Wednesday, April 16, 2014


This is my Alma Mater - S.L.

Underwater Combat School in Keys Marks 50 Years

KEY WEST, FLA. — An underwater combat training school in Key West is marking its 50th anniversary.

The Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School boasts a $10 million complex with a modern training pool and 50-foot dive tower, as well as boats especially designed for special operations forces.

Most people are not aware that the Army has an equivalent to the SEALs - and those who are aware of the SF Combat Divers are certainly not aware that it is HARDER to become an SF Combat Diver than it is to earn a SEAL trident.

The school is taught by Green Berets and sometimes hosts students from the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines, as well as military academy cadets and troops from other countries.

Residents know students are in town by spotting the circling C-130 airplane dropping finned-divers by parachute into the Fleming Key Basin. Less visible are the night operations, the torturous pool training, the hours of classroom work and other tasks that make the school one of the toughest gut-checks in the military, instructors and command staff said.

Combat divers are very aggressive and efficient and I’ve been very impressed,” Army Special Forces Col. Alan Shumate tells The Key West Citizen. “They stand out. Our dive school breeds a more intense commando.”

Read the rest of it HERE

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


You asked so here it is: the basics of this recipe are a chicken and a can of beer . . . S.L.

The essence of the beer can chicken is the bird is cooked from within by steam power. BEER steam! To add flavor, I do a homemade Spice Rub - basic mixture of salt and pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, those dried onion flakes you can buy at the store, and any additional herbs and spices I find in the drawer that look like they'll do the trick.

Taste preference is important in selecting beer. Some people are militant about this decision. Many will argue that stout is the only beer for beer can chicken, while others favor any beer but stout. I don't want to get into that here. Personally, I prefer Coors (the Yankees up here think I'm a Philistine but who cares - so do the rest of my family and I still roast the best beer can chicken).

If you don't like beer, there are other options. Wine has become a popular substitution for this recipe for the cucumber sandwiches crowd who extend their pinkies just so. Whatever. I guess wine comes in a can in some wine shoppe somewhere but I imagine actually owning a can of it is grounds for getting yourself drummed out of the cucumber sandwich club for life.

What part of BEER CAN CHICKEN don't you understand?

Having said all that, the ingredients for this recipe are:

• 1 whole 5 to 6 pound chicken
• 1 can of beer
• spice rub
• olive oil - extra virgin
• A wedge of onion

Tip 1: Before we get started. Make sure that the can of beer fits inside the chicken. You don't want to fight with this over a live fire.

Tip 2: Make sure the place that you set the chicken is tall enough for it to be in a upright position. You don't want to lower the lid of your grill only to find that the chicken doesn't fit.

Cut off the top of the beer can. This maximizes the flow of moisture from the beer to the bird. Most can openers can be used for this task. Next, drink some of the beer until the can is half full. If you like you can add some of your spice rub to the can and give it a quick stir. The can is now ready.

Cover the bird in olive oil and apply your spice rub. Don't worry too much about getting it on the skin. Skin won't let flavor reach the meat, so try to work your spice rub in under the skin as much as possible. Get it inside the chicken as well. Just because you put rub in the beer doesn't mean that it will season the inside too much. The spice in the can adds flavor but not like direct contact.

Beer can chicken is grilled indirectly. Build your fire around either side of the chicken. I take it a step further and fabricate a doughnut shaped heat shield with four layers of aluminum foil and a scissors. The bird doesn't burn but the beer still boils to steam the bird from within.

Place the beer can on the grill right where you want the bird to be.

This guy is using a pie pan as a heat shield / grease catcher

With the can in place it is time to sit this bird down. You will get your hands dirty here. Don't worry about it. They sell special frames for beer can chicken down at the hardware store. Sit the bird in place, then wedge the piece of onion into the neck of the chicken to seal the top of the bird. This holds the moisture inside and is the real secret of beer can chicken.

Close the lid on the grill and wash everything. Chicken is nasty; when the bird is on the grill everything that did or could have touched that bird has to be washed. When the chicken is done and ready to come out, there shouldn't be a single germ left behind.

Maintain a grill temperature around 300 to 325 degrees F. (150 to 165 degrees C) during the cooking time.

If you build your fire right then you shouldn't have much to do now but wait for the beer can chicken to cook. Time isn't important to chicken, temperature is. When this bird reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. (80 degrees C.) the bird is ready to come off the heat. Measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh being careful not to touch the bone with your thermometer. Once removed from the grill, allow the chicken to rest for ten minutes before carving it (if that's what you want to call pulling apart this fall off the bone meat).

A 5 to 6 pound bird should take you about two hours to cook depending on the temperature.

Once the chicken has had time to rest it is ready to carve. The can tends to get stuck inside the bird; you can pull it out with a pair of tongs, or poke it with the giant fork that comes with your grilling kit and pull it out that way.

With the beer can out of the chicken, this is the best Barnyard Pimp you ever tasted.


Monday, April 14, 2014


Sunday, April 13, 2014


"What's this button do?

Love the wall mural - nice splat pattern. The former tenant was an artist. More of an expressionist. His preferred medium was organic material. He is with the 72 virgins now. Unfortunately, this is his only existing work . . .


Thursday, April 10, 2014


Some culture for you savages . . .

. . . from the land of my ancestors . . . S.L.

County Donegal is on the West Coast of Ireland . . .

. . . it is beautiful there . . .


Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Just a little somethin to get you through a bad day . . . S.L.

Ronald Reagan is probably the best President this country has ever had. When Reagan took office the inflation rate for the previous year averaged 13.5% and three years later he'd brought it down to 3.2%. Under Reagan, the top marginal individual income tax rate fell from 70.1% to 28.4%, which freed up cash to be spent on goods and services - the essence of "Reaganomics". The policies President Reagan put in place led to an unprecedented wave of prosperity that lasted twenty-five years - a quarter century - and would still be ongoing except for liberal policies that forced the financial industry to engage in the creative measures that caused the credit and mortgage crisis that led to the current recession.

The theme of the Carter Administrations' policy against the Communists was 'detente' - which basically admitted we could not win against global Communism and therefore we would have to learn how to "get along". This policy saw Communist regimes being established in Angola, Afghanistan, Grenada, Nicaragua, Yemen, and Soviet client states established in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Libya. Ronald Reagan established the theme of his Cold War policy by simply stating: "We win, they lose." And he proceeded to deliver on that.

America's image overseas was of a weakened, defeated nation in the wake of the Vietnam debacle, where we cut and run and failed to support our South Vietnamese allies with funds and air power despite our written promises that we would do so. When radical Islamic student revolutionaries stormed the US embassy in Tehran, President Carter balked and did nothing and three days later an emboldened Ayatollah Khomeini to endorse the revolutionaries and their cause. This was the low point of America's image overseas. It speaks for Reagan's reputation that the Iranians were so eager and willing to resolve the crisis upon news of his election.

Along with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain and Pope John Paul II, Reagan was part of a powerful triumvirate that established the set of events that led directly to the downfall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the eventual fall of the Soviet Union - without a shot being fired. I am especially grateful for that last part. I never thought I would see that wall come down without a bloodbath.

Now we are witnessing the successor of the old Soviet Union take pages from the old Communist playbook making moves on Ukraine. First they send in their intelligence personnel and saboteurs - KGB, GRU and Spetznaz - to destabilize society and agitate crowds, and identify targets for the eventual takeover - government offices, television and radio stations, newspapers, hospitals, logistical points and schools and universities - which will be taken down when conventional forces invade in the name of liberation, and peacekeeping. They did it in Hungary in 57, Czechoslovakia in 68, Afghanistan in 79, and we just saw them do it again in Crimea and they are not done yet.

Ronald Reagan said: "Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong." It is telling that the Russians made their move within a week of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announcing deep cuts in the defense budget, plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and to eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets.

The Russians see how the current Administration vacillates and does nothing. Obama and his sock puppet John Kerry strike fear into the hearts of no-one. The Russians saw weakness and amateurism on display over Syria and they knew they could get away with Crimea. Their troops are massed on the eastern border of Ukraine and it is time for the Spring Offensive. If Ronald Reagan was in office right now, NATO troops would be massed on the western border of Ukraine and arms, ammunition and advisors would be pouring into that country like there was no tomorrow.

We should do that - after all, we signed a piece of paper saying we would defend Ukraine when we talked them into disarming.

Wherever you are, Mr. Reagan, the Free World misses you now . . .


Sunday, April 6, 2014


This stuff is absolutely disgusting . . . possibly the single worst part about being in the Army . . . S.L.

As long as I was in the Army, we line doggies always accused the cooks of serving powdered eggs, and the cooks always vehemently denied it. "Oh no!" they would swear up and down on their mama's grave, "Those ain't no powdered eggs! Them's REAL eggs!!!"

And yet they tasted ghastly . . . and we swore up and down the yellow-green-gray muck on our plates were powdered eggs . . .

It was about fifteen years into my Special Forces career . . . we were in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), a company sized Sf element - three ODAs and a HQ unit - and a platoon of Belgian paratroopers; military advisers to the Ivorians.

Our HQs included a team of cooks who ran a makeshift mess hall in the same African barracks we occupied. On weekends the senior leadership from the ODAs would volunteer to help cook so the cooks could have some time off, go to the beach and have some R&R.

It was my turn. I like to cook so it was no problem. Saturday morning I reported at zero-dark-thirty ready and rarin' to go.

First thing to do was put five pounds of bacon on the grill, then start working the chipped beef a.k.a. "sh*t on a shingle", mix up a huge vat of grits, then it was time to do the eggs.

I looked over at the measly dozen eggs on the counter. "We don't have enough, Cookie."

"Don't worry," Cookie said, "I've got something for that," and out of a footlocker came a can of powdered eggs.

I looked at the stuff like it was industrial waste but I didn't say a word. You never piss off the cooks, right? Cookie poured the stuff into a big vat and mixed it up with water. Then he said, "Take that dozen eggs there and crack them into this stuff, and then crush up the eggshells and mix them in, too."

Right away I understood the sheer genius of this tactic. Nobody could accuse the cooks of serving powdered eggs - they had plausible deniability - and on top of that, the troops would be crunching down on little bits of eggshells. I did as Cookie said.

As he put away the can of dried egg powder, Cookie looked at me real serious. "What you saw here, stays here, got it?"