Category Archives: Writing

My Talk with Paul VanderKlay about Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris

I had a fun conversation with Paul VanderKlay yesterday, and I’m flattered to say that he thought it was interesting enough to post on this very popular YouTube channel.

We talked mostly about the  Jordan Peterson/Sam Harris Vancouver talks (Part 1 and Part 2) but about some other things too.  Public reaction has been 95% positive.

By way of introduction, Paul is the pastor at Living Stones Church in Sacramento, CA and has been referred to as “the Pastor of the Intellectual Dark Web.”

Here’s the video.

Language! (My Swear Jar)

I’m trying to eliminate all swearing.

This is not easy.

So I enlisted the help of Captain America. As you can see by the picture on the right, I now have a Captain America swear jar (a.k.a. “piggy bank”). And thanks to Post-it® Speech Bubble Notes and my desktop flashlight to hold it up, Cap has his eye on me.

Why Cap? Because everybody knows that, although he doesn’t like foul language, he sometimes slips up (just like me).

Wish me luck in my quest. And, just for fun, here’s a recap of Cap’s complicated relationship with swearing.

Fort Raleigh Historic Site

While we were down in Kitty Hawk, NC on vacation a couple of weeks back, I took a little trip over to the Fort Raleigh Historic Site.  Fort Raleigh protects and preserves the known portions of England’s first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590, as well as the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island.

There are also two other attractions adjacent to the historic site — the Elizabethan Gardens (which I didn’t visit) and the Lost Colony Theater (which was in the off season so I couldn’t catch the show).

Here are the photos!

A huge writing spider (a.k.a. garden spider or Argiope aurantia).

Muscadine grape vine. The place was thick with the stuff. Fun fact: what may be the oldest living cultivated grapevine in the world is on Roanoke Island. << Click pic to read article >>

 

Remnants of old colony earth works.

Entrance to the Lost Colony Theater

View of the stage at the Lost Colony Theater

Camping Pics and Insights

Dinner Saturday night: Jiffy cornbread, Nathan’s all beef hot-dogs with Saverne sauerkraut with dill, and Bush’s baked beans. Heaven on a plate.

My adult son and I went camping at the Peaks of Otter this past weekend.  Here are some pics.

I took only a few because I had the phone off most the trip.  And, as often happens, when I ditch the tech and get out in the woods I start seeing things more clearly.

Camping never fails to teach me something.

If you’d like more details, check out this rare public post on my Patreon blog.

A fawn still showing spots. Mommy was just off frame to the right.

Perfect cornbread — hot, moist, and not sticking — cooked in a vintage M-1942 US Army mess kit. Camp with me sometime and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Our parking pass from Peaks of Otter Campground.

 

 

Cord and Rule: Training Involution #118

I’m camping with my son this weekend, so T.I. #118 is posting early this week.  Lots going on around the Cabal Fang Temple these days.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • We are testing a new Cord and Rule program to track attendance and keep students motivated.  More info below.
  • Started getting my head around this nonprofit thing.  Started reading books, making calls, getting on grant application email lists, got a Linkedin profile, etc.  Time to start attracting high-powered board members and big donors!
  • No more being shy about asking for donations.  All events and services will be on a “please give what you can” basis.  Yes, we’re a non-profit.  But it takes a few hundred dollars a year just to keep up with web-hosting, legal services and basic program materials, and we want to save up money to build a fancy new temple.
  • Another student in the Hermit Path Distance Learning Program faces his Constitutional trial this month.  The program is virtually free (please give what you can) and there’s only one text bookEmail me to get started.
  • As part of my continuing martial arts education I’ll be headed to Tennessee in October to attend a Western Warrior Boot Camp hosted by Mark Hatmaker — two full days boxing, wrestling and hanging out with some of the toughest guys on planet Earth.

Stay tuned!

Cord and Rule: Cabal Fang Training Involution #118

  1. Work your body.  Set timer for 8:00.  Complete as many strikes as you can vs. your heavy bag before the timer beeps.  If you don’t have a heavy bag,  make one; if you don’t have anywhere to hang it indoors, throw a rope over a tree limb or lash it to a tree or post.  When done, shoulder your bag and see how far you can carry it, switching shoulders as needed.
  2. Work your mind. Write down your strike count and the distance carried.  Are you writing down measurable metrics for all training sessions — such as rep counts, time elapsed, distance, etc. — and trying to improve?  If not, you aren’t training, you’re mucking around.  “That which is measured improves.”
  3. Work your spirit.  Set a timer for 10 mins and assume your meditative posture of choice with a chalice (or an image of one from a book) at roughly eye level.  Regulate your breathing as you stare at the chalice.  Allow thoughts, feelings and images to manifest.  What can you learn from the chalice?  As always, record everything in your training log.

Ancient Mesopotamian tablet showing the god Shamash holding the cord and rule.

The Cabal Fang Cord and Rule Concept

As a way to motivate students, add more structure, deepen the mind-body-spirit connection through mettlecraft, and better track attendance, we’re adding a rule to our knotted cord.

Since ancient times the mark of a “ruler” was the holding of a knotted cord and a hashed rod or rule – the cord for measuring long distances, such as in surveying land, laying out a building’s foundation, measuring the speed of a ship in “knots,” etc., and the rule for measuring shorter, more precision distances.

According to ancient myths, deities only bestowed cords and rules upon human leaders who were competent to rule.  A “ruler” should be is a person we can all measure ourselves against — someone we respect, admire, and believe is worthy of being emulated and followed. Our cord and rule will remind us to strive to become people we feel are worthy of respect, admiration and responsibility.

Babylonian goddess, likely Ishtar or Ereshkigal, holding cord and rule

The cord and rule are mentioned in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 40:3: “So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway.”

A blank ruler will be issued to each student at the beginning of the third month of study.  Starting after the first trial, the rule will be stamped with various words and symbols to mark monthly training milestones, to commemorate the completion of trials for rank advancement, etc.

Marking and maintaining the metal rod ties into Mettlecraft — it is a tangible item of “metal” that is marked based on one’s “mettle.” Our cord and rule help us determine how we “measure up” against the people we were when we started.

The IIFYM Experiment Week 10

Even though I haven’t been posting much on this topic, behind the scenes I’ve been trying to stick to the plan, which is basically eating anything you want as long as you get the right amount of protein, carbs, fat and fiber your body needs based on your activity level, exercise regimen and age.  Hence the IIFYM — “If It Fits Your Macros.”  And I’ve still been monitoring my digits.  Problem is, after 5 years on a low-carb diet with a one-day-per-week cheat days, it has been really hard to stick to it.  In other words, I’ve been cheating on Saturdays.

Still and so, my results have been remarkable:

Date Body Fat %¹ Muscle Weight Fat Weight Total Weight
5/21/2018 23% 123.1 36.4 159.5
7/27/2018 17% 128.2 26.3 154.5
Change -6% +5.1 -10.1 -5

But that’s not even the whole story.  My energy level is up, I feel better overall, and I’m enjoying my food far more.  And those are not insignificant benefits!

I’ll probably stop posting on this topic because the results are pretty much in.  IIFYM isn’t a silly fad — it’s real science and it works.


¹ Measured with suprailiac crest  body fat calipers.  Not super accurate, but better than guesswork.

Happy Independence Day and Why it Matters

Happy July 4th to all my friends in the USA and around the world!

In our busy lives it’s easy to lose sight of America’s greatness and to forget why we shook the world in the first place.

This July 4th let’s remember that the United States of America was the first time since the rise of feudalism that people could own their own land and govern themselves.

That’s a big deal.

Sure, there had long been parliaments and senates and such, but kings, queens, emperors and empresses had really been in charge.  Right up until 1776, the British Crown could force you to board troops, could levy taxes against you without recording your vote, and even put you in irons without a hearing or seize your stuff.  Escheatment still survives to this day, a vestigial organ reminding us that unclaimed property reverts to the ownership of the state because, in the past, everything really belonged to the Crown anyway.

Yes, the United States of America is a really big deal, a remarkable experiment that continues to this day.  There are still plenty of places in the world that are controlled by absolute rulers, sultans, kings, despots, communist parties, and so on.  And while the USA is no utopia, there are reasons why everyone wants to get in.

You’re a grand old flag.  Forever in peace may you wave.