August 31, 2006

Tempting the fates.

Just a little update for anyone who is curious about my medical conditions. My medication is starting to fail at exponential rates, foods have gotten more and more difficult to handle. Water has caused such a flair up yesterday that I was contemplating giving up any liquid intake all together. My next appointment is in a couple of weeks.

I actually took enough prescription and over the counter medication to stop all digestive movement in my bowels for two days. IE I wasn’t hungry because nothing was digesting, which left another unpleasant feeling of a giant gut bomb. The only thing that seems to keep my stomach under control is Jack Daniel’s. Right now you are probably shaking your head in disbelief much like Ktreva and two doctors I’m seeing. Look, I can’t explain it. I don’t know why, I don’t know how but if my stomach is acting up and I drink about three fingers of Jack, it calms down and all is well with the world. The problem is that I’m not allowed to drink at work.

My employees have actually started to notice something is up and have asked some questions with out breaching company policy. It’s nice to know that they are either concerned or are faking it in a misguided belief that it’s protecting their jobs. Either way it makes me feel like I’m doing some good there.

But now we get to the point of the title. Tonight at the store I ran through the liquor department to pick up some “medicine” (Aka Jack Daniel’s). While I was passing the refrigerator case I notice a six pack of Bass Ale sitting there calling my name. Other then my weekly beer review, I haven’t had much beer. I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t help myself. I bought the six-pack and have been drinking on it for about 2 hours now.

Sure, this might be a bad idea, but I don’t care. I like my beer!

Posted by Contagion at 08:06 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Boopie's big game.

Boopie had his first football game last night. He had aspirations of being a running back; at this time the coaches have him playing special teams. He’s on the kicking teams, both kicking and returns. He’s not a kicker; he’s one of the blockers/defenders. He’s a little disappointed, but he has a good attitude about it. He’s happy he’s getting to play on the varsity team.

Boopie Football.jpg

Here he is in the thick of a play. He’s number 13, the short one kind of left of center in the blue.

He did a pretty good job, he was in the right place at the right times. He also tried to make a couple of big plays. Unfortunately, most of the other players are bigger then he is and he was more of speed bump then anything else. Which does help in slowing down the other team. There was one play where he was trying to get to the other teams returner. A kid that was about 50 pounds heavier and 8 inches taller laid a hit on him that sent Boopie flying back 3 yards. I was about 40 yards away from the play and I could hear the hit clear as a bell. I kid you not when I say Boopie bounced when he hit the ground. He hit and bounced up a good 5 inches.

The first thing that went through my head was, “I’m damn glad Ktreva was taking Clone to the bathroom and didn’t see that hit.” The second was, “I don’t think he’s going to get up after that.” Folks, let me tell you something, the boy surprised me. He’s a small guy, but he can take the hit. Being quick and agile, he was back up on his feet. The defender that hit him had left him for dead on the field. Boopie was able to get to the returner and slow him down enough so that one of his teammates could get in and make the tackle.

I was proud of him. He took his lumps, and shrugged it off with out thinking about it during the game. After the game is a different story, but I’ll take that. He knew that during the game was not time to complain or show weakness. During tonight’s practice, the assistant coach used him as an example of how to handle a hard hit during the game. His team ended up losing, which he took rather badly. We had a talk about good sportsmanship. Being a good sport isn’t just about not bragging when you win, but accepting it when you lose. You learn from the loss and try to improve, not complain about it.

He may just be a football star yet.

Posted by Contagion at 07:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

I just hope it's not an ingredient.

Okay, I'll admit this is not the first time I've had this beer. The first time was about 9 years ago and it was awful. Figuring I've had a rash of good beers, and I know some of my readers love it when I drink something that is utter crap, I figured I'd give it a second chance. This week's beer is Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales Brewery in Newport, Oregon.

Dead Guy Ale.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint 6 oz bottle. The painted on label has a picture of a skeleton holding a mug sitting on a barrel with the brewery name on it. In an old English type script it has the name of the beer on a scrolling across the top. On the back there is a brief description of the beer.

This beer pours a slightly cloudy honey color. Light passes through it, but you can't clearly make out objects on the other side of a standard pint glass. When poured there is a 2-inch ivory colored head that quickly dissipates with decent lacing that fades after about 10 minutes.

It smells of both roasted and sweet malt with a slight scent of fruity hops. There is just a hint of alcohol to it. To be honest the smell is not the most enticing, but it doesn't turn one away. The flavor has a strong malt backbone to it with a nice hop finish. As the beer warms up it becomes kind of dry and the hops are more present. It tasted much better when it was cold right out of the fridge, as it warms up it looses it pleasantness. The after taste also gets stronger as the beer warms. When I started drinking it, it wasn't bad, I have about 4 ounces left and I'm not as anxious to take a sip.

It has a medium body that is a little rough in the mouth and sticky in the throat. It leaves a mild coating that can be distracting. It's a decent anytime beer, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. When I first had it, I hated this beer. I thought it was god-awful and it tasted like rubbing alcohol. I'm thinking I had a bad bottle the first time, it may have gone skunky. This is not as horrible of a beer as I had remembered it being.

I'm going to give this beer a rating of 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 28, 2006

Stupid pre-season.

It’s only pre-season, it’s only pre-season. I just have to keep that in mind. It’s only pre-season.

However, I do think it’s time for McCarthy to pull Favre and give Aaron Rodgers a chance to play. We need to see if he has anything that’s worth all the hype that Green Bay has given him.

Posted by Contagion at 08:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Proof at last!

I have proof of global warming! It’s August and the weather here is completely out of control. It’s been raining off an on for 4 days straight and now today the temps were in the low 70’s. At 6:00 PM this evening it was already 64 degrees. In fact as I am writing this, the temp is dropping. It’s already down to 63 degrees.

There is only one thing that could cause these freakishly cold temperatures, Global Warming. I mean, it falls into the all the other theories I’ve heard of late. Last year we were in a draught, due to global warming, this year we are above average, due to global warming. Last year there were 11 Hurricanes/tropical storms by this time. We were told that was due to global warming. This year there aren’t as many, and again Global warming is being toted as the culprit. Based on this, I figure these freakishly cool temps in August are again a result of global warming, last year they said the unseasonably hot weather was proof of it.

So there you go all you non-believers, proof.


I love hack science.

Posted by Contagion at 06:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 27, 2006

Mappin' Time

I was just noticing that no one has signed my Frappr map in a while. I know I have a couple of new readers out there. If you haven’t signed it, please do so.

Let me know where you are coming from.

Posted by Contagion at 06:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Make her work!

Some of you may have noticed that my wife hasn’t been posting much over at The Reality Ranch. First off before any rumors come around let me set the record straight, I have not killed her. She was not left in Tennessee. She was not abandoned at a re-enactment. I definitely did not sell her as a sex slave on the black market. Although with the price of gas being the way it is and the amount I can get for pretty blonde, the thought never crossed my mind.

She’s just being lazy. She says she’s working a lot, but I see what she does after she gets home from work. It’s just plain neglect. If any of you want to hear from her, I think you should go over and make a comment to voice your concern!

Posted by Contagion at 05:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

Smokin' Update.

Just a little update for anyone who cares, I’ve been cooking these pork chops for 3 hours now at a very low smoky heat. They have about another hour to go before they are done all the way through.

Click to enlarge

Hungry yet?

Posted by Contagion at 03:02 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

She shoots, she scores!

Holy cow! I don’t know why anyone would try this, especially since if there where off by just a little bit she’d have done more then just bang her head.

Free Video Hosting Watch More Videos

It’s still pretty amazing.

Posted by Contagion at 01:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


The grill is converted to charcoal. Pork chops are currently curing in the fridge with a good seasoning rub. The potato salad is made, and the beans will start simmering in a couple of hours. I’ve got barbeque sauce waiting and some good wood soaking in water to give the meat a great smoky flavor.

Some days it just pays to be in a grilling mood.

Posted by Contagion at 10:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Growing pains.

Poor Boopie. As you recall he decided to play tackle football this year. For the last week and a half the coach has been running practice 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. Now that school has started, he is cutting it down to 2 hours a day still 6 days a week. Boopie being one of the video game generations is not used to all this physical activity. Since Tuesday he has been complaining of soreness in his calf muscle.

I’m pretty sure the boy is suffering from a bad case of lactic acidosis. Especially since the pain is gradually going away. Boopie just doesn’t take to pain or soreness too well. I’ve told him that he needs to listen to the coach and do everything he says, even if he doesn’t want to. During practice he muscles were so sore that between plays he was kneeling down. The coach told him to stop kneeling and stand. After the next play, Boopie kneeled down again. Once more the coach told him to stop kneeling between plays, if he does it again he’s going to take a lap. So guess what Boopie does two plays later? That’s right, he kneels down. The coach has him run a lap around the field.

He was not happy about having to do that at all. On the ride home he was complaining about it. I just pointed out, “If you had listened to me about listening to the coach and doing what he says, you would not have had to run the lap. So who’s fault do you think it was that you had to take a lap?” Boopie, “The Coach.” Me, “No, it was yours. He told you not to do something and you did it anyway. He told you what the consequence was going to be if you did it again, and you did it anyway. You made a conscious choice to disobey the coach. It’s your fault.” Boopie, “But my legs hurt, and he didn’t care.” Me, “You’re right he didn’t care, because he’s also a football player and he knows the best way to get the soreness out is to work it out, not rest and let the lactic acid build back up in your muscles.”

Needless to say, Boopie is sitting in the other room lamenting his decision to kneel in the middle of practice. Now if I could only get him to quit whining about his muscles being sore.

Posted by Contagion at 06:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Into the unknown.

All right, there are just enough people out there that know about a secret I’ve been keeping that I feel I might as well just talk about it. Ever since I was in College I’ve had persistent ulcers. Treated with medication it was under control. There were still certain things I couldn’t eat because it would cause a flair up, but nothing serious. In June I started having more persistent problems as well as acid reflux. I would vomit for no good reason and occasionally there was blood in it.

Being the stubborn arse that I am, I just put it off to ulcers. That was until after vacation when the constant heart burn, acid reflux and vomiting went of for weeks. I finally went to the doctor to have it checked out. Not being one that likes to be kept in the dark, I asked my doctor what it was and of course his answer was that it was too soon to tell. I figured that much out, but I needed to know best and worst case. He told me that the best case is that I have a really bad ulcer that is going to need immediate attention. The worst case was a malignant neoplasm of the stomach. I had all the symptoms and side effects. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s the big “C”, Cancer.

Just this week I went in for another follow up. I was told that he had good news and bad news. (Of course… there’s always good and bad news isn’t there?). Bad news, it’s definitely not ulcers. The good news is that there is a 99% chance it’s not cancer. Then he hit me with, “But we still don’t know what is causing the problem.” I’ve been put on a very restrictive diet for almost a month now, and I’m still having problems. I’m scheduled to have an exploratory procedure done in September so they can get a better look at my innards.

The occasional beer is okay, but if I drink more then a couple I know I’m in for a night of pain and vomiting. However, my wife and my doctor find it strange that when I drink Jack Daniel’s I have no pain, no discomfort and no side effects. Thus I’m sticking to my guns by saying that Jack Daniels to me, is like Spinach to Popeye.

Now I could lie and say that I’m not scared. Frankly folks, I’m still worried. I have a family that I have to take care of and I want to see the boys grow up and actually be able to meet my grandkids. Death doesn’t scare me, but no one looking out for my family does.

I’m not looking for sympathy, and frankly I really don’t want any. I figure this is the karmic wheel paying me back for some of the shit I pulled in my younger days. I just needed to get if off my chest. I needed to write it down, just to get it off my chest.

Posted by Contagion at 07:15 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Old Nick Barley Wine Style Ale

This week we have another case of me buying a beer due to the name and label. Today I sampled Young’s Old Nick Barley Wine Style Ale. If you remember last weeks beer was also manufactured by The Ram Brewery. This was on the shelf right next to ol' Dirty Dick's and I couldn't choose, so I bought one of each. I'm starting to really like this brewery.

Old Nick 002.jpg

The bottle appears to be the same 1 pint .9 oz. bottle that the Dirty Dick's Ale came in, in fact I'm pretty sure if I went out and bought another beer from this brewery it'll come in the same brown bottle. The only difference is the label. The label has a picture of Old Nick (AKA Lucifer, Satan, The prince of Darkness, The Devil) surrounded by flames. There is a description of the beer on the back and on the neck the tag line "Devilishly good".

When poured into the glass there was a dark brownish red color. Not so dark that light couldn't pass through it, but dark enough so you couldn't see through the glass. It wasn't cloudy, just dark. There was a good tan head on it that left a thick lacing on the side of the glass that lasts. There is still a hint of the lacing after 15 minutes.

There is a good toasted malt aroma to it with a touch of caramel and a hint of fruit. It's very enticing and welcoming to the nose. Upon the first sip I could taste a malt and nutty flavor with some hops, a touch of toffee and a very mild fruit flavor. This is not a fruit flavored beer; the fruitiness of it is more of an accent that enhances the other flavors. The aftertaste is mild and refreshing, just hint of bitterness that makes you want to take another sip.

It has a smooth medium to full bodied texture to it. It's pleasant with a slight tingle to the tongue. Very velvety that passes the mouth and throat easily. This is another beer I could see myself sitting around with friends and enjoying a good conversation.

This beer earns a rating of 7 out of 10. It's good enough that I could see myself buying more at the store just to spend an evening drinking on.

Posted by Contagion at 06:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 22, 2006

Jackarita time!

I've received multiple hits on "How to make a Jackarita." I actually know how difficult it can be to find this recipe. To make it worse, there are two different ones. So as a service to all the devout drinkers out there. Here you go.

Jackarita (Official)

Per the Jack Daniel's Distillery

2 Oz. Jack Daniels.
2 Oz Triple Sec.
2 Oz. Lime Juice.
2 Oz Sweet and Sour.


Jackarita (Cheater)

1 OZ Jack Daniels
1/2 OZ Triple Sec.
3 Oz. Margarita mix (your choice)

Rub rim of cocktail glass with lime juice, dip rim in salt. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into the salt-rimed glass and serve. Viola! Now if you are one of those types that like them blended. See above, but instead of shaking, put in blender.

I'm a huge Jack Daniel's fan. But to be honest, I don't like these. Then again, I don't like any margaritas. Ktreva has developed a taste for them, which is why I know how to make them. I hope you enjoy.

Posted by Contagion at 07:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

She's fit to be tied!

Over at the Spoon and Blade we have our latest Mortar Maiden up, Kitane of the Lenape Tribe. Hey, what can I say? These native girls really have something going. Plus this one gives a new meaning to “Love slave”. (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Posted by Contagion at 05:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fun in the frontier.

I was finally able to get the Spoon and Blade updated. It’s only taken three weeks and 5,983,487,925,735 e-mails to my hosting company to be able to update it.

Now that it’s been updated and I’m done fighting with them, I can tell you the goings on of our weekend. Of course it rained this weekend. Hey, I’m setting up canvas! We had some rain on Friday and again on Saturday. It wasn’t too bad; it was a light rain that didn’t really bother us. It just helps keep the streak of wet canvas alive. Even with that the weather was beautiful. It was a little sticky on Saturday, but the temp never got out of the upper 70’s. A little bit more of a breeze would have been nice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’ll take this weather for any event!

Ktreva and I decided that we were going to do a 180 of our normal selves and pack light. Instead of bringing our wall tent and fly, we brought just the wedge tent and set that up. It was so nice! Normally when we do an event, it takes an hour to load up all of our gear and about an hour and a half to unpack and set up everything. On Friday we loaded the truck in less then thirty minutes and set up in about the same amount of time. Once we get all the details worked out we should be even to get even lighter, we ended up bringing stuff we didn’t need to.

As soon as I finished setting up, I started catching crap for being a racist. In May I took pictures of two Native girls, one Eastern Indian and one Western Indian. In June I was able to post the Western Indian for the Mortar Maiden. Since I was having problem’s accessing my site due to the change in ISP, I never did a July Mortar Maiden. Since Miss August is one of Teme’s wives, I’m obviously a racist toward the Eastern Indians. It was all in good-natured fun, and as I told him, “All Indians are the same, the only good one is a dead one.” That was a joke people. I don’t want anyone coming here thinking I’m an Indian hater.

I was able to pick up a couple of items at this event. A track pack made by Davie O. of the Illinois River Scum. Apparently he stopped making them and his are really good. I’m fortunate to have found someone selling one. I also was able to pick up a paddle. Petey, occasional commenter and Illinois River Scum helped me pick it out. Right about now some of my re-enacting friends are probably wonder if I’ve gone daft. I can hear the question, “Is he planning on going on a canoe trek with the River Scum?” Well, much to some people’s delight, yes. Yes, I am going to try to do a trek in the next couple of years. I’m also painfully aware that they will leave me tied to a log in the middle of an island. They just need to schedule one for a weekend I’m not so busy, so it won’t be until next year before I get to use it. (Lets hope for something in June!) So far the only paddling I’ve done with it has been of Clones bottom.

My handmade canoe paddle

I also attended a meeting of the Old Northwest Company. At first I we vehemently against attending, I didn’t want to join another group. After being a guest at the meeting and learning more about what they are about and whom they are, I’m thinking I’m going to see if I can’t get someone to sponsor me in. It’s not a group like I’m used to and it’s a very loose organization. Plus then Ktreva will be happy because, “I’ll have a pretty blue banner to hang in front of our lodge!” (girl squeal). Guys, have you noticed how a woman could take anything masculine and make it sound all girlie?

There seemed to be fewer vendors this year. The only one I really missed was Irish Ridge. They have been good to us since we started re-enacting and they told us this is probably going to be their last year. I’m pretty sure this is the last event of the year that we would have done together. I wanted to see them at least one last time before they retired. What I found amusing is that most of the items I purchased came from trade blankets. (Blankets that re-enactors set out with items on them they are trying to sell. I have to remember not all of my readers are re-enactors). There were a lot of good trade blankets at the event. I don’t have any official figures, but I think the public attendance was down to. Unlike the past two events I’ve been to, I don’t think this is due to the organizers. It just seems to be a matter of economics.

One of my Mortar Maidens, Davina, went and got herself engaged. She’s been seeing one of the River Scum for some time now and apparently she suckered him into actually proposing to her. I kept telling her it’s not too late to say no, but she didn’t want to let poor Josh off the hook. When he proposed I was actually looking in the right direction and was able to see the whole thing. Ktreva was nowhere around when it happened. She’s annoyed that I saw and she didn’t. She’s the one that has the romantic and sentimental side. I on the other hand kept giving words of advice like, “Remember, nothing kills the libido in a woman faster then her own wedding cake!”

I also heard these words of wisdom over the weekend, “Never pet a burning dog.” Don’t ask me to explain, I really couldn’t do it.

For more stories and pictures go see the Spoon and Blade’s Review.

Posted by Contagion at 05:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

Hosting problems.

I’m really starting to get pissed off. I switched to a new Internet provider and ever since I’ve had more trouble accessing my other website, The Spoon and Blade. I have a Mortar Maiden and an event review all written and ready to publish. When ever I go to connect it times out on me. I’ve been fighting this for a couple of months now and it’s really starting to piss me off.

I’ve got 4 months left on this contract and then I think I’m going to change hosting and domain registration companies. If they can’t get this fixed and quickly, I don’t know what else I can do.

Posted by Contagion at 06:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 20, 2006

Another perfect weekend

Sorry, We just got back from the Galesburg Heritage festival. I’ll fill you all in later, right now I’m tired. But I will share some tidbits with you, tomorrow when I post on it, you’ll hear about Contagion the model, Threatening to shoot the public, the tallest submariner in the world, goats (Goats?!), and a lot of fun.

Posted by Contagion at 08:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Boopie the football star.

Boopie has decided he is going to play football for the school this year, which I have mixed feelings about. Until he decided to play Flag football this summer, he really showed no interest in playing football.

For the last couple of years he has been playing soccer. He hasn’t been the greatest player on the field, but he was decent. I went to games to support him, but I never got into soccer. During the games I would get lost as to what was going on. To be honest I think soccer is a boring game that is used as a punishment in third world countries for lusting after your neighbor’s dog. When Boopie said he wanted to play football, I was elated. It’s a sport I can follow and enjoy. I can go to the games, support my son and know whether or not he did something wrong.

On the other hand I’m afraid for my son’s life. This is full tackle football, not flag football. At practice yesterday I saw some of the kids he’s going to be playing with and against. Some of these kids look like they have been playing football for years now. A couple of them look like they could bench 150; remember these are 12-13 year olds. Boopie on the other hand is small for his age. He’s generally the shortest kid in his class, and I think he weighs 65 pounds soaking wet. When unloading the car after grocery shopping he has a problem lifting a 12 pack of pop.

When talking to him about football, I made sure he understood this was tackle football, not flag. I explained that these kids are going to be doing everything in their power to tackle him. (He wants to be a running back) His response to me is that he won’t get tackled, he’s “too fast and agile”. He has convinced himself that no one will be able to catch him. I’m pretty sure that in his head he is spending his signing bonus he gets for going pro after college.

While at practice I watched him compete for a running back position. Much to his chagrin, he was not the fastest boy on the field, and definitely not the most agile. Plus the two boys that I saw who where faster and more agile then him, where also bigger and stronger. When they where running scrimmage plays I witnessed Boopie get tackled by his own offensive line not once, but twice. He ran into them and fell to the ground.

I’m trying to be a supportive parent, and I want him to enjoy the game, but I don’t think the boy is running back material. We’ve talked and I’m going to work with him, and try to get some weights for him to work with, but I don’t know if it’s going to help this season… or next. I just hope that Boopie doesn’t experience his first broken bones this year.

Posted by Contagion at 05:25 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Thankfully it's not the flavor.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I bought this beer mainly because of the name. As I strolled through the liquor department of a local grocery store I spied a bottle labeled, "Young's Dirty Dick's Ale" From the Ram Brewery in London England. I couldn't help but to purchase a bottle to review just because of the name. It was priced at $2.99 for a 1 pint .9 oz bottle. As I was telling a friend at work about my find, they made the observation, "Hopefully the name of the beer doesn't describe the flavor." Not that I would know what a dirty dick tastes like, I'll have to ask her.

Dirty Dick's Ale

It comes in your usual brown bottle with a maroon label on it that has the logo and a picture of a stereotypical British fellow wearing a top hat. On the neck label it gives a little information on the brewery along with the tag line, "The Cheeky Ale." Between my friends comment and that, I was starting to get worried. The most eye-catching thing about the label is the name of the ale itself.

It poured a dark copper color with a nice clear hue, not a touch of cloudiness at all. There was a good head on the beer that faded at a decent rate, not too quick, not too slow. I've been drinking on this beer for 20 minutes and there is still good lacing on the glass all the way to the rim.

I would like to comment on the aroma, but to be honest there really wasn't any. I went into three different rooms of the house with the beer trying to find one, and then went outside. I sat the beer down, walked away for a couple of minutes and came back and finally found a very faint smell of hops and dark malts. The taste is week with a hop and roasted malt flavor that fades quickly. There is a slight bitterness to it, but not bad. There is a mildly bitter aftertaste, but again it also fades rather quickly.

This is a smooth beer that is easy to drink. It has a very light body. This is a beer I could see myself sitting in a bar with some good friends sharing a pint or two early in the evening.

I'd have to give this beer a rating of 5.5 out of 10. It's an above average ale, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Posted by Contagion at 06:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 15, 2006

More joys of parenting.

We’ve been working on potty-training Clone for a while now. Today for the first time we put him in underwear instead of pull-ups. He’s been good about telling us when he has to poop. He’ll tell us if he has to pee… when he’s not busy having too much fun. He’s also been waking up dry in the mornings.

We figured this was as good of time as any to try him in actual “big boy” underwear. So far today we’ve had two “accidents”. To be honest there was nothing accidental about it. He just didn’t want to go to the bathroom.

I’ve potty-trained Boopie, I can potty-train Clone. I just forgot how annoying it was.

Posted by Contagion at 04:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 13, 2006

Home on the Range.

Yesterday I finally had a chance to take Ktreva to the range. We hadn’t had a chance to go since buying her Walther PPK .380 or my Colt 1991 Model 80 .45. Graumagus(Who is not dead) and a friend of mine from work, J, came with. I had helped J find a handgun a couple of months back and he also had never fired it. Combined we had a nice little collection of firearms. 2 Colt 1991 Model 80 .45’s, a Walther PPK. 380, a Taurus .357 6-inch barrel, a Taurus .357 4-inch barrel, a Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum with an 8 and ¾ inch barrel. (I think that was the length Grau said it was) and a .22 revolver.

On the way to the range, Grau told me he found a new way to get to the range, and took us this convoluted way through southern Wisconsin. I will be honest, depending on the traffic through one of the towns we travel through in our normal route, this could have been faster, but if there is no traffic it adds about 30 minutes onto the trip. Then again if we hadn’t gone that way, we wouldn’t have seen the warning sign on the 4 lane limited access highway that read, “Watch for low flying aircraft”. We were making fun of it when we saw that there was a runway that ran perpendicular to the highway and started about 200 feet from the edge of the road. That got us to wondering how you would explain that to your insurance. “Yea, I was traveling down the highway when I was t-boned by a Cessna.”

Ktreva had wanted a handgun, but she had always been afraid of them. She admitted it was an irrational fear, and she did want to go shooting to help get over it. At the range she quickly overcame that fear. I did learn a valuable lesson, if you are going to take your beautiful wife to the prominently male shooting range; she’s going to get attention from other shooters. Ktreva ended up getting special shooting lessons from one of the range officers. It’s about damn time guys flirted with her in front of me. For once I can give her crap instead of having to take it from her. Normally some scary girl flirts with me, and Ktreva makes fun of me for it.

That Aguila Ammunition I was to try out was pretty good. It fired nice; it wasn’t anywhere near as dirty as I thought it was going to be. Hell it shot cleaner then the WinClean ammo. I’m going to go see if he can get some more of it in for me. It’s a nice shooting ammo that gave me no problems what so ever. Now I had a box of the .357 American ammo that my revolver just did not like. I don’t know if the lip on the bullet was too thick or what, but it kept jamming the revolver so the cylinder wouldn’t turn. When I switched to another brand of ammo, the problem went away.

Ktreva really got into shooting. On the way out to the range she was saying how she only wanted to shoot her .380 and the .22, she didn’t think she could handle the larger caliber firearms. I had wanted to try hers out so at one point I offered to let her shoot my .45 while I put ten rounds through her .380. She let me shoot hers, but didn’t want to shoot the .45. Grau also put some rounds through it. During one of the breaks, we were all talking and Grau and I had the same experience with the .380. Not only do you have to be careful holding it, we all had been bitten by the slide at least once, but also it had more kick then my .45. After telling Ktreva that she decided to try the .45 and then the .357 (with a .38 special round in it), both had less kick then her .380. Even funnier is that she was most accurate using the revolver with the .38 special rounds.
When my .357 was acting up I thought maybe it had to do with fowling. Unfortunately my wipe down rag was accidentally left at home. Wanting to see if I could fix it, I used the only thing I could find, my shirt. Now I was wearing one of my standard shooting shirts. My Dr. Phat Tony t-shirt is one of the standard shirts I wear shooting. During a break, Grau tells me I got something on my shirt. So I explained what happened. Grau spouts off that Dr. Phat Tony probably will be proud of the fact that I used his shirt as makeshift cleaning patch. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s right.

My buddy J hadn’t done much shooting, but says he had a lot of fun. We tried to get him to try shooting some of the other firearms, but he was only interested in shooting his. I don’t know if he just wasn’t comfortable or what, but we tried. I’m trying to get him to go black powder shooting with me in 3 weeks.

After the range we hit The Vaj (actually Vaj’s Garage), for food and beer. We compared notes and talked about how good/bad we were. Where we needed improvement and what all we had to work on. While we were there some strange intoxicated bar fly comes up and says to me, “Excuse me, you just walked past me. I just wanted to say you smell good.” She turns and walks away. Grau, J and Ktreva are all looking at me with a smirk. DAMMIT! That was ten times creepier then the ranger officer flirting with Ktreva! At least it’s nice to know that there are women that enjoy the smell of BO and cordite.

We all had a good time, lots of fun. Ktreva can’t wait to go again, and to be honest I can’t wait to take her again. There’s just something sexy about watching her handle a firearm.

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August 11, 2006

Stupid plants!

I really hate mowing the lawn. The last time I mowed was July 24th. I just finished returning my yard back to a lawn and not a natural prairie state. It only took an hour and a half with 6 yard bags. (If I did it weekly I can get it into 2.5 bags.) What makes it worse is that just as I finished mowing I received a ticket from the Department of Natural Resources for destroying a prairie restoration area.

I’m going to go have a drink now.

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August 10, 2006

I only met the boy once... I think.

Rumor has it that my blog daughter, Virtue of The Rantings of an Indentured Servant, done gone and got herself engaged. When she comes up this weekend to baby sit, I’m going to have a long talk with her.

Congratulations Virtue, I expect the wedding to NOT be on a re-enacting weekend!

Posted by Contagion at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dragon's milk? More like mother's milk.

This week's beer is Dragon's Milk Ale by the New Holland Brewing Company. My wife had seen this at the store a month back and wanted to buy me a bottle of it because of the name and the fact it has a picture of a dragon on it. For those of you that have not met my wife, she has a deep love of Dragons. When she originally was telling me about it, she couldn't remember the name; she just said it had a dragon on it. Dragon's Milk is a term from the 1600's that describes a beer that was mainly for royalty. It's a strong ale that is barrel aged and has similar qualities to whiskey. True to its name, this beer is aged in reclaimed bourbon barrels. When I was looking for this week's beer, I remembered her telling me about this beer and went to the store where she saw it.

Dragon's Milk

It comes in a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounce bottle. That's a total of 22 ounces for those of you that don't want to do the math themselves. It comes in a brown bottle with the name on it and the picture of a dragon over a barrel, very eye catching. There is also some informative writings about the beer on it.

The beer is a dark coffee color that light doesn't pass through. Very much like Guinness or Murphy's Irish Stout. When poured into the glass it forms a nice firm half-inch head tan in color. I've been drinking on this beer for 20 minutes and the residue of the head is still along the edge where the beer and glass meet.

The smell is heavenly. You can smell the oak of the barrel, a hint of bourbon and a hint of vanilla, coffee and malt. The smell itself was enough to make Ktreva want to take a sip, and she doesn't like dark beers. I don't think words can describe the taste, but that won't stop me from trying. The taste is like happiness. Roasted malts with a hint of vanilla and bourbon entice the tongue and mouth. There is a very slight bitterness to it that enhances the flavor. Even Ktreva liked the taste, and she doesn't like many beers. This is a beer to be savored and appreciated, not gulped down to get another. What is even more surprising is that it is High Gravity ale with 9% alcohol by volume. Tasting this beer you would not suspect that at all.

The texture in the mouth is very much like milk. It's extremely smooth and doesn't leave a bad aftertaste. It coats the mouth and throat as it easily passes by in a pleasant way.

I've never had a beer like this before. When I say it's unique, I truly mean it is a one of a kind. This is the type of beer that beer lovers hope to find, and then are disappointed, when after sampling it, they can't find it anymore. It is a bit pricey at $6.99 a bottle, but well worth the price. If you ever get a chance to sample one, you'd be a fool to pass it up. There are only a handful of beers that I've had the pleasure of tasting that goes into my, "Special guest" category, but this is one of them. If I know I'm going to have an avid beer drinker over, I'll make sure to have a couple of bottles of this fine elixir in the house. This would be the 30-year single malt of beers.

So for those of you that have been coming around to read my reviews of vile beers, I hate to disappoint you. This beer gets a 9.5 out of 10. My only regret right now is that I only bought one and it's now gone.

This beer is proof that my wife loves me. If she had not told me about it, I wouldn't have gone looking for it.

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August 09, 2006

Free makes it good.

It’s nice making friends with people that work the gun counters in sporting goods stores. Besides the obvious reasons of discounts and inside tracks on firearms and ammo, you get the benefit of being the test subject for new products.

I had been visiting a local sporting goods store for a while now perusing their shooting supplies, buying ammo and just generally talking to the counter guys about various things… like, “How come you’re so much cheaper then that other big name sporting good store in town?� Today I go in and the guy working the counter sees me and waves me over. He pulls out a box of .38 ammo and says, “My supplier is trying to get us to start carrying this ammo. I don’t have any experience with it. I’ll give you a box if you test it and tell me what you think.�

Well hell yeah! I’m gonna take a free 50 rounds of .38 special full metal jacketed ammunition. He goes back to the stock room and brings out this box. I look at it, and start to have second thoughts. Why? 90% of the writing on the box is in Spanish! Aguila Ammunition. .38 especial. Cartuchos de fuego centrat. Detonador Non-Corr/Non-Corr Priming Mantengase fuera del alcance de los ninos! But the price was right and I couldn’t pass it up.

So if any of you out there know anything about Aguila Ammunition, let me know. Other ways I’m going to find out first hand this weekend.

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More Football fun!

Come one, come all. A week ago I posted that the Pool was started. Now today I have the pleasure of announcing that the Sal Cap (Fantasy) football league has started. If you are interested in playing and I missed you on the invite, drop me a line and I’ll send you one.

Posted by Contagion at 04:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 08, 2006

I know I said I was going to quit posting about our vacation, but I forgot to tell you about a place we almost went to, but opted not to. While watching Clone when Ktreva and Boopie went horseback riding, I saw a sign that at first I thought I had misread. Upon a closer look I had not. The Golgotha Fun Park.

Golgotha fun.jpg

The place was closed, and by closed I mean permanently. It looked like it had not been open for many years. Maybe it was their advertising campaign:

Golgotha Fun Park: More fun then an execution.

Golgotha Fun Park: You don’t need nails to be put up for the night.

Hang around a while, Jesus did. Golgotha Fun Park.

Even Barabbas came away grinning from Golgotha Fun Park!

It makes me wonder if the owners knew what Golgotha was, or if they just like the sound of it. Either way it looks like it was a bad idea.

Yea, I know, I’m going to hell.

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August 04, 2006

Reach out and touch someone.

It’s 11:oo PM my time… too late to do some drunken dialing?!?!? I have the urge to call and talk to people. Yea, you read that one right.

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Shots and friends.

All right, it’s Friday night, I’m home, and I have this brand new Jack Daniels dispenser I’ve been aching to try out. So we all know what that means. Yes, Mr. Contagion has been drinking. Before I go into too much detail, I’ve had a couple of people ask me exactly what it is that I bought.

Duh, it’s a Jack Daniel’s dispenser! Think beer taper, except it’s for hard liquor. You place a bottle in it and when you open the valve it pours you a perfectly measured drink. Well, at least that was what I was told. Anyone that has seen me drink Jack knows that what is perfectly measured for me, and what is perfectly measured for everyone else is two different things.

Now of course I could have gotten one of the many new fangled pre-measure pour spouts… but what fun is that?!?! This is pretty much the same thing, except that the holder is made from a barrel they actually used to make Jack Daniel’s. Thus this is better, the fact that it’s signed by the Jimmy Bedford, head distiller of Jack Daniel’s, makes it a shrine in this house.

Well after reading about Bloodspite trying to base jump with out a chute and Quality Weenie being down on her luck, I figured it was time to break her in and have a drink or twelve for them. Hey it’s my liver and I’ll do what I want! Plus I've had the pleasure, nay the honor of meeting both of them, I feel it's my civic duty! Crap, glass is empty… I’ll be right back. Okay back… sorry. Anyway, so I popped the ol’ bottle in and decided I needed to figure out how much it pours when the valve is opened.

The answer is about 1.2 ounces or 35 Ml. Now, whoever made this contraption is a little off. Depending on where you go, a standard shot is 1 to 1.5 ounces. It’s usually closer to 1 ounce. Where the hell did they come up with 1.2 ounces? Eh, who cares, It’s not like I drink it by the shot anyway. I’ll just hit the valve three times and be happy.

Posted by Contagion at 10:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dead, mourning and sleeping.

All right, last day, I promise. Then I get back to the normal drivel that I post.

Our final stop on our vacation was Springfield, Illinois. It’s the state capitol and the site of many Abraham Lincoln historic spots. We’d driven past before, but never stopped so the boys could see anything. One of the places we visited was Lincoln’s tomb in Oakridge Cemetery.

Lincoln Tomb.jpg

The tomb itself is rather impressive. It’s also the only tomb I’ve been in that is air-conditioned. There was about a 15 minute talk given by one of the custodians that gave the history of the tomb, including the temporary resting places of Lincoln and his family while it was being constructed. The tomb is maintained solely by the State of Illinois and receives no funding from the Federal Government. According to the guide the only support that was received from the Federal government was 20 brass cannon from the civil war that where melted down to create the four statues commemorating the infantry, cavalry, artillery and navy from the civil war on the exterior of the memorial.

Lincoln grave.jpg

In the burial chamber is the sarcophagus is inscribed with the words, “Now he belongs to the ages.” A misquote by Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war at the time of Lincoln’s death. What the guide told us he really said was, “Now he belongs to the angles”. He was misquoted and it has stuck ever since. Which if you think about it, the misquote is appropriate.

After the tomb we stopped at the Museum of Funeral Customs. Yes, the Museum of Funeral Customs, yes I know. Everyone I’ve told that to has said something along the lines of, “You took your kids to see what?!?!” It actually was rather interesting. They had a scale replica of Lincolns burial train, many different styles of mourning clothes, hearses, embalming equipment, caskets, coffins and other mourning paraphernalia. It was rather interesting.

A Hearse from the early 1900’s.

Next we went to Lincoln’s New Salem. It’s a replica village of the first settlement Lincoln lived in when he came to Illinois. Since we arrived on a Saturday we were hoping the place would have all kinds of activities going on. Living history demonstrations and re-enactors portraying life in the time period. Maybe even some kind of tour. Unfortunately it was pretty much vacant. There where a handful of volunteers, but nothing was really going on. It was pretty disappointing. None of the trades were being demonstrated and occasionally you would find someone in costume that would give you a brief talk about the building style you where in.

New Salem.jpg
The boys outside a coopers (barrel maker) house.

This was also the hottest day of our vacation. After walking around for a couple of house we decided we had enough and were ready to leave. If it had been cooler or if maybe there were demonstrations or talks going on we would have stayed longer. We just didn’t feel like walking all over the site looking at empty log cabins that looked like all the other log cabins we had seen over the last 5 years.

Jumping into the van we headed home. Much of the time was spent looking for exploding pavement, as we were traveling down a section of highway that was known to do that in the heat. Not two hours from home Clone took his first nap of the vacation. All the excitement of the previous week had worn him out.

Clone Sleeps.jpg
Tired guy.

That was our trip in a nutshell. We had a lot of fun and saw many different things. I didn’t go into everything we did, as it would have taken another week to write these posts and share pictures.

Posted by Contagion at 06:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 03, 2006

They're here!


Packer Tickets 002.jpg

Yea, I would be too. :)

October 8th Green Bay, Wisconsin. I'm already excited. If anyone wants to meet for a drink or two before or after the game, let me know!

Posted by Contagion at 06:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Food, signs and an arch complex

Last Friday we had the longest day of driving in our trip. In fact that is mainly what we did. We drove from Savannah Tennessee to Springfield, Illinois via St. Louis Missouri. This was about a seven hour, 20 minute drive according to mapquest. Which is a long time for a 3 year old that isn’t too found of riding in a car. Fortunately we had stops along the way planned to help break up the drive.

Our first stop was in Sikeston, Missouri. About two months before leaving for vacation Ktreva was watching the Travel Channel. She was saw the show “World’s Best Places to Pig Out”. We had been saying earlier in the show it would be neat to actually stop by one of these places and check it out. When they reached the number one place, it was Lamberts Café in Sikeston just off of I-55. I had just been planning the route and making reservations and knew we were going to be traveling on I-55. Checking out the maps I confirmed that the restaurant is going to be on our route! We planned on stopping in for a meal there.


We walked in right as they opened and were seated right away. They had people walking around giving everyone fried okra, black eyed peas, fried potatoes, Macaroni with tomatoes, throwing rolls to hungry diners and someone walking around with sorghum for the rolls. That was even before we ordered our food; the “pass arounds” are free to anyone that orders from the menu. When our actual meal arrived we knew we were in trouble. The portions were huge. Mix that with the all you can eat pass arounds, I can see why this was the number one place to pig out. Oh, and by the way the food was amazing. It tasted excellent and the price was not bad at all. Writing about it makes me hungry.

After leaving Sikeston our next stop was St. Louis. The rest of the family had never seen the Gateway Arch, so we had decided to stop and see it. While driving into the heart of St. Louis, we start seeing billboards that have a picture of a baby and says, “Who’s my Daddy? DNA Testing. 1-800-MY Daddy”. Is this really that big of a problem in St. Louis? I mean there were numerous billboards; this has to be a thriving industry down there. On our trip we drove through Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville. None of them had a place advertising this service. To me this means that if you want to go some place and have anonymous unprotected sex, St. Louis is the place to be.

We had no problem getting to the Arch, we turned off the highway too soon, but it was easy to follow the city streets to the arch.


We parked, bought our tickets for the tram ride to the top and went to go see the museum. There was a line as they where inspecting people for hazardous and dangerous objects entering the Arch complex. I guess someone might want to blow up the Arch or take it hostage… but I can’t imagine why. It was then I realized that I forgot to take my handy-dandy pocketknife and leave it in the van. The arch is part of the national park service and they frown on any type of knives in their parks/memorials. They had signs up saying it was a federal offence to bring knives into the complex. I had to hike back to the van and drop off the knife.

Upon returning I found the family just ready for some fun!

Family Arch.jpg

Boopie and Clone where fascinated with the tram ride. Once we were all the way to the top, the boys quickly forgot the tram and were fascinated with the view outside the arch.

Boys looking out Arch Window.jpg

Clone got excited at seeing a riverboat on the Mississippi. He demanded that a picture be taken of it.

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The Mighty Mississippi, a riverboat and the State of Illinois.

We walked around the Museum of Westward Expansion looking at what they had there. Okay people, by now most of you probably realize that I am a museum junky. I love the dang things. This museum had some interesting artifacts, the Indian Peace Medal Exhibit. It’s the only museum I’ve been in that has had such a wide collection of them. Other then that, this museum was not that good. Fortunately it was free. Too many of the items on display where not labeled, they really didn’t explain the history very well, oh and if you criticize the museum while you are standing in it, and uppity ranger will come over and give you a lecture… I kid you not.

They had a steering wheel from a riverboat but it wasn’t labeled as to what boat it came from or what it was. If you’ve never seen one of these, they are huge. Not everyone would instantly recognize it for what it was. I was talking to Boopie about, “This place is really missing an opportunity to teach and educate the public about their history. There are no placards telling what any of the items are, like what ship did this wheel come from.” At that point a ranger interrupts me and says, “It came from that.” Pointing to a picture of a riverboat on the wall, The River Queen. Okay, I thought maybe he was going to answer some questions so I ask, “Did it sink, run aground or just discontinue being used?” He responded with, “It didn’t come from that ship, but that style of ship…” He then went on to explain exactly what it was and how it was used, which I already knew. The whole time he seemed annoyed.

After leaving the arch we tried to make our way back to the highway. I say try because it was 5:00PM on a Friday in St. Louis. To quote the Malibu Rum “If Jamaican’s took life as seriously as the rest of the world” campaign, “It’s total gridlock mon!” It took us an hour to go 5 blocks. Mainly because at all the intersections people where pulling out and blocking traffic so that when the lights would change, no one could go. It was insane.

Tomorrow we will go over the last day of our trip.

Posted by Contagion at 06:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

Four? I give it a two.

We had just returned home from vacation and I was doing a little grocery shopping. As I walked through the beer aisle, not looking for anything in particular, a bright yellow sticker caught my attention. "NOW AVAILABLE LEGALLY IN THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST 100 YEARS" At first glance I thought it was just another new energy drink (Our supermarket mixes energy drinks in with beer in the coolers), but upon closer examination I discovered it was beer. Well to quote the can a "Premium malt beverage with caffeine, wormwood oil, taurine, guarana, natural and artificial flavors and certified color (FD&C red #40)" WHAT?!?!?!??! I thought that nasty Budweiser B to E was the only caffeine and herbal enhanced beer. I guess I was wrong. Then I noticed it was on sale for $1.99; ah hell I know this is going to taste nasty, but I had to buy it.

Four 002.jpg

Plain white 16 oz can with the name of the beer on it sideways. Other then the above mentioned phrase, the surgeon general warning, the only thing on this can that is interesting is the sticker the slapped on it. Oh, and it says it is 6.0% alc/vol.

The beer is pink in color, very reminiscent of Strawberry Crush. There isn't much head on it, and what there is dissipates to a film quickly. Then it leaves a slight ring around the edge of the glass. It looked more like I was drinking Strawberry Crush then a beer.

There is a fruity aroma to it of berries and stale light beer. The smell is very reminiscent of an energy drink that was poured into a glass that had previously held beer. Which, unless you like such things, is not appealing to me at all. The flavor was sweet. The taste of strawberry is most prominent. There is a hint of a beer flavor to it, again as if it was Strawberry Crush mixed with light beer. Way too fruity for my tastes. The strawberry is almost overpowering. I think I would rather just drink a strawberry pop with a beer chaser. The aftertaste is sweet and sugary; it left me wishing I had a Guinness to wash away the taste.

This is just another novelty beer that will only have a following in the club scene or in college towns. I can't see any serious beer drinker ever thinking they might want to buy a case of this for a weekend trip. It's made by the Four Brewing Company in Cold Springs, MN. The funniest thing about this is that after doing some research on their sight I find out that this company has been around since 1999. I'm not sure what then about this beer that has not been allowed in the US for almost 100 years. Except that it has wormwood oil in it, which is the active ingredient in Absinthe. So far, there are no pixies dancing in my house.

I'm going to give this "beer" a 2 out of 10. It's too sweet and fruity. I think I'd rather drink a Zima then one of these again.

Posted by Contagion at 07:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Soldiers and Spooks.

For those of you that know me, know that I’m a Civil War buff. I love learning about Civil War history. I refuse to re-enact it for reasons too numerous to list right now, but I enjoy learning about it. So when I saw we were going to be driving past the Shiloh National Military Park, I decided we were going to stop and visit. It is one of the few major Civil War battlefields I had not been to.

At the museum center we saw some artifacts and a video about the battle. The video was helpful in explaining the pace or “flow” of the battle. It explained the time line and troop movements so that everyone could follow. After the museum we visited Shiloh National Cemetery, which is on the grounds of the battlefield.

7-29-2006-12 (2).jpg

I would like to take a moment to go over proper cemetery etiquette. When we were at the national cemetery, I witnessed numerous people walking over the graves of the soldiers. This is the final resting place of the fallen soldiers that gave their lives at this battle. Many of the graves contain Unknown Soldier with only a number or “Unknown” on the headstone, but they still where are heroes. Walking over their graves is just tacky. There where many brick or mowed walkways for people to be on, yet on numerous occasions I saw people just stepping over headstones and cutting over graves. Some were being loud and making inappropriate comments, “I need to find a place to sit, I’m dead tired.”

After leaving the cemetery we started our tour of the battlefield.

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Here Ktreva, Boopie and Clone are standing with a cannon from Powell’s Battery, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Prentiss’ (6th) Division, Army of the Tennessee. (The Union named their armies based on major rivers. In this case the Tennessee River)

Before I go on I need to say that I don’t doubt the existence of the supernatural, but I need hardcore evidence. The following photos while interesting I don’t accept as proof of ghosts or other world activity. Kodak, a local camera shop and I cannot explain what happened in these photos, but there are many things that naturally could have caused something like this happening. However usually it affects the entire roll of film and not just two blocks of photos. All the photos on this page came from the same roll of film and are in the order they where taken. (Not all photos are displayed)

Where the union soldiers, and two confederates, where buried in the national cemetery, the rest of the confederates where buried in 5 mass graves. On our way between stop 2 and 3, Ktreva noticed on the map that one of the mass graves was a short walk from the road. She wanted to see it. After a hike down a hardly used trail we found the grave. I snapped a couple of photos. All had some kind of weird discoloration to it.

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Confederate Grave and ???

Then I took some photos that turned out normal. One of them was the Confederate Soldier memorial.

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All normal here

Next we went to the Hornet’s Nest where most of the fighting occurred on the first day. Every photo had some kind of varying anomaly to it. The below photo is of the 62 Confederate cannon that bombarded the Union at the end of the battle.

Boopie thinks it looks like the smoke of cannon fire.

After that stop we visited the largest of the Confederate mass graves. This is where I took the below picture.

Click to Enlarge

Ghost? Notice the strange discoloration

The white blur in the middle is most likely glare on the lens... through the polarized cap to prevent glare.

After leaving there we saw the Tennessee State monument to honor the soldiers that fought and died here from the great state of Tennessee. It, and every photo after, turned out normal. As I said, I can’t explain it, I don’t know how happened or why, but it is weird.

Tennessee State Memorial

We spent the rest of the time touring the battlefield, which is really well marked. I did get a little irritated after a while when I couldn’t find the Illinois State monument. They had a monument from every other state that had a soldier fight and die here. Illinois had more soldiers fighting, wounded and killed in the battle then any other state. Finally I found it. It was on a side road in the middle of a one of the battlegrounds.

Great State of Illinois.jpg
Illinois State Memorial

Again I was surprised at how much the rest of the family enjoyed this trip. Boopie really got into it, asking questions about the Civil War and troop movements. We ended up having to leave the park with out getting to do everything we wanted due to it’s closing and a matter of our being very hungry. We stayed in Savannah, we discovered that the people in Savannah do not believe in restaurants that are not fast food. Or if they do, they hide them from the damn tourists!

Posted by Contagion at 06:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 01, 2006

Whiskey in the Barrel.

After our two fun filled days in Kentucky we headed to Tennessee. Contrary to comments made, the sun does shine bright in Kentucky. My Scotch/Norwegian legs just don’t take to tanning. They burn, peel, freckle and start over just as pasty white as they where before. Be thankful that they are hairy, less you would go blind from the sun reflecting off them.

After passing through Nashville, which no offense to any of my Tennessee readers is cesspool of what is other ways a beautiful state. I might be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure the rest of Tennessee ships its garbage to Nashville for storage. We were much pleased once we had finally exited its foul limits and onto the Holy Land. Well, okay for me it’s the holy land, Lynchburg, Tennessee. It is the home of Jack Daniel’s Distillery and the oldest registered distillery in the United States.

This was a stop that I wanted. I had been trying to visit for years and it just never happened. When we were planning our vacation this year, I put down my foot and said, “We re-enact as a distiller, we should do the Jack Daniel’s Distillery… for research.” Yea, Ktreva didn’t buy that either, but she still agreed to go. Upon arrival I was like a kid at an amusement park. I could barely contain myself. I was bouncing all over the place trying to speed up the family so we could get inside and start the tour! While we waited for the tour, we spent some time browsing the museum.

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Boopie and Clone in Front of the famous Jack Daniel’s Statue.

We were led on a tour of every aspect of the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Everything from them making their own charcoal from Tennessee Sugar Maple to the final bottling process was a part of the tour. Some of the original buildings are still on the site, like the first office, and we were able to see those. We also where able to see the natural spring that all Jack Daniel’s fine Tennessee Whiskey is made from.

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The grotto in behind this statue of Jack Daniels is where the spring comes out of the ground.

We learned many different things while we were in god’s country the distillery. Such as you can buy an entire barrel of Jack Daniel’s and they will ship it to your local retailer for you after they bottle it. You receive a personalized neck medallion, a special label, the actual barrel that the whiskey was made in with a brass plague and framed certificate of ownership. For those of you curious that makes about 240 750 ML bottles of whiskey.

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Here I am standing with a barrel and all the bottles of whiskey that came out of it.

Of course it’s not exactly cheap. According to their website it costs about $8,400 to $9,600 purchase one. (Depending on the state you are in.) The tour guide had me sold on a barrel as soon as he started talking. When he came to the price, I did the math in my head and figured that in Illinois a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel is usually about $40.00… it was worth it! I looked over to Ktreva all filled with excitement. Before the words could even come out of my mouth she says, “We are NOT buying a barrel of Jack Daniel’s!” It’s not like I was going to mortgage the house… I was just going to drain the kids’ college funds! I mean if you think about it this way… That is almost a two-year supply of Jack Daniel’s for me. I couldn’t go wrong with that! Later in the tour we did learn of some of the people that bought the entire barrel.

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Lucky Bastards!

After the tour we went to the White Rabbit Saloon for lemonade. At this point I must point out that Jack Daniel’s is in a dry county. You cannot buy a drop of liquor there. The only samples of Jack Daniels we could get where sniffing the fine product dripping through the ten feet of charcoal, and when the tour guide pointed out that one of the barrels in the barrelhouse had a slow leak. I think every guy on that tour was licking their fingers as they left the barrelhouse. However, the state, in anticipation of me, passed a law that would allow the distillery to sell commemorative bottles of Jack Daniel’s. Of course I ended up buying a couple. Then, for a surprise of all surprises, Jimmy Bedford, the master distiller himself, was in the saloon. I had him sign the two commemorative bottles I own.

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Jimmy, Me and my bottles of J.D.

After we finished up in the distillery we walked into the historic downtown Lynchburg. We went through many shops, bought souvenirs, and had a good ol’ time. I even bought myself a Jack Daniel’s dispenser made out of an actual barrel used to make Jack Daniel’s in. And yes it is signed by Jimmy too…

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Ktreva even got into Jack Daniel’s fever. She found herself some Jack Daniel’s Martini glasses (Even though she’s going to be drinking nasty appletinis out of it) and for dinner she ordered herself a Jackarita (A Margarita made with Jack Daniel’s). Boopie made the announcement that Jack Daniel’s is his favorite whiskey. (I don’t think he’s ever tasted a drop). Contrary to what some might believe, the entire family had fun at the distillery. It was probably the most popular stop we made with everyone.

Tomorrow, we head to Shiloh!

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