The Writer in Black

The Writer in Black

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Keeping the Active Writer Healthy

Not exactly one of the "Feeding the Active Writer" posts, but related.

I try not to go on and on about my diet, my exercise program, and my health issues.  But the issue does come up from time to time in online conversations here and there.  So, to save some time in the future, I decided to put it all here.

When I grew up, I walked everywhere.  Hated school buses so if I was within two miles of school, I walked.  Had a girlfriend in a neighboring town six or seven miles away.  I walked.

Oh, occasionally I had a bike and rode that instead, but I was into my twenties before it was "walk or don't go."  So I walked a lot.

Between the walking and bike riding I burned a lot of calories.  I ate pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down and if I could pry it up it didn't count as "nailed down."

For a while, in my mid twenties or so, I was actually training for bicycle racing.  An hour on the bike, covering 20 miles, was a short workout.  My long days were two to three hours averaging eighteen to nineteen miles per hour over rolling terrain (southeastern Ohio).  I actually dieted here, trying to cut fat back to boost my effective aerobic capacity to the maximum.  During this period I had the "best" weight I would ever have, about 170 lbs (at 5' 10").  And at that I was lean enough that my sister, visiting from college, asked my mother "what is he doing to himself?"

Well, time passed, knees went bad, and I got busy so that exercise fell by the wayside.  Also, metabolism changes as I got older caught up with me and I started gaining weight.

About fifteen years ago I had the first actual "physical", with bloodwork, I'd had in years.  Cholesterol was up.  So, lecture from doctor on diet and get the "low fat, high complex carb (what used to be called starches) advice that was coming down from the USDA.

And I was a good boy.  I followed it.  I started to exercise again.  I took the prescribed medicine for the cholesterol.

Cholesterol stayed high.

Well, over time I had to change to another doctor. (Insurance plans changed, different networks.  You know how it goes.)  Cholesterol still high and, in particular, HDL ("good") cholesterol low.  So we shift to a different medicine.  I continue to follow the diet recommendations.  Still no effect.  They add another cholesterol medicine.  Still nothing.

In the meantime I discover that I have some real issues with nasal allergies.  I develop chronic plantar faciitis.  And I develop periodic heart palpitations to the point that I would "grey out" on rare occasions (this latter scared me because I could imagine it happening while tooling down the highway).  And declining testosterone levels, another hallmark of age.  A variety of issues, mostly unrelated except through the fact of my getting older.  And all requiring different medications to treat (as well as things like prescription orthotics for my shoes and what have you).  At the same time cholesterol remained an issue and my doctor added yet another medication to try to bring it under control.

At least my blood pressure and EKG's remained good and I nailed the stress test.

Then, a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

That caused me to sit back and reevaluate.  I had friends who swore by a "low carb" diet but I had been skeptical.  And, frankly, I had also known people who had thrived on the low-fat, high carb diet.  Well, people are different and one size does not fit all.

In any case, I changed my diet.  Went "low carb".  Stopped worrying about fat content entirely.  Took the medicine my doctor prescribed for the diabetes (first Metformin, then Glumetza when we found that Metformin made me gassy).

Next exam, cholesterol was better, a lot better.  Blood sugar back under control.  And my weight was dropping.

I dropped thirty pounds in six months and there I've stayed.  Higher than I might like but using a home body fat test (one which uses a lot of measurements and, therefore, I believe is more accurate than the usual ones with just a couple of measurement) I get a body fat of about 21-22%.  That's right on the cusp of "healthy weight" and "overweight" (never you mind what BMI claims me to be).  It seems that I am less "fat" and more "big"--long, rather squarish trunk and short arms and legs.

So, while maybe not where I'd like it to be, I can't say I'm unhappy with my overall condition.

Here's where I am now.

 I follow a low-carb diet.  Atkins low.  Some people have long lists of specific foods, how much of this, how much of that.  That sort of thing.  I don't.  Instead, I am strictly by the numbers.  I read labels.  In the cases of fresh foods, I look up values.  The rule I follow is:  no more than 6 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per serving and no more than three grams of sugars per serving.  "Sugar alcohols" (although I generally try to avoid them since except in very small amounts they give me stomach cramps and make me gassy) count 1/2 toward net carbs and other artificial sweeteners count zero.

A note about servings.  I consider a "serving" of most things to be about 1/2 cup.  1/2 cup makes a serving.  4-6 servings make a meal (depending on how hungry I am).  Or 1 serving might make a snack.

So "non-starchy vegetables", various meats, some nuts, and cheeses feature heavily in my diet.  Fruits, juices, and grains are right out.  There are some "low carb" tortillas that meet my guidelines and I use those.  I've also got a recipe for Flax Meal muffins that are a pretty good bread substitute.

It's on this diet that I dropped thirty pounds and kept it off.  Kept it off because this isn't a case of "going in a diet" and then resuming "normal" eating after achieving some goal.  This is a forever thing.

Exercise has been a bit of a challenge.  For one thing, who's got time?  Between work, home, and family--plus trying to find/make time to write--there just aren't enough hours in the day.

One of the things I do, though (part of that "family") is take my daughter to swim team practice.  It's actually pretty convenient to drop her off at practice, hop on over to the gym for a quick workout, and then be back for the latter part of her practice and to take her home.

The gym I use is Planet Fitness.  Yes, I know that a number of my friends sneer at it ("Planet Fatness"), but it's cheap, it's convenient, and it has what I need for where I am now.  I just started there recently so I haven't seen much effect yet, but I'm hoping to build a bit more muscle mass.  At least I don't think I'm yet to the point where staving off loss of muscle mass due to age is the best I can hope for.  I'm sure I'll get there if I live long enough (age sucks), but I don't think I'm there yet.  And with more muscle mass I'm hoping to make my body better at burning fat so that I can, if not lose weight overall at least change the composition for the better.

So here's what I do.

I've got a nominally four day split.  Well, nominally four day.  I haven't hit that fourth day yet because of reasons.

The target is eight to twelve repetitions of each exercise.  If I can't do eight before failure, I reduce the weight next time.  If I reach twelve, I increase the weight.

Warmups are five minutes on a treadmill at a brisk walking pace (3.5 MPH) and moderate slope (5.5 degrees currently, but I'm gradually bumping it up).  There's a three minute "cooldown" at the end of that cycle so it's a total of eight minutes.

I then do resistance training for that day's target muscle groups.  One set of an exercise then move immediately to the next, each day usually has a pair of muscle groups and I'll do one, then switch to the other for the next exercise, then back to the first group after that.  Going immediately from exercise to exercise helps keep my heart rate up through the workout.

I also include a couple of abdominal/waist exercises each workout--changing up what I do from workout to workout.

Finally a "cooldown" that's actually a more severe exercise than the warmup.  Five minutes, still at a brisk walking pace, but with a steeper angle (11.5 degrees currently but, as with warmups, I'm gradually bumping it up).  I push my heart rate hard in this workout, close to the nominal max (using the 220-age formula) for my age.  Five minutes at that pace and an additional three minutes of the treadmill's "cooldown cycle."

All told, that's about 40 minutes and a pretty good workout.

The one part that changes from day to day is the resistance training and it's as follows:
Day 1:  Chest and triceps.
Exercises like bench press, triceps press, dumbbell triceps press, fly's etc.

Day 2:  Back and Biceps
Bent rows.  Curls.  Concentration Curls.  Lat pull downs (someday I'll be able to do chinups again!) That sort of thing.

Day 3:  Legs
Leg press.  Squats (when my knees are doing well).  Leg curls.  Leg extension.  Calf press.  And so forth.

Day : 4 (although I haven't actually gotten to this one because so far something has always interrupted me for one of the available days) Shoulders and "incidentals"
Overhead press, shoulder flys, front lifts, bent flies, wrist curls (one of the "incidentals"), whatever else I can think of.

And that's my health plan, such as it is.  Diet, exercise, and taking the various medicines my doctor provides for the various issues that have arisen over the years.

With any luck, I'll still be around for when my daughter (now aged 10) decides to give me some grandkids. ;)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feeding the Active Writer

Another holiday piece.

Cranberry sauce was one of my holiday treats growing up.  If I had an objection to it, it was that it was a bit tart for my taste or, if sweetened enough to counteract the tartness, was so cloying sweet that I could only eat small amounts.

Cranberries are great because they have a lot of fiber, very low net carbs, and little sugar.  Of course, that also means that without being sweetened, they're almost inedible.  Fortunately, I get by well with several artificial sweeteners and sucralose is my sweetener of course so I can still enjoy cranberry sauce without the sugar.

But there's that problem with the tartness.  Fortunately, there is a solution:

Port Wine Cranberry Sauce.

1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries. (You can use them frozen as well.  Since, depending on your locale, they can be hard to find outside the holiday season you can stock up and toss extra packs into the freezer.)
1/2 cup port wine
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar equivalent sweetener (I use sucralose that is one for one)
1 tsp xanthum gum.

Add the cranberries, port wine, water, and sucralose to a saucepan.
Heat over medium heat until boiling and the sweetener is dissolved.
While stirring, sprinkle in the xanthum gum.
Continue to boil until the cranberries pop, about 4-5 minutes usually.

Let the sauce cool, serve, and enjoy.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wayland, Orlogg, and Wyrd

Wayland (Völund) the Smith.

Wayland is a character in Germanic and Norse myth.  In one version of the story he and two brothers lived with three valkyries.  Some say they were wedded to the valkyries but that’s not particularly important to the story.  In other versions they were swan maidens, not valkyries.  That too, is not particularly important to the story.

After nine years the valkyries left, never to return.  Wayland’s two brothers left as well, hoping to find the valkyries and they, too, never returned. Wayland retained a ring left to him by the valkyrie.

Some time later, the king Niðhad discovered Wayland and lusted after the many fine things Wayland had made on his forge and captured and imprisoned him.  To prevent any possibility of Wayland’s escape, the king had Wayland hamstrung.  For those who don’t know, this involves cutting the two large hamstring tendons in the back of the knee (and remember that this would have been in the iron age where no anesthetic was available).  He would have had to heal from that with no pain killer other than alcohol and nothing but luck and a strong constitution to stave off infection (no germ theory of disease, let alone modern antisepsis and antibiotics).  The tendons themselves would never heal and a person thus hamstrung would be unable to walk properly forever more.

Thus crippled, Wayland was forced to forge for the king.  However, far from being helpless, Wayland plotted revenge.  Over the course of it he seduced (or raped) and impregnated the King’s daughter, killed his two sons, and made drinking vessels from their skulls, jewels from their eyes, and a brooch from their teeth.  He sent these items to the king and queen who used them without knowing their gruesome origin.  And, finally, he made his escape using wings he fashioned in his smithy.

To modern Western sensibilities this seems utterly horrid.  Revenge against the king himself is one thing, but taking it out on the children who were presumably innocent of the crime?  To modern Western mind’s that’s beyond the pale.

Some have argued that the starkness of Germanic literature is a reflection of the harshness of the climate from which the Germanic people sprang, but I am dubious.  If you dig into it you find equally reprehensible (by modern Western standards) behavior by Greek heroes and others from more “pleasant” climes.
However, I think one of the important lessons in the tale of Wayland is that of Wyrd, or “fate.” Back when I first started investigating Asatru (and make no mistake, I am still investigating it), one of the books I read talked about Wyrd.  Extrapolating that description (and it’s my own extrapolation—I’ve lost the particular book and can’t say if I’m accurately representing the views of the author or not) “fate” is not something declared into being by any Gods or Goddesses, not even the Norns, but simply revealed by them.  It’s not a case of “it is because they say it” but rather “they say it because it is.” Instead, what creates the “fate”, the Wyrd, is the weight of events and choices made up to the moment.  That “weight of events and choices” is termed örlogg (again, if I remember correctly).  You create your own örlogg by the choices you make over life.  But örlogg isn’t just defined by your choices, but by all the choices behind you, including those of your parents and their parents and so on to the dawn of time.  The closer to you and to your “now” the greater the effect, but all of it affects your Wyrd.
With that context, the tale of Wayland becomes a cautionary one.  When the king enslaved and mutilated Wayland he added heavily on the negative side to his örlogg—and to that of those close to him including his wife and his children.  Wayland’s revenge, then, becomes in part a working out of the Wyrd of that örlogg.  He represents here simply the uncaring forces of nature reflecting evil back on evil in a shower that falls on the guilty and innocent alike.
And so the cautionary tale becomes to be careful what you do and who you harm because the harm reflects not just back on you, but on those around you that you care about, not because any deity delights in harming the innocent but simply because that is what harm does.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Character Blog Tour

Amanda Green tagged me for the Character Blog Tour.  She introduced her character, Ashlyn Shaw here.

So, here's mine, Richard Schneider, founder of the FTI Schneider dynasty, in the novel Survival Test.:

1) Is he a fictional or historic person.

Richard Schneider is a fictional character (dammit--I really want him or someone like him to be real).  He lives in the near future.

2) When/where is the story set.

The story is set in the mid-21st century in a collection of space stations, a nascent lunar base, and a mission to one of the Earth-Sun Trojan points to investigate to investigate a small cluster of asteroids recently discovered (in story time) to be captured there.

3) What should we know about him?

Schneider is an engineer with a passion for space.  He lost his first wife in an auto accident that also crippled his son.  In time he remarried and his wife shares his passion.  Together they founded FTI, "FutureTech Industries" to make cheap access to space and to begin exploiting space in a real way.  Making money is incidental to him.  He needs to turn a profit, and a substantial one, to keep the company going but it's all for that end of opening up space to humanity.

4) What is the main conflict/what messes up his life.

War.  While Schneider, along with his wife and son from the first marriage, is touring the facilities he has built, and is building, in space, a limited nuclear war breaks out on Earth.  Limited it may be, but the main combatants have missile defense systems that they each use to deny the other, and anyone else, access to space.

None of the facilities in space are ready to be self sufficient.  There are experiments in space farming, a colony that's only partially completed, some pilot industries in orbit and on the moon, but nobody's ready for long term survival without support from Earth.  Unless they can cobble together an answer in time, they will all die.

5) What is the personal goal of the character.

Survival looms large, of course, highlighted by two of the people he loves more than any other face death with him.  He can take comfort that his two younger children are safe on Earth, but with the General in charge of the Air Force Aerospace Command being "sticky" he's cut off from contact with them as well.

Beyond survival, continuing his mission of making a substantial human presence in space, heralding a new age of exploration and discovery, and a new frontier, is never far from his thoughts.

6) Is there a working title for the novel?  Where can we read more about it?

It's a completed novel.  It's available from Amazon, in trade paperback and for the Kindle.

As for who I'm tagging that would be Mark Wandrey and Mackey Chandler.

Mark Wandrey
Located in rural Tennessee, Mark Wandrey has been creating new worlds since he was old enough to write. After penning countless short stories, he realized novels were his real calling and hasn’t looked back since. A lifetime of diverse jobs, extensive travels, and living in most areas of the country have uniquely equipped him with experiences to color his stories in ways many find engaging and thought provoking. His current work is the "Earth Song" series, seven books placed in a future where an orphaned mankind must fight for its very existence in a hostile galaxy...

Check out his blog at:

Mackey Chandler
Mackey Chandler is retired, living in Rochester MI. His vision of things is shaped by a childhood of constant moving and an adult life of dozens of blue collar jobs. Plumber, mold maker, truck driver, mechanic, restaurant repair and aerospace machinist. Realtor and manifest clerk, motorcycle salesman and window washer are just a start. The variety of employment and wide travel shows up in a wide range of characters and social levels. This Human Wave science fiction books are all DRM free.

And his blog:


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nobody wants to take your guns

Whenever I, or others, object to "registration" or bans on transfers, or other forms of "gun control" and firearms restrictions as steps toward an eventual complete prohibition and the confiscation that such would necessarily entail, we get told we're paranoid and "nobody wants to take your guns."

Well, perhaps we should consider these "nobodies":

"A gun-control movement worthy of the name would insist that President Clinton move beyond his proposals for controls ... and immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act ... [which] would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns." Josh Sugarmann (executive director of the Violence Policy Center)

"My view of guns is simple. I hate guns and I cannot imagine why anyone would want to own one. If I had my way, guns for sport would be registered, and all other guns would be banned." Deborah Prothrow-Stith (Dean of Harvard School of Public Health)

"I don't care if you want to hunt, I don't care if you think it's your right. I say 'Sorry.' it's 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison." Rosie O'Donnell (At about the time she said this, Rosie engaged the services of a bodyguard who applied for a gun permit.)

Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.” Andrew Cuomo

"I do not believe in people owning guns. Guns should be owned only by [the] police and military. I am going to do everything I can to disarm this state." Michael Dukakis

"If someone is so fearful that they are going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, it makes me very nervous that these people have weapons at all." U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman

"In fact, the assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea ... Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic - purely symbolic - move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation." Charles Krauthammer, columnist, 4/5/96 Washington Post

"Ban the damn things. Ban them all. You want protection? Get a dog." Molly Ivins, columnist, 7/19/94

"[To get a] permit to own a firearm, that person should undergo an exhaustive criminal background check. In addition, an applicant should give up his right to privacy and submit his medical records for review to see if the person has ever had a problem with alcohol, drugs or mental illness . . . The Constitution doesn't count!" John Silber, former chancellor of Boston University and candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. Speech before the Quequechan Club of Fall River, MA. August 16, 1990

"I think you have to do it a step at a time and I think that is what the NRA is most concerned about. Is that it will happen one very small step at a time so that by the time, um, people have woken up, quote, to what's happened, it's gone farther than what they feel the consensus of American citizens would be. But it does have to go one step at a time and the banning of semiassault military weapons that are military weapons, not household weapons, is the first step." Mayor Barbara Fass, Stockton, CA

"Handguns should be outlawed. Our organization will probably take this stand in time but we are not anxious to rouse the opposition before we get the other legislation passed." Elliot Corbett, Secretary, National Council For A Responsible Firearms Policy (interview appeared in the Washington Evening Star on September 19, 1969)

"Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe." Senator Diane Feinstein, 1993

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them... 'Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here." U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," 2/5/95

"Banning guns is an idea whose time has come." U.S. Senator Joseph Biden, 11/18/93, Associated Press interview

"Yes, I'm for an outright ban (on handguns)." Pete Shields, Chairman emeritus, Handgun Control, Inc., during a 60 Minutes interview.

"We must be able to arrest people before they commit crimes. By registering guns and knowing who has them we can do that. If they have guns they are pretty likely to commit a crime." Vermont State Senator Mary Ann Carlson

"I am one who believes that as a first step, the United States should move expeditiously to disarm the civilian population, other than police and security officers, of all handguns, pistols, and revolvers... No one should have the right to anonymous ownership or use of a gun." Professor Dean Morris, Director of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, stated to the U.S. Congress

"I feel very strongly about it [the Brady Bill]. I think - I also associate myself with the other remarks of the Attorney General. I think it's the beginning. It's not the end of the process by any means." William J. Clinton, 8/11/93

"The Brady Bill is the minimum step Congress should take...we need much stricter gun control, and eventually should bar the ownership of handguns, except in a few cases." U.S. Representative William Clay, quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on May 6, 1991.

"I don't believe gun owners have rights." Sarah Brady, Hearst Newspapers Special Report "Handguns in America", October 1997

"We must get rid of all the guns." Sarah Brady, speaking on behalf of HCI with Sheriff Jay Printz & others on "The Phil Donahue Show" September 1994

"The House passage of our bill is a victory for this country! Common sense wins out. I'm just so thrilled and excited. The sale of guns must stop. Halfway measures are not enough." Sarah Brady 7/1/88

"I don't care about crime, I just want to get the guns." Senator Howard Metzenbaum, 1994

"We're here to tell the NRA their nightmare is true..." U.S. Representative Charles Schumer, quoted on NBC, 11/30/93

"My bill ... establishes a 6-month grace period for the turning in of all handguns." U.S. Representative Major Owens, Congressional Record, 11/10/93

"We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily, given political realities, going to be very modest. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns in the United States, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns, and all handgun ammunition illegal." Nelson T. Shields of Hangun Control, Inc. as quoted in `New Yorker' magazine July 26, 1976. Page 53f

"Our goal is to not allow anybody to buy a handgun. In the meantime, we think there ought to be strict licensing and regulation. Ultimately, that may mean it would require court approval to buy a handgun." President of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Michael K. Beard, Washington Times 12/6/93 p.A1

"Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal." U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, December 1993

"The sale, manufacture, and possession of handguns ought to be banned...We do not believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual the right to keep them." The Washington Post - "Legal Guns Kill Too" - November 5, 1999

"There is no reason for anyone in the country, for anyone except a police officer or a military person, to buy, to own, to have, to use, a handgun. The only way to control handgun use in this country is to prohibit the guns. And the only way to do that is to Change the Constitution." USA Today - Michael Gartner - Former president of NBC News - "Glut of Guns: What Can We Do About Them?" - January 16, 1992

"I would personally just say to those who are listening, maybe you want to turn in your guns," Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, 2012

" 4. Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall have ninety days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution :
             (1) Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state of Missouri;
             (2) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or
             (3) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction, subject to specific agency regulations." Legislation introduced in Missouri.2013

And you can repeat the exact same thing for Minnesota

"Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence. If coupled with a gun buyback and no exemptions then it could be effective." NIJ Memo on a new "Assault Weapon" Ban. 2013

"The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection" (Warrantless searches by law enforcement?) Washington State Senate Bill 5737 (2013)

“the state of Iowa should take semi-automatic weapons away from Iowans who have legally purchased them prior to any ban that is enacted if they don’t give their weapons up in a buy-back program.  Even if you have them, I think we need to start taking them,” Iowa state Rep. Dan Muhlbauer (D-Manilla) 2013

California Senate Bill 374 (Steinberg 2013) would expand the definition of “Assault Weapons” to include ALL semi-auto rifles (including rimfire calibers) that accept a detachable magazine.

SB374 would ban on the sale and possession of ALL Semi-Auto rifles and require registration to retain legal possession in the future. California Senate Bill 47 (Yee 2013) would expand the definition of “Assault Weapons” to include rifles that have been designed/sold and or equipped to use the “bullet button” or similar device.

SB47 would ban on the sale and possession of ALL those Semi-Auto rifles and require registration to retain legal possession in the future.

California Assembly Bill 174 (Bonta 2013) would ban the possession of any firearms that were “grandfathered “ for possession if registered in previous “Assault Weapons” gun control schemes. 

Californians that trusted the State of California and registered their firearms will be required to surrender the firearms to the Government or face arrest. Passage of AB174 would make SB374/SB47 (above) into confiscation mandates.

California Senate Bill 396 (Hancock 2013) would ban the possession of any magazine with a capacity to accept more than 10 cartridges. ALL currently grandfathered “high-cap” magazines would become ILLEGAL to possess and the owners subject to arrest and the magazines confiscated. ("High-cap" means a capacity that has been standard, that the firearms were designed for, since the 40's--AK pattern rifles--or 60's--AR pattern rifles.)

We want everything on the table. This is a moment of opportunity. There’s no question about it...We’re on a roll now, and I think we’ve got to take the–you know, we’re gonna push as hard as we can and as far as we can.” Illinois Rep Jan Schakowsky says assault rifle ban just the beginning, ‘moment of opportunity’ and seeks to ban handguns (2013).

"People who own guns are essentially a sickness in our souls who must be cleansed." Colorado Senator (Majority Leader) John Morse. 2013 (Cleansed?  "Final Solution" anyone?)

"We needed a bill that was going to confiscate, confiscate, confiscate.”  Discussion among Senator Loretta Weinberg (D37), Senator Sandra Cunningham (D31), Senator Linda Greenstein (D14) of New Jersey's State Legislature, May 9, 2013

“No one in this country should have guns.” Superior Court Judge, Robert C. Brunetti, Bristol, CT. September, 2013

Proposed Missouri Bill to ban "assault weapons": 4. Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall have ninety days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution:
(1) Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state of Missouri;
(2) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or
(3) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction, subject to specific agency regulations.

New York sends out Confiscation letters.

“It is extremely important that individuals in the state of California do not own assault weapons. I mean that is just so crystal clear, there is no debate, no discussion,” Leland Yee, California State Senator.

Shannon Watts (head of "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense"): "@MikeBloomberg and I want guns gone. Period. It doesn't matter what it takes." (Twitter, 2014).

"Upon review of all the parties’ evidence, the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual." U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake. (The "assault weapons" being described are semi-automatic weapons--meaning one shot fired per pull of the trigger--of fairly modest power, near the low end of center fire rifles.)  As for the claim that said weapons are not particularly useful for home defense.  I address that here. "

2. No person, corporation or other entity in the state of Missouri may manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell, or transfer any assault weapon or large capacity magazine." Bill introduced in Missouri House. editorial boards advocates for "mandatory gun buybacks". "So do all the voluntary gun buybacks you want. But until they are mandatory, and our society can see past its hysteria over "gun confiscation," don't expect it to make much difference."

"Gun Surrender" without the anonymous provision:
“We’ll take that weapon into safekeeping as a matter of practice. It’s pretty easy,” he said of the surrender process. “We are working to find ways in which we can make it easier for people to turn in weapons and firearms.”
Callers will provide their name, telephone number and address, and the reason for surrender. Once the firearm has been checked to see if it was involved in a crime police will mark it for destruction.
 (So, basically, people with illegal guns, or guns used in crime, will stay away in droves.  The only purpose of such a provision is to take legally owned guns from people.)

Read more here:

(Emphasis added in the above).

But nobody wants to take our guns?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Feeding the Active Writer

Another holiday season recipe.  This time, low-carb poultry stuffing.

Unlike most stuffing recipes, this one doesn't use bread.  It's got a delightful mix of textures and flavors, especially when it's absorbed flavor from the bird.  If you don't like to actually stuff the bird, you can do it as a stove-top recipe by adding a bit of chicken or turkey broth to it.

1 lb sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped portobello mushrooms.
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped walnuts (I've also used hazelnuts to good effect)
Optional ("stove top" version):  1/2 cup chicken or turkey broth

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it into crumbles.
Using a slotted spoon or spatula lift out the sausage, leaving the drippings behind, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
Add the chopped onion to the skillet.  Cook until transparent.
Add the remaining ingredients (you used a large enough skillet, didn't you?)  And stir them together with the onions for about two minutes.
Optional:  add the broth and cook an additional two minutes, stirring constantly.

This produces enough dressing to stuff a 20 lb bird.  Note, if stuffing a bird, do not use the broth.  It will pick up the poultry flavor from the bird itself.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Feeding the Active Writer

The holiday season is creeping up on us.

I grew up with big holiday feasts.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, candied yams, Pumpkin Pie and, well, all sorts of big, heavy, yummy, foods.

Nowadays I can't eat like that.  Carbs.  Sugar.  Bad juju for the diabetic writer.

So I had to find substitutes.  And that brings us to one of those substitutes today, a side dish to go with your main entree.

Green beans sauteed with bacon and garlic.

This is relatively simple, in keeping with the "active writer" aspect, but quite tasty.

4 slices bacon
1/4 cup finely minced onion.
2 Tbsp minced garlic (I've mentioned that I like garlic, right?)
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed.

Fry the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until crispy.  Remove from the pan, leaving the grease, and set aside.
Add the onion and the garlic to the pan.  Stir-fry until the onion is softened.
Add the green beans to the pan.  Stir fry until they're bright green. (You'll recognize the color change when you see it.)
Turn the heat to low.
Crumble the bacon.  If it doesn't crumble into small pieces, chop.
Add the bacon to the green beans and toss together.
Transfer to a serving dish and set out alongside the rest of your feast.  And it will be a feast.