Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Storyteller

An old friend stopped by last night.

My wife brought him to me as I was sitting down in front of the fireplace - its winter now and the nights are much colder on these old bones.  It was great to see him, his smiling face and twinkling eyes, open and friendly, just as I remembered him.

I poured myself a little taste of heaven, two-fingers worth, and we sat together in front of the fire, just like the old days, the house quiet, the night close and soothing as we reminisced, just the two of us, deep into the evening.  The stories, his stories, though shimmering with nostalgia, were once again fresh and new, holding me mesmerized as if I was the wide-eyed child he once enthralled.
I laughed out loud when he spoke of his childhood buddy Elick O’Bannion and their baseball team, the Circle Nine Club out of Kansas City.  My friend’s team was so bad they once recruited his Grandfather to play first base, while Elick had a penchant for visiting the mound, a roll of nickels tucked into his massive fist, menacing opposing pitchers if they threw anything but the “soft hanging stuff.”  
And if that didn’t make me laugh hard enough, there was always their football team, the Circle Nine plus two.

As the evening progressed he once again whisked me away to far off destinations, where sparkling dreams are held close and lived to the fullest, where the glimmering silver of a tarpon explodes from the deep blue sea in a spray of water that gleams like diamonds in the hot sun of the Caribbean or to the mysterious continent of Africa where a lizard, “small and frightened, and rather a harmless little fellow,” shared his shower stall in the heat and dust of Zaire.  He captured my imagination, touched my yondering heart and let me tag along to long forgotten haunts on secluded tropical isles gently kissed by the trade winds, far from my everyday world, where the scotch was smoother, the women lovelier, the nights warmer and the stars more beautiful than any I ever hoped to dream of.
He spoke fondly of his old friend George Halas and the glory of the Chicago Bears and I saw him smile when he remembered Abe Gibron, the jovial, lovable, friend-of-all-foods bear of a man who coached Mr. Halas’ football team.  He had met them all, from legends Muhammad Ali and Vince Lombardi to a seemingly insignificant young man phoning his Dad from an NFL training camp, telling him “I’m still here.”  To my friend no one was insignificant - to him, everyone's life was intertwined with his, their adventures, their dreams , were his adventures and his dreams, and by living them out loud he touched us all.
But it wasn’t always about sports.  My friend was open and honest and in front of the fire he continued on, speaking in low tones about the “big hurt” that fell upon the lives of him and his Son – The Big Guy - and though it saddened me that my friend and his Son must go through this, my friend never looked for pity, even when, in the end, his own body betrayed him.
And so, into the night it went, my friend gladly spinning his yarns, for this is what he has always done best, what he enjoyed most, and as the hour grew late he finally came round’ to those stories that he knew delighted me most, recounting his late night ruminations with his roommates and close friends, the cantankerous Big Charlie and the shy Little Charlie, red belly piranhas both, while Barry the Barracuda (who was so downright mean he was forced to live down the hall in the dining room aquarium) took great glee in antagonizing them all.  There is nothing quite so funny as the time that Big Charlie escaped the bath tub on aquarium cleaning day, terrorizing the neighborhood and those trying to recapture him while Barry egged on his finned brethren from down the hall, screaming at the top of his lungs - or how those three sets of meat eating teeth might help solve my friends pigeon problem.
And then, all too soon it seemed, it was time to say goodnight.
As I bid goodbye to my dear friend, it saddened me to realize it’s been thirty-nine years since we last talked, thirty-nine years since he last regaled me with new stories, thirty-nine years since the Big Man upstairs called him home to the greatest adventure of all.  But Jack Griffin, the Chicago Sun-Times “sportswriter,” my friend, will live on in his words, his stories and the lives that he so deeply touched with every keystroke on his battered typewriter.

I was a young boy when I began to read Jack Griffin’s column and each day my Father came home with the Sun-Times I would spread the paper on the floor, anticipation welling up, and let my good friend take me away to wherever he was in the world that day – from tarpon fishing in Parismina, Costa Rica to taking birds on the wing in Minnesota to fighting peacock bass in South America or covering a Heavyweight Championship fight in Africa – and all stops in between, spanning time and imagination.  It seemed to me the term “sportswriter” was much too bland for a man who wrote on a much bigger stage, as did Jack Griffin... no, he was an outdoorsman, an adventurer, an explorer, a modern day voyager and though I never met Jack Griffin in person, I never doubted that I knew him, for he was kind enough to bring me with him daily, letting me peek over his shoulder from the comfort and safety of my own home, into the other side of the world, his world.  I was seven when I met him, twenty when he died and after thirty-nine years more, he is still my friend.
Late last night with the winter wind howling and my mind far away on a sun bathed boat in the middle of the Sargasso Sea, reel screaming,  I put the book – his book - back on the shelf, gently turned out the light and whispered a promise to my friend that we would talk again soon.
A short while after Jack Griffin’s death from cancer in March of 1976 at the too young age of 58, his son – The Big Guy – Woodson Jack Griffin, gave his Father’s many friends a special gift, a book of his Father’s columns, compiling a lifetime of storytelling into 178 pages.  My Mother bought that book for me and it sits on my shelf still.  The book, titled – GRIF – was published by Great Lakes Living Press and can still be found in online used bookstores.  
You should pick up a copy.  If you love the outdoors, sports, adventure and life,  Jack Griffin would love to entertain you with a story… and please, when you see him, tell him his good friend says hello.  


If you enjoyed this article, you might like my new book -Concealed Carry and the War on the Second Amendment, a collection from the New Gunner Journal - It is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  If you have any questions about Concealed Carry or are sitting on the fence, this would make a nice Christmas present to learn about the lifestyle and those who live it.
My new book "I'm Married... Shoot Me!"  The harrowing tales of your average Husband. Children, insanity and manly cowardice, all wrapped up in love - is now available through 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Random Thoughts from the Shadow Factory, Fat Man's Holster, The Priest and the Gun

Cold out today so I'm sitting around, letting my mind wander - the Shadow Factory is open for business - so let the random thoughts flow like Cask 16 by the pool at sunset.


After a year of carrying here in the great State of Confusion (Illinois) the biggest problem most of us face is the need to disarm before entering a posted site.  As anyone in the lifestyle understands, accidental discharges happen most often while un-holstering and re-holstering your weapon - this fact was obviously lost on those writing the legislation and it would seem, flies in the face of the Shepherd ruling by the 7th Court - that we, as citizens are allowed to carry in public in defense of our lives.  The Court found that restrictions can be made on where we carry, but in my mind, those restrictions should never take place where public tax money is used to fund the site.  Parks?  Schools?  Rest Stops?  Are you kidding me?  I hate to tell everyone, but those places couldn't get more "public" and we should never have to disarm there.


I carry a Taurus TCP .380 IWB with a DeSantis pocket-tuk, which is a reversible holster that can be worn in pocket or IWB.  This is an exceptionally comfortable setup and makes carrying a joy... right up until I have to re-holster while sitting in my car. 

The black leather at the top of the holster holds the mouth of the holster open, but only the mouth.  The rest of the holster collapses against my body.  Now, being one of the "bigger kids on the block" makes this a chore that takes my full attention to accomplish.  Certainly, anytime you are handling your firearm, nothing else should be on your mind, but adding this inconvenience to the mix just compounds the possibility of an accidental or negligent discharge. 

For some, pulling the holster with the gun intact is an option, thereby allowing the much safer handling of a gun with the trigger covered.   For those of us who are not so skinny, this really isn't an option - as trying to force the holster between our bodies and our belt is like watching a man trying to kill a cobra in a phone booth.  It ain't pretty.

As a side note, this particular holster has a clip that surrounds the belt, making it nearly impossible to take off while sitting - or standing for that matter - as can be seen in the picture.


I would love to see a holster maker design an IWB holster that was essentially a kydex holster within a kydex holster.  You would place your gun into a kydex shell that surrounded the gun, then take the shell and slide it into a kydex holster, the shell then snapping into place.  You would still be able to draw your firearm as the shell would lock into the holster.

Now you need to disarm to go into a school?  You press a snap - maybe along the front of the holster on top of the slide - and you then draw your gun and the shell out of the holster and store in the car.  When you return to the car, you take your gun, still protected in its shell and slide it into your holster, hearing the positive "click" as it snaps securely into place. 

The kydex holster would stay wide open allowing the shell to slide in easily, and with the shell completely surrounding the gun, the trigger stays covered, allowing a safer transfer.

I know I would buy one.


Gun, Firearm, Piece, Gat, Pea Shooter, Chicago Bang Stick, Hardware, Blaster, Rod, Saturday Night Special, Sidearm, Heat, Heater, Burner, Chopper, Pocket Rocket, Roscoe, Chrome, Problem Solver, Ratchet, Steel, Hand Cannon, Banger,  Iron, Regulator, Widow Maker, Jammy, Hog Leg, My Girlfriend, Biscuit, Equalizer, Pocket Warmer, Ventilator, Bug, Mouse, Snake Charmer, Pistola, Thumper.

And my two favorites?

Smoke Wagon and Plan "B"... Definately Plan "B"



The Priest and the Gun

A priest was delivering a sermon entitled "Stand Still and let the good Lord Fight your battles", on the topic of not fighting but letting God vanquish evil himself. As he was delivering the sermon, a gust of wind lifted his garment and the congregation noticed he was carrying a gun.

After the service a congregant asked him, "I understood your sermon, but aren't you contradicting yourself by carrying a gun? You did say you are supposed to let the Lord fight your battles for you?"

"I do", said the priest "the gun is just to hold them off until the Lord gets here".


The Shadow Factory is now closed... Have a nice day!

Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly


My new book "I'm Married... Shoot Me!"  The harrowing tales of your average Husband. Children, insanity and manly cowardice, all wrapped up in love - is now available through

Friday, February 13, 2015

America In Distress - Have We Reached The Tipping Point?

The 2016 Presidential Election may be the single most important election in the history of this once great Nation.

The Liberals of this Country are chomping at the bit to push the voting Citizenry over the edge and forever tip the scales towards their Socialist ideology. 

What exactly does that mean?

It means once this Country's voting populace reaches a demographic that exceeds 50% Liberal, Conservatives and Libertarians alike are doomed to spectate as this Country is turned into the next Socialist undertaking; the R & D of Marxism and its values, while using a veritable Petri-dish of humanity to grow the experiment.

How is this done?

If you have the time, read Saul Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals" and the Cloward-Piven Strategy.  If not, read on...

Alinsky's book hinges on the ideology that there are three classes of people - The Haves (the money elite and corporations) - The Have Some Want More (essentially the middle class) - and the Have Nots (the poor).  By aggressively organizing at the grassroots level of the Have-Nots (Obama was an organizer and a follower of  Alinsky) you can create an us against them voice, using the weak, poor, uneducated and downtrodden to turn against The Haves.  By agitating and pitting The Have Nots against the other socioeconomic groups, he believes you are able to exploit the poor, giving them an enemy to fight, while manipulating them to further political gains - which in the end is the overthrow of The Haves.

In many respects, Alinsky's thought process is to take those who are enslaved in poverty and oppress / subjugate them to his ideology of "us against them."  His constant barrage of militaristic words - Enemy, tactics, kill, obey, weapons, attack, opposition - brings home that this is a revolution, one meant to overthrow The Haves at all costs and as he says in his book over and over -  the ends justify the means.  Oddly, Alinsky never touches on the obvious question - What happens when The Have Nots become The Haves and a new threat to his utopia is the newly downtrodden Have Nots?

Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals

Here is the complete list from Alinsky - shared from Best of Beck...

* RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

* RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

* RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

* RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

* RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

* RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

* RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

* RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

* RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

* RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

* RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

* RULE 12: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)


The Cloward-Piven Strategy, written in 1966, is a guide to over-burdening the welfare system to the point of collapse - both at the State and Federal levels - forcing the Government to step in and save the day, supported by both sides of the Congressional aisle, guaranteeing jobs and minimum salary for everyone, thereby creating a Socialist economy / Government and wiping out poverty in one fell swoop.

How is this done?

The concept hinges on the idea that not all those who are eligible for welfare use it.  According to Cloward-Piven (in 1966), only 1 of 2 poverty level citizens apply for welfare, and the number may have been higher.  By organizing, going into the neighborhoods and if necessary, taking the citizens by the hand to the welfare office, they believe the welfare system of the U.S. Government can be brought to collapse, not just by the need for taxes to support the sudden explosion of welfare recipients, but by overwhelming the system itself, from the people taking applications, to overworked social workers to pencil pushers all over the country. 

CP feels it is right and just to pit race against race, socioeconomic class against socioeconomic class and one ethnic class against another, again, the ends justifying the means, which leaves us with a Socialist government and enslaved citizenry.  By creating these pitched battles among the constituents, CP believes the Democrats would go "all-in" with new ideas to not only handle the welfare recipients, but to keep their constituency in a cohesive, organized group that supports the welfare state.


What does all this have to do with the 2016 Presidential Elections?

Obama has spent the last eight years adding Trillions to our National Debt, edging us closer to bankruptcy.  Scandals have plagued us at an alarming rate - IRS, Benghazi, NSA, Snowden, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Operation Choke Point, The VA, AP Wiretapping, Drones, ObamaCare, Monsanto / FDA appointment, Recess appointments... and on and on.

Why are these scandals significant?

These "scandals" are right in the wheelhouse of someone who studied Saul Alinsky, as Obama did.  Keep the populace off balance, never letting them dig in their heels or set their feet.  Use the bait and switch, keep them moving from one scandal to another, one crisis to the next, never allowing them to do more than momentarily dance on the head of the pin, before forcing them on to the head of another pin, another crisis.  By creating this constant attack, he attempts to exhaust the Country's voters, never letting them concentrate on just one item.

When you add in his constant belittlement of political opponents, his divisive nature, his fear mongering, his attacks on those who ask questions, his ridicule of those who oppose him, his constant use of buzzwords that when used enough times, become truth, and you are reading right from the Saul Alinsky playbook.  Can you say Net Neutrality?

Now add into the mix, the Immigration problem.  Why is Obama working so hard to bring illegal immigrants into America, give them citizenship, welfare, healthcare and voters rights?  Why is he so willing to go against the law?  Why is he stubbornly holding on to an ideal that has no validity given the consequences of his actions?

Well, as someone who studied Cloward-Piven in school, Obama would realize the need to flood the welfare system with 5-8 million new citizens, not only creating a heavier burden on the welfare system, overwhelming it as Cloward-Piven planned, but forcing higher taxes, more debt and higher unemployment - which in turn puts more people on welfare - but the cherry on top of the Cloward-Piven Strategy is securing an additional 5-8 million voters for the Democratic Party, ensuring the scales of this Country are significantly pushed past the 50 /50 balance of voters... The Tipping Point.


How do we stop this?  How do we turn the tide?

One of the problems staring us in the eye is the size of Government.  It is high time we impress upon our Legislators (through voting) that it's time to repeals laws and dismantle big Government while we still can, while we still have the juice as voters.

Democrats and  Republicans have been adding to the weight of Government, and our taxes, one step at a time.  What laws and Government excess could be taken down?

1) ObamaCare.  The free market should prevail.  No one should be forced, under penalty of fine, to buy something they don't want.  No one should be forced to allow someone to reach into their pocket and take their hard earned money and give it to someone they deem in need.

2) Repeal the Patriot Act.

3) Get rid of the TSA.  How many agents work for the TSA?  47,000.  How many of those agents have been caught stealing from the public.  Over 400.  How many terrorists have been caught.  ZERO.  How much money has been spent over the years?  $7.5 Billion.

4) Remove the Department of Education.  Education is the Constitutional realm of the individual States.  Budget this year?  Discretionary spending is set at $69 billion.

5) A flat tax rate.  Politicians push this idea during an election year, but let the idea die on the vine after taking office.  With a flat tax rate, no exceptions, no breaks, you could cut the size of the IRS down to nothing.

6)  Start moving new workers off of Social Security and into their own 401k and IRA.

Why aren't these things being done?

Because those people employed by the Government are never going to vote for someone who will take away their livelihood.  They are part and parcel of the plan, again, to overburden the Government machine, to make it crash.

With Hilary Clinton a devotee of Alinsky (read about her correspondence with Alinsky HERE) 2016 may be our last chance.  It may be our one and only hope. 

Number one with a bullet is VOTE.  Get out there and make a difference.  If people in your neighborhood need a ride to the polls - drive.  Help your candidate, put signs in your yard, go to town hall meetings.  

Don't be afraid to voice your opinion.  Standing by silently while some buffoon is talking drivel about what a great job Obama is doing, set them straight.  Do it nicely.  Do it quietly.  Do it with intelligence, but do it.  Let the other guy look like a pontificating, loud, overwrought fool.  When everyone walks away, at the very least, they will be impressed by your ability to maintain an even strength, that you were calm and insightful, while wondering what the heck the frothing idiot was going on about.

Educate yourself on candidates, vote for those that have ideals that align with yours.

Call or email your Congressmen and women and let them know where you stand.  Truly, these people want to get re-elected, they listen.

And lastly, don't listen to the mainstream media - they tell you what they want you want to hear.  At the very least, watch newscasts from both sides of the aisle, it will give you a better idea of the slant of their coverage.

Do your own research - everything is on the internet - all you have to do is look, read and use that one thing so many people think they have but don't... common sense.

Be vigilant and diligent.

And to quote a friend of mine - "Those that take the time to read and familiarize themselves with these socialist strategies will understand and learn. Those that don't, never will.  The uneducated and inattentive zero liability voter is the greatest threat to the Country and more and more are being indoctrinated into this class every day."

My friend is right...  it's time to go to work and whenever possible, put your thumb on the scale...

Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly

My new book -Concealed Carry and the War on the Second Amendment, a collection from the New Gunner Journal - is now available at Lulu.comAmazon and Barnes and Noble.  If you have any questions about Concealed Carry or are sitting on the fence, this would make a nice Christmas present to learn about the lifestyle and those who live it.