Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Government is Magic

Our technocracy is detached from competence. It's not the technocracy of engineers, but of "thinkers" who read Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman and watch TED talks and savor the flavor of competence, without ever imbibing its substance.

These are the people who love Freakonomics, who enjoy all sorts of mental puzzles, who like to see an idea turned on its head, but who couldn't fix a toaster.

The ObamaCare website is the natural spawn of that technocracy who love the idea of using modernity to make things faster and easier, but have no idea what anything costs or how it works.

It's hard to have a functioning technocracy without engineers. A technocracy made in Silicon Valley with its complete disregard for anything outside its own ego zone would be bad enough. But this is a Bloombergian technocracy of billionaires and activists, of people who think that "progress" makes things work, rather than things working leading to progress. showed us that behind all the smoother and shinier designs was the same old clunky government where everything gets done because the right companies hire the right lobbyists and everything costs ten times what it should.

If the government can't build a health care website, how is it going to actually run health care for an entire country is the obvious question that so many are asking. And the obvious answer is that it will run it the way it ran the website. It will throw wads of money and people at the problem and then look for programs it doesn't like to squeeze for extra cash.

The Navy had to be cut to the bone and the Benghazi mission had to make do without security so that a Canadian company which began employing a classmate of Michelle Obama's could score over half a billion to build a broken website. Obama mocked Mitt Romney's criticism of his Navy cuts by telling him that we don't fight with bayonets and horses anymore. Bayonets and horses are outdated. In our glorious modernity, we spend fortunes to build websites that don't work instead.

Modernity has to be built. It has to be constructed brick by bit by rivet by cable by people who know what they are doing. Modernity without competence is as worthless as the ObamaCare website which looked pretty enough to give the illusion of technocratic modernity, but didn't actually work.

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If You Like Your Health Insurance You Can Keep It

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Desert of Islamization

Wars are fought with steel and of words. To fight a thing, we have to understand what we are fighting and why. A blindness in words can kill as effectively as blindness on the battlefield.

Words shape our world. In war, they define the nature of the conflict. That definition can be
misleading. Often it's expedient.

The real reasons for the last world war had very little to do with democracy. The current war does involve terrorism, but like fascism, it's incidental to the bigger picture. The United States would not have gone to war to ensure open elections in Germany. It hasn't been dragged into the dysfunctional politics and conflicts of the Muslim world because of terrorism.

Tyranny and terrorism just sum up what we find least appealing about our enemies. But it's not why they are our enemies. They are our enemies because of territorial expansionism. The Ummah, like the Third Reich, is seeking "breathing room" to leave behind its social and economic problems with a program of regional and eventually world conquest. 

Islam, like Nazism, makes a lot of utopian problems and pays the check for them through conquest. Like Communism, we're up against a rigid ideology, brainwashed fanatics, utopian fantasies and ruthless tactics. And we can only win by being honest about that.

We are not yet dealing with armies. This is still an ideological conflict. Terrorism is just the tip of a much more dangerous iceberg. It's the explosion of violence by the most impatient and least judicious of our enemies.

What we are dealing with is Islamization. Islamization is the imposition of ideological norms in increasing severity. Like Nazification, it transforms a society by remaking it in its own image from the largest to the smallest of details.

Islamization begins with the hijacking of "secular" spaces transforming them from neutral into explicitly Islamic forms and functions. The process can be grandiose or petty. A group of Minnesota Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to transport passengers carrying alcohol are "Islamizing" part of the transportation system around that airport. They are imposing Islamic norms on the airport and the passengers. Similarly a Target cashier who refuses to scan pork is Islamizing her line.

Islamic organizations encourage this form of seemingly petty Islamization even while they angle for bigger things. Their followers are foot soldiers in the same political war that destroyed secular spaces in their home countries.

Small scale Islamization becomes large scale Islamization. The women who begin wearing Hijabs are imposing a new social norm that eventually leads to Burkas. By then, women no longer have the right to leave the house, either legally or in social norms. The outlawing of liquor or pork begins in the same way. It doesn't just happen in large ways, it also happens in small ways.

In Germany, the exchange of the greeting "Gruss Gott" for "Heil Hitler" was the bellwether of a larger social change underway. Nazification was not just a matter of Hitlerian speeches, it was in what you read, what you saw and how you said hello to your neighbors. A Nazi was not just someone who marched around in a uniform. It was also someone who said "Heil Hitler" or who in any way participated in the Nazification of public spaces.

Similarly an Islamist is anyone who participates in the Islamization of public spaces. The media has mischaracterized Islamist as a follower of some rogue branch of Islam followed by a tiny minority. But there is no rogue branch. Even Wahhabism is hardly rogue. If anything, it's simply more literal.

Islam is Islamist in that it "Islamizes" what it comes into contact with. Islamists are not a separate movement. They are Muslims following a legacy of intolerance by practicing Islamization.

Religion can exist on a personal level and a public level. Religion on a personal level can be accommodated in a public space so long as it does not change the nature of that public space. For example, a group of people can pray in a school cafeteria. Secularists may object, but their objection is groundless unless the praying people then announce that no one is allowed to do anything in the cafeteria except pray... and only in their approved way.

That is Islamization in a nutshell. It begins with accommodation and ends with theocracy. 

When a Muslim imposes his religious identity on someone else, he is engaging in Islamization. That is the difference between Mark, the Mormon taxi driver who refuses to drink alcohol and Mohammed, the Muslim taxi driver who refuses to drive a passenger carrying alcohol.

Mark is practicing his religion in a public space. Mohammed is imposing his religion in a public space. Mark's religion can be accommodated because his choices extend to his own body. Mohammed's religion cannot be accommodated because it hijacks any public space that he exercises influence over by attempting to Islamize it. Islamization causes conflict, terrorism and war.

Every devout Muslim is an "Islamist". Islam is not a personal religion. It is a religion of the public space. A "moderate" Muslim would have to reject Islam as a religion of the public space, as theocracy, and that secularism would be a rejection of Islam.

Nothing in Islam exists apart from anything else. While liberals view culture and religion as a buffet that they can pick and choose from, it is a single integrated system. If you accept one part, you must accept the whole. Once you accept any aspect of Islam, you must accept its legal system and once you accept that, you must accept its governance and once you accept that, you lose your rights.

If it were not for Islamization, Islam might be personally objectionable, but not publicly objectionable. Some of its tenets might be disapproved of, its behavior in its home countries might be disagreeable, but it would not lead to a zero sum war in which Islamic expansionism leads to endless conflict.

Islam has been imported under the guise of multiculturalism, but it does not recognize the idea that there can be room for multiple religions and ways of doing things in the same space. While Muslims exploit multiculturalism, the outcome of injecting Islam into a system is an Islamic space in which alternatives are either eliminated or marginalized. Islam is not a multi anything. It is a single uni.

Islam does not integrate. It disintegrates. It's hazardous to any culture or political system that comes into contact with it. It colonizes public spaces and pushes out anything that is not it. Or as the arsonists of the Library of Alexandria said, "If it is in the Koran, it is redundant and ought to be burned. If it disagrees with the Koran, then it especially ought to be burned."

What goes for the Library of Alexandria, also goes for all knowledge, ideas, culture and thought. Islamization measures them all against the Koran and finds them either redundant or incompatible. Like a virus, Islam destroys anything that isn't it so it never has to compete against anything, because, as its societies demonstrate, it is not capable of competing.

Islam reproduces incestuously. inbreeding its ideology until it has copied it over itself so many times that there is no room for anything else. Wahhabism or anything that is associated with "extremism" is simply Islam copied over itself even more times. It's not extremism, it's simply undiluted. It is what happens when you take out as much as possible of everything that isn't Islam.

That is the objective of Islamization. It copies itself over until Hijabs become Burkas, until everyone is illiterate and killing each other over minor points of doctrine so their chief gang leader can become Emir. When it runs out of non-Islamic things to copy over and destroy, it copies over its own form, introducing errors, schisms, conflicts and religious wars.

The Islamist, like the virus, attempts to destroy what is non-Islamic to Islamize it. His tactics may be small, but his goals are big. And his success leads to a wasteland in which there is only the endless nothingness of Islam, a religion built on the endless conquests of Islamization, and which in the absence of external conflict must turn on itself.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Men's Wearhouse, Allen Edmonds, and Jos A Bank - A Suitable Deal?

Not sure if - you're going to like the way this looks. EL Cid

Men’s Wearhouse may try one of the country’s bigger upscale shoemakers on for size.

Park Avenue Cap-toe Lace-up Oxford Men's Dress Shoes by Allen Edmonds
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue
Men’s Wearhouse, a men’s clothing retailer, is weighing a bid for Allen Edmonds, people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday. The move comes even as the clothing company prepares to defend itself against a potential hostile takeover approach by Jos. A. Bank.

It isn’t clear whether a deal for Allen Edmonds, which is privately held, would have a significant effect on Jos. A. Bank’s offer. A purchase of the shoemaker would most likely be in the low hundreds of millions of dollars, these people said. Jos. A. Bank has already offered $2.3 billion for Men’s Wearhouse and may have to bid more.

So far, Men’s Wearhouse has rebuffed its unwanted suitor, and the two haven’t had discussions in several weeks. Jos. A. Bank hasn’t indicated yet whether it will go fully hostile, though people close to the company have said that it is considering all options.

read more at:

Lost Health Insurance?

While the Affordable Care Act was making its way through Congress in 2009 and 2010, President Obama famously promised the American people over and over again that if you like your health plan, you can keep it.


“Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you,” Obama said at one rally in July 2009. “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.  Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
But the president's promise is turning out to be false for millions of Americans who have had their health insurance policies canceled because they don't meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

According to health policy expert Bob Laszewski, roughly 16 million Americans will lose their current plans because of Obamacare.

read more:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reminder: Utilize the Traditional Sling

I don't always use a sling but when I do, I prefer the traditional type.  Stay ready my friends.

Photograph of a boy using a sling-shot

El Cid does not endorse a modern sling powered by elasticity.

Thanks for the reminder:

The Dirty Secret Behind ObamaCare No One's Talking About


 At this point, much is being made about the failure of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.

President Obama himself tacitly admitted as much by calling in what amounts to an emergency rescue squad from Silicon Valley to try and make sense of the dysfunctional website...paid for by the American taxpayers at a staggering cost of over $500 million. The website itself was granted to a company with connections to Obama backer George Soros, CGI Federal in a no bid contract, and the job they did was so amateurish and sloppy that they even opened the government to a lawsuit for violating the licensing agreement of a copyrighted web script used by the site.

The estimated cost to repair the system and get it up and running again may run as high as $2 billion, and it might take months to repair.

Meanwhile, Americans coast to coast are experiencing sticker shock over the huge increases to their existing healthcare policies, and the demographic ObamaCare targeted to pay the freight - largely uninsured healthy young adults - is steering clear as they discover what enrolling in ObamaCare actually entails.

For instance, here’s a typical deal that's being offered:

“One option available only to people under 30 is a so-called catastrophic policy that kicks in after a $6,350 annual deductible. In Monroe County, you can buy that policy on the New York State of Health exchange for as low as $131 a month for single coverage.”

Let's look at the math. They're offering coverage for $1,572.00 per year that only kicks in after you pay $6,350, not a sum the majority of under 30s still paying off student loans have laying around even if they happen to have full time jobs. Any wonder that healthy young adults aren't signing up, and opting to pay the tax instead? And without their participation, ObamaCare is doomed to failure.

There are significant voices on the right end of the spectrum who are saying that the best policy is simply to allow this debacle to happen. The strategy they're touting assumes that when this happens, both President Obama and the Democrats will be blamed for the colossal and expensive failure and it will all end up collapsing and eventually being repealed anyway.

They're missing two important factors.

First, no federal entitlement has ever been repealed.They just morph into something different in the name of 'reform'.

And that brings us to the second factor, the dirty secret behind ObamaCare - it was always designed to fail.

President Obama and his minions always had the goal of Sovietizing the American health care system by making it single payer and having it controlled solely by the Federal government. ObamaCare was never anything more than a poorly constructed Potemkin village designed to fail so miserably that the American people would demand single payer just to get rid on the unwieldy mess ObamaCare would create.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admitted as much  when he was asked whether Obama Care was merely a step towards single payer answering, “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

Senator Reid's told PBS in his interview that he and other 'progressives' wanted single payer all along, but even with the Democrats having a veto proof majority in 2009, they didn't have the 60 votes needed to push it through.

“We had a real good run at the public option … don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system,” Reid said.

But in the end, some Democrats weren't willing to go along - Reid named former Senator Joe Lieberman as a prominent obstacle - so they opted for the next best thing...a cumbersome train wreck in the making which, as an added benefit, provided plenty of pork and contracts for well connected donors as well as 'new revenues' the Democrat euphemism for increased taxes.

Not only that, but it provided funding and employment for President Obama's friends at ACORN as ObamaCare 'navigators', regardless of felony convictions and legal resident status.

That's where things stand now. The next target, especially if President Obama's union allies get the waiver they're screaming for will be an all out assault on employer-sponsored health care, with vast increases on co-pays and employee contributions...except, of course if you're lucky enough to work for someone who has a waiver or is subsidized, like members of congress and their staffers.

Repeal of ObamaCare is the only way to avoid this. 'Reform' just adds another facade to an already corrupt and crumbling structure. And repeal is going to involve electing enough members of Congress in 2014 with the spine to insist on repeal and stick to it, as well as holding their feet to the fire to make sure they don't weasel out in classic DC fashion.

And yes, those really are the only choices available.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Three Pillars of Style


One of the messages we’d like to impress upon men is that the goal of style is to bring out the best in you and to let it be a reflection of who you are. To do this, we use style guides or rules to help us obtain these goals but with so many guides/rules out there, how are men supposed to know which rules apply to them? Furthermore, if everyone is following the same rules, how is a man supposed to personalize his style? Every man has his own unique characteristics, aesthetic strengths and weaknesses and personality. How are rules supposed to take into account all these personal factors?

The key to dressing sharply and with stellar personal style is to find the rules that apply to your own characteristics and to tweak the rules to ensure that they enhance your uniqueness. These conditions are satisfied as long as you adhere to the 3 pillars of style. These pillars of style must make up the foundation of your personal style and you must ensure that any stylistic rules you follow are consistent with them.

I won’t be delving into a lot of how-to details in this article, instead, I will be providing you with a general framework for you to adhere to before making any stylistic decisions.

Style Pillar 1: Your clothing must draw attention to your face.

This one of the most important factors when it comes to dressing well. Drawing attention to your face is a no brainer. Not only is the face where your words come from, but most of communication is in the form of sub-communication which is seen in the eyes and the face. The eyes and facial expressions often say more than words do.
In order to draw attention to your face, you must ensure that your clothing colour and combinations are utilized in a manner that revolves around your own personal complexion. For example, in order for a man with a high contrast complexion (a complexion marked by a stark contrast between hair colour and skin tone) to draw attention to his face, he must utilize a colour combination in his clothing that is also marked by a high contrast. On the other hand, picture a man with extremely pale skin who has light coloured hair. It would be a mistake for him to wear an outfit consisting of a high contrast colour combination because this outfit will draw attention away from his face and towards his outfit.
Our eyes are drawn to Jon Hamm's face because of his high contrast outfit coupled with his high contrast complexion.
Our eyes are drawn to Jon Hamm’s face because his high contrast complexion is coupled with a high contrast outfit.

Sound a bit confusing? Don’t worry, we’ll get into the specifics in a future article. For now though, just understand that your clothes should bring attention to your face.

Style Pillar 2: Your clothing must enhance your positive traits and minimize your negative traits.
Part of developing your own style and being stylish is to dress in a manner that brings out the best in you. This is done by accentuating your positive characteristics and minimizing your negative characteristics, thus creating an aesthetically pleasing package. For example, are you a shorter, stockier man? You can create the illusion of height by wearing clothing that has vertical stripes and you can minimize your width by avoiding horizontal lines.
Essentially, this pillar deals with aesthetic balance. You want to use style to counter-balance any anatomical imbalances you may have. For example, in our upcoming suit guide, we say that the fit of the shoulders of a suit should generally be determined by having the end of the shoulder pad be in line with the end of your shoulder. However, if you have a narrow or wide head, you can tweak the rule a bit to create better balance: if you have a narrow head, you can have the shoulders of a jacket sit a tad more narrow or if you have a wide head, you can have jacket shoulders that are a bit wider to offset the wider head.
A key factor that is crucial in accentuating your characteristics and achieving aesthetic balance is wearing clothes that fit you properly. You can’t be stylish and well dressed if your clothes don’t fit you correctly. We’ll get into the nitty gritty of fit in other articles but for now, just be aware that proper fit is crucial to satisfying pillar 2.

Style Pillar 3: Your clothing must reflect your personality.
Remember that terrible show “Jersey Shore?” Well admittedly, I have watched a few episodes and I recall one quote from the “The Situation” that really stood out to me: “If you’re looking good, you’re feeling good. If you’re feeling good, you get good results.” Related to style, you must ensure that whatever stylistic choices you make are a reflection of your personality otherwise you won’t feel well. And if you don’t feel well, you won’t perform well.
Are you a more conservative man? Then perhaps keeping up with the latest trend of more narrow fitting clothing isn’t for you. If that’s the case, it would be wise of you to stick to more “traditional” cuts of clothing. On the other hand, maybe you have a loud and boisterous personality. You can reflect this by selecting bolder colour combinations, patterns and clothes.
If what you’re wearing looks good to an outsider but makes you feel uncomfortable, then you have missed the point of style which is to allow you to have the confidence to take on the world. You must find a look that matches your personality. That’s not to say that you should just wear whatever you want and make sweatpants and sandals your personal uniform because you want to feel “comfortable.” Stylistic guidelines and rules exist because certain combinations of clothes, colours, fits and patterns just look more visually appealing than others. With that said, it’s up to you to find the items within this framework that allow you to look sharp and feel comfortable. Once you begin to master the rules and know what looks good on you, you’ll be able to bend and even break the rules to better enhance your style. Don’t worry, it does take time and some trial and error, but we’re here to here to help you.
I also want to point out that when it comes to style and comfort, it’s not one or the other. Many men have the erroneous notion that dressing well means dressing uncomfortably. While certain clothes are more comfortable than others, if your clothes fit you correctly, they will NOT be uncomfortable.
A young Clint Eastwood would never wear capris.
A young Clint Eastwood would never wear capris.
What works for one man (kind of) would not work for another.

A Final Word

At Well Built Style, we are firm believers in the basics and this couldn’t more true than when it comes to style. As long as you utilize the 3 pillars of style as your foundation, you can be confident that any sartorial decisions you make will be tailored to your individual characteristics and personality, because after all, that’s what style is all about.

Seven Simple Ways to Instantly Improve your Style

Let’s say you’ve just started to improve your style. You have read some of our articles and have finally begun to purchase clothing based on our advice . Although you look immensely better than you did before, you realize that something isn’t quite right. You look good, but not that good.

It’s not uncommon for guys who are just getting their feet wet with improving their style to become overwhelmed with all of the different rules and guidelines out there. Oftentimes guys will get the get the big picture but miss out on some of the more minor details or nuances of good style.

The following are 7 simple tips that will help you sort of some of those details that may be holding you back from truly elevating your style.

1. Polish your shoes
After reading our two part guide on dress shoes you decided to invest in a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues (a fantastic shoe btw). Now that you finally have a pair of quality dress shoes you feel that you are set and that your job is done.
Think again.
I can’t tell you how many guys I see walking around with poorly maintained dress shoes. They are scuffed, dirty, and just plain grungy looking. Set yourself apart by taking care of your shoes. Polish them regularly and make sure to condition and protect the leather. There’s absolutely no sense in buying a pair of expensive shoes and treating them like garbage. Your shoes are one of the first things that people notice (especially women) so be sure to take care of them. Nothing ruins a look more than a pair otherwise good shoes that have lost their luster due to neglect. Treat your shoes like you would treat your imaginary sports car. Always have them show room ready.
Love these shoes.
Love these shoes.

2. Wear a pocket square
I work in an environment where men don’t often wear suits. However, on the occasion I do see a suit I almost never see a pocket square. Pocket squares have become somewhat of an endangered species. That’s why I recommend you do your part to keep them alive by wearing a pocket square any time you wear a suit, blazer, or sport coat.
The purpose of the pocket square is to add both visual balance and interest to your ensemble. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that you do not match your pocket square with your tie (if you are wearing one).  That is the mark of an amateur. When in doubt, go with a simple white linen or cotton pocket square utilizing a TV fold. It’s simple, timeless, and just plain classy.
An easy way to upgrade the look of your suit.
An easy way to upgrade the look of your suit.

3. Match your shoes with your belt
Repeat after me: “A brown belt goes with brown shoes. A black belt goes with black shoes.”
Although the shade doesn’t have to be an exact match, it should at least be in the ballpark. A guy who is wearing a belt that is matching his shoes instantly tells me that he has at least a modicum of style sense and understands the importance of details. It is these details that can make all the difference.

4. Wear collar stays
Although we are big advocates of the concept of artful dishevelment, sometimes the occasion calls for you to look more exacting and polished. So what do you do in those times when your shirt collar just doesn’t want to behave? Tape them to your shirt? Close, but not quite.
Enter the magnetic collar stay.
These things are fantastic.
These things are fantastic.

These ingenious little things are perfect for taming your unruly shirt collars. Although metal collar stays have been around for quite some time, magnetic collar stays are something of a more recent phenomenon and are perfect for helping you maintain a tall, crisp looking collar underneath your suit jacket or blazer.
Tame those unruly collars with magnetic collar stays.
Tame those unruly collars with magnetic collar stays.

5. Ditch the undershirt
This next tip is a bit more contentious, but we are of the opinion that you should NEVER be showing a visible undershirt underneath your button up shirts (god forbid you wear one underneath a polo). It looks dorky. In the event that you are still going to wear an undershirt, make it a v-neck or wife-beater/tank top.
Our good friend Tanner over at Masculine Style has touched on this issue as well and we completely agree with him when he says that one of the most simplest upgrades a man can make is to show a little more chest.
The rule of thumb is to undo the top two buttons if your shirt. Although we generally recommend this, sometimes it really depends on the button stance of your shirt. In any case, just don’t be afraid to show a little skin.

6. Ensure that your tie has a dimple
One of the trends that I’ve been noticing in men’s style over the past several years is the loosely knotted tie. Just take a look at any recent GQ magazine cover. You’ll see dozens of famous actors and celebrities donning the look.
A very trendy look.
A very trendy look.

Although we fully endorse the idea that style should have an element of nonchalance to it, there are occasions when you want to look a little bit more exacting or precise. It is during those times that we recommend you ensure that your tie has a dimple in the knot.
A tie without an accompanying dimple looks limp and lifeless. A correctly dimpled tie, on the other hand, instantly bestows upon its wearer a sense of class and sophistication. It’s neither too playful nor too serious. It’s a small detail that can set you apart.
A dimpled tie is a thing of beauty.
A dimpled tie is a thing of beauty.

7. Leave the bottom button of your suit jacket undone
The next time you are at a wedding or formal event, check to see how many guys are wearing their suits completely buttoned up. It’s a fun little game to play to pass the time, but also a friendly reminder to always leave the bottom button undone.
The reason for this is largely tradition. According to menswear lore, in the early part of the 20th century King Edward VII was responsible for starting the trend. Apparently he had grown so rotund that he simple could not fasten the bottom button of his jacket! To not offend the king, those around him quickly followed suit. It was not long before this quirk became a cemented tradition in menswear style.
Nowadays, most suits are designed in such a manner that the only way they can drape correctly is if the bottom button of the jacket is left unfastened, with a one button suit (tuxedo style) being the exception. In the case you are wearing a one button suit, always fasten the button. If you are wearing a two button suit, only fasten the top button. With a three button suit you have a little bit more leeway; you can either fasten the top two buttons or just the middle button. It’s a simple move that will make you look like you know what you’re doing.

Final Word
There you have it, 7 simple style tips that will keeping you looking sharp. These little tips may seem insignificant to you, but let me remind you that when it comes to style, the devil is often in the details. Once you get the big pieces in place (fit, fabric, and colour), these little tips are what will help you polish and refine your overall look.

As always gentlemen, stay fit and look sharp!

Four Reasons Why Style Conscious Men Should Care About Fitness

This is a guest post from Manny over at Well Built Style. He and his co-conspirator are relative new comers on the style blog circuit but their approach is unique and their content is top notch. I highly suggest checking them out and subscribing.

It’s no question that one of the simplest and easiest ways to improve your appearance is by improving the way you dress. To style conscious men everywhere, this is nothing newsworthy. However, despite this knowledge, I’ve noticed that a lot of style savvy men have overlooked a crucial factor that can significantly improve their appearance.

What is this factor, you ask?


We’re all well aware of the importance physical fitness has on our health and well-being, but did you know that physical fitness can also significantly improve your style and overall appearance? I’m sure many of you would at least tacitly agree with this statement, but maybe you’re not exactly sure how it would work. Allow me to explain.

The following are 4 reasons why the style conscious man should pay attention to fitness:

#1 -  Fitness improves your level of attractiveness

The fact is that appearances matter and they matter a lot. As a style conscious man you already acknowledge this, even if only on an implicit level. The simple act of caring how you dress signifies that you understand the importance of how your appearance is perceived by others.  That’s why it only makes sense that you should also care about your physical fitness. Considering the impact that fitness can have on your overall appearance, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by ignoring it.
Just like having a good sense of style, being physically fit has a dramatic effect on your level of attractiveness. Research has shown that the physical fitness of a man is substantially correlated to his body attractiveness to women. Additionally, science has also determined that on men, women are attracted to bodies that indicate muscular strength, such as well-built upper bodies and muscular buttocks and legs. Moreover, research has shown that among the body types preferred by women, the “V-shape” is considered as being the most sexually attractive.
Gentlemen, the evidence is pretty clear: fitness matters.
As a style conscious man who acknowledges the importance of appearances and first impressions, you’d be a fool not to also improve your level of physical fitness.

#2 – Fitness enhances your masculine qualities

The purpose of menswear is to accentuate your masculine qualities. That’s one of the main reasons why we wear blazers, suits, and collared shirts. These garments were made to highlight our masculine qualities such as a broad chest and shoulders and a narrow, trim waist (i.e the V-taper). Take a suit jacket, for example. A well-tailored suit jacket enhances a man’s shoulders by building them out. Additionally, the suit jacket’s lapels help build up his chest, while a more tailored waist creates the illusion of a trim midsection. Put together, these effects enhance a man’s natural V-taper (or in the case he doesn’t have one, give him one). That is why a suit is considered the quintessential masculine garment.
However, the benefit of being in shape means that your clothing doesn’t have to do as much of this heavy lifting. Your physique will speak for itself. Working out consistently will broaden your chest and shoulders, while a proper diet will reduce the excess fat around your midsection. This will make all of your clothes drape that much better on your body (i.e. you’ll be a much better canvass). You will no longer have to worry about hiding your gut behind a waistcoat, or ensuring that your shoulders look broad enough under a jacket.
It’s not just the cut of the suit that makes Craig look good. He’s also in excellent shape.

#3- Fitness will improve your casual style

As a style conscious man, being in shape also means that you will look that much better in casual pieces like jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and polos etc. As mentioned in the previous point, being in shape means that clothing will drape better on your body and this is no more evident than when it comes to men’s casual wear. When you’re in shape you’ll notice that items like t-shirts and polos will flatter your physique. These garments will naturally display your well-built chest, shoulders, and arms. Additionally, when you’re in shape you will often look better in a pair of jeans and a v neck t-shirt than the vast majority of men wearing tailored suits. As a well-built man, casual wear will become your bread and butter.
No need for a suit jacket to build out my shoulders.

#4- Fitness will separate you from the pack

As a style conscious man, by improving your fitness you will dramatically separate yourself from the pack. The fact is that the average man is fat. The average man also has a poor sense of style. Now you may see some men who are in good shape and some men who have a good sense of style, but rarely do you see a man who possesses both qualities. You can be the exception. By being the exception you separate yourself from all the other average men out there. This becomes your X factor. It’ll be the extra edge that will land you that next great job, get you a promotion, or get the girl. That’s why it’s in your best interest to spend time on both endeavors.
Some of you might be thinking, “But I don’t have the time to dedicate to improving my fitness.”
The time you spend browsing the internet or watching television during the week could be better spent invested in the gym.
We’re all given the same 24 hours in a day. The only difference is in how we prioritize our time.

Final Word

As a style conscious man you understand the importance of appearances and first impressions. You realize that by improving your sense of style, you demand the world take you seriously as a man. But your personal style is only a part of the equation. Your level of physical fitness is equally as important and has a significant impact on your style and overall appearance. Fortunately, with just a little extra time and dedication devoted to improving physical fitness, style conscious men will be able to elevate their look and truly separate themselves from the average man.
Here’s to saying fit and looking sharp!

Pant and Shoe Color Basics from the Effortless Gent

A.) Black suiting - Black, naturally. This is probably the only time I will say no to brown being an option. Good thing I never wear black pants.
B.) Grey Suiting or Twill - Brown warms up the palette, but black works if you must.
C.) Dark, inky denim - The safest, most appropriate variation of denim for all situations. Brown looks best. Yes! Exception? If you’re wearing a black sport coat, or a black button-up. (Brown shoes can work with a black button-up, but you have to accent it with large amounts of swagger.)
D.) Navy suiting - Brown ideally. Black will work, but brown is more interesting (especially with a suit)
E.) Dark Khaki / Olive Twill - Brown (this seems like an obvious choice)
F.) Medium Khaki - Brown (also an obvious choice?)
G.) Cream cords - Brown, because it plays nicely with the off-white hue
H.) White Denim - Brown, exceptions: Black upstairs

Obama's Amerika - Darkness falls on the Shining City by Intellectual Froglegs

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bodyweight Exercises are Best

Man versus machines? In the realm of fitness at least man seems to be winning.

Despite a gym floor bulging with weight-lifting equipment, fitness experts said the only thing people need to push, pull and lift is the weight of their own body.

"If more people knew you could get a good physique using your body as a bar bell, they could take matters into their own hands," said Bret Contreras, author of "Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy," a guide to bodyweight-only workouts aimed at everyone from the exercise-challenged to the personal trainer.

Known as "the Glute Guy," Arizona-based Contreras has been resistance training for 21 years. But in high school, he couldn't do a push-up.

"At 15 I was so skinny people used to make jokes," the 37-year old said. "I just got so tired of being made fun of I decided to take charge."

Often thought of as a stepping stone to weight training, bodyweight training can be a complete, whole body workout in itself, Contreras said.

Once the person masters the simpler version of a push-up, squat, or chin-up, a more advanced version can be tackled, often with a little help from the living room furniture.

"Find things in the environment: a table to get underneath, hold on to the sides of and then pull the body upward; a rafter for a pull-up," he said. "To work your glutes (buttocks muscles), all you need is a couch."

Contreras recommends the beginner start with 15 minutes a day and increase over time.

"It doesn't have to be intimidating," he said. "You could do a 20-minute workout three times a week and have an incredible physique, so long as you push hard and keep challenging yourself."


Bodyweight exercises return people to the way they move naturally, according to Lisa Wheeler, national creative manager of group fitness at Equinox, the upscale chain of fitness centers.

"We squat, lunge, crawl, reach," she said, adding that a bodyweight class at Equinox is called "Animal Flow" because its crab crawls, lunges and swings were inspired by the primal movement patterns of man and beast.

"Bodyweight training is great for mobility, stability and creating movement patterns," she said. "You want to build a strong foundation, be stable around the shoulders, hips and spine."

Because the load doesn't change, progression is achieved by changing the center of gravity of the exerciser or the complexity of the movement.

Another challenge, she said, is getting enough pull to match the push of most bodyweight exercises.

"Bodyweight training can make everything else better," she said. "Dancers, moms, we all live push-pull now."

Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said bodyweight training blends with the trend toward functional training, or training that mimics the way we move in everyday life, as opposed to the older bodybuilder model of targeting one muscle group at a time.

"Our body is one kinetic chain, everything moves together, so most everyday exercises will move multiple muscle groups," she said.

Matthews said not only can bodyweight training be done anytime, anywhere, it also works easily into popular interval training, circuit and boot camp workouts.

"Using bodyweight exercises allow more of a cardiovascular component because you can move rapidly from one exercise to the next," Matthews said.

So are machines a thing of the past?

"I think there's a place for everything," she said, "For some people a fixed path might be the way to go. It boils down to having proper joint stability and quality range of movement, then adding load. Form is imperative."

Give Me that Old Time Religion

On October 15th,  Rev. Antje Jackelen was elected the first woman Archbishop of the Church of Sweden in a substantial win.  She joins the ranks of Rev. Elizabeth Eaton as Presiding Bishop of the ELCA.  Before those elections, the Evangelical Church in Germany elected Rev. Margot Kaessemann as their head but she resigned in 2010 after her arrest for drunk driving.  These elections continue the feminist interdenominational conquest of the western church.

An article about Rev. Jackelen’s election notes that she is a mother of two and, “…is known in Sweden for her statements questioning the Virgin birth and endorsing the theory of evolution.”  Ordination of women and denial of the Creeds is  certainly not “that old-time religion” and both heresies of women’s ordination and denial of the Creed go glove on hand.

Pr. Louis A. Smith of blessed memory cited at the end of his essay, “How I Changed My Mind” [i], C. S. Lewis who said that should the Church ordain women we would quickly find that we have a new religion.  My purpose in this posting is to explicate the ideology of this new religion, then next to show that this religion is actually not “new”.

Prior to the ELCA’s decision to allow for false marriage in 2009, I attended my last conference as an ELCA pastor.  In  our discussion, I talked about the Biblical case for marriage.  A woman pastor said in alarm, “That would mean we would have to revisit ordination of women and divorce and remarriage.”  I said, “Yes, that’s what it would mean”.  I thought I heard the air being sucked out of the room.  The feminist hermenuetic (interpretative lens) is a parting of the ways into two religions, as incipient Gnosticism  caused a parting in the days of the Apostle John (see 1 John 2: 19).  Today it is a feminist religion not based upon Scripture, using a particular  feminist ideology (which is very much gnostic), and the other  grounded in the written Word, i.e. Confessional and catholic.

Feminism has two types:  liberal (political) feminism and gender feminism.[ii] The women’s liberation movement began as political feminism but eventually has been replaced by gender feminism, especially in churches.  Rev. Richard John Neuhaus made this distinction in his magazine First Things, based upon articles by philosopher and professor Christina Summers of Clark University:
“The goal of liberal feminism is straightforward: women have a right to fair treatment and equal opportunity in trying to realize their aspirations. Gender feminism is very different, indeed radically different. Gender feminism views all of social reality in terms of the “sex-gender system.” According to gender feminist Sandra Harding, this system is a “system of male-dominance made possible by men’s control of women’s productive and reproductive labor, where ‘reproduction’ is broadly construed to include sexuality, family life, and kinship formations, as well as the birthing which biologically reproduces the species. . . . The sex/gender system appears to be a fundamental variable organizing social life throughout most recorded history and in every culture today.” It is that system that must be replaced.”[iii]
I focus on gender feminism.

I do not know why Rev. Jackelin denies the virgin birth, but I will speculate it is simply not the assertion that the Bible is errant, but the Bible is errant because it is sexist and patriarchal, and oppressive of women.  This is the raison d’etre of inclusive language, which was the next win in the feminist conquests after woman’s ordination, in much of the church and society.  The proponents of the  new alien hermeneutic have one goal:  replace the old patriarchal church with the “new” church, the gender feminist church. I heard an ELCA vicar years ago introducing himself to the conference: “I am a recovering sexist”. Gender feminism is pervasive.

We can debate political feminism as it pertains to the nation but gender feminism is simply non-debatable in regards to the Church and the Scriptures.  It is also a denial of basic biology, per the quote above, as is gay marriage.  If biology can be denied, then why can not Biblical theology be replaced? Yet the reverse cannot happen.  The “old time religion” is incrementally being replaced with ideological and political zeal under the guise of religion and ‘spirituality’.   The gender feminists have and will try everything in their power to marginalize the orthodox of all Christian church bodies using friendly illiberal politics and academia where gender feminism has taken control. A trustworthy conservative pastor here in town related to me that a member of  the ELCA congregation of which I was pastor, told him about me, “Oh, he’s fundamentalist.”  This is at first a ‘damning’ accusation but it can get worse.

The marks of this new religion are:
  1. Pro-abortion
  2. Women priests and maybe eventually a majority of women priests
  3. Pseudogamy
  4. Scripture as important spiritual resource
  5. Denial of Biology 101
  6. Feminist language liturgies (see Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
  7. Confusion and even fusion of the two kingdoms
I chose these ‘marks’ arbitrarily, there are probably more, but I stopped at seven to parallel in antichrist fashion Luther’s marks of the Church:

  1. The Possession of the holy Word of God;
  2. The holy Sacrament of Baptism;
  3. The holy Sacrament of the Altar;
  4. The Office of the Keys;
  5. The Public Ministry;
  6. Prayer, Public Praise, and Thanksgiving to God;
  7. The Possession of the sacred Cross, that is suffering.

So every ‘win’ of a woman pastor breaking the “stained-glass ceiling” by election to  a higher churchly office is not considered  in feminist ideology simply as a win for women but a win for the alien ‘new’ religion to replace orthodox and Confessional religion. If you can ordain women, contrary to a ‘sexist’ Bible, why cannot one deny the virgin birth?

Yes, gender feminism is antichrist because it is a denial of  the basic Christian doctrine of the Biblical Name of the Father and the Son as patriarchal constructs, and so it is denial of the Son and hence antichrist:

“This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.   No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2: 22-23

This is not actually a ‘new’ religion.  It is as old as Eve.  It is Eve and us answering the serpent’s religious question:  Did God say? What is the purpose of asking what Bonhoeffer calls an essentially religious question?  What is the subtle serpent’s endgame?  Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“The serpent asks, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” The serpent does not dispute this word but it enables man to catch sight of a hitherto unknown profundity in which he would be in the position to establish or dispute whether a word is the Word of God or not. The serpent itself in the first place only suggests the possibility that man has perhaps misunderstood here, since God could not possibly have meant it in this way. God, the good Creator, would not impose such a thing upon his creature; this would be a limitation of his love. The decisive point is that this question suggests to man that he should go behind the Word of God and establish what it is by himself, out of his understanding of the being of God.”[iv]
I can hear someone saying, ‘Gender feminists in the Church only want to see if this Biblical word about women in the Church is actually God’s or Christ’s, or a church oppressive of women, that’s all.  God could not have possibly meant what is written in the way the text has been understood.  You don’t want to limit God’s love, now would you, when it comes to your mother, your sister, your co-worker?  Do you want to be oppressive?’   Later, Bonhoeffer simply states, “Man cannot go behind God’s Word”[v] and any alien interpretation is the attempt to go behind God’s Word, for whatever intention.  Going behind God’s Word, such as as in the ‘Jesus Seminar’,  is man judging between word and Word but the very nature of the text of the Bible will not allow it because is it is inspired, all of it (see:  2 Timothy 3: 16).  If man and woman think they have gone behind God’s Word, then they have stood over the Word, interpreting the Word according to their own alien hermenuetics.   It is like Eve in Cranach’s woodcut (above) looking at the serpent become a woman, that is, a reflection of Eve, her own goddess.  If it is the God we imagine, it will always be a reflection of ourselves, and God will always meet us in the place where we would not look  for Him and that place is the Cross  (Bonhoeffer), the tree of Life. Gender feminist interpretation is tragically  no longer God’s Word but man and woman’s ideology, complete with religious trappings, a ‘new’ religion but essentially the false religion of Adam and Eve in which Adam and Eve will be the god and goddess…or the goddess and god.

These two religions are at odds and there are many in the new religion who are still of the old time religion.  The Lord enlists us for the fight (2 Timothy 2: 4) and it is the good fight of faith (cf. 1 Timothy 6: 12), not for ourselves alone but for others as well. St. Paul sitting in prison, looking at his chains, wrote to his fellow pastor, Timothy:

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2: 8-9)

No one can bind the Word of God: not by alien ideologues, not by the ‘brilliance’ of million doctors of theology…not by the subtle serpent.  We need to hear this Word more than ever.  Paul encouraged Timothy to remain steadfast, as steadfast as Ruth was to the God of Israel and to Naomi, as Mary at the feet of Jesus, might we be also:

 Almighty God, grant to Your church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom which comes down from heaven, that Your Word may not be bound, but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people. In steadfast faith, we may serve You and in the confession of Your name, abide to the end through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[i] Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspective,  edited by Matthew C. Harrison and John T. Pless (CPH)
[ii] “Feminism and Feminism” by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, June/July 1992
[iii] “The Feminist Revelation” by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, December 1991
[iv] Creation and Fall and Temptation:  Two Biblical Studies by Pr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Importance of Gray Pants

The Importance of Gray Pants
There are two essential casual pants: blue jeans and chinos.
For every other situation that doesn’t call for a suit, there is only one: gray wool.
Even more than the blue blazer, the gray pant is a staple of the well-dressed man. Virtually every sportcoat will look well paired with gray pants. In fact, some suggest that if a sportcoat doesn’t pair with gray pants, you shouldn’t bother buying it. Gray pants are a foundation: they are the first pants you should buy, and probably the second and third, as well.
Truth be told, you will likely need more than one pair of gray pants. Flannel is the best fabric for winter. It’s warmer, and it has been a favorite for decades because it wears and drapes so well. In the summer months, you’ll need something lighter in weight - probably a worsted. If you live somewhere genuinely hot, you should consider a pair in a very light weight wool designed for hot weather, like a fresco.
The matter of styling is up to you. The current style tends toward a slim, flat-front pant. I have a pair of Brunello Cucinelli flannels in this style, and they’re wonderful with a trim coat. I also have a pair of Polo flannels that are notably wider in the leg, with double reverse pleats, for when I’m feeling a little more classic. My worsteds are by Incotex, with some a little wider than the others.
A mid-gray will be most versatile. Darker grays are a little more sober, but a little tougher to pair. Lighter grays are in style at the moment, and can look quite elegant, but are a little less serious-looking. Serious-looking, of course, is a good quality if you’re buying just one pair.
Gray pants are the garment that you’ll go to again and again. It is the rare outfit that features a jacket, but not a suit that wouldn’t look great with a pair of mid-gray pants. Other colors - like khaki or navy blue - should get in line well behind gray. Seriously: at least two, maybe three or four pairs of gray pants before you buy any other color.
(Above pants, in charcoal gray, by Howard Yount)
There are two essential casual pants: blue jeans and chinos.

For every other situation that doesn’t call for a suit, there is only one: gray wool.

Even more than the blue blazer, the gray pant is a staple of the well-dressed man. Virtually every sportcoat will look well paired with gray pants. In fact, some suggest that if a sportcoat doesn’t pair with gray pants, you shouldn’t bother buying it. Gray pants are a foundation: they are the first pants you should buy, and probably the second and third, as well.

Truth be told, you will likely need more than one pair of gray pants. Flannel is the best fabric for winter. It’s warmer, and it has been a favorite for decades because it wears and drapes so well. In the summer months, you’ll need something lighter in weight - probably a worsted. If you live somewhere genuinely hot, you should consider a pair in a very light weight wool designed for hot weather, like a fresco.

The matter of styling is up to you. The current style tends toward a slim, flat-front pant. I have a pair of Brunello Cucinelli flannels in this style, and they’re wonderful with a trim coat. I also have a pair of Polo flannels that are notably wider in the leg, with double reverse pleats, for when I’m feeling a little more classic. My worsteds are by Incotex, with some a little wider than the others.

A mid-gray will be most versatile. Darker grays are a little more sober, but a little tougher to pair.
Lighter grays are in style at the moment, and can look quite elegant, but are a little less serious-looking. Serious-looking, of course, is a good quality if you’re buying just one pair.

Gray pants are the garment that you’ll go to again and again. It is the rare outfit that features a jacket, but not a suit that wouldn’t look great with a pair of mid-gray pants. Other colors - like khaki or navy blue - should get in line well behind gray. Seriously: at least two, maybe three or four pairs of gray pants before you buy any other color.

by Jesse at

John & Lindsey (Skeye) Duets - Hallelujah and Wicked Game

Heavy Mellow at the Cordoba Guitars Warehouse

Stay Flamenco-y my friends.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

No Recourse for Girls Harassed by Transgender Student

The push for radical transgender rights in schools is trumping privacy rights at one Colorado high school.

A male student at Florence High School who claims to be a transgender has been harrassing girls in the bathroom. When parents complained, school officials said the boy's rights as a transgender trumped their daughters' privacy rights.

As the controversy grew, some students were threatened with being kicked off athletic teams or charged with hate crimes if they continued to voice concerns.

The Pacific Justice Institute sent the school a letter warning against squelching privacy rights.

"We're not going to stand by and let 99.7 percent of our students lose their privacy and free speech rights just because .3 percent of the population are gender-confused," the PJI wrote.

PJI is demanding assurances from the school that privacy and expressive rights will be protected and any accommodations will not involve the girls giving up access to most of their restrooms, as has previously been suggested by the school.
Unequal: Florence (CO) High School has put the rights of a transgendered boy above those of girls he is harassing in female restrooms
Florence (CO) High School puts the rights of a transgendered boy above those of girls he is harassing in female restrooms

Rand Paul Comments on Worldwide War on Christianity

“Christians are being attacked around the world, but you won’t hear much about it on the evening news because the answer’s not convenient,” Paul continued. “It doesn’t fit the narrative we have been told about radical Islam. The president tries to gloss over who’s attacking and killing Christians. The media describes the killings as sectarian. But the truth is, a worldwide war on Christians is being waged by a fanatical element of Islam.”
“For centuries, the Middle East was home to cultural and intellectual centers of ancient world. Math and science flourished in the Middle Ages. Tolerance and sophistication were the norm at one time in the Middle East,” Paul said. “Islam carried the light of learning for centuries. They paved the way for our enlightenment. This history needs to be brought back to life again. Innovation in Muslim communities developed the magnetic compass, pens and printing.”
But he faulted U.S. policy – specifically aiding the Syrian rebels with links to Al Qaeda.
“Elsewhere in Syria, Islamic rebels have filmed beheadings of their captives,” Paul said. “They’ve filmed themselves eating the heart of their enemy. Two Christian bishops have been kidnapped, and one priest was recently killed. These rebels are allies of the Islamic rebels that President Obama is now arming. We are now arming Islamic rebels who are allied with Al Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11. Does that make any sense at all?”
The audience responded, “No.”
“American tax dollars should never be spent to prop up a war on Christianity,” Paul continued. “But that’s what’s happening now across the globe. As Christians, we should take a stand and fight against any of your tax dollars funding any persecution of Christians.”
Paul cited a poll by Pew Research that found 21 percent of Egyptians, 15 percent of Jordanians, and 13 percent of Pakistani Muslims find terrorism acceptable.
“It’s a minority to be sure, but if you add up the numbers in just three countries…over 40 million Muslims sympathize with violence against Christians,” Paul said.
“Radical Islam will end only when Islam begins to police itself,” Paul added. “Only then will knowledge [and] enlightenment begin to glow and grow – [and ] religious violence will recede.”
The whole of his speech can be found at the link.

Veterans Remove Barrycades fom Memorials

On Sunday, protesting the barricades placed at memorials around Washington D.C. by the vindictive Obama administration, veterans removed the barricades and proceeded to take them to the White House. Multiple people tweeted photos of the barricades being removed and taken for presidential inspection:

View image on Twitter

Our Vets taking the barricades to the White House #1MVetMarch #T4VETS #T2SDA #MakeDCListen #WETHEPEOPLE— Sharon Edwards (@SharonEdwards) October 13, 2013

@twitchyteam RT @ZephyrK9 Taking barrycades to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave #1MVetMarch— Tish (@KamaainaInOC) October 13, 2013

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

@gretawire @BoSnerdley @BossHoggUSMC @SWOHCC Vets hand deliver barricades to the White House! !! @Triarius1

— Kohala Dreams (@AKtransplant) October 13, 2013

UStream of the barricades being removed has also been posted:

Video streaming by Ustream

Wow: vets remove barricades from memorials, carrying them to White House - watch live— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) October 13, 2013

The Million Vet March has begun in Washington DC to demand that veterans have open access to the memorials created to honor them.

View image on Twitter

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What Do Ladies Think About Men's Style?

Slings and Stones

Dear ATF:

I would not fabricate, posses, or use one of these.

El Cid


Sling made from animal hair.

Slings and stones are mentioned in various Old Testament books. The Bible indicates that these were important and deadly military weapons. What does the Bible tell us? Has modern archaeology shed any further light on this part of the ancient arsenal?

“With a sling and a stone young David smote the Philistine giant (1 Samuel 17:40, 49). There were 700 Benjamites who were so skilled in its use that with the left hand they “could sling stones at a hair breadth, and not miss” (Judges 20:16; 1 Chronicles 12:2). It was used by the Israelites in war (2 Kings 3:25).” (Matthew G. Easton)

The best method of releasing a stone from a sling is with an underhand motion.

Archaeology confirms that slingstones were among the most important weapons in an ancient army's arsenal.

Bronze Age slingstones
from Khirbet el-Maqatir (West Bank, Israel)

At one excavation site in Israel (Khirbet el-Maqatir, 10 miles north of Jerusalem in Israel's West Bank), slingstones have been found in almost every area of the dig. These stones don't talk, but they do tell tales about the people who once lived there.

“After three seasons of excavation, we have found nearly three dozen slingstones. Most are roughly round and slightly over two inches in diameter, from the size of a billiard ball to a tennis ball.”
—the Khirbet el-Maqatir dig director, archaeologist Dr. Bryant Wood (Associates for Biblical Research)

Not naturally rounded, they all have evidence of tooling. Their size and shape suggest an early period in the Land of Israel’s history. Larger slingstones, such as these, were generally used in this region prior to the Greek period (late 4th century B.C.).

The art of slinging stones

A sling such as David may have used.

It is unclear when men first started slinging stones instead of throwing them. Yet, once known, it did not take long to learn that stones could be slung faster, farther, and more accurately, than they could be thrown. Early slingers also found smoother, rounded, stones were far more effective than any other shape. Ancient hand slings generally consisted of a single long strip of leather or woven wool, with a central “pocket” for the stone. The longer the sling, the greater its range. Long-range slings were about 3 feet long.

“Slingers are often visualized as releasing overhead, yet the best way to utilize a sling is by an underhand motion, like a softball pitcher,” said Grace Kellner, Artifacts Registrar of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation. “Elaborate wind-ups were wasted motion. One windup, like a good softball pitcher, was sufficient.”

One end of the sling was secured to the fingers of the throwing hand. The other end, held between thumb and forefinger, was released thus propelling the stone. Before development of the modern compound bow, ancient slingers were as effective as archers and served as an important contingent of any military force. Greek slingers were among the lightly armed troops (peltast), whose ranks also included archers and javelin throwers.

The heavy infantryman (hoplite), armed for hand-to-hand combat, was considered most honorable by the ancients. Yet, the light infantry was critical to military success. Peltasts initiated battles with their shower of arrows, javelins and slingstones. They also provided cover for the heavy infantry's retreat.
Stoned to death

Two larger Bronze Age slingstones and a smaller Hellenistic slingstone, compared to a tennis ball.

Surprisingly, a good slinger hurled a stone as far and accurately as a good archer. Roman military texts recommended archery target practice at about 200 yards. Slingers are known to hurl their projectiles even farther, as much as 440 yards (quarter of a mile).

As for accuracy, one ancient writer noted that the best slingers “would wound not merely the heads of their enemies but any part of the face at which they might have aimed.” Experiments demonstrate that missiles leave a sling in excess of 60 miles per hour. One Roman writer noted that opponents in leather armor were in far greater danger from sling missiles than arrows. Even if the stone did not penetrate the armor, it was capable of inflicting a fatal internal injury.

Artist's conception of David and the giant, Goliath

Unarmored bodies were easily penetrated by sling stones. In his classic medical treatise, Celsus included instructions for extracting lead and stone sling missiles from the bodies of wounded soldiers.

While typical slingstones used by the Greek and Roman armies were the size of golf balls, different cultures appreciated different sizes. In fact, at some ancient Greek and Roman battle sites, archaeologists believe they can differentiate which slingstones were standard equipment for which army.

During all periods, it was important for an army's projectiles to be uniform in size and weight. Otherwise, a slinger would need to compensate with each toss. Each army standardized projectile size and shape for maximum accuracy, velocity and distance.

Not all slingstones were stones

Many slingstones from the Greek and Roman periods were not stone. Sun-dried pottery and lead both allowed maximum weight within minimum dimensions. Lead ballistae from the Classic period were often manufactured with inscriptions on their surface. Government-issued Greek and Roman munitions were frequently inscribed with the name of the slinger's military formation or commanding general. Other inscriptions were more creative. “Take this,” “Ouch,” and even “For Pompey's backside,” added insult to injury.

All the Khirbet el-Maqatir ballistae were made of stone and none were inscribed. Naturally-rounded flint nodules were further tooled to finished form. Apparently from pre-classical periods, they average slightly over two inches in diameter and nine ounces in weight. Only one was not a flint nodule.

Other uses for slingstones

Although slingstones are exciting artifacts, some possibly had other uses. “We can not assume that every stone we call a slingstone was used for just that purpose,” said Kellner. “This was especially true in the Bronze and Iron Ages (Canaanite and Israelite periods of the Old Testament). Rounded stones were regularly used as common kitchen pounders and grinders for grinding grain and vegetables, crushing nuts, and even smashing bone marrow and roots in food preparation,” she added.

“Still, the widespread presence of so many slingstones suggests a battle was fought here during the Bronze Age,” said Wood.

Just a stone's throw away

Interestingly, the site is located in the territory allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. This tribe was known for an elite corps of slingers (Judges 20:15-16; 1 Chronicles 12:2), many of whom were left-handed slingers. That was unusual in the ancient Near East, noted Kellner. “While David was the best-known slinger in the Bible, I suppose when you wanted a job done right, you got a left-handed Benjaminite.”
For further reading

M. Korfmann, “The Sling as a Weapon,” Scientific American 229.4 (1973), pp. 36-42.
H. Shanks, “Destruction of Judean Fortress Portrayed in Dramatic Eighth Century B.C. Pictures,” Biblical Archaeology Review 10.2 (1984), pp. 48-65.