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Still the chief of Celtic music: The Chieftains at 57

Local York Scots Bagpipers Brigade joined local York Chorale members and then audience members with The Chieftains and the Piltazke Brothers in a long snake dance that ended the performance

The local York, PA, bagpipers all dressed up in their Scottish tartans, participating with The Chieftains in a typical sharing of Celtic culture and music, to the audience’s delight

Last night the Princess of Patience and I ventured not too far down the road to the Appell-Strand Theater in York, Pennsylvania. It is a venue we have visited over the years for a variety of music types for the adults, and high-end children’s entertainment for the kids. It is a clean, pretty, historic place right in historic downtown York, easy to access, lots of free parking, and when you are done, it is easy to leave. Fellow patrons are easy, chatty, friendly, happy, and the lady I sat next to, a Lori Sims of Hanover, PA, cheerily shared gardening tips with me and disclosed her yearning for Spring to finally arrive so her garden could get under way. Then again, no wonder: she has a TWO-ACRE GARDEN.

What we witnessed last night is one of those rare moments where, if you have been lacking in faith in humanity for whatever reason, it would be restored immediately. We watched The Chieftains do what they do best: Play sweet Celtic music combined with amazing Irish dance, and incorporating local talent in a pub-like atmosphere of fellow music chums just kind of jamming along with each other in the spirit of the moment. It would be the best of what you would find at the Temple Bar today.

So here is Chieftains founding father, Paddy Moloney, who must easily be in his 80s, alternately playing both the chipper and then humorously gruff oldster commenter, as well as his own penny whistle and Irish pipes: “Oh sure, ya show-offs,” as the Pilatzke Brothers perform amazing amazing amazing Irish tap dance routines that leave the audience exhausted from the intensity and skill. Serious world-class talent.

Now in 2019, The Chieftains are celebrating their 57th anniversary. Think about that. Fifty-seven years as inspiring performers of not just music, per se, but keepers of traditional culture, Gaelic language, ancient musical instruments, and the music and the rural, undeveloped, natural Irish landscape that binds all that together. It is quite a gift to all of us that they provide. At 57 years of live musical-cultural performances, The Chieftains are an institution, a world heritage institution.

Despite having a stack of Chieftains CDs, I can never really get enough of them, and last night my mind drifted back to one evening in the summer of 1992, during the Celtic Festival at Wolf Trap, in Virginia. The Princess of Patience and I were about to be engaged to be married, and our long-time friend Lori encouraged us to join her at Wolf Trap for that evening. The weather was perfect, the music was perfect, the musicians and performers were perfect, our snacks and wine were perfect, the audience was rapt and enthusiastic. It was all quite perfect. And there they were, now 27 years ago, The Chieftains up on stage, looking a hell of a lot younger than now, and probably having a few more teeth then than now. But still flawlessly performing the same beautiful, inspiring music.

That was the same evening I heard the best-ever joke about the bagpipes, and it is a surprisingly unknown quip, because whenever I pass it along, people respond with great mirth, as if they have never heard it before. I will disclose it here, because I know the three people who read this blog have zero interest in Celtic anything and they will immediately forget this secret to being the star at any dinner party attended by Irish or Scots.

This joke arose as an Irish pipes player dueled with a bagpipes player on stage that evening at Wolf Trap. When played correctly, the Irish pipes are of course the most heart-tugging sound the human ear will encounter. Squared off against the blaring, loud, military-oriented bagpipes, the Irish pipes are like a gentle, sweet whisper versus an aggressive, loud shout.

So after their duel on stage, during which he had played the most mournful, beautiful, inspiring sounds, the Irish pipes player said to his Scotsman counterpart: “You do know, the Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots. And the Scots never got the joke.”

Cue uproarious audience response and a big grin from the Scotsman. Audience participation in Celtic music is expected, and it is given, as is good-natured banter among the performers.

So, on that same beautiful summer eve 27 years ago, into this good-natured banter with Celtic music and culture stepped The Chieftains, playing with humble passion on the stage at Wolf Trap. And literally over twice as many years later, The Chieftains are still chief, tops among Celtic bands. Thank you for a wonderful night of happy moment after happy moment, guys. Cheers to you, Paddy Moloney, may you see a hundred years, ’cause God knows, why not, you about look it already.

 

Jusse Smollett hoax an inevitable result of 24/7 Fake News industry & why ‘racist’ now a dead term

Jusse Smollett is an aspiring actor who falsely accused some MAGA-hat-wearing “white men” of attempting to lynch him with a rope, because he is black and, therefore, automatically a victim and automatically given credence by a mainstream media eager to promote such stories because such stories advance a political narrative that suits the liberals running the mainstream media.

Problem was, Smollett’s false accusation turned out to be a hugely, ridiculously contrived, utterly false hoax.

So unbelievable, so incredibly disbelievable was it that on a 10-degree-Fahrenheit night in one of downtown Chicago’s best neighborhoods that a couple of mean old white privilege racist MAGA hat wearing men would be prowling, just looking for someone to victimize, that the police were already kind of suspicious of his story.

And the rest is recent and public history: Smollett is a liar, guilty of not only creating the false police report to build up his own public standing, because he is a bit-actor desperately wanting to be a celebrity actor, but of also racistly slandering/maligning an entire group of Americans because of their skin color (white men).

The question is, why did this even happen?

Another question is, why did the national media report his accusation before waiting for the facts to emerge?

The answer to both is painfully simple: Jusse Smollett’s fake accusation racial hoax is a natural byproduct of the 24/7 Fake News mainstream media industry that promotes and protects false accusations and victimhood by favored groups and individuals, while simultaneously protecting racist and sexist liberals and Democrats from being publicly outed for their very real racism and sexism.

Think Judge Kavanaugh being falsely accused by mainstream media darling but obviously disbelievable Blasey Ford.

Think the Rolling Stone story falsely accusing an entire men’s sport team of gang raping a black woman and using racist epithets during the non-deed.

Think of the mattress-carrying college student who destroyed a young man’s life with a false accusation of rape, because he would not date her.

Think of the violent criminal thug Trayvon Martin physically attacking an innocent bystander, receiving a huge dose of justified physical response that left him dead, and yet nonetheless becoming a poster child hero for (totally fake) racism.

Think of the serial rapist and sexual harasser Bill Clinton.

Think of the serial rape and sexual harassment enabler Hilary Clinton.

Both Bill and Hill get total and complete passes from their media chums for their known evil deeds, because they are in the “right” political party.

And think of the recent atomic explosion of Democrat Party malfeasance in Virginia, where nearly every senior Democrat  Party leader there is now proven to be a racist or is seriously alleged to have been a rapist and/or sexist…and yet, the Washington Post and other mainstream media arms of the Democrat Party are doing everything they can to cover for these Democrats, to protect them, to shield them from public scrutiny by explaining away facts or declining to report the facts at all.

A week ago an imbecile congressman named Green actually took to the floor of the US House of Representatives to claim that even the over-the-top Democrat Party racism, rapism, and sexism in Virginia was excusable “because of President Trump.”

For real.

And of course the mainstream establishment legacy media let Mr. Green off the hook by allowing his ridiculous statement to stand unchallenged.

In other words, if you are a Democrat, liberal, or Hollywood celebrity, you get a complete pass from the mainstream media, from Hollywood, and academia: You can be the biggest racist, rapist, sexist, or anti-gay person in your state, you can say and do just about anything, and no matter what, they will all protect you by failing to report the actual facts.

On the other hand, regular Americans just need to have the letter (R) listed after their names, or white skin, and the same mainstream media falsely accuses them of being automatically racist, sexist, anti-gay etc. Even and often especially when the person is none of those things! And even if you are a MAGA hat-wearing teenager minding your own business saying nothing to anyone!

It is a complete and totally contrived double standard, all created by a totally racist and misogynistic Democrat Party and supported by its 24/7 Fake News mainstream media arm.

So into this double-standard environment steps Jusse Smollett, who figures all he has to do is make up a story and the media will run with it, make him a victim, make him a star. And it turns out, Smollett is probably smarter than he appears, because he was right, the media did run the story, with some outlets tossing in an “alleged” or “reported” here and there, but all of them reporting it long before any actual facts were known. They wanted him to be believed.

Smollett’s fake accusation against “MAGA hat wearing white men” is a natural outcome of the totally phony mainstream media’s openly partisan propaganda activism and endless double standards. Smollett’s fake accusation fits right in with all of the fake fake fake accusations and news that have gone on, including the most very racist notion of “white privilege.” Apparently, this is the price Americans must pay from Fake News 24/7.

And the other takeaway from all of these recent events in Virginia, in Hollywood, and in Chicago, is that the white liberals behind the modern Democrat Party have pretty much destroyed the term “racist” by using it for partisan purposes, by repeatedly crying “wolf!” with it.  You cannot use that term again and be believed, and what a shame that is.

It is a shame because there is an entire American political party built on racism and devoted to promoting racism, and it needs to be corrected: That is the Democrat Party.

And that is probably why the Democrat Party has destroyed the believability of racism, to cover the party’s own ongoing racist mis-deeds.

Actor Jusse Smollett: Liar, fake victim, racist. A natural byproduct of the mainstream media’s 24/7 Fake News assault on America.

Rendering bear grease, Round II

Last year was a first try at something that has beckoned for a long time, and that was making bear grease out of bear fat. If you search here in the blog you will see the kind of double boiler approach that effort started with, and you will see that it took too long, though it did provide a good product.

Why would someone want to make bear grease from rendered bear fat? Fair question.

To begin with, in the natural world, fat is a major and valuable commodity. It is important to survival and is hard to come by; under normal natural conditions, it is a sign of high health. Only in modern, materially successful, over-consumptive Western countries has high human fat become a liability, a health problem. Just a couple hundred years ago, heck even a hundred years ago, most Americans could not eat enough to make up for the energy they spent during their daily lives. Today we Americans are overfed and sedentary, eating ourselves into early health problems. We do not move enough. So we look at fat and think fat is “bad.”

But bear fat is especially good. Because they hibernate from late November through March, bears usually pack on a tremendous amount of fat starting in July and August. The fat reserves they build up will feed their sleeping bodies over the long cold winter in a specialized and not totally understood way. Bear fat is very different from any other kind of fat you will ever see, and some people have said it most closely resembles whale blubber. While whales do not hibernate, they are warm-blooded mammals that occupy freezing cold oceans and dive to unbelievable depths for food. Such a hostile surrounding requires a wall of natural fat that both protects and feeds the whale’s body. So bear fat is supposedly a lot like whale fat, which means it is unique and performs unique tasks that most other animals do not require.

[Sidebar here: Think about the Canada Toad, which survives in frozen tundra by having its body freeze solid over the winter, while a special hormone keeps its blood thinned, liquid, unfrozen, and moving slowly throughout its body to keep its organs alive. Some of these adaptive traits are things we humans can benefit from for medical purposes, if we but care about the animals’ habitats so that they are around when we get around to wanting to study them]

Think about Inuit and Inupiak (“Eskimos”) in the Arctic Circle and North Pole region. Even today, many of them will sit down and eat raw seal and whale blubber as a snack, usually warm right off the carcass. Clearly this is not a bad thing, as these impressive and hardy humans have thrived on this natural food for at least 15,000 years in the most brutal conditions. So again, bear fat is closely related to these other sources of needed fat and thus it is a good fat. If you were to consume mostly bear fat in your daily diet, your body would probably function a lot better. I am willing to bet that bear fat is far easier for human stomachs to break down and for human bodies to metabolize than dairy butter, deadly chemical margarines, and beef and pork tallow.

So why would I make bear grease from bear fat? Because I want to, that’s why. I am drawn to natural living and natural things, and getting back to basics is what a healthy life is all about. While I myself will not eat bear fat or grease (or whale or seal blubber for that matter), there are many people who I care about who can and will eat it. Plus there are other uses for it, which I have experimented with and found it to be amazing. Those uses are as a leather preservative, and bear grease is AMAZING at this, far better than anything you can buy. And then there is the lubricating function on a patched round ball rammed down the barrel of one of our flintlock rifles. So far I have seen bear grease provide a longer lasting, better lubricating film on the metal than any other bullet lube I have used. And I use all the best commercially available bullet and patch lubes on the market. Finally, I have begun experimenting with bear grease as a rust preventative on steel, like shop tools and machine parts. I am in the middle stage of this experiment, so right now I have nothing to report back with. But if it is anything like the patch lube effect on our rifle barrels, it will be excellent.

And again, yes, if you want to bake pastries with bear grease, you can. People say it is absolutely delicious and the best of all oils for that use. Some of the recipients of the bear grease I have created will probably do that. If I hear from them, I will report back here.

So this time around, I used an antique cauldron. A big one, on a tripod, over a propane burner. The fat came from a 611-pound male black bear killed by Travis Dietrich here in Dauphin County, on ground I manage. Travis was able to get about 40 pounds of bear fat into a cooler, and it has sat in a freezer or outside in the frozen cold, since Travis dropped it off at my home a month ago. The cauldron could have held a lot more bear fat, probably a few hundred pounds of it, but we puny humans could only remove and store that one big hunk this time, and so that is what we had to work with. Last year I had about five pounds to work with, from a young, tender bear killed by Kenny Youtz, actually very close to where this year’s bear was taken.

Maybe the next time a bear is killed, we will just move the cauldron and burner to the bear and start tossing the fat right into the pot. That way we can get all of it used, at its freshest, and waste nothing.

Learning from last year’s experiment, the double boiler method was just too damned long. So this time four gallons of well water were poured into the cauldron and heated to a boil, and then chunks of trimmed and cleaned bear fat were tossed in. Remember last year: Include zero meat, and I mean none, not even a tiny sliver, if you want a smell-free grease to result. Even the tiniest pieces of meat impart a pleasant but very meaty aroma to your leather preservative.

Fat chunk sizes ranged from fist to finger, and one of the lessons learned in this trial is that size matters. Actually, smaller is better when it comes to rendering bear fat. Most of the people who do this regularly use a meat grinder to get the bear fat broken down into strands that really truly cook down, quickly, and give up as much of the fat content as can be had.

And let us take note: Bear fat itself is kind of…a meaty consistency. It is not like any fat you have handled before, unless you work on a Japanese or Russian whaling ship, or you are a whale or sea mammal biologist (studying cetaceans). So cutting up the fat with a knife takes time. Use a clean cutting board and be prepared to resharpen your knife along the way.

What was learned this time is that the initial boiling water does buffer the process. It starts gently melting the bear fat and creating a pool of rendered liquid that will itself become the direct rendering agent for the bulk of the fat chunks after the water has steamed off in a great billowing mass. And when the water has boiled off, which you can tell because the steam is reduced and is becoming replaced with light smoke, turn down the heat, or the grease will quickly scald and burn, and then you have just about ruined it. The pool of grease that has been rendered so far will then get to work on rendering the rest of the fat remaining in the pot. It is like deep frying fat chunks.

The resulting chittlins (or cracklings as some people call them) are supposed to be really tasty, and I saved mine for friends to eat and for my own trap bait. Yes, some people will eat trap bait. Or, some people will use gourmet cuisine as trap bait. Strange world we live in. Take your pick.

This has been a lengthy post and I am about out of time and words. Here were my takeaways this time:

  1. Render your bear fat as fast as you can. The longer it sits, the more you will get some faint rancidity on the surface that must be trimmed off.
  2. Cut your bear fat chunks as small as possible, using a meat grinder if possible.
  3. Do not over heat or overcook the bear fat. This year it was on the slightly over-cooked side, because I was operating in the dark and did not notice just how deeply brown the chittliins had become. A slight brown shows they are cooked. A deep brown shows they have been completely deep fried and the oil has become super heated. The oil/ grease will then become brown from the high heat. We are aiming for a creamy white grease that solidifies easily when refrigerated or frozen.
  4. You can strain your bear grease through a cloth or coffee filter, but I did not. As I am not eating it, I just left the cauldron outside overnight in the 25-degree cold, which caused the grease to congeal. In the early morning I scooped up the best fat first, which is easily identifiable as the hard white tallow. Below the surface was the slightly brownish grease with a slightly grainy texture, and then below that were the fine particles that were not scooped out with the strainer. I took everything, each with its own use and purpose. The bottom of the barrel, so to speak, was taken for my friends’ dogs, which will probably enjoy the tasty treat and get a super glossy coat of hair. The creamy white, hard tallow is best for leather preservative. The brownish, unfiltered grease will harden up and is best for greasing ball patches and preserving steel surfaces.

Pictures and captions below should help, and I do hope this helps. Last year’s bear grease post was right up there in the top two or three on all the search engines, so people are really reading up on this neat process.

NOTE: WordPress has recently been “improved,” and it is now much less user-friendly, very hard to use. Especially with posting photos. When I went to the WordPress online forum today, a lot of other users are complaining. I have already spent a lot of time on this essay and lost half of what I put in. The new editor is terrible, and simply deletes a great deal of text. I apologize for the poor photo formatting, but I am not yet used to whatever “improvements” were made to the software. Believe me, I am trying to edit these, but the straight forward commands that WordPress had before are now gone. Like so many things digital today, “improvements” are made that eliminate the simplicity and ease of use of prior generations. Maybe this is a job guarantee for coders. Please bear with our technical difficulties…

These bags of bear grease are not all of the final result, but account for about 90%. About two quarts were bottled for friends and are set aside outside of this photo.
The water is boiling off in a billowing cloud of steam. The white fat chunks are visible

 

The bear fat chunks are now really starting to cook down in the rendered oil. They are being deep fried. I should have stopped it at this point, but instead allowed the process to go on another 25 minutes.
In the dark of night, using only an overhead porch light, the chittlins looked fully cooked at this color. Fact is, they had indeed become fully cooked, but the grease around them was overcooked.
Literally the bottom of the barrel. Not a whole lot of grease was rendered from that forty pounds of fat. The different layers and different qualities of resulting grease can be seen, with that creamy white, pure, hard grease at the very top, and the brownest bottom material held the fines and smallest chittlin bits. Had I cared to strain all of the grease through a cloth, I am sure it would have been cleaner and whiter as a result. But for my needs, this was good enough.

Chittlins. I saved these as trap bait and for friends who like wild game cuisine. The newspaper underneath is the Patriot News, and this is the highest and best use for that partisan propaganda Fake News publication.

Mister, you need an abortion

Now that liberals in New York State and Virginia and elsewhere have legally defined abortion to include infanticide, that is, the cold-blooded murder of a breathing child that has been born and is outside the mother’s body, we can look forward to the following kind of dialogue in the coming years…

A man is bent over working on his front lawn garden on a sunny summer afternoon

Young lady: “Hello, Mister Rogers? I am from the health department.”

Rogers: “Yes, young lady, I am Mister Rogers. How can I help you?”, Rogers says, standing up and wiping his hands on his gardening apron.

Young lady: “Mister Rogers, it appears that your health care provider has scheduled you for an abortion.”

Rogers: “An abortion? What do you mean? I am a man! I cannot have an abortion!”

Young lady: “I mean, you are scheduled to be aborted, Mister Rogers. You are scheduled to have a post-birth abortion.”

Rogers: “But…but…I was born fifty-eight years ago! I am a grown man! I can’t be aborted!”

Young lady: “Well, according to your health care provider, you have unhealthy social views, that cause people to feel bad, and so you are being aborted, as the law allows.”

Rogers: “This is ridiculous! I am a living human being! You can’t just kill someone, especially for their social views…”

Young lady: “Please hold still, Mister Rogers, this will only sting a little bit and it won’t hurt, you won’t feel a thing, I promise.”

Americans Agree with Prez Trump: America IS Great

Last night President Trump delivered an unbelievably powerful and persuasive State of the Union address, and the emotions playing out so plainly across the faces of everyone seated in Congress said he was penetrating through the partisan intentions of all but a few purposefully anti-America (can you believe it?) officials, like Comrade Cortes. She made it a point not to cheer on or clap for America when even her fellow liberal Democrats were clapping all around her. As if she is some sort of “victim” of America! Even as she is seated in Congress!

Why would Americans vote for someone like her, and why would the Democrat Party seat her in Congress? She is a shame and a discredit to the Democrat Party.

Anyhow, Trump did a fabulous job, so well, in fact, that the legacy media did everything they could do try to explain away the phenomenal, overwhelmingly positive reception the president received from his audience afterwards. I will not belabor the various political activist outlets like NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, many of whom had anchors who actually attacked the address before it was even begun, or even over. Talk about having your mind made up!

If Trump could walk on water, the legacy media people would criticize him for being unable to swim.

Poll after poll found just shy of 80% of Americans watching the address received it positively, and almost all overwhelmingly positively.

I myself was impressed by Trump’s address. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I began by listening to him on the radio, while I did work on my computer. But about ten minutes in I realized that this was a historic speech and I had to see how Trump appeared on TV, so I went and turned it on.

Wow.

For those who have said that Trump is an idiot, a moron, a fool, too dumb to tie his shoes, etc, all they had to do was watch him masterfully deliver one of the best political speeches ever delivered in Congress to realize that their partisan opposition to Trump is one thing, his high quality is another thing. He is an exceptionally talented communicator, and if he lies, which I have seen no evidence of, he is nowhere near the blatant liar that Obama was (“You can keep your doctor”).

Americans who watched or heard the president speak last night agreed with him: America’s greatness is still our own unique asset, something to nurture and value.

Thank you, Mister President!

AOL is a left-wing political activism outlet, and never misses an opportunity to attack Republicans and conservatives over anything at all. But who do they think they are kidding with this headline?

 

 

 

Great American Outdoor Show is here!

The Great American Outdoor Show is here all this week, and you owe it to yourself to see it.

Unlike “gun shows” and related flea markets full of rusty junk and Mabel’s old kitchen odds n’ ends, the Great American Outdoor Show is 100% pure beef sprawling across acres and acres of Pennsylvania Farm Show Building. It is a completely unadulterated gear-queer’s heaven-on-earth, with everything from classy side-by-side British shotguns to endless arrays and permutations of tactical gear and “Black Rifle” accoutrements.

Trop Gun Shop usually has some sort of modern “urban assault vehicle” parked there; several years ago it was a 1960s VW van re-designed to look like a Bat Mobile replete with a mini-Vulcan automatic belt-fed rotary cannon on top. Super cool stuff.

Just about every major gun manufacturer is here, except for Kimber, I think, which is sad, because Kimber makes top quality handguns and hunting rifles. The public would benefit from being able to fondle, errr, become acquainted with their fine creations. For example, a friend of mine took a 140-inch whitetail buck this past winter in the Adirondacks wilderness, miles from any roads. His rifle was….a Kimber Adirondack in .308, with which he gets quarter-inch groups at 100 yards. Now that is an accurate gun.

And so with all these gun manufacturers on location, you can pick up and handle just about any handgun made in America today, as well as the Italian revolvers used by Cowboy Action Shooting folks. Concealed carry is a big deal these days, and every serious concealed carry handgun is available to test out. Except the Kimbers.

There are custom knives, mass-produced knives, a Persian guy selling low-cost Damascus blades made in Pakistan and China with God-knows-what-metals in them, duck boats, bass boats, ultra-deluxe fishing kayaks by Hobie, the Portable Winch, animal calls of every sort, specialty ammunition, a gazillion hunting and fishing outfitters from around the world, and everything else you could possibly imagine or want.

Well, JRJ Knives is not there this year, as he has missed the past two years. John has more demand than he can keep up with, and I guess he don’t need no stinkin’ show. But his presence is always enjoyed, and I miss seeing him here.

My appearance at the GAOS is always closely tied to the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen & Conservationists, at whose booth I am an annual volunteer, holding down the fort with the likes of Grouchy Dennis, Happy Phil, Over-Mother Melody and many others who volunteer their time to help PFSC help sportsmen. And there is no other organization in Pennsylvania that helps sportsmen like the PFSC. In fact, right now the NRA does not have a representative working in Pennsylvania, and it is the PFSC lobbyist who is carrying the NRA’s load these days in the legislature.

Of course there is FOAC, and they do amazing work, but when it comes to conservation, science-based wildlife management, AND firearms rights, PFSC is it.

And so for me the GAOS is all about the PFSC, and serving the sportsmen.

The show goes on through Saturday, and you should see it to believe it. It is truly incredible.

 

Speaking of cold weather, here is a wood stove review

Eleven years ago we purchased a new wood burning insert for the big fireplace in the living room. It replaced a small wood burning stove with a blower I had temporarily put there to finally project some real heat into the big space around it. Here is the review of the replacement wood burning insert.

This is an old stone house with beautiful fireplaces upstairs and down, begging to be put to use. Because the 16-inch-thick stone walls have zero insulation, wintertime becomes a simple question of how much energy can you dump into the first floor. The more you dump in, the only marginally more comfortable a person feels. The attic is fully insulated, and there are 1960s storm windows, but these are only part of the efficiency challenge. Basically the place is a big sieve, leaking energy out of every seam, nook, crevice, and old window, so it’s a battle we just won’t win. But with certain types of energy, like wood and coal, we can really keep shoveling it in and enjoy the relatively cheap rewards of abundant heat in one location.

Think of it as a family campfire in the living room.

As I grew up in a rough-sided home that heated only with wood (and where I would see my own breath vapor on winter mornings in my bedroom, because it was the farthest from a heat source), and I grew up splitting tons of wood all summer and fall as one of my chores, running a wood burning stove today is first nature to me. And I like it. Pictures over the years of the entire family snuggled together, asleep on top of and under wild game skins, in front of the fire, makes a dad’s heart grow fond for those early years, before the kids grew up and had their hands out all the time.

Somewhere in the 1970s a gas-burning log insert had been put in this living room fireplace, and we removed it in 2007. It was gaudy, silly looking, and highly vented, which meant it was a show horse and not a work horse. Its heat all went right up the chimney! Ambience? Barely. Heat? Zero.

Though I had my eye set on a QuadraFire 5100 insert, I was sweet talked out of that choice by a stove salesman in Mechanicsburg. He had worked with and for my dad for many years, many years ago, and because of that long relationship I figured he would not lead me astray. Well, that transaction ended up another lesson in “assume nothing,” because the Pacific Energy Summit insert we bought from him just absolutely sucks crap all damned day long. It is nearly trash, and at $5,000 installed, you don’t want or expect trash. It is nowhere near the performance of the QuadraFire, hell it is probably not even the performance of an open campfire.

The primary deficiency with the Pacific Energy Summit is it has a single rudimentary air intake, up front and center. Theoretically this location draws in fresh air across the fire and out the back as the gases are vented around the baffle and up the chimney, theoretically resulting in an even burn that consumes all the wood and produces a lot of heat.

Well, the Summit is a lesson in failed theory, because this one single source of air results in an oxygen-starved fire where 3/4 to 2/3 of the fire box is a mass of half-live half-dead coals and baked wood mixed with heavy ash, and the actual fire and source of heat is just up front by the door. It produces very little heat for all the massive amount of wood that is put in it. And do we ever shovel in the wood here, because the Summit just chews through it. Apparently the baffle is poorly designed, too, because you’d think the steel jacket surrounding the fire box would get hot, but it doesn’t. Most of whatever heat is produced just goes up the chimney, which is a waste of energy.

Our hunting cabin has a small QuadraFire wood stove, and it requires very little wood to turn the house into a hot sauna, even in the dead of  frigid winter. Like our wood stove at the cabin, the QuadraFire 5100 insert I was talked out of also has four points of air entry into the fire box. Air entering from all these angles, front and back, results in an even burn that pulls maximum heat from the wood consumed in the fire box, and it also allows for a fine tuning of each fire. The ash from the QuadraFire is very light, very thin, which means all of the wood is being burned up and converted into fire.

Conversely, the wood ash from the Summit is heavy, meaning a lot of biotic material remains in it, which means it has not completely burned. It is no surprise, because the insert’s design is so bad. Had I not been sold a bill of goods by the Pacific Energy salesman, and had my natural skepticism that guides me so well in all other matters overcome my sense of loyalty to an old acquaintance, I would have purchased the QuadraFire 5100 and I would have been a much happier person for it.

A once-young logger I have worked with for the past twenty years has a QuadraFire 5100 insert at his cabin, and he really likes it. He told me it is “one of my few possessions that actually works correctly and which I would not sell, ever.”

On the other hand, I am about to give away this junky Pacific Energy Summit insert, which has eaten up so much of my hard-won firewood over the years. I would never buy another one.

Lame morning wood in the Pacific Energy Summit. A big bank of hot and cold coals raked forward to the front, the single source of air. This is its usual incomplete burn.

Pacific Energy Summit after a full burn and coals raked forward. An efficient wood stove will burn wood down into ash quickly. The Summit is so grossly inefficient that wood turns to a thick bed of coals that smothers the one single air intake and produces very little heat.

A poker end buried in a heap of coals. Even with the air flue all the way open, the Summit still doesn’t burn efficiently. It wastes firewood.

Even weather.com promotes fake news, fake science

The other day President Trump mocked the anti-science “climate change” political activism crowd when he tweeted about the need for some “global warming” to offset the record low temperatures descending upon  America. He was joking, and mocking, but everything he does creates an opening for enemies of America to attack him.

So cue up the faux indignation and mocking responses in return.

Fake science and lame-ass blatant political activism miraging as news reporting came from everywhere: Business insider, Newsweek, The Independent (UK), CNN, New York Times, Yahoo, Vanity Fair, and many other political activism outlets that pose as news outlets, including, amazingly, weather.com.

Weather.com, you ask?

And the answer is sadly, Yes, even weather.com, which you would think is just about the weather. Turns out that even weather.com is fully in the tank for anti-scientific climate change political activism. The one article weather.com staff wrote actually seriously evaluated just what more “climate change” would mean for America and the planet, and how terrible it is that President Trump wants this.

Either leftist activists have no sense of humor, or they are such crazed activists that no matter what someone says, it must always be turned into a political debate and crisis and a nuclear bomb aimed at whomever it is they disagree with at that moment. I vote for leftists being crazed, because nothing else explains their behavior. And so, weather.com published a very serious-sounding article about Trump’s tweet worthy of something from that source of awesome satire, The Onion. The article actually purports to be about how Trump is both a bad person for wanting more global warming, and how global warming is nothing to laugh at.

So weather.com wants it both ways: Trump is bad, and stupid, and by the way, just in case he wasn’t serious, he shouldn’t joke, either.

Every other mainstream fake news outlet followed suit with variations on this same theme, Trump bad and stupid, and global warming must not be mocked.

What surprised me was just how politicized weather.com is (and Business Insider, for that matter, being that it is aimed at business people). So I submitted a comment on the weather.com feedback page:

Your ridiculous article about President Trump calling for “global warming” was 100% political attack on the president and zero percent science. The president was obviously, plainly joking about having “more global warming” and your decision to treat his joke as something serious worthy of real analysis is either stupid or political activism by your website. I am guessing your article is political activism, because it criticizes the president as if his joke was meant to be serious. I object to weather.com politicizing the weather. I also object to weather.com relying on the opinion of politicized climate activists posing as academics, and then failing to obtain a balanced or opposing view from actual scientists who dispute human-caused climate. You are promoting a religious view, not a scientific view. At the very least human caused “climate change” is a nascent scientific subject to review and debate. Presenting it as settled is a subjective choice weather.com makes and thus, your credibility is damaged. Please leave politics out of your weather reporting. It certainly alienates me from wanting to use your web page or service.

And then I went further into weather.com and discovered entire sections of the website devoted to climate change fraud, and slickly packaged.

Why is it fraud? Because their assertion of human-caused climate change rests almost entirely on the provably false notion that “all scientists agree” that climate science is “settled.”

A) There is no such thing as climate science, and what science there is about climate change is all over the place. Real science is hardly ever “settled,” and it becomes settled then only after a long, robust and transparent debate. This kind of debate has not happened with climate change, because a great deal of it being politicized (“everyone says this is settled, so shut up”).

B) Scientists who have studied weather, climate, forestry, ecology, meteorology etc have come down all over the place. There is no universal agreement among scientists. Asserting there is universal agreement is like politics or religion. Leap of faith, or leap of belief in political outcomes.

So, add weather.com to the long list of political actors masquerading as scientists and humble service providers.

Duly noted!

Politics over weather science:

Holocaust Remembrance Day. What do people remember, and why do they remember it?

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and for the vast majority of Americans citizens, this day is vaguely associated with liberating WWII death camps in Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. That is about it.

Maybe you watched Schindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan, or the 2008 movie Defiance, about the Belsky brothers, rural redneck Jews who knew how to use guns and live off the land, and who fought back effectively against their homicidal German neighbors. These movies and others keep alive a spirit of awareness that something went really wrong in WWII, but let’s face it, that distant past becomes murkier with every passing year.

In a bunch of American government schools, today is used to teach specifically about the costs of intolerance, broadly speaking, because history lessons are best applied to circumstances in a person’s own life, not to some ghost of the now-distant past. So one view of the history of racial relations in America features prominently; any positive aspects are discarded in the interest of heightening awareness by honing victims’ vulnerabilities. Agendas aside, teaching tolerance of others is generally a good thing. Some teachers probably draw upon more recent examples of genocide like Rwanda, or recently resurrected examples like Turkey’s attempt to ethnically cleanse the Armenian People from Earth.

Still, there is no question about it, Hitler’s Third Reich took an innate German genius for mechanical and physical science to a whole new level and then bent it for evil. A grotesque mis-use of God-given talent followed, devoting entire nationwide train systems and military assets to try to exterminate Europe’s Jews, and any Gypsies, Christians, and gays caught up in the dragnet, while Germany simultaneously and justifiably burned for its sins. And then the Russians walked in….but that is another story of revenge for another time.

Using the otherwise brilliant German creation of Zyklon B gas (which in 1947 spawned a family of super dangerous, super effective organophosphate insecticides used to keep American fruits and vegetables looking shiny and fine for market) to choke to death herds of naked humans in concrete death chambers is really the biggest take-away image of the Holocaust. This cruelty and savagery remains unimaginable, and those dedicated to remembering it the most are Jews from Europe, because they suffered the worst.

So why today do so many (mostly secular) American Jews practically worship the Holocaust, revel in the victimhood, and then simultaneously support political movements and policies that mirror all of the totalitarian behaviors that led up to the Holocaust?

A large majority of today’s American Jews are utterly devoted to the same kind of destructive, intolerant, vitriolic, hate-filled politics that resulted in the creation of Nazi Germany, the demonization of Jews there, and their final destruction. And of course, one of the key policies that enabled the Nazis to take power was their nation-wide civilian disarmament, the removal of all guns, even sporting arms, from private ownership. This is something that would be a dream come true to a majority of today’s American Jews, who also happen to be registered Democrats, which is today’s leading source of intolerance, dehumanizing demonization of political opponents, hate, violence, and political instability in America. The Democrat Party and many of its young Jews are also leading forces against Israel, the one place Jews could go, if they were under mass threat once again.

So one has to wonder: What do people today really, truly remember about the Holocaust? And did they really, truly learn any lessons from it?

The choices you face:

AmerInd Nathan Phillips uses faux victimization to hurt American Indians

Victimology has a new victim all right, and it is one of the few honest to goodness genuine victims in America. That is American Indians.

No one got cheated more, mistreated more, treated like crap more, lied to more, or abused more in the European settling of America than the large assortment of First Americans, who were the first ones to widely settle the continent.

One of the attractive aspects of an otherwise pretty diverse array of American Indian cultures here was their widespread innocence. Even the most powerful, most violent, most cruel tribes (e.g. Lakota Sioux, Blackfeet, Huron, Seneca, Shawnee) demonstrated an almost child-like trust of European American promises. Even after helping the early Pilgrims gain a foothold on the East Coast, and then suffering for it as the unlimited immigration poured into the best, most fertile, most productive hunting and farming lands (the time our Thanksgiving holiday comes from).

When we use the word “attractive” here, we mean in terms of generating genuine and well-earned sympathy for the Native American situation among those who succeeded them in running the continent. A lot of Americans rightly feel bad for the Indians, for what was taken from them, for how they were officially mistreated until even very recent years. It is why so many American Indian faces appear on our early coinage. Americans have always admired Indian virtues like bravery, tenacity, faithfulness and commitment, honor, and high intelligence. You’d have to be a bigot or a jerk not to feel some sympathy for the Indians, and in fact most Americans today do support Indians in their quests to hold on to the little bit of reservation land left to them.

So along comes this American Indian Nathan Phillips guy (whose name seems to have changed several times over the years), aggressively forcing his way into a gathering of Catholic teenagers leaving a pro-life march in Washington, DC. Nathan Phillips is an American Indian who then insists on banging his symbolic drum a few inches away from the nose of a teenager who just stands there, unmoving. This is technically the criminal act of battery committed by Phillips, against a youth, no less. That kid was basically guilty of the huge crime of standing still while being white and Catholic.

Additionally, Phillips was accompanied by a bunch of violent anti-white racists assailing the young kids with all kinds of racial taunts and physical challenges.

At first the Democrat media turned this situation around into some sort of fake assault on Phillips and Indians. Everyone everywhere reflexively blamed the young Catholic kids for being the bad actors here. But then the video footage started to leak out, and it showed the teenagers just standing there, minding their own business, and actually behaving very modestly in the face of serious attempts by Phillips and his buddies at inciting violence and racial hatred.

And so in the end it turns out that Nathan Phillips was not only not a victim, but he was actually the aggressive perpetrator of genuine crimes against the teenagers. Phillips was the victimizer of innocent teenagers. He brought the conflict literally to their faces, and wonderfully they turned the other cheek.

And now, as a result of his own bad behavior, Phillips has attracted the misplaced assistance of the once-fine American Indian Movement group to back him up. Talk about a PR nightmare, AIM has misjudged the situation and thrown its integrity and credibility out the window by taking Phillips’ side in this, despite the physical evidence so clearly showing him to be in the wrong. This damages AIM and innocent American Indians everywhere.

And so the leftist fake victimology movement has claimed yet another victim, this time the American Indians. Phillips and AIM have now managed to remove Indians from being innocent bystanders into aggressive victimizers of young children. Now it’s “the Indians” who are seen as a bunch of bigoted jerks by a huge audience.  News for you, my Indian friends: This can’t possibly work out well for you. Acting like aggressive jerks in the name of Indian culture is indefensible, it undermines your cause. It does not help you. It turns your allies and friends against you. All your hard work to cultivate understanding for your plight gets tossed out the window with this stuff.

And so we see now one more example of how leftist ideology eventually boomerangs back on the people who employ it, hurting them, instead of helping them. In this instance, the American Indian cause for justice and fair compensation is set back, just as politically partisan liberal Jewish groups like the ADL continue to chip away at positive images Americans have come to develop about Jews. Similarly, just when America had elected a black to the presidency through the votes of an enormous swath of Caucasians, leftists then invented the anti-white Black Lives Matter to convince the same pro-Obama whites that they had actually misplaced their trust and votes. And so on.

And at the end of all this failure and destruction of racial progress, it appears that the same old white liberals behind it all don’t bear any blame. And that would be because the white liberal Democrat media protects them.