Saturday, November 30, 2013

Beers of Winter - Starr Hill Snow Blind

Stopping by the local beverage emporrium on my way home from work last Wednesday, I had it in my mind to pick up (only) a couple of seasonal beers with which to celebrate over the Thanksgiving holiday. My plan was to let the store displays guide my decision. I would pick just two beers and not give in to temptation and walk out with extra impulse purchases. I headed to the "holiday" beer corner and immediately spied a stack of Sierra Nevada Celebration. My first pick was decided, now to look for something in the maltier range. I noticed that the store employees were clustered around someone doing a tasting so I wandered over. There was a young lady pouring beers from Starr Hill Brewery. She had the Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter and Snow Blind Dobblebock available to sample. After a sip from the tiny medicine cup offered, I had my second choice in hand.

Snow Blind is a new Winter seasonal from Starr Hill. According to the brewery's website it was released on November 15. The bottle is stamped with a bottling date of November 3, freshness is another reason to drink locally brewed beer.

The beer pours a deep, caramel brown, with a reddish tint that shows as the light comes through the glass. The beige head is thin and short-lived. The aroma of the beer is mild with sweet malt, with dark fruit and a hint of licorice. The flavor is earthy, caramel, lightly sweet and toasted, with a touch of spiciness. The finish is dry, clean, and little aftertaste is left behind. At 7.4% ABV there is only faint alcohol flavor noticeable. I enjoyed my post-range trip glass of Starr Hill Snow Blind very much. I think this will be one we keep on hand over the Winter.

Oh, and I did succumb to just one impulse purchase during my shopping trip. I grabbed a bottle of Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale from Sierra Nevada. But that's a story for another post.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Better Black Friday

Try as I might, there's just no way I can wrap my head around the desire that some people have to rush out and shop for "Black Friday" deals. After spending a day giving thanks for the stuff we have, why is there a need to rush out and buy more stuff? Instead, we opted for more pleasant sights and sounds on this day after Thanksgiving.

Not the least of the day's pleasures was the much anticipated leftover turkey sandwich. There's just something about turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and mayo on toasted white bread that's hard to beat. We even had some debate around the table over which was better; the original meal or the leftovers.

After lunch, we decided to take a chance on getting out for some shooting fun. I figured the ranges would be crowded, but maybe we'd time it right and get in. As suspected, all the pistol and rifle bays were jammed packed, but no one was using the shotgun field. Fortunately, I had loaded up the shotgun paraphernalia, just in case, so we spent a short time bustin' clays. Unfortunately, we couldn't get on the pistol range.

After that short visit to the range, there was little left to do except relax and enjoy a good malted beverage. I opted for a Starr Hill Snow Blind to finish off the afternoon. This new Winter seasonal was just the thing to prepare for another welcome Black Friday activity; the afternoon nap.

With the right choices, Back Friday really can be a day of fun and relaxation.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. 
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington
Although President Washington proclaimed this day of thanksgiving and prayer in 1789, the Thanksgiving Day we celebrate today didn't become a national holiday until1863 when President Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you a day filled with family, friends, and fond memories. May God bless your life with His gifts today and everyday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Walnut Ridge Practical Pistol Match

I'd been watching the weekend weather forecast all week in preparation for the Walnut Ridge Practical Shooters monthly match. At the start of the week, the Saturday prediction for Summit Point, West Virginia showed a 60% chance of rain, and morning temperatures of around 27°. So when I arrived at the range in the morning, the sun, and 43° temperature, was a pleasant and most welcome surprise. Some gusting winds added to the chill, but still, for the end of November I couldn't complain. The predicted cold front arrived later in the day, and I heard the afternoon squads shot in much colder conditions.

For the second week in a row, my match began with a Texas Star. The opening stage for our squad also included two groups of Pepper Poppers on either side of the stage. I've heard that this spinning prop will be showing up regularly at Walnut Ridge matches, and I'm actually glad of that, despite my troubles clearing it this time. The star is used frequently at major matches, but it's a target that I don't get to practice on.

The next stage, sharing the same bay, featured both a drop turner and a swinger, triggered simultaneously, in addition to three falling poppers and two paper targets, all shot from a single position. The drop turner was not visible at rest, but did not qualify as a disappearing target, as the stage designer had provided a shooting location down range, to which a shooter run and shoot only this target, if he missed it from the main shooting box. It was a fun and fast stage.

The next bay we moved to had two typical "run and gun" stages, with the targets carefully placed to make having a plan, and sticking to it, a requirement. On both stages, many of the targets were available through narrow openings, and often from multiple places. I saw lots of variations of shooting plans. I walked the stages many times and got very comfortable with my plan. On the first stage in this bay, that plan went off without a hitch. On the next, I left a popper standing and didn't notice until the RO informed me. Brain fart, pure and simple.

The fifth stage I shot was the classifier, CM08-06 "Six." This being a fast and close course of fire, I fell into the "go fast or go home" trap and threw a miss on paper and some extra shots at the steel. As noted, Walnut Ridge sets up two stages in each of three bays. The course designers took advantage of this with the next, and final stage of the day. The course of fire started out in that same shooting box from the classifier, engaging the same four targets. Then the shooter had to move over to another larger shooting area and engage paper and steel targets while moving across the bay. The second "half" of this stage could have stood alone, but this combo set up added more gunnin' and more runnin' and I think folks enjoyed it. I know I did.

Although I picked up two misses, along with that forgotten steel, I was generally happy with my shooting. The misses were on close targets which is a symptom of impatience, and I have plans for some practice drills to remedy that. Overall I felt good about my stage plans and generally executed them as I wanted. The stages were all fun and offered a variety of challenges. This was last match of the year for Walnut Ridge, and perhaps the end of the season for me as well. Now it's time to spend a couple months practicing and preparing for next year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Remembering Blessed Miguel Pro

November 23 is the Feast Day of Blessed Miguel Pro. Born on January 13, 1891, in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Pro was ordained a Jesuit priest in Belgium in 1925. He returned to his home country in 1926, in the midst of that country's Cristeros War. After being falsely accused of an attempted bombing, Father Pro was executed by government forces without trial

Blessed Miguel Pro's final request was to be allowed to pray to his heavenly Father.

After which he refused a blindfold and faced the firing squad bravely, proclaiming ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Father Pro's executioners initially failed at their task, and the deed was finished at point blank range.

I am saddened, but hardly surprised, at the ignorance of the American public regarding the persecution of Catholics, and of the Cristero War that took place in Mexico in 1926 through 1929. Some 250,000 people lost their lives in a persecution that was supported by the government of the United States with both funds and air support. Given the ever-growing intolerance towards Christians, especially Catholics, in the United States, we would do well to remember.

Christ the King, by the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, I beg you to answer my prayers. Give me the grace and the strength necessary to follow your heroic example and to live my Catholic faith in spite of all temptations and adversities. Amen.

Images from Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Evening of Dark Beer

This week's "Steal the Glass" event at Capital Ale House featured the beers of Founders Brewing Company, served in an etched snifter. I'd been looking forward to the event, and based on the crowded bar, so had others. After perusing the offerings, I started out with Breakfast Stout, Colleen ordered the Oatmeal Stout served on nitro, while our friend Checkered Flag went big with the Backwoods Bastard Scotch Ale. To accompany the beers we put in an order for a couple of appetizers too while we decided on our dinner choices. The Fried Pierogies and Sausage Fritters went quite well with the dark and roasty beers.

Breakfast Stout & Oatmeal Stout
Founders Breakfast Stout pours pitch black with a thin head. Dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee aromas wafted up as soon as the beer was set in front of me. The taste of bitter dark chocolate and rich espresso predominates. As the beer warms, hints of vanilla and smoke come into play. At 8.3% ABV it's a moderate sipper, but still my glass was emptied much too quickly. Now I had a decision to make, order another or try something else?

I stole a few sips of my generous wife's Oatmeal Stout. The creamy, soft mouthfeel of the nitro-pushed beer is a treat. The flavor is similar to the Breakfast Stout though with more of a nuttier, burnt lean. The nitro does tend to soften the harder roasted edges. At a reported low 4.5% ABV, it's definitely an option for my second beer.

Next I turned to our friend's glass of Backwoods Bastard. I've always had an affection for a good Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale. Dark like the others, with a reddish tint, the beer gives off a strong aroma of bourbon. The taste is woody bourbon, brown sugar, and hints of vanilla with roasted malt. Did I mention bourbon? At 10.2% ABV it's a sipper for a full meal, but I think not as my second beer.

Back to the beer menu, I finally settled on a glass of Red's Rye IPA. I've seen this one recently on the CAH list. I've not been a fan of some "rye beers" I've tried, so have shied away from ordering this previously, despite my fondness for IPA. My mistake. This had to be one of the best IPAs I've had in some time, and my favorite drink of the evening.  The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a persistent head of sticky foam. The aroma is that of grapefruit citrus and resinous pine. The flavor boasts juicy citrus goodness. There's a sweetness that keeps iy all somewhat balanced. Although this is a citrus-forward beer, it's not overwhelming and the tastebuds are left unaccosted to continue enjoying the delightful flavors. As the beer warms, the rye imparts some bready aspects. At 6.6% ABV this is a richly flavored beer that is easy to enjoy, especially with my Ale House classic Bacon, Black and Blue burger.

A friend stopped to talk and offered the advice that I needed to try the Founders Porter as well. And many folks at the bar were also enjoying the Pale Ale being poured. So many beers yet to try, but alas, it was time to go. It was a "school night" after all. Perhaps a return trip soon is in order.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fordham Spiced Harvest Ale

After a morning of shooting and an early dinner Sunday, I was relaxing with a book when I had the urge for a beer. I stood for a while in front of the open beer fridge looking for inspiration. So many beers, and nothing was tempting me, and then I spied the bottle of Spiced Harvest Ale that was sent a couple months back by the folks at Fordham Brewing.

The beer pours a slightly hazy amber color with a very thin but persistent white head. Sticking my nose in the glass I was immediately pleased with the smells. "This could be good," I thought, it doesn't smell like potpourri and I detected some pumpkin as well. Taking a sip, there's cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar; all present but not overwhelming. And pumpkin. Underneath it all there is the distinct flavor of pumpkin. The finish adds a bit of sweetness with the lingering spices. 

Perhaps I should have tried this one sooner. I typically grow quickly tired of pumpkin and spiced beers, so much so that I rarely keep them on hand, preferring to try them one-off at the pub, or the occasional brewery review sample. The Fordham Brewing contribution to the Fall "spiced beer" lineup is one that I wouldn't mind drinking again.

Note: This beer was provided by Fordham Brewery. It is through my own free will that I consumed and reviewed it. No compensation was received for this review.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An Oasis of Sunshine For Shooting

As I headed west on Sunday morning for the November North Mountain Practical Shooters match I was wondering if I'd be able to find the targets once I arrived. The fog was dense, making driving difficult. As I crossed the mountains, suddenly the sky cleared and the sun shown brightly. Ironically, this change happened at the part of the drive where I usually run into rain, even on sunny day. The weather at the range sunny and warm for most of the morning.

The match directors put together a fun seven stage event, including four classifier stages. All the classifiers were newly added to the USPSA ranking system this year. But first up, was a non-classifier steel stage featuring a Texas Star and 5 small square plates arranged in a wall made from a wooden pallet. In an interesting twist, the shooting box was divided diagonally, and the shooter was required to move between sections between the star and the plates. It wasn't a large movement, but just enough to distract.

The next two stages were classifiers, and both required a break from the "2 on each" mindset we're so used to. "The Roscoe Rattle" consisted of two strings of fire. The first string required 6 hits on the center target, and the second string called for 6 hits on the outer targets with a mandatory reload between. "Too Close For Comfort," required just a single shot on each of 5 targets, one with a deceptively close head shot, followed by a mandatory reload and one more shot on each target. I started out too fast on this one and got my only miss of the match on the first target.

After those "stand and shoot" stages, it was time for the only stage requiring substantial movement. After shooting a plate rack, you had to run forward, up a slight incline to engage four paper targets set low to the ground. I found it interesting that some shooters opted to take one procedural penalty and shoot all the targets from the first position, rather than take the time for the 7 yard or so run.

We returned to the classifiers with "Disaster Factor." Six targets were arranged in three vertical pairs with no-shoots in the center. Starting facing up range, the shooter had to turn and put two shots on each target of either the bottom or top row, perform a mandatory reload and engage the remaining targets. "Double Deal 2" saw the shooter sitting with elbows on the table, holding two "playing cards," and the loaded gun set on the table. There were three paper and two mini-popper targets to be engaged.

The last stage I shot was another quick stage with just two paper and three steel targets. The steel targets were a classic pepper popper, a mini-popper and a 6 inch falling plate that were lined up behind one another. For added challenge, the shooting box was exceptionally small which made a standard shooting stance difficult.

All seven stages were completed in less than three hours. The new classifier stages are fun and challenging, as were the rest of the stages. Amazingly, soon after I left the range, the clouds and fog returned, making for a wet drive home. Indeed, the rest of the day was overcast. If I had not gone to the match I wouldn't have seen any sunshine at all on Sunday, so the brief weather change to a sunny morning was an added bonus. I was happy with my shooting, having just one miss and one no-shoot hit. The match was a lot of fun, and a great way to end the season of shooting at North Mountain.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Arrogant Bastard Lineup

Surprisingly, this isn't a post about the 0bama administration, although I have little trouble applying the label to the current leadership in Washington. No, we're talking about this flight of Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard varieties I enjoyed recently at Capital House. The flight consisted of "standard" and barrel-aged versions of Arrogant Bastard and Double Bastard ales. It was interesting to be able to compare the affects of the aging against non-aged versions.

First up, starting from the right side of the photo, was Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale. This 7.2% ABV American Strong Ale is one that I've enjoyed many times in the past. The strong sweet malt base is equaled by piney and bitter hops in a full-bodied beer. Saving a sip of the Arrogant Bastard for comparison I started on the OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale. The non-aged version, and exceptional beer in it's own right, pales in comparison to the oaked version. Woody smoke, oak and a hint of alcohol enhance the rich beer. As I extolled the flavor in my 4 ounce sample Colleen simply smiled in agreement, as she had skipped the flight and decided right away on a pint of the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Next I moved on to the Double Bastard pairing. Stone Double Bastard Ale is the big brother of Arrogant Bastard, dry hopped and ramped up to 11.2% ABV. The beer is sweeter and more syrupy, but that is well-matched by the boost in citrus hoppiness. The finish is bitter and a little boozy. There's some dark fruit that comes out more so than in the Arrogant Bastard beers. The final beer in the flight was a special Double Bastard (2012 vintage) aged in red wine barrels. This beer had a unique flavor background of astringent red wine. As with the Arrogant Bastard pairing above, the barrel aging seems to takes bitter edge off the ale, adding a smooth garnish to the flavors. For both pairs, I preferred the aged versions over the base, but there was nothing lacking in any of the four beers. Overall, the OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale was my favorite of the bunch. I might just have to pick up a couple bottles next time I'm in my local beer shop.

I decided to finish up the evening with a glass of a seasonal beer fromy Brouwerij Corsendonk from Belgium. Corsendonk Christmas Ale is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with rich flavors of raison, molasses, brown sugar, as well as some mild spices. The mouthfeel is smooth with hints of Belgian yeast, and a dry finish. The flavor profile was muted in comparison to the Stone beers I had already enjoyed. If I had planned the evening's beers in advance, I probably would have had the Corsendonk Christmas Ale first. Plenty of good food and numerous excellent beers made for quite an enjoyable Friday evening on the town.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Important Skills For the Beer Traveler

I recently came across an entertaining iPhone app that teaches a very important skill — ordering a beer in another language. In case you're wondering, the name of the app, Pivo, is the Czechoslovakian word for beer.

The Pivo - Order a Beer app provides instruction in 59 languages. Each supported language shows the written phrase, along with a phonetic guide to pronunciation. To make sure you get it right, most of the languages also include a video of a native speaker using the phrase. The videos are easily played by rotating the iPhone. Even if you aren't traveling to a distant land, looking through the videos is both interesting and fun. And if you do find yourself in a strange land, Pivo might get you past just grunting and pointing.

Pivo is available for $0.99 from the iPhone App Store.

Monday, November 11, 2013

First "Winter" Seasonal

I received an email update last week from Blue & Gray Brewing that announced the availability of their seasonal Spiced Winter Ale. To make it even more tempting, they were serving a special of St Louis Style ribs with black bean salad and cole slaw. I succumbed to the email temptation and made a date with Colleen for dinner Friday evening.

The Spiced Winter Ale pours an opaque reddish-brown color with a thin beige head. The Blue & Gray seasonal is one of the most heavily spiced beers I've had, and it even shows in the appearance; the beer actually looks thick with spices. The spice aroma is strong and I could pick it up across the table as Colleen took our requisite social media and blog photo.

The flavor was equally strong in "winter spice," as expected. Orange zest, cardamon, allspice, cinnamon all come into play. It's almost overwhelming, but definitely invoking of the traditional holiday scents and flavors. There are some bitter citrus notes under all that spice as well. A drying, bitter finish wraps up the flavor profile.

Soon, my ribs arrived and my glass of Spiced Winter Ale was empty. To accompany the meal I opted for a glass of Stonewall Stout. The stout and ribs combo was doubly appropriate as Friday was also International Stout Day, whatever that means. The mild, dry stout, with its dark espresso and bitter chocolate notes seemed a perfect choice with the meaty half rack of smoky ribs. Extra sauce and extra napkins rounded out the meal.

I'm no fan of the cold, dark, dreary days of Winter, but I do look forward sights, smells and tastes of the beers of the season. The wintery meal at Blue & Gray was a first inkling of the flavors to come with the approach of cold weather.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Buy A Blogger A Coffee

Starbucks has joined forces with Twitter to make it possible to send a friend the gift of coffee. Link up your Twitter and Starbucks accounts and you can send the gift of Starbucks to a deserving friend. Or even a blogger. :-)

I know many folks in the gun community don't like Starbucks for their recent exhibition of spinelessness, but I'll make a deal with Musings readers. If anyone sends a Starbucks card to me at VADavid, I promise I will exercise my 2nd Amendment rights when I redeem your gift. Ironic isn't it?

More info on tweet-a-coffee here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five O'Clock Friday: Lunch Break

Err, make that Noon O'Clock. *

Have a great weekend!

*To the humor impaired, relax. It's a joke. I won't get drunk until after dinner. **

**That's a joke too.

Dot Torture Drill: 49/50

Drats! So close!

It was good to get out to the range for some practice this week. Most of my shooting the past couple of months have been at matches. Colleen has been hinting at wanting to do Dot Torture, since it's been over a year since we last did the drill. I accidentally (honest) left them on the printer when we got ready to head to the range, but my dear wife reminded me to go back upstairs and get them.

I had decided I wanted to shoot my carry weapon the next time I got to the range, instead of the gun I typically shoot for fun. I expected the smaller gun would make the shots on the 2 inch circles all the more challenging. I needn't have worried.

We set up at the recommended 3 yards, took a deep breath and started the drill. I dropped my first shot on Dot 2, but grouped the next four very nicely. To have that miss so early in the drill was frustrating, but I had to shake it off. The rest of the drill went well, with a few shots near the edges but still scoring. I probably could have slowed down just a bit for tighter groups, but I find it hard to do slow, carefully aimed fire, even in a non-timed drill. I even made it through the strong and weak hand-only sections without any misses. At the end my score was a gratifying 49/50.

To some extent, getting that close to a perfect score is frustrating. But it's gratifying to shoot well with a gun I don't shoot as often as I should. I was also reminded how much fun the little SIG P239 is to shoot. This was a good practice session and the drill fit well with the range's new prohibition on "rapid" shooting.

I wonder how it would go over if I put the target on my office door...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Physics of a Beer Prank

A pair of beer drinking physicists have set their minds to explain some of the science behind beer bubbles.
The act is colloquially referred to as “beer tapping”: Someone hits a beer bottle on the head, often with the bottom of their own bottle, and within seconds the victim of the prank is left with a small amount of flat beer and a bottle dripping with foamy bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Javier Rodríguez-Rodríguez, assistant professor at the Fluid Mechanics Group of Carlos III University of Madrid and lead author of an abstract about the research, and his colleagues were at a bar discussing the process behind this phenomenon when they realized they did not fully understand it. And according to their unsuccessful search for a solution online and through scientific databases, neither did anyone else.

Honestly, I've never had this happen to me. But I guess if you're going to do research, you might as well do beer research. Hopefully, they wasted factory beer, not beer that would have been better put to use by consuming it. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall Freedom Fest - Celebrating the 2nd Amendment

The Fall Freedom Festival in Fredericksburg this weekend was a timely celebration of the 2nd Amendment. Freedom, and especially the right to bear arms, are under attack in Virginia. New York mayor Bloomberg is diverting some of his fortune, and his lies, towards our state in an attempt to buy tomorrow's gubernatorial election for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The issue was a common theme with folks I spoke to at the event.

The event was sponsored by a local gun shop, SSG Tactical. and brought together a variety of vendors and advocacy groups. I spent some time talking with Emily Miller, author of Emily Gets Her Gun: ...But Obama Wants to Take Yours. Her book is an excellent accounting of her struggle to exercise her natural and Constitutional rights in the District of Columbia. If you haven't read it, do so. Even if you aren't a gun owner, her report of government attacks on the Constitutional are mind-boggling. (And yes, I did ask Emily to sign my book.)

One of my favorite displays was the table of guns set out by the SIG Sauer representative. I almost walked by the table at first, as he had no sign out, but my "SIG-sense" caused me to stop in my tracks. I was able to fondle the new P227 and bunch of other pistols from my favorite gun manufacturer. I went back to the table several times! I even managed to score a SIG Sauer hat and a deck of playing cards featuring the gun maker's products — although it was actually the local radio station that was passing out the SIG schwag!

At the NRA booth the focus was on the Virginia elections. I grabbed a stack of paper targets and the person there also gave me a handout on Ken Cuccinelli's 2nd Amendment platform. I turned it over and saw a photograph of Terry McAuliffe as well as an exposé on his plans against freedom. In my best non-PC voice, I exclaimed, "Oh boy, more targets!"

Also in attendance was Top Shot contestant, William Bethards. We rooted for him on the show since he's a Fredericksburg resident, but I admit he wasn't my pick as my favorite to win in both seasons in which he appeared. I did get to spend some time chatting with William, and in juxtaposition to his on-air personality, he's a friendly and quiet guy. He shared the "trials" of juggling being a professional shooter and an FBI agent. It seems sometimes there's more shooting to do than he has time for. Such problems we all should have.

I did purchase a few raffle tickets for the Friends of NRA "Wall of Guns" raffle. Alas, my phone hasn't rung, so I guess there are no new guns in my immediate future. The leading Virginia guns rights organization, Virginia Citizens Defense League, also had a strong presence. The orange "Guns Save Lives" stickers were everywhere. Although at the festival they were preaching to the choir, hopefully folks kept the stickers on display as they travelled home from the event.

Again and again, the conversation during the afternoon turned to the threat to freedom in Virginia from Terry McCauliffe and out of state intruder Michael Bloomberg. While the focus of Bloomberg's money in Virginia had been on taking away self-defense right from law-abiding citizens, any intelligent person knows he won't stop there. Do you like your salt, your large soft drinks, your health insurance? They are in jeopardy when Bloomberg calls in the favors he's owed by McAuliffe should the democrat be the next Virginia Governor.

The election is Tuesday, so if you haven't already done so, quickly, do some research on Ken Cuccinelli. You don't have to dig very deep to expose the lies being spread by McAuliffe, Bloomberg, as well as the liar-in-chief, who has been seen in Virginia campaigning on the anti-freedom side. This race will undoubtably be close, so if you are a Virginian, be sure to vote to protect your rights so that we may celebrate a second Fall Freedom Festival next year.