Crisis Management in the Apocalypse

Enjoy some Apocalyptic Steam Punk While you Read:
To The Apocalypse In Daddy’s Sidecar  – Abney Park

If the pandemic has done anything, it is has continued expanding the number of Americans who decide to embrace their natural rights and become gun owners. To these new folks, Welcome! I hope I am able to guide you along the path to the safe and responsible enjoyment of the only sporting activity I know of that fulfills the sentiment expressed in the old saying, “God made men, and Sam Colt made them all equal.”
Gun writers love the “If I could have only one…” topic. (In this author’s humble opinion, the thought of being limited to a single firearm borders on blasphemy, but I digress.)
The thought process involved in writing such a piece is a recognition that all firearms are a compromise between portability and effectiveness.

NAA_Revolver

Photo courtesy of North American Arms

A North American Arms mini-revolver is certainly easy to carry about, but I would not want to rely on it for my next rabbit hunt.

A long time ago, a gent by the name of Charles A. “Skeeter” Skelton was asked which handgun he would take into the nuclear apocalypse. His answer was the .357 Magnum and a Smith & Wesson  Double-Action revolver.

Skeeter’s stated plan to survive was to bug out for the high country on horseback. A good plan. I like it, but very few have easy access to a horse of their own, and even fewer have any place to bug out to. Remember, Once you leave your home region, you are just another “thievin’ refugee” in the eyes of the communities you pass through. Look at how Rhode Island and other States were blocking access to vehicles with New York license plates during the current Covid nonsense. Sadly, Texas was no better, blocking travelers from Louisiana.

So, if buggin’ out is not in the cards, we need to select a defensive arm that meets certain minimum criteria:
1. Portable – A weapon left at home is no use. This means we have to be able to carry it all of the time and often carry it concealed. I am able to carry my Ruger Super Blackhawk in an Uncle Mike’s shoulder holster quiet comfortably, and undetected. The “super” is larger than the regular New Model Blackhawk by a significant margin. (Issues of legality of carrying a concealed firearm are left to local ordinances. Know your State’s laws.)

2. Powerful Enough – Firearms are tools designed to perform a few very simple tasks. In case of a disaster, those tasks are Protecition and Hunting. A gun suitable for self-defense may lack the effectiveness on medium sized game animals to make a humane harvest possible.

3. Common Ammunition – Ammunition shortages have become a real problem during recent disasters like hurricanes, and various government outrages, so we need to be able to secure an initial supply, and insure we can obtain more ammunition in the future

Semi-automatic handguns chambered in 9mm Luger/Parabellum make up the lion’s share of firearms sold for defense in America. The 9 is followed by .40 S&W and .45 ACP. In revolvers, the .38 Special and .357 Magnun pretty much own the defense market with the .38 Special snubnose revolver leading over the old school full size police holster weapon. All of these cartridges can be effective for defense against human attack, but when taking game for food, the rounds have to meet different requirements.

For liability reasons, defense ammunition must penetrate the body enough to reach vital organs, but not so much that it is likely to exit the target and injure an innocent third-party down range. This has lead bullet design to favor the rapidly expanding hollow point bullet that is intended to stop in the target. A hunting bullet needs all of the penetration it can get, and expansion is secondary. A hole punched completely through the shoulders of a deer will bring on a faster death, and leave a better blood trail to follow.

.357 Magnum has the proven ability to harvest wild hog, and deer-sized game with good shot placement and a solid semi-wadcutter or heavy hollow point bullet. The downside to .357 Magnum is price. If you do not reload your own ammo (see below), you will want to do most of your practice with .38 Specials which chamber and fire in a .357 Magnum handguns.

.38 Special loaded with a semi-wadcutter or full wadcutter bullet is an excellent round for small game. The cartridge has the mild recoil and inherent accuracy to make head shots on rabbits and squirrels possible. Full wadcutters are good performers in the defense role as well if the local jurisdiction frowns on hollow point ammunition. One advantage of .38 Special is price. Ammo is relatively cheap allowing for more practice.

9mm would work on small game, but military style full metal jacket ammunition is not a good performer on man or beast. Sure it will stop both, but hollow point bullets are really needed in any of the semi-auto chamberings.

Another issue for semi-automatics is bullet shape. During the loading cycle, a cartridge must make two abrupt turns in a very short distance to move from magazine to chamber. The round nose projectile shape was designed to make this transition easy. Hollow point bullets are missing the nice round nose, and that can create difficulties with some weapons. Hold on to this thought for bit because it will be back.

So, can we have it all?

Yes. If you are willing to adjust your thinking a bit.
Semi-automatic weapons are great fun. They can turn money into noise like nothing else I know, but that hail of lead comes at a terrible price in the great limiter of all survival, logistics. I simply cannot carry enough bullets in my backpack to hose down the woods every time I see a rabbit. In order to protect myself and to take game responsibly, I MUST be able to hit my target.

(Before anybody gets their panties in a twist, I’m not bashing semi-autos, I’m bashing poor marksmanship and the popular tendency to substitute volume of fire for precision. A gun with no bullets is a paperweight.)

So, how do we maximize our ammo?
By owning a gun that will safely chamber a wider number of cartridges, especially the most popular cartridges.

In 1955, a fellow by the name of William B. Ruger capitalized on the popularity of the TV Western and introduced an updated  and improved version of the venerable Colt’s Single Action Army (aka Peacemaker) chambered in .357 Magnum. The Ruger Blackhawk has been in continuous production for the past 65 years. During this time, a further improved “New Model Blackhawk” replaced the original model. This is a robust single-action thumbbuster of the first order.

RugerBH_Convertible

Photo courtesy of Ruger.com

So why is an old fashioned gun so appropriate for the Apocalypse?
In a word, versatility.

Ruger sells Blackhawks in several calibers and barrel lengths, but for the apocalypse, we want the  .357 Magnum/9mm “Convertible” Blackhawk with an extra cylinder.
The .357 Magnum Blackhawk will safely chamber and fire any .357 Magnum, .38 Special, or .38 Special +P cartridge. This is possible because the standard bullet diameter is .357 of an inch for both .357 Magnum and .38 Special cartridges. The second cylinder for a Convertible .357 Blackhawk is chambered in 9mm which uses a .355 diameter bullet.
Now I have a pistol that can fire three of the most popular defense cartridges in America, and with the right bullet style, I can hunt small to medium game for the pot. Almost any store that sells ammunition will likely have at least one of the three for sale.

Even if things get really dark and the black market is the best/only option to obtain supplies, anyone should be able to score a handful of at least one of the three.

Circling back to the topic on ammunition sensitivity in semi-autos, in a revolver, the shape of the bullet’s nose does not matter. If the round fits the chamber, the revolver can handle it. In such hard times, the reliability of ammunition could become questionable. Again, this is not a real problem in a revolver. If a round fails to fire, just cock the gun and try again. Some popular semi-autos like Glock pistols require jacketed bullets. Revolvers do not care. Once again versatility keeps the revolver fed.

“But it only holds six!” cries the peanut muncher in the back. Once again, I must hit my target, not hose it down. That takes training, practice, and discipline. Being on a limited diet of ammo,  obtaining hits becomes even more critical. Out in the big ugly scary world, I am not ten feet tall and covered with hair. I am a little gray mouse that does everything in my power to remain unobserved as I go about my business. If I end up in a fight, I must hit my target as quickly and solidly as possible to end the confrontation. If I can’t hit the target, I will run out of time long before I run out of bullets.

Until ALL guns are outlawed, the six-shooter does not fall into the arbitrary definition of an “evil” gun, at least under the current legal definitions. This makes a revolver very attractive. If you are old enough to recall ol’ Bill Clinton’s Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, you probably recall a surge in revolver sales because folks though their wonder nines might be confiscated.

Lately, with improvements in 9mm hollow point ammo design, police agencies are switching back to the 9mm from the .40 S&W. Seems the high pressure .40 is too much for some officers and too expensive to allow for frequent practice. Again, 9mm will be easier to obtain in a crisis than .40, and possibly .45ACP.

Now we have a gun that can be kept fed using conventional and unconventional sources during a crisis. We can also learn to feed our Blackhawk using ammunition loaded at home or in camp if you are living rough.

Reloading cartridges is a relatively simple process, and equipment is available that can turn a home shop into a serious bullet factory, but this is about getting by on a minimum of equipment, so here are the high points.

The simplest reloading tools come from Lee Precision in the form of their Lee Loader.. This is a complete set of tools that will allow the user to reload cartridges safely almost anywhere. A few extras that make the Lee Loader kit work well are Lee’s Powder Dipper Set, and a Loading Manual. If you really want to be prepared, bullet molds , and learning to cast you own projectiles is fully within the ability of the average person.

Forget the idea of reloading 9mm and purchase the .357 Magnum Lee Loader kit.  9mm is likely to be the least useful cartridge because the majority of the ammo available in a crisis will tend toward the full metal jacket military style bullet simply due to the volume of that version produced. This round nose profile is the least effective as a stopping round, so it should be a practice round and backup option if .357 Magnum or .38 Special are not available.

To properly reload cartridges, you will needs some supplies:

  • Bullets – Bullets come in a variety of weights (expressed in “grains”) and shapes.
    • The standard bullet weight for .357/.38 cartridges is 158 grains. Most of the more popular defense bullets weigh 125-130 grains.
    • The standard for 9mm is 124 grains in round nose and hollow point formats. They can be found in weights from 115-147 grains.
    • For defense, hollow point bullets are preferred.
      • The .38 Special 147 grain full wadcutter offers light recoil and solid performance as a defense round in jurisdictions that do not allow hollow point bullets.
    • For hunting, the semi-wadcutter shape is preferred. In .357 Magnum use bullets weighing 158 grains or higher.
  • Brass – The metal tube-like part of the cartridge left over after the round has been fired is called “brass” regardless of the metal it is actually made of.
    • Brass can be salvaged and reloaded if the hull is really made of brass.
      • Note: Some brass cartridge cases are plated with nickel. They are bright silver in appearance. Nickel plated cases can be reloaded.
    • Aluminum and steel cases cannot be reloaded.
  • Primers – The small round object found in the middle of the cartridge base and the Primer or “cap” (as in “bust a cap”). This is the thing the firing pin hits creating the small dimple seen in fired cartridges. When the firing pin hits the primer the force crushes a small pellet which creates a jet of flame that ignites the powder in the cartridge.
    • .357/.38 and 9mm all use “Small Pistol Primers”. The loading manual may suggest a brand, but they are mostly interchangeable. Some load recipes may call for “Magnum” primers. The key description is “Small Pistol Primer”.
  • Powder – “Gun powder” comes in a variety of types. Modern powders are very powerful and should never be used in muzzle loaders or antique firearms or their replicas. Choose a powder based on the cartridge and bullet weight combination chosen from the Loading Manual. Follow the instructions in the manual religiously.
    • Real Black Powder is the original “gun powder” based on the traditional charcoal, potassium nitrate, and sulfur mixture created centuries ago.
    • Replica or substitute powders are modern propellants that mimic the burning characteristics of black powder.
    • Black powder and replica powders can be used in cartridges by filling the cartridge case with powder until you can just seat the bullet and crimp it. (See loading manual fro an explanation of these terms.) NEVER try this loading technique with non-replica powders! You risk sever injury or death. Follow the load recipe in the manual!

Purveyors of cartridge loading equipment and supplies.
Midwayusa.com

Buffalo Arms
Natchez Shooing Sports
Cabela’s/BassPro

Yeah, I see the elephant sipping tea in the corner.

Getting back to Mr. Tactical Peanut Muncher, I talked about how great the Blackhawk is and how to keep it fed, but it is “tactical”? “Tactical” is crap. Tactics are a mental exercise performed under extreme stress, so spare me the idiocy.
Every firearm or cutting tool is “tactical” if it is used by a TRAINED person to defend life.
From 1835 until about 1912 Colt’s Single Action Army was a standard issue weapon of the US Armed Forces. Revolvers continued to soldier on in Double-action form even after the adoption of the 1911 pistol simply because stocks of the brand new semi-automatic were insufficient to meet the needs of World Wars I and II. Revolvers stayed in police holsters until the Wonder Nine wars of the 1980s finally displaced them.

The keys to defending yourself with any weapon is training and practice. Lots of very knowledgeable people seem to think the single-action revolver has potential because training classes taught by respected professionals are popping up.

Ruger.com offers a number of free videos on the combat application of the Single-action revolver featuring Il Ling New of Gunsite Academy. Gunsite offers a Lever Gun & Single-Action Revolver Defensive Pistol course at their training center in Arizona. Read a review here.

The defensive use of the Single-Action revolvers is also making a lot of ink:

Single-Action Self-Defense ~ American Rifleman Magazine

Single-action Defensive Revolver Drills ~ Shooting Illustrated Magazine 

The Mozambique/Failure to Stop Drill for the Single-action Revolver *~ Shooting Illustrated Magazine

*This is a great variant for folks who carry snubnose revolvers as well.
And the last reason to choose the Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum, several firms are offering lever-action rifles chambered in .357 Magnum. This allows the same round to feed your handgun and your long gun.

Marlin “Dark”  Series – American Hunter Magazine reviewed the Dark series here.

Taurus’  subsidiary Rossi makes several lever action rifles in .357 Magnum based on the Winchester 92 design.

(Note: 9mm cannot be fed through the rifles mentioned below and this should never be attempted! 9mm is an emergency backup option to .357 Magnum and .38 Special if those cartridges are not available, and only for use in the Blackhawk pistol.)

Covid Gardens

Just thinking that NOW would be a great time to resurrect an old book about Victory Gardens from WWII. During WW I and WW II the FedGov encouraged the people to grow their own vegetables to allow more of the commercially produced food to go to the war effort. With Covid and lockdowns, it is a good time to put some seeds in the ground to offset potential shortages coming this fall. Here’s a link to the free Kindle version of the WW II version of the How To book published by the government. Since hardware stores as classified as essential businesses, they should be a good source of seeds,

Go for the easy stuff. Don’t waste time on tomato seeds. But plants from the nursery if available. Even if you don’t have a yard, big planters are easy to buy/make and require little or no social interactions.

Stay Safe! Stay Away!

Firearms Purchases During Covid-19

Lots of articles have been written discussing the huge surge of firearms sales during the Covid-19 event. Many of the purchasers are brand new gun owners and OMG! Liberals!

Welcome newcomers to liberty and self-reliance. You will find many very friendly and helpful folks on this side of the aisle ready to get you up and running SAFELY. Just ask!

For those unfortunates still trapped in the Police States of the USA of A, some options you may not have considered. Replicas of historical percussion revolvers that cannot be loaded with cartridge ammunition fall into the “antiques” definition of the Gun Control Act of 1968 making them exempt from the normal Federal laws regarding firearms. This allows these guns to be purchased through the mail without licenses, registration, and all of that hoplophobic clap-trap foisted upon folks by useless control freaks with delusions of relevance.

SOME AREAS HAVE SPECIFIC LAWS THAT SPECIFICALLY RESTRICT ANTIQUE ARMS, SO CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS.  

The percussion revolver was patented by Samuel Colt in 1835. It was the handgun that saw the end of the western frontier, served through the War of Northern Aggression, and guarded my home for over two years after a messy divorce left my gun collection in the ex-wife’s closet and my bank account drained.

My handgun of choice at the time was a replica of the 1858 Remington New Army revolver in .44 caliber manufactured by Pietta. I was never concerned that pistol would let me down in a tight spot.

Here’s some helpful reading on the topic:

Black Powder Revolvers for Home & Self Defense from Truth About Guns

The Handbook of Modern Percussion Revolvers – Kindle Edition

Percussion Revolver Sellers

Buffalo Arms.com

MidwayUSA.com

Personal Note: I do not think much of conversion cylinders that allow cartridges to be fired through percussion revolvers. I have experimented with them, and consider them too  dangerous for use due to potential for a firing pin to be struck while inserting the cylinder in the frame of the gun. I consider this to fall into the same risk bucket as trying to speed load a percussion revolver by swapping out a loaded and capped conventional cylinder. Yes, it can be done safely, but it has an unreasonable level of accident potential.

Besides, for the money I would spend on the conversion cylinder, I could have a second pistol, and I can bring that backup pistol into play much faster than I can reload a modern Glock.

Read More here: Safety with Antique Arms

Preppers PLAN…

…because panic buying at the moment of disaster is short-sighted and usually WRONG!

COSTCO is refusing to allow TP hoarders to rollback their purchases.

Read and learn from those who have been there and done that.

Selco lived through the Bosnian conflict.

Fernando lived through the collapse of Argentina’s economy.

Once you have an idea of the kinds of things you are preparing to face, find out how to go about it.

J. W. Rawles is a wealth of info and a pretty good novelist

Dolly Freed wrote “Possum Living” back in the ’70s.

Backwoods Home is an old publication, but still quite valid.

If you really want to go old school while sill living in a house, try the Foxfire series of books.

John & Geri McPherson have two excellent books on the topic of aboriginal living.

The Hersperian Foundation offers great books on austere medicine

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0967877776/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Finally decide what you want to plan for by making a list of the potential threat events and work from the Most Likely to Least Likely to occur.  Identify the equipment and TRAINING you will need to face each one, and then create a budget to obtain the TRAINING and equipment.

Once you have the plan, follow through.

ALWAYS START WITH THE TRAINING. In every disaster you have to be prepared to be naked and alone. Equipment can always  be lost, but knowledge cannot, unless you fail to keep learning and practicing what you have learned.

https://www.amazon.com/Books-Selco-Begovic/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASelco+Begovic

https://www.amazon.com/Books-Selco-Begovic/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASelco+Begovic

https://www.amazon.com/Books-Selco-Begovic/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASelco+Begovic

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Books-Selco-Begovic/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASelco+Begovic

 

 

The Lost Traveler: Being Strung Along

Road-trippin’ through the Covid-19 Apocalypse was not the way I expected to spend the last Spring Break of the Amazon’s high school career. We faced the horror of selecting a university to flush our life savings down, so we choked down the Pepto and Imodium, threw common sense to the gutter, and saddled up the family ride for the trek Eastward.

Day 1 ended much like Season 1 of The Walking Dead in Atlanta, GA. Specifically, we stopped at the Hampton Inn & Suites Atlanta Buckhead Place, GA located at 3312 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA, 30305.  First-off Expedia’s directions were awful. Second off, the hotel shares parking with a neighboring shopping district, so they clipped us for $25 extra to park our car. In this case, booking through Expedia paid off because they covered the parking, but that fee would have been a deal killer in my book. The usual urban zombies were lurking around the garage when I parked. Made me glad to be south of The Line so my pest control options were not infringed. The room was adequate. The breakfast buffet pretty standard. We were DEFINITELY glad to leave that place behind.

Since the secondary goal of this odyssey was to have one last road trip as a family, we had planned to spend the day in Atlanta, so we made two stops.

The World of Coca-Cola was selected by the Mrs. for reasons still obscure to your humble correspondent. This place is a monument to successful marketing, and a disease pit of unbelievable scope. Lots of people packed into small spaces, not to mention the tasting room where folks can try various Coca-Cola products from around the world. It would be traumatic to a germophobe in normal times, but with Covid-19 in the air, you wanted to jump into a vat on sanitized gel and inhale deeply. If you are a genuine Coke fan, the memorabilia displays were entertaining, and the displays were well executed. The tour ends with the gift shop of course. All in all, I should have listened to my gut. Give it a miss.

On the other side of town was the Center for Puppetry Arts. This is an off the normal beat gem that more than made up for being dragged through the World of Coca-Cola. This small museum contains exhibits of historical puppets from across the world, and they offer classes in the puppetry arts.

 

The reason the Amazon chose this venue for a stop was the exhibits of Jim Henson’s characters, and artifacts from his 1982 film “The Dark Crystal” . Please do not confuse the original film with the Dark Crystal series recently released by Netflix.

StainedGlass_Kermit

Stained Glass window above entrance to the Jim Henson exhibit

 

 

The Dark Crystal exhibit was definitely worth the time. I’ll let the artifacts speak for themselves. If you are old enough to have watched the film in the theater, you know how remarkable the set and effects were. No CGI. No computers. Just practical effects went into creating a world and story that holds up to the present time.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the journey except to give a thumbnail review of the hotels where we stopped.

Drury Inn & Suites Charlotte University Place 415 West W.T. Harris Blvd, Charlotte, NC, 28262 United States of America <  >

This hotel was the best of the entire trip. We arrived in the early evening and were pleasantly surprised to find out they offer a “Kick-back Hour” that comes with your room. This included a taco/baked potato bar, Hot Dog bar, Salad bar, and two drinks from the bar. The breakfast offerings were also very good. All of the usual Southern treats like eggs, biscuits, sausage, and gravy. Makes my ol’ arteries clog just thinking back on it.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Durham Chapel Hill 3305 Watkins Road, Durham, 27707, NC, US  When I thought the hotel in Atlanta was going to be the low point of this trip, we stopped at Home 2. This is a “greenie’ enterprise promoting sustainability and healthy living. While I’m all for these ideas, the execution left a lot to be desired. The sheets on the beds were all microfiber made from “recycled materials” aka plastic. If you want to experience this for yourself, replace the sheets on your bed with vinyl shower curtains or plastic trash bags and snuggle down for the night. The breakfast offerings were little boxes of yellowish blobs that claimed to be scrambled eggs and sausage that you had to microwave. We bought some Slim Jim Meat Snacks at the gas station instead.

The nice part of this stop was an Asian confusion eatery across the parking lot called Tasu Express . A good selection of classic “Chinese food” options sold by the individual plate in a very clean and pleasant setting. Definitely worth the time to stop.

Best Western Plus Music Row 1407 Division Street, Nashville, TN, 37203 United States of America This stop was half-way between the Drury Inn and Home2. The bedspread had a big black footprint on it that proved housekeeping was less than engaged in their jobs. On the other hand, breakfast was excellent. Made to order omelets, waffles, and all of the classic Southern faves.

Stay Safe & Stay Away!

Devil Take the Hindmost!

This showed up on a news aggregator recently:
 
“The Supermassive Black Hole at The Centre of Our Galaxy Is
Becoming More Active.”
 
The tagline that accompanied it made me LMAO:
 
“THAT’S NOT WHAT BOTHERS ME, WHAT BOTHERS ME ARE ALL THE FLEEING
PUPPETEERS”
 
If you are too young, or out of the loop, to get the reference, the Puppeteers are an alien race from Larry Niven’s “Known Space” stories. While you are social distancing, pick up a copy of Ringworld. you can meet the Puppeteers, find out where the world from Halo came from, and understand the gag in the title of this post.
Stay Calm & Stay Away.
 

CES: Consumerism Enabling Stupid

Let me get this straight, (if that phrase that is still politically correct enough to be used in public). Millions of people would willingly sacrifice major organs and undergo painful experimental treatments to get out of a chair forced upon them by injury, disability, or disease. Now the idiots at #Segway want to put EVERYONE in chairs…

I thought them folks was ‘posed to be the “smart” ones. Guess they’d best go back to watching cartoons and leave problem solvin’ to the ijits.

 

SegwayPod
To be fair, if this device can benefit those in chairs for legitimate reasons, go forth and conquer, but I see this ending up like the horror from the movie WALL-E.

“We’re All In This Together Kid…”

What happens when Terry Gilliam of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame takes on George Orwell’s classic 1984 ?

Brazil 

Brazil_Poster

Jonathan Pryce plays Sam Lowry, a bumbling shade of Orwell’s Winston, a man who actually enjoys being the smartest man in his little corner of the behemoth idiocratic government filled with paranoids, Party members, and quislings all sharing an obsession with tiny screens that play an endless parade of classic films, but absolutely nothing that could bring the actions of the government or society at large into question.

All is well and the Christmas season is in full swing when the swatting of a fly turns into the SWAT-ing of an innocent man who is arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist, and who dies while undergoing interrogation. The dead man has been erroneously charged for government expenses related to his own imprisonment and interrogation under a new program promoted as a way to ease the tax burden of the war on terror.

Sam Lowry gets sucked out of his comfortable shell when a refund check made out to the dead man arrives in his boss’s office. The refund means an error was made somewhere, and everyone is scrambling to avoid the blame. The error snowballs, with Sam trapped in the middle until he is accused of being a terrorist himself and ultimately lands in the interrogator’s chair.

Brazil_Interrogation

As a last act of desperation, Sam escapes into his last place of refuge, his fantasies.

Brazil_escape

“He’s got away from us Jack.”

Most folks have their favorite holiday movie that has been watched so many times it has become a tradition to annoy their children and relatives with. “It’s a Wonderful Life”  with Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey is probably one of the most popular next to “Miracle on 34th Street“.

The prescience of Mr. Gilliam’s vision is far more apropos in the current climate of “cancellation”, “deplatforming”, the renewal of the Patriot Act, FBI officers committing fraud before the FISA court, the existence of the FISA court itself, out of control government spending, and the scorched earth politics of our times.

All of the madness is thinly hidden behind the tattered wrapping of the Holiday Season. The endless ongoing exchange of meaningless gifts by over-leveraged people playing a senseless game for years on end because its “tradition”. Its enough to drive one mad…

 

I cannot help dreaming of my own escape to a Happy Place…

Brazil_Cabin_Scene

Brazil really IS a Christmas movie because it reminds me that even with all of the social unpleasantness and objectionable people one might encounter during the holiday season, we can always turn off the screens, walk away from the objectionables, and escape into a happy place with a good book.

If anyone knows a hungry literary agent, I have some great escapism just waiting to be published.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Lost Traveler – Five-Sixty, Where Wolfgang Pucked Up

Once in a lifetime experiences come in two forms. The first are things you only want/get to try once, and things you NEVER want to repeat. Five-Sixty by Wolfgang Puck Is definitely a combination of the two.

The occasion was the 18th birthday of the Amazon that lives at my house. The Mrs. wanted to gift her a really cool experience, and a rotating restaurant sitting atop Reunion Tower offering a genuine panoramic view of Big D seemed ideal.

The food was excellent. Starters were the “Texas Wagyu  Wontons” and “Tamarind Glazed Baby Back Ribs”. Both were tasty, but the ribs were the hands down faves. The Mrs. had the “Wok Fried Whole Red Snapper”. This presentation of this dish deserves a bit of elaboration. The fish is very lightly battered and fried. So lightly you can still see the red-orange color of the fish beneath the batter. Then the fillets are split from the dorsal side and the fish mostly deboned between the head and tail. The fish is placed belly-side down and the veggies ar inserted between the fillets. Absolutely beautiful. The Mrs. said she thoroughly enjoys it, and for those wondering, she only found five or six small bones. No problem for anyone who enjoys fish from places other than fast food outlets.

The Amazon and I each had the Szechuan Beef Filet “Au Poivre” serves with wild mushrooms. The fillets are seared with black pepper and served with thin sliced garlic and chilies on top. Nice bit of bite, but nothing to put one in discomfort.

The ladies shared a bowl of Crab Fried Rice from which your humble correspondent abstained because I know that eating seafood is the cause of all airline disaster films, and being a busy travel weekend, I did not want to put the flying public at additional risk. In any case, the rice was enjoyed with gusto.

The service was top-notch as is to be expected in an organization of this caliber. Josh and Jose were our team, and they made our evening. Since the service team knew we were celebrating a birthday, the Amazon’s baked Alaska arrived with a lit candle and “Happy Birthday” written on the plate in white icing. The Mrs. enjoyed a Mizo ice cream and Chocolate Mousse tort. Both dishes were well received.

Total tab for the three of us came to $325, again, in line with expectations. It was a once in a lifetime experience after all, and that brings me to the thing that insures I will never be in that restaurant again.

Five-Sixty is built inside a large glass cylinder. The glass observation windows are smooth reflective surfaces. The opposing walls are smooth wood paneling. The noise level in the restaurant was oppressive. My family could not hear one another speak across the table at a normal tone of voice, much less the subdued tones expected in a top-shelf restaurant. I was forced to lip-read Josh as he described the dishes on offer. and struggled to answer our questions. The result of this issue was my order for “Two Szechuan Beef Filets” was lost in translation as the Amazon and I would split a fillet. The meal was delivered accordingly, and once we politely yelled at each other loudly enough to get things sorted out, my filet was rushed through, and served with many effuse apologies.

I do not blame the service team in any way. It was simply the noise level in the place prevented my order from being herd correctly, and this is ridiculous because the restaurant was barely half-full.

A few white noise devices strategically placed would solve this problem. This is the same technology used in noise canceling headphones popular with air travelers. My employer uses them in our call center, and even during the height of activity two people can conduct a conversation in normal tone of voice, and be heard without disturbing others nearby.

So, visit Five-Sixty. Take your noise canceling headphone and some small white boards so you don’t have to keep asking for cocktail napkins to have a conversation until Wolfgang gets this un-Pucked.

Be safe out there!