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Archive for the ‘health and safety’ Category

As the House of Representatives and the Senate debate how to governmentalize our health care system, voices of private experts are arguing for a move in the opposite direction. The following 4 videos were put together by the Campaign for Liberty and feature Peter Schiff, Dr. Rand Paul, and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

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shavingI have recently taken up traditional wetshaving as a hobby of sorts. Many of you say, “Shaving? Why shaving? That’s just a boring chore we have to do every day.” I used to feel that way, too. In fact, I used to hate shaving so much that I would only do it about two or three times a week, giving me the look of a borderline hobo and thoroughly annoying my wife and my employer. Then, while mindlessly wasting time on YouTube one afternoon, I stumbled on a video that changed the way I felt about shaving. Suddenly a whole new world opened up before me. I discovered that there are groups of men that get together online to talk about shaving (shaving forums). I found out that what I was using to shave was probably just about the worst thing possible for my skin and beard. I also learned that the number of alternative and vastly superior products available for shaving was nearly infinite.

So I got some inexpensive (but high quality) traditional wetshaving soaps and creams, a new double-edged safety razor (a gift from my wife) and a introductory level boar hair shaving brush. I watched every single one of mantic59‘s shaving videos (famous clear across the shaving universe) and read hours worth of forum posts at Badger & Blade. Finally I felt ready. I installed a fresh new razor blade in my Merkur HD, lathered up my face, and…shaved. The result? Well I won’t lie to you; it wasn’t pretty. Not only did I still have itchy patches of facial hair, but now I had large amounts of blood oozing from my face as well.

The thing is, you can’t approach traditional wetshaving like you approached what I call “mass-market quickshaving”, using a Mach 3 and a can of goo. There is technique involved. There is skill. And there is something spiritual you can’t quite explain…I’ll call it, shavatation. As my technique improved, I began to get the best shaves of my life while immensely enjoying myself. Suddenly the first half hour after waking up in the morning became one of the favorite parts of my day. I loved the smell and feel of the shaving cream, the song of the steel blade, and the cool burn of the aftershave. The more I learned about wetshaving, the more I realized that the process of daily shaving is a lot like life, a perfect metaphor if you will.

We are born with a smooth face: a fresh, clean slate. As we grow, we begin to acquire peach fuzz experiences; nothing especially disturbing or distracting, just enough so that you know it’s there. As the years go by, the real growth and life experiences come in: worry, sorrow, tragedy. For some it is thick and heavy, for others thin and light, but we all get the inevitable beard of life. Trouble is, if we let the beard grow and grow without thinning it out, our countenance is soon covered with a heavy, scraggly burden. We need a way to remove the troublesome beard that distracts us from what is deep below the surface, the true, genuine face we want to present to the world. We have to rediscover that fresh face again. We have to SHAVE.

We need something special with which to remove the beard of life, and, like I discovered in traditional shaving, the options are almost limitless. Your cream and razor of choice may be different than mine. We all have that someone or something that we turn to for help, rest, and rejuvenation. For many it is family, or faith, or friends. Some turn to recreation, travel, or hobbies. Whatever it may be, we all search for that special shaving kit that will help us remove the scratchy stubble of life. If you have taken the time to learn the technique, skill, and shavatation required, you can feel brand new again, almost like you were just reborn. Because we know that there ain’t nothing like a baby’s butt shave to make you look and feel a little better. And don’t worry about losing that beard, it will always grow back.

So there you have it, shaving as a metaphor for life. Search out the smoothest face you know and find out what they are shaving with, literally and metaphorically. You’ll be glad you did.

I dedicate this post to Josh, who seems to have it very together, even with the biggest, craziest beard on Planet Earth. And to Mark, who continues to show us the way.

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ArrowsHello, dear readers. Sorry for the long hiatus, but it has been a very busy summer here in my Sleepy household. Time has been so short and things have been changing so quickly in our republic that it seems to write in depth about any one event would be to do injustice to all of the others. Instead I have been watching events unfold, as I am sure you have, and intend to speak to some of the larger issues in the near future.

Today I had a brief online conversation with a young aspiring politician whose acquaintance I have made. Our topic was the legitimacy of the laws prohibiting the use of marijuana. Early in the conversation he made the following statement:

Fortunately we still have a government that (somewhat) believes in the rule of law, protecting its citizens, and upholding morality–which is, after all, the purpose of government.

I was passingly disturbed by his claim that “upholding morality…is…the purpose of government”, not to mention the absurd claim that “our government believes in the rule of law”, but I let it pass at the time, as the debate was headed in a different direction. However, I feel that this sentiment is shared by many who have not spent a lot of time carefully thinking about the shape of American morality and the government’s role in promoting it.

Let’s go back in time for a moment. It is indeed true that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is also true that many (but not all) of our founding fathers were practicing Christians or Deists, although in some cases I am playing it a bit fast and loose with the term “practicing”. For the sake of brevity I will not go into details, but do a little research on the personal lives of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin and you will get the gist. The point is that the United States was founded by men who believed, though didn’t always practice, the Christian concepts of morality. In this sense the United States has been, from its birth, a Christian nation.

As time passed, Americans tried several times to unsuccessfully legislate “Christian morality” from the seat of government. The most obvious example was the 18th amendment to the Constitution (repealed by Amendment 21) which outlawed intoxicating liquors. Other issues held dear and vehemently defended by early Americans on moral grounds such as slavery and exclusive male suffrage were overturned as well. In our own time the prohibition of recreational drugs (though not tobacco, which is responsible for over 400,000 deaths per year) has been hailed as a victory of national morality.

There is a clear line where issues of morality and government should meet. Laws prohibiting murder, assault, rape, and theft come to mind. These laws are clearly in line with Christian moral principles and they also prohibit one citizen from forcibly abusing the rights of another. As such, these laws are legitimate methods for the government to legislate morality. On the other hand, there are areas where the government should steer clear of enforcing morality through law. This is where I think things may get a little sticky for my friend, the young politician.

If we believe that the purpose of the government is to uphold morality, then it becomes clear that we must establish a solid and workable definition of the term “morality”. For many this is easy; they automatically jump to their Christian faith for this definition. They believe that the purpose of the government is to uphold, under established law and threat of force, the Christian values on which their faith is based. This would be perfectly agreeable if all Americans were Christians, or if all Americans were extremely easy going, or if the United States was a dictatorship, but none of these is the case. We are a land of many races, creeds, religions, and philosophies. Many have similar moral codes; some have very different moral beliefs or none at all. Fortunately for each of us, we are all still at liberty to believe what our families have believed for generations, or to head in a completely different direction. As thoroughly diverse Americans sharing and subject to the same laws we can not all possibly be forced to hold the same government mandated Judeo-Christian moral standard. We have declared ourselves to be the land of the free, not the land of the same, and, shockingly, not the land of the good.

By way of example, let’s look briefly at the issue of drug abuse. I hesitate to broach this subject because so many people I know will immediately jump to the wrong conclusions. Based on my Christian worldview, I do not believe that using recreational drugs is morally right. I believe that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and should therefore be treated with the utmost respect. I know from the experiences of family members and close friends how devastating drug abuse can be. However, I also am able to see that the way drug law has been implemented in the United States has been an absolute disaster. Billions of dollars have been wasted in the futile attempt to stamp out drug trafficking and distribution. Billions more have been spent feeding and clothing incarcerated non-violent drug abusers in America’s prisons. Still the situation is as bad if not worse today than the day Ronald Reagan declared the “war on drugs”. The facts are clear, his war has failed. On the other hand, hundreds of private treatment centers exist across this country that are making a difference in the lives of those affected by drug addiction. These centers often do not receive any public funds, yet somehow they are phenomenally successful. How on earth do they turn drug abusers around without tossing them in jail? The answer, of course, is morality.

That’s where my young friend, the politician, gets it so wrong. He still sees government as the enforcer of morality, the warrior of goodness, the savior of souls at gunpoint. He does not yet realize a key fact: government = force. You can not force morality on people. Christian morality is shared and taught through one on one communication of kindness, compassion, and love. That is why faith based drug rehabilitation programs are so successful. They teach abusers to respect themselves as servants of God. Private secular programs like AA and NA are also overwhelmingly successful because of personal transmission of clear moral principles. While they do not focus on Christ, they still impart to their members the importance of respect for the body, mind, and soul. Our morality is personal, not political. It should never be forced, by governments or individuals, on anyone who is not freely willing. The function of government is not to uphold morality through force of law. The function of government is to protect the rights of its citizens and give them the freedom to choose their own road. I happen to believe that those who freely choose a moral path will have a better life. I also believe that the more Americans turn to God to establish a moral heading, the stronger our nation will become. But Christian morality should be forced on no one; each should have a choice.

So don’t make the same mistake that my friend did. The next time you find yourself thinking “There should be a law against…” what you think is someone else’s moral shortcoming, remember that the government has not been established to enforce your moral standard. Each of us is free to choose; not even God forces us to follow Him.

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I think YouTube is one of the best tools to come along in years. I routinely search for videos on how to perform certain tasks that I am not quite sure about and usually someone on YouTube comes through for me. Of course you have to critically evaluate each video, but you can almost always find something that can help you.

I was looking for a review of a certain firearm some time ago, and I came across a prolific YouTube producer called Nutnfancy. He takes his YouTubing very seriously, calling his excellent series of videos “The Nutnfancy Project” or “TNP” for short. If you are into knives, guns, backpacking, mountaineering, survival, or just general outdoorsmanship, you should definitely check him out. Anyway, occasionally Nutnfancy gets political and philosophical. He released the following video called “Dangerous Things” a couple of days ago, and I thought it was especially excellent and worth re-posting here. It outlines the following philosophy:

dangerous things + proper skill set + personal responsibility = safe society

The first couple of minutes is Nutnfancy driving his car around, so you can skip to about 2:30 if you want. By the way, if you are a whiny nanny-state kind of person, don’t even bother watching.

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seatbeltI now officially live in a nanny state. I was proud that I lived in one of the 24 states that did not have mandatory seat belt legislation, but that all changed on June 30 when Arkansas residents became subject to a new primary seat belt law. Police officers are now allowed to stop drivers and issue citations for no other reason than failure to buckle a seat belt.

This is wrong. Anyone who knows a little physics knows what happens when an object the size of an automobile stops suddenly: the passengers inside will continue traveling at the same speed until they too are stopped by something, be it a seat belt or the windshield. This is called inertia. Anyone with any intelligence will choose to have their inertia curtailed by a seat belt rather than the windshield. However, your state government does not believe you have the capacity for this simple practice of self-preservation in your stupid little head. Therefore they saw fit to pass a law that forces you into compliance, wasting your state tax dollars in the process. It is not the government’s place to forcibly legislate intelligent decisions. It is not a public safety issue; those who choose not to buckle up endanger no one but themselves. It is an issue of your government wanting and getting more control over your life.

I wonder why our state government didn’t legislate that my hands must be at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel while they were at it. This would make me much safer, and I don’t really have any business deciding the position of my own hands anyway. Maybe I’ll call Representative Betts and suggest a 10 and 2 law. After all, none of you stupid Arkansans would have thought to keep your hands on the wheel yourselves.

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beach7Tomorrow I am going on vacation. Tonight I am preparing. The following ramblings are some advice for the travelling patriot to consider when planning and executing a journey.

Recon— Know where you are going. If you have been there before, great. If not, swallow your pride and get directions. A map is good. Mapquest is better. A GPS in the car is best. All three is super best. Consult someone who has been to your destination ahead of you for advice. Let some folks a home know where you are headed and when you plan to return so that if you don’t come back, they can send out the search party.

Intel–[By personal choice, I have elected to exist and operate my person within the system. Some folks have elected to operate outside the system and I think that they are well within their rights to do so. If you are one of these, the advice in this section will not apply to you. For others who are interested in the advantages, disadvantages, and various and sundry ins and outs of living outside the system, see Arthur Menard’s excellent lecture series Think Free: Bursting the Bubbles of Government Deception.]
Gather your necessary papers and documents for travel: driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, medical insurance and contact information, roadside assistance information, etc. If you are travelling armed (which I personally think is a good idea) be sure you have your carry permit with you. Check the laws of all the states you will be travelling through to make sure they honor your carry permit. This is easy to do at USACarry.com. If you are travelling through or to a state that does not honor your carry permit, or if you don’t have a carry permit, you are still legally permitted to carry a firearm with you in your vehicle by following the Interstate Journey Law. In order to be in compliance with this law, you must have the firearm unloaded and inaccessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle (locked in a case, the trunk, etc.) Of course, if you are a felon or for some other reason are not legally allowed to possess a firearm, this does not apply to you.

Gear–There is a minimum amount of emergency gear you should pack for any journey by motor vehicle. In my opinion, the minimum for your car kit should include the following:

-Food and water for 24 hours for each person in the vehicle
-Blankets and/or coats for each person (in cool or cold weather)
-Tools for minor repairs including spare tire, tire change equipment, jumper cables, extra motor oil/transmission fluid/brake fluid, screwdriver, wrenches, etc.
-Signaling device such as road flare, light/glow sticks, or cones
-Flashlight
-First aid kit
-CB, Ham radio, or cell phone for communication
-Games or toys for entertaining the kids

Hostile contact–Whenever you go on a journey, there is a chance you may have a run-in with law enforcement. If you are following the law, these encounters should be few and uneventful. However, depending on where you are travelling, the cops don’t always follow the rules. It is wise to have a basic knowledge of the laws of the states you will be traveling in/to, and a complete and thorough knowledge of your own rights as an American citizen and motorist. Immediately before leaving on your trip, review the excellent film Busted: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters. This will give you an clear idea of what to say and how to conduct yourself when dealing with the police.

Above all, in case of an accident, be sure to be wearing clean underwear.

Some of you out there may have additional advice for vacation preparation. If so, please feel free to post a comment. Until next time, I wish you all safe journeys and Godspeed.

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Wait…

Oh.

And by the by, the quarantines are coming. Prepare to venture out only under penalty of a quarter million dollar fine and a year in the slammer.

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