Seminar Time!

About 12 hours until we all leave for Omaha,NE & the seminar! Woo Hoo! I'm really thrilled about this one. Not only has it been 6 months (or so) since the last seminar (Denver,CO - what a BLAST!) but I'm also going to try out the kicking seminar with Bill "Superfoot" Wallace.

Before you ask, he's called that because of his left leg kicking speed. Over 60 mph. If you don't think that's impressive...well, tough! It's actually incredibly fast. Most people would do well to break 40 mph. As for me, I can't imagine I'm much better than 45 mph.

Back to the main point...The other half of the seminar is my favorite. Of course, I'm talking about Hapkido. There's always something new to take away from each seminar. Yes, some of the concepts are advanced. That's why I have all the advanced guys, including my instructor, there to translate. Strangely enough, even though they're the advanced guys they have me do most of the advanced falls. Probably shouldn't read anything into that, right? ;-)

We're going for two days this time (last year was one day) & martial arts shoes are required so we don't dirty up the floor - or whatever. I'm thinking 1st day will be straight HKD. 2nd day will be 1/2 HKD & 1/2 kicking. Still, that's 3 hours of kicking! I normally sweat buckets during a regular 1-hour class (trust me, everyone at the school could tell you humorous anecdotes on this) & I'm scared to think about how much water we're talking for a 3-hour kickfest.

I'll let you guys know how things turn out when I get back. Hopefully, without bad stories like that time I had a little too much to drink in Chicago....


Montecristo Afrique

Montecristo Afrique Jambo Jambo
Cost: $16.50 (Case of 3)
Gauge: 50
Length: 6"
Purchased: From JR Cigars

This is a full-bodied cigar if there ever was one. African/Nigerian tobacco (made in Dominican Republic). EXCELLENT is the best way to describe this unbelievably smooth smoke. There is no bitterness, no aftertaste & the draw seems to be smoother as you get further into the cigar. "Creamy" was the description offered by Montecristo & I'm obligated to agree based on my experience.

I'm planning to order a box of 10 (I only have room in the humidor for 50 cigars). If you like a full-bodied cigar, this one - at the very least - is worth trying the 3-pack. Harvey, this is probably right up your alley. Almost as fun to say "Jambo Jambo" as it is to savor this one.

Overall, I'd say 4 out of 5. It's not customary for me to go for a rich, full cigar like this but you couldn't be disappointed. If all African tobacco is like this, I'm surprised you don't see more products over here. The nice (though plastic) case included with the cigars is pretty handy. You can't beat this cigar for the money.


Looks Like Choog-Gun Is The Way To Go.

I've been going over my forms more & more lately. I think I'm settling on Choong-Gun (4th Grade) for my demonstration form. Not an advanced form and it has a great deal of "hidden moves" there.

There's one particular section which has some potential for dealing with grapples. I'll look into it more, but I'm feeling awfully comfortable with this pattern. It has just the right mix of flow, technique & opportunity I'll need for this test.

I decided against Hwa-Rang (2nd Grade) because there's just not much there for interpretation. Yeah, yeah, it's "safe" but where's the fun in that? Really, everything was in the 1st half of the form & the rest was just move, move, move...the TKD equivalent of yada, yada, yada. ;-)

Choong-Moo (1st grade) presented an enigma. Plenty to interpret, but all of it came to a dead-end. I'd basically have to take the form & turn it into a mini-HKD demonstration. That would be sad.

Koryo (1st Degree, WTF) is still possible. It's a nicely flowing pattern with a decent amount of chances for interpretation. The only thing against it is most of the form is "cut & dry" - you can't interpret without coming out of left field. As we all know "left" = "bad". By the way, for the dirty-minded, WTF stands for World Taekwondo Federation, not what you were thinking...

Now we come to Kwang-Gae (1st Degree, ITF). It's a nicely flowing form & with 39 movements, it requires a great deal of effort to consider each motion. I'll look more into this one, but I think it becomes very straightforward from the start.

I Respectfully Disagree

Michelle Malkin has a post regarding the media being censored in Iraq. The argument made by both her & Michael Yon (in a linked article) is that the government has no right to restrict embedded media & that the media should provide oversight on military actions. I have to respectfully disagree that the media - independent or otherwise - is the best vehicle to provide said oversight.

Before making my argument here, the post by Michelle Malkin & the article by Michael Yon are well worth a read. I understand (I think!) where they're coming from and, if not for the majority of media who operate under the guise of agenda-free reporting, I concede they are correct in asserting responsible reporters deserve the opportunity to report with the troops in Iraq & Afghanistan. Below is just my opinion on the issue.

Insisting on completely open reporting implies we as American citizens have every right to access to military movements & operations. The media has demonstrated (e.g. - Geraldo Rivera embedded with the 4th Infantry Division) they cannot always maintain operational security. This places American soldiers & yes, the reporters, in danger. Whether the embedded reporters can look out for themselves or not isn't the issue - Our men & women out there have enough running through their minds without worry about a civilian's safety AND how that civilian is going to portray them in a report.

A case in point - CNN ran a video, provided by terrorists (the whitewash called them "insurgents", but they're terrorists), showing an American soldier killed by a terrorist sniper. It's another example of a network that has constantly been all over "complete disclosure" by the military - like in the first Gulf War when they had cameras on the beach watching SeALs landing. If anyone can demonstrate why it's necessary for us to have that particular information, please let me know.

In Michael Yon's article in the Weekly Standard he asserts,
I believe now as I did then: The government of the United States has no right to send our people off to war and keep secret that which it has no plausible military reason to keep secret.
OK, I have to disagree here. Just because the military doesn't need to keep something as classified information does not mean it needs to be broadcasted all over the world, particularly by an embedded reporter who potentially has an agenda. I don't believe having media embedded with the troops does us any good. Vietnam demonstrated the effect on morale of both Americans at home & fighting abroad AND how it was eroded by way of witnessing part of the war through television.

The media - mostly geared towards the concept that bad news sells (& it does) - sure doesn't show our troops rescuing children or even fighting the good fight. Largely, we see portrayals like Abu Graib posted everywhere.

Such poor portrayals are a disrespect to our men & women who serve all over the world.


Any Lawmakers Want to Plug That Hole?

In our southern border, that is. I've linked to a story by Fox News discussing a report titled, "A Line in the Sand". It's simply ridiculous that the U.S. government hasn't done anything effective to secure us. This goes for all political affiliations.

The border issue is often called a "political football". I suggest this isn't correct. Football is fun, entertaining to watch & normally has an outcome about 50% of the observers appreciate. No, securing the border is more like a "political hot potato" or even a grenade - no politician wants to be labeled racist by the far-left media. Sorry to say, but I can't respect a politician who buys into border security as an issue centered on racism.

Racism has NOTHING to do with the reason we need a secure border. Take a second to go back & read that if you aren't quite taking it in....
Understand? Good. The ONLY reason any far-left think tank can provide (& I'm darn sure they won't volunteer this information) for wanting an open border is votes. Period. You can talk about how we have so much room in this country, resources, blah, blah, blah; but Republicans won't secure the border because they're afraid, yes afraid, of being called racist & will lose Latin American votes. Meanwhile, Democrats won't secure the border because the vast majority of Latin American immigrants (legal & illegal) will vote on the left side of the aisle. What we get is a political load of crap from both parties & a porous sieve of a "barrier" for all their efforts. Yes, illegal aliens make it across...& so do terrorists.

Of course the other accusation thrown out, particularly for the Minutemen, is the vigilante argument. Accusing someone who wants to secure the border of criminal activity is like wanting to fire a police officer for busting a drug dealer - all the person is doing is upholding the law. If the leftist whackos who are attacking the Minutemen were honest, they'd realize that allowing illegals to run freely across the border is insane. Then again, maybe they do understand this & simply don't care. The "reasoning" isn't the issue, it's that the law is being broken BY ILLEGAL ALIENS!!!

2nd Degree Test (Part 2)

I talked to Master Rion (my instructor) today about the form-with-attackers part of my upcoming test. He said part of the expectation is that I'll provide my own interpretation for each technique in the chosen pattern.

Now, this is definitely a good thing. I was wondering how interesting this assignment could be with a verbatim "recitation" of the TKD encyclopedia (yes, there's one of those out there). I've never been a fan of plagiarism & my guess is that'd qualify.

Of course, balance being what it is, there's a tougher side to this as well: I have to decide what each movement "means" & what the attacker is attempting as well. This is *NOT* going to be easy. It's a lot like tangled Christmas lights - you generally know the location of beginning & end, but in the middle is a confusing, jumbled mess. Particularly difficult is that I'm not allowed to "change" the form (by adding/subtracting moves, changing the movement to suit me, etc.).

I'm going to pull a great deal of HKD into this particular part of the test. Honestly, it would be impossible for me to avoid that & honestly present my interpretation of a form. No, the pattern won't be all grappling, throws & joint-locks. It will include these by necessity though.

Oh, I just realized there will probably be an essay for my test as well. Pretty standard, but I don't know the subject yet. Add that to the previous list & I have A LOT to accomplish in only six months. Wish me luck! :-)



We've got ourselves an engagement to announce! No, not me...I plan (& am succeeding) to dodge that bullet as long as I can. Heck, I don't even date anymore.

My adopted little sis, Liz, just accepted her boyfriend's, Mickey, proposal. She's a great kid, has a lot to offer & Mickey seems like he's up to the task of treating her well. Liz knows the consequences for anyone who doesn't show her the appreciation she deserves. :-)

Anyway, here's a photo of the happy couple. No date has been set yet, but I'm sure it'll be after she's well into or completed with grad school. Congratulations again, sis!

2nd Degree Test

Well, it's hard to believe I've been a 1st degree black belt (TKD) for a year now. My instructor came up to me in class & said it's time to start preparing - meaning test will be in about 6 months or so. For those of you "outside the loop", allow me to put you inside the noose of test time...

  1. I'm going to have to do all my forms. This means a minimum of 13 patterns.
  2. One of those forms will be demonstrated with "attackers".
  3. No, they won't actually be trying to kill me...thanks for asking!
  4. I have 25 one-step sparring techniques. All defense against punches.
  5. Basic movements - which are deceptively advanced when you're told what to do.
  6. Terminology/Oral Essay. Incredibly tough since it covers about 4 years of information.
  7. Finally - The "Circle of Death". This is where you're surrounded by four black belts who really do try to take you down & make you submit. You're continuously attacked from all sides,
  8. Yes, they probably will be trying to kill me. ;-)

I took some time yesterday & narrowed the demonstration form down to 5 possibilities - Choong Gun, Hwa Rang, Choong Moo, Koryo & Kwang Gae.

All of these are good possibilities for different reasons. I'm leaning most towards Hwa Rang, Koryo & Kwang Gae because these forms present a challenge & would flow very well when demonstrated with opponents. Hwa Rang involves power, Koryo requires technique & flow, Kwang Gae requires all three.

Self-Defense, or the "Circle of Death" is my strongest point. I just have to save my strength for this as sparring & forms can take quite a bit out of you. Since I'm also in HKD, as are most of the black belts who will attack me, I'm able to call on all those techniques.

I'll update things as we get closer to test time. I'm planning on a real bruiser this time because I'll be testing for recommended black in HKD about the same time.


Going Nuclear

So North Korea supposedly has the bomb. Here we have (another) excellent example of why you can't spend all your efforts negotiating with despots & terrorists. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with trying to engage in diplomacy to prevent war but after the "other party" - in this case Kim Jong Il - demonstrates they're not to be trusted, it's time to take action.

The Clinton administration, using former president Jimmy Carter - the renowned pacifist who made us look weak & ineffectual throughout the world as Commander-in-Chief - as an ambassador, gave them funds, food & nuclear technology (for energy use) in exchange for promising not to develop a nuclear weapon. The North Koreans did not keep their word.

The Bush administration sat down (multilaterally, for all you people who say the president "goes it alone") to give the North Koreans another chance at negotiations. Again, their dictator went back on the agreement.

Heck, I'm arguing that the government of Kim Jong Il felt it had nothing to fear from the world in developing a nuclear device. They could easily be emboldened by the example of Iran, who has thumbed it's nose at the world body continuously. Gee, I wonder where that came from, former president Carter?

The mentality of the western world is more selfish than ever. Let's face it, the Europeans have little to do with anything that doesn't benefit the individual - they're simply not interested in confronting evil. Even some in America seem to purchase this secular-progressive agenda like the latest fad. I think it's darkly amusing those who would push such a socialist agenda are so concerned with only themselves & saving their necks - a behavior they "accuse" of us in democracy.

In fact, if democracy exists in a country, it's certainly better off than socialism, which has NEVER succeeded in the world. Have an example where it has? I'm all ears...

Don't have one? I didn't think so. :-)

People in a democracy have always demonstrated more benevolence than any socialist demonstrator (for the clueless, that's a protester) would ever muster. It simply takes more courage to defend an ideal - and with it, those less capable of defending themselves - than it does to slink in the shadows of the welfare state & rely on a government to provide for you.

This is what I particularly loathe about nations like France. No, it's not (just) for their current incarnation. It's because they proved the theory that people with unlimited freedom will exercise that freedom foolishly. The French had every opportunity to determine their own destiny when Napoleon was on the path to become emperor. The people had the choice to make & instead of choosing the responsibility - & the individual rights that accompany it - of a government for & by the people, they decided to be ruled.

Such is the way of the weak in the world - Government guides & nourishes them. It's the downfall of every nation that could know greatness. The absolute power of the government in North Korea demonstrates what horrors unlimited government can bring to the world. Preventing it can only come through resolve & willingness to face conflict.

"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong". President Ronald Reagan


Midterm Elections

I've been seeing a lot about this in the news recently. To be honest, I never cared much for polls - they just don't convey any useful information. How can 1,000 people tell how the other 2,999,000 are thinking?

One major topic on the media's mind lately is the Democrats winning the house. I'm not for a liberal (& some of those are very secular-progressive - like Representative Pelosi) Congress. That being said, I AM for the American people getting what they deserve in government. Right now, neither party is looking out for we the people.

A lot of the problem stems from Republicans becoming more & more liberal, particularly with money. The current incarnation of the party spends almost as much as the Democrats. The reasons we have to vote Republican are 1) So Democrats won't raise our taxes & 2) National Defense - with which the Dems have a terrible record. Unfortunately, these two reasons are a justification to vote against the Democrats rather than for Republicans.

I think this is why we're seeing an apathetic attitude towards the upcoming election. Yes, I do realize midterms do carry less turnout than presidential elections. However, I also understand the performance of the "conservatives" - or rather those who ran on a conservative platform - has been largely underwhelming. That's not going to get large numbers of moderates & right-wingers to the polls.

It's foolish to vote for someone with the intention of just voting against his/her opponent. Sadly, all the Republicans in Congress have provided us is just that - vote against our opponents.

Look, I'm a registered Republican. I'm also a traditionalist & a conservative. Before all that, I am an American. What we're getting right now just isn't what the American people deserve. What we have is all manner of lifetime politicians in office because WE, as a nation, are too lazy & unwilling to hold OUR representatives accountable for their votes.

Yes, I'm an idealist when it comes to a belief that lawmakers are beholden to the people. They serve at our pleasure & spend millions coveting our votes. What more proof of our collective influence does anyone need? Do your country a favor. Go to the Senate and House websites. Do some legwork (it's really not that tough) & peruse their voting record. If you don't like what you see, please let them know.

Lastly, at the top of this site, I have a quote in Latin. Aut viam inveniam aut faciam. It means, "If I can't find a way, I will make one". It's the quintessential American attitude & our success as a nation depends on believing it.


This is the first installment of what I plan on being a regular post. My instructor gave me the go-ahead on posting self defense info. Just a heads up, "Caveat Emptor" - let the buyer beware. I'm offering practical advice; I'm not posting so people risk injury while attempting any techniques. While the items I'll discuss are very basic, some techniques can cause injury. Don't go around trying these on random people...keep it to the ones you don't like. ;-)

Self-Defense is essential in today's world. In a society which increasingly embraces relativism & a victim mentality, being able to defend yourself effectively (i.e. - just enough to escape the situation) is a priceless skill. Not only must you ensure your own survival, you must prevent "overkill". By overkill, I mean if someone pushes you & your response is to punch them repeatedly in the head...you're going too far. For most situations the response, legally, must be proportionate to the attack.

is the first aspect I consider important in self-defense. That's going to be the focus of this first installment. Keeping yourself out of that bad situation will prevent the vast majority of attacks. Walking alone through a bad neighborhood at 2AM is a bad idea. This should be obvious, even if you think you're some hero in an action flick (Trust me, you're not).

Even in a safer location (i.e. - well lit, public area) it's still possible there will be an attack. Fortunately, instinct has provided us with tools we can easily implement. Fear is not a bad reaction & it can often save you from danger. Everything from hair on the back of your neck to a bad "feeling" about a place or situation is a cue. As my instructor says, if you notice these signals, get to a safe place & go over exactly what you saw. At some point you'll recognize what was bad about that scene.

As my old XO in the Navy told me, the two best ways to stay out of trouble are to, "be somewhere when you're supposed to be there & do what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it". The first half of that adage applies greatly to self-defense. Being in the wrong place doesn't mean you were "asking for it" but will that really matter if you're attacked? Legally, you may be in the right & I guarantee you the attacker won't care. Do your best to reasonably avoid the situation & there will be no argument over moral equivalence.


Cuesto-Rey Centenario #60

Cuesto-Rey Centenario #60
Cost: $6.50
Gauge: 50
Length: 6"

Overall, a light-bodied cigar with some hints of earth. Considering it's $6.50 (Darn Iowa tax!), I expected maybe something with more quality. The start is fine & mild, but as you get further into the cigar, it becomes slightly more bitter.

At no point was this a "bad" cigar. Still, it's not something I'd recommend. The price takes it out of what I'd consider a casual smoke range & at no point are you going to enjoy this as much as a similarly-priced smoke. The Montecristo #2 is a much better buy at a similar price.

Overall, I'd say 2 out of 5. It's a mild cigar that becomes fuller as you go but with that comes a bitter end.

Pyramid Tea

Tea is my biggest non-vice. I really like it when I can find something that sits well, is easy to brew & doesn't taste like water-soaked cigarette butts. Finding a tea that is flavored without overpowering you is tougher than you'd think. Fortunately, Lipton - who doesn't have the best track record in my book - has come up with a solution: Pyramid Teas.

I really like these. Of the six flavors, I've tried Black, Red, White & Vanilla/Caramel. I'm eager to try the Green as well. I really have no interest in trying the Bavarian, but maybe just to give it a shot.

OK, the White Tea (with mango & apricot) tastes fine, but the bag deposits all this sediment in the cup & that gritty mess always finds it's way into your mouth when you finish the cup. Note to Lipton: Not a big fan of gritty stuff in my tea. I drink tons of it & I'm sure this isn't something most people want.

Vanilla/Caramel is my favorite by far. Why? Well, it tastes a bit stronger than regular tea & isn't bitter. To top it off, the tea tastes almost like you've "Irished it up". *wink* Great taste, smooth drink & tastes like you've put alcohol in it...Yep, I think we have a winner!

Red is excellent stuff, by the way. It's got strawberry in it & is milder than all of them. I'd recommend this one first if you want to give them a try.


I finally gave the Grean Tea with Tangerine a shot. Excellent stuff & it doesn't have the same gritty junk that comes with the white tea. Definitely worth a shot.


Taxes on Cigars

So I purchased a basic humidor yesterday. The guy at the cigar shop was very helpful - conditioned it, set everything up, made sure humidity was correct. Very nice cherry finish, not too costly & still looks good. Here's a couple pics...

Now, you may be thinking, "There's not many smokes in that there humidor". Which brings us to the subject of this post - Iowa is full of commies when it comes to taxes!

There's a 22% tax on ALL tobacco products of this nature. So, if I want to order cigars, I'm going to have to take it online. OHHHHHH!!! (groaning) Who has time to get online? ;-)

So, if I want cigars other than those sweet, sweet Montecristo #1s, I'm going to have to order online to avoid the liberal penalty tax.

Legend of 1900

Here's an excellent movie with Tim Roth (who rarely disappoints). He plays an orphaned child on a cruiseliner named the "Virginian". The movie centers around his life during which he never goes ashore (that's Navy for "gets off the ship").

A crewman named Danny discovers T.D. Lemon 1900 as an infant in the first class section of the ship. With a terrifying lack of concern for the child's hearing & undeveloped lungs, Danny raises him in the massive coal furnace space. How the kid doesn't develop black lung before the age of five, I'll never guess.

After Danny is suspiciously killed in a tragic pulley accident - suspicious because I'm almost positive his death was planned by the writer - "1900", who is only about ten years old, discovers a divine talent for playing the piano. Sure, he's never played one before but I'll bet he's just a fast learner when it comes to tickling the ivories.

1900 quickly becomes an adult & fortuitously skips all those awkward teenage years. If I had known this was possible for people born on a ship, I'd have signed up for the Navy at least 10 years earlier. During this time, he's appointed as the ship's piano player for life. This may seem like a good deal to you but ships don't normally last as long as humans & I can only guess things will end badly for him.

During the course of his time-traveling adventures, 1900 is challenged to a piano duel by Jelly Roll Morton (Clarence Williams III) who proceeds to mock the waterborne pianist in a poorly-timed attempt to grant 1900 those teenage years he missed (Yeah, I hated high school...why do you ask?).

Now, don't ask me how they pull this duel off. Pianos are naturally many times heavier than guns & needless to say, the strength required to lift one & bludgeon a guy to death...What's that? Oh! Wait a second. They PLAY them? Yeah, I never saw *THAT* coming!

Sure, you can check this movie out if you want to actually be entertained. I'm guessing most of you would like that considering all the crap Hollywood shovels into theaters.


Blog Groupie

Harvey at Bad Example dispensed some practical advice on how to store cigars. If you're into high-quality smokes and want to keep the costs down, check out his post on cigar storage.

I think the "baggiedor" is the best way to go. I have an economical humidor, but nothing to travel with. Since the seminar in Omaha,NE is coming up, I think that's the perfect time to try this little project. Sure I COULD spend much more on a portable humidor, but why spend when you can be a cheap SOB frugal?

Also, I'm now an offical Blogtips Groupie! In accordance with groupie standards, I have a completely unrepentant plug of said groupie status on my main page. Feel free to click on through...

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my little sister! 24 years old today...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Here's a recent pic with my brother, Matt, me, the Birthday Girl & her fella, Jamie.

Hope you have a great birthday, sis! Talk to you today.

Happy Birthday, Shannon



Some of our Hapkido (HKD) guys are getting together at the end of the month & attending a seminar in Omaha,NE. This is the same one we attended last year AND only the second one I've not been tossed around by GM Pellegrini like a tackle dummy. For some reason, I think he likes making an example out of me. :-P

Last year, we only attended one day & relaxed on Sunday (Ahhh! That's how it's supposed to be!). This year, I'm divided on whether to do just the one day or go for the double impact with both GM Pellegrini & Bill "Superfoot" Wallace. I've been impressed by GM P at every seminar our school has attended - he definitely has vast knowledge of the art & a teaching style which makes it entertaining to learn.

The thought of another seminar (FINALLY!) has me thinking about what I want to post on this blog. I'm going to check with my head instructor & see if there's any problem with posting self-defense techniques once in awhile. I think that's generally useful for people to know. Besides, it's cool stuff with the - WARNING! SHAMELESS PLUG - benefit of increasing my site traffic.

I'll be posting any pics I have from the seminar after we get back and - barring a serious beating for over-stepping my authority - should be posting self-defense info regularly.

Take care & as always, Aut Viam Inveniam, Aut Faciam.


Unfortunate News

I have a friend here at work who recently suffered a great loss. He & his wife were expecting their first child. Tragically, they lost the baby two months into her pregnancy. It was heartbreaking to hear the news because they are good people who will undoubtedly be excellent parents.

In the interest of decency, I won't post their names. All I ask is please keep them in your prayers. I am certain they will need them.

God Bless.


I've smoked a few of these in my time. No, I'm not an *aficionado* or any sort of judge on what a good cigar is. I just know what I like. For the record, I wouldn't waste one in some trashy Oval Office escapade. :-)

I recently attempted to purchase a humidor from a friend at work. Turns out he was nostalgic & decided not to sell. Well, that puts me officially "on the market"...for a humidor, of course. I've looked at a few on Amazon & such, but I really think I should get down to Iowa City & check out what the Tobacco Bowl has in stock. Also, they have one of my favorite cigars - Montecristo #1.

Montecristo is one brand I really like for it's relatively light flavor. I'd compare a #1 to drinking an espresso or something to that effect. Now, you may be asking yourself, "HapKiDo, why spend $10 on something you can pretty well buy for a couple of dollars"? If you did, slap yourself & listen to my explanation...

Coffee is a big let down for me. Sure, it smells great but the flavor is about as disappointing as coming in second in your own look-alike contest - you end up wondering where things went wrong. I can handle coffee & drink it occasionally. However, I'm very particular & if it's not just right I can't touch it. This is the part where cigars, specifically the Montecristo #1, comes into play...

Cigars, particularly the good ones I've tried, have very consistent flavor. Therefore, when I smoke a Montecristo #1, I am confident one I buy in the future will taste exactly the same. To me that's worth the extra $$$. If you don't like it, go percolate yourself a cup of Folgers'. ;-)

Since I'm always looking for input (no, seriously), I thought I'd ask you folks out in cyberspace what, if any, cigars work best for you. I really enjoy light to medium-bodied. Also, does anyone know about humidors & what's best for the casual cigar-smoker?

"Culture Warrior"

I just picked up this book by Bill O'Reilly. I've read his past works ("Those Who Trespass", "Who's Looking Out for You", "The No Spin Zone", and "The O'Reilly Factor") and this is probably his most assertive foray into American culture yet. Although I haven't finished yet, I can say he pulls no punches on who is on the two major sides of the culture war - Traditionalists & Secular-Progressives.

I make no bones about it, I'm a traditionalist through & through. To me, holding moral relativism as a major tenet is wrong. There are such things are "absolute truths" & while I do agree it's essential to the American spirit to allow difference of opinion and public discourse, I can't accede to the secular-progressive claim that evil is simply a "disease".

Bill O'Reilly is definitely a traditionalist. In this book, he discusses topics familiar to viewers of his cable television show on Fox News. I won't spoil it by including quotes. I will say that he communicates the imminent threat the Secular-Progressive movement poses to traditional America by way of mass-media & the judiciary - of which both are not directly affected by the election process. Essentially, the agenda presented by both forces out the concept of "government by the people", particularly in the judiciary. Where judges were charged with interpreting the laws of this country, some extremists on the bench seek to impose their ideological views on citizens.

My opinion on the judiciary is they have no place in lawmaking outside determining the constitutionality of existing law. Forcing the people to accept - for instance - gay marriage when even liberal states such as Oregon have rejected it at the polls is unacceptable. The government in the United States is beholden to the people, meaning those in government who are elected officials serve at our pleasure & are expected to represent us well. Sure, many times they do let us down, but that's for another post.

Back to the topic..."Culture Warrior" is an excellent book in which Mr. O'Reilly iterates the culture war in detail. Everything from names to milestones are included with references. Whether you agree with Bill O'Reilly is not the question this book puts to the reader. The question I take from the reading is, "How important is it to keep traditional America strong"?



Welcome to my blog! HapKiDo here from somewhere in the mid-west. After seeing every average guy/gal out there with a blog, I figured there's no harm in putting my exceptionally opinionated thoughts to cyberspace. As you'll see, I'm far from average (some may say brilliant but I'm not sure *they* are "all there").

I plan on posts mixing in a little humor, some serious content & a healthy bit of my mind thrown in for good measure. This might make some people nauseous. These people are liberals. Unless you progressive types are in need of spiking your blood pressure, you might want to look elsewhere.

As for the title of my blog. Well, we have a saying in my Hapkido school: "The 'crunch' means it's working"!


Hello, everyone! I'm just starting this blog out. Since you know nothing about me, here's a simple way to let you know where I stand...

Site Meter

Modified by Blogger Tutorial

Crunch Time ©Template Nice Blue. Modified by Indian Monsters. Original created by http://ourblogtemplates.com