members from the US House of Representatives since 1950

That's quite a loss of power. When you think of how politically powerful the Northeast has been over the history of our country, it's quite astounding to see the shift. You can blame tax rates, weather, culture, or other factors, but whatever the reason, it's clear that fewer people than ever before are living in the Northeast, relative to the rest of the country.

As a South Carolinian, I say that's fine with me.

I like to tell people who move to South Carolina from other places: It's ok if you weren't born a Southerner, as long as you got here as fast as you could.