Category Archives: Green

Free Martial Arts Training at Home (and WOOTW #76)

A couple of my friends after a successful trial for rank advancement. Start training in Cabal Fang too. What are you waiting for?

The Hermit Path Distance Learning Program is what we call our Cabal Fang Martial Arts home study course.  It’s absolutely free because we are a genuine, truly-and-for-real, non-profit educational corporation.

Sign up today and you’ll get a free download coupon for the 300+ page Cabal Fang Study Course.  All you have to do is complete the exercises and workouts, keep a training journal, and submit scans of your journals each month.

Remember those ads they used to run in comic books back in the 70s? We are NOT like them. Photo courtesy of Mr. Dan Kelly and his super cool website

Cabal Fang is a mind-body-spirit martial art.  Our emphasis is on getting fighting fit, learning how to fight, and getting your head together.

No, you can’t learn to fight by studying solo.  But there are two other dimensions that you can definitely pursue at home — fitness and spirit.

Weightlifters know that if they pick up heavy objects that are hard to lift, they’ll get stronger.  Cabal Fang is not easy.  Nothing that makes you stronger is ever going to be.  But trust me — you can do this.

And now for the workout of the week.

Cabal Fang “No Excuses” Workout of the Week #76

  • Eye-patched.  Prepare to fight with a handicap if necessary.  Tie a bandanna or tenugui around your head such that one eye is covered.  Set a timer for 3 x 3:00/1:00 and get after that bag with maximum damage in mind — punches and kicks.  Really try to beat the stuffing out of it.  Caution: Depth perception is difficult with one eye covered — don’t get hurt.  Don’t have a bag?  Make one.  Nowhere to hang it?  Lash it to a tree.  No excuses!
  • Calisthenics pyramid.  Full pyramid to 7 of Hop Push-ups, Pikes, Finger-tip Push-ups, and Jumping Jacks (that’ll be 49 of each exercise total).  If/when you gas on the Push-ups, drop to knees.  Can’t do do Hop Push-ups with a hop at the top?  Do them regular. Can’t do Finger-tip Push-ups?  Do them on knuckles instead.  No excuses — only substitutions or step-downs.
  • Searching for excuses.  Set a timer for 10 minutes.  Assume your meditative posture of choice, close your eyes, and regulate your breathing.  Imagine that your life is a video recording.  In your mind’s eye, start it playing backwards from right now.  Watch the video playing backwards, noting as you go the things that you’ve been making excuses about.  When the timer beeps, get out your training journal and write down the things that you’re going to do, say, correct, overcome, etc. by throwing your excuses into the negative behavior dustbin.

I created the pyramid workout using PTDICE — a set of 9 dice which I designed and marketed a couple of years ago. I have a few sets left. If you want one, send me an email at and I’ll sell you a set for $15.00.

Did you enjoy reading this?  Then the Cabal Fang book will blow your mind.  Buy a paper copy on Amazon or from Createspace or download the ebook here.


Tiny Origami Swans


Very small origami swans made from a single gum wrapper

Because really tiny swans are really friggin cute.



Keep Cup

imageThis is my new KeepCup.  I’ve had it for a week (which amounts to roughly thirty cups of coffee¹) and I already love it.  Since the cup ecologically “pays for itself” in just fifteen uses, it has already paid for itself twice.  You can get one here.

They are fully customizable, part by part.  So if you don’t want a brown and black one like mine, you can choose from about twenty different colors for the cup, band, lid, and plug to create your own masterpiece.

It’s a durable (tested to 1,500 uses!), non-insulated, spill-resistant cup that can be used for any kind of beverage.  Durability is important to me because, let’s face it, I’m a hardcore java junkie who really puts the wear and tear on his equipment.  My Aladdin cup broke and had to be fixed, and my Tervis had to be retired because hard water stains accumulated on the inner rim until it looked like the shore of the Dead Sea (sorry Tervis, but I don’t care what you say, your cups are for clear liquids only).

KeepCups are sustainably manufactured in Australia and shipped from distribution hubs in AU, UK and the US.


¹ Look, I’m a writer.  I drink a lot of coffee.  Before work I have four cups in a ceramic mug at the house, and then I start using the KeepCup on the road and at the office, where I knock back another five or so cups.  I try to limit my consumption to a pot a day, because, you know, that would just be excessive.  Better than swilling bourbon all day, right?

Cold Sunset

imageI took  this picture at sunset on Jan. 6th, right before the two-day cold snap that plunged us into overnight lows almost in the single digits.

Looking at the sunset it seemed that something was coming, that the sunset held some special significance.  I had heard the forecast of course, so it’s possible it that what I felt was nothing more than a little subconscious anticipation or dread.  Who knows?

Look at this cold sunset and judge for yourself.



My Custom Insulated Mug, Sort of


I made some mods to my cup. Cool, right?

I dropped my insulated mug and it broke.  It’s one of those with the inner liner, and it broke right along the top.  What a pisser — this is not just any mug, it’s the expensive Aladdin one that is completely spill-proof, the one I use to smuggle coffee into theaters that don’t serve it.  Not the mug’s fault.  I dropped it on asphalt on a cold day.

I was about to throw it away when I realized that I might be able to fix it.  People should fix more stuff instead of chucking it into landfills.  I checked, and as it happens, Gorilla Glue is stable and food safe once fully cured.  My other favorite glue, JB Weld, is not food safe (I once fixed an engine block with JB Weld — I’m not kidding — it held for two weeks until I could get it fixed properly).

So I got out the Gorilla Glue and set to work.  First I glued one of my martial arts club’s patches to the inner liner and let it dry.  I figured, why not?  Works for Tervis, right?  Then I and reassembled it.  The glue dripped a little (why didn’t I turn the thing upside down to dry?), so I disguised the drips with blood red nail polish borrowed from my wife so that the drips would look like blood.

Why blood?  I don’t know, geez, it’s art.  Gimme a break.

Eating Local: Deep Run Roadhouse


This is the catfish sandwich from Deep Run Road House. It will make you weep tears of joy and wonder.

I prefer to prepare my own meals using locally sourced food and free-range meat and eggs.  It’s tough to get those kinds of ingredients at an affordable restaurant, but when when I eat out, I at least like to go to private shops, non-chain restaurants, and good old-fashioned American eateries.

So Saturday night I had dinner at Deep Run Road House over on Gayton Road in Richmond.  I can’t speak to the sourcing of their ingredients, but I can say that I didn’t give my hard-earned cash to some faceless mega-corporation.  In fact, when I went up to the condiments area and looked for some salt, the guy that handed it to me was the owner.  We talked a bit and he was super.  Aren’t people cool?  Real people who make real stuff for other real people?

I had the catfish sandwich.  This super-crunchy flavorful thing is the size of small cantaloupe and comes on a fluffy, toasted bun with tomatoes, pickles, field greens, a slab of onion, and an amazing tartar sauce packed with minced onions and capers.  Capers, I tell you – capers.  I could sit and eat this tartar sauce with with a @*#$&%# spoon.  I may be a little guy, but I eat like a Viking after a long day of pillaging and sacking.  This sandwich filled me up just right, and that’s saying something.

My daughter had the pulled chicken bbq sandwich (which was too big for her to finish) and a side of greens.  I tasted both and they were outstanding.  Note that I am a connoisseur of greens, so you can trust me when I say they’re good.  Just the right amount of smoky meat, not too salty, and with just hint of sweetness and zip.  My daughter said, “These are the best greens I’ve ever had.”  What about my greens?  I make bangin’ greens!  She didn’t even bother to preface her statement with “I’m sorry Dad, but…”  That stings.

This is no common roadhouse (even though the NC style bbq sauce on the table is called “Swayze Sauce”).  These are roadhouse dishes prepared with gourmet skill.  We ate like kings for $20.00.  Good service, great food, reasonable prices.  What’s not to love?

Next time: the 1/3 lb Bison Burger!

Sunday is as Good a Day as any to Save a Few Hundred Thousand Lives


This is can of Swedish Snus by General, a division of Swedish Match (aka Svenska Tändsticks AB). You put it in your mouth so you can get nicotine without inhaling toxic vapors.

What day is it? Sunday? Seems like as good a day as any to save a few hundred thousand lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking causes over 400,000 deaths each year in the United States.¹  The CDC doesn’t have any statistics on smokeless tobacco deaths because the risks are too small to reliably track.

Yes, there are some reports from the WHO on the risks of smokeless tobacco in general — if you include all of the various kinds used worldwide — ones prepared with corn starch and lime and creepy additives.  But as for Swedish snus, even the WHO has to admit, “two studies from Sweden that were well-designed and controlled for smoking showed no association between smokeless tobacco use overall, specifically ever use of snus, and oral cancer.”

As Ken Warner (director of the University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network) said,

“The Swedish government has studied this stuff to death, and to date, there is no compelling evidence that it has any adverse health consequences. …Whatever they eventually find out, it is dramatically less dangerous than smoking.”²

Basically, what it comes down to is.  If you are smoker, go to your local tobacco shop and get some snus.  Put it in your mouth and stop smoking.  It may save your life.  If every smoker in the U.S. did this it would save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Don’t believe me?  There’s a nice guy named Brad Rodu who runs a blog called Tobacco Truth, and he has a ton of information on his blog.  Brad is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville.  He holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research, and is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at U of L.  If you ask him questions on his blog, like I did, he’ll answer them.

Snus cans have government mandated warning labels that are not supported by facts.  How stupid is that?

Snus cans have government mandated warning labels that are not supported by facts. How stupid is that?

Still don’t believe me?  Read this report by the Department of Public Health and General Practice at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Christchurch, New Zealand.  According to the report, snus does not appear to lead to increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or diabetes.

But you say, “Mitch, why do snus cans have those scary warning labels?”  Answer: Because there’s a law passed by our beloved Congress that says that all tobacco products have to have warning labels.  And, as we know, our Congress is full of people who are not swayed by facts.  Half of them are scientifically illiterate.  There are quite a few who don’t even believe in evolution.

It comes down to this.  If you aren’t addicted to nicotine, don’t start.  Clearly it’s better to avoid putting tobacco into your body altogether if you can.  But if you’re an addict and you can’t quit, choose smokeless products.  The risks are clearly less.


¹ According to this CDC Fact Sheet.  They have smokeless tobacco fact sheet, but it’s uncontaminated by any hard statistics.

² Courtesy of this Wikipedia article.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

No More Free Rides

Starting today and going forward, the only way you can get one of my books free is to pirate it or go to a library.  But it’s not about greed.  It’s about commitment.

I didn’t charge for my first few books because I wasn’t confident in their quality.  Putting them up for free made it easy for me.  If people didn’t like it, I could say to myself, “Well, at least they didn’t get ripped off.”

The problem is that if a book stinks, the reader is still ripped off even if the book is free.  If a person sees your book cover, becomes intrigued, gets hyped with anticipation, downloads the thing, and invests the reading time, he or she has been ripped off by an inferior product even if it was free.

Putting some of my books up for no charge wasn’t giving the reader a free ride — it was giving myself a free ride.  If I charge for my books it’s a message to myself that says, “Mitchell, you owe the public a superior product, one that’s worth the reader’s investment of time and money.”

I took a step back and realized that my stuff is good — really good — and that I should stand behind it unequivocally.  And from now on I am.

As they used to say back in the ’70s, “Ass, cash, or grass — nobody rides for free.”  Especially me.


Here are links to my eBooks at Smashwords — but if you prefer other websites, they are also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Diesel.

Wisdom of Raven CoverWisdom of the Raven: The Mystic Way of Cabal Fang

By Robert Mitchell, Jr
Series: The Cabal Fang Martial Arts Study Course, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 6,560. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2013. Category: Nonfiction
A blend of fact and fable, the practical and the esoteric, ‘Wisdom of the Raven’ instructs the reader in the spiritual underpinnings of Cabal Fang Martial Arts. Learn the basics of the Three Sisters — contemplation, meditation, and prayer — and how they come together to inform the mystic experience.

Cabal Fang MAM CoverThe Cabal Fang Martial Arts Manual

By Robert Mitchell, Jr
Series: The Cabal Fang Martial Arts Study Course, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 22,860. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2013. Category: Nonfiction
A seamless blend of the ancient and the modern, the physical and the internal, Cabal Fang has one foot apiece in the middle ages and the new millennium. Get a glimpse of what is at once a modern self defense method, a strenuous fitness regimen, and a spiritual framework drawing upon the Western esoteric tradition. For all fitness and experience levels — but not the faint of heart.


By Robert Mitchell, Jr
Series: The Montenegro Cycle, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,680. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2012. Category: Fiction
Ergie is a high-school slacker with too few friends, so when he meets Zack he welcomes the friendship. But he soon discovers that Zack isn’t what he seems, his parents have a hidden past, and everyone he loves is threatened by a race of ancient creatures known as ghilan. Can Ergie find the truth, and if he does, will he have the courage to do what he knows is right?

Chatters_thumbChatters on the Tide

By Robert Mitchell, Jr
Series: The Montenegro Cycle, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 55,780. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2012. Category: Fiction
Harold has lost his job, divorce is on the horizon, a religious cult believes he’s a prophet, and he’s being stalked by an eerie motorcycle club and its mute, wild-haired mascot named Gator. His skeptical wife Bonnie is fighting to free him from the strange world into which he has fallen while Harold struggles with bizarre and unusual revelations. Is he really a prophet with miraculous powers?