All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

10/29/2014

A Trip to Wal-Mart

You are in the middle of some kind of project around the house -- mowing the lawn, putting a new fence in, painting the living room, or whatever. You are hot and sweaty and are covered in dirt or paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit: jeans with the hole in the knee, old t-shirt with a stain from who knows what, and an old pair of tennis shoes.

Right in the middle of this great home improvement project you realize you need to run to Wal-Mart to get something to help complete the job. Depending on your age, you might do the following.

In your 20s:

Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, floss, and put on clean clothes. Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Add a dab of your favorite cologne because you never know -- you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout lane. You went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30s:

Stop what you are doing, put on clean jeans and shirt. Change shoes. You married the hot chick, so no need for much else. Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell. The cute girl running the register is the kid sister to someone you went to school with.

In your 40s:

Stop what you are doing. Put on a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the paint stain on the pocket of your jeans. Put on different shoes and a hat. Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brut cologne is almost empty, so you don't want to waste any of it on a trip to Wal-Mart.

Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing. The spicy young thing running the register is your daughter's age and you feel weird thinking she is spicy.

In your 50s:

Stop what you are doing. Put a hat on, wipe the dirt off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dirt in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and you swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat. The cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember the hat you have on is from your buddy's bait shop and it says, "I Got Worms."

In your 60s:

Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat anymore. Hose the dog poop off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50s. The girl running the register may be cute, but you don't have your glasses on so you are not sure.

In your 70s:

Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Wal-Mart until they have your prescriptions ready too. Don't even notice the dog poop on your shoes. The young thing at the register smiles at you because you remind her of her grandfather.

In your 80s:

Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Now you remember that you needed to go to Wal-Mart. Go to Wal-Mart and wander around trying to think what it is you are looking for. The old lady that greeted you at the front door went to school with you.

10/28/2014

Follow Up

I hunt for several reasons it comes down to partly recreation and partly culinary.  I like eating wild game.  I've never killed an animal with the intention of just harvesting a trophy.  I always hunt with the intention of eating what I kill.  Varmint and predator hunting are the exception to the rule, and even in those circumstance I hunt with the intention of improving the ecosystem by helping balance habitat and animal numbers.

One criticism I frequently hear about antelope is that it isn't very good to eat.  This is a crap excuse.  If you don't like the meat you shouldn't hunt the animal.  That said antelope, in the field do have a particular odor.  This odor is strong and some find it unpleasant.  However if the antelope on your plate tastes like it smells in the field, the problem is you and your preparation techniques not the meat.

You've made your shot and it was a good one.  The antelope is down.  Take a picture or two if you like.  Now field dress the animal immediately.  If possible rinse our the body cavity.  Antelope blood has a strong sent to it.  If you get the blood out of the meat you will eliminate the scent and much of the flavor. 

If you remember yesterdays picture, my antelope was hanging in the garage.  I do this to cool the carcass, to finish getting the blood out and to age the meat.  Depending on the weather I will do this for as little as 3 days to as much as a week before I butcher.  As part of the butchering process I clean the meat and ensure no hair, fat or dried blood is packaged with the meat.  Taking a little extra time processing the meat gives you a better end product.  Then the meat goes into the freezer.

As  a personal preference, I seldom eat the meat of what I have just processed on the same day I butcher.  This is true no matter what kind of animal, domestic, wild or poultry.  Fresh caught fish is another story.

As with all rules there is an exception.  With the antelope the exception is tenderloins.  Antelope have small, tiny even tenderloins.  These are yummy.

I like to harvest my tenderloin and marinade them in a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I never actually measure the stuff, but I completely cover the meat in olive oil and then mix in enough balsamic vinegar to blacken the mixture.  I've cut up some garlic to add a touch of flavor.  It looks like this in the bowl.
I leave the bowl out on the counter with the meat in it for 2 to 4 hours.  Forget what your home economics teacher told you.  It's perfectly OK for meat to marinade at room temperature.  Red meat tastes better, and is more tender if it isn't cold when you cook it.  These beauties NEVER saw the inside of a refrigerator. 

After marinating the tenderloin will look slightly blackened.  This is from the balsamic vinegar and is expected.  Those little pieces of meat are "mistakes" made when cutting the loin out of the cavity.  These "mistakes" are my way of "testing" the meat when grilling it.

Method of preparation:
  • Cut the tenderloins out of the still warm body cavity.  
  • Soak them in water to remove blood
  • Clean off all blood and extra membranes
  • Put in bowl
  • Cover with olive oil
  • Add enough balsamic vinegar to blacken the mixture
  • Add cut up garlic cloves
  • Cook on grill to medium rare or medium
Then because everyone is hungry, forget to take a picture of the finished masterpiece for the blog.  Sorry guys they looked great and tasted even better.

As Waterboy can attest no meal involving red meat is complete without a pan full of these sautéed to perfection.




A Thought on Timing

I have two questions for you.  What year did you start school?  What year did you graduate?  Jot down your answers.

For most people reading here those two dates are about 13 years apart.  Most likely you were 5 years old when you started school and about 18 for graduation.  This has been normal in the US public school system for a little better than 50 years.

Depending on where you lived prior to October 17, 1979, your school district may have had significantly different attendance and graduation standards.  It was possible and common in some locations to start school around 7 years old and graduate around 16.  What happened in 1979 was the formation of the department of education.  One of the goals of the department was to standardize the education system in the United States.

Most institutions and systems in a society change slowly.  This is due in part to the traditionally slow innovation of principles and ideas that are held in common by a society.  This is also due in part to the nature of human life cycle.

In the last century public school teachers often started a career as early as 18 to 20 years old.  Sometimes as young as 16 years old and sometimes as old as 23 or 24.  Prior to about mid 1980's a man was able to start work as a teacher and support a family reasonably well in most school districts.  This does not seem to be the case since the 1980's, although some districts may be paying new teachers fairly well.

Another factor in the pay scale is the pension.  In years past districts that paid pensions normally only required 20 years of service to draw the pension.  Granted a few required 30 years of service and in some cases teachers would work the full 30 (or more) years out of a desire to keep teaching.  For my purposes I'm going to ball park a teachers career as 20 to 30 years.

Prior to 1947, the start of the baby boom in America, very little had changed in public school format or ideology from one generation to the next.  Public schools were still teaching out of McGuffey Readers.  Creationism was taught.  Basic Judeo/Christian ethics and sometimes doctrine were taught alongside of and as part of the course work.  The teacher could spank a disruptive child.  Mom was at home and Mom and Dad could be counted on to show up for parent teacher conferences. 

By the 1953/54 school year, it was apparent that school enrollments were growing at a fast rate.  Population estimates were showing a steady trend of increasing enrollment and demand was growing for new teachers.

A young women entering the teaching profession in the fall of 1953, with a four year bachelors degree would have been between 20 and 22 years old.  She would have been brought up with a school experience that would be considered strict and morally rigorous by todays standards.  Her idea of "normal" in a sociological sense would have been based on the norms of the 1940's, which were basically unchanged from her grandparents time.

As the demand for teachers grew over the next 20 years each new year saw a new batch of educators join the system.  With all the new kids entering school more and more people saw an opportunity to participate in the system.  On the local level this meant more PTA's  etc.  On a national level it took the form of court cases that radically changed the face of America's value system.  By the late 1960's various court cases had completely reengineered the value system and social norms taught in the public schools.

Let's assume something about our crop of new teachers circa 1953.  Lets assume they all were radical right wing ultra conservative religious zealots that were committed to how things were when they were growing up.  Lets assume that they won all the hearts and minds they taught, they fought  the system, and with the blessing of the school board, they got away with it.  By 1974 everyone who took their pension after 20 years was out of the school.  By 1984 everyone who took it at 30 years were out.  Even if the entire crop of teachers started at 20 years old, by 1998 they reached 65 and most likely retired.

During the time period from 1974 forward each year a new crop of teachers would come on board while the old guard retired.  If you started school from 1970 to 1980 there was a great chance that you would encounter at least one teacher who was brought up under the "old system".  If you started school after 1980 you still had a decent chance of encountering teachers who believed in the old social norms or at least were brought up with them.  After 1990 it is extremely unlikely to have a teacher with "old school ways" as the default norm they grew up under.

If you are over 35 years old, and didn't grow up in an urban school with major problems, you probably regard your education experience as "pretty good".  It probably was.  The school boards that ran the school administration assumed that the idea of "normal" was pretty much what they were brought up with.  Even with the various legal cases that changed things in format and curriculum, the teachers still believed in a standard of behavior that was basically traditional.  Those people are either dead or retired now.

Time marches on.  Since 1990 the odds of getting a teacher who was brought up in a traditional American education belief system  have dropped from slim to none.  It's not that we can't reform American education, its the fact that the generation now running the show don't see why there is any need to.  What they have is "normal" to them.

10/27/2014

Hunting

Starting out a post with a disclaimer probably isn't the best literary device.  I don't regard antelope hunting as true hunting.  There I went and said it.  I know every year people come west in hopes of tagging an antelope.  When I lived out east I had to content myself with deer and small game hunting.  Back then I looked forward to other forms of big game hunting.  I guess my first time "hunting" antelope I learned that you don't hunt them so much as you harvest them.

Bow hunters going after antelope are another story.  Antelope can see great and are very wary of letting things that aren't antelope near them.  A bow hunter that stalks and bags an antelope has accomplished something.  Even when a bow hunter uses a blind, he has accomplished a greater feat of hunting then the rifleman harvesting an antelope.

I know I've blogged about my shooting hobbies before.  Since I'm a semi accomplished long distance shooter I don't want you to be under the impression that I simply set out on the prairie and snipe whatever comes along.  It's not that I wouldn't do that, its that I've never needed to.  My absolute longest shot (and kill) on a big game animal is a laser rangefinder verified 297 yards.  This year I didn't even come close to besting that.  My shot was between 100 and 110 yards.

I don't shoot animals at longer range, not because I can't, but because I don't need to.  I suspect that most guys if they would develop a bit of hunting skill would seldom need to shoot beyond 400 yards.  Even then that's what I call bean field shooting.  There is nothing wrong with bean field shooting.  If I had crops to hunt over and the most effective method of harvesting my quarry was to set up in a fence row and shoot across the corner of the field I would do it.  I have too.  I used to have a deal with a farmer who would let me hunt pheasant in exchange for my reducing his deer herd.

That deal wasn't hunting either.  I remember being very enthusiastic about the prospect of filling 65 population control tags.  I was never able to bring myself to do it. That was just too much killing.  There was no sport in it and I tried of the job before ever filling all the tags. 

I have no idea of how many animals I've taken over the years.  I can't even remember them all or what year I shot what in.  I remember some special hunts.  My first deer.  My first hunts with Abby.  The there are some unique hunts, like the time I had a dying whitetail charge me and I emptied my revolver "defending" myself.  It was especially humbling to dress out the deer and learn that the first broadside shot hit it in the hart.  The rest missed.  The story wouldn't have been so bad, if no one had witnessed it.  The whole thing took place at my in-laws right behind the house in the rows of Christmas trees.  My mother in law was doing dishes.  When she heard the first shot she started watching from the kitchen window.  Everyone came out to watch me dress out the deer and ask to see the bullet holes.

Here is this years addition to the freezer.
 

I'm showing the exit hole in this photo. It was hard to see the entrance hole in the other photo I took.  The exit wound shows a clearly broken front leg about midway down the thigh bone.  This was caused by the angle of the shot.  I was slightly elevated above the doe and shooting downwards.

My point of aim on an antelope is always either a head shot, or the place where the brown of the back and front leg makes a corner with the white of the belly hair.  This point of aim nearly always scores me a clean hart shot.  A clean hart shot produces a hart that looks like this:
In case you're wondering yes 1/3 of the organ is gone.  Which after cleaning it up will only yield one have of the hart for the fry pan.  It was blasted away by the 155 grain Hornady A Max as fired from my old 30-06 Mauser.  FWIW that's the load I've used for elk/deer/antelope for 20 something years.  A standard 2850 FPS out of a claw extract action, toped with a 3x9 Leopold scope.  In other words, old school still fills the freezer.

As a side note all I could get this year was one doe tag.  Antelope numbers are way down.  Instead of getting a couple of buck tags and a couple of doe tags all game and fish would issue me was one tag.  I know guys that weren't able to get any.  Normally I don't shoot just does.  Since I didn't have a buck tag, the alpha buck in this herd was the biggest one I've seen on my friends ranch.  That's the way it goes.

10/22/2014

Rap Done Right

I don't know how I missed this back in the day.  Thankfully we have the internet.

Home Schooling

Home schooling has much to offer in terms of educational opportunity.  Home schoolers will tell you it is the better way to go for a variety of reasons.  I agree.  A child will have a better learning environment, more individualized teaching.  All of that is true and valid.

What they don't tell you is that you will go bonkers if you home school your kids.

In a traditional school setting some poor slob gets paid to put up with children who have the same learning disabilities you did.  Oh yes.  I said it.  Children have learning disabilities.   The single biggest one is LBD.  The second biggest one is they are children.

Kids instinctively know that some things are "funner" than others.  This is because they are children and haven't succumbed to the evils of delayed gratification.  They know that playing on the swings (which is what mine are doing right now, that's how I got 15 blissful min of blog time) is more fun than multiplication.  Long division? Ha!  There are bikes that need riding.

I repent in sack cloths and ashes over the way I treated my teachers when I was a kid.  One guy named Donahue had a drinking problem.  We called him Drunkahue.  Do you know why he drank?  That's right kids.  After 10 years with a roomful of teenagers you'd need a little nip in the afternoon to help make it to happy hour too.  After 20 years you need a nip in the morning, between classes, and a good slug with your morning coffee.  It's not alcoholism, its dedication to getting to retirement.

Do you know why teachers have tenure and unions?  They need them.  No one in their right mind spends that much time with kids in an institution.  Who wants to be institutionalized?  Nobody.  Have you ever been around a women who spent 24 years teaching the 1st grade?  Five words: "Good Moorning booys and girrrrls".  You heard a certain half crazed voice in your head when you read that, didn't you?

Crazy.  That's what kids make you.  That's just the kid portion of the dementia.  You can't forget about LBD.  LBD was first discovered by Adam and Eve, at least that's the rumor.  In more enlightened times the issue of LBD was addressed in the classroom by the board of education.  By board of education, of course we mean the paddle.  By paddle we mean a 2x12  solid oak board with a two handed reinforced handle and holes drilled in it to make it more "aerodynamic" and leave lots of red hickeys on the butt of the victim student.

The teachers of yore were wise.  They knew that LBD (Lazy Butt Disorder) was best addressed by applying the board of education to the seat of learning.  They also knew that beating the living tar out of a kid could keep you from going insane.  There is no historical documentation to back this up, but logic dictates that several stiff drinks right before administering the beating does help the recovery of the teacher.

I don't know if you know this or not, but you can't randomly beat your children anymore.  You didn't know that?  My dad sure didn't.  If I came home from school and he even suspected LBD, I got a whooping.  That's because my dad knew he didn't want me getting kicked out of school.  Back then they figured if you had LBDD (Lazy Butt Disruptive Disorder) they'd kick you out and you'd have to spend your day with your parents.  My parents didn't want that, so they beat me.

Then someone, obviously not a parent or a teacher, got the bright idea that we shouldn't beat kids with LBD.  At least they didn't take away the keys to the liquor cabinet.

After spending 4 hours combating LBD and WLG (whiney little girl) you can't send them home, because you homeschool your kids.  That's right.  They are already home.  There is no escape because you are the primary care giver.  You can't go anywhere to get away from them because you've already pulled your hair out, your clothes are a mess from the art project, and you are afraid the cops will take your license for good if they catch you driving after homeschooling again.

They will know too.  Last time they caught you during a traffic stop.  They snuck up to the window and when you weren't looking and saying "DAAAAAD" in a nasally voice.  They knew right then from the twitching and involuntary convulsions that  you were operating a car after homeschooling.  The dilemma is you can't drive to the liquor store.  You can't walk there either.  The cops don't look kindly on the imaginary conversations you have with yourself.  Apparently the neighbors complain when they see you walking and yelling things into the air. "You have to learn your multiplication tables, because I say you have to learn your multiplication tables". 

Maybe a couple of shots of Nyquil to steady up.  I'm out.  I think I still have some rubbing alcohol around here someplace.