Category Archives: Writing

June 2020 Backpacking Adventure Video

This past weekend I went on an amazing backpacking trip with my youngest daughter and her fiance, one of her friends, my son, and my brother-in-law.

We hiked the Cold Mountain and Pleasant Mountain trails in the George Washington National Forest. Highly recommended — many scenic overlooks, beautiful trails, plenty of backcountry dispersed camping sites, ample water sources (don’t forget your water purification equipment!).

One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. I just wish I was a better photographer. Because the full moon on Saturday night was out of this world.

SHIFT Issue #3

Subscribers just received Issue #3 of my new SHIFT newsletter. IN THIS ISSUE…Video: The Internal Union of the Warrior-Poet, Eating Isn’t Just About Food, a recipe, and the always-useful Super-Stumper question! Click here to read and subscribe.

My Top 10 Most Influential Albums

My daughter’s fiance Jack is a cool kid, as well as a very talented musician and singer.  So when he challenged me to blog my Top 10 most influential albums, I had to answer the call.   

Some records have influenced the world, and some of influenced me as an individual.  The latter is what this post is about — the ten most personally influential albums.  So, without further ado, not ranked by rating but rather in the order in which I heard them, are My Top 10 Most Influential Albums…

  1. Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin IV (1971).  It was summertime, probably 1974, and the next-door neighbor was working on his ’65 Galaxie 500 with the radio on.  I was taking out the trash when Black Dog came on.  It was the first hard rock song I ever heard and the cat was out of the bag forever.  Eventually I got the album and listened to it about a million times.
  2. The Beatles — Abbey Road (1969).  I was sitting on the floor with my two uncles, Jim and Tom, listening to the Beatles for the first time, and I knew my head would never be the same.  By the end of the day I had heard several hours of their stuff.  It was too much for one brain to hold.
  3. Jerry Lee LewisThe Session (1973).  Dad liked country and Mom liked a little bit of everything — but her favorite artist was Jerry Lee.  This record changed me.  Jerry Lee infuses tunes of every genre with his unique redneck flair.  Guests include include Albert LeeAlvin Lee, Mick Jones, and Peter Frampton.
  4. Blue Öyster Cult — Some Enchanted Evening (1978).  The Öyster Boys are my favorite band, and this was the record that opened Pandora’s box.  Listen with caution lest you get pulled into the orbit of this Saturnian ensemble — sucked into a swirling kaleidoscope of biker rock, occult musings, and stun guitar.  On the other hand, maybe you shouldn’t fear the reaper after all…
  5. Cashmere Jungle Lords — Oodjie-Boodjie Night-Night (1987).  How do describe the Lords?  Southern Fried Surfabilly?  Western Surf Jungle Rock?  Neo-primitive Twang-a-Dang?  I don’t know, but it’s great fun.  This record didn’t come out until ’87 but I was hearing the songs in the early 80s because the lead singer, Dominic Carpin, was a college roommate of mine, and he taught me a lot about music — about how hard and painful it is to make, and what’s good, and what’s bad.  They’re still going strong.  Go see e’m.  Tell Dominic, Mitch sent you.  And yes, like the Beatles, their name is misspelled on purpose.
  6. The PoliceSynchronicity (1983).  I was basically still a kid, but I was married with a kid when this record hit the radio and sliced it in half like a batarang.   I was trying to figure out what what being an adult meant and how to do it.  This record is forever tangled up in my tangled-up 80’s head and it’ll never come out.
  7. Ratt — Out of the Cellar (1984).  Go ahead, be a hater.  I don’t care what you say, Ratt is the best of the 80s hair metal bands, and this record bangs from cut to cut.  There’s a reason why they got a Geico commercial.  Kiss, eat your heart out.
  8. KyussBlues for the Red Sun (1992).  This was part of the rotation when I got my 5 hour chest tattoo done by a wall-eyed Pall Mall smoking maniac with an IQ of 160 named Maxx.  These songs are slow even when fast, are brutal even when soft.  I know that makes no sense.  You just have to listen to it.  And by the way, Josh Homme should’ve kept doing this instead of moving on to Queens of the Stone Age (there, I said it).
  9. The SwordAge of Winters (2006).  Another record from the Maxx rotation.  Long before GOT became an HBO phenomenon, these heavy metal rock geeks gave GRRM a nod with this album title.  In an alternate reality time warp, Age of Winters was a groundbreaking 1974 album that went platinum.  Somehow it manages to sound old and new at the same time.  Best played on 11 while driving to work like I did for about a year after I bought it.
  10. Steve EarleI’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive (2011).  I was really disappointed when I heard that Steve was going to put out a book and record combo.  I thought he was selling out, that it was some kind of creepy media deal.  But I bought them both anyway, and soon realized that Steve Earle is one of the most talented people in the history of the planet.  The book I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive is one of the best novels I have ever read — pure hayseed Dostoevsky — and the record is devastating.  Yes, Steve Earle is that good.

SHIFT Newsletter Issue #2

Issue #2 of SHIFT just released this morning.  If you haven’t subscribed you don’t know what you’re missing. Click the pic on the right to subscribe.

SHIFT your outlook.

SHIFT your expectations.

SHIFT your possibilities.

 

 

Christianity for Doubters 10: The Easter Miracle

The tenth video in my series Christianity for Doubters is now live.  The Big Finish is finally here!

If you enjoyed the series, please support me on Patreon for as little as $1/month.  As a seminarian in the Independent Sacramental Movement (specifically the Old Catholic line) when I’m ordained as a priest there will be no centralized church to pay me a salary, provide health insurance, a place to live, or even a parish.  And I’m married with a family, which means I’ve got people to care for and a church to build.  Your monthly contribution would be greatly appreciated.  

 


If you’re in Richmond, VA and you want to begin your journey in Christianity, consider joining the St. Barachiel’s of Richmond Meetup Group.  Just click the logo on the right to join!

 

2 Videos: DIY COVID-19 Masks and Weds Fitness

Two new videos today!  My regular Weds fitness video plus a bonus video on the fastest, easiest CDC-compliant mask ever!

First the fitness:

Now for the bonus video!

Shopping in the Age of COVID-19

Waiting in line to get in and shop. Social distancing the whole time. Empty shelves. Still rationing toilet paper. A crazy time.

The 3 Keys to Practical Weapon Skill

Are you working out, or training?  Are you actually getting more skilled with your weapon?  If so, can you prove it?  These are some of the questions answered in this week’s martial arts video, “The 3 Keys to Practical Weapon Skill” at the bottom of this post.

If this kind of thing appeals to you, consider signing up for a martial arts distance learning program.  The Cabal Fang Hermit Path program is 100% free and provided by the non-profit I founded in 2009 — click here to sign up today!

Interested in the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period — 1607 to 1912?  Click here to find out more about my Bobcat Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble program — just  $19.99/month.   

Or how about a bi-weekly email to designed to inspire and motivate you find your inspiration,  establish and hit goals, and feel more alive?  SHIFT your OUTLOOK.  SHIFT your EXPECTATIONS.  SHIFT your POSSIBILITIES.  Sign up here.

New Video, New Newsletter, and More

Lots going on in these parts!  I’ve decided to launch a free newsletter on/about May 1st.  It’s going to be called SHIFT.  It will unify of all my diverse projects — martial, philosophical, physical, and spiritual — into a cohesive source of inspiration for those who want to SHIFT perspective, SHIFT priorities and SHIFT into a new personal, professional, or spiritual gear.  Sign up now for SHIFT — featuring cutting edge research, information, tips, exercises, games, meditations and coupons for discounts in my web store.

I’ve also done a ton of work on my Patreon profile.  I’ve consolidated my tiers, created new benefits, and re-dedicated myself to creating more value for my patrons, like monthly Q&As, deeper discounts on my products, and more.  Sign up for as little as $1/month to get access to exclusive content you can’t get anywhere else.

And of course here’s my Sunday religious video — episode #8 in my series Christianity for Doubters.

 

 

New Tiers, New Benefits, at Patreon

Last night I updated sponsorship tiers Stalwart and above over on Patreon.

I added two new benefits  — discounts on products at Mitch’s General Store and access to the new SHIFT self-improvement program.   This is exciting stuff.  Go getcha some!