Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fascists in America

Also known as "progressives."

If you happen upon any of these thugs in the street, keep in mind what happened to Reginald Denny when he stopped for "protestors" who were blocking the roadway. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More Spring Relaxation

My weekly lunchtime indoor range visit was cancelled last week due to work conflicts. (I know, right?) That meant I was more than ready to get to the range this week. When I got home from work on Monday, I debated between exercise or the range. Colleen helped with, "It's so nice out you should go, dinner won't take long to prepare afterwards." (Did I mention lately how much I love her?)

So I headed over to the outdoor range for some relaxation. I had just repaired cleaned a malfunctioning .22 pistol, so I confirmed it was working as the first order of business. Next I spent a little time shooting my EDC pistol from concealment. After that I switched to my usual range/match gun. Shooting at distances from 7 to 25 yards, the focus of the session was sight alignment and maintaining that alignment during the trigger press. I wasn't shooting super fast, but I was (this day) shooting super accurately.

After spending the day in a windowless office breathing recycled air, it's really nice to spend a little time outdoors. Early spring in Virginia is most pleasant, before the pollen gets too thick, which is why I spent a lot of time relaxing on the deck this past weekend. The timeout Monday evening too was very enjoyable and very relaxing. I may label it "practice" but for me shooting is more of a relaxing diversion than anything else.

Did you ever spend a day on a boat and later have the sensation of rocking on the water as you fall asleep later? As I drifted off to sleep in the evening, my mind's eye kept seeing the SIG Night Sights superimposed over the target. While the weather is nice I'll look forward to more evenings spent on the range. Of course, the indoor range will remain an option as an excuse to get out of the office on occasion too.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Now, about those peeps...

A better use for that leftover Easter candy.

Good for your diet too. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

"He is not here"

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

-- Luke 24:1-12

Today we rejoice in the fulfillment of Our Lord's promise of eternal life. On this most glorious of days, our worries and fears are laid to rest. We are reminded that the war between good and evil has already been fought, and that good has forever triumphed. For three days, Satan thought he had won. Three days vs. eternity. Easter gives us the strength to persevere against the lies of the evil one, against his pointless assaults and temptations which we face on a daily basis.

Here's wishing you a blessed and joy-filled Easter. May the joy of the Resurrection remain in your life all year long.

The Holy Sepulcher
Photo by Colleen, 2010

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Because Saturday

Deck time on a rare Saturday spent at home. Beautiful weather. No chores that can't be ignored.

Because Morning

Because Afternoon

Those Who Fail to Learn From History

... are condemned to repeat it.

The idea behind "gun control" is not to get rid of guns. The goal behind "gun control" is that only the state will have guns. We know how well that has worked out in the past. Disarming a population is the first step in oppressing it.

Image H/T to Jew With Gun.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Party on the Highway

This sounds like something written for a TV sitcom. Interstate 95 in Florida was the scene of a bizarre accident.
MELBOURNE, Fla. - A crash involving two tractor-trailers hauling beer and chips overturned on Interstate 95 in Brevard County, spilling the snacks all over the roadway and blocking lanes for hours on Wednesday morning.

The crash was reported at milemarker 187 in Pineda Causeway just after 3:30 a.m.

Florida Highway Patrol said the tractor-trailer carrying Busch beer was driving southbound on I-95 when the driver attempted to move into center lane and swerved to avoid another vehicle.

The front of the Busch beer truck then struck the Frito-Lay truck, prompting the Frito-Lay truck to overturn and spill beer and chips onto the roadway, according to FHP.

No injuries were reported. It's unknown if any salsa was available at the scene.

See "Beer, chips spill onto I-95 after semi overturns in crash" for more information.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Important Deliveries

All the essentials...

Checking the those status updates made me smile.

Deschutes Brewery Chooses Roanoke, Virginia

Another craft beer win for Virginia. Deschutes put out this press release today.

Bend, OR/Roanoke, VA – March 22, 2016Deschutes Brewery announced its much anticipated decision on an east coast location today at an event in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. The growing brewery, which was founded in Oregon in 1988 by Gary Fish, has explored hundreds of potential locations in the region over the last two years. The company selected Roanoke based on several criteria including a culture and community that fit well with Deschutes’ decades-deep roots.

“We started Deschutes Brewery when craft beer wasn’t burgeoning and led with a beer style that wasn’t popular at the time – Black Butte Porter,” said Gary Fish, CEO and founder of the brewery. “This pioneering approach was a key driver behind our decision to go with Roanoke, as that same spirit exists in this community and its fast-growing beer culture.”

The future Roanoke facility has been lovingly dubbed “Brew 4” as it takes its place in line after the original Bend, Oregon public house (Brew 1), the brewery’s production facility in Bend (Brew 2) and the Portland, Oregon public house (Brew 3). Brew 4 will be located at the eastern edge of Roanoke with construction on the site beginning in 2019. Eventually, a little over 100 new jobs will be created for the region, and the new brewery will produce approximately 150,000 barrels to start, with a design to increase capacity as needed. Deschutes expects to start shipping beer from the Roanoke location in about five years.

 “Roanoke is honored to be chosen as Deschutes Brewery's East Coast location after a very thorough review of several communities in the Southeast,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill.  “It is a company with a strong culture of community engagement, recognized for its craftsmanship and will be a perfect fit for Roanoke's vibrant outdoor lifestyle.  We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes as we continue to build a diverse, resilient economy.”

Deschutes Brewery chose to add an east coast location after the company’s distribution footprint (which currently includes 28 states and the District of Columbia) reached the east coast. By having a production facility on the eastern seaboard, the brewery will be able to deliver beers – such as its flagship Black Butte Porter – to states east of the Mississippi quickly and more sustainably.

Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes Brewery, who was an integral part of the east coast location selection team, said, “Although it was a tough decision – we loved so many of the communities that we visited over the past two years – we are very excited to be heading to Roanoke. We love the region and everyone we've had the opportunity to meet and work with during this process has been incredible. We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome. #Deschutes2Rke we’re on our way and proud to be able to now call Roanoke our second home.”

For more information on Deschutes Brewery in Roanoke, please visit: 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lentebier for Palm Sunday

While doing some online shopping for Easter gifts, Colleen came across Saison D'erpe Mere Lentebier from Brouwerij de Glazen Toren in Belgium. On a whim, she ordered a couple of bottles for us to try out. We opened one of them before dinner on Sunday. Colleen's whim turned out to be a good choice.

As soon as I started pouring I thought, "Slow down!" The frothy white head on this one builds fast. It took several starts and banana and grassy grain. Sipping the beer confirmed those same traits in the flavor. The Saison breadiness was joined by slightly tangy citrus hops. A slight pepper and clove spiciness comes as well has a hint of earthiness. The carbonation tingled the tongue and cleansed the palate.

We found the beer to be very enjoyable and refreshing. The flavor profile was full but not overwhelming. The Lentebier was new to us. It was a nice treat and not disappointing in the least. Colleen summed it up well when she remarked, "I'm glad I bought two bottles."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Green Beer

When art imitates life.

Flying Dog Brewery actually does brew a beer with four-leaf clovers

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Emptied Those Heavy Seas Kegs For You

On Friday evening we headed over to Park Lane Tavern to enjoy some Fish 'n Chips for dinner. Park Lane does a pretty decent version of the classic platter, and there's good beer. I had missed the Heavy Seas Brewing "Steal the Glass Night" earlier in the week, but was pleased to see the brewery's tap handles still up. There were three beers from the Baltimore brewery available; Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout, Double Cannon Imperial IPA, and Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale, which was served on cask. Decisions, decisions. The bartender offered us sample of all three, which we didn't turn down.

The Winter Storm Ale is one of my favorite beers from the brewery. The cask serving was hitting a very nice temperature and carbonation level, so that was my decision. As I watched the server pull the handle to pump the beer, he remarked that the cask was getting empty and this was to be the last serving he'd be able to pour. Whew, just in time. 

The large snifter got me through dinner with ease. I typically pick up a case of this beer when it comes out each winter but didn't get to that this year. I was glad to have gotten this pint to enjoy.

For her selection, Colleen had the Siren Noire. Once again, as the beer was being poured, the keg started running dry. I think the bartender was a bit flustered, but it had been a few days since the STG event, so it was not unexpected. I actually didn't think they'd still have the beers available at all.

This is a new Heavy Seas beer that we'd not had yet. The aroma and flavor was ripe with dark fruit, bitter chocolate, vanilla and oaky bourbon. At 9.5% ABV it's a rich, enjoyable sipper.

We had an pleasant dinner with a couple of excellent beers. I even snagged a Heavy Seas 20th Anniversary coaster for my collection. We opted to not try for emptying the Double Cannon keg! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Five O'Clock Friday: Dating Mismatch

May all your choices this weekend be well-selected.

St. Paddy's Day Range Trip

The Feast Day of our Patron Saint turned out to be an absolutely beautiful (nearly) Spring day, so we headed over the the range to enjoy the 70° weather. One of our plans for the day was to do the Dot Torture Drill, as a tribute to Todd Louis Green who passed away earlier this week. Todd didn't create this drill, but it has long been associated with him. I never met Todd, but have made frequent use of his insightful posts and shooting drill library at I truly wish I could have taken a class from him. Massad Ayoob has posted a nice tribute to Todd on his blog.

My best score to date on this exercise is 49/50. We decided to use the SA/DA version of the drill for this run. Unfortunately I didn't come close to my record on this outing, scoring just 42/50. I reminded myself that even a miss on this drill is well within a center zone hit on a practical pistol target. After lamenting my score, and promising myself I'd try again real soon, we spent another fun hour shooting.

Despite the sun shining bright, we did have to deal with strong wind gusts which frequently blew over our target stands. A few rocks gathered from the berm edges were only mildly effective in stabilizing the targets. The ground here is too hard to make easy use of stakes, so I think I'll need to look into fixing up some sand bags before the winds of Spring start coming into play. It was fun afternoon spent with Colleen and "Checkered Flag." Even if Dot Torture is appropriately named, any day at the range...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Coming Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox is Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 12:30 AM EDT local time.

So what's all this talk about a Nor'easter?

Happy St. Patrick's Day

"May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go, and guide you in whatever you do – and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always."
-- Traditional Irish Blessing

St. Patrick is our parish's patron Saint, so w'll take a bit of a reprieve from our Lenten penances. We'll be enjoying some "traditional" Irish-American food and drink with other Catholic friends this evening. There will be no green beer (that would be a sin, not a penance), but we'll surely see this delicious Bread and Butter Pudding with Hot Whiskey Sauce among other treats.

Bishop Patrick in our parish window
However you mark the day, be safe, be joyful, be Irish.

Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, Ireland

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ocelot Albatross IPA

When I scan a beer menu, I typically look for Virginia breweries first. Such was the case when we visited Sedona Tap House last Sunday afternoon and saw a listing for Ocelot Brewing Albatross IPA. I had to admit that I wasn't familiar with that brewery. A quick search from my phone and I learned they were located in Sterling, VA so my decision was made.

Albatross IPA pours a golden-yellow with a thin white head. The aroma has a fresh, tropical citrus aspect. The flavor of the beer follows suit. There's a crisp, bready malt base that gives way to the mildly sweet tropical fruit favors. The finish is dry with some lingering bitterness. I found this to be a refreshing, citrusy, moderately flavored IPA. It merited ordering a second pint to enjoy with my food.

Discovering a new-to-me brewery is always a treat. On their website, Ocelot Brewing claims that the IPA style is their "backbone." They say they will have "a steady stream of rotating hoppy goodness of all colors, gravities, and IBUs." It sounds like I'll have to pay them a visit in the near future!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lunch Crumbs

I made my (almost) weekly lunchtime run to the indoor range this afternoon. For this week's exercise I did the same 50-round skills drill from Julie Golob that I tried a few weeks ago. This time I did it twice, once at 7 yards, and again at 10. It was satisfying that the only hits that weren't in the body or head -0 zones, were some low head shots. I'll still need to do some work on that shooting low issue when aiming for the head.

Since the drill is quickly run, I had a bit of time left to shoot some more. I did some slow shooting at 15 yards, concentrating on a smooth trigger press and sight alignment. Once that was done I had a lot of brass to pick up. It's easily swept into a pile and scooped into a box. That's a cleanup I prefer to my usual lunch activity of sweeping bread crumbs out of my keyboard when eating at my desk.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My Kind of Parade

Short, with beer at the end.

On Saturday morning I joined up with a few other men from the Ancient Order of Hibernians to take part in the 14th annual St. Patrick's Parade and Festival at the Blue & Gray Brewery, now Adventure Brewing. In all honesty, the main motivation was to enjoy some good beer at the end of the parade. From my conversations with the other Irish men, I wasn't the only one looking forward to that treat.

This may well be the shortest St. Patrick's parade in existence, so 15 minutes after kickoff, I was in line to buy tickets for beer. Being the organized person I am, I purchased enough tickets for more than one beer. No use standing in line again!

The new owners from Adventure Brewing did an excellent job putting on this annual event. They even got the weather to cooperate; more often then not, it's cool and rainy for the festival. It turned out to be a very pleasant afternoon to enjoy some good beer and conversation with friends.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Five O'Clock Friday: One Tired Dog

It's been a long busy week. I'm done.

Looking forwarded to recuperating with some good beer this weekend. Cheers!

Blue & Gray St. Patrick's Day Festival

The 14th Annual St. Patrick's Day Festival will take place this Saturday, March 12 at Blue & Gray Brewery, now Adventure Brewing South. The parade starts at noon and ends at the brewery. Food and beer services will be available outside under tents and inside the brewpub as well. Entertainment will include Irish music and dancers.

I'm looking forward to enjoying a fresh pint or two of Stonewall Stout myself.

After Adventure Brewing purchased the Blue & Gray Brewery, there were questions about the future of the annual St. Patrick's Day and Octoberfest events at Blue & Gray. I was told recently by a staff member at Adventure that the plan is to continue both festivals as annual events.

I hope to see you there!

Happy Birthday Mom ✝

Today is my mother's birthday, and the fifth one we celebrate without her. I can't wish her Happy Birthday in person but I'll still celebrate her memory today; recalling her smile, reminiscing about her bear hugs, and even enjoying a smile over her joyful passion for sending greeting cards for every occasion.

Mom, the sorrow of your absence does not lessen with the passage of time. I pray your suffering in this life will grant you peace in the eternal. I know the angels and Saints must be laughing with you today, and that brings joy to those of us who are missing you today. Requiescat In Pace.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One Lucky S.O.B.

We headed into the District of Crime Columbia Wednesday evening to watch the Hokies play in the ACC Tournament. Arriving early, we opted for dinner at the Green Turtle in the Verizon Center. Since I had plenty of time before the drive home, I hoped to enjoy a beer with dinner. The menu listed a "Flying Dog seasonal." Our waiter said he thought it was the K-9 Winter Ale, which didn't interest me. He returned to the table to let me know it was Lucky S.O.B. Irish Ale. Lucky me!

I opted for the smaller 16 ounce serving. However when the beer arrived, our server informed me the bartender accidentally poured the large serving, and it was mine at the smaller price. Lucky me!

Lucky S.O.B Irish Red Ale was first bottled by Flying Dog a few years ago and I've enjoyed it often since, but I don't recall that I've had it on draft until now. Lucky me! The ale pours a deep, reddish-copper color with a frothy beige head. Strong caramel and bready notes great the nose. The flavor is rich with toasted and caramel malts. There's a crisp hop bitterness and a touch of sweetness in the mix. The beer finishes with a lingering bitterness. The low 5.5% ABV and moderately light body left me fit to enjoy the game, even when combined with a large buffalo chicken sandwich for dinner.

I enjoy Irish/Red Ales this time of year. The Flying Dog interpretation is well done, with a balanced but full flavor profile. It was a good opening salvo for this season of Irish Ales. Lucky me!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Flying Dog Mango Habanero IPA

One of the latest "things" in craft brewing is the "habanero IPA." It's not a trend I object to in the least. Recently I've mused over offerings from Starr Hill and Ballast Point. Now Flying Dog Brewery has gotten into the act with their own habanero and mango flavored IPA.

Fever Dream Mango Habanero IPA is a new addition to Flying Dog's year-round lineup. I received a sample bottle from the brewery and couldn't resist trying it out the same day!

Fever Dream pours a dark orange color with a robust and persistent off-white head. The aroma is tropical fruit and earthy malt. If I concentrate it's possible to pick up some faint pepper aroma. The flavor starts out with a tropical fruit and bready malt base, followed with a citrus rind bitterness. Rising up from those initial flavors is a capsaicin warmth. The hot pepper aspect starts out quite subtle, the heat building with each sip. After a few sips, a warm tingling sensation remains in the mouth — present but never overpowering. The habanero pepper creats an unmistakable tingling on the palate. Along with the lingering warmth, there's a hint of bitterness left behind as well.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. The heat was enough for this spicy food junkie, but it's not overwhelming at all. Fever Dream is a permanent addition to Flying Dog's offerings, and we should be seeing it show in the stores soon.

Flying Dog is also releasing a series of seasonal warm and spicy beers in their Heat Series. I'm looking forward to those as well. I have a bottle of the February release, Oaked Chipotle Ale, waiting in the wings for review so stand by for news on that one soon.

This bottle of tasty brew was an unsolicited review sample from the brewery. The drinking was done of my own free will.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday Range Fun

Recently I came across this "Establishing Your Baseline" drill from The Tactical Professor. This 50 round drill can be done with a wide range of targets, and is suitable for shooting at an indoor range. The general drill is you load your magazines to five rounds, and repeat the same 10 round sequence at 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15 yards. All strings are fired from low ready, and there's no clock. The shot sequence is as follows:

1) One shot at center, follow through for 1 second, back to low ready.
2) Two shots at center, follow through for 1 second, back to low ready.
3) Three shots at center. You will be at slide lock after 2 shots,  reload to fire 1 more.
4) Four shots at center to slide lock.

I'm always looking for different drill to make the best use of the indoor range, so I decided to try it out this week on a IDPA practice target.

What hits count for score is left to the decision of the shooter; after all you are establishing a baseline for comparison later. My intent was to count hits in the -0 and -1 zones, though my goal was to get all -0 hits. Obviously I didn't meet that goal. That one flier is especially annoying. 

In any event, the drill was fun and took very little time. I'll try it again in the near future with a little more focus. I finished up my time shooting another 50 rounds of just body and head shots at 10 yards. For that set I kept it to just three -1 hits. That was enough to give me a smile to get through the rest of the work day.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Obligation of Immigrants

Here's what Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about aid to immigrants.
The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.  
--Catechism of the Catholic Church #2241 

The Social Justice Warriors, even many Catholic Bishops, often forget that last line when pushing for open and unlimited immigration. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Adventure Brewing Hop Hash IPA

This week's email update from Adventure Brewing grabbed my attention with the mention of Hop Hash on tap at the brewery. Checking further, the beer's description read, "This experimental IPA uses two experimental hops from OregonValley and a special “hop hash” that is a gooey, resinous and super concentrated lupulin punch." That was enticing enough for me to drive up to the brewery for a growler fill to enjoy over the weekend.

Arriving at the brewery, I decided that it would be prudent to try a pint before getting my growler filled.

Hop Hash IPA pours a bright and clear amber orange, with a moderate off-white head.  A fresh citrus and sweet malt aroma greeted my nose. The flavor is a west coast-style citrus hoppiness, with a "juicy" and resinous mouthfeel. The finish is mildly bitter. There's a fresh hop feel to the light bodied beer.

The trial pint being found more than acceptable, I had my growler filled. Not being one to let the brewery-freshness wane, I cracked open the growler shortly after arriving home, just in time for some exciting Hokie basketball.

The Clinton Machine

I grabbed this screen shot just 13 minutes after the polls closed in Virginia on Tuesday. The editors at The New York Times wasted no time in standing behind their endorsement.

Click to embiggen

Before ANY precincts had reported results, Hillary Clinton was declared the winner on the Democrat's side. They were at least waiting for actual results before reporting on the Republican race.

Friday, March 4, 2016

At the Range, Beating the Snow

This is winter's last hurrah (we hope.) After a few days of nice weather one more snowfall is coming, but we still managed to get out to the range for a bit of shooting on Thursday.

I was looking forward to this week's outing as I just had the factory SIG Night Sights put back on my "usual" gun and wanted to check them out. The other pistols I shoot regularly all have night sights or white dot sights, and I've been noticing those sights were getting easier to see than the fiber optic setup on this gun. I don't think my aging eyes are working as well with the extra thin front sight.

No sooner did we get to the range, I realized I forgot to load the supply box with the staplers into the car. Once again range improvisation came into play — a roll of pasters found in my range bag provide a means to mount the targets.

The "new" sights worked out well, and we had a fun and satisfying couple hours of shooting. Just a little over an hour after we started, there was a distinct drop in the temperature and the sky was turning grey. Indeed, the snow started falling not too long after we arrived home to relax with a post-shooting craft beer, in a fitting logo stein naturally.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nursing My Beer

It's been a low-key, lazy kind of week around the homestead. (Hence the dearth of musings.) We had plans to visit Capital Ale House for a Bell's Hopslam tapping last night, but instead decided to simply relax at home. Turning on the VA Tech basketball game, I realized I was still in the mood for a big IPA-type of beer. Lucky for me, the downstairs beer fridge accommodated.

This 16 ounce can of Oskar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA was hidden in the back of the fridge. The pine and citrus hops balanced with the sweet malt backbone make for a strong, flavorful sipper. And sip I did. At half time, I realized I had only consumed about half the beer. By the end of the game, I still had a mouthful in the glass.

I hadn't intended to nurse the beer, the good thing about "big beers" is they taste better at room temperature than straight from the fridge. I was able to savor the flavor throughout the evening and never had to get up and go find another beer. That's a lazy evening!