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Well, it’s been something like, 3 years since I’ve posted on here.  It’s been for no lack of desire, or even lack of subject material–rather, life has been somewhat…  Different for me.  Health and work and school and family, all that.

Having said that, I hope to be back in the saddle as it were.  I’ve much to talk about, much to discuss, much to bring to your attention and perhaps, just maybe, make you think.

I make no bones about the fact I’m about as regular and reliable as the weather in which I live, and postings will come and go at my musings.  Life comes first and foremost.  My faith, family (and friends), and job, then my fun.

One thing of important note before I sign off this post–I am now an ordained minister.  That’s right, now, not only am I the Six Gun Saint, I’m the REVEREND Six Gun Saint.  A legit, ordained preacher.

Y’all take care now, I’m out for the time being.

~SGS

Ya know, in the spirit of my last post, here’s another lost art:

THE SHAVE.

Once upon a time, a man took a certain kind of pride in his look.  Today, at least in MY generation, unless he’s out peacockin’, it’s like he don’t give a rat’s arse one way ort’oher on how he looks.  Just wear any ol’ thang, any ol’ deodorant, any ol’ shaving implement…

Not for me, mates.  Not for me.

Fact is, there was a time I was like my Neanderthalic brethren-didn’t care what I was wearing, so long as it kept me from getting a ticket for indecent exposure-may or may not have combed my hair, and shaved with whatever was next to the sink in the morning.

My face paid the price, too.

Oh, sure, you can say “that’s because you were using chintzy disposable razors, Six Gun!”  And you’d be partly right.  I DID tend to lean more towards the disposable-cheaper, for one, and for two, after 3 blades, you’re really just mangling your face.

Here’s the thing:  Safety Razors give one of the best shaves a man can get-there’s a reason they’re still sold EVERY DAY, and there is a reason people still go to the barber to get a nice HOT shave with a STRAIGHT Razor.

They do the job BETTER.

I’ve found that modern cartridge razors don’t SHAVE your face so much as RIP THE HAIR OUT of your flesh.  The so-called “Shaving Gel” GOOP that you put on your face does nothing to give a good lather, standing the hairs up proper so the razor can clip ’em (that’s why you need more blades on a cart, at least why I THINK it is).  Hell, I don’t even know a person CURRENTLY that owns a shaving BRUSH!  

I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that a fair few of my peers (probably more’n 50%) don’t even know what a shaving brush IS!  (Hipsters excluded-if they DO shave, they probably use a safety razor to be “Ironic”)

What am I driving at, then, you wonder?

Simply this:

If you’re a HUMAN, take pride in your appearance.  Sure, to get a PROPER shave (not just lather up and go against the grain), it takes time.  And concentration.  And DEDICATION.  But you need to take some friggin’ pride.  I’m not saying waistcoats and trousers everywhere you go (although that’s CERTAINLY fine-that’s my preferred threads), but don’t look like you just came off of a three-day bender and woke up in a pile of pizza boxes.

And to close with, some tips ON shaving:

Don’t shave against the grain to start-don’t do it.  Shave WITH the grain, the CROSS grain.  IF AND ONLY IF you feel you need a closer shave (ask your girlfriend/wife to check-if you’re using a safety razor, you WON’T), THEN you shave against the grain.

Use shaving SOAP, not gel.  Apply it with a boar or badger bristle brush.  TRUST ME, YOU WILL NEVER USE GEL AGAIN.

Go ahead and take the plunge, get a safety razor!

And no, SINGLE BLADED DISPOSABLE RAZORS ARE NOT EQUAL TO A MERKUR 38C!!!  I have been shaving for YEARS, and never cut myself ONCE (even with a safety razor!), but when I used a Bic Single Blade Disposable, I cut my face ALL to hell.

So, in closing-Shave like you mean it.

Lost Arts

In today’s world of instant gratification, email, Facebook, and all that…  It seems to me PERSONALITY, and the HUMAN aspect of things sometimes (well, more often than not, really) gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the here and NOW.

How many people actually still take time to write a letter?  Send an invitation through the mail?  Something OTHER than Christmas cards?

I did just now.  As some of my readers know, my birthday is at the end of this month.  I have just stuffed my mailbox with hand written, personalized to each person, invitations to a small soiree.  Nothing fancy, not even on REAL stationary (very hard to find these days, I’m afraid).

I even took the time to RSVP to a FACEBOOK invite via “Snail Mail.”

It seems to me that the personality behind it all doesn’t come through as much via the internet, with these instant transmissions.  Email, while a wonderful option if you’ve no other form of communication (I spent the early part of my relationship with my wife exchanging emails-all of which I still have, and cherish), there’s just something about getting a real, honest-to-God LETTER in the mail.

Besides, who doesn’t check the mail every day, hoping that SOMEONE sent them something that’s not a bill or junk mail (redundant, I know)?

Look, I’m not the best guy in the world-I’m not even a great guy.  But do me this-if you’ve someone you really care about, a friend, a family member, even a coworker-take the time to put your thoughts on paper with a pen, and spend the $0.46 on a stamp.  Hell, go one better-get two stamps, and go ahead and send an envelope along with it, so that bit of hassle is off of the recipient!

I dunno, mates…  I just really feel that some things that are lost, should never have been.

Bug Out Bags

Well, my last blog post got an overwhelmingly positive response on my Facebook page (just wish they’d have posted some of those comments HERE! 😉 ), and it sparked the question “What about a Bug Out Bag?” 

I’ve got to be honest-that’s one hell of a loaded question. People have opinions on that subject like everything, and just like the Fender vs. Gibson, Ford vs. Chevy, and New Orleans Saints vs. Any Other Team argument, things can get pretty heated. 

I’m going to open up with what Wikipedia says, then I’m going to tell you what *I* think. Y’all can take from it what’cha will. 

Now, Wikipedia says you need enough food and water for 72 hours (in the US, it’s around a gallon per person per day), a first aid kit, something to start fire with, maps and whatnot, camping gear, appropriate clothes, bedding, medications (and medical records), battery or crank radio, lighting, firearms, cash, ID, Knife, tape, rope, tarps, pellet gun, wire, and a compass. 

Sorry that’s just a list of stuff there, but that’s basically what most B.O.B. “Instructions” are. 

As far as *I* care, the B.O.B. is one of those things that don’t rightly follow a hard and fast rule. It’s something that’s to get you and yours from point A to point B in the event of an emergency. It’s something you grab on your way out the door when the F5 is moving in. And while I believe in being prepared, I also believe in being able to CARRY it! 

First off, and often overlooked is the actual BAG. Military Surplus is a great way to go-they’re rugged, and usually inexpensive. If you’ve got the money, I say splurge on a good bag. I’m not pushing any particular brand, but suffice to say you get what you pay for. 

Next up is everything I listed in the previous article. I’m not talking about just tossing your E.D.C. fanny pack/pouch into your B.O.B., although you’ll want to do that too-I’m talking about duplicates of everything. Redundancy. It’s always a good thing. I’m not saying have two high-end multitools (although that’s certainly an option), but I AM saying have another first aid kit, extra protein bars, water, all that. 

Add in the required food/water/fire starting stuff (I would suggest USCG Certified Ration Bars-between 2400 and 3600 calories per bar, light weight, and tasty!), a light tent (or Google the “Alpha Tent” and just use your poncho-that’s what I do), and a good sleeping bag system (including either a tarp or a good bedroll-TRUST ME)… Increase the size of your fishing kit, add in some snare wire, and a firearm.

 Yes, I said a firearm. I personally have a RIA 1911 .45 ACP. I’m also looking at getting a Henry AR-7 Brushgun .22LR. I did like the Wiki’s suggestion on a pellet gun or a slingshot. 

As far as rope goes, 550 paracord is the best. You can throw some in your bag, around your bag, or get one of those fancy survival belts. 

Extra clothes are a must, appropriate for the season. My bag has two pair of BDU trousers, and the shirts I change out with the season. I’d stay away from cotton, just because when it gets wet, it takes FOR EVER to dry out. Wool boot socks are a must, as well as an extra pair of boots/shoes (in addition to the sturdy pair you’ll Get Out of Dodge in). One trick I’m about to look into is vacuum sealing the clothes, so they take up less space, AND stay dryer better. The plan is to take those vacuum seal bags they have on TV (you know the ones), and pack one outfit per bag. IF I can shrink ’em down, I may throw in three to four changes of clothes. 

I think that’s about it as far as I’m concerned. Yeah, have some maps if you can, and a compass is a must if you have the maps (take some orientation courses first-learn to properly use each piece of gear in your bag!), but don’t go OVERBOARD with the maps. Some sort of notebook and pen/pencil are good, too-a mate pointed out that in a stressful situation, you won’t remember everything, so use it as a logbook. 

Probably the only SPECIFIC gear I suggest is a kukri knife, and a spear. The knife is smaller than a machete, and just as useful. The spear is a good walking staff, and can be used for hunting as well. Incidentally, those are also the items I get called out on the most. 

Of course, there’s other stuff you can throw in, survival saws, hatchets, 3oz tents, the list goes on, and on. I’d also suggest some of those “Survival Kits in a Sardine Can” things, just so you’ve got a smattering of basics covered. 

The one thing though, BUILD YOUR FIRST AID KIT. I said it in the last article, and I’m saying it here! Prebuilt first aid kits are an OK start, but fact is, they’re mostly filled with stuff you’ll never use, and not nearly enough of the stuff you DO use. 

So, basically, the B.O.B. Can be a larger version of the E.D.C., just adding in gear to keep you going for 72 hours. 

You can make it larger and it’s a “I’m Not Coming Home” bag, smaller and it’s a “Get-Home” bag, basically make it work for you. 

The ULTIMATE KEY is to test it, and find what works. Your B.O.B. should ALWAYS be evolving, changing, and adapting to your situation, and what your particular needs may be. Your bag for a Spring Tornado would be different than that for a Blizzard would be different than that for an Earthquake would be different than that for a Flood. 

I hope that helps. Please, leave comments on what YOU think should go into the bag.

 And holy crap, that ended up being nearly two typed pages… That’s… Well… I’m pleased!

Well folks, if this don’t drive home what I’ve said for years (not on 
this blog, this blog is practically brand new), nothing will.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50457495/ns/local_news-kansas_city_mo/t/father-sons-die-while-hiking-missouri/

In the linked article, there’s a story of a Retired USAF Vet (and apparently “Expert” Hiker/Outdoorsman) who went hiking with two of is sons and the family dog. Things got ugly real quick when he took a wrong turn, it started raining, and it got dark. While this is a serious tragedy, and my heart and prayers goes out to his wife and surviving children, I would like to take the opportunity to explain to my readers and friends (yeah, I self-promote on my Facebook Page, full disclosure) how to maybe prevent this type of thing from happening to them, or someone they care about.

Let me start by saying I do believe fully in being prepared. I mean, for any situation that may come up. That’s a central theme I try to live my life by. It’s saved me more than once in the past, what’s more.

Now, on to the meat of the real issue: This fella’s kit. The article is less than specific as to what gear the trio had with them-only mentioning a “Light jacket.”

Well, that’s all well and good, IF YOU’RE HAVING A BRISK WALK IN YOUR LOCAL PARK.

You’re up on the Mountain, people. The Mountain does not forgive. The Mountain does not take prisoners. The Mountain does not bend to your will, or your needs. The Mountain is as cold and unforgiving as the granite that makes it’s base.

I don’t care if you’re thinking you’re going to take the 3 hour trail and be back in time for afternoon tea-fact is, things go wrong. This fella took a wrong turn. Just simply missed the split in the trail. Same could happen to you.

There are basic steps you can take to prevent this.

First off, know your trail, know the route, and know the trail signs. Most mountain parks have maps of trails and trailheads, albeit basic ones. That’s better than nothing.

Secondly, know the weather conditions and expectations for at least 24 hours after your expected finish, and pack accordingly. If it looks like it may rain the day after you’re done, pack a poncho or rain gear. I would suggest a poncho over any other type of rain gear, for the simple fact it can double as shelter in a pinch. I myself have a poncho in my Go-Bag constantly.

Space blankets are cheap, don’t take up much room (hell, you can slip one in your pocket if you’ve no other option), and they quite possibly would have saved this group’s life. You can pick ’em up for under $2 at your local Big Box Retail Supply House. Or you can go all fancy and get reusable ones, take up more room, aye, can’t fit ’em in your pocket, but they keep you warmer longer, and don’t tear as easy.

FIRE. WHY was this man on the trail without so much as a Bic? I mean really! I don’t leave my house without at LEAST a Bic. My First Aid Kit, right on top, are some wooden matches (compliments of a hotel in Atlanta), and I know how to turn a bootlace into a firebow if I have to. Point is, even WITH the rain, this man, being former USAF, should have known how to make fire. THAT WOULD have saved them.

My bag also has light sources. A simple LED flashlight, and a simple little LED Headlamp. I don’t care if you’re only going to be out during the day-night comes on quicker than you think. ALWAYS have light. ALWAYS have fire.

Munchies. Look, I’m not saying take MREs, or a whole week of Mountain House, but would it hurt to pack some energy bars? I mean, you’ve got kids hiking with you, they need food. They need food more than YOU do. PLUS, food makes for comfort.

Water, or means to get water, next to shelter (see the poncho above), is probably the most important thing. It’s been said 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Average person needs a full blown liter of water per day, kids, burning energy like a Nuclear Reactor, will need more. Hell, toss a Katadyn Water Filter in your backpack, or one of those “Filtration Straw” things. That way, you’ve got water wherever. Aqua Pure tablets are great, too.

No well-prepared hiker/backpacker/whatever will even THINK of hitting the trail without a knife. I don’t care what you carry, so long as it’s a good, full tang, fixed blade knife. Also carry a decent folder, and a multi-tool. If you can only pick one, take the multi-tool.

You’ll also need a damn decent first aid kit. I’m not talking some pre-fab jobbie from the local CVS. Sure, that’s a good base. But how many of those triangle finger bandages do you actually NEED? No antibiotic ointment? Does your family USE that? How about alcohol prep-pads? Those are my preferred cleansing agent. So, get a first aid kit, and build it to what you need. Mine has regular size bandages, some gauze, a few alcohol prep pads, matches, and a needle and thread. Why? Learn to stitch up a wound if you need to. Sure, may not be silk thread, but still, if you’re bleeding, and can’t get it to stop, you may need to throw a stitch or two in there. PLUS, if you pop a button, or some such, you can fix it.

So let’s recap on the basics, shall we?

KNOW your trail. MAKE a plan. Let others know where you’re going. Let them know when you’ll be back. 

Pack appropriate clothes for the trip, and for if anything goes wrong.
Space blankets.
FIRE SOURCE. Don’t care what. THREE TYPES of fire, why not?
Light.
Food.
Water.
Knife.
First aid.

And EVERYONE carries a Cell Phone with them these days. It may not have reception, but it can double as a lightsource, or keeping the kids entertained. I’ve also got a deck of cards in mine, just for that very reason.

All of the above can fit in a fanny pack, with the exception of the water and poncho. So what’s your excuse?

Let me open this by stating I don’t have all the answers. I never will.
I don’t claim to know the Mind of God, nor the Heart of Man.

But I DO know what the Word tells me… And that’s what I’m going to
try to bring to you as best I’m able.

“Where was God when X happened with Y,” is a question that is ALWAYS
asked in the aftermath of a tragedy. It’s never any easier to answer,
as time goes on. It seems that, if God really IS Love, then He’d not
allow such things to happen to us, His Children.

The unfortunate reality of the situation is, while God IS Love, and He
IS Holy and Faithful, and He DOES take care of His, we live in a fallen
world.

Ever since Adam bit that apple, man has lived with sin.

Romans 6:23 tells us plainly-“For the wages of sin is death, but the
free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (New
Living Translation)

And James 1:15 tells us “These desires give birth to sinful actions.
And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”

We live in a sinful world, and since the wages of sin IS death, we are
surrounded by it all the time.

It’s easy to turn our heads at the TV and say “God didn’t save X from Y,
therefore, God is not real.” or “If God WERE real, he would have saved
X from Y.”

It doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid.

God gave man Free Will. The Freedom to choose. In the Garden, that
choice was to eat or not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and
Evil. Man made the wrong choice.

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua says to the people “But if you refuse to service
the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the
gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods
of the Amorites, in whose land you now live? As for me and my family,
we will serve the Lord.”

So God gives us each a choice. What we do with that choice is up to us.

But people keep asking me, when that madman shot his mother, drove to
Sandy Hook, and killed those 26 women and children, where was God?

Why did God let those kids die?

First off, God didn’t “Let those kids die.” the Bible says in 1 Peter
5:8 to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls
around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” That goes
back to us living in a fallen world. Satan is real. He is called the
Destroyer for a reason. And he’s going to do whatever he can, by
whatever means he can, to make you question your faith.

Let’s flash back to April 20, 1999.

Two madmen walked into their school, hell-bent on killing everyone.
While it’s up in the air on if one of the madmen asked Cassie Bernall if
she believed in God before killing her, the fact cannot be denied she
had been, and CONTINUED to pray up until the trigger was pulled, cutting
her life short.

Where was God?

Well, when you look at the facts of what happened after that, it’s
pretty clear: The two killers had intended to blow the place up, but
instead, turned their guns on themselves and took their own life.

April 16, 2007-Blacksburg Virginia.

A gunman walks onto his college campus, killing as many people as he
can. When he entered one of the buildings, he was met with resistance
in the form of a 76 year old Holocaust survivor, holding the door of his
class shut so his students could escape.

Back to December 14, present day.

A music teacher, Maryrose Kristopik, locks her kids in the closet, and
instructs her kids to pray, as the killer tries to get in.

First grade teacher Victoria Soto, who put herself between the gunman
and her class, gave her life to protect them.

It’s the same story with school principal Dawn Hochsprung, who rushed
the gunman unarmed, doing what she could to buy her staff and her
students time.

Where was God, you ask me? I point to these people. I point to those
who prayed. I point to the police who responded, scaring the gunman
into taking his own life, in EACH case.

The Bible tells us plainly: “Greater love hath no man than this, that
he would lay down his life for a friend.” (John 15:13 KJV)

THAT is where God was, and IS. In the actions of those who rise above
the Human Nature of self-preservation, putting their all on the line,
that others may live.

In those who pray, and steadfastly believe that, whatever the outcome,
God WILL be Glorified.

Daniel 3: 16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O
Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we
are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to
save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if
he DOESN’T, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods
or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

Even in the face of certain death, these three men held fast. It didn’t
matter to them that they would die-they would not turn on their belief.

And where was God? With them in the Furnace.

God is always there, people. We may not see Him, and we may question
Him (as Job did), but rest assured, He IS there.

In closing, I’m going to post the names of those who died. The media
focus so far has been a quick mention of the names, and then it’s all
about the killer. You’ll notice I didn’t give his name once. Nor will
I. He will find no fame on my blog. He will be a nameless waste of
carbon, nothing more than a Vessel of Evil.

As to those who died, here are their names:

– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

May God rest each of their souls, and may we never forget them.

Daniel, Chapter 1

It’s kind of funny, really. My whole life, I grew up hearing the stories of the Great Men of the Bible, Elijah, David, Jonah, Daniel…

Man, I tell ya, I thought that EVERYONE had heard about Daniel. I was wrong. A fair few of my mates had never heard of him, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius the Mede, the Lion’s Den, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

It blew my mind, but it got me thinking…

If they didn’t know about these “Major” Movers and Shakers of the Old Testament, how many more don’t?

So I’m going to start this blog off with some musings on the Early Chapters of Daniel… Ain’t no place like the beginning to start, so, Chapter One it is! (Them of you what know the story, this is probably pretty old hat for you, but it’s still a good read)

Now, Daniel lived in Judah, until King Nebuchadnezzar came and held the place up. It says in verse 2 that “The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah,” and in addition to taking sacred temple objects, he took young men born of nobility to serve him.

Four of those fellas were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (their Babylonian names were Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, respectively).

It’s funny, really, the rest of the chapter details how Daniel and his friends wouldn’t eat the food provided by the king, as it would “Defile” them… Even had a little wager with their caretaker that basically, “Test our diet for ten days, and see who’s healthier at the end of it, us or them.”

Now, Jesus says in Matt. 15:11 that “… You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do.” so one of the questions I’ve been asked is, if that’s the case, why does the Bible go to great measure to point this out?

As I said on my “About” page, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have what I feel-and that’s it’s not about the fact they were not eating certain foods, but that they were doing what God had asked them to do.

It goes on to say that of all of the men brought before the King, none impressed him as much as they did.

Basically, this chapter is talking about following God’s will, even in the tough times.

It would have been EASY for Daniel to eat the “Rich food and wine” provided of the king. It would have been easy for them to fall in line, and “When in Rome” (or in this case, Babylon), as it were.

But as Children of God, they were called to a higher standard.

Just as we are.

It’s easy in today’s world to fall in line, rank and file, and keep your head down. “The Gray Man Lives Longest,” a line I’ve actually followed myself. There are times when it’s easiest to just keep our mouths shut.

But we’re not called to what’s easy. We, as Children of God, are called to follow Him. It was never promised to be easy. In fact, we’re pretty much promised it’s going to be a constant battle.

Keep the faith, brothers and sisters; for though the labor is long, the reward is great!