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If you can’t be handsome, be handy.

In Be a Guy, Did You See This?, Tool Kit on August 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

True story…

Wednesday my buddy sends me this picture.

And asks if I know what it is…

Which I don’t. It fell off his kitchen faucet hose.

And he follows up with “do you know any plumbers….”

And that night I’m up under the sink…

Thursday I’m on line

Friday I’m back under the sink and don’t ask…

But the faucet is working.

Sunday I’m over there to eat dinner and he mentions the dishwasher still isn’t getting water, but he has a plumber coming on Monday.. and I holler at one of his sons and get back under the sink and turn that valve..

And over dinner Peter tells my girlfriend about how well he set me up.

You know what they say?

If you can’t be handsome, be handy…


In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on August 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm

IPhoto Jul 27, 8 29 11 AM purchased the shotgun shown here as a just divorced gift to myself, just for the hell of it. Vaguely I thought it might come in handy if I ever were to find myself in brown bear country (I didn’t worry back then about civil unrest). replaced the furniture with a Magpul stock and for end for comfort and installed an oversized safety button because i have arthritis in my hands. I can put slugs on a paper plate, with it, at 50 yards; the slugs are both store-bought and from shells I load. I find banging away with this to be cathartic and just plain fun. I also get a giggle out of being a 2A liberal. One of the specific selling points to this Mossberg was the ghost ring sight.

More and more Red Dot Sights are transitioning from rare and expensive to utilitarian so I decided I’d give them a try. But I’m cheap and I’ve been waiting for the prices to drop. At $ 25- I decided to give the Fieldsport a try.  I did not want to remove the factory sights so I had to modify the firearm to install a short rail section on which to mount the sight. Every tool is a kit; hammer handles need fitting, knives need sharpening and guns need tweaking.  The process was not difficult, I’ve got 50 years of puttering behind me. It did require some workarounds. None of my transfer punches was the correct diameter to match the whole in the rail and I had to shorten one of the screws. it would have gone more quickly and smoothly if I had a mill- but I’m not sure the outcome would have been significantly improved.

Photo Jul 16, 5 36 08 PM

Photo Jul 16, 5 36 04 PMPhoto Jul 16, 6 25 53 PMPhoto Jul 16, 6 35 40 PMPhoto Jul 16, 6 51 18 PMPhoto Jul 26, 1 53 57 PM (1)Photo Jul 26, 2 01 15 PMPhoto Jul 26, 4 15 09 PMPhoto Jul 27, 8 28 34 AMPhoto Jul 27, 8 29 05 AMPhoto Jul 27, 8 29 11 AM




Boys Brains

In Be a Guy, Did You See This?, Mobile Updates on May 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I’m a 12 yr old at heart.
59 years old and I see this picture on the sidewall of an out of business store on 7th Ave. out of the corner of my eye.

And it registers.

And I back up and take the photo.
And I post it.
And I snicker.


Swiss Army Knife

In Did You See This?, Tool Kit on November 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

  For 90% of the cutting I do a 1/4″ blade would suffice.
A good rule of thumb for knife use is to use the shortest blade that will get the job done- unless you have a small dick you don’t need to pull out a 6 1/2″ blade to cut the tape on a package.

After 50 years of pocket knife carrying I’ve learned

1- you will cut yourself

2- the less blade there is, the less damage done when you make a mistake.

Did this, this afternoon, cutting a cable tie and trying not to cut the cable it was holding.

I just divorced my wife. What should I do?

In Be a Guy, Did You See This?, Mobile Updates on November 23, 2015 at 9:53 am

  • Drink milk directly from the carton.
  • Buy a case of toilet paper and not worry about that for 2 years.
  • Buy a crock pot and learn to use it.
  • Open the medicine chest and stare in amazement at the open shelves.
  • Climb into the shower and luxuriate in how uncluttered it is.
  • Know how sharp the blade in your razor is going to be.
  • Clean fire arms at the kitchen table.
  • Store ammunition in the dining room buffet.
  • Find your clothes in the closet.
  • Store your bicycle in the living room.
  • Control the TV remote- traditionally you should also buy an oversized TV.
  • Sleep with the number of blankets that works for you.
  • Don’t eat Thanksgiving with your AHole in-laws.
  • Make a list of what you want in a relationship- you should already have the “what I won’t put up with” list complete.
  • Date or don’t date.

Look forward to when you are not doing about 1/2 of the items above- because you’re living with someone again.

Question for Open Carry Advocates: What if Muslims Start Doing It?

In Tool Kit on December 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

I know where I stand on equal protection under the laws….
The language is straight forward and unambiguous.
And I know I’ve been boo’d for suggesting that the history of gun control laws in the US is rooted in rascism.
So I’m curious to hear what others think about this piece that appears, online, at AllOutdoor by Jon Stokes.
Question for Open Carry Advocates: What if Muslims Start Doing It? |
I’d suggest you read and think about Jon’s article before weighing in.
Been thinking about this for a bit, last year I set my heart on a new shotgun, a true SHTF (Shit Hits the Fan) if you had to walk through the Zombie Apocalypse with one firearm what would it be? So I started visiting various gun stores and the fact is I dislike a lot of the people in a lot of gun stores. I don’t like targets with UBL’s face or Terrorist Hunting License stickers…
So I asked a guy I know who wears Ramones’ TShirts and buys and sells antique arms about stores. He recommended a place, I went down there, filled out the paperwork and headed home with my combat shottie. He asked what I thought and I told him “I like a gun store with people who look like the crowd everywhere else and there are no Southern Swastikas” ….

From the article;

“What I also wonder is if those who are pushing for open carry, or “constitutional carry” as they’re now calling it, have thought this through. This isn’t a rhetorical question; I’m really dying to know.
And not only is it not a rhetorical question, but it’s not a theoretical question, either, because this will happen. Part of the impetus behind gun control laws in the 70′s was the fact that the Black Panthers were the original “open carry” advocates, and the sight of black radicals walking around openly armed contributed greatly to public support for gun control laws. In describing this phenomenon of the late 60′s, lefty historian Rick Perlstein writes:
Things shifted, of course, when the Panthers started patrolling rich white neighborhoods, including the one where a right-wing supporter of Ronald Reagan in the state assembly, Don Mulford, lived. When the assembly debated Mulford’s subsequent bill to ban the carrying of loaded firearms in public places, Panthers strolled onto the floor of the state assembly fully armed. The Mulford Act passed right quick after that—and, ironically, one of the nation’s first high-profile gun control laws was signed by Governor Ronald Reagan.
So again, I ask, what happens not just to open carry but to the current wave of support for looser gun laws, when avowed revolutionaries tool up and tell white America to “come and take it?””
– See more at: Question for Open Carry Advocates: What if Muslims Start Doing It? |


What Do You Need to Do?

In Be a Guy, Did You See This? on May 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Rick O. Smith, 43, of rural Morgan County, has been identified by police as the shooting suspect. (Courtesy/Illinois State Police)

So, in the head of Rick O. Smith something gets switched to overload and he kills five people in rural Manchester, IL or maybe six, , because one of the victims, the Mommy, was pregnant. For whatever reason he goes into the house and kills Grandma, Mom & Dad and their 2 sons. He also wounds the daughter a six year old. All in he shoots something like 2% of the population of this small town. Before jumping in his car to catch his appointment with “suicide by police” he gathers up this poor child “the girl who lived”, takes her to a neighbor’s and asks them to get her to the hospital.

I really don’t care what went wrong with Rick- there is no “reason” for doing this. There may be causes that got him to that terrible day, but there is no rational decision tree along which he travelled. I’m sure there are readers who are raising their hands because they know the answer; “Toxic Masculinity”.
If there is such a kernel in Men’s Brains then isn’t it possible that there is a competing pith causing them to do good.

What went through Smith’s mind as he contemplated the horror of his recent actions and reacted by carrying the little girl to safety? How closely related was the wiring that had him do this good deed to the impulses of the West Texas firemen who who donned their turnouts aware that they probably wouldn’t be around for breakfast?
How could the evil and the sublime co-exist in Rick O. Smith during the same heartbeat?
Did the sane thought “This Is What You Need to Do” register as it passed through his frantic mind.


What Are You Able to Do?

In Be a Guy, Did You See This?, Yes, You are a Wimp on April 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm

This companion piece to “What Are You Prepared to Do”  that the Publisher of The Good Men Project Lisa Hickey requested was prepared  Friday Afternoon April 19. I roughed it out and Lisa and Justin Cascio, my regular editor and unlikely friend, made it something– I was working and then attending an event in which my eldest son was playing. Lisa was standing at the finish line waiting for her daughter to complete the Boston Marathon midway between the two bombs and was awoken Friday morning by the shootout in Waterton in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

It does not escape me that it is one hell of a compliment to be asked to contribute to the GMP effort of covering this story.

TrainLast week I wrote a piece—What Are You Prepared to Do?— in which I talked about my first real boss, who had as much influence on me as any Scout Master, teacher or coach. He taught me to drive, run machines, and sell the sizzle, not the steak. He was retired from the US Coast Guard and he taught me, actually drilled into me, that in an emergency you either walk towards it or away from trouble.

He taught me this because I ran after a tag line that had slipped from another worker’s grasp during a tree trimming operation, tripped luckily and didn’t get crushed by a few hundred pounds of arbor falling 50 feet.

His explanation was that if you can’t reach out and grab the problem you will have to move to deal with it.

If you are walking towards the problem you will have time to analyze what is going on without having to worry about your footing. If you are walking away you have the footing advantage and the benefit of not running into someone or something while glancing back over your shoulder.

But you have to move: Lead, Follow or Get the F*** out of the way. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

This advice has served me well in a lifetime spent around construction sites and other sketchy situations.

I have rudimentary First Aid, conflict, fire fighting and structural problem skills, I’ve had to deal with dangerous wild animals that walk and crawl, killed some, scared some off and walked away from others. I’ve worked on these skills when the chance arose. I’m not a survivalist, but post 9/11 I kept a flat bar, mask, gloves, parachute cord, and duct tape in my bag for a few years.

When I post a picture of a road kill I’ve picked up and people ask me why, I’ll sometimes explain that it is to practice for when I have to pick up something dead. Similarly, I’ve put down various domestic and wild animals injured by cars, in addition to the game I’ve taken. I recently opted to crazy glue a wound on my hand closed rather than go get sutures—mostly to see if I could—and I posted those pics on FB, too.

I don’t know what it is I would have done at the Boston Marathon.

I do know what I did in a dorm fire, at various auto accidents, when I was involved in a scaffold collapse, and on the site of building collapse. I know what I did to a purse snatcher, and to an armed robber with his back to me.

Three summers ago, on the Monday after July 4th, a man dropped dead on the platform of the #1 train. I saw him go down like a puppet with his strings cut, just as I’ve seen deer and dogs fall when shot through the head. I started making my way towards him as a man stepped up and announced, “I am a fireman and I am certified in CPR,” and as a woman walked over and stated, “I am a registered nurse and I will assist.” Another woman said aloud, “I am going up stairs to the token booth and then to the street to call the cops.” I watched this drama unfolding for a few moments—one of the two shook her head at the other and noticed that the victim’s legs were hanging over the edge of the platform.

I walked over and announced “I am nothing, but his legs are hanging over the platform and it is going to suck if a train pulls in.” The fireman at his head looks at me, nods his head, the nurse leans back from his chest and I grab the poor guy by the shoulders of his blazer, pull him to the center of the platform as the heroes knee walk after us, stand up, and step back. A few minutes later the cops come barreling down the stairs with a stretcher board and I walked away to the next exit. There was nothing more that I could add to the situation than morbid curiosity.

The time to decide what you’re able to do—what you can do, what you’re willing to do—is before the question needs answering. That being said, none of us really know what we can do until we have to do it. As an old Irish man once said, “It’s a hard world, and on occasion, we are called upon to prove that.”


How Do You Know How to Do What You Do?

In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on April 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

SpliceMy friend informs me that the most obnoxious phrase in my lexicon is ”Let me tell/show you how the big boys do it.”

There are acts we perform we cannot unattach from the memory of the man who taught us it and a certainty that we know how to do it correctly.

Hitting a golf ball, digging a hole, parking a car, loading a gun, planing a board and casting a lure are all activities that have me
channelling a mentor.

What do you do that is forever a tribute to a teacher?

In the course of my day I had the opportunity to discuss my concept of the “stick gene” which moved me a long way towards my belief that there is a very real difference between men and women and it is nature not nurture. The “stick gene” observation is based upon my Irish Twins. My daughter first emerged to walk the yard and picked up a few sticks and carried them or but them down with indifference, my son picked up a stick and wailed hell out of a bush the first chance he got, he jabbed the stick into the ground and found another and built a rudimentary something. My observations came about in discussing the emasculation of young men and their ultimate frustration arising from the dampening of the “stick gene” and that men cannot be fulfilled without expressing their innate “do” urge…..
You dudes are missing your stick genes- or something as prosaic as discussing what you do rather than expressing your deep thoughts and grand ideas is boring.
I mark a board for trimming by running a finger & pencil scribe and think of Ray Curry.
I put on a bandaid & think of Uncle Ed.
I sharpen and carry a pocket knife and think of my Dad who never carried a pocket knife but taught me to.
I load a revolver and think of Jim Keeling, born in a tent in a mining camp,where his father was the law.
I sight a rifle and think of Tom Kudrowski who learned the business in the SE Asia games.
I flick a zippo & think of a thug named Donnie.
I put a wrench on a bolt on a car & think about Cass Smith and breaking bolts.
I tie a knot and think of Frank Powdrell & Art Burbick- Scout Masters.
I trust a young guy and think about school disciplinarian Art Russo.
I coach wrestling and channel Marty Jacobsen, Lacrosse and think of Kal Wynot & Red Wylie, Soccer and that jerk I couldn’t stand.
I coached baseball and thought of that asshole in the mirrored aviators berating me.
I ease up on the clutch and think of John Evans as I do when I run any two or four stroke engine.
I plane a door & set the hinges and think of how much better at it I became than that smug Paul Bowles.
I foot a column of numbers on an AIA703 and think of Michelle Williams who taught me the term foot.
I love my dog without cutesy BS & baby talk and think of Victor Roggio.
I see a pitch fork and think of Victor’s Native American buddy who killed a red neck with one for trifling with his sister and then returned to the real world from prison to capture wild horses and build carriages.
if I ever nut another steer in this life I will think of Jack Stroh, similarly if I ever shoot another rattle snake I will thing of Jim keeling and if I ever roll a joint again I will think of Chuck Novack the Polish Pope.
If I ever pluck out a bartender’s eye I will think of long gone Jerry the Seal who I saw do that.
If I change a diaper again I will think of my Mother who taught me that chore and how to sew, iron, make stuffing & prepare a turkey dinner.
If I ever sing again in public I will think of Art O’Hanlon who wanted my early changed voice in choir and whose invitation fell on my deaf ears.
When I fold my shirt cuffs it is into my sleeves, more secure and safe from chalk dust as Bob Cressey taught me.
If I put my thoughts to paper, or keyboard, I think of the Real Ken Follett.

PS April 2013

I saw a man today who I met 50 years ago. He was the older brother of a classmate and I was terrified of him. Today he is a tiny Buddhist, who led chants, at his Father’s wake.
I had reason to think of him last month when I had use for an axe on a stump; Mark taught me and Paul to sharpen a Boy Scout hatchet which he probably threw at us like Ed Ames…..
He showed us the file & whet stone method, I used an angle grinder and a belt sander– but I still honored him…

This is taken from a poorly received piece I did at the GMP where 1/2 the readers think a set screw is choreographed sex.

What Are YOU Prepared To Do?

In Be a Guy, Fleshed Out Tweets, Yes, You are a Wimp on April 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

From NYTIMESHmmmmm.

Police Now Advise Assertive Response to Mass Attacks

Of course they do…

Gallant thinks it is because the authorities realize that they can’t be everywhere at once, that there were cops on site when Columbine, Tucson and Ft Hood started, that if the rule of law worked the judge you saw in traffic court wouldn’t have a carry permit.

Goofus thinks it is because most cops count on being struck by lightning before they have to draw their weapons on duty and that they are more interested in their vinyl siding business, putting in their 20 and retiring with medical then they are in shooting it out with some kook.

So maybe you better remember the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”; oh and good luck. If you wait for a killing to become mass, to consider an action plan, to contemplate the morality of braining someone with a ketchup bottle, you are too late. If you act earlier on your suspicions you are the NYCPD doing stop and frisk or George Zimmerman and are probably at fault.

Do it in school and chances are you’re disciplined- if not suspended.

Do it on the street and chances you’re sued.

Do it in the subway and you’re a racist who can’t find any peace like Bernie Goetz.

Do it at all and you risk getting branded as some kind of toxic-macho aggressor.

Be a toxic- macho fool who can’t mind his own business & you shoot Trevon Martin.

My first real boss was retired from the Coast Guard “We get paid to go out, not to come home”.  He taught me that you move in a crisis; either towards it or away; me I suggest moving away from gunshots.  He would have laughed at the Steubenville first responders who are all stressed out at having to see bodies.  Well too bad for you, sometimes it isn’t all swagger and lights & sirens, I hate it too when I have to do my job.

The dirty little secret of the Columbine shooting is that the police were behind Fire Trucks & Ambulances waiting for some other guy to go in and do the job for which they were hired as children and teachers bled out. Hillary Clinton was visiting my children’s elementary school while Columbine went down and the school went into complete lockdown while waiting for Marine One to whisk her away. Shortly afterwards I sat my kids down and explained they were under no circumstance ever to stick around for another lockdown- break a window, lay coats or books over the glass and head for the hills. Of course the Jefferson County cops may very well have shot a few students fleeing the school they were so dysfunctional that day.

The lesson of 911 might be that only 25% of Americans could get organized to fight back. Todd Beamer was a rugby player- so by definition he made football players look like wimps and practiced a proto-heteronormative masculinity by playing a contact sport- but he was able to use his faith & his team working experience to save, probably, other lives.

The dirty little secret of the Colin Ferguson LIRR shooting is that Ferguson reloaded magazines, not swapped out mags, but pushed bullets into the magazine for his pistol while the other riders waited for the authorities to do something. Nobody took a ball point and stabbed him in the eye, ear or neck. Eventually, passengers did rush & overcome Ferguson when the police didn’t show up. But bodies did stack up waiting for the authorities. [Full disclosure; the night of this shooting my phone rang several times and the callers said “Good you’re home”. I had no idea that this had occurred on my train line.]

So what is a Good Man of vetted liberal credentials to do, a guy who agrees that post Steubenville & Torrington football should be outlawed? How can a man who believes it when told that physical aggression is an extension of toxic-masculinity pick up the slack while waiting for the cops? It’s tough to toe the line and admire Anonymous taking things into their own hands- unless you can include physical action in your solution tree to physical confrontation.  It is all a slippery slope. Maybe you can see yourself speaking up to a line cutter or grabbing a fire extinguisher. Now try and grasp the basic theory behind gun ownership “when seconds count and the police are minutes away, what are you going to do?”  Are you stuck with the logical progression of the fight back argument- who wants to show up at a gun fight with an umbrella?

The problem, with the escalation of too many incidents, is that increasingly we just don’t know how to fight. In a world of zero tolerance the will and ability to fight back is stripped; we’ve been programming boys away from it for the past 40 years.  This is the Good Men Project here, so let’s talk about men and boys. Where every push or poke is bullying how one does develop the skill set of fighting? You don’t learn to street fight in the dojo, you may learn some techniques that might work in a fight in a sterile situation, but until you’ve busted a guy in the mouth while he is still talking smack you haven’t fought. Until you’ve had your eye opened and your knuckles busted you don’t know what you can do and more importantly how you can carry on hurt.   The next best thing to schoolyard fighting is competitive contact sports if one wants to learn to react instantaneously to violence.  This week that much maligned male “the Football Jock” stepped in in a timely manner.That would be sports with winners and losers, bumps and bruises. I’ll go on record now I’d rather be kicked by a Tiger Schulman disciple that booted by a soccer player.

The rest of the world isn’t worried about participation ribbons. A few million kids got out of bed this morning and hoped that someday they will kill a kid just like yours.

Children the age of your little darling woke up in Asia, Africa and South America grabbed their Kalashnikov and went to work.

A few thousand troubled souls awoke this morning, right here in the US, planning on raping your child or shooting up a public place.

Years ago I had to face that I am not brave enough to be a pacifist. A few years later I came to understand what I disliked about my mother’s favorite novelist- Pat Conroy, I disagreed with his message that it is better to live on your knees than to die on your feet. The only promise she ever asked of me was not to be a cop or a fireman as she was convinced I would run into a burning building. The piece I did about Walking into a Bucket of Blood was interpreted by some as funny- it was a serious piece told in a jocular manner. Threat assessment is a good habit every day and every place.

Dan McKown was prepared at the Tacoma Mall and is in a wheelchair because he fought fair, because he didn’t practice total war.

As Sean Connery asked Kevin Costner in “The Untouchables” “What are your prepared to do?”


Ultimately the end of the Boston situation came about due to a civilian.
“Then one man emerged from his home and noticed blood on the pleasure boat parked in his backyard. He lifted the tarp and found the wounded 19-year-old college student known the world over as Suspect No. 2.”

Another version of this was first published at


What if Kidnapper’s Neighbor Had Just Walked Away?



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